Jim Fitzpatrick, the artist who designed the classic Che Guevara image, has created a new print of an imprisoned Palestinian teenager, writes Richard Fitzpatrick
LAST December, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi was filmed by her mother confronting two Israeli soldiers in the driveway of their home in Nabi Salih, a village of several hundred people in the Occupied West Bank. Tamimi kicked one solider in the shin and slapped his face. She tried to punch the other soldier. They towered over her, rifles slung over their shoulders as they looked on at her impassively.
Tamimi’s mother posted the video on her Facebook page and it went viral. Two nights later, Tamimi was arrested following a raid on her house.
Denied bail — and having turned 17 in prison last month — she is being charged with 12 offences, some of which date back to 2016. They include incitement to violence, throwing stones and assaulting security forces. Her trial began earlier this week in Ofer Military Court in the West Bank.
Tamimi claims the December 2017 incident occurred shortly after seeing Israeli soldiers shoot her 14-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber bullet, and having had Israeli soldiers fire tear gas at her house, smashing windows. Her family argue she was making a legitimate protest.
Meanwhile, Israeli politicians have commended the restraint of the two Israeli soldiers and have labelled her a “terrorist” for her actions.
Since being imprisoned, Tamimi has become a cause celebre, a poster girl for Palestine’s anti-occupation movement.
Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick, famous for creating the iconic red-black print of Che Guevara and designing several Thin Lizzy album covers, has taken up her cause.
Fitzpatrick has created a print of Tamimi holding a Palestinian flag above a Wonder Woman logo and the strapline ‘There Is A Real Wonder Woman’. This references Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot, a former member of the Israeli Defence Forces.
“I did it as a piece for my Palestinian friends to be able to use, to show support for this girl,” says Fitzpatrick. “‘I’m the guy who did Che Guevara,’ all that sort of stuff. I sent a print to her in prison. It went off be registered post this week. Hopefully they’ll allow her to sign for it. I’m pushing it out on Twitter and elsewhere. You know the old Talmud [Jewish holy book] saying, ‘Whoever saves one life saves the world entire’? That’s what’s going on in my head. The idea that these people can behave like that towards a young girl I find astonishing.”
The poster has made news around the world, including the BBC, Newsweek and a Russian TV station, RT. In the bottom corner of the image there is a copyright note that states it “may not be used by anti-Semitic individuals or organisations”.
Fitzpatrick explains the need for this line: “If you go onto RT, the Russian television network’s website, you’ll see some of the comments. They’re terrible. There are a lot of anti-Semites out there.
“This is not about anti-Semitism. This is about one particular people inflicting enormous damage on another. They should be co-existing peacefully.”
Tamimi’s case, which is being heard behind closed doors, has been adjourned until March.
If convicted, she faces a lengthy prison sentence despite the awareness being raised by her supporters, including Fitzpatrick and civil rights organisations around the world such as the American organisation Dream Defenders, which includes counterculture figure Angela Davis (who Fitzpatrick drew in the 1960s) and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello.
Fitzpatrick supports the BDS (Boycott, Sanctions, Divestment) movement that seeks to enforce an anti-Apartheid-style boycott of Israel.
He does, however, have some reservations about it. “I don’t like the idea of cutting off cultural links because the people you’re cutting them off from are the great liberal establishment that still exists in Israel.”
Jim Fitzpatrick’s print of Ahed Tamimi can be downloaded for free at www.jimfitzpatrick.com