The Israeli government had investigated the family of iconic Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh over whether they are a “real family” or if they were “light skinned” actors hired by Palestinians in order to discredit the Israeli occupation, the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported.
According to the newspaper Michael Oren, an Israeli deputy minister and former ambassador to the United States, said Tuesday that a Knesset subcommittee he headed two years ago had investigated whether the family was "not genuine, and was specially put together for propaganda" purposes.
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee focused on the allegations that “members of the family were chosen for their appearance,” specifically their blond hair, blue eyes and light skin, Haaretz reported. The committee had heard from Israel’s Shin Bet security service and National Security Council.
While the investigation did not yield definitive conclusions, Haaretz reported that the committee ultimately found that while Ahed’s parents and siblings were a legitimate family, they had “annexed” other people who looked like them as members of their family.
In a tweet Wednesday, Oren doubled down on the investigation’s merit accusing the family of being part of what he called “Pallywood,” a popular Israeli conspiracy theory that Palestinians fake confrontations with Israeli occupation forces to generate bad international press for the state.
The family made headlines and ignited a media backlash against Israel last month when their 16-year-old daughter Ahed was arrested and indicted on 12 charges including assaulting an Israeli soldier and throwing stones after a video of her slapping an Israeli soldier in her home’s yard went viral.
It was revealed later that the Palestinian girl was upset after soldiers had shot her 14-year-old cousin in the face a day earlier.
Tamimi family mocked the Israeli government over the bizarre investigation saying they had lived in Nabi Saleh and the Hebron area for centuries.
“No one ever asked us if we were a real family,” Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father, told Haaretz Wednesday. “I thought – how can this be?” he said. “Is this the level the occupation has reached? The proof of our existence here can be found way, way, way before the State of Israel.”
In 2010, as a child, Ahed became an iconic figure of Palestinian youth struggle against the occupation through a photograph in which she stands before a soldier with her fist raised.
Ahed had also made international news few years ago when a video of her, along with female members of her family, went viral showing her fighting an Israeli occupation soldier who was pinning down her 12-year old male cousin. In the photo, Ahed can be seen biting the soldier's hand after he smacked her in the face.
But the Israeli occupation has been actively persecuting the family for decades over their weekly protests against the theft of their lands in favor of the illegal Jewish settlement of Halamish near their villages. Several members of the family have been detained and killed over the years.
Mahmoud, Bassem’s nephew who is not fair and blond like other Tamimis, told Haaretz jokingly that he did not want to be photographed because “i’m not blonde … Maybe I should buy blue contact lenses first,” as he mocked the Israeli suggestion of his family being “fake”.