Israeli Court Clears Palestinian of Incitement to Violence Over 'Resist' Poem

Dareen Tatour's appeal on her conviction was granted, but judges let stand other convictions over social media posts

Dareen Tatour leaves prison on September 20, 2018.
Rami Shlush

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour has been partially acquitted by an Israeli court of her conviction on charges of incitement to violence and supporting a terrorist organization. 

The Nazareth District Court granted Tatour's appeal, reversing her conviction over a poem she had written, but let stand her conviction over two social media posts. 

Tatour, an Israeli citizen, was convicted about a year ago in connection with the three written pieces and has already served a jail sentence in the case.

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She was arrested in a period when lone-wolf stabbing attacks on Israelis were practically a daily event. Tatour, 36, a resident of the Galilee village of Reineh, near Nazareth, was arrested after posting the poem.

Initially Tatour had denied any connection with the posts. After changing lawyers in November 2016, she admitted to publishing the poem, but claimed it had been mistranslated into Hebrew.

The police officer who translated it knows spoken and literary Arabic, and speaks Arabic as his mother tongue, the state claimed.

The Nazareth court, sitting as a court of appeals, ruled it was difficult to view the poem, “Resist, My People, Resist Them,” as a direct call to commit violence. “This doesn’t involve unequivocal remarks that would provide the basis for a direct call to carry out acts,” the court said in reversing that aspect of the conviction.

The district court panel also noted that Tatour was publicly known as a poet and therefore it would have been perceived as a poem “among the target audience,” unlike how remarks by a political figure or an extremist identified with a particular political stream of thought would be viewed.

“Freedom of expression is accorded added weight when it also involves freedom of artistic and creative [expression],” the district court panel said, “and therefore the limits must be stretched to protect the right of creative freedom.”