Free Dareen Tatour Site – Solidarity

Dareen site - solidarity - Yaffa Demo

Demonstration in solidarity with Poet Dareen Tatour – Clock Tower Square – Yaffa – June 25, 2016 

Fundraising for the legal expenses of Dareen’s appeal

Dareen’s supporters opened a fundraising page on FundRazr site to help cover the legal expenses of her appeal. Please donate.

Artists all over the world express their solidarity by works of art based on the poem “Resist” – digital album now ready for sale to support legal fund

Artists around the world initiated a call for solidarity with Dareen Tatour and established a special site to promote it under the title “Poem On Trial“.

Their creative works were collected and can now be heard on a new site, “” as well as on the original “Poem On Trial Site“.

You can donate by buying a digital album prepared by the cooperation of many artists in solidarity with Dareen Tatour – with all the revenues going to Dareen’s legal defense fund.

This initiative was covered by a radio program that will be broadcast in 9 different radio stations in different countries.

Dareen is free and can be contacted directly

After Dareen Tatour finished serving her 5 months prison sentence, in addition to more than two and a half years under house arrest and severe restrictions – she was released on September 20, 2018. All the restrictions on her access to the internet and the ban on publishing her artistic works have thus expired.

You can now contact her directly at: “”

Writing letters to Dareen in Damoun Prison

It is possible to write letters to Dareen while she is in prison.

Please notice that

(1) All letters to prisoners are read by the prison’s security officers and sometimes they are censored, delayed or confiscated.

(2) As it is not sure that the letters will be really delivered to Dareen, please send us a copy that will be delivered to Dareen upon her release.

You can use the following address (any one language should be enough):

Dareen Tatour

Damoun Prison

POB 98

Daliyat Al-Carmel


دارين طاطور

سجن الدامون

ص.ب. 98

دالية الكرمل

דארין טאטור

כלא דמון

ת.ד. 98

דלית אל-כרמל

Invitation to a spontaneous artistic evening: Farewell to poet Dareen Tatour before her imprisonment – Tuesday Aug 7, 2018

Dareen’s supporters to hold artistic night tonight, Tuesday, Aug 7, near her house in Reineh. After a trial lasting almost three-year, the Israeli court convicted Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour from the town of Reineh in the Galilee of “incitement to violence” and “supporting a terrorist organization”. The entire accusation is based on the publication of the poem “Resist My People” and two statuses on Facebook. Dareen was sentenced to five months in prison, three of which she had already spent in jail at the beginning of her detention in 2015. Dareen should now to go to jail on Wednesday, August 8.

Against this anti-democratic trial, and in order to support the steadfastness of the poetess who has waged a long struggle in the courts and in the public sphere against her persecution and in defence of the freedom of expression and freedom of the arts, we invite the public to participate in a spontaneous artistic evening in the courtyard of the Tatour family in Reineh on Tuesday, August 7, starting at 19:00.

We invite artists to participate in the evening by reading poetry or literary texts, by singing, playing music or by any other appropriate means of expression.

On Wednesday, August 8, we will accompany Dareen on her way to prison. We will gather at 8:00 am next to the family home.

Call for artistic performance in solidarity with Dareen Tatour

Artists Call for Creative Solidarity with Persecuted Palestinian Poet Dareen Tatour

Press Release – July 2018

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was convicted by an Israeli court in Nazareth of “incitement to violence” for a poem she wrote. The prosecution demanded a long prison sentence and the final sentencing should be announced this Tuesday, July 31.

A group of artists and activists issued a call inviting musicians to contribute to a forthcoming digital album in protest of Tatour’s conviction.

Each musician is invited to contribute a piece of work in any genre using, as their lyrical base, the text of a poem by Tatour. The project aims to undermine and expose the true basis of her conviction by repeating and distributing her ‘illegal’ poem via the medium of music and art.

Pen International visits Tatour in Reineh and issues a new call of action

In the first week of October 2017, PEN International’s President, Mexican author Jennifer Clement, and PEN’s Executive Director, Catalan poet Carles Torner, visited Tatour at her home in Reineh near Nazareth. They conveyed the solidarity of Pen members worldwide with Dareen in her struggle for freedom of expression. They also presented to Dareen the new Pen Charter dedicated to promoting Women’s rights and expression opportunities, and recorded her enthusiastic response.

After their visit, Pen International issued a new call for action for Tatour – published on their site. It encourages Pen chapters to adopt different activities against Dareen’s persecution.

These visit and call of action was also reported in Mondoweiss.

Tatour’s Case tops Pen America site for October 2017

Thanks Pen America for choosing to highlight Dareen Tatour as their featured case for October 2017.

They have updated her case page here:

Their blog post, and call for supporters to sign the JVP petition, went live on October 1 and is available here:

Dareen Tatour Solidarity became major issue in the struggle to defend free speech in Israel

The Yaffa Solidarity event (August 30) put the case of Dareen Tatour at the center of the struggle about freedom of expression against the onslaught of the Israeli government led by minster for “culture” Miri Regev. After the event Ms. Regev didn’t only call for cutting public funding for the Yaffa Theatre but also called on the chief of the Israeli police to interrogate the organizers and the management of the theatre for incitement.

In an unprecedented move, the legal adviser to finance minister Kahlon started the process for cutting funding to the Yaffa Theatre, enacting the much denounced 2011 “Nakba Law”. This move started a new phase of organization by actors, directors and theatre managers to resist government pressure. (Some of it is covered by the report about the Yaffa event in Mondoweiss.)

There are many examples how the issue of freedom of expression is making more waves in Israeli public debate, and Tatour became a symbol of cultural resistance.

On September 19, when the Ophir Awards for Israeli cinema (“Israel’s Oscar”) were announced, on the stage one Arab actor, Lamis Amar, declared that “we will continue to create… even if imprisoned like Dareen Tatour”. (You can read about it in Haaretz in Hebrew).

At the same time Regev, which was not invited to the ceremony, issued an anti-Ophir video that started with congratulating herself with “not coming to dance to the songs of the famous Palestinian poets Darwish and Dareen Tatour”!

The essence of the political clash after the Yaffa event is very well summarized in a video by Assaf Harel.

Yaffa Solidarity event great success, August 30, 2017

Supporters of Dareen Tatour and of Free Speech and Arts held a solidarity night in the Arab-Hebrew Theater in Yaffa on August 30, 2017. The hall was crowded and many people stayed to watch the program on a big screen in the entrance.

You can read about the event in Haaretz  (also in Hebrew) and 972, and a more detailed story about the event and the political struggle around it in Mondoweiss.

Government pressure and threats before the Yaffa event

After complaint from extremist, both Israeli minister of “Culture” Miri Regev and “centrist” finance minister Kahlon threatened to stop the financing of the Yaffa Theatre for agreeing to host the event – even though the theatre itself is not in any way responsible for the event itself.

See a report about the threats from Ms. Regev to the Yaffa Theatre here. (Mr. Kahlon joined later, only on August 29.)

You can read more about it in Arabic here and in Hebrew here and here and here.

Pen America: Distant Lives, Forbidden Voices

On August 25, 2017, Pen America held a special event in New York for the freedom of persecuted artists, including Dareen Tatour..

You can watch the video from the event here, 3 poems from Tatour come at the end.

People all over the world expressed solidarity and demanded the immediate release of poet Dareen Tatour and the dropping of all charges against her

The case of Tatour is recognized world-wide as unjust persecution for legitimate political and artistic expression of protest. She became a symbol for many hundreds of Palestinians that were arrested and prosecuted by Israel for expressing protest against the occupation in social media.

International Petition

More than 300 prominent writers, intellectuals and artists published an open letter calling for Tatour’s release. Among those who endorsed the letter were Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Dave Eggers, Claudia Rankine and 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, including renowned poet Alice Walker and journalist Kathryn Schulz.

Since then, more than 8,000 people have signed this letter.

Jewish Voice for peace and Adalah-NY were most helpful with the organizing of this petition.

Here is a link to the site of the petition.

Hebrew Petition

More than 200 writers, poets and democratic activists, including David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, signed a Hebrew petition with similar demands.

Here is a link to the original petition in Hebrew.

PEN International

PEN International studied the case of Dareen Tatour and came to the conclusion that the charges against her establish violation of her right for free speech and the freedom of poetry. They issues several statements related to her case.

On The Day of The Imprisoned Writer, November 15, 2016, Tatour’s imprisonment was one of a few cases highlighted by PEN.

Tatour’s case was one of the main themes in International Translation Day 2016, translating the poem “Poet Behind Bars” to 15 languages.

She was also one of the poets highlighted in the World Poetry Day on March 21, 2017.

On World Poetry Day 2017 PEN called for the public to take action in solidarity with Tatour.

More from Pen

Declaration by English Pen

Declaration by Pen South Africa – and also here.

Declaration by Pen center USA

Recognition – Prizes

In June 2017 Dareen Tatour was awarded the Danish Carl Scharenberg award for her poetry and for standing against injustice.

A Hebrew online literature magazine, Maayan, gave Dareen Tatour the 2016 prize for creativity in struggle.

Addameer: Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association

Statement by Ad-Dameer analysing the case of Dareen Tatour

Poetry Events

The first poetry night in solidarity with Tatour was held in Haifa al-Ghad club in Wadi Nisnas, with the participation of several young Palestinian poets.

Two more poetry nights, mostly with Israeli poets, were organized by poet Tal Nitzan and a group of poets, in Sipur Pashut in Tel-Aviv on June 27, 2016, and in Al-Yakhour Hostel in Haifa on May 5, 2016. (You can read more about the Tel Aviv event in Mako in Hebrew).

Writing solidarity letters

You can write solidarity letters to Dareen Tatour by old mail (as she is not allowed access to the internet), using the following address (the English should be enough)

Write to Dareen Tatour:

الرينة صندوق بريد 29

الرمز البريدي (الميكود) 16940

Dareen Tatour

P.O.B. 29

Reineh – zip 16940


Now, after Dareen was released from prison, and the restrictions over her access to the internet expired, you can contact her directly by email at: “”


Free Dareen Tatour Site – Detention

20 September 2018 – Dareen is FREE

A small crowd of supporters and the media waited for Dareen in front of the Damoun prison, until she finally walked out of the small blue iron door. Everybody was so happy, hugging and kissing and chatting.

You can see images and read reports about her release in +972HaaretzTeleSUR and PEN International. TeleSUR also published a special video for the occasion.

Activists in Reineh organized an official festive reception for Friday, September 21, at 19:00.

You can watch this video from the celebration, where writer Ofra Yeshua Lyth is handing and reading to Dareen a letter signed by 5000 supporters worldwide through Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

19 September 2018 – Dareen’s release brought forward to tomorrow

This evening the Tatour family received an unexpected telephone call from the Damoun prison – informing them that Dareen will be released tomorrow morning (Thursday, September 20) around 8:00 am.

5 September 2018 – First family visit in prison – Dareen promised release on September 21

Dareen’s family was allowed to visit her in prison – and we learned that she was promised release on September 21! On Tuesday, September 4, lawyer Amnon from Gaby Lasky’s office visited Dareen Tatour in Damoun prison. He was told that Dareen would not be allowed a visit this week, but maybe the next. So it came as a surprise when, on the morning of the next day, the family’s request for visiting Dareen was approved.

On Wednesday morning, September 5, Dareen’s mother and father travelled to the Damoun prison to meet their daughter for the first time since she was imprisoned on August 8. They found that she was doing well, in spite of the harsh conditions, keeping high morale and writing new poems.

Through these two visits we also learned that the prison authorities informed Dareen that she would be released on Friday, September 21. Dareen was sentenced to 5 months of imprisonment. She spent more than 3 months in prison just after her detention in October 2015. So she had less than 2 months left to complete the 5. Now, due to the general overcrowding in Israeli prisons, almost all prisoners are released a few days or a few weeks before their scheduled release time, in what is called “administrative release”. This should now reduce about two weeks from Dareen’s period and we hope that she will really be released on the promised date (or, better, before it).

Also, on the occasion of the family’s visit, they were allowed for the first time to enter some extra clothes to Dareen, so she will be change clothes.

30 August 2018 – Dareen denied family visits

Since her new imprisonment, on August 8, Dareen’s family is not allowed to visit her. Usually family visits to prisoners are allowed about two weeks after they are imprisoned. From the declarations of the “Israeli Prisons Service” it seems that they intend not to let the family visit Dareen for the two months that she has to spend in prison to complete her 5 months prison sentence.

As another form of abuse, the Israeli Prison Service also prevents the family from entering to Dareen even the most basic clothes that she needs.

Read more about it here (and in Hebrew here).

8 August 2018 – Dareen started prison sentence

On the morning of August 8, two dozen supporters accompanied Dareen to the Jelemeh detention center, where she had to give herself up to spend the last 2 months of the 5 months of imprisonment to which she was finally sentenced. We later learned that Dareen was transferred to the Damoun prison on Mount Carmel (near Haifa) where she is held with Palestinian “security” women prisoners.

Free Dareen Tatour - Detention Jelemeh

Poet Dareen Tatour entering Jelemeh detention center on August 8, 2018

31 July 2018 – As Dareen was sentenced to prison the house arrest was abolished

In the last hearing of the trial, judge Adi Bambiliya-Einstein sentenced Dareen to 5 months in prison plus 6 months of suspended prison sentence. At the same hearing she ordered Dareen to give herself up at the Jelemeh detention center on August 8, at 10:00. For the remaining 8 days until her imprisonment, the judge abolished the house arrest, but left all other restrictions on Dareen in place, including the ban of any access to the internet.

4 December 2017 – The judge refused to release Dareen from house arrest!

Today, December 4, Judge Naaman Idris announced his decision to reject the appeal to end Dareen Tatour’s house arrest. As explained below, Judge Idris heard Dareen’s appeal on November 20. So today he had only to announce his decision. Even though the announcement itself took less than a minute, he let us (ten supporters and family members of Dareen and advocate Haya Abu Warda) wait from 14:00 till 15:30 before he took a small break between his other duties to make the announcement. It was another blow to justice and logic, as there is no date set for the verdict yet, and the trial is expected to last many more months, and those years spent in house arrest are not counted against any possible “punishment”.

The judge agreed to add 3 hours a day to the time that Dareen is allowed to be out of her house. It is now 9am till 10pm (after being set to 9am till 7pm in May 2017). But she still must be accompanied by an authorized supervisor at every step, so she can’t hope to work or lead anything that resembles normal life. All other restricting conditions remain in force, including total ban on connecting the internet. It is also significant for Dareen as an artist that she is not allowed to publish any of her works.

Judge Idris is the same judge that ordered Dareen’s detention “until the end of legal procedures” in December 2015.

Relief of detention conditions as time passes is a regular routine in courts. Most time it is done with the prosecution’s consent. In this specific case the prosecution continues to resist any relief.

The defence team led by lawyer Gaby Lasky is expected to file an appeal in the Nazareth district court soon.

20 November 2017 – hearing to consider abolishing house arrest

Hearing held on Nov 20 to consider request to abolish #DareenTatour house detention…

The Israeli law requires that significant time will pass before you can appeal for another relief in the pre-trial detention conditions. Last time when the conditions were somewhat adjusted (see below), on May 22nd, the judge said that she is pretty confident that the trial will end before the court’s summer vacation.

But time is passing fast and the trial can easily drag for a few more months, to say nothing about a possible appeal. Currently the next hearing in the main trial is set for December 28 for “oral summaries” on top of the written summaries – at the request of the prosecution. There is no date for the verdict yet.

Advocate Gaby Lasky and her team filed a request to take account of the long time that Dareen has already spent under detention and the fact that the evidence that was presented during the trial doesn’t justify in any way the “high dangerousness” that the prosecution attributed to Dareen. They request the abolition of the house detention.

Judge Naaman Idris held a hearing to consider this appeal on Monday, November 20th, at 10:00, in the Nazareth Magistrate Court. The small courtroom was full with Dareen’s supporters. As both sides presented their arguments in writing in advance, there was no much arguing. Advocate Lasky stressed the fact that as Dareen is not allowed to go out of the house without a “supervisor” and not allowed any access to the internet she can’t work or hold any normal life. When the judge asked the prosecutor (not the same Elina Hardak that is responsible on the trial) she simply said that they object to any relief.

The judge postponed his decision to December 4, at 14:00.

11 October 2017 – already 2 years under detention for a poem

While the verdict is going to be postponed, Dareen Tatour “celebrated” on October 11, 2017, the second anniversary of her detention.

The happy news of that day was the publication in ArabLit of another poem by Dareen Tatour, “Rebellion of Silence”, both the original Arabic and an English translation by Andrew Leber. On the same day, also, a group of artists visited Tatour to discuss the production of a play about her trial that may be displayed in the United States.

The restrictions imposed on Dareen are still very severe.

  • She is allowed to get out of the house only between 9am to 7pm. At home and while going out, she should be accompanied at every step by a licensed “supervisor”. Under these conditions she can’t work neither lead any semblance of normal life.
  • She is not allowed any access to the internet, not even reading news. She has never seen this site.
  • She is not allowed to publish anything “directly or through others”.
  • She is not allowed to attend any political gathering.

1 August 2017 – Adding 3 Supervisors

Dareen Tatour’s detention will complete full 2 years on October 11, before the end of the trial.

Since May 22, 2017, she is formally allowed to get out of her house between 9am and 7pm, but only if accompanied by a certified supervisor at any moment. The “justification” for this restriction is that, because Dareen is prevented from any access to the internet, there should be someone to supervise her at any moment.

The result is that she hardly could use this new partial relief. It certainly doesn’t allow her to work or enjoy normal life.

So some of her friends volunteered to join as guardians… but the court requested the prosecution’s response. And the prosecution delayed, and negotiated, and finally refused any new guardians!

After long delays, the appeal was heard in the Nazareth court on August 1. You can read in detail about this hearing here, and, in Hebrew, here. Finally, the three new supervisors were approved.

On August 8, Dareen was visiting friends in Yaffa and went for the first time in two years to see the sea that she was so missing.

22 May 2017 – Allowed to get out, but only accompanied

As the trial is unlikely to finish before September (and might easily drag on, including an appeal, into 2018), Defence lawyers Laski and Ramati appealed for an end to Dareen Tatour’s house detention until the end of the trial. In a hearing on May 22, the prosecution strongly objected to any significant alleviation of the harsh house detention conditions under which Tatour is held since her arrest on October 2015 (after initial 3 months in different prisons).

In the end the judge allowed Tatour to get out of her house each day from 9:00 am till 17:00 pm – but she still have to be accompanied by her supervisors at any step, what means that she will not really be able to get out of the house most of the time. There is no easing of the decision banning Tatour from any access to the internet. And there are new conditions: The family had to deposit another 6000 shekel and Tatour is prevented from attending any political gathering or activity.

Detailed reports in Hebrew about this hearing were published in Free HaifaLocal Call and Ha-Gada Ha-Smalit (the Left Bank).

14 November 2016 – Allowed to work under impossible conditions

As the trial dragged on, lawyers Lasky and Ramati requested that most restriction on Tatour will be removed. The prosecution, as always, strongly objected to any relief.

The detention file was transferred to another judge, Lili Jung-Goffer, who held two hearings to reconsider the detention conditions, on October 31 and November 14.

Finally, she decided to remove the electronic bracelet from Tatour’s ankle, which was a significant improvement in her quality of life.

Tatour’s previous employer, a woman that owns a small beauty salon in Nazareth, agreed to accept her back to work. The judge agreed but on condition of full house detention.  That meant that the employer will be a certified supervisor, and will be obliged to stay with Tatour all the time as the small beauty salon will become another location for her detention.  This proved impractical and soon Tatour was closed for the whole day in her house again.

You can read about these hearings here (and in Hebrew here).

26 July 2016 – Allowed to return home

After the drama of her renewed imprisonment, Tatour was finally allowed to continue her house detention at her home in Reineh.

Just before she went home, the judge decided that it is too dangerous to let her go home (with the supervisors) to wait for the operators of the electric bracelet to connect it, so he ordered the police to keep her in custody until everything will be in place. After some hours waiting for the technicalities to be fixed, the police prisoner-guards decided to return Tatour to the Damoun Prison on Mount Carmel. The reception at the prison refused to accept her, as, according to their computers, she was not a prisoner any more. The policemen wanted to go home, so they just left Tatour, unaccompanied, in the middle of the nowhere, with no phone or money, near the prison gates.

Anyway, there were big celebrations in Reineh that night as Tatour came home after nine months in prison and forced exile.

You can read more about it here.

25 July 2016 – Back to prison

After a prolonged legal struggle to be allowed to continue her house detention at her home in Reineh, Tatour informed Judge Hana Sabagh that she is totally unable to go back to her exile in Kiryat Ono. Even though all the conditions for her transfer home were fulfilled, with only some paper work missing, and even though she already was allowed to spend a night at home on the holiday, he promptly order her arrest and sent her to prison.

13 January till 25 July 2016 – house detention with forced exile in Kiryat Ono

After two appeals by the prosecution to the district court, Dareen was finally transferred to house detention on January 13, but under much more severe conditions. She was declared too dangerous to stay anyway near her home town, so her brother had to rent an apartment in Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv, especially to be the site for her detention. She also had to wear an electric bracelet on her ankle 24 hours a day, to supervise her movements any moment. She was completely forbidden to access the internet and the house where she would stay had to be disconnected from the net also.

11 October 2015 till 13 January 2016 – Three months in three prisons

Dareen was interrogated only four times, all about her poems and her Facebook posts. Her interrogation was held by the Nazareth police, not the security services that usually handle “security” cases. On November 2 she was indicted for “incitement” and “support of a terrorist organization”. You can read more details about the indictment in the “trial” page of this site.

With her indictment, the prosecution applied to the court to remand Dareen’s detention until the end of the trial. On November 12 judge Naaman Idris agreed to the remand request but requested a report by the parole officer to check whether the detention can be substituted by house arrest. On December 15 judge Idris ordered the transfer of Dareen to house detention in her home in Reineh, but postponed the actual transfer pending appeal by the prosecution.

During her interrogation Dareen was held in the Jelemeh interrogation center. After her indictment she was transferred to the Women’s Ha-Sharon prison, where she was held with the Palestinian “security” prisoners, between them administrative detainees like Parliament Member from the Palestinian Authority Khaleda Jarar. Later there was not enough room in Ha-Sharon and Dareen was transferred with other Palestinian women prisoners to Damoun prison.

11 October 2015 – Pre-Dawn Arrest

At 3:00am before dawn, on October 11, 2015, patrol cars from Nazareth police, escorted by a unit of Israel’s notorious “Border Guards”, surrounded a quite house in the nearby village of Al-Reineh. They broke in and waked up the terrified family. Their target was Dareen Tatour, 33, a Palestinian poet, photographer and activist. They didn’t have a search order, neither an arrest warrant, but they carried the astonished Dareen with them anyway.

The immediate reason for the detention was a profile picture that Dareen published initially on June 2014, in response to the murder of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir, saying “I’m the next martyr”. It meant to be a protest against the killing of innocent Palestinians, stating that in current conditions any Palestinian can be killed for no reason.

Someone mistranslated the status to Hebrew as if Dareen wrote “I want to be the next martyr”, and the police misinterpreted it as if Dareen announced that she wants to make a suicide attack. After a few hours the interrogators in the Nazareth police understood their initial mistake, but they decided to criminalize Dareen by any means possible.

You can follow the link to read more about Dareen’s detention.


Free Dareen Tatour Site – Media

Interview with Ofra Yeshua Lyth after the conviction of Dareen Tatour – Hebrew with subtitles in English and French

On May 3rd poet Dareen Tatour was convicted on all counts in the indictment – 3 publications were regarded by the Israeli court as “incitement to violence” and one was also labeled “support for a terrorist organization”.

On the same day one of Tatour’s most dedicated supporters, journalist and writer Ofra Yeshua-Lyth was interviewed on Israeli TV. The interview is available both with English and French subtitles.

Interviews with Poet Dareen Tatour…

One of the restrictions on poet Dareen Tatour, as part of her house detention until the end of her trial, is that she is not allowed to publish anything…

But she was interviewed several times, and the restrictions don’t prevent others from publishing…Here are some links:

Interview by Ben Norton in, October 2016

Interview by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac in Haaretz, May 2016

Interview by Jessica Rohan in Warscapes, September 2016

Interview by Orly Noy in +972, August 2017


Free Dareen Tatour Site – About Us

About Us

Free Dareen Tatour About Us

Dareen Tatour in a vigil in front of the Nazareth Court

In October 11, 2015, Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was arrested in a police pre-dawn raid on her home in Reineh, near Nazareth. Now she is in house detention and stand trial for a poem named “Resist. my people, resist them”. This page is dedicated to the solidarity campaign with Dareen – demanding her release and the dropping of all charges against her.

(You can see a video from the same Nazareth vigil here.)


Free Dareen Tatour Site – Main Page

Dareen’s story

(As the Free Dareen Tatour site may go down – I decided to put its contents on “life support” in this modest free blog)

The Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour from Reineh near Nazareth was arrested in a pre-dawn police raid on her home on October 11, 2015. On November 2, 2015, she was indicted by the Israeli authorities in the Nazareth court of “incitement to violence” over a poem and two statuses on Facebook. She spent three months in different Israeli prisons before being transferred to house arrest.

Dareen held a long legal battle, in which she was represented by lawyer Gaby Lasky, to prove that her poem and statuses constituted a legitimate protest against the crimes of the Israeli occupation.

On May 3, 2018, judge Adi Bambiliya-Einstein in the Nazareth Magistrates’ Court convicted Dareen of all the charges. On July 31 Dareen was sentenced to 5 months in prison and six months of suspended sentence.

On August 8, 2018, Dareen entered the Jelemeh detention center and was sent to Damoun prison to serve the last 2 month of the 5 months prison sentence (as she already spent 3 months in prison immediately after her arrest in October 2015). On September 20 she was released from prison, after 2 weeks were reduced from her imprisonment for “administrative release”.

Dareen appealed against her conviction, as a matter of principle and an important precedent concerning the freedom of speech and artistic protest. Her appeal should be heard by the Israeli District Court in Nazareth on November 29, 2018.

At the center of the indictment is a poem Dareen wrote, translated incorrectly by a police officer. The poem, “Resist my people, Resist them”, speaks about the crimes of the occupation and about Palestinian martyrs. The Israeli police, prosecution and court deny the right of Palestinians even to speak about their suffering and victims and say that while Tatour speaks about martyrs it could only mean encouraging terrorism.

The targeting of this young woman, and the incredible assault the State of Israel is launching on her personal freedom, has become a symbol for the Israeli authorities’ campaign against freedom of speech and artistic expression, alarming many in Israel and all over the world. Repeated unequivocal calls by the writers’ association PEN international for her release were ignored. An international petition by Jewish Voice for Peace  and Adalah-NY drew support from many writers and intellectuals but was also ignored. For detailed information about the case and links to many related articles you can consult the “trial” page in this site. Also, see Free Dareen Tatour on Facebook.

The legal struggle continues now through appeals to the district court and probably the high court of appeal. The legal costs are way beyond her family’s means, so one of the reasons for establishing this site is to help in fundraising. Please contribute to Dareen’s legal defense by buying a digital album prepared by the cooperation of many artists in solidarity with Dareen Tatour – with all the revenues going to Dareen’s legal defence fund.

Dareen Tatour’s voice, and ours, must be heard.

We appreciate your support.

In German

Short video in German about Dareen Tatour’s case


Oxfam Novib/PEN International 2019 award for freedom of expression announced

Dareen Tatour receives the Oxfam Novib PEN Award for ‘Freedom of Expression


In French

Le  29 novembre 2018, le Tribunal de District de Nazareth a ouvert l’audition en appel de la poétesse palestinienne Dareen Tatour, citoyenne israélienne de Reineh en Galilée. Elle fait appel de sa condamnation absurde pour « incitation à la violence » et « soutien à une organisation terroriste », qui s’appuie sur une traduction déformée et une mauvaise interprétation d’un poème qu’elle a écrit et de deux positions sur Facebook.

Dareen a déjà accompli une peine de cinq mois de prison pour les accusations scandaleuses et fabriquées portées contre elle. Pendant son procès, elle a passé près de trois ans en résidence surveillée draconienne, sans pouvoir travailler pour gagner sa vie, étudier, ou vivre une vie normale, déconnectée de tout accès internet par ordre du tribunal qui l’a déclarée « dangereuse ». Sa condamnation comporte également une peine de prison de six mois avec sursis. Cela veut dire qu’un policier peut décider à tout moment qu’un nouveau poème écrit par elle est insultant pour l’ETat d’Israël – et elle se retrouverait à nouveau incarcérée. On peut trouver tous les détails pertinents sur son site web Free Dareen Tatour et sur sa page Facebook.

L’appel contre la condamnation et le prononcé de la peine de Dareen est une question de principe et il devrait intéresser tous ceux qui ont à coeur la liberté d’expression en Israël et, en réalité, dans le monde entier. Il n’est pas anodin que le procès de cette poétesse ait provoqué des remous dans les média, dans les organisations de défense des droits de l’Homme et dans les organisations d’écrivains à travers le monde.

Nous avons besoin de vous pour persévérer dans cet important combat juridique. Dareen est représentée par le cabinet juridique dirigé par l’avocat Gaby Lasky, l’un des rares avocats qui, en Israël, traite des questions de liberté d’expression et de droits civiques. Evidemment, le combat ne se terminera pas au Tribunal de District de Nazareth et ira jusqu’à la Cour Suprême d’Israël,  elle-même sous le coup de lourdes attaques du régime actuel nationaliste d’extrême droite. Nous espérons qu’avec l’aide de supporters qui se sont déjà identifiés à la poétesse ciblée par le régime israélien, nous arriverons à couvrir les lourdes dépenses de cette campagne juridique.

On peut envoyer les dons directement à un compte Paypal ouvert pour cette affaire :

Par ailleurs, nous vous encourageons à poursuivre votre démarche en achetant l’album numérique, produit en solidarité avec Dareen Tatour par de nombreux artistes qui ont écrit et enregistré de la musique sur ses textes et ses poèmes. Allez SVP sur FREEDOM OF SPEECH :

Tout le produit des ventes sert directement à couvrir les frais juridiques.

Traduction : J. Ch.

20 février 2019

Tell the truth… (about sectarianism)

(This short story was initially published in the Haifa Arabic weekly Al-Madina on September 14, 2018. You can find the original Arabic text in Haifa Al-Hura.)

May 22, 2017 was a special day. We attended another session of the detention court for poet Dareen Tatour. The Court again rejected the request for the abolition of the house arrest imposed on Dareen, which lasted more than two and a half years until she was sentenced to imprisonment for 5 months and was returned to prison. On this special day, however, the court allowed Dareen to leave her family home in Reineh, the location of her house arrest, for several hours each day, provided she was accompanied by “qualified guards” from her family. On this occasion, to make use of the new crack in the wall for breathing freedom, Dareen and her companions did not return home after the hearing. But, for the first time since her arrest more than a year and a half before, she started wandering the streets of her beloved city, Nazareth, and we were wandering with her.

In this short passage, written more than a year later, I do not want to write another chapter in the famous story of the trial of the poet Tatour. But I want to touch on a passing conversation that took place during our tour of the streets of Nazareth. It touched an exposed nerve and its complex meaning is still echoing within my head even today.

We walked through the alleyways of the old market towards the Church of the Annunciation when we met, by coincidence, a group of foreigners, accompanied by a local activist. We learned that they are active in minority rights movements in the United States, especially Black Lives Matter. They came to Palestine as an act of solidarity on an educational tour, and our friend guided them on their trip to Nazareth.

We were pleased with this opportunity to get acquainted, and we requested the guide to tell the respectable foreigners about Dareen’s case as well. He began to explain, but was not familiar with the details. With his permission I explained all the issue of the trial from Dareen’s arrest until the last court hearing on the same day. My explanation was brief but it was ample, and I felt that the guests were delighted to have the opportunity to meet in person one of the conflict stories.

But, when I stopped talking, it seemed that our guide friend was not satisfied. He told me, “Tell them the truth.”

I thought I had explained the details of the case accurately and honestly and did not understand what truth he wanted me to tell, so I did not respond.

However, it seemed that this truth that I couldn’t grasp was clear to other members of our small group, except for the foreigners. Some of them, Arabs, Jews and foreigners, urged me: “Yes, tell them the truth!”

I was confused. I was, as they say in Arabic, like “a deaf in a wedding”. I didn’t understand. “I have told the truth as I know it,” I said. “If I made any mistake, please correct me.”

“No, you were not mistaken. But tell them you are a Jew!”Dancing Monkey

At this point I lost my nerve. Some of my beloved friends felt that the foreigners, who were of different races and ethnicities, and who heard my balanced and objective words, could miss the main “attraction” – that the person who spoke this was someone of Jewish origin… Seeing such a scene should be regarded like seeing a dancing monkey in a street show.

“OK, OK, I will tell the truth,” I laughed.

“You have to know that we live in a society steeped in sectarianism,” I explained to the guests. “Zionism has taken control of all our thinking and we have stopped dealing with people as human beings. We are dealing with them first and foremost according to their sectarian affiliation. But even our concept of sectarian affiliation is wrong, distorted by Zionist misconceptions. Judaism, as I know it, is a religion. And any religion is based on faith and a set of convictions. As of me, as a person, I do not believe in this religion and have nothing to do with it. But Zionism wants to convince us that religion is transmitted by heredity through our genes… and that the son of a Jewish mother is definitely Jewish. I regret to tell you that, but my friends have requested me to introduce myself to you as a Jew.”

Thus I spoke the truth, as I found it in my heart, to the respected guests, to my beloved friends and to you, my dear readers.


A spark of AI

My doctor decided that I have to do another heart test.

I went with his reference to the Heart Institute, hoping to schedule the test.

I approached the clerk at the reception and told her that I have a reference from my doctor.

“We don’t schedule tests”, she told me. “You should phone the call center.”

I found a free chair nearby, sat there and phoned the call center. After going through several stages with the bot, I had a woman on the line. I told her what test was required.

“No”, she said. “I can’t schedule this test for you. You can only schedule it directly in the institute.”

“Well”, I told her, “In the institute they said that I must call you.”

I crossed the corridor and approached the clerk at the reception.

“The call center says that only you can schedule the test”, I told her. She tried to deny that, so I let her talk with the woman on the phone.

“Well”, she told me, “why didn’t you tell me what kind of test you need? It is true that this test can only be scheduled directly”.

She scheduled the test for next Wednesday.

All this was daily practice of all human bureaucracy, not something worth writing about. But there was a twist in the plot that sounded to me like the harbinger of a new period.

We are all excited about how machines are acquiring artificial intelligence that allows them to emulate human reasoning and behavior.

Well, as I called the call center, the first response from the bot was to say that “we are sorry for the inconvenience but the system is very busy right now and response time is unusually long. Please try to schedule through the site.”Heart and AI brain

As I ignored this “try with another” initial response and filled my details anyway, the response was immediate, with no delay at all.

I really appreciated how the bot was adopting the intelligent methods of our human brothers and sisters, making me feel at home.

(Haifa, July 2018)