Nabi Saleh, West Bank: A Palestinian teenager released from prison by the Israeli regime on Sunday after completing a sentence for kicking and slapping an Israeli occupation soldier called for Palestinians to continue their struggle against occupation of the West Bank.
Ahed Tamimi, 17, became a heroine to Palestinians after the incident last December outside her home in Nabi Saleh, a village which has campaigned for years against land seizures by Israel, leading to confrontations with Israel’s occupation military and Jewish colonists.
Tamimi, who was 16 at the time of her detention, faced 12 charges, including aggravated assault. In March, she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge sheet that included assault and was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, dating back to her arrest in December.
From this martyr’s house, I say: resistance is continuing until the occupation is removed. All the female prisoners in jail are strong, and I thank everyone who stood by me.”
- Ahed Tamimi | Palestinian activist
Wearing her trademark black-and-white keffiyeh, Tamimi greeted dozens of well-wishers in brief remarks outside the home of a Nabi Saleh villager killed by Israeli occupation forces.
“From this martyr’s house, I say: resistance is continuing until the occupation is removed,” she told reporters. “All the female prisoners in jail are strong, and I thank everyone who stood by me while I was in prison.” She scheduled a news conference for 4pm.
Palestinians want the West Bank for a future state, along with occupied East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Most countries consider Israeli colonies in the West Bank to be illegal, something Israel disputes.
Tamimi’s case drew global attention and Amnesty International said after her conviction that her sentence was at odds with international law, saying imprisonment of a minor must be used only as a last resort for the shortest appropriate period of time.
Her father, Bassam Tamimi, said he expects her to take a lead in the struggle against Israeli occupation but she is also weighing college options. He said she completed her high school exams in prison with the help of other prisoners who taught the required material. He said she initially hoped to attend a West Bank university but has also received scholarship offers from abroad.
Since 2009, residents of Nabi Salah have staged regular anti-occupation protests that often ended with stone-throwing clashes. Ahed has participated in such marches from a young age, and has had several highly publicised run-ins with occupation soldiers. One photo shows the then 12-year-old raising a clenched fist towards a soldier towering over her.