Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager who was held captive by the Israeli military court, was released from prison on Sunday. The 17-year-old and her mother were sentenced to eight months prison after Ahed’s video of slapping two Israeli soldiers went viral.
Ahed and her mother Nariman arrived in their village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank after the release. The young Palestinian icon received a hero’s welcome by a huge crowd of journalists and supporters.
Ahed said, “The resistance continues until the fall of the occupation, and of course the (female) prisoners in jail are all strong. I thank everyone who supported me.”
Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father, welcomed both the ladies, putting his arms around them while walking together along the road. The crowd showed support by chanting “we want to live in freedom”.
After the release, Ahed paid her respects at the tomb of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. She also visited the home of her cousin, who was shot dead in June for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.
She expressed, “I will continue this path and I hope everyone will. The prisoners are fine and we hope the struggle for their release continues.”
Gaby Lasky, Ahed Tamimi’s lawyer, said that the daughter-mother duo was set free almost three weeks early than the date of release. She added that it is a common practice by Israeli authorities due to overcrowded prisons.
Israeli authorities on Saturday detained two Italians and a Palestinian for painting Ahed’s now-familiar image on the Israeli separation wall cutting off the West Bank.
The Israeli authorities made all possible effort to prevent media coverage of Ahed’s release and thus provided conflicting information about the location.
Tension was observed at the checkpoint before Ahed’s arrival as a few men with Israeli flags approached supporters holding Palestinian flags. But only words got exchanged and no violence took place.
Palestinian President, Mahumd Abbas, has extended his support to Ahed and social media has been bombarded with praises for the brave young girl.
Megha Thadani is an Intern with Shethepeople.tv