Newly released Ahed Tamimi with her father Bassem and mother Nariman, also released. Photo by
After eight months in prison for the audacity of protesting the Israeli Occupation with a childlike slap to the cheek of one of its soldiers, Palestinian resistance icon Ahed Tamini has been released from what British activist George Galloway terms "the dungeons of the Apartheid State" - though under the Occupation she remains, many noted, stateless, without rights, and not really free.
Then 16, Ahed was arrested in December 2017 after IDF soldiers shot her cousin in the head during a protest in their village of Nabi Saleh. When soldiers later turned up at her family's home, Ahed and another cousin, Nur, demanded they leave; a furious Ahed slapped the soldier in a confrontation filmed by her mother Nariman that quickly went viral. Soldiers later returned to arrest Ahed, Nariman and Nur for the crime of all-too-visibly standing up for their humanity in the face of decades of oppression.
Ahed, who turned 17 in custody, was released Sunday along with Nariman; they were greeted by Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi, family members, Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists and news crews, all of whom spent the morning shuttling between Israeli checkpoints after the region's only "democracy" pointedly changed the release location three times in an attempt to avoid the ugly glare of publicity. As supporters chanted, "We want to live in freedom," a tearful Ahed hugged relatives before visiting the tomb of Yasser Arafat and the home of a relative killed by Israeli forces while she was in prison.
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"My freedom is incomplete without the freedom of other detainees," said Ahem, who reportedly studied international law and her school subjects in prison. Noting, “It’s not just my story - it’s all Palestinian children," she urged supporters to "fight for them as you have fought for me...the struggle continues, and the Occupation must go." It can never be quickly enough: Israel's Minister of Agriculture responded to Ahed's release by sniffing that "Israel acts too mercifully with these types of terrorists," and as if to prove his barbarous point, Israel Saturday arrested two Italian artists and one Palestinian for creating a mural of Ahed - "they illegally drew" - on Bethlehem's graffiti-covered Apartheid Wall.
Mural photo by Mussa Issa Qawasma