Teenage activist Ahed Tamimi, who became an international symbol of resistance against Israeli occupation in Palestine, promised to continue her struggle for freedom in a powerful speech after her release from prison.
The 17-year-old was arrested last year for slapping Israeli soldiers who had raided her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh and allegedly shot her 15-year-old cousin in the face with a rubber bullet. She was sentenced to eight months in a military prison after accepting the plea deal offered by the military prosecution earlier this year.
“I want to thank everyone who has stood with me while I was in prison. I want to thank all the people who had campaigned for me,” Tamimi told reporters during her first press conference after being freed. “I hope that the campaigns that were done on my behalf will continue for the other political prisoners, especially the young children,” she added, urging international community to support the Palestinian cause.
She also said she planned on studying the law so she could “protect” her people.
“The resistance continues until the occupation is removed. All the female prisoners are steadfast. I salute everyone who supported me and my case,” she continued.
Although the teenager is still on probation, she also addressed a number of other issues plaguing the Palestinians – including Israeli atrocities against protesters marching in Gaza and the demolition of a Bedouin village.
“The messages I am leaving with the prisoners with are that the popular struggle against the occupation will continue,” Tamimi said. “I convey a message that the prisoners call for Palestinian national unity, as well as a call for support for the residents of Khan al-Ahmar and the residents of Gaza and support for the continuation of the March of Return.”
The young activist also talked about boycotting the Israeli media.
“I do not answer questions for Israeli media because I cannot speak for the Israeli media and its conduct,” she told reporters.
Following her press conference, Tamimi also met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who called her “a role model and an example of the popular Palestinian struggle for liberty and independence.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also reportedly called the teenager to praise her courage and determination to fight.
Her father, Bassem Tamimi, also said he expects his daughter to lead and continue the struggle for the liberation of Palestinians suffering under Israel’s apartheid rule.
“I expect her to lead but it's difficult that she will lose her childhood and her teenage years. It's a big price but if that will help to solve the Palestinian issue, we are glad for that,” said her father ahead of her release from prison. “I feel that there are moments of joy, moments of waiting, moments mixed with fear and concern because the occupation still exists. Our enemies still ambush us and we still resist this enemy therefore there is a price and an unsettled life under this enemy.”
Tamimi was arrested in December 2017 – just a month before she turned 17. At least 30 heavily armed soldiers forcibly entered her house a few days after a video surfaced showing the teen kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier after the troops fired tear-gas canisters directly at her home. Her mother, Narmain, was also arrested for recording the arrest. She was released by the Israeli authorities along with her daughter.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Mohamad Torokman