Palestinian teenage protester who slapped Israeli soldier freed from jail


A Palestinian teenager released by Israel on Sunday after completing a prison term for kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier urged continued struggle against Israeli occupation of the West Bank, a call echoed by the Palestinian president. They are led away through an opening in the barrier. Both are to be released Sunday.

Ahed Tamimi was filmed by her mother, Nariman, shouting at and shoving two soldiers in the driveway of her family home on 15 December 2017. Ahed al-Tamimi says resistance will continue. He did not say what this would entail.

There had been slight tension at the checkpoint before Tamimi's arrival as a few men with Israeli flags approached supporters holding Palestinian flags.

In 2012, Ahed was awarded with the Hanzala Courage Award by Başakşehir Municipality in Istanbul for challenging the Israeli soldiers who had arrested her brother.

Israel maintains control over most of the West Bank, where the Palestinians have limited self-rule.

Slamming a recent law passed by the Israeli parliament, which only gives the right to self-determination to Jewish people, the Palestinian activist said in a televised interview in the West Bank that the new law was "a racist apartheid law". The teen, who became a symbol of resistance to Israeli occupation for Palestinians and their supporters, received a hero's welcome after her release from prison Sunday.

Ahed was 16 when she was arrested and turned 17 while in custody.

She met with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas after laying flowers at the tomb of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah.

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Tamimi is well-known for her protests against the Israel Defense Forces and is considered by many Palestinians as somewhat of a protest icon.

She faced 12 charges, including aggravated assault, and in March plead guilty to a reduced charge sheet that included assault.

Baseem, a prominent activist promoting boycotting of Israel, said his family is seeking "to continue normal life" and has stopped the weekly anti-occupation protests in Nabi Saleh where confrontations with Israeli soldiers are common.

The day before Ahed Tamimi was released, two Italians were arrested for drawing a 4m (13ft) mural of the teenager's face on the wall that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem.

"The popular and peaceful style of struggle that Ahed Tamimi and her village and nearby villages have been practicing, proves to the world that our people will remain steadfast in this land, defending it no matter how much needs to be sacrificed", he said.

Underlying her case are clashing narratives about Israel's half-century rule over the Palestinians, the extent of permissible Palestinian resistance to it and the battle for global public opinion.

They then move backwards after Nariman Tamimi becomes involved.

Saleh Higazi, head of Amnesty International's Jerusalem office, said Ahed had served an "unjust sentence based on the ridiculous premise that she posed a threat to armed and heavily protected soldiers".