Ahed Tamimi and her mother Nariman are released after eight months behind bars for slapping an Israeli soldier.
By Oren Ziv
Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who was arrested after being filmed for slapping an IDF soldier in her family’s yard, was released from Israeli prison Sunday morning, along with her mother Nariman, after eight months behind bars.
Upon their release, the two were greeted by Ahed’s father, Bassem Tamimi, as well as other family members. Also present were MK Aida Touma-Sleiman, Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists, along with news crews that spent the morning traveling back and forth between Jabara checkpoint and Rantis checkpoint in the early hours of the morning, after the army repeatedly changed the location of Ahed and Nariman’s release.
The two were eventually driven in an army jeep to the entrance of their village, Nabi Saleh, where they were released. There, Ahed briefly thanked her supporters and immediately went in the direction of the home of Izz a-Din Tamimi, who was killed a month and a half ago during a raid on the village. As she left the house, Ahed said “the popular struggle continues from the prisons and until the home of the martyr.”
Ahed, 17, was arrested in December 2017 after a video of her slapping an Israeli soldier during a protest in Nabi Saleh went viral. The incident took place a few hours after soldiers shot Ahed’s cousin, Muhammad Tamimi, in the head with a rubber bullet. Shortly thereafter, soldiers showed up in the Tamimi family’s home; Ahed and her cousin Nur confronted the armed soldiers, demanding they leave, after which Ahed slapped one of the soldiers, while her mother filmed the incident. The soldiers, who seemed unfazed, left the home without making any arrests. Only after footage of the confrontation went viral did IDF soldiers return to the Tamimi home in the early hours of the morning to arrest Ahed. Nariman and Nur were also arrested.
Ahed and Nariman’s trial, which took place at Ofer Military Court near Ramallah, turned into a media sensation. After a number of hearings, the court decided to kick out journalists and diplomats, ostensibly to protect Ahed’s interests as a minor. In March, Ahed, Nariman, and Nur signed a plea bargain according to which she would serve eight months in prison, including three months time served.
Ahed and Nariman are expected to visit the Muqata’a, the Palestinian Authority headquarters, in Ramallah on Sunday, where they will stop by Yasser Arafat’s grave and meet top PA officials. From there they will celebrate privately with family members before returning to Nabi Saleh. In the days after her release, Ahed will give interviews every day for one hour to all media outlets. Nabi Saleh will hold a large ceremony to celebrate her release this coming weekend. In the coming week she is expected to visit the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, which is at risk of demolition by the Israeli authorities.