Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teen activist was recently released from an Israeli prison after eight months. She was arrested for slapping and hitting Israeli soldiers. Her arrest had sparked international condemnation.
Her mother, Nariman, who was also sentenced for eight months in prison was however released three weeks prior.
Addressing the crowd, Tamimi thanked activists and the media for their support during her prison stay. She said she was “extremely happy to be in the arms and embrace of her family” but added that her “happiness is not full when others are still behind Israeli bars”.
“My happiness is not complete without my sisters [Palestinian female prisoners], who are not with me. I hope that they will also be free,” she said.
Tamimi is charged with 12 counts of assault, incitement, interference with soldiers and stone throwing.
For many Tamimi has become a symbol of resistance against Israeli occupation, but many Israelis see her as a publicity-seeking troublemaker.
In an interview with the Guardian, Tamimi said that she used her time in prison to study international law and hopes that one day she would lead cases against Israel in international courts.
“God willing, I will manage to study law I will present the violations against the Palestinians in criminal courts. And to try Israel for it and to be a big lawyer, and to return rights to my country.”
The 17-year old from Nabi Saleh area of the Occupied West Bank added that the all female prison where she was kept ‘was transformed into a school’ as she and other used to sit for hours and read legal texts.
Tamimi also knows that the fame she has received, which has made her a local hero, is a big responsibility.
“I feel proud that I have become a symbol for the Palestinian cause in order to deliver the message of Palestinians to the whole world. Of course, it is a heavy burden on me. It’s true; it’s a big responsibility. But I am totally confident that I am for of it,” she told the Guardian.
However, her brother Wa’ed Tamimi is still in prison due to his confrontation with Israeli army men.
Tamimi believes that she is not a victim but a jew settler is the actual victim.
“I’m not the victim of the occupation,” Ahed said. “The Jew or the settler child who carries a rifle at the age of 15, they are the victims of the occupation. For me, I am capable of distinguishing between right and wrong. But not him. His view is clouded. His heart is filled with hatred and scorn against the Palestinians. He is the victim, not me. I always say I am a freedom fighter. So I will not be the victim.”
Tamimi who was born on Jan 31, 2001, is best known for her appearance in images and videos in which she confronts occupying Israeli soldiers. She is involved in protests and political agitation, demonstrating their opposition to the expansion of Israeli settlements and detention of Palestinians. She believes documented, organized protests against the Israeli occupation will lead to wider recognition of the Palestinian struggle for autonomy,.
Tamimi belongs to a second generation of Palestinian children who have grown up under the Israeli occupation.
The Palestinian teenager has now been invited to South Africa by Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela to receive a special reward “for bravery, resistance and being a symbol of hope for millions.”