Meet Ahed Tamimi, the 17-Year-Old West Bank Activist Jailed for Eight Months

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show with a young woman described as the Rosa Parks of Palestine: 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi. Last year, Ahed became a hero to Palestinians after a video went viral showing her slapping a heavily armed Israeli soldier near her family’s home in the occupied West Bank. The incident came just after Ahed learned her cousin had been gravely wounded by an Israeli soldier who shot him in the head using a rubber-coated steel bullet. Video of Ahed confronting the soldier went viral, elevating her into a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

Ahed Tamimi was soon arrested in the middle of the night, charged with assault in an Israeli military court. She was sentenced to eight months in an Israeli prison. She turned 17 years there; she celebrated her 17th birthday behind bars. Her mother was also arrested and charged for incitement, in part for streaming video online showing the interaction between Ahed and the Israeli soldier. Both Ahed and her mother, Nariman, were released in late July.

Last week, soon after she was released, Democracy Now!’s Nermeen Shaikh and I spoke with Ahed Tamimi from her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

AMY GOODMAN: Ahed, welcome to Democracy Now! How does it feel to be free from jail?

AHED TAMIMI: [translated] It’s an extremely wonderful feeling. I hope all prisoners, men and women, live to experience this joy. Of course, my joy is incomplete, because my brothers and sisters remain in prison. And I hope that they are liberated and feel the happiness that I feel today.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the day you were released? Can you talk about that Sunday, where the Israeli military took you and your mother?

AHED TAMIMI: [translated] I was released from prison at 5:30, and they took me to Rantees, but they told my parents that I would be released at the Jbara checkpoint. It’s about an hour between Rantees and Jbara. They kept playing with my parents, telling them here, then there, then there. They made my parents go…

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