Ahed Tamimi: Redoubtable Symbol of Palestinian Resistance Now Free
17-year-old Ahed is a fearless international symbol of Palestine’s liberating struggle.
An activist since age-10, she’s remarkably mature, eloquent and steadfast for her age – a model for everyone resisting tyranny.
Her arrest and imprisonment defied international law. Defense for Children International-Palestine’s accountability program director Ayed Abu Eqtaish explained abusive Israeli practices against Palestinian adults and children alike, earlier saying:
Israel’s militarized legal system in the Occupied Territories denies “fair trial rights from the beginning to the arrest of Palestinian children and during their transfer to Israeli interrogation centers and during the interrogation itself” – treating them as abusively as adults, adding:
“Israel arrests children as a way to suppress and control Palestinians who are living under occupation. The majority of Palestinian children (targeted) are arrested from friction points where the Israelis have settlements expansions.”
Freed on Sunday, Ahed and her mother Nariman returned to their Nabi Saleh village home – greeted by hundreds, banners, cheers, and Palestinians flags, along with Palestinian, Israeli, and international media.
Her redoubtable activism made her an international iconic figure, world famous for challenging Israeli viciousness.
On arrival back home, she shed tears of joy in response to the emotional welcome heard round the world.
Addressing family members, villagers, supporters, and journalists, she expressed great joy to be “in the arms and embrace of my family,” adding:
“I want to thank everyone for their efforts during my time in prison, and hope that the campaigns that were launched to help free me, will continue to help free all our captives in Israeli prisons.”
“My happiness is not complete without” freedom for others remaining behind bars, unable to be with her and their family members. “I hope that they will also be free,” she stressed.
She “call(ed) for national unity inside Palestine; for the people of Palestine to remain strong and united in their resistance; and for everyone to stand with the rights of political prisoners and work for their release.”
She plans a career in law to “hold the occupation accountable,” adding “the power is with the people, and the people will and can decide their destiny and decide the future.”
“Women are a key part of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, and the women’s role will continue to expand, not only in the struggle but by producing new generations that can continue the struggle. We say: ‘Leave, leave occupation.’ “
“My message here is that our resistance will continue. Particularly, our struggle for equality and civil rights.”
She thanked her mother Nariman, imprisoned with her, praising her “strength and resilience…stay(ing) beside me in prison…the reason that I was able to continue and survive.”
Before taking questions, she made one final point, saying she’s “boycotting the Israeli media because of how it has attacked and defamed our family and because of the policy that it has pursued consistently against us.”
“As I answer questions, I ask anyone here from Israeli media to not ask me any questions, because I will not answer them.”
Nariman said “(a)s a parent, I want to say that we shouldn’t be afraid of our children, and we should support them in whatever they choose to do. They are being killed whether in our homes or resisting in the streets, so support them in resistance.”
The Tamimi family joy is tempered by the continued imprisonment of 21-year-old Waed Tamimi – arrested and unlawfully detained since May, along with Ahed’s aunt Manal, her two sons, and 15 other Nabi Saleh residents, including four children.
Her father Bassem expressed concern for his daughter’s safety. After her arrest and imprisonment, hostile graffiti in their village appeared, saying:
“Death to Ahed Tamimi.” “There’s no place in this world for Ahed Tamimi,” the remarks likely by extremist settlers, notorious for committing violence and vandalism against Palestinians.
Like other Palestinian women and minors, Ahed and mother Nariman were likely mistreated in prison.
According to the Addameer prisoner support human rights group, Palestinian women and children experience severe mistreatment in prison, including physical and verbal sexual abuse, along with extreme neglect.
Minors are treated as abusively as adults. Israel makes no distinction.
Ahed’s activism for Palestinian liberation and justice earned her international recognition and fame.
A child shall lead them doesn’t do her justice. When arrested and detained last December, she was mature beyond her 16 years.
She’s a symbol of Palestinian solidarity, courage and resistance. Her redoubtable spirit and prominence make her vulnerable to rearrest, and/or physical harm.
Israel wants her silenced. Along with extremist settlers, the Netanyahu regime may want her dead, the cross she has to bear.
She’s too resolute, steadfast, courageous and committed for justice to ever stop resisting Israeli tyranny.
She deserves life, not imprisonment or martyrdom to continue her liberating struggle, an inspiration for countless others to join her.
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