JERUSALEM, Israel – Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian Arab teenager who served an eight-month prison term for attacks against Israeli soldiers, both verbal and physical, got a big welcome home Sunday. According to media reports, hundreds of supporters and journalists were on hand to greet her in her hometown of Nabi Saleh, about 10 miles north of Ramallah.
Tamimi was arrested four days after an encounter with two Israeli soldiers on December 15. It was not the first time she scuffled with soldiers. She was later sentenced to eight months behind bars and released on probation two weeks early.
The episode has catapulted her into the limelight and made her an icon of so-called Palestinian resistance. She’s been heralded as a hero for her attacks against Israeli soldiers.
Jordan’s Arab News described the 17-year-old as having the “face of an angel” and the “heart of a lion.”
“May the occupation be uprooted,” the Amman-based newspaper quoted her greeting to the crowd of well-wishers.
“We will continue the resistance to achieve the freedom of the Palestinian people. We must boycott and isolate the [Israeli] occupation and put it on trial,” she told the crowd.
According to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, the first thing Tamimi did after her release was visit the grave of the late PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, where she kissed his tomb.
Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas also welcomed her warmly.
“The Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi is a model for the Palestinian struggle for freedom, independence and the establishment of our independent Palestinian state,” the PA’s official WAFA news agency quoted the PA leader.
In remarks to the press following the meeting with Abbas, Tamimi said her plans include law school and maybe politics.
“I will study law to defend my people and defend my Palestinian cause in international forums,” she told reporters in Ramallah.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan phoned Tamimi to congratulate her, praising her “bravery and determination to fight.”