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Released from prison, Ahed Tamimi says she finished high school and won’t take questions from Israeli media

Israel/Palestine
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Update: a report from Ahed and Nariman Tamimi’s press conference:

At 4pm, Ahed, Nariman, and Bassem Tamimi sat down for a press conference in front of dozens of journalists from across Palestine, Israel, and the outside world. Bassem began the press conference by asking the media to respect Ahed’s time, as she was tired from her long journey back home.

“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 prison,” Ahed began, as she expressed solidarity with the Palestinian Bedouins facing demolition in Khan al-Ahmar, and the people of Gaza.
“One of the things that stressed me out most while in prison, was the fear that I would miss my matriculation exams and lose my education and chance to graduate,” Ahed, who was imprisoned in her final year of high school, said, adding that her fellow prisoners helped her study and complete her exams, despite consistent attempts from the prison authorities to prevent her from doing so.
Ahed went on to condemn the recent Nation-state law passed by the Israeli government, calling it racist and discriminatory.
“My message here, is that our resistance will continue. Particularly, our struggle for equality and civil rights,” she said. “International solidarity is important, especially in order to achieve isolation and sanctions on the Israeli government.”
She went on to thank her mother, Nariman. “My mother stayed beside me in prison, while she had her other children in and outside of prison,” Ahed said. “Her strength and resilience is the reason that I was able to continue and survive.”
“I want to finish by saying that the power is with the people, and the people will decide their destiny.”
Before going on to answer questions from the media, Ahed made one last statement that drew cheers from the crowd of journalists, activists, and onlookers.
“I want to make one key point,” she said defiantly, “I am 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.”

Original report:

After eight months in Israeli prison, 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi returned home on Sunday morning to a hero’s welcome in her village of Nabi Saleh, in the central occupied West Bank.

Arm in arm with her father Bassem and mother Nariman, who was also released on Sunday along with her daughter, the teenager broke down in tears as she was embraced by her younger brothers, extended family, and fellow residents of Nabi Saleh.

Dozens of journalists, local and international, swarmed around the family as armed Israeli soldiers stationed at the entrance of the village looked on.

Ahed Tamimi, by Yumna Patel. July 29, 2018

Tamimi’s family and friends, along with journalists, had been waiting for her since the early morning to be released at the Rantis checkpoint on the Green Line between the West Bank and Israel — common practice for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

As the Tamimis and their supporters waited anxiously, a handful of Israeli settlers carrying Israeli flags staged a protest on the opposite side of the street. In response, Tamimi’s family waved Palestinian flags and chanted national songs and slogans.

Moments before she was expected to arrive, Bassem Tamimi received a call telling him to return to Nabi Saleh, where his daughter and wife would be released.

The unusual turn of events led many to speculate that Israeli authorities were attempting to confuse people, particularly the media, in a failed attempt to ensure Tamimi’s release was as quiet as possible.

Upon her arrival, Ahed was adorned with a black and white checkered scarf, known in Arabic as the ‘keffiyeh’ — a symbol of Palestinian identity and resistance.

“The resistance continues until the occupation is removed,” she told dozens of journalists as they pushed their cameras in front of the teenage activist, each one hoping to get a shot of her and her now iconic curly blonde locks.

“All the female prisoners are steadfast. I salute everyone who supported me and my case,” she said, struggling to get words out and maintain her balance as the crowd pushed and shoved around her.

In a symbolic moment, Ahed pushed open the Israeli-built steel gate that closes off the entrance to the village, as the crowd of well wishers marching behind her cheered.

Residents of Nabi Saleh, famed for its years-long nonviolent resistance campaign against the Israeli occupation, waved from their windows as Ahed’s procession made its way up the main street.

Nariman Tamimi, by Yumna Patel, July 29, 2018.

Local children climbed up walls, plastered with posters of Ahed and Nariman, trying to catch a better look, as celebratory music rang through the streets of the village.

The euphoric crowd was quickly sombered as Ahed and her family stopped to visit the home of Izz al-Din Tamimi, the 22-year-old cousin of Ahed who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in June.

Ahed greeted the family of Izz al-Din, her hand adorned with a Palestinian flag bracelet that she made in prison. Her mother wore a matching one.

Before she could arrive home, where more family members anxiously waited to greet her, Ahed was whisked away to Ramallah city, where she visited the tomb of the late Palestinian President Yaser Arafat, and laid a wreath on his grave.

Outside the compound, teenage girls waited for their chance to take a photo with Ahed.

Flanked on all sides by high-ranking Palestinian officials and presidential guards, Ahed struggled to get past the swarm of journalists who shouted questions at her and her mother.

Eventually, she made it through the crowd and continued on with her family to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Ahed will hold a press conference in Nabi Saleh at 4pm (13:00GMT), until which time she is spending private time with her family at a location undisclosed to the public.

‘Ahed Tamimi, right, confronting an Israeli soldier at her home in occupied Nabi Saleh on Dec. 15, 2017. She slapped the soldier, leading to her imprisonment for eight months.

Long well-known in Palestine for appearing in videos in which she confronts armed Israeli soldiers raiding her village, the teenager became an international icon of Palestinian resistance when she was arrested in December 2017 for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier.

Her mother was arrested for livestreaming the event.

At the time of the incident, Tamimi was reacting to the news that her 15-year-old cousin Mohammed had been shot in the face during an Israeli raid on Nabi Saleh. Mohammed, who lost a portion of his skull as a result of his injury, was one of the first people to greet Ahed on Sunday.

Since Ahed and Nariman’s arrest, several Palestinians from the Tamimi family have been arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned by Israel.

As of Sunday, at least 15 members of the Tamimi family from Nabi Saleh, including Ahed’s older brother Waed, remain in Israeli custody.

Update: a report from Ahed and Nariman Tamimi’s press conference:

At 4pm, Ahed, Nariman, and Bassem sat down for a press conference in front of dozens of journalists from across Palestine, Israel, and the outside world. Bassem began the press conference by asking the media to respect Ahed’s time, as she was tired from her long journey back home.

“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 prison,” Ahed began, as she expressed solidarity with the Palestinian Bedouins facing demolition in Khan al-Ahmar, and the people of Gaza.
“One of the things that stressed me out most while in prison, was the fear that I would miss my matriculation exams and lose my education and chance to graduate,” Ahed, who was imprisoned in her final year of high school, said, adding that her fellow prisoners helped her study and complete her exams, despite consistent attempts from the prison authorities to prevent her from doing so.
Ahed went on to condemn the recent Nation-state law passed by the Israeli government, calling it racist and discriminatory.
“My message here, is that our resistance will continue. Particularly, our struggle for equality and civil rights,” she said. “International solidarity is important, especially in order to achieve isolation and sanctions on the Israeli government.”
She went on to thank her mother, Nariman. “My mother stayed beside me in prison, while she had her other children in and outside of prison,” Ahed said. “Her strength and resilience is the reason that I was able to continue and survive.”
“I want to finish by saying that the power is with the people, and the people will decide their destiny.”
Before going on to answer questions from the media, Ahed made one last statement that drew cheers from the crowd of journalists, activists, and onlookers.
“I want to make one key point,” she said defiantly, “I am 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.”
yumnapatel
About Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is a multimedia journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. Follow her on Twitter at @yumna_patel

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15 Responses

  1. Marnie
    Marnie
    July 29, 2018, 12:48 pm

    So happy she’s back with her family and applaud her for refusing to take any questions from the israeli media. So much respect for this family. Viva Palestina!

  2. US Citizen
    US Citizen
    July 29, 2018, 3:26 pm

    Any links to MSM or any other channel reporting this? If not, shame on them. FREE PALESTINE!

  3. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 29, 2018, 3:50 pm

    I’ve never heard the name Ahed Tamimi mentioned on cable tv shows of CNBC, CNN, MSNBC Fox News, etc

  4. Arby
    Arby
    July 29, 2018, 5:52 pm

    Here’s some rare good news. Best wishes Ahed!

  5. John O
    John O
    July 30, 2018, 4:27 am

    Ahed’s release is the main story on the front page of one of the UK’s national papers this morning. It’s the Morning Star, prominently displayed outside the Co-Op that serves as our village shop. It doesn’t sell many copies (stocking it is Co-Op policy) but it’s right there, staring every customer in the face as they enter the shop.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      July 30, 2018, 8:39 pm

      A solid step forward for truth and justice. Please convey my heartfelt thanks to the shop owner.

  6. genesto
    genesto
    July 30, 2018, 12:06 pm

    On page 5 of the SF Chronicle this morning, and the article was sympathetic and well written. That’s an unexpected boost from the Chronicle.

  7. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    July 30, 2018, 12:51 pm

    MUST WATCH/LISTEN!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=dsYfBRl1zYc

    Extended interview with Ahed Tamimi and her mother after their release. Also translated from Arabic to English.

  8. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    July 30, 2018, 5:58 pm

    Today July 30th NPR’s Daniel Estren reported on Morning Edition that the young Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi was released today after being held in an Israeli prison for 8 months after slapping an Israeli soldier which was seen on you tube etc world wide.

    What Daniel Estren failed to report was the reason Ahed Tamimi slapped an Israeli soldier. Her cousin Mohammed Tamimi had his head partially blown off just hours before by Israeli soldiers

    She went to prison for slapping an Israeli soldier. No one in the Israeli military has been held accountable for partially blowing Mohammed Tamimi’s off.

    Once again NPR tells just a part of the story. What a massive and purposeful oversight,

    Where is the justice?

    Daniel Estrin : NPR

    https://www.npr.org/people/576543610/daniel-estrin

  9. JWalters
    JWalters
    July 30, 2018, 8:48 pm

    A good essay on the spirit of the Tamimi family on this occasion of their release, by peace activist Ray McGovern who has met with the Tamimi family.
    “Ahed Tamimi and Her Mother are Freed from Jail”
    https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/29/ahed-tamimi-and-her-mother-are-freed-from-jail/

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