17-year-old teenager and international Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi was freed from an Israeli prison today; she was met with hugs, banners, and lots of love from members of her community upon release.
The 17-year-old served an eight month sentence as a plea bargain to assault and incitement. The charges surged after Tamimi infamously slapped Israeli soldiers for shooting her younger cousin in the head, according to the Independent. Three months prior to the plea, Israeli forces detained her for three months.
The press conference earlier today was emotionally charged. Tamimi quickly mentioned that, even in her heightened state of happiness and gratitude to be reunited with her family, she couldn’t help but think of other prisoners still under Israeli control.
“My happiness is not complete without my sisters [Palestinian female prisoners], who are not with me.” she said in today’s press conference. “I hope that they will also be free.”
The Guardian reported that more than 300 other minor protesters are still behind Israeli bars. Even her older brother still resides under Israeli detention for a raid more than two months ago, according to Al Jazeera.
“In the end I want to say that 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.'”
Speaking after several galvanizing women to the movement, including her own mother, Tamimi sounded an additional call to action to boycott Israeli news outlets.
“I do not answer questions for Israeli media because I cannot speak for the Israeli media and its conduct.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas commended her bravery and deemed her a role model for others in a meeting afterward. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also applauded her via a personal phone call, Hareetz reported.
Since her arrest Tamimi, originally from the West Bank, has become an international symbol for Palestinian protesters, and activists against colonial and imperialist structures worldwide. She continues to use her platform as a soundboard for change.
“The resistance will continue until the end of the occupation.”