Ahed Tamimi, 17, the Palestinian teen activist whose detention has drawn global outrage and solidarity, and her mother Nariman Tamimi, are scheduled for release from Israeli occupation prisons on Sunday, 29 July. Both are leaders in the indigenous, anti-colonial land defense movement in their village of Nabi Saleh, which faces land confiscation and even the theft of its well from the illegal, Jewish-only colonial settlement of Halamish.
After their release, the Tamimi women are planning to resume their activism immediately, heading directly to the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, targeted for demolition by Israeli occupation forces for a press conference. Their family eagerly awaits their release; Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father and Nariman’s husband, said in an interview with Reuters that “time is an eternity for those who wait, it is mixed feelings. Our home and hearts are open to reunite with her, hopefully we will meet soon.”
Ahed, a globally known activist who has spoken around the world, including in South Africa, Lebanon and throughout Europe, was seized by occupation forces on 19 December 2017 after a video of her slapping a heavily armed Israeli occupation soldier as she demanded he leave her family’s land went “viral” on Facebook. Ahed’s mother, Nariman, was also arrested and charged with livestreaming the video on Facebook. Their case inspired widespread Palestinian, Arab and international solidarity and affirmation of Palestinians’ right to resist occupaition.
Ahed and Nariman are not the only Tamimi family members jailed; indeed, dozens of Tamimis have been arrested and imprisoned for their involvement in the land defense movement. Ahed’s own brother Waed is currently jailed in Ofer prison. Many of the Tamimi family members targeted have been children and teens; they are among over 350 Palestinian children jailed by the Israeli occupation.
In a statement, Saleh Higazi of Amnesty International noted that “Ahed Tamimi’s release must not obscure the familiar and continuing story of the Israeli military using discriminatory policies to lock up Palestinian children. Her unjust imprisonment is a reminder of how the Israeli occupation uses the arbitrary military courts to punish those who challenge the occupation and illegal settlements expansion policies, without any regard to age.”
Ongoing protests around the world have demanded Ahed’s release and that of fellow Palestinian prisoners. In New York, Samidoun activists and others organized protests that drew hundreds of supporters and then joined monthly actions at the “Fearless Girl” statue to highlight the Palestinian fearless girl, Ahed. Over 1.5 million people around the world signed a global petition to demand Ahed’s freedom and numerous organizations campaigned for her release.
A new mural was also created on the Apartheid Wall to honor Ahed Tamimi in advance of her release. Painted by Italian street artist Jorit Agoch, the 13-foot mural rises high in the air with a realistic portrait of the young activist. It borders another mural on the wall honoring slain health worker Razan al-Najjar, shot down by Israeli forces while providing medical support to protesters at the Great Return March in Gaza.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network eagerly awaits the release of Ahed and Nariman Tamimi on Sunday. There are thousands – indeed, millions – of people in Palestine and around the world who have played a role in the campaign to win their freedom. The release of Ahed and Nariman must inspire us to escalate our campaigns to win the freedom of all of the other over 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners behind Israeli bars and to win freedom for the land and people of Palestine.