Israel, activist Ahed Tamimi arrested: icon of the Palestinian cause in the world

The Israeli army arrested Ahed Tamimi overnight, a 22-year-old icon of the Palestinian cause in the world (LIVE UPDATES) also known internationally for having slapped two soldiers in her West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in 2018, when she was 17 years old, near Ramallah. Tamimi served eight months in prison at the time. This time – Haaretz reported – she was arrested for having published a post on social media that read: “Our message to the herds of settlers is that we are waiting for you in all the cities of the West Bank. We will massacre you and you will say that what Hitler did to you it was a joke. We will drink your blood and eat your skulls.” An army spokesperson told AFP that the girl “is suspected of inciting violence and terrorist activities. She was arrested in the town of Nabi Saleh and was transferred to the Israeli security forces for further interrogation.”

Symbol of the Palestinian popular struggle

Ahed Tamimi, with very curly blonde hair, has been a thorn in Israel’s side for years. Her arrest in 2018, at just 17 years old, for slapping the two Israeli soldiers, had transformed her into the symbol of the Palestinian popular struggle against the Israeli occupation. Her mother Narimam was sentenced with her. The episode that had landed her in prison dates back to 19 December when, at the height of the protests triggered by Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, she slapped, pushed and kicked two Israeli soldiers who they were located next to the family home. The two soldiers, whom the young woman had ordered to leave, did not react to what seemed more like a provocation than an attempt to cause harm. However, the incident was filmed on a mobile phone and relaunched on the Internet, gaining great popularity. A few days later the Israeli army arrested the girl.

The role of the father in the protests

The Tamimi family was no stranger to protests: Bassem, the father, is a well-known exponent of al-Fatah, the party of the president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Abu Mazen, and played an important role in the protests in Nabi Salih, a village 20 kilometers northwest of Ramallah. Her daughter Ahed had already been filmed in 2012 while she was shaking her fist at Israeli soldiers, thus earning a meeting with the then Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Again, in 2015 she was photographed while she bit the hand of a soldier in an attempt to prevent the arrest of her brother. Even in Israel the video had become a case: some praised the soldiers’ ability not to react and others criticized them for appearing weak.