Teenage Palestinian protester Ahed Tamimi and her family have been barred from leaving Israel, her father said on Friday.
Tamimi, 17, was released in July from Israeli prison, where she had served an eight-month sentence for slapping two Israeli soldiers, an incident that was captured on film and made her an icon among Palestinians and their supporters.
Bassem Tamimi told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency that his family had planned to travel to Europe via Jordan so that his daughter could speak about what he called “the Palestinian resistance movement” and her experiences in Israeli prison.
They had planned to leave on Friday morning, but the Palestinian Authority liaison committee informed the family that Israeli authorities refused them permission to leave. Bassem Tamimi told Anadolu that authorities did not provide any reason for the ban.
He told Israel’s Haaretz daily that the family had been invited by human rights groups in Belgium, France and Spain to speak in what would have been a 20-day trip.
The army did not give any comment, but a source told Haaretz that the decision to ban the family from traveling was made by the Shin Bet security service.
Bassem Tamimi called the ban a form of political harassment and said the family would reapply for travel permits in a few weeks and turn to the courts if necessary.
In a since-deleted Hebrew tweet, Joint (Arab) List MK Yousef Jabareen said Israel’s decision showed the teen’s heroism.
“Ahed Tamimi was invited for a series of lectures in a number of European states. However, her family said that today the army rejected their request to leave the West Bank,” he wrote. “Israel jailed Tamimi in a vindictive step and now it prevents her from telling her story to the world. Is the military and economic power afraid of the story of a Palestinian teen? This refusal is an admission that hers is the story of a hero.”
In the wake of her arrest, Tamimi became a hero to the Palestinians and an international symbol of resistance to Israel.
Israeli authorities treated her actions as a criminal offense, indicting her on charges of assault and incitement.
In Israel, many see Tamimi as a provocateur who was rightly punished for attacking soldiers. The incident set off a debate within Israel about the soldiers’ refusal to respond when they were slapped, with many saying it had undermined their ability to deter future violence. More liberal Israelis said the hard-charging prosecution of Tamimi had been a public relations disaster that only amplified her fame.
Tamimi has long been active in protests in her village of Nabi Saleh, which have been held on a weekly basis since 2009, to protest the expansion of a nearby settlement.
Tamimi has scuffled with soldiers in the past, and a widely circulated photo shows her raising a clenched fist toward a soldier who towers over her. She was 12 when it was taken.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.