A teenager who became an icon of the Palestinian cause after she was jailed for slapping an Israeli soldier has urged others to follow her example and assault IDF troops.
In an interview earlier this month, Ahed Tamimi vowed to campaign for the removal of Israel rather than a two-state solution to the conflict — even if that would mean sacrificing her life as a martyr.
Tamimi, 17, served an eight-month sentence in an Israeli prison for slapping and shoving IDF soldiers outside her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh late last year.
Less than three months after walking out of prison, Tamimi is on a victory tour, crisscrossing Europe and the Middle East as a superstar of the campaign against Israel’s rule in the West Bank.
Earlier this month she gave two interviews to Tunisian media, in which she said that “everybody should be slapping soldiers” and that the current generation of Palestinians will “fight for the liberation of Palestine in its entirety.”
In an interview she gave on October 2 to Musaique FM Radio, Tamini declared, “The world should not be shocked or taken aback by a Palestinian slapping an [Israeli] soldier,” according to an English-language transcript of her comments was published by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based press monitoring organization.
Palestinian Activist Ahed Tamimi: We Should Always Slap Israeli Soldiers Whether They Did Anything or Not pic.twitter.com/sT6rQwA6Az
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 25, 2018
“We should all be slapping soldiers, not just me,” she continued. “We should always be slapping soldiers, wherever they may be, regardless of whether they did anything or not. Ultimately, these are occupying soldiers. They occupied our land, and they shoot at little children and target homes and people. So this is a natural reaction to the presence of the occupation, to the presence of soldiers on my land. Everybody should be slapping soldiers.”
Asked what pledge she had taken upon herself for the future, Tamimi said it was “to continue on the path of the martyrs, so that their blood will not have been shed in vain. We shall always continue on their path. I have pledged to continue to make sacrifices, even sacrificing my life, for the sake of liberating Palestine.”
The following day, October 3, she was a guest on Nessma TV, where she rejected the two-state solution and promised that the current generation of Palestinians will not follow that path but rather strive for a Palestinian state without an Israeli neighbor.
“The previous generation fought, died as martyrs, were wounded and imprisoned, for the sake of the two-state solution,” she said. “They placed their trust in the world and in the international institutions, but they did not reach this solution. We, the [new] generation, will not repeat this. We, as a generation, will fight for the liberation of Palestine in its entirety.
“The generation before us sacrificed 78% of its land, and even so, Israel missed the opportunity. We, the [new] generation, will not give them a second chance. We shall fight to liberate Palestine in its entirety. We won’t give up 78% of our land.”
Tamimi’s incarceration drew attention from around the globe, highlighting the teen’s image as a Palestinian icon. She had become a cause célèbre for Palestinian supporters, and rallies were held in several locations calling for her release after her arrest in December.
The Palestinian teen was arrested after a video emerged showing her and her cousin yelling at Israeli troops near her home and slapping one of the soldiers.
In Ahed’s version of the incident, shared in court during a hearing in December, Tamimi said the soldiers featured in the video had shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet an hour prior to the filmed encounter.
Tamimi, who was 16 when she was arrested, admitted as part of a plea deal to the aggravated assault of an IDF soldier, incitement to violence, and disrupting soldiers on two other occasions.
Many Palestinians saw her as bravely standing up to military control over the West Bank, while Israelis accused her family of using her as a pawn.
Agencies contributed to this report.