Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi thanked the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group for praising her “brave and courageous” striking of an Israeli soldier.
Tamimi, 17, was released from an Israeli prison last month after being held in custody since December for kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier in an incident filmed her West Bank village of Nebi Saleh.
In a clip broadcast on Lebanese television Tuesday, Tamimi thanked Hassan Nassrallah for his support, which she said “makes us grow stronger.”
“[Nasrallah’s] words boosted our morale – not just my morale, but the morale of many people, because I represent the people. I’m not just representing myself, but the people and the cause,” Tamimi said, according to a translation from MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“This was in support of the entire Palestinian people, not just me,” she
“We all support him and are proud,” she said of Nasrallah, whose Iran-backed group has been responsible for killing hundreds of people in terror attacks, among them many Israelis and Jews, and is committed to Israel’s destruction.
“I’d like to salute him, to thank him for his support, and to tell him that he always makes us grow stronger,” she said.
Tamimi’s incarceration had drawn 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.
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.
Under the terms of a plea bargain, Tamimi, who was 16 when she was arrested, admitted to the aggravated assault of an IDF soldier, incitement to violence, and disrupting soldiers on two other occasions.
AFP contributed to this report.