Israel Police opened an investigation Friday into apparent death threats against Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teen who assailed Israeli soldiers. The messages were found spray-painted throughout Tamimi’s village of Nebi Saleh.
Residents awoke to find various messages graffitied onto the walls of homes and buildings of the central West Bank town, including “Death penalty for Ahed Tamimi,” “There’s no room in Israel for the Tamimi family” and “Regards to the IDF’s reprisal operations unit.”
Tamimi’s father Bassem told The Times of Israel that the vandalism was “part of an effort by the occupation to get Palestinians to leave their homes,” adding that “such actions by settlers will not succeed.”
The Palestinian teen, who was arrested by Israeli forces last month after a video of her slapping and shoving IDF soldiers went viral, is slated to have her military court trial begin on February 13 after considerable delay.
Tamimi celebrated her 17th birthday in prison on Wednesday after a military judge ordered her remanded until the end of proceedings against her.
The same ruling was given against Ahed’s mother, Nariman, who also appeared in the widely shared footage. Ahed’s cousin Nour was released after being charged for her participation in the December 15 incident.
Tamimi told the court that the same soldiers featured in the video had shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet an hour before the filmed encounter. “Then I saw the same soldiers who hit my cousin, this time in front of my house. I could not keep quiet and I responded as I did,” she testified.
The three Tamimis are facing aggravated assault charges. Ahed’s 12-count indictment also includes a statement she gave to her mother, who was filming the incident on Facebook Live. Immediately following the squabble, Nariman asked her daughter what kind of message she wanted to convey to viewers.
“I hope that everyone will take part in the demonstrations as this is the only means to achieve the result,” she said. “Our strength is in our stones. Whether it is stabbings or suicide bombings or throwing stones, everyone must do their part and we must unite in order for our message to be heard that we want to liberate Palestine,” Tamimi said.
She has since become a cause célèbre for Palestinian supporters, and rallies have been held in several locations calling for her release. Many Palestinians see her as bravely standing up to military control over the West Bank, while Israelis accuse her family of using her as a pawn.