Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager turned protest icon who was filmed hitting Israeli soldiers, will be released from prison on Sunday after serving nearly eight months in prison, a spokesman for the Israel Prison Service said yesterday. The 17-year-old became a symbol of Palestinian resistance after a video of her slapping and kicking soldiers outside her home in December 2017 went viral.
Israeli politicians accused Tamimi of being an agitator seeking to provoke soldiers on film as part of a Palestinian public relations campaign. She was arrested shortly after the video went viral and accepted an eight-month plea deal in May, which included time-served. Tamimi's mother, Nariman, who was also seen in the viral video, is also expected to be released on Sunday after serving nearly eight months in prison.
International human rights groups have criticized Israel's handling of Tamimi, placing under scrutiny the Israeli military court system that Palestinian youth face in the West Bank. The Israeli army frequently conducts wide-ranging arrest campaigns in the occupied West Bank on the pretext of searching for "wanted" Palestinians. According to Palestinian figures, more than 6,500 Palestinians, including 300 children, are currently languishing in Israeli prisons.
Israeli treatment of Palestinian children has become a major area of concern for the international community. The Israeli army has killed 25 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2018, a human rights nongovernmental organization said earlier this month. In a press release, Defense for Children International-Palestine, which advocates for the rights of Palestinian children in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, held the Israeli army responsible for the death of 25 children, 21 of those deaths in the Gaza Strip, this year alone. It went on to assert that Israeli forces had deliberately killed minors with the use of live ammunition. According to the nongovernmental organization, this death toll includes 21 children targeted directly, 11 of whom were shot in the head or neck.