Mural of Ahed Tamimi unveiled ahead of her expected release from prison
TUNIS - A giant mural of a Palestinian teenager hailed as a symbol of resistance to Israeli occupation has been painted on the separation wall in the occupied West Bank ahead of her expected release from prison.
The roughly four-metre (13 foot) image near Bethlehem depicts Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian girl who was arrested in December after slapping an armed Israeli soldier in front of her house in the West Bank village of Nabih Salih.
The masked man painting her mural said he was Italian street artist Jorit Agoch.
Tamimi, 17, has for years been seen as a symbol of Palestinian resistance due to her challenging Israeli soldiers and protests against the occupation. In 2012, she received a “courage” award in Turkey for confronting Israeli soldiers who were arresting her brother.
She shot to international prominence last December when footage of her slapping and punching an Israeli soldier on her driveway went viral on social media. That altercation took place shortly after soldiers shot Ahed’s 14-year old cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, in the face with rubber bullets.
Tamimi was later arrested on charges stemming from that incident and others, and sentenced to eight months in jail by an Israeli military court.
Other members of Ahed’s family have also been arrested and charged by Israeli police.
On May 10, Ahed’s older brother, Waed Tamimi, was arrested on suspicion of involvement in “violent riots,” according to an Israeli army spokesperson. That made him the fourth person in Ahed’s family, including her mother, to have been arrested.
Following Ahed’s arrest on December 31, her father, Bassem Tamimi, wrote in Israeli newspaper Haaretz of the conditions Ahed faced growing up.
“Although it is Ahed’s first arrest, she is no stranger to your prisons,” he wrote. “My daughter has spent her whole life under the heavy shadow of the Israeli prison — from my lengthy incarcerations throughout her childhood, to the repeated arrests of her mother, brother and friends, to the covert-overt threat implied by your soldiers’ ongoing presence in our lives. So her own arrest was just a matter of time. An inevitable tragedy waiting to happen.”
While Ahed was scheduled to be released on August 19, she is expected be released early on Sunday, according to her father.
The recently unveiled mural of Ahed joins numerous graffiti paintings in support of the Palestinian cause on the separation wall, some of which were painted by the secretive British street artist Banksy.