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International Petition Seeks 1 Million Signatures to Plead for Release of Palestine’s Ahed Tamimi

International Petition Seeks 1 Million Signatures to Plead for Release of Palestine’s Ahed Tamimi

Sunday, 24 December, 2017 - 09:00
Palestinian teenager Ahed al-Tamimi bites the hand of an Israeli soldier as he holds her brother, Mohammed, in a chokehold during an attempted arrest in 2015. (AFP)

Activists launched a petition to garner one million electronic signatures to demand that Israel release Palestinian child Ahed al-Tamimi, whose courage as Israeli troops has captured the world’s attention.

The US-based civic organization Avaaz launched on Saturday a campaign to plead for the 16-year-old’s release.

"We demand that Ahed and all Palestinian children are released from Israeli prisons now,” said a statement on its website.

“The international community must put an end to the ill-treatment and detention of Palestinian children. Enough is enough.”

“To Ahed and all the children in Israeli jails: We stand by your side, and are holding you in our hearts. We will not give up until you are free. You are not alone,” it added.

Ahed had long showed courage in confronting Israeli soldiers out of her belief that the occupation can only end with resistance.

A recent video showed the curly haired Palestinian teenager walking up to two Israeli soldiers standing near the entrance of her house, and she can be heard telling them to leave. She then pushes and kicks both soldiers who casually fend off the blows.

Then she slaps one soldier hard in the face.

Three days after the Friday confrontation, amid an uproar in Israel, Ahed was arrested from her home in a pre-dawn raid and now faces charges of attacking soldiers.

Years ago, Ahed received an award in Istanbul, Turkey in recognition of her bravery. She was later invited to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

As of Sunday morning, over 140,000 people had signed the Avaaz petition.

Ahed has made headlines in the past, including in 2015 when she bit the hand of a masked Israeli soldier who was holding her now 14-year-old brother Mohammed in a chokehold during an attempted arrest.

She was born in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on March 30, 2001. Her father Bassam, 50, was three months old when Israeli forces occupied his village.

Driven by a desire to resist Israeli oppression, he joined Fatah and became part of a movement to resist occupation.

He studied economics at Birzeit University and later earned a masters degrees in international law from the University of Barcelona in Spain.

He was arrested by Israeli forces for the first time in 1988 during the first intifada. He was arrested again in 1993 and was a victim of severe torture during his detention, which left him with partial paralysis in one of his legs and hands.

Ahed’s mother Nariman was born in Saudi Arabia in 1977. She earned her education in Ramallah and was arrested six times by Israeli forces. The most recent detention took place last week.

She too was not spared Israeli violence as she was beaten for photographing Israeli attacks and violations against Palestinian residents of Nabi Saleh.

Ahed has three siblings, Mohammed, Salam and Waad.

She turned heads for taking part with her family in various resistance rallies. Her fearlessness in face of Israeli soldiers stems from her upringing that taught her that occupation can only end with resistance.

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