Palestinian Activist Ahed Tamimi ‘Salutes’ Hezbollah Chief: ‘We All Support Him and Are Proud of Him’
A Palestinian activist who recently completed a jail term for attacking an Israeli soldier has praised the head of the Iran-backed Islamist terror group Hezbollah.
Ahed Tamimi’s comments came in response to Hassan Nasrallah’s praise of her as “brave and courageous.”
“This is a girl who confronts the Israeli soldiers and slaps them,” he said.
Tamimi thanked Nasrallah in remarks broadcast on Wednesday by the Lebanese Al-Jadeed/New TV channel, and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“I wish you a happy holiday,” she said, in an apparent reference to the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. “His 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. This was in support of the entire Palestinian people, not just me.”
“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 of Nasrallah, whose group has pledged to eliminate Israel and has called for the ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish citizens. “We all support him and are proud of him.”
Tamimi was sentenced to eight months in prison by an Israeli military court in March, after she was filmed by her mother Nariman while kicking and slapping two Israeli soldiers in the driveway of her home. Tamimi, who has since become a national icon for Palestinians, said she attacked the soldiers because she believed that they shot her cousin Mohammed with a rubber bullet hours earlier.
In remarks broadcast by her mother shortly after the altercation, Tamimi said “everyone needs to do something” — “whether it is stabbings, martydom-seeking operations [i.e. suicide bombings], or throwing stones” — in order “to liberate Palestine.”
She and her mother, who was charged with incitement and assault, were released in July.
Several months before her arrest, Tamimi appeared on a panel hosted by the European Parliament that also featured Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terrorist organization in Israel, the European Union, and the United States. She has regularly attended weekly demonstrations in her West Bank hometown of Nabi Saleh against the presence of the Israeli military in lands claimed for a future Palestinian state.
Her extended family makes up much of the town, and includes figures like her aunt Ahlam Tamimi, who masterminded a 2001 bombing at a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem that killed 15 people and wounded some 130 others. Ahed attended Ahlam’s wedding in 2012 in Jordan, alongside her activist father Bassem Tamimi, who regularly films his children confronting Israeli soldiers and was convicted in 2011 by an Israeli military court of urging youths to throw stones.
“Our cameras are our weapon,” he told the Times of Israel in 2015. “And when we force IDF soldiers to confront our children, our cameras are a way for us to fight Israel and the occupation.”
Ahed has participated in these efforts since as early as 2012, when she and a number of her young relatives were filmed shoving, kicking, and shouting at Israeli soldiers in close quarters. At one point, members of the group grabbed a young boy and deliberately shoved him against the soldiers. Ahed was applauded for her actions at the time by then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.