Ahed Tamimi: Palestinian teen eyes future as 'famous lawyer'

Ahed Tamimi seems to be of two minds. One moment, she is an adolescent, thrilled with the opportunity to eat pistachi...

Posted: Aug 1, 2018 1:59 AM
Updated: Aug 1, 2018 1:59 AM

Ahed Tamimi seems to be of two minds. One moment, she is an adolescent, thrilled with the opportunity to eat pistachio ice cream again after serving eight months in prison.

The next moment, she is an adult, talking about what she learned during that time in prison and what she plans to do with that knowledge.

The 17-year-old Palestinian teenager has become a symbol of resistance, and she has a message she wants to share.

"The resistance is continuing until the end of the occupation," she vowed to a crowd of supporters gathered in her West Bank village of Nabi Saleh to celebrate her release. "I thank everyone who supported me during my arrest."

Tamimi rocketed to prominence in 2012 by raising her fist to an Israeli soldier. The picture of her staring down the soldier made her instantly famous.

She made international headlines again in December 2017, when a video shot in her village showed her kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier. Hours earlier, an Israeli soldier had shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet, severely wounding him.

A few days later, she was arrested in her home at night. Charges stemming from this event led to her pleading guilty to charges of incitement and disrupting a soldier. In a plea deal, eight of the 12 charges against her were dropped.

In an interview with CNN's Ian Lee on the day of her release, Tamimi appears relaxed, smiling, with a black-and-white Palestinian keffiyeh draped around her shoulders. She is on parole, and occasionally chooses her words carefully.

Asked if she regrets hitting the soldier, Tamimi said, "I didn't do something wrong. I didn't go to the soldier; the soldier came to my house. The soldier forced me to do this. This is a normal reaction for what happened."

Tamimi went into prison a teenager but came out an icon to Palestinians. Every hearing of her military trial received international attention, and she was often seen smiling in court.

"It makes me happy and so proud that I succeeded to deliver the message of prisoners, my homeland and nation. God willing, I will succeed to deliver the message that the Palestinians are suffering because of occupation," Tamimi told Lee.

At the time of her arrest, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said, "Whoever goes wild during the day will be arrested at night."

Israel's Education Minister suggested she should spend her life in prison. But upon her release on Sunday, Israeli politicians were notably quiet.

In prison, Tamimi finished her high school degree and started making plans for the future. She already has her sights set on college.

"In the future, I will register for university and study law, and someday I want to be a famous lawyer to defend my country," Tamimi said.

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