Teen activist turned icon released

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By Jim OHagan  with NBC
Teen activist turned icon released

Palestinian teen activist Ahed Tamimi and her mother have been released from an Israeli prison. Tamimi became a household name after her arrest while she served an 8-month-sentence, celebrating her 17th birthday behind bars.

My happiness is partial as long as my imprisoned sisters are not with me

Ahed Tamimi Palestinian activist

Last December, Ahed Tamimi, then aged 16, was arrested after footage of her slapping and kicking a fully-armed Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank went viral. She was responding to news that her younger cousin had been shot in the face by an Israeli soldier, and was in a critical condition.

Since then, Tamimi has risen to prominence as a symbol of resistance for Palestinians and a provocateur for Israeli settlers. Her arrest has garnered media attention from across the globe and shone a spotlight on Israel's detention of minors: a policy heavily-criticised by human rights groups.

After laying a wreath at the tomb of Yasser Arafat, Ahed Tamimi was quickly back in a combative mood, voicing her anger at the presence of an Israeli settlement next to her West Bank home.

"First of all," she told Euronews partner NBC, "I don't just want this settlement to be gone… I want the whole occupation to end. The issue needs to be solved at its root. We must aim to end the occupation because when the occupation is over the settlement will be gone and so will the checkpoints and the entire wall. Our main problem is the occupation"

In a packed first day of freedom, she met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. She went on to outline her vision for building a better future for Palestinians

"I tell my generation that the most important thing for us now is education," she told NBC. "Education is the only tool that will enable us to achieve our own goals and to help develop our country. We need to link the national struggle with the social one in order to live - after the occupation is over - in a democratic state and with equality between men and women."

Journalist • Jim OHagan

Video editor • Jim OHagan

Additional sources • NBC