Ahed Tamimi, symbol of ME conflict, set to walk free

RAMALLAH: A Palestinian teenager jailed by Israel for slapping and kicking Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank is to go free on Sunday after eight months behind bars.
Ahed Tamimi was arrested on December 19, days after she was recorded on video with her cousin Nour Tamimi in the yard of their home in Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, telling two soldiers to leave, then shoving, kicking and slapping them.
She was aged 16 at the time and turned 17 in prison.
She was refused bail throughout her detention and subsequent trial in an Israeli military court on charges including assault, stone-throwing, incitement to violence and making threats.
On March 21 the court agreed a plea bargain giving her an eight-month sentence including time already spent in custody. The same court hearing freed Nour Tamimi immediately, when she accepted a plea deal.
Ahed comes from a family of prominent activists and has been involved in a series of previous incidents, with pictures of her confronting soldiers widely published.
But the December video went viral and turned her into a symbol of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For Palestinians she is a hero, jailed for standing up to soldiers occupying her land and intruding upon her family home.
Last week, an Italian artist daubed a 14-foot image of her face and curly reddish hair on the Israeli separation wall in the occupied West Bank.
On Sunday, she is expected to step back into the spotlight at a scheduled press conference at her home after her release. When the video was originally published, many Israelis saw it as a symbol of the restraint displayed by their army.
As Ahed and Nour pummel the soldiers, the two cousins simultaneously film the scene on their phones, apparently seeking to provoke them. The soldiers do not react, however, backing away instead.
Yet, after the girls — and Ahed’s mother, who also recorded the incident — were arrested and then hit with a list of charges, there was criticism even within Israel that military prosecutors were overreacting.
Critics compared her eight-month sentence to that of Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier who served nine months in jail for shooting dead a prone Palestinian attacker. — AFP