NABI SALEH, West Bank — As if anyone needed reminding, even on the day of her release from prison, Israeli authorities seemed to want to show Ahed Tamimi, her family, and her many supporters that they control Palestinian lives.
Ahed and her mother, Nariman, were supposed to be freed on Saturday after serving an eight-month sentence in an Israeli military prison, but because Saturday is not a work day in Israel, their release was postponed. On Sunday, their family was told that they would be freed at 7 a.m. at a military checkpoint in the northern West Bank, nearly an hour and a half drive from their village, Nabi Saleh. When relatives and friends arrived there, the military sent them, as well as dozens of members of the press, to a different checkpoint, nearly two hours in the opposite direction. When they reached there, Bassem Tamimi was told, again, that his daughter and wife would be released at the first checkpoint. As the convoy of cars turned around one more time, they received another call telling them to head back to the second checkpoint.
“They were playing cat and mouse; they were trying to break everyone,” Manal Tamimi, Ahed’s aunt, told The Intercept. “They don’t need to give any justification. They just do what they want.”
Relatives and journalists gather at the Tamimi home as they wait for Ahed’s arrival after being released.Photos: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept
Hours after Israeli officials confirmed that Ahed and Nariman Tamimi had been released from prison, Bassem Tamimi was still trying to figure out where they were. At one of the two checkpoints, where crowds had gathered to wait for the two women, a settler, flanked by soldiers, waved an Israeli flag, soon joined by others, yelling, “Ahed is a terrorist” and “death to Arabs,” a relative told The Intercept. Ahed’s supporters responded by
Then someone spotted the two women in a military jeep, which didn’t stop at the checkpoint but drove straight through toward Nabi Saleh. Everyone rushed to follow it.
But if Israeli soldiers were hoping a show of force would remind Palestinians who’s in charge, Ahed Tamimi responded much like she did last winter,