Tunisian President hosts PA teen who slapped soldiers

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi hosts Ahed Tamimi, says she symbolizes "Palestinian struggle".

Ben Ariel,

Ahed Tamimi and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi
Ahed Tamimi and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi this week hosted Palestinian Arab teen Ahed Tamimi, who was jailed in Israel late last year after she was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier during a protest of leftists and Palestinian Arabs in her town of Nabi Saleh.

According to Yediot Aharonot, the meeting between Tamimi and Essbesi took place on Tuesday, the 33rd anniversary of Operation Wooden Leg, in which Israeli Air Force planes bombed the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) headquarters in Tunisia.

"Hosting Tamimi symbolizes Tunisia's recognition of the just Palestinian struggle and its place in the heart of the Tunisian people," President Essebsi was quoted as saying.

The Tunisian President emphasized his country's support of the Palestinians and recognition of the Palestinian fight to establish a sovereign state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Tamimi was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment in practice and fined 5,000 shekels as part of a plea bargain. She was released in late July.

She was personally invited to Tunisia by President Essebsi and landed in the country on Monday, following her visit to Spain where she was hosted by the Real Madrid soccer team, according to Yediot Aharonot.

According to the Tunisian President's office, Tamimi personally thanked Essebsi for the invitation.

Earlier this week, Israel protested to the mayor of Madrid over the festive visit that was organized for Tamimi.

Daniel Kutner, the Israeli ambassador to Spain, sent a letter of protest to Mayor Manuela Carmena in which he wrote, "The move by the Madrid municipality encourages violence against Israeli civilians and undermines any attempt to create a genuine dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Kutner added, "Ahed Tamimi is not an innocent fighter for peace, but an instigator of violence and terror. Any institution that welcomes her indirectly promotes violence and aggression instead of promoting dialogue and understanding."

Tamimi has been treated as a hero in the Arab world. After her release, she received a congratulatory phone call from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who lauded her “bravery and determination to fight”.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah also praised Tamimi and said that the position she had taken was "brave and courageous."