Tunisian President Meets Ahed Tamimi, Palestinian Teen Jailed for Slapping IDF Soldier

Tamimi reportedly said she picked Tunisia as 'first Arab country we chose to speak about our cause' ■ Tunisian president told Tamimi his country will continue to support the Palestinian struggle for statehood, Al-Araby reports

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Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi meeting with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi at the presidential palace near Tunis, October 2, 2018.
Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi meeting with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi at the presidential palace near Tunis, October 2, 2018.Credit: Hassene Dridi,AP

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi, who was impriosned by Israel for eight months for slapping an Israeli soldier, met with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi on Tuesday, the pan-Arab Al-Araby Al-Jadeed media outlet reported.

Tamimi and her family met Essebsi during a visit to the North African country, Al-Araby reported. A presidential press release said that Tamimi was welcomed in Tunisia as a "form of recognition for the fight and sacrifices by several generations of Palestinians."

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"It is also an acknowledgement of the justice of the Palestinian cause, and its value in the conscience of the Tunisian people," the statement by Essebsi read.

The Tunisian president also reportedly told the Palestinian teen that his country will continue to extend its support to her people in their fight to establish a sovereign Palestinian state.

Tamimi reportedly thanked Essebsi for inviting her to Tunisia, which she said was "the first Arab country that we chose to speak about our cause, and that is exceptional for us. We hope that the liberation of Palestine begins in Tunisia."

Tamimi was also expected to be honored with a ceremony by the Tunisian General Union.

>> Ahed Tamimi and her family: Israel's ongoing PR disaster | Analysis

Tamimi's visit coincided with the 33rd anniversary of Israel's "Wooden Leg" operation in which Israel attacked the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters in Hammam Chott near Tunis.

The operation, which took place on October 1, 1985, was the most distant publicly known action undertaken by the Israeli army since the Entebbe Operation in 1976.

The operation was in retaliation for the death of three Israeli tourists who were killed on September 25 of that year during the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. The three men died after three Palestinian gunmen hijacked an Israeli yacht off the coast of Larnaca, Cyprus.

Tamimi's visit to Tunisia comes days after she visited Spain, where she was honored in Madrid by the Real Madrid soccer club. Tamimi was accompanied on the visit by her father, and apparently conducted it in order to participate in various political events.

She paid a visit to Real Madrid's home stadium of Santiago Bernabeu and was also gifted a personalized soccer jersey.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Emmanuel Nachshon, took to Twitter to renounce the club for inviting Tamimi for the honorary visit. “The prestigious soccer club of Real Madrid embraces a terrorist inciting to hatred and violence. Shameful,” he tweeted. “What does this have to do with the values of soccer?”

Tamimi, who hails from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, became a Palestinian protest icon after she was filmed slapping an IDF soldier.

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