As activists around the world celebrated Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian activist, who turned 17 on Wednesday, she spent her time in the confines of the HaSharon prison where she is currently being held by the Israeli authorities.
Tamimi has been charged with aggravated assault, obstructing the work of soldiers, and incitement, among other charges on Jan. 2. She was arrested on Dec. 19 after a video of her slapping two Israeli soldiers outside her home in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, in mid-December went viral.
The altercation occurred when a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier hit Tamimi's 15-year-old cousin, Mohamed, who required "intensive surgery, where part of his skull was removed, in order to dislodge the rubber bullet," according to Amnesty International.
Scores of Palestinians took part in a symbolic birthday party for teen in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday; a birthday celebration was also held in the neighborhood of Ghaith near the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The acts were the culmination of the 'Days of Action to Free Ahed Tamimi and all Palestinian Prisoners,' which started on Jan 26.
Code Pink, a women-led grassroots organization working to end United States wars and militarism, also sent its heartfelt birthday greetings to the imprisoned activist, with the following message.
We are sending love and solidarity to you on your 17th birthday.
Most teenage girls mark their 17th year with friends and family, parties and celebrations. But the occupation has snatched this right of passage away from you by arresting you in your own home in the middle of the night and holding you in military detention."
"We send love and support to you today and every day. We are inspired by your courage in the face of injustice. As you spend your 17th birthday behind bars, we will carry on your struggle for freedom," the message read.
The Israeli authorities have refused to release Tamimi on bail and have delayed her military court hearing, which was supposed to take place on Jan 31, to Feb 6.
Tamimi's father, Bassem Tamimi also an activist, penned an article for the U.S. journal, Newsweek, after his daughter's arrest in December.
"The contrast could not have been clearer and was on display for the entire world to see," Bassem said. "A heavily armed soldier from Israel’s army of occupation and a young Palestinian woman armed with nothing but her courage and a righteous desire for justice and freedom. And for that reason, she had to be punished by Israel."
"Each year, Israel imprisons hundreds of Palestinian children like Ahed in its military court system. As human rights groups like UNICEF have documented, Palestinian children are subject to systematic abuse by the Israeli army. Like my Ahed, they are often taken from their homes in the middle of the night by armed soldiers, torn from their beds and parents’ arms. They suffer threats and physical violence," Bassem wrote in the Newsweek article.
"They are interrogated without a lawyer or their parents present, and pressured to sign confessions in Hebrew, which most don’t understand."
People can send letters or birthday wishes in written to Ahed Tamimi at the HaSharon Prison, Ben Yehuda P.O. Box 7, 40 330 Israel.