Italian graffiti artist arrested for mural of Ahed Tamimi on security barrier

Jacob Magid — Times of Israel July 28, 2018

mural of Ahed Tamimi

Israeli troops arrested two Italians and a Palestinian who painted a mural of Ahed Tamimi on a section of the security barrier between the West Bank and Israel, Palestinians said Saturday.

A Border Police spokesman confirmed the arrests and said the suspects had attempted to flee in their vehicle. He added that any painting on the barrier is illegal.

One of the artists believed to have been arrested was seen painting the mural on Wednesday while wearing a mask. He later identified himself as Agostino Chirwin from Italy.

Footage tweeted by the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Negotiation Affairs Department showed soldiers pulling three men from a car parked near a section of the separation barrier near Bethlehem and taking them for questioning.

The incident came just one day before Tamimi is slated to be released from the Hasharon prison along with her mother Nariman.

The 17-year-old was sentenced to eight months in prison after being filmed slapping and shoving IDF soldiers outside her home in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh late last year.

Nariman, who also confronted soldiers in the filmed incident, was sentenced to the same amount of time behind bars.

Upon their release from prison, the two are expected to pay a visit to the grave of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah and then hold a press conference in their village of Nebi Saleh.

Ahed’s incarceration has drawn attention from around the globe, highlighting the teen’s image as a Palestinian icon. She has become a cause célèbre for Palestinian supporters, and rallies have been held in several locations calling for her release.

Many Palestinians see her as bravely standing up to military control over the West Bank, while Israelis accuse her family of using her as a pawn.