Real Madrid football club honours Palestine activist Ahed Tamimi

MADRID – Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, whose arrest last year drew international condemnation, has been honoured by Spanish football club Real Madrid after she was released from Israeli prison.

According to various Spanish press platforms, the 17-year-old met with Emilio Butragueño, a former Real Madrid player and its Director of Institutional Relations. She was presented with an honorary Real Madrid shirt with her name imprinted on it along with the number 9 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium; a football stadium in Madrid, Spain.

Tamimi, 17, received wide international solidarity during her military court trial –and later imprisonment– after slapping an Israeli soldier in December 2017. Tamimi served an eight-month sentence in Israeli prisons and was released on July 29, 2018.
Earlier, Real Madrid Club received Palestinian child Ahmed Aldawabsha, who survived after settlers burned his family home in Nablus.

During her week-long stay in Spain with her family, Tamimi met with Charlotte Kates, coordinator of Samidoun (an international organization supporting Palestinian prisoners) and Manu Pineda, secretary of International Relations of the Communist Party of Spain.

The move angered the Israel which expressed – through a tweet posted on the account of the Foreign Ministry – accusing the giant Spanish team which honours “those who incite violence against the Israelis.”

Several other Israeli ministers tweeted out similar statements on social media in a bid to make Real Madrid back down from its stance of welcoming her to the club.

But the club appeared unaffected. It has not commented on the Israeli remarks and has not reversed its decision to hand the Palestinian teenager a personalised football shirt.

She travelled to the club’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium where she met with former Real striker Emilio Butragenio who is now a senior coach for the club.

Her father Bassem accompanied her on the trip to Europe, which took in France and then Spain. She took part in a series of political events while in the country, including speaking about her time in an Israeli prison.

Israeli security services said earlier this month that it would attempt to halt the travel of Ms Tamimi and her father for the 20-day trip to Europe. It remains unclear how they left the West Bank and made it to Europe.

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