Young icon of Palestinian resistance arrives in Turkey

Young icon of Palestinian resistance arrives in Turkey

Young icon of Palestinian resistance arrives in Turkey

A 16-year-old Palestinian at the center of a powerful photograph in which he is seen blindfolded and detained by a dozen heavily armed Israeli soldiers late last year during Palestinian opposition against a U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital left the West Bank and arrived in Turkey on Jan. 16 upon an invitation.

Fawzi al-Juneidi arrived in Turkey from the Jordanian capital Amman with his father Mohammed al-Juneidi.

“When I was arrested in Israel, we did not see anything in jail. We were banned from using all electronic devices, telephones and televisions. I did not see anything while I was there. I got to see my famous photo after I was released from prison,” he said at Atatürk International Airport.

“I learned that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was standing by me. Obviously I’m very happy. I thank him very much. We love Recep Tayyip Erdoğan very much. God bless him. We also like the Turkish people very much. We also thank the Turkish people for taking part in the Palestinian cause,” Juneidi added.

Juneidi was arrested on Dec. 7 in the West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) after being dragged on the ground and blindfolded by heavily armed Israeli soldiers.

 Following three weeks in Israeli detention, he was released on bail and returned to his family on Dec. 28.

Late last year, a photo of the blindfolded youth became a symbol of fierce Palestinian resistance against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision on Dec. 6 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move that sparked widespread condemnation from across the Arab and Muslim world.

Rashad al-Juneidi, the 16-year-old’s uncle, told state-run Anadolu Agency by phone that his nephew had departed Ramallah on Jan. 15 morning en route to Turkey at the invitation of Istanbul Municipality authorities.

While in Turkey, Juneidi is expected to meet with Erdoğan and a number of Turkish officials.