Palestinian girl who slapped soldier ordered held for another 6 days

Military juvenile court judge says concern that teen would obstruct investigation justifies keeping her in prison even though she poses no danger

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

The remand of a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was filmed slapping IDF soldiers in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh was extended for six additional days on Wednesday.

Explaining her decision, Judge Lidor Drachman of the Judea region Juvenile Military Court said that while Ahed Tamimi did not pose any danger, concern that the teen would try and obstruct the investigation justified keeping her locked up until next Monday.

“Despite the provocative and outrageous behavior of the suspect, given the limited risk she poses in addition to her young age, I was prepared to release her into an alternative detention,” wrote Drachman.

However, he continued, he had changed his mind after being supplied with evidence that she was a serial offender and that releasing her would compromise the investigations.

“The confidential report submitted to the court indicates that a number of investigative actions remain, which require the suspect to continue to be held in custody,” he wrote, adding that there was a “significant threat she would compromise the investigation.”

Tamimi’s attorney, Gaby Lasky, told The Times of Israel that the military court was investigating previous altercations the teenager has had with Israeli soldiers, which also played into the decision to have her remand extended. However, Lasky said that she intends on filing an appeal against the ruling.

Gaby Lasky, attorney of 16-year-old Palestinian girl, Ahed Tamimi, speaks with Tamimi’s father, Bassem, outside the Ofer Military Court on December 20, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The attorney added that while waiting outside the courtroom on Wednesday, Tamimi’s father, Bassem, received a document summoning him for questioning regarding her daughter’s investigation.

He later told Hadashot news that he was proud of his daughter’s actions. Dismissing the notion that Ahed had provoked the soldiers, the elder Tamimi argued that the IDF had no right to encroach onto their property in the first place.

“It is our duty to raise our children to be freedom fighters. She believes in what she is doing and will continue doing so until we end the occupation of our land,” he added.

During the encounter in the village on Friday, a group of women and girls repeatedly hit and shoved an IDF officer and another soldier.

Tamimi and two other teenage girls had filmed themselves hitting the soldiers, yelling at them and — at one point — slapping one of them across the face.

The girls filmed the soldiers with cellphones, which seemed to indicate they were trying to instigate a violent response. However, the servicemen did not oblige the girls, and refrained from retaliating throughout the encounter.

Ahed Tamimi at the Ofer Military Court on December 20, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Israeli security forces arrested the 16-year-old at her home in Nabi Saleh for her role in Friday’s incident.

Abed’s mother and cousin were also featured in the widely shared video and both have since been arrested by Israeli forces. They each have hearings scheduled for Thursday and had their remands extended until then.

According to the Palestinian Ma’an news outlet, at a violent clash in the village last Friday, a cousin of Ahed Tamimi was shot in the head with a rubber bullet and remains in a coma as of Tuesday afternoon.

Nabi Saleh — 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Ramallah — has been the frequent staging ground for provoked clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, specifically members of the Tamimi family, which has a history of getting involved in highly publicized interactions with the IDF.

It was not Ahed Tamimi’s first time in the media spotlight.

In August 2015, an IDF soldier was caught on film trying to arrest Ahed’s 12-year-old brother Muhammad Tamimi, who had been throwing rocks during a violent protest.

In 2012, Ahed gained fame among Palestinian activists for an incident in which she led a group of children, including her younger brother, in arguing with Israeli soldiers.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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