Soldier-slapping Palestinian girl remand extended for another 5 days

Military court orders release of Ahed Tamimi’s cousin, who was also featured in widely shared video from Nebi Saleh, while her mother is to remain in costody for 5 days

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

Ahed Tamimi (l), at the Ofer military court in the West Bank, on December 25, 2017. (Flash90)
Ahed Tamimi (l), at the Ofer military court in the West Bank, on December 25, 2017. (Flash90)

A military court on Thursday extended the remand of a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was filmed slapping IDF soldiers for an additional five days.

Ahed Tamimi’s mother Nariman, who was also featured in the widely shared video had her remand similarly extended until Monday. The military court judge ordered that Ahed’s cousin Nour — the third family member in the video — be released but a 48 hour stay an in execution was ordered.

The Military Advocate General, who requested longer remands for Ahed, Nour and Nariman said that the prosecution intends on filing indictments for each of them.

Regarding Ahed’s case, the Military Advocate General cited a number of incidents, which he said his office was taking into account in the indictments being formed against the 16-year-old that will be announced next week. In several incidents mentioned over the past two years, Ahed Tamimi was alleged to have thrown rocks at soldiers, assaulted them, spit at them, and obstructed soldiers from carrying out an arrest.

Footage from the December 15 encounter in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh shows Ahed and Nour approaching two Israeli soldiers, before shoving, kicking and slapping them, while filming on their mobile phones.

They then move backwards after Nariman arrives and begins pushing the soldiers, herself. The armed soldiers did not respond in the face of what appeared to be an attempt to provoke them.

Ahed, the primary suspect of the case, has been accused of “assaulting a soldier, harming the security of the area, incitement, and other felonies,” according to court documents.

In her version of the incident, shared in front of the court during a hearing last month, Ahed said that the same soldiers featured in the video had shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet an hour prior to the filmed encounter. “Then I saw the same soldiers who hit my cousin, this time in front of my house. I could not keep quiet and I responded as I did,” the 16-year-old testified.

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)

Photos of Ahed’s cousin Muhammad Tamimi have been widely shared on Palestinian social media, showing the young boy’s face badly bruised and scarred. The Palestinian Ma’an news outlet had reported that he was in an induced coma due to the injuries, but has since woken up.

Ahed first appeared before the Ofer Military Court on December 19. Explaining her decision to remand her at the time, 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 to obstruct the investigation justified keeping her locked up.

Lasky then told The Times of Israel that the military court was investigating previous altercations the teenager had had with Israeli soldiers, which also played into the decision to have her remand extended.

Nariman Tamimi holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli security forces following a march against land confiscation on April 15, 2016, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

After having her remand extended for six days at the December 19 hearing, Ahed appeared at the Ofer Court again on Monday where a military judge further extended her time in jail to Thursday. Judge Haim Balilty reasoned that the investigators needed more time to complete their probe against the 16-year-old without worrying over whether she might obstruct the case.

The court then also extended the remands of Ahed’s cousin Nour and mother Nariman until Thursday for similar reasons.

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

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

A’hd Tamimi, sister of the boy whose attempted arrest by an Israeli soldier led to a West Bank scuffle on August 28, faces up to a soldier in 2012 (Screen capture via YouTube)

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. In a video of the incident, she can be seen repeatedly raising her balled fist at a soldier, poised to hit him, but never actually doing so.

Videos of the December 15 alleged assault were widely picked up by Israeli media, which often accuse Palestinian protesters of seeking to provoke the army into responses, only to be filmed.

Israeli politicians hailed the restraint of the soldiers as evidence of the military’s values, though some called for tough responses in the face of seeming humiliation.

Palestinians on social media criticized Ahed’s arrest in the middle of the night, and have asserted it is the people’s right to resist military occupation.

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