Trial delayed for Palestinian teen who slapped soldier

Ahed Tamimi, mother Nariman and cousin Nour will face court on February 6, following a postponement requested by their lawyer

Sixteen-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi (2-R) attends a hearing at the Ofer military court in the West Bank on January 15, 2018. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)
Sixteen-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi (2-R) attends a hearing at the Ofer military court in the West Bank on January 15, 2018. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

The start of a military trial for a Palestinian teenager charged after a viral video showed her hitting two Israeli soldiers has been delayed until February 6, her lawyer said Tuesday.

The trial of Ahed Tamimi, 16, had been due to begin on Wednesday. Her mother, Nariman, will also go on trial on February 6, their lawyer, Gaby Lasky, told AFP.

The IDF confirmed the date had been changed to February 6, adding it was postponed at Lasky’s request.

Both Ahed Tamimi and her mother have been ordered held in custody throughout their trial.

Ahed Tamimi’s cousin Nour Tamimi, 21, has also been charged in connection with the case, but has been freed on bail. Lasky said she too is to go on trial on February 6.

On December 15, Ahed and Nour Tamimi were filmed hitting two IDF soldiers in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. They were later arrested for assault and remain in custody as legal proceedings continue. Videos of the incident were widely picked up by Israeli media, which often accuse Palestinian protesters of seeking to provoke the army into on-camera acts of violence.

The scuffle took place amid clashes and protests against US President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In Ahed Tamimi’s version of the incident, shared in front of the court during a hearing last month, she 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.

Tamimi also faces a charges for a statement she gave to her mother, who was filming the December 15 incident on Facebook Live. Immediately following the squabble, Nariman asked her daughter what kind of message she wanted to convey to viewers.

“I hope that everyone will take part in the demonstrations as this is the only means to achieve the result,” she said. “Our strength is in our stones. Whether it is stabbings or suicide bombings or throwing stones, everyone must do their part and we must unite in order for our message to be heard that we want to liberate Palestine,” Tamimi said.

She has since 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.

Nabi Saleh has been a frequent staging ground for clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, specifically members of the Tamimi clan, which has a history of getting involved in highly publicized interactions with the IDF.

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

In 2012, Ahed Tamimi 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.

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