Middle East

Israel extends detention of Palestinian teenager seen slapping soldiers in viral video, family says

Ahed has made headlines in the past, including in 2015 when she bit the hand of a masked Israeli soldier who was holding her now 14-year-old brother in a chokehold

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 December, 2017, 1:14pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 December, 2017, 7:34pm

An Israeli military court decided on Wednesday to extend the detention of a high-profile Palestinian teenage activist, her father said, after a viral video showed her slapping Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank.

Ahed Tamimi, 17, a campaigner against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, was arrested on Tuesday along with her mother after the video was widely shared by Israeli media.

In it Tamimi and another woman approach two Israeli soldiers, shoving, kicking and slapping them while filming on mobile phones.

The heavily armed soldiers do not respond in the face of what appears to be an attempt to provoke them into a response. They then move backwards.

Ahed appeared in an Israeli military court on Wednesday, with her detention being extended until December 25, her father Bassem said.

There was no immediate confirmation from the army.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian woman in connection with the video.

Residents identified her as Nour Naji Tamimi, 21, a cousin of Ahed, and the other woman in the video.

The video appears to have been filmed near the Tamimi house in the village of Nabi Saleh north of Ramallah in the West Bank, during a day of protests against US President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A second video shows the girls telling the soldiers, apparently standing on the stairs of the family home, to leave.

The videos were widely picked up by Israeli media, which often accuse Palestinian protesters of seeking to provoke the army into responses which are then filmed.

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

Palestinians on social media criticised Ahed’s arrest in the middle of the night, arguing it is the people’s right to resist military occupation.

A member of the Tamimi family was shot in the head with a rubber bullet during protests on Friday, the family said.

In an interview on Wednesday, Bassem Tamimi praised his daughter as courageous, scoffing at criticism that she was an attention-seeking provocateur.

“We hope that this generation will be stronger than us, and can take the flag from us with more power ... and more serious resistance to end the occupation,” said Tamimi, 50, who spent more than four years in nine different stints in Israeli jails for anti-occupation protests.

Ahed has made headlines in the past, including in 2015 when she bit the hand of a masked Israeli soldier who was holding her now 14-year-old brother Mohammed in a chokehold during an attempted arrest. A video of the incident that was widely watched, earning her an invitation to meet with the Turkish president.

Additional reporting by Associated Press