12 charges for Palestinian teen girl Ahed Tamimi who slapped Israeli soldiers in viral video
The video of Ahed Tamimi – which went viral on social media two weeks ago – prompted competing reactions from Israelis and Palestinians, including a campaign for her release
A Palestinian teenager has been charged with 12 counts including assault after a video of her slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank went viral.
Ahed Tamimi, 16, has been charged with assaulting security forces, incitement and throwing stones, among other counts, after the video was circulated on the web two weeks ago.
The teen has been hailed as a hero by Palestinians who see her as bravely standing up to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
Israelis accuse her family of using her as a pawn in staged provocations.
If she is found guilty by the military court, she could face a lengthy prison sentence.
The charges filed with an Israeli military court relate to the events in the video but also five other incidents.
Five charges were also filed against her mother, Nariman, and on Sunday her cousin Nour, 20, was indicted as well.
The accusations against Nariman Tamimi include using Facebook “to incite others to commit terrorist attacks” and taking part in the incident on video, the army said in a statement.
Ahed Tamimi and her mother have been ordered to remain in custody until at least January 8, when another hearing will be held.
Prosecutors are requesting that they be kept in detention until the completion of their trial.
Nour Tamimi was to be released on bail of 5,000 shekels (US$1,400) on Tuesday barring an appeal by prosecutors, said the Tamimis’ lawyer, Gaby Lasky.
Their family said the December 15 incident occurred in the yard of their home in Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah.
Israel’s military said the soldiers were in the area to prevent Palestinians from throwing stones at Israeli motorists nearby.
A video shows the cousins approaching two Israeli soldiers and telling them to leave before shoving, kicking and slapping them.
Ahed Tamimi was the most aggressive of the two in the video.
They then move backwards after Ahed Tamimi’s mother Nariman becomes involved.
Ahed Tamimi, arrested in the early hours of December 19, has been involved in a series of previous confrontations, with older pictures of her confronting soldiers widely published.
She has become something of an icon for Palestinians who have flooded social media with praise and support in recent days.
The teenager, recognisable from her shock of blonde hair, has several times been at the centre of the propaganda war between Israelis and Palestinians.
A years-old photograph of her raising her fist at a soldier was widely published and led to her being received by then Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2012.
She was also photographed while wearing a Tweety Pie shirt and biting the hand of an Israeli soldier in 2015 to try to stop the arrest of a brother.
Israeli officials argue she is being made to star in staged provocations by her family, prominent activists who have been at the forefront of protests in their village.
Palestinians say she is engaged in legitimate resistance against Israel’s 50-year occupation of the West Bank.
Lasky called prosecutors’ decision to charge her not only for the incident on video but also for past incidents “strange” and a bid to ensure she serves significant jail time.
“Since Ahed became kind of a symbol of resistance, they wanted to find a way to keep her in detention for a long period of time,” she said.
The army called the five other events instances in which “she assaulted security forces, threw rocks at them, threatened them, obstructed them in the fulfilment of their duties, and took part in riots and incited others to do so.”
Lasky said she had not had time to study all the charges and evidence presented, so she could not yet say what length of sentence the teenager, who is being tried as a minor, could face, but she feared it could be “for a long time.”
The video has led to varied reactions among Israelis.
Some hailed the restraint of the soldiers, but others said the Tamimis’ actions merited a tougher response and called for a heavy sentence.
Ahed Tamimi’s father has said he fears she will be imprisoned over the incident, particularly because it has become “a case of public opinion” in Israel.