Palestinian Teen Maintains Innocence Despite Assaulting Israeli Soldiers

Palestinian activist and campaigner Ahed Tamimi, 17, listens during an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP) in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on July 30, 2018, following her release from prison yesterday after an eight-month sentence for slapping Israeli soldiers, an episode that made her a symbol of resistance for Palestinians. ABBAS MOMANI / AFP

 

Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi said Monday she was deeply changed by her eight-month sentence in an Israeli jail for slapping two soldiers but does not regret any of her actions.

Tamimi, who was 16 when she was arrested in December for hitting and kicking soldiers in front of her house in the occupied West Bank, was released Sunday and swarmed by media from across the globe.

In an interview the day after her release, the now 17-year-old told AFP that she understood she had become a “symbol” of the Palestinian cause.

“Of course my life has been changed a lot. I changed a lot in prison,” said Tamimi.

“I became more focused, more aware also. Prison ages a person. In one day you age 100 years,” she said in the backyard of her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

Asked if she would have done the same thing if she had known it would land her behind bars for months, she said yes.

She pointed to the circumstances in which the soldiers had entered the garden of her house in December during a day of major protests that saw her cousin shot in the head with a rubber bullet.

“I didn’t do anything wrong that I should regret,” she said.

“If I had known I would be in jail eight months, of course, I would have done it because it was a natural reaction to a soldier being in my house shooting at people, people from my village,” she said.

“Any person in this situation — I hit him, maybe there are people that would have killed him.”

Israel’s military said the two soldiers had been in the area to prevent Palestinians from throwing stones at Israeli motorists.

The video of the altercation does not show the soldiers reacting to Tamimi’s actions or using their weapons, and the teenager was arrested four days later.

Tamimi said she hoped to study law to expose the issue of Israel’s occupation to the rest of the world.

Israel has long said Tamimi and her siblings have been manipulated by her parents — longtime activists — and used as pawns in staged provocations.

When she was only 14, a picture of her biting a soldier’s hand to prevent him from arresting a family member went viral.

She denied claims that she had been exploited.

“My family never exploited me once,” she said.

“I am mature enough and I know the cause. I know the consequences that will stem from choosing this path. I am not a child.”

Tamimi and her mother Nariman were sentenced to eight months by an Israeli military court in a plea deal following the December incident, which was recorded and went viral online.

It led Palestinians to view the teenager as a hero standing up to Israel’s occupation.

AFP

Palestinian Teen Gets Extended Remand Over Viral ‘Slap’ Video

Sixteen-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi (2-R), a well-known campaigner against Israel’s occupation, stands for a hearing in the Israeli military court at Ofer military prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on January 15, 2018. Thomas Coex / AFP

 

An Israeli military court on Monday ordered a Palestinian teenager arrested after a viral video showed her hitting two Israeli soldiers held in custody for at least another two days.

Ahed Tamimi, 16, was ordered to be detained until Wednesday to allow the court time to decide whether she should be allowed out on bail ahead of her trial.

Prosecutors are seeking to have her kept in custody until her trial ends.

Tamimi’s lawyer Gaby Lasky argued in court that her continued detention violates international conventions since she is a minor.

The teenager 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.

Tamimi has been charged with 12 counts including assault and could face a lengthy jail term if convicted.

The charges relate to events in the video and five other incidents. They include stone-throwing, incitement and making threats.

Her mother Nariman has also been arrested over the incident, as has her cousin Nour Tamimi, 20.

Nour Tamimi was released on bail on January 5 while Nariman Tamimi remains in custody.

Ahed Tamimi’s family says the December 15 incident that led to the arrests occurred in the yard of their home in Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah in the West Bank.

Israel’s military said the soldiers were in the area to prevent Palestinians from throwing stones at Israeli motorists.

A video shows the cousins approaching two soldiers and telling them to leave before shoving, kicking and slapping them.

Ahed Tamimi is the most aggressive of the two in the video.

The heavily armed soldiers do not respond in the face of what appears to be an attempt to provoke rather than seriously harm them.

They then move backwards after Nariman Tamimi becomes involved.

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

Relatives say that a member of the Tamimi family was wounded in the head by a rubber bullet fired during those protests.

Seventeen Palestinians have been killed since Trump’s declaration on December 6, most of them in clashes with Israeli forces. One Israeli has been shot dead since then.

Ahed Tamimi, arrested in the early hours of December 19, has been involved in a series of previous incidents, 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.

Rights group Amnesty International called on Israel to release her immediately.

“Ahed Tamimi’s ensuing arrest and military trial exposes the Israeli authorities’ discriminatory treatment of Palestinian children who dare to stand up to ongoing, often brutal, repression by occupying forces,” the London-based watchdog said in a statement.

Suspects Held Over Palestinian Teenager’s Murder

teen murderA number of Jewish suspects have been arrested over the murder of Palestinian teenager, Mohammad Abu Khdair, whose death sparked days of violent protests in Jerusalem and in Israeli Arab towns.

Khdair was abducted in East Jerusalem. His body was found on Wednesday with first post-mortem examination findings suggesting he was burnt alive.

Investigators believe Mohammed Abu Khudair was slain out of “nationalist motives”, the source said, in comments that appeared to confirm Palestinian suspicions that far-right Jews were involved and that his death was a vengeance killing.

Abu Khudair’s burnt body was discovered in a Jerusalem forest, a day after the burial of 3 Jewish teens who were abducted while hitchhiking in the occupied West Bank on June 12.

Their bodies were found on Monday, near the road where they had gone missing, and Israel blames Hamas militants for their kidnapping and killing.

The Islamist group has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.

Palestinians have clashed with Israeli police in Jerusalem over the past several days. The violence spread on Saturday to Arab towns and villages in central and northern Israel.