Israel charges Palestinian teenager with assaulting a soldier

Ahed Tamimi, 16, appeared before the Israeli army's military prosecutor on Monday. Her father says he could not be prouder

Ahed Tamimi, 16, at her hearing in the military court at Ofer military prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on January 1, 2018. Israeli authorities are seeking 12 charges against the teenager after a video of her slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank went viral. Ahmad Gharabli / AFP
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Israeli authorities have charged a Palestinian girl with five counts of assault after a video showing her standing up to two armed Israeli soldiers in the West Bank went viral.

The family of Ahed Tamimi, 16, said the incident occurred when the two soldiers came into their front yard in the village of Nabi Saleh, 20 kilometres from Ramallah.

Ahed appeared before the Israeli army prosecutor yesterday accused of slapping an Israeli soldier on December 15. She has been refused bail.

She had told the court in her first hearing that the same two soldiers had shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet an hour before they invaded her front yard.

“Then I saw the same soldiers who hit my cousins, this time in front of my house. I could not keep quiet and responded as I did,” she told the court.

Ahed approached the soldiers, along with her cousin Nour Tamimi, 20, and told them to leave. Ahed’s mother Nariman was filming the incident. When they did not respond, Ahed pushed them.

Her father Bassem told Haaretz newspaper: “I’m proud of my daughter. She is a freedom fighter who in coming years will lead the resistance to Israeli rule.”

The other charges against Ahed are counts of threatening a soldier, attacking a soldier under aggravated circumstances, interfering with a soldier in carrying out his duties, incitement and throwing objects at people or property.

Nour was charged with aggravated assault of a soldier and disturbing soldiers carrying out their duties and Nariman with assault and incitement on social media. The two young women were arrested after Nariman posted the video on Facebook.

The video shows the cousins approaching two Israeli soldiers and telling them to leave before pushing them. The soldiers, a captain and staff sergeant, moved backwards when Nariman became involved.

Ahed was arrested on December 19 and has been in custody ever since, while her cousin was arrested a day later.

The case has turned Ahed into a hero in her community but it is not the first time she has been involved in such incidents.

In 2012 she led a group of children, including her younger brother, to confront Israeli soldiers. Video of that incident shows the 11-year-old raising her fist at a soldier.