Israel set to trial Palestinian teenage 'hero' Ahed Tamimi

Israel set to trial Palestinian teenage 'hero' Ahed Tamimi
Ahed Tamimi, who recently turned 17 while in prison, is being hailed across the world for her bravery in resisting occupation and defending her family.
3 min read
12 February, 2018
Ahed Tamimi's supporters view her as a Palestinian hero [Getty]
Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, branded as a national hero, is set to go on trial before an Israeli military court on Tuesday for slapping an Israeli soldier late last year.

Ahed has for years been an icon of resistance, but Palestinians think her most recent trial embodies their David vs. Goliath struggle against a brutal military occupation and Israel portrays as a staged provocation meant to embarrass its military.

Israel seems to be undergoing a full-throttle prosecution of Tamimi, one of an estimated 300 Palestinian minors in Israeli jails. A senior Israeli official also recently revealed that he once had parliament investigate whether the blonde, blue-eyed Tamimis are a "real" Palestinian family, because of their physical features.

The teenage “hero” who turned 17 in jail last month has become the latest symbol of the long-running battle between Palestinians and Israelis over global public opinion.

The teenager's detention has been condemned by many rights groups who are calling for her release.

"By refusing to release Ahed Tamimi since her arrest, the Israeli authorities have shown nothing but contempt for their obligations under international law to protect children,” said Magdalena Mughrabi from Amnesty International. 

“As an unarmed girl, Ahed posed no threat during the altercation with the two Israeli soldiers who were heavily armed and wearing protective clothing.

“Yet again, the Israeli authorities have responded to acts of defiance by a Palestinian child with measures that are entirely disproportionate to the incident in question,” Magdalena Mughrabi said.

As an unarmed girl, Ahed posed no threat during the altercation with the two Israeli soldiers who were heavily armed and wearing protective clothing

The case touches on what constitutes legitimate resistance to Israel's rule over millions of Palestinians, already in its 51st year after Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in 1967.

Ahed Tamimi's supporters  see a brave girl who struck two armed soldiers outside her West Bank home in frustration after having just learned that the troops seriously wounded her 15-year-old cousin, shooting him in the head from close range with a rubber bullet as Israel’s ongoing violence against Palestinian children persists.

See in pictures: Ahed Tamimi resisting occupation through the years

Israel has treated Tamimi's actions as a criminal offence, indicting her on charges of assault and incitement that could potentially land her in prison for several years.

Tamimi's middle-of-the-night arrest from her home in December and her pre-trial court appearances, flanked by Israeli guards and looking impassive, have evoked a sense of history on a loop.

Another generation of Palestinians seems locked in a cycle of protests and arrests by Israel, three decades after Palestinians staged their first uprising, throwing stones and burning tires in the streets.

Tamimi's father Bassem, who threw his first stone at the age of 14 and was an activist in the First Intifada, said he expects the military court will deal harshly with his daughter and that she might remain in prison for some time.

His wife, Nariman, is being prosecuted in the same December 15 scuffle in their village of Nabi Saleh and has been locked up alongside their daughter.

Since 2009, residents of Nabi Salah have staged regular anti-occupation protests that often ended with stone-throwing clashes. Ahed Tamimi has participated in such marches from a young age, and photos of her resisting soldiers occupying her town have repeatedly gone viral over the years.