Palestinian teen arrested after video of her slapping Israeli soldier goes viral

Palestinian Ahed Tamimi (R), 17, a well-known campaigner against Israel's occupation, appears at a military court at the Israeli-run Ofer prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on December 20, 2017. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

A 17-year-old Palestinian girl and her mother were arrested after video of the girl shoving and slapping two Israeli soldiers who were blocking the steps to a family home in the West bank during protests on Friday. Thousands of Palestinians have reportedly participated in protests, which erupted in response to U.S. President Donald Trump declaring that the U.S. will now recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In the wake of Trump’s announcement, the leader of Hamas called for a new uprising against Israel, which set off the protests. In some instances, clashes between protesters and Israeli forces have turned deadly — and one wheelchair-bound protester, a double-amputee, was reportedly shot and killed, The Independent reported.

Against this tense backdrop, video of Ahed Tamimi slapping two relatively impassive soldiers has been held up by the Israeli army as proof that their soldiers exercised restraint, but human rights activists have questioned why they subsequently arrested the teenager and her mother during a sudden overnight raid. No reason has been given for the mother’s detention. Tamimi’s father, Benen, told the AFP that Israeli security forces had also seized mobile phones, computers, and other electronics from their home.

Tamimi, for her part, is already somewhat famous as a symbol of resistance against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. As a child, a photo of her standing up to Israeli soldiers prompted then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ask for a meeting. Two years ago, a picture of her biting the hand of a soldier trying to arrest her brother also went viral. She was extended an invitation to a speaking tour titled “No Child Left Behind Bars/Living Resistance” in the U.S. last year, but was unable to attend after being denied a visa that would allow her into the country. On Wednesday, Tamimi appeared in shackles at a hearing in an Israeli military court, The Associated Press reported. Her lawyer argued that because she’s a minor, Tamimi should be released on bail, but the judge did not issue a ruling.

Read the full story at USA Today and The Associated Press.


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