The Palestinian teenager from Nabi Saleh was arrested after being filmed confronting Israeli soldiers outside her home. Israeli forces have since arrested her mother and an another relative; her father Bassem received a summons while in court.
By Oren Ziv and Yael Marom
The Israeli army’s Ofer Military Court extended by five days the detention of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teen who was arrested for confronting Israeli soldiers outside her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Video of the confrontation made headlines around the world. Police had asked the court to extend Ahed’s detention by 10 days.
Attorney Gaby Lasky, who is representing Ahed Tamimi, argued that even if the police intend to continue their investigation against her client, it is unnecessary to keep Ahed in prison.
“The police claim this is a unique incident carried out shamelessly and spitefully. But obviously neither shamelessness nor spite justify imprisonment,” Lasky said. “Israeli hilltop youth (settlers) have engaged in similar behavior and the police and the army chose not to arrest them or to consider their behavior such that requires keeping a minor under arrest.”
Lasky also criticized the manner in which Tamimi was arrested, as well as the request by the police to carry out the hearing behind closed doors. “Given that the incident in question occurred during the day, it would have been possible to carry out the arrest during the time of the incident or a few hours later. Instead, the army and the police chose to carry out an illegal, offensive, nighttime raid.”
“It is unacceptable that the military authorities decided to video-tape the arrest of a minor and send the clip to media outlets as punishment,” Lasky said of the state’s request to hold the hearing behind closed doors. “Now the police are suddenly worried about protecting the rights of a minor […] It seems that this is all to prevent anyone from seeing what happens inside the courtroom.”
Israeli Border Police officers arrested Ahed in a night-time raid on the Tamimi family home in the early hours of Tuesday. Her mother, Nariman, was arrested while accompanying Ahed to an Israeli police station.
Tuesday night, Nur Tamimi, a relative of Ahed’s who appeared alongside her in the now-famous video, was arrested as well.
Fifteen-year-old Mohammed Tamimi, also a relative of Ahed’s, remains hospitalized after Israeli troops shot him in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet during a protest in Nabi Saleh on Friday. He has been unconscious for a number of days.
During the military court hearing on Wednesday, a police representative said that Ahed’s father, Bassem Tamimi, will also be called in for an investigation Thursday morning.
Bassem Tamimi said on Wednesday that he is proud of his daughter and worried about her. “I don’t trust this court because it is a component of the occupation — it helps the occupation and the occupier,” Tamimi said. “It is used to give legitimacy to the arrest of Ahed, the child.”
Nothing that in addition to his wife and daughter both having been arrested, he also received a summons to be interrogated, Bassem added: “I ask that they keep us all together, so that we can remain together as a family in jail.”
The village of Nabi Saleh began weekly demonstrations against the occupation in 2009 following a takeover of the village’s natural spring by settlers from the adjacent settlement of Halamish. The army has since to deployed troops on a weekly basis to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the spring or the road used by the settlers.
Every protest by the residents of Nabi Saleh, and any Palestinian in the West Bank, is illegal under Israeli military law in the occupied territory. The army regularly suppresses Palestinian nonviolent and unarmed protests with tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, live fire, and other means of crowd dispersal.
In December 2011, Mustafa Tamimi was killed during a protest in the village when he an Israeli soldier shot him in the face with a tear gas canister at close range. One year later, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Rashadi Tamimi in the village.
Oren Ziv is a photojournalist with Activestills. Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article also appears in Hebrew. Read it here.