Newstalk
Newstalk

10.06 15 Jan 2018


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A 16-year-old Palestinian girl is due to find out whether she will be granted bail after a video of her slapping and hitting Israeli soldiers went viral.

Ahed Tamimi, who has become a heroine of the Palestinian cause, was indicted on 12 charges, including assault, stone throwing and incitement.

The teenager was detained on 19th December.

Israeli troops arrested her in the middle of the night four days after the incident, prompting accusations from Palestinian activists that her arrest was politically motivated - a charge Israel denies.

Ahed's father, Bassem Tamimi, claims the slapping was a natural reaction to the military occupation.

A couple of hours earlier the teenager's 15-year-old cousin, Mohammed, had been seriously injured when a rubber bullet was fired at his face at close range, leaving him in a medically induced coma.

He has since lost much of his skull.

"I feel that the shape of the soldier and his uniform is more violence than her hand when she slapped because he is a face and the shape of killing, arresting, injuring, shooting, harming the life," said Bassem Tamimi.

The Tamimi clan are well known for their activism.

Dozens of its members have been arrested over the years and at least two have been killed during clashes with IDF troops.

Ahed first came to international attention in 2012, when at the age of 11 she confronted an Israeli soldier who was twice her size.

She even met the Prime Minister of Turkey, now President Erdogan, and is celebrated as a heroine of the Palestinian cause.

The Tamimi clan has faced allegations that their videos are set up, being used to make money and manipulate the press.

Mr Tamimi freely admits he uses the camera - but it's not about creating 'fake news', or propaganda as Israel claims, but about showing a violent military occupation that is now in its 50th year.

The Tamimis claim Israel is fighting the conflict with troops and settlements, which are eating up the land; all they are doing is filming and protesting as an act of resistance and trying to bring attention to their cause.

But if the Tamimi case has illustrated anything it is the stark difference in narratives between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

After the latest video caused outrage in Israel there were calls from some Israeli politicians for Ahed to be locked up for the rest of her life.

Israel denies it is persecuting minors and claims some of the offences Ahed is accused of, such as incitement, are extremely serious.

Dr Michael Oren MK, the deputy minister for diplomacy in the Prime Minister's office, questions whether the Tamimis are even a real family and claims the videos that appear are carefully constructed for social media and news outlets.

He claimed the Tamimis are “making money out of this in order to manipulate and deceive you, the press."

Ahed's bail hearing is scheduled for Monday. Eventually she will be tried in a military court and could face years in prison.

Israel's defence minister has stated, before her case is heard, that she and her family should be dealt with severely.


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