Military court to try Palestinian protest icon
Palestinian protest icon Ahed Tamimi is to go on trial before an Israeli military court on Tuesday for slapping and punching two Israeli soldiers — an act Palestinians say embodies their David vs. Goliath struggle against a military occupation and Israel portrays as a staged provocation meant to embarrass its military.
Israel’s prosecution of Tamimi, one of an estimated 300 Palestinian minors in Israeli jails, and a senior Israeli official’s recent stunning revelation that he once had parliament investigate whether the blond, blueeyed Tamimis are a “real” Palestinian family have helped stoke ongoing interest in the case.
The teen with the curly mane of hair 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 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 after having just learned that Israeli troops seriously wounded a 15-year-old cousin, shooting him in the head from close range with a rubber bullet during nearby stone-throwing clashes.
Israel indicted Tamimi on charges of assault and incitement that could potentially land her in prison for several years.
Tamimi’s middle-of-thenight 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.
Tamimi’s father Bassem, who threw his first stone at the age of 14 and was an activist in the first uprising, 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 Dec. 15 scuffle in their village of Nabi Saleh and has been locked up alongside their daughter.
In Israel, several senior officials have called for harsh punishment of Tamimi.