Sunday 19 August 2018

'Palestinian Joan of Arc' (16) charged with hitting soldier

Ahed Tamimi is charged with punching an Israeli soldier. Photo: Reuters/Ammar Awad
Ahed Tamimi is charged with punching an Israeli soldier. Photo: Reuters/Ammar Awad

Ali Sawafta Jerusalem

A 16-year-old Palestinian girl has been charged with punching an Israeli soldier in the face - an incident which has turned her into a hero for her people and viewed as humiliating by right-wing Israelis.

Ahed Tamimi has been held since her arrest three days after being filmed punching the soldier at the entrance to her family home in a village in the West Bank. The confrontation took place after Israel said stones were thrown at its troops.

Ahed has become a potent symbol for Palestinians and one Israeli commentator for the liberal newspaper 'Haaretz' said Israel risked turning her into the "Palestinian Joan of Arc".

Right-wing Israelis, meanwhile, have debated whether the soldier had appeared weak by opting not to strike back. The Israeli army said he "acted professionally" by showing restraint.

The charges against Ahed included counts of aggravated assault against a soldier - who the army said was bruised on his brow by her punch - obstructing a soldier in the performance of his duty and throwing stones at troops. "Tamimi threw stones at them (the soldiers), threatened them, obstructed them in fulfilling their duty, took part in riots and incited others to take part in them," the military tweeted.

Her lawyer, Gaby Lasky, said she was certain some of the charges would be dismissed, but prosecutors may seek the maximum penalty for other counts.

"I am sure they want to keep her as long as possible because they don't want the voice of resistance outside prison," Ms Lasky said at the military courtroom at Ofer prison near Ramallah.

Ahed first made a name for herself in 2015 when she was pictured biting a soldier who was trying to arrest her younger brother.

She faces a possible prison sentence of up to 10 years for the latest charge.

Irish Independent

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