Israel arrests Palestinian teen after soldier-slapping video

A screenshot from the video of the teenage girls antagonising Israeli soldiers.
A screenshot from the video of the teenage girls antagonising Israeli soldiers.SCREENSHOT: TWITTER

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel's army arrested a Palestinian teenager on Tuesday (Dec 19) after a video went viral of her slapping Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank as they remained impassive.

The video shot on Friday, apparently with a mobile telephone, showed two Palestinian teenage girls approaching two Israeli soldiers, before shoving, kicking and slapping them while filming on mobile phones.

The heavily armed soldiers do not respond in the face of what appears to be an attempt to provoke rather than seriously harm them. They then move backwards.

The incident is believed to have taken place next to the house of one of the girls, 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank.

A separate video shows the girls telling the soldiers, apparently standing on the stairs of the family home, to leave.

The incident occurred during a day of clashes across the occupied West Bank against US President Donald Trump's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Early on Tuesday, the Israeli army raided Tamimi's house and arrested her, her father Bassem said, accusing the army of seizing telephones, computers and other electronic equipment.

"They didn't give a reason for her arrest," Bassem told AFP.

Her mother was also later detained, with the Israeli police saying the two would remain under arrest until at least Thursday.

The Tamimi family are prominent campaigners against the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, and a 2015 picture of Ahed biting the hand of a soldier to try to stop the arrest of a brother became a symbolic image.

Another of her facing up to Israeli soldiers as a child was widely publicised years before.

She was received by the then Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2012.

Another family member, Mohammed, is recovering in hospital after being shot in the head with a rubber bullet Friday, the family said.

The video of Ahed and the soldiers was widely used by Israeli media, which often accuses Palestinian protesters of seeking to provoke the army into responses which are then filmed.

Israeli politicians hailed the restraint of the soldiers as evidence of the military's values.

Palestinians on social media criticised the arrest in the middle of the night, arguing it is the people's right to resist military occupation.

"The (Israeli army) is the most humane army and holds values that don't exist anywhere else," Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday.

"(But) humanity cannot come at the expense of deterrence and might, and whoever is ranting in the daytime will be arrested at nighttime.

"Not only the girl but also her parents and her circle - they will not evade judgment."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that Tamimi could face seven years in prison.