OFER PRISON (West Bank) • Israel has indicted a 16-year-old Palestinian girl on charges including assault for punching an Israeli soldier in the face, a act which turned her into a hero for Palestinians and was seen as humiliating by right-wing Israelis.
Israel has held Ahed Tamimi since arresting her three days after she was filmed punching the soldier at the entrance to her family home in a village in the occupied West Bank. The confrontation two weeks ago took place after what Israel says was a stone-throwing assault on its troops.
The case has made her into such a potent symbol for Palestinians that a commentator in Israeli left-wing 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. But the Israeli army said he "acted professionally" by showing restraint.
The charge sheet against Tamimi, seen by Reuters, included counts of aggravated assault against a soldier, whom 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 (the soldiers), threatened them, obstructed them in fulfilling their duty, took part in riots and incited others to take part in them," the military said on its public affairs Twitter account on Monday.
Mr Qadoura Fares, chairman of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, which advocates on behalf of Palestinians in Israeli jails, said the charges were false.
"Their aim is to terrorise people, and they are trying to deter children and others," he said.
The incident occurred at the entrance to Tamimi's family home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, where weekly protests against Israeli settlement policy have been held for years.