Palestinian who hit Israeli soldier jailed 8 months

Ahed Tamimi has been jailed for eight months after she accepted a plea bargain on Wednesday. The 17-year-old has become a symbol of how harshly the military justice system can treat young Palestinians.
Ahed Tamimi has been jailed for eight months after she accepted a plea bargain on Wednesday. The 17-year-old has become a symbol of how harshly the military justice system can treat young Palestinians.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Teen seen as symbol of resistance after scuffle was streamed online

JERUSALEM • Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager whose angry altercation with an Israeli soldier outside her West Bank home made her a worldwide symbol of resistance but quickly got her jailed without bail, has been sentenced in a military court to eight months in prison.

Tamimi, 17, on Wednesday accepted a plea bargain that will end her trial and should bring about her release in July, her lawyer said. It includes a fine of about US$1,400 (S$1,840) and a three-year suspended sentence.

On Dec 15, a few hours after a cousin of Tamimi's was shot in the face with a rubber bullet during a clash between villagers of Nabi Saleh and Israeli forces, Tamimi erupted at a pair of heavily armed soldiers as they took up a position in the front yard of her home.

As her mother streamed the confrontation live on Facebook, Tamimi, wearing a kaffiyeh, or head scarf, over her denim jacket, screamed at, punched, slapped and kicked at one of the soldiers. The officer faced her impassively, absorbing some blows, evading others, but never striking back at her, then finally turned and, with his comrade, walked away.

A few days later, a clip of the scuffle was broadcast on Israeli television, setting off a debate on both sides of the conflict. Israelis argued over whether the soldiers had demonstrated admirable forbearance and fortitude or a kind of weakness and vulnerability that could send dangerous signals. Palestinians, while showering Tamimi with praise, asked whether publicising the video might have been counterproductive, by showing the soldiers behaving with restraint, or helpful, by showing that even unarmed resistance can be effective.

But Tamimi, whose family is well known for its protests against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, also quickly became a symbol of how harshly the military justice system can treat young Palestinians.

She was arrested in the middle of the night after the video's broadcast on television. Her mother and a 20-year-old cousin, Nour Tamimi, were also charged.

All three women agreed to plea bargains on Wednesday. Ahed Tamimi pleaded guilty to attacking the soldier and to two other counts of disrupting a soldier and incitement, the Israeli military said. Other charges, including stone throwing, were dropped. Nour Tamimi was sentenced to the time she had spent behind bars before being released on bail, about two weeks.

Ahed's mother, Nariman Tamimi, who was charged with incitement for showing the altercation live on Facebook, was sentenced to eight months in prison, a suspended sentence and a fine of about US$1,700.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2018, with the headline 'Palestinian who hit Israeli soldier jailed 8 months'. Print Edition | Subscribe