The trial of Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was arrested two months ago for slapping an Israeli soldier, is to be held behind closed doors, the Ofer Military Court ruled Tuesday. The court said that as Tamimi is a minor a trial behind closed doors is “in her best interests.”
Tamimi has been in custody since a video of her slapping an IDF soldier near her family home in Nabi Saleh went viral. However she also faces five additional counts of violence and incitement, including stone throwing, taking part in violent protests and incitement to violent action. Her mother, Nariman, is standing trial for attacking an officer, as well incitement to violence on social media.
In response to the court’s decision, Ahed Tamimi’s attorney, Gabi Lasky pointed out that the police and the IDF themselves have been photographing Tamimi throughout the procedure. Lasky questioned the validity of the claim that a closed trial is in her client’s best interest and said she would be appealing the court’s decision.
“The court decided to close the doors [to the trial] because they claim that it is in Ahed’s best interest. I think they feel that it is in the court’s best interest” Lasky said. “The minor (Tamimi) and her parents wanted the doors open and in this case, the court need not decide what is best for her. It decided what is best for the court and know what is best for Ahed.”
For many Palestinians, Tamimi is a symbol of resistance. For many Israelis, Tamimi is a provocateur who goads soldiers on video and champions rock-throwing, influenced by relatives who have been involved in protests and attacks against Israelis.
Tamimi is indicted on 12 counts, including assaulting an Israeli officer and soldier — as seen in the video — on December 15, and for five additional events in which she allegedly assaulted Israeli forces, threw rocks at them, threatened them, obstructed them during their duties, and participated in riots and incited others to do so. She could face several months or years in jail if convicted.
An indictment also was filed against Nariman Tamimi, Ahed’s mother, who uploaded the video to Facebook. In it, the soldiers don’t appear to react to Tamimi’s confrontation. The military said in a statement that it is charging Nariman Tamimi with using Facebook to “incite others to commit terrorist attacks.”
Both women are being held until the end of their proceedings, which could last months.
The altercation with soldiers happened shortly after Tamimi’s cousin was shot in the head with a rubber bullet during a demonstration as he climbed a wall of a complex Israeli soldiers had commandeered, according to Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father, who is a well-known leader of protests in his village.
By: Yona Schnitzer