TEL AVIV: The IDF Prosecution and Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was videotaped slapping Israelis soldiers, continued the on-going battle on Monday over whether she will remain in prison until the end of her trial.
The Judea Military Court did not issue a decision at the hearing held at Camp Ofer, scheduling a final hearing for January 15.
At the heart of Tamimi’s situation are two issues: whether she should be prosecuted at all and, if so, how harshly the IDF should handle her case.
Gaby Lasky, a high-profile human rights lawyer and Meretz activist who is defending Tamimi, told The Jerusalem Post she believes the Judea Military Court will ultimately grant Tamimi bail pending her trial.
Lasky cited a recent decision by the IDF West Bank Appeals Court to free Tamimi’s cousin, Nur Tamimi, pending her trial, noting that Nur was involved in the same mid-December videotaped incident.
In the incident, Ahed Tamimi can be seen pushing and kicking two IDF soldiers, though there is no sign her small size presented any danger and the soldiers mostly ignored her.
The video brought polarized reactions, with much of the Israeli camp expressing outrage that the Tamimis was not arrested on the spot, and much of the Palestinian camp cheering her aggressive resistance of what they view as Israeli occupation. Among Palestinians, Tamimi has even achieved semi-mythic status, with posted images portraying her as a warrior princess of sorts fighting IDF soldiers. Many on the Israeli side want her to serve the maximum jail time allowable for the low-grade offences of which she has been accused.
“If the court accepts the claim that the incident in the video does not justify being held in police custody until the end of the trial, especially when speaking of a minor,” Lasky said, it will probably order Ahed Tamimi freed on bail like her cousin. She added, “Ahed was detained because of the feeling of insult and humiliation of part of the Israeli public, and the IDF prosecution wants to return the honour that was trampled on.”
The IDF prosecution responded by saying Tamimi was indicted on 10 counts, including numerous instances of throwing rocks at soldiers. It added that law in the West Bank in such cases permits holding a detainee in custody until the end of a trial.
Further, the Israeli side cited a previous comment by the Judea Military Court that Tamimi threw a rock or physically fought her arrest as an additional sign that she does pose enough danger to keep her in custody until the end of her trial.
The Israeli side also argues that while legally still a minor at the age of 16, considering her conduct, there is the precedent for treating her in certain respects more like a grown-up.
Finally, Israeli sources contend that handling of the case has not been impacted by Israeli domestic pressure to be harsher with Tamimi or by global pressure to be more lenient.
Al-Ayyam, a Palestinian based newspaper highlighted a scheduled meeting Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Ramallah which will be held on Sunday will thoroughly discuss the developments regarding Ahed Tamimi’s case.
There is also a debate over Tamimi’s family. Her father, Bassem, is revered in Palestinian circles as a Palestinian-style Gandhi for leading protests against the “occupation” and for being jailed over the years. The IDF prosecution views him as a crafty leader who has mixed violent and non-violent forms of protest, in order to harm IDF soldiers while reaping global sympathy. Tamimi’s mother, Neriman, is also under indictment and has been arrested in the past.