Palestinian teenage girl to face assault charges for slapping Israeli officer

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi enters a military courtroom escorted by Israeli Prison Service personnel at Ofer Prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 28, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

JERUSALEM: A 16-year-old Palestinian girl who slapped an Israeli officer two weeks ago will face assault charges in an Israeli military court.

The December 15th incident in the occupied West Bank was captured on video and posted on the Internet, drawing attention on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

Palestinians hailed the teenager, Ahed Tamimi, as a hero. Israelis debated whether the officer, who along with another soldier was also kicked by her, had done the right thing by opting not to strike back.

The incident occurred at the entrance to Tamimi’s family home in Nabi Saleh, a village in the West Bank, during what the army said was stone-throwing at soldiers. Weekly protests against Israeli settlement policy have been held there for years.

The military said in a statement that the officer “acted professionally” but right-wing Israeli politicians described his behaviour as humiliating.

Three days after a video clip of the confrontation was broadcast on Israeli television, Tamimi – who can be heard on the video clip shouting at the soldiers to leave – was arrested.

At Thursday’s hearing, in a military courtroom in Ofer prison near the Palestinian city of Ramallah, prosecutors said they intended to indict the teenager on charges that include aggravated assault and insulting a soldier.

Prosecutors asked the court to extend her detention for several days to give them time to prepare the charge sheet.

Tamimi made news two years ago when she was pictured biting a soldier who tried to arrest her younger brother.