A young Palestinian woman was arrested early Tuesday morning, a day after a video of her punching, slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers in a West Bank village went viral.
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Female Border Police and Israeli army soldiers removed 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi from her home in Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, and she was brought in for questioning, the Israel Defense Forces said.
The video, filmed during the weekly protest held in the village on Friday, shows Tamimi assaulting the soldiers in an attempt to draw a response. Other women are seen in the clip, including one filming the incident, who also attacks the soldiers later. The soldiers did not respond to the attacks by Tamimi and others.
The clip, which was filmed by someone standing farther away from the incident, went viral on various social networks on Monday.
In the clip, Tamimi and another young woman approach one of the soldiers and Tamimi pushes and shoves him. After does not respond to the provocation, as it seems the women wanted, Tamimi continues to slap and kick him. She also comes up to the other soldier and tries to assault him, as does the other young woman. Two older women join the two teenagers and also push the soldiers while Tamimi continues to attack them. The soldiers show restraint and do not respond in any way.
Before the beginning of the events seen in the film, Palestinians threw rocks at soldiers from inside a house in Nabi Saleh, said the IDF. The soldiers then removed the rock throwers from inside the house and refused to let them reenter. At this stage, “a number of Palestinians came out to the soldiers with the goal of causing a provocation,” said the army.
The IDF said a preliminary inquiry into the incident found the “commander acted professionally by not being dragged into [the use of] violence.” But the army said they could have arrested the young women at the time of the incident “both because they used physical violence and because of the fact that they tried to interfere with soldiers carrying out their duties.”
The young women shown assaulting the soldiers “should finish their lives in prison,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Army Radio on Tuesday morning.
“The pictures are harsh We have an excellent [IDF] chief of staff, I trust that the incident will be investigated, the lessons will be learned and those activists who attacked will be tried,” said Bennett. Attacking a soldier is a crime which carries a punishment of up to seven years in prison, he added. “Their place is in prison, and I expect they will be arrested,” he said.
“I don’t intend on giving grades to soldiers,” he said about the incident. “I was a soldier in similar situations too.”
Tamimi's father Bassem, a well-known Palestinian activist, posted on Facebook about the arrest, saying that his daughter stopped a soldier "in front of our house when he shot a child on his head." He said the army searched the house, stole the family's phones, cameras and laptop and beat his wife and children. "[F]ree Ahed Tamimi," he added.
The teenager has been involved a number of similar incidents with Israeli soldiers. In a 2015 video clip, she tries to prevent soldiers from making an arrest in Nabi Saleh. In the clip, a soldier attempting to detain a youth who had been throwing rocks is attacked by a number of women, including Tamimi. Ultimately the commander in charge ordered the soldier to release the youth.