(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday threatened to retaliate against Palestinian teenaged activist Ahed Tamimi, her family and the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh where she lives after a video surfaced of her slapping and punching IDF soldiers, neither of whom responded.
“Everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them will not escape from what they deserve,” Liberman said while touring Israel’s southern border.
He spoke just hours after the IDF and the Border police conducted a pre-dawn raid on the home of the activist Tamimi family, arresting Ahed, 16.
IDF arrests Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi (credit: IDF Spokesperson)
“The IDF is the most humane army and operates under values that do not exist anywhere else. But its humanism can’t come at the expense of its deference and power,” Liberman said.
“Whoever goes wild during the day, will be arrested at night. This is also an important message,” Liberman said.
On social media Tamimi's story immediately became an iconic illustration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israelis on the left wing have both lauded the IDF for its restraint and have simultaneously lashed out at the army for going after children in the middle of the night. The right, however, has attacked Tamimi as a provocateur who deliberately attempts to use social media to 'portray Israel in a bad light.'
Palestinians have lauded Tamimi as a heroine, declaring her to be a symbol of success in the Palestinian resistance.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Army Radio she should be jailed of life.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the US MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) tweeted, “The Tamimi family—which may not be a real family—dresses up kids in American clothes and pays them to provoke IDF troops on camera. This cynical and cruel use of children constitutes abuse. Human rights organizations must investigate!”
MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union) tweeted, “the first thing on my agenda is to say thank you to the soldiers who stood with honor against the Palestinian girls who tried to attack and humiliate them.”
Former Peace Now Executive Director Yariv Oppenheimer tweeted, “The IDF should be very proud of itself for acting as heroes against a young girl. Israeli deference has returned. What about all the hilltop youth who have attacked police. They can sleep quietly at night, because no one will drag them from their bed.”
The Meretz Party posted on Facebook that the IDF had bowed to public opinion by arresting Ahed Tamimi.
The soldiers took a beating in the court of Israeli opinion for not acting against the girls who slapped them, but had they taken action they would have been scored internationally, Meretz said.
"This is the nature of the occupation, it has no solution, just bad options,” the Meretz party said.