An illustration of Malak al-Khatib posted by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights.
(photo credit: TWITTER)
The IDF’s West Bank Appeals Court late Tuesday took the unusual step of lifting a gag order on the case of a 14-year-old Palestinian girl whose arrest has sparked a global campaign against Israel.
The ruling overturned a February 5 decision by the Judea Military Court partially rejecting the IDF prosecutor’s request to reveal details of the case to the public, although it involved a minor.
The legal debate over the issue had a bizarre feel to it in that the identity of the girl, Malak al-Khatib, was already wellknown due to reports in international news outlets and discussions at the UN, as well as a global campaign in social media attacking the IDF for having jailed, convicted and sentenced her to two months in prison.
The Jerusalem Post learned that the prosecution took the unusual position of trying to lift the gag order, believing that a massive public relations war was being fought against it while its arms were tied behind its back in responding.
Khatib’s case has struck a chord because it is rare that female Palestinian minors are arrested. At 14 and with a baby-face that has lit up social media networks, she is the youngest to have been detained. Her conviction was for throwing rocks, illegal possession of a knife and attempted throwing of rocks.
The prosecution viewed the case as serious in that she had confessed to trying to throw rocks at moving vehicles on Route 60 near her village of Bitin, in the Ramallah area, and expressed a desire to use the knife to stab a soldier. The campaign supporting her has presented her as a rock thrower incapable in size and physique of being a danger to anyone.
While Khatib confessed to the charges in open court in the presence of her parents and her legal team as part of a plea bargain, supporters still present her sentence as an example of an overbearing military justice system that unfairly turns children into criminals.
The key departure point for the prosecution was her attempted stone-throwing at moving vehicles presented a real danger despite her age, the Post learned.