Ahed Tamimi’s lawyer Gaby Lasky delivered a broad indictment of the Israeli “occupation,” US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration and alleged violations of the 16-year-old Palestinian’s rights in demanding her release from detention on Tuesday.A major from the IDF Prosecution countered to the Judea Military Court that Tamimi had “a pattern of lawbreaking” that required she remain in detention until the end of her trial for shoving soldiers and rock throwing. In the incident in dispute, Tamimi can be seen pushing and kicking two IDF soldiers. There is no sign that 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 she and her cousin were not arrested on the spot, and much of the Palestinian camp cheering her on for what they view as her aggressive resistance. She has sparked such attention that dozens of media outlets in Hebrew, Arabic and English, as well as diplomats from several European countries, have attended her hearing, which is standing-room-only.Tamimi herself has seemed oblivious to the magnitude of the attention being showered on her, talking with supporters through both prosecution and defense arguments.At the heart of Tamimi’s legal situation are two issues: whether she should be prosecuted and, if so, how harshly the IDF should handle her case, including whether to grant her bail pending trial.Lasky, a high-profile human rights lawyer and Meretz activist, told the court that the Palestinian teen mostly was protesting Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. She said Tamimi’s message was that “Trump needs to take responsibility” for a negative decision that led to an outburst of Palestinian protests.Tamimi’s attorney slammed Israel and the courts hearing the case as all being part of an “occupation” that she said stomps on “international law principles such as those stemming from the Convention on the Rights of the Child... and do not think about ‘what is in the best interests’ of minors.”Lasky said that IDF laws defining incitement for Palestinians infringe on their right to free speech, adding that settlers who shove soldiers or throw rocks at them and police are treated far more leniently. Further, she said it was inexplicable that Tamimi had been arrested at 4:00 a.m. and was termed dangerous after the IDF had failed to arrest her after most of the incidents for which she has now been indicted.In addition, she used the night arrest as a defense for explaining Tamimi’s alleged conduct in fighting with IDF soldiers who had came to take her into custody.Lasky painted a picture in which the IDF, until the December 15 incident, viewed Tamimi – dubbed “Shirley Temper” by the media, mostly because of her curly blond hair – merely as a nuisance, but that after the Israeli public expressed anger at the video of her shoving IDF soldiers, it did a sudden U-turn and made her public enemy number one.She said that until December 15, there had been no witnesses against Tamimi for the several rock-throwing incidents she stands accused of, but that suddenly, the IDF had rounded up 41 witnesses.The defense lawyer alleged that the system had violated Tamimi’s rights on a variety of levels. She said a Military Intelligence agent had participated in her interrogation and implied that this was problematic, especially for a minor whose interrogation is meant to be led by trained police investigators specializing in young suspects.Moreover, she said that 30 minutes of the interrogation, which one could see on video, had been left out of the interrogation’s written transcript. She also slammed the IDF as illegally having mined data and videos on Tamimi’s telephone to make its case without having gotten a search warrant.Finally, Lasky cited a recent decision by the IDF West Bank Appeals Court to free Tamimi’s cousin, Nur Tamimi, pending her own trial, noting that Nur had been involved in the same mid-December videotaped incident.The prosecution waived off most of the defense arguments as not relevant to the pretrial detention hearing stage, saying they would at most be relevant at trial and that the only issue that mattered right now was whether Tamimi was dangerous. The major presented video footage and new evidence of her fighting with soldiers during her arrest as strengthening the argument that she was dangerous.Further, he said that the IDF did not need a warrant to check a telephone under West Bank laws.While Lasky said Tamimi could be released and ordered to stay out of her village of Nabi Salah on Fridays, when protests generally occur, the major said he remained unconvinced.The judge, also an IDF major, said he would issue a decision on Wednesday.
IDF arrests Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi (credit: IDF Spokesperson)