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Judge Closes Courtroom as Trial Begins for Palestinian Teen Who Slapped Soldiers

15 February 2018

A graphic video of the incident shows the two soldiers - one male and one female - inside the vehicle as a large group of Palestinians surrounds it, shouting. Her 20-year-old cousin Nur Tamimi and mother, who were also in the video, were both later arrested and are also facing charges.

"The minor (Tamimi) and her parents wanted the doors open and in this case, the court need not decide what is best for her".

Israel's hard-charging prosecution of Tamimi, recognizable by her unruly mane of curly hair, has drawn worldwide attention and criticism. The metaphor is given a special vividness because Ahed Tamimi as a child epitomizes the mentality and tactics of an oppressive state: the prospect of Ahed's case being heard by a military court that finds that more than 99% of defendants are guilty of the crimes of which they are accused.

On Tuesday morning, Tamimi - wearing a prison uniform and with her hands and feet in restraints - was led into the courtroom at the Ofer military prison near Ramallah for preliminary trial hearings. "So the way to keep it out of everybody's eyes is to close the doors".

Tamimi has been hailed as a hero by Palestinians who see her as bravely standing up to Israel's occupation of the West Bank. For Palestinians, the young teen is a symbol of resistance to Israeli occupation, but many Israelis regard her as a violent troublemaker seeking publicity.

On 15 December 2017, 15-year-old Mohammad Tamimi was shot in the face by an Israeli soldier while participating in an unarmed protest of Donald Trump's Jerusalem declaration.

In later events captured on video, Ahed yells at the soldiers to leave, slapping one and punching the other in the head.

Since 2009, residents there have staged regular anti-occupation protests against a nearby Israeli settlement that often end in stone-throwing, rubber bullets and tear gas.

The case was adjourned until March, and could go on for months.

Approximately 300 Palestinian minors are now held in Israeli prisons, two of them in administrative detention, where no charges are given for their being detained, according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: It's mid-December, and Israeli troops are clashing with Palestinians in the village of Nabi Saleh.

Amnesty International has called for her immediate release, saying her "continued detention is a desperate attempt to intimidate Palestinian children who dare to stand up to repression by occupying forces". Family members were allowed to remain.

The experts also expressed concern about her place of detention - Hasharon prison in Israel - in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states that the deportation of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power, or to that of any other country, is prohibited, regardless of the motive. "The Israeli authorities must release her without delay".

Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and a White House they see as favoring Israel more than ever, has fueled frustration among Palestinians.

AHED TAMIMI: (Foreign language spoken).

ESTRIN: She's been confronting soldiers throughout her childhood. Two Israelis have been killed since then.

Ahed grabbed media attention at age 11, when she shouted at Israeli soldiers after they detained her brother, raising her fist.

Judge Closes Courtroom as Trial Begins for Palestinian Teen Who Slapped Soldiers