Confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians are nearly as old as Israel’s military presence in the occupied territories itself. Confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian minors are not uncommon—one advocacy group estimated that approximately 375 Palestinians between the ages of 12 and 17 were under Israeli military detention in 2016, often on charges of stone throwing.
But for all the Palestinian youth who have had run-ins with the Israeli military, few have become as internet famous as Ahed Tamimi. The 16-year-old native of Nabi Saleh, a village in the West Bank, faced a dozen charges from Israeli authorities this week after a video of her slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier stationed outside her home spread across the web.
The video is striking. At first, Ahed (who is standing with her cousin, 20-year-old Nur Tamimi) can be seen pushing two armed soldiers, telling them to “get out” of the area surrounding the family’s home. After one soldier attempts to swat Ahed away with his arm, she responds by kicking and slapping him. The soldier dodges, but doesn’t retaliate. Soon after, Ahed’s mother, Nariman Tamimi, intervenes, urging the soldiers to leave. It was based on this altercation that all three women were charged with assault by Israeli authorities. Nariman Tamimi faces an additional charge of incitement for broadcasting the altercation on Facebook Live. Ahed Tamimi faces a total of 12 charges, including incitement and throwing stones.