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  • Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi (R) enters a military courtroom escorted by Israeli Prison Service personnel at Ofer Prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Jan. 1, 2018.

    Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi (R) enters a military courtroom escorted by Israeli Prison Service personnel at Ofer Prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Jan. 1, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

The case made her into a potent symbol of Palestinian bravery and resistance, creating a dilemma for the occupation.

Israeli authorities indicted a 16-year-old Palestinian girl on Monday for physically confronting Israeli occupation soldiers in her village two weeks ago, in an incident which made her into a hero in the eyes of Palestinians and Arabs and was seen as an intolerable humiliation by Israelis.

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The Israelis have held Ahed Tamimi since arresting her three days after she was filmed slapping, kicking and even punching two heavily armed Israeli occupation troops deployed to suppress protests in her village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah. 

Tamimi was upset after her cousin was shot in the face at close range by less-lethal weaponry that penetrated his face and led to the victim being placed in an artificial coma.

The Tamimi family are popular advocates for the Palestinian cause in the village, which is the site of weekly protests against the Israeli occupation.

The confrontation took place amid protests where the Israelis claim their heavily-armed occupation personnel were facing assaults from youth in the village. The soldiers, who had posted themselves on her family's property, eventually retreated.

The case made her into a potent worldwide symbol of Palestinian bravery and resistance, a dilemma for the occupation that led a commentator in Israeli left-wing newspaper Haaretz said Israel risked turning her into the "Palestinian Joan of Arc."

Right-wing Israelis, meanwhile, have wrung their hands in distress over the spectacle of their soldier appearing “weak” by opting not to strike the petite young teen. Some Israeli commentators such as Ben Caspit have even called for sexual violence against the child.

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Israeli army officials said he "acted professionally" by showing restraint.

The charge sheet against Tamimi, seen by Reuters, included counts of aggravated assault against a soldier, who the army said was bruised on his brow by her punch, obstructing a soldier in the performance of his duty and throwing stones at troops.

"Tamimi threw stones at them (the soldiers), threatened them, obstructed them in fulfilling their duty, took part in riots and incited others to take part in them," the military said on its public affairs Twitter account.

An adult found guilty of assaulting a soldier could be jailed for up to 10 years, but such an outcome would be unlikely for Tamimi as a minor.

In 2010, as a child, she first became famous through a photograph in which she stood before a soldier with her fist raised.

In 2015, she once again earned the admiration of Arabs after photos circulated of the then-14-year-old – along with her female cousin, her aunt and her mother – fighting an Israeli occupation soldier who was pinning down her 12-year old male cousin. In the photo, Ahed can be seen biting the soldier's hand after he smacked her in the face.

Tamimi was not asked to enter a plea at this stage. The military court gave her lawyer more time to study the charges.


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