by Yona Schnitzer
The trial of Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old from the Palestinian Authority who was arrested two months ago for slapping an Israeli soldier is to be tried behind closed doors, the Ofer Military Court ruled Tuesday. The court said that since Tamimi is a minor, a trial behind closed doors is “in her best interests.”
Tamimi has been in custody since a video of her slapping an IDF soldier near her family home in Nabi Saleh went viral. She also faces five additional counts of violence and incitement, including stone-throwing, taking part in violent protests and incitement to violent action. Her mother, Nariman, is standing trial for attacking an officer, as well incitement to violence on social media.
In response to the court’s decision, Ahed Tamimi’s attorney, Gabi Lasky pointed out that the police and the IDF themselves have been photographing Tamimi throughout the procedure. Lasky questioned the validity of the claim that a closed trial is in her client’s best interest and said she would appeal the court’s decision.
“The court decided to close the doors [to the trial] because they claim that it is in Ahed’s best interest. I think they feel that it is in the court’s best interest,” Lasky said. “The minor (Tamimi) and her parents wanted the doors open and in this case, the court need not decide what is best for her. It decided what is best for the court and not what is best for Ahed.”
The NGO Monitor, however, points out that “Ahed Tamimi is a prime example of how children are exploited and weaponized” in the Arab-Israeli conflict. “Such conduct is prohibited by international law,” the organization’s Legal Advisor, Anne Herzberg, noted. “Yet instead of condemning this reprehensible practice, so-called human rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are central players in this cynical propaganda campaign to promote as a hero someone who called for stabbings and suicide attacks.”
Hana Levi Julian contributed content to this report.