Palestinian teen’s family shows video alleging Israeli harassment

Bassem Tamimi, the father of Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian arrested in December after a video of her slapping an Israeli soldier went viral, speaks in the West Bank city of Ramallah after presenting a video of his daughter being questioned

Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – The family of a Palestinian teenager jailed for slapping two Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank claimed Monday she was verbally harassed during interrogation, as they released a video of her being questioned.

Ahed Tamimi’s case gained international attention when footage emerged of her slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers next to her house in the West Bank in December, with the soldiers not responding to the provocation. 

She was later arrested and eventually accepted a plea bargain in which she was sentenced to eight months in prison. She is expected to be released this summer.

In the two-hour interrogation video, Ahed, aged 16 at the time, is seen without a lawyer or guardian being questioned by two Israeli interrogators. 

She repeatedly refuses to give her name or respond to their question as they try to put pressure on her to speak. 

“The rounds of interrogation came after various methods of physical and psychological pressures put on her,” he father Bassem told a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah. 

He said she had been kept in isolation and regularly moved between locations. 

“She was deprived of sleep for long periods of time. In the final round of interrogations it was more than 34 hours without sleep,” he said. 

The campaign for her release said their lawyers had received the two-hour video as under Israeli law they have access to certain amounts of material. 

They said they had chosen to release the video to show the interrogation of children in Israeli prisons.

“This is to reiterate Ahed’s message, the message of her generation, that we are not victims, we are fighters for the cause, for freedom,” her father said.

The Israeli army said they had recently received from the justice ministry a complaint filed by Ahed Tamimi’s lawyer “with allegations of improper conduct by an (Israeli) officer”.

“The claims are being thoroughly examined,” the army said in a statement. 

The video of the December incident filmed by her family went viral, with some Israelis saying it was an example of the army not responding to provocations, but others saying the soldiers were humiliated.

Palestinians said she repeatedly told the soldiers to leave her land, which is considered occupied in international law. 

Her cousin had been shot by Israeli forces with a rubber bullet in clashes earlier that day leading to her anger, her lawyers argue. 

She has been hailed as a hero by Palestinians who see her as bravely standing up to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

Israelis accuse her family of using Tamimi, now 17, as a pawn in staged provocations.