The detention of a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier has sparked fierce online debate between those who see her as a “peace activist” and others who cast her as a pawn in anti-Israel propaganda.
An Israeli military court extended the custody of Ahed Tamimi yesterday, along with her mother, Nariman, after being arrested on December 19, according to international media reports.
She was lauded as a hero by Palestinians after footage emerged earlier this month showing her striking an Israeli soldier in her home village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah.
Ms Tamimi, who is recognisable by her shock of curly blonde hair, has been involved in a series of well-publicised confrontations with Israeli military personnel.
She has been likened by some to Nobel Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai, while others have said she is the instrument of a misleading anti-Israel media campaign.
The incident involving Ms Tamimi occurred during a day of clashes across the West Bank, provoked by US President Donald Trump’s decision to officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The video shows Ms Tamimi and another protestor approaching two Israeli soldiers to tell them to leave, before pushing and slapping one of them.
Her supporters claim that shortly before the video was taken, her 14-year-old cousin was shot in the head by a rubber bullet, and tear gas was fired towards her home.
But the Algemeiner Journal’s website argues that members of her family have been convicted of terrorist offences, including her aunt, Ahlam Tamimi, who planned and helped to perpetrate the bombing of a pizza restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001.