An Israeli military court ordered that Ahed Tamimi, 16, who is hailed as a hero by Palestinians after a video of her slapping two Israeli soldiers went viral in December, to be held in custody throughout her trial.

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi enters a military courtroom at Ofer Prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 15, 2018.
Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi enters a military courtroom at Ofer Prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 15, 2018. ( Reuters )

An Israeli military judge on Wednesday ordered a Palestinian teenager arrested after a viral video showed her hitting two Israeli soldiers to be held in custody through her trial.

"I found no alternative other than to order her detention in custody until the end of proceedings," the judge ruled, referring to 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi.

"The gravity of the offences of which she is accused do not allow an alternative to custody."

Her mother, Nariman Tamimi, was ordered to be held until at least her next hearing on February 6.

TRT World's Mohammed Hamayel reports from Ramallah. 

Ahed Tamimi 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 her as a pawn in staged provocations.

She has been charged with 12 counts including assault and could face a lengthy jail term if convicted.

Charges

The charges relate to events in the video and five other incidents. They include stone-throwing, incitement and making threats.

The judge's decision on Wednesday raises the possibility she could spend months in custody before the conclusion of her case.

Representatives from the French and Swedish consulates as well as the European Union attended the hearing for Tamimi, who sat impassively in a khaki prison jacket.

"The court said that because she is so dangerous there is no possibility of bail," her lawyer Gaby Lasky told reporters.

Human rights groups have criticised the minor's continued detention since her arrest on December 19, while the EU has expressed concern.

Her mother was arrested over the incident the same day, while her cousin Nour Tamimi, 20, was arrested on December 20. Nour was released on bail on January 5.

The Israeli army's treatment of Palestinian children has been heavily criticised, and deemed excessive by many. 

December saw a surge in arrests amid protests and The Palestinian commission of detainees affairs says 95 percent of new prisoners in Israeli jails are youths. 

But as TRT World's Rahul Radhakrishnan reports and explains, it doesn't seem like the outcry is having an impact.

'Discriminatory treatment'

Ahed Tamimi's family says the December 15 incident that led to the arrests occurred in the yard of their home in Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah in the West Bank.

Israel's military said the soldiers were in the area to prevent Palestinians from throwing stones at Israeli motorists.

A video shows the cousins approaching two soldiers and telling them to leave before shoving, kicking and slapping them.

Ahed Tamimi is the more aggressive of the two in the video.

The heavily armed soldiers do not respond to what appears to be an attempt to provoke rather than seriously harm them.

They then move backwards after Nariman Tamimi becomes involved.

The scuffle took place amid clashes and protests against US President Donald Trump's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Relatives say that a member of the Tamimi family was wounded in the head by a rubber bullet fired during those protests.

Seventeen Palestinians have been killed since Trump's declaration on December 6, most of them in clashes with Israeli forces. One Israeli has been shot dead since then.

Ahed Tamimi has been involved in a series of previous incidents, with older pictures of her confronting soldiers widely published.

She has become something of an icon for Palestinians who have flooded social media with praise and support.

Rights group Amnesty International has called on Israel to release her immediately.

"Ahed Tamimi's ensuing arrest and military trial exposes the Israeli authorities' discriminatory treatment of Palestinian children who dare to stand up to ongoing, often brutal, repression by occupying forces," the London-based watchdog said.

Source: AFP