Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, who was videotaped slapping and kicking an armed Israeli soldier at her family's West Bank home, will serve eight months in prison, following a plea deal her defense attorney reached with military prosecutors on Wednesday evening.
Behind closed doors at Ofer military court in the West Bank, military prosecutors agreed to drop eight of 12 charges against the 17-year-old, who has been in military prison since December, and was 16 at the time of her arrest. She will be given credit for time served, leaving her with five months on her sentence.
A statement from the Israel Defense Forces said Tamimi pleaded guilty to four charges of "criminal acts where she disrupted an IDF soldier and carried out incitement."
These included the videotaped incident of her hitting the soldier on December 15.
The IDF said Tamimi was also given an additional, suspended sentence, and she must pay a 5,000 Israeli shekel fine (approx. $1,440).
Bassem Tamimi, Ahed's father, slammed the entire court proceeding after the plea agreement. "Eight months is better than a longer sentence, but it's still an injustice. This is the way that the occupation is punishing us," he said. "All the occupation decisions are illegal and unjustified, as it is an illegal occupation."
He told CNN his daughter reacted to the court decision by saying, "No justice under occupation, and this court is illegal."
Video of the slapping was recorded hours after Ahed Tamimi found out Israeli troops had shot her 15-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber bullet, shattering his skull, in response to stones being thrown nearby.
The curly haired teenager from the village of Nabi Saleh was labeled "Shirley Temper" by Israeli media, but a "Joan of Arc" figure among Palestinian outlets. She was often seen smiling in her court appearances, and rocketed to fame in the summer of 2012 when video of her holding up her first to an Israeli soldier went viral. Since then, her fame has only increased. The video of her slapping a soldier and her subsequent arrest made her an international symbol, either famous or infamous, depending on the viewer's perspective. For the Palestinians, she stood for the resistance to Israeli occupation; for the Israelis, she was an example of Palestinian incitement.
The case became a lightning rod for criticism of the IDF, the military court system, and its treatment of Palestinian youth.
Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement, "Plea bargains are the norm in Israel's military justice system, which is characterized by prolonged pretrial detention, abuse of kids and sham trials. Hundreds of Palestinian children remain locked up with little attention on their cases."
Ahed's mother, Nariman Tamimi, who taped the video of the slapping, was "convicted of causing incitement and disrupting and attacking IDF soldiers," the IDF statement said.
She also agreed to an eight-month plea deal with prosecutors. She, too, will be given credit for time served, leaving her five months in prison, along with a fine of 6,000 Israeli shekels (approx. $1,730).
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