The IDF West Bank prosecution and lawyers for Ahed Tamimi reached a plea deal on Wednesday which will see her serve a total of 8 months in prison.
The deal is not final as it has not yet been approved by the IDF West Bank Court, but if it goes through, Tamimi will serve about five more months, since she has already served around three months.
“Ahed will be home in a few months, but Israel is putting this child behind bars for eight months for calling for protests and slapping a soldier, after threatening her with years in jail,” said Human Rights Watch. “Plea bargains are the norm in Israel’s military justice system, which is characterized by prolonged pretrial detention, abuse of kids and sham trials.”
The IDF rejects criticism of plea bargains, arguing that they are the norm in many Western legal systems.
Coming only days after the IDF West Bank Courts refused Tamimi’s request for her trial to be public, the deal appears to indicate a realization that little more public attention would be garnered by holding a trial.
In February, the court said that it was standard procedure for trials for minors like Tamimi to be held out of public view in order to protect their interests as minors, and the court recently confirmed that decision.
Tamimi’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, had criticized the decision saying, “It’s strange that the court decided – after sending Ahed into detention until the end of her trial and after her name has already been publicized – that it is in her interests to conduct the trial far off from public view.”
Ultimately, the IDF prosecution also did not oppose the trial being open to the public.
“While this decision nominally is said to protect Ahed, instead it really tries to protect the court,” she said.
She also pointed out that multiple court hearings relating to Tamimi had already been held with a massive media and diplomatic presence, as well as the fact that the video of Tamimi – which is the main subject of the trial – went viral on social media.
In the main incident under question, Tamimi can be seen pushing and kicking two soldiers, though there is no sign that she presented any danger; the soldiers mostly ignored her.
The video evoked polarized reactions, with much of the Israeli camp expressing outrage that she and her cousin were not arrested on the spot, and much of the Palestinian camp cheering her aggressive resistance of what they view as Israeli occupation.
She has sparked such attention that dozens of media outlets in Hebrew, Arabic and English as well as diplomats from several European countries have attended her pretrial hearings, which were standing room only.