A military court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of Nour Tamimi, who was filmed along with her 16-year-old cousin Ahed slapping IDF soldiers outside the family’s home in the West Bank last month.
The appeals court judge rejected the request of the Military Advocate General, who requested that the 21-year-old remain behind bars until the end of proceedings against her.
While Judge Netanel Benisho did not provide reasons for his decision — which he wrote would be detailed at a later time — he ordered Nour to perform weekly check-ins at a police station near her village of Nabi Saleh, outside Ramallah.
On Sunday, Nour was charged with aggravated assault of a soldier and preventing soldiers from carrying out their duties.
Twenty-four hours later, the military court indicted Ahed as well as her mother, Nariman, who also took part in the December 15 incident.
While the Military Advocate General requested that both Ahed and Nariman be remanded until the end of proceedings against them, the Judea Military Court judge ruled that the pair be remanded only for an additional eight days to provide the Tamimis’ attorney enough time to prepare a defense.
Like Nour, the mother and daughter were both charged with aggravated assault.
The indictment against the teenager cited a total of 12 counts, which took into account five other squabbles with IDF soldiers that she was alleged to have taken part in over the past two years.
Unlike Ahed, Nour was only charged for her actions in the December 15 episode, which ostensibly played a role in the court’s Thursday decision to immediately release the 21-year-old.
Footage from last month’s encounter in Nabi Saleh shows Ahed and Nour approaching two Israeli soldiers, then shoving, kicking and slapping them, while filming on their cellphones.
They move backwards after Nariman arrives and she begins pushing the soldiers herself. The armed soldiers do not respond in the face of what appears to be an attempt to provoke them.
In Ahed’s version of the incident, shared in front of the court during a hearing last month, she said that the same soldiers featured in the video had shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet an hour prior to the filmed encounter. “Then I saw the same soldiers who hit my cousin, this time in front of my house. I could not keep quiet and I responded as I did,” the 16-year-old testified.
Photos of Ahed’s cousin Muhammad Tamimi have been widely shared on Palestinian social media, showing the young boy’s face badly bruised and scarred. The Palestinian Ma’an news outlet had reported that he was in an induced coma due to the injuries, but has since woken up.
Nabi Saleh — 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Ramallah — has been a frequent staging ground for clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, specifically members of the Tamimi family, which has a history of involvement in highly publicized clashes with the IDF.
In August 2015, an IDF soldier was caught on film trying to arrest Ahed’s cousin Muhammad Tamimi, who had been throwing rocks during a violent protest.
Videos of the December 15 incident were widely picked up by Israeli media, which often accuse Palestinian protesters of seeking to provoke the army into responses, only to be filmed.
Ahed Tamimi has since become a cause celebre and rallies have been held in several locations calling for her release, including a demonstration in Paris on Thursday.
Some Israeli politicians hailed the restraint of the soldiers as evidence of the military’s values, while others called for tough responses in the face of seeming humiliation.
In 2012, Ahed gained fame among Palestinian activists for an incident in which she led a group of children, including her younger brother, in arguing with Israeli soldiers. In a video of the incident, she can be seen repeatedly raising her balled fist at a soldier, poised to hit him, but never actually doing so.
Ahed first appeared before the Ofer Military Court on December 19. Explaining her decision to remand her at the time, Judge Lidor Drachman of the Judea region Juvenile Military Court said that while she did not pose any danger, concern that the teen would try to obstruct the investigation justified keeping her locked up.