The most cowardly Israeli soldier ever? Palestinians free boy from grips of IDF

Published August 30th, 2015 - 07:00 GMT

Questions have been raised over the authenticity of shocking images of a boy with a broken arm being held at gunpoint by an Israeli soldier after a 13-year-old girl seen biting his attacker is said to be a prolific 'Pallywood star'.

The remarkable images which surfaced online on Friday appeared to show an IDF soldier armed with a machine gun grappling with the little boy as two women make desperate attempts to pull him off following protests in the West Bank.

A young girl is seen ambushing the balaclava-clad soldier by forcing the weapon from his hands and biting him before he flees the scene.

But it is thought the young girl in the photographs is Ahed Tamimi, whose parents Bassem and Nariman - also pictured - are well-known Palestinian activists in their village of Nabi Saleh.

The teenager has appeared in a string of similar videos where she challenges Israeli security forces and rose to prominence after she was filmed confronting one who arrested her brother, which resulted in her being presented with a bravery award.

She was handed the 'Handala Award for Courage' by the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in Istanbul, where she reportedly expressed she would like to live.

Online blogs have dubbed her 'Shirley Temper' and accused her of being a 'Pallywood' star - a term coined by author Richard Landes, describing the alleged media manipulation by Palestinians to win public relations war against Israel.

Her father, Bassem al-Tamimi, was convicted by an Israeli military court in 2011 for 'sending people to throw stones, and holding a march without a permit' - a charge his lawyers deny.

He has been jailed eight times, while his wife has been detained five times. Other family members, including their son Waed, has also been arrested.

Bassem organises weekly protests and it was reportedly at one of these demonstrations that the shocking images are said to have been taken.

An Israeli army spokesman said that Palestinians had been throwing stones at an IDF force which was set up in the area.

An image has emerged on the internet of a boy, said to be the youth that was held at gunpoint, throwing rocks with one arm, while his other remained in plaster and in a sling.

The spokesman added that a decision was made to arrest the boy and it was during the detention that a 'violent provocation' began, including a number of Palestinian women and children.

He told Haaretz that there was 'a violent disturbance of the peace in Nabi Saleh, in which Palestinians threw stones at IDF forces that were in the place.

'The youth who was photographed was identified by the lookout force as a stone-thrower, and because of this it was decided to detain him. At the time of the arrest, a violent provocation by a number of Palestinians developed, including women and children. In light of the violent altercation, the commander decided to not to go ahead with the detention.'

He added: 'Two additional Palestinian youths were arrested for throwing stones during the violent clashes. The soldier pictured was lightly wounded as a result of the violent actions against him.'  

The clash happened in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, during protests against Palestinian land confiscation to expand the nearby Jewish Hallamish settlement.

In another flashpoint, Palestinian protester hurled stones at Israeli army bulldozer during clashes which following a protest against Israeli settlements in Qadomem, Kofr Qadom village, near the the West Bank city of Nablus.

They come a day after the European Union's outgoing envoy to the Palestinian territories said the 28-nation bloc was moving forward with measures against Jewish West Bank settlements.

The envoy, John Gatt-Rutter, did not provide a timeframe. But his remarks to reporters underline European discontent with Israel's continued expansion of settlements in territory that Palestinians want for a future state. 

Gatt-Rutter said 'there is support within the union to go on', adding that there are 'more tools' the EU can use.

The EU, Israel's biggest trading partner, is exploring guidelines that would require Israel to label settlement products

It already bars goods produced in settlements from receiving customs exemptions given to Israeli goods.

Gatt-Rutter's remarks come as a grassroots movement promoting boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel is gaining steam.

By Simon Tomlinson, Gemma Mullin


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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