Riot at Nabi Salih
Riot at Nabi Salih STR/Flash 90

The accounts of an officer and another soldier who were attacked by members of the Tamimi family in a PA town near Ramallah during riots a month ago were made public Monday evening.

On December 15, 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, her 21-year-old cousin Nour Tamimi and Ahed’s mother Nariman Tamimi confronted 2 IDF soldiers stationed in the town of Nabi Salih following the outbreak of riots in the area.

In footage of the incident that went viral, the Tamimis can be seen pushing, kicking, slapping, and shouting at the soldiers, who do not respond to the provocations.

None of the Tamimis were arrested at the time, but the IDF later arrested Ahed Tamimi on December 19, and Nour and Nariman Tamimi were arrested by Israeli authorities thereafter.

On December 31, the Ofer Military Court northwest of Jerusalem handed down an indictment against Nour Tamimi, charging her with aggravated assault and interfering with an IDF operation.

A day later, two more indictments were filed at the Ofer Court, this time against Ahed and Namiran Tamimi.

A total of 12 charges were included in the indictment against Ahed, spanning 6 different incidents. The charges include aggravated assault, interfering with army operations, incitement, making threats, and throwing stones.

Namiran was also charged with assault for her involvement in the December 15th incident, along with charges of incitement to terrorism for a series of social media posts, and a second count of assault stemming from a previous incident.

On Monday, the Ofer Military Court extended the detentions of Ahed and Nariman Tamimi until Wednesday, when it will be decided whether they will be detained until the end of the proceedings.

In testimony given to military police, the officer involved in the incident explained that he and the other soldier, his signal operator, had arrived to the Tamimi residence to contain rock attacks on fellow soldiers.

“We knew that once riots break out, activists go into the courtyard of the [Tamimi] home and start throwing rocks at IDF forces," he said. "We therefore drew up to the place to prevent rocks from landing on the [forces'] route.”

“A short while later, the Palestinians noticed our positions and started lobbing the rocks at us. We could not ascertain who was throwing them, and so we entered the house's courtyard to prevent them from doing so," he continued.

He related that, after he and the other soldier entered the courtyard of the house and had been standing there for some twenty minutes, "Two girls, two older women and maybe eight more children and four adults came out. The two minors then came to us. They were speaking Arabic, which I can't understand and so I didn't know what they were saying.”

"One of the minors [Ahed], a blonde girl of 12 or 13, wearing a light denim jacket, started shoving, kicking and raising her hands at me. She slapped me and punched my signal operator in the face. The other minor [Nour] was less violent. She mostly pushed me. Then an older woman arrived, tried reining the girls in but wasn’t completely successful."

The officer explained that he didn’t ascribe much importance to the incident at the time. "I had to keep a lid on the riots. There were already two hotspots and I didn't want to create a third one by arresting them, since we didn't have enough forces in the field. I want to note I was preoccupied with the disturbances at the time and was listening to the signal operator, so I didn't pay the event much heed."

The officer also noted that he and the other soldier did not have enough backup at the time, which prevented them from arresting the attackers. "There were two more families behind them - roughly 12 people - and there were two of us. If we had arrested them, it might have ended badly for us. In addition, we were in the midst of a large scale disturbance with not enough manpower."

The other soldier also gave his account of the incident. "The blonde girl kicked the company commander and slapped him in the face. She shoved and beat him. She then punched me in the face and hit my right eyebrow. I felt pain for a while, but it passed. The other girl was taping the whole thing with her phone, and if I recall correctly she pushed me," he explained.

Asked why the attackers were not arrested, he answered, “"I don't know, I was with my commander and it was his decision to make. I heard the curly haired minor was trouble, but I didn't recognize her then. Only later."