An IDF soldier
A video of several Palestinian teenage girls harassing and slapping Israeli soldiers in the village of Nabi Saleh has gone viral. It has been shared widely on Palestinian social media and by Israelis, with each saying that the video backs up their narrative.
The video that was first posted on December 15, following clashes in the village between the army and locals, shows Ahed Tamimi, a well-known 16-year old activist from the village of Nabi Saleh, kicking and slapping two soldiers.
The village has been a center for protests for many years and the Tamimi family has become famous due to its activism against the Israeli military presence.
The first video was dark and grainy and put up by Ramallah News on Facebook. It was shared by Quds News Network the same day with the caption: “These brave Palestinians girls from the Tamimi family managed to kick two heavily armed Israeli soldiers who wanted to break into their house.”
Soon, more video surfaced which showed Ahed and three other women and girls shouting at and pushing the soldiers. Many of the videos were shared on Ahed’s own Facebook. The posts included comments like, “This girl is the honor of the whole nation.” Hearts, smiley faces, and other emojis supplemented the supportive comments.
Manal Tamimi, who is related to Ahed, wrote on Twitter that the video “is exactly fitting our narrative. It shows a fully armed soldier against a peaceful woman and child.”
However the video then received backing from an unlikely source, pro-Israel voices, who saw it as a display of IDF restraint and its professionalism despite provocations.
The Twitter account Israel News Feed posted the video, describing it as “outrageous” and that in the video “Palestinian girls [are] seen attacking, hitting, and cursing IDF soldiers in order to get [a] response on video.”
The Israel Project shared the video to its Facebook page with the caption: “A MUST WATCH: This is what Israeli soldiers have to go through.
Palestinian women caught hitting, pushing and cursing Israeli soldiers in order to provoke them to respond on camera. The soldiers don’t respond.
You will never see this on the news.”
StandWithUs also posted it to its social media pages, noting that the Palestinian children were trying to get a reaction from the soldiers. “Their goal would be to circulate this footage spreading lies about the IDF, but these soldiers knew what they were trying to achieve and did not budge,” they wrote.
Deputy Minister of Public Diplomacy Michael Oren also wrote on Twitter that the Tamimi family, “which may not be a real family, dresses up kids in American clothes and pays them to provoke IDF troops on camera.”
For the supporters of Nabi Saleh, the teenager remains a hero who has been filmed for years shouting at Israeli soldiers and sometimes scuffling with them. For pro-Israel commentators she is “Shirley Temper,” the nickname some gave her over the years.
“No other country would allow its soldiers to be beaten up by civilians,” wrote a pro-Israel activist from London.