The accounts of the Binyamin Territorial Brigade company commander and soldier who were accosted and attacked by Ahed Tamimi, 17, and her cousin Nur Tamimi, 21, during riots in Nabi Salih a month ago were released Monday evening.
The riots lasted four hours, the soldiers said. The pair was drawing near the Tamimi residence in the southern Samaria village when stones were thrown at them. "At first we were nearby Palestinians' homes, because we knew that once riots break out, activists go into the (Tamimi) home and start throwing rocks at IDF forces," the company commander told the army's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) investigators.
"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.
The company commander said he and the soldier stood at the Tamimi residence's courtyard for 20 minutes until several family members went out and drew close to them. "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," he recounted.
As for the assault itself, the officer said, "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 (Nur) was less violent. She mostly pushed me. Then an older woman arrived, tried reining the girls in but failed."
When questioned as to his feelings during the incident, the company commander said, "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."
Asked why the two attackers were not arrested at the time, he replied, "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 soldier: 'The curly haired minor was trouble'
The soldier who was with the officer also supplied CID with testimony. "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 recollected.
The soldier was also asked why the two minors were not arrested on the scene. He replied, "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. Several other soldiers were also present in the sector, but they didn't witness the incident."
Following the attack, Ahed Tamimi was charged with assaulting the officer and soldier and with five other counts of attacking security forces by stone throwing, threats, disturbing forces in the line of duty, incitements and disturbances.
Nur Tamimi was charged with aggravated assault on a soldier and disturbing a soldier in the line of duty.
In a discussion held Monday at the Ofer military tribunal, Ahed Tamimi's attorney Gaby Lasky presented a series of claims pertaining to interrogators' alleged abuse of her client.
The attorney claimed that one of the interrogators, whose name was not divulged in the minutes, threatened Tamimi—who maintained silence during the interrogation—that if she didn't begin talking he would arrest her family members one by one.
Lasky also presented the presiding judge with photos from Tamimi's interrogation, showing the interrogator approaching the Palestinian girl in an unusual fashion. According to Lasky, "You can clearly see how the interrogator put his head right next to her."
Following the alleged infractions, Lasky lodged a complaint with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
During Monday's court hearing, Tamimi's attorney also commented on the two soldiers' testimonies and claimed that they contained, "contradictions that did not add up."