UK says Israeli sentencing of Palestinian teen symbolises conflict


Jerusalem (AFP)

The British government said Friday that the sentencing of a Palestinian teenager for slapping an Israeli soldier was "emblematic" of the impact of the region's conflict on its youth.

Ahed Tamimi, now 17, agreed an eight-month plea deal on Wednesday after a video went viral in December showing her slapping an Israeli soldier on her property in the occupied West Bank.

The jail sentence was "emblematic of how the unresolved conflict is blighting the lives of a new generation", Britain's minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, said in a statement.

He said London remained concerned by Israel's jailing of Palestinian children, adding that the Jewish state needed to "do much more to safeguard vulnerable people in its care".

"We will continue to call upon Israel to improve its practices in line with international law and obligations," he added.

Tamimi, 16 at the time of the incident, has been hailed as a hero by Palestinians who see her as bravely standing up to Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

Israelis accuse her family of using Tamimi as a pawn in staged provocations.

She told reporters on Wednesday before the court accepted the plea bargain agreement that "there is no justice under occupation and this is an illegitimate court".

Tamimi?s sentence includes time served and a fine of 5,000 shekels ($1,430, 1,166 euros), meaning she is to be released in the summer.