Ahed Tamimi jailed for 8 months after slapping Israeli soldier

Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi will serve eight months in prison for slapping an Israeli Defence Force soldier. The 17 year old reached a plea bargain Wednesday after serving three months in detention.

Tamimi was arrested on December 19 for assaulting an Israeli soldier after troops shot her 15-year-old cousin Mohammad Tamimi in the head at close range with a rubber bullet. Footage of the confrontation went viral and the teenager’s subsequent arrest and detention has garnered international attention, with many seeing her as the poster child for Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation.

READ MORE: ‘No fair trial’: Teen Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi denied public hearing in Israel

Tamimi’s trial in military court began on February 13. The Military Court of Appeal rejected a request to have the hearing in public, which Tamimi’s attorney said would deprive her of a fair trial.

@RT_com soldier who ‘executed’ wounded Palestinian attacker has sentence reduced for 2nd time https://on.rt.com/91fb

As part of the plea bargain, Tamimi will plead guilty to four counts of assault, Haaretz reports. She faced 12 charges, including assault and incitement, and could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The Tamimi family have long been prominent Palestinian activists. They live in Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, and take part in weekly demonstrations against the expansion of the nearby Israeli settlement, Halamish. Israel has gradually taken more land and water resources for the settlement, which is deemed illegal by the international community.

Since Tamimi’s arrest, a number of her family members, including her recently-shot cousin, her mother and her father have been arrested.

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Over 1,000 Palestinians Died in Gaza Due to Israeli Blockade

Some 80 percent of the nearly two million residents of Gaza depend on humanitarian aid, with around 60 percent suffering food insecurity. 

Over 1,000 Palestinians have died in the Gaza strip as a result of Israel's military blockade, which has been ongoing for more than a decade, the strip's collective of charitable organizations has warned.

RELATED: Israel Fires at Gaza, Kills 2 Palestinian Teenagers

"Out of the 1,000 or so victims of the blockade, 450 died as a result of the collapse of the health situation in Gaza, such as the lack of medical supplies and the crisis of medical referrals for outside treatment," Ahmad Kurd, the coordinator of the collective, told Al-Jazeera Sunday.

Just in the past few days five premature babies died due to lack of medical treatments available in the region, Kurd said. Meanwhile nearly 100 people died while trying to use alternate electricity. The number of workers who were killed in the fields of agriculture, fishing, and commercial tunnels has reached 350, according to the collective.

Ever since the 2007 Israel-imposed blockade on Gaza, the territory has been in crisis and has been facing food, water, and power shortages. "Gaza is a disaster area in all areas - health, environmental, social, and energy," he warned, adding that power cuts last between 18-20 hours a day.

The Palestinian government "must provide the needs of the Gaza Strip regarding medical supplies, social assistance, pay the salaries of government employees, and exert pressure to open the border crossings," Kurd said. "The use of candles, firewood or generators has resulted in house fires that claimed the lives of children and adults alike."

RELATED: Blockade-Induced Power Outages Force Gaza Hospital to Close

According to the Israeli Information for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Gaza's economy is collapsing due to the blockade. Between May and August 2017, Gaza's unemployment rate stood at 44 percent, whereas during pre-blockade, in 2000, the region's unemployment rate was 18.9 percent.

Some 80 percent of the nearly 2 million residents of Gaza depend on humanitarian aid, with around 60 percent suffering food insecurity. 

According to Haaretz, a Palestinian fisherman was killed Sunday by the Israeli Defense Forces, or IDF, after he sailed past the authorized fishing zone off the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF spokesman said the fishermen didn't respond to their call, after which they opened fire. The boat was carrying three people and the other two fishermen were detained by the IDF for interrogation.

"We are sure that the wounded are fishermen who went out to sea to make a living – and nothing else," the head of the Gaza Fisherman's Union told Haaretz. "The [Israeli] army is always inventing stories about crossing [out of] the fishing zone."

The union has identified the three men as Mahmoud Adel Abu Riala, 18, Ismail Salah Abu Riala, 18, and Ahed Hassan Abu Ali, 26. 

In January, the Palestinian ministry of health reported that a hospital in northern Gaza, Beit Hanoun hospital which serves nearly 60,000 people, had to shut down owing to power shortages.


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Nearly half of Israelis believe police over Netanyahu regarding PM’s corruption – poll

Nearly half of Israeli voters believe the police corruption allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing, according to a recent survey.

The Reshet TV poll asked people whether they believed the police, who claim that Netanyahu improperly accepted expensive gifts from businessmen and conspired with the owner of Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Reuters reports. Around 49 percent say they side with the police and their version, while a quarter say they believe the prime minister, who denies the allegations. The remaining 26 percent said they could not decide.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu © Amir Cohen

The survey comes after police recently recommended that Netanyahu be indicted over claims of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, following more than a year of investigation. Police said they gathered sufficient evidence to start legal proceedings against the premier in two separate probes – Case 1000 and Case 2000. Although the recommendations were submitted to the attorney general, it may take months before the decision is made.

Case 1000 alleges that Netanyahu, along with his wife Sara, received lavish gifts worth thousands of dollars from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer in exchange for favors. The other probe revolves around suspicions of Netanyahu conspiring with the owner of the top-selling Israeli newspaper Arnon Mozes to gain more positive coverage of himself.

The prime minister has repeatedly denied the “baseless” allegations, saying the investigation “will end with nothing.” Following the police announcement, Netanyahu said he will continue to do his job “responsibly and loyally.”

@RT_com Netanyahu maintains innocence as Israeli police edge closer to indicting PM for corruption https://on.rt.com/8ynt

When asked whether the prime minister should temporarily step down, nearly half (49 percent) of the 495 respondents said Netanyahu should stay in office, while 43 percent said he should leave. However, Israeli law does not require a leader to step down in the case of indictment. As for whether the investigation was designed to oust Netanyahu, 38 percent thought it was, while 44 did not.

READ MORE: Netanyahu says ‘attempts to topple’ him will fail as leader suspected of fraud & bribery – media

The probes were launched in December 2016 and have later grown into a source of public outrage, with thousands protesting what they called “Crime Minister”. Late last year, the protest movement was given a boost by Israeli lawmakers, who passed a law aimed at scrapping the procedure of police recommendations to the attorney general. The bill, however, was watered down so that it would not apply to current investigations, including Netanyahu’s.

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Trump-Linked Extremist Settlers Try to Kidnap Palestinian Kids

The Yitzhar settlers, who received money from a foundation directed by Trump’s son-in-law, are considered extreme by Israel itself.

Extremist Jewish settlers in the West Bank attempted to kidnap two Palestinian children aged 10 and 14 from a West Bank village during the presence of Israeli occupation forces, local news outlets reported Thursday.

RELATED: Jared Kushner Omitted Leading a Foundation Funding Illegal Israeli Settlements

Locals at the village of Madma south of Nablus managed to thwart the attempt as the Yitzhar settlers tried to kidnap the two kids while they were attending to sheep on the outskirts of the village, Quds Press reported. The extremist settlers then retreated to their illegal settlement before Israeli forces began to throw tear gas at the local Palestinians.

Yitzhar settlement by the Palestinian city Nablus is home to the radical “Od Yosef Chai” group, which has received funds from the Kushner foundation directed by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and senior advisor of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

Those Jewish settlers are even seen as radicals by the Israeli government itself. Yitzhar is seen as the birthplace of the settler movement "price tag," which calls for attacks against Palestinians in retaliation for actions of the Israeli government against West Bank settlements that are not sanctioned by Israeli authorities.

“This particular yeshiva has served as a base for launching violent attacks against nearby Palestinians villages and Israeli security forces, as well; as a result, it no longer receives funding from the Israeli government,” Israeli left-leaning newspaper Haaretz said in a report about their activities.

RELATED: Israel Kills 4th 16-Year-Old Palestinian Teen So Far This Year

Extremist settlers believe that the West Bank must be part of a greater biblical Israel that was promised to the Jewish people that stretches between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea. They reject the fact that the Israeli state entertains the mere rhetorical possibility of a Palestinian state.

Yitzhar settlers are notorious for their fanaticism and violent acts against Palestinians as they routinely destroy Palestinian olive groves and vandalize Palestinian property.

The news comes as the West Bank and Gaza have been rocked with unrest over the past two months over the Dec. 6 decision of the U.S. administration to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, breaking with international accords stating that the fate of the city should be decided as part of a final peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.

Trump’s move has been welcomed by far-right pro-settlements figures within the Israeli government who have also publicly expressed their opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state, arguing that Palestinian people do not exist and are just simply Arabs from other countries who have no roots in Palestine.


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Cuba Parliament reaffirms Palestinian solidarity

Cuba’s Parliament has reaffirmed its solidarity with Palestine during a visit by a delegation from the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The delegation arrived at the headquarters of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP), led by Fahed Sulaiman, its deputy secretary general.

“The Palestinian cause is also ours,” said Ana Maria Mari Machado, vice president of the ANPP, at the meeting, adding that this is why, in foreign policy affairs, Cuba lends its support to Palestine.

Machado continued to say that the Caribbean island will always be on the side of justice, reaffirming that the country still rejects U.S. President Donald Trump’s December decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The leader also stressed the necessity for unity among people, to achieve success in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, recalling the example of the late revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, who stood by the principle.

The PFLP, have, in turn, expressed solidarity with Cuba on numerous occasions.

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US Rewards Allies in Jerusalem Decision with Special Party

Only seven countries voted in line with Washington's interests: Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Guatemala and Honduras.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced Tuesday that Washington will organize a reception “for the countries who chose not to oppose the U.S. position.” 

RELATED: Israeli Ruling Party Votes to Annex West Bank and Seize Last Palestinian Lands

Haley was referring to a vote on a U.N. resolution to condemn the U.S. unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

East Jerusalem was illegally annexed by Israel after the 1967 war. Before U.S. President Donald Trump's declaration, Israel stood alone in claiming sovereignty over it. The eastern part of Jerusalem remains mostly inhabited by Palestinians who face house demolitions and evictions as part of Israel’s attempt to control the city.  

The U.S. unilateral recognition sparked waves of protests across Palestinian territory that have resulted in the deaths of at least 12 Palestinians and more than 600 arrests and detentions. The move also sparked condemnation of world leaders across continents as most viewed Washington's move as the end of a two-state solution. For decades, East Jerusalem was seen as the future capital of a Palestinian state.

Before the Jerusalem vote took place, Trump said the U.S. will not continue to give “hundreds of billions of dollars” to countries who voted against the U.S., adding “let them vote against us ... We’ll save a lot.”

In spite of Trump’s comments, only seven countries — other than Israel and the U.S. — voted in line with Washington's interests: Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Guatemala and Honduras.

After the vote, Haley said the United States "will remember this day” and threatened the U.N., vowing to “remember it (the vote) when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations.”

The “exclusive” invitation includes countries that chose to abstain from the vote, among them Mexico, Argentina, Canada and Australia. 


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Palestinians Reject United States Threat

Ramallah, Jan 3 (Prensa Latina) The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the threat of US President Donald Trump to cut off financial aid to Palestinians if they do not resume negotiations with Israel.

According to Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the presidential spokesman, 'Jerusalem and its sacred places are not for sale, neither for gold nor silver.'

Peace and real negotiations must be based on Arab and international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative that leads to the establishment of the independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, the spokesman said.

If the United States has any concern for its interests in the Middle East, it must abide by the principles and resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations, otherwise, Washington will push the region to the abyss, Abu Rudeineh added.

The US government announced yesterday that it will cut funds to the Palestinians and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as a means of pressure to resume peace talks with Israel.

Ramallah ended the negotiations on the matter after the US recognition, contrary to international law, of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

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Palestine Slams US 'Blackmail,' Says Jerusalem Not 'For Sale'

The Palestinian Liberation Organization called President Trump’s threat to countries voting against his Jerusalem decision extortion and blackmail.

The Palestinian leadership responded Wednesday to the U.S. threat to cut aid to countries defying Washington’s decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital saying such tactics of “extortion” would only isolate the United States globally.

RELATED: Abbas Says 'Crazy' Seeing US as Mediator, Turns East in Quest for Statehood

"President Trump should know that there are things that are not for sale or subject to blackmail, particularly issues of principle, legality and morality,”  Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Executive Committee Member at the Palestinian Liberation Organization said in a statement posted on the group’s website.

“Extortion is the most effective way for the US to isolate itself even further and to weaken its influence and standing globally. We will not be deterred or intimidated.”

Ashrawi added that she was confident that most countries at the United Nations will honor their “legal and political obligations on Palestine" in the upcoming vote at the U.N. General Assembly.


On Monday the U.S. vetoed a draft resolution calling on Washington to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at the United Nations Security Council, while the 14 other members of the council voted in favor of the resolution.

Arab and Muslim countries, infuriated by President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, called for an emergency General Assembly meeting in order to vote on the draft resolution. The 193-country body agreed to hold the rare meeting and will be held on Thursday.

As a response to holding the special session U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, in a letter to dozens of U.N. states on Tuesday seen by Reuters, warned that Trump had asked her to "report back on those countries who voted against us." She bluntly echoed that call in a Twitter post: "The U.S. will be taking names."

RELATED: 70 Years of Broken Promises, The Untold Story of Israel's Partition Plan

Ashrawi’s statement came just hours after Trump doubled down Wednesday on the threat, telling reporters that his administration would cut aid to those countries that “voted against us.”

Last month the U.S. president ended decades of Washington’s policy stating that the status of the city of Jerusalem must be decided as part of a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, a position that most of the international community continues to fully support.

In the 1967 war Israel took over the eastern part of the city as well as the West Bank from the Jordan. In 1980, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and declared it as its capital, a move that was rejected by most countries in the world.

Palestinians and most of the international community consider East Jerusalem as occupied territory and the future capital of a sovereign Palestinian state.

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