Palestinians rally in support of jailed ‘slap video’ teen

Palestinian Bassem Tamimi speaks in front of a poster showing his daughter Ahed at his home in Nabi Saleh near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Israel’s prosecution of his 16-year-old daughter who slapped two Israeli soldiers has trained a spotlight on her activist family and its role in what Palestinians call ‘popular resistance,’ or near-weekly protests against Israeli occupation staged in several West Bank villages. (AP Photo)
Updated 13 January 2018
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Palestinians rally in support of jailed ‘slap video’ teen

Nabi Saleh, Palestinian Territories: Clashes broke out after dozens of Palestinian and Arab Israeli supporters of jailed teenager Ahed Tamimi protested near her home in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, AFP correspondents said.
Tamimi, 16, was arrested on December 19, days after a video went viral showing her slapping Israeli soldiers near her home in the village of Nabi Saleh in an apparent attempt to provoke them.
She was charged in a military court on January 1 with 12 counts, including assault. The army kept her in custody.
Tamimi’s mother and another relative were also charged over the same incident, with the latter released on bail until her trial in February.
Around 100 Palestinians from across the West Bank arrived to protest against Ahed Tamimi’s arrest, chanting for her release and against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
The demonstration was attended by leaders from various Palestinian factions and Israeli Arab members of Israel’s parliament.
Tamimi’s father Bassem, himself a prominent campaigner against Israeli occupation of the West Bank, thanked participants for their “solidarity with Ahed.”
Protests erupted after the speeches, and Israeli forces fired tear gas at stone-throwing youths.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said soldiers used riot dispersal means, and in order to “prevent further violent riots” declared part of the Nabi Saleh area a closed military zone.
Israelis see the video, which showed Israeli soldiers not reacting to an apparent attempt to provoke them, as evidence of the morality of their army.
Palestinians argue that Tamimi was merely seeking to force Israeli soldiers off their land, and point to her subsequent night-time military arrest as evidence of abuse of a child’s rights.
The European Union expressed concern about Israel’s detention of minors, including Ahed, on Friday.
Tamimi and her mother will be in court again on Monday for a hearing on a request that they be released until their trials begin.


Israel threatens to get tougher on Gaza after warplanes hit Hamas

The strikes targeting Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, were more intense than in previous sorties. AFP
Updated 40 min 29 sec ago
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Israel threatens to get tougher on Gaza after warplanes hit Hamas

  • Israeli planes initially targeted three Hamas military positions overnight in Gaza in response to kites and balloons carrying incendiary and explosive devices launched into Israel
  • The military wings of Hamas and allied militant group Islamic Jihad said they had “targeted seven Israeli military positions near Gaza

GAZA CITY: Israeli warplanes pounded Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday in a new flare-up of hostilities that saw dozens of rockets and mortar shells fired from the Palestinian enclave, the army said.
The strikes targeting Hamas’ military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, were more intense than in previous sorties to convey the message “we will not allow this situation to continue,” Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters.
The latest spike in tensions follows weeks of deadly protests and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border as well as the worst military escalation last month since a 2014 war.
It comes as US President Donald Trump’s special envoy Jason Greenblatt and adviser Jared Kushner visit the region to discuss issues including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Israeli planes initially targeted three Hamas military positions overnight in Gaza in response to kites and balloons carrying incendiary and explosive devices launched into Israel from the Palestinian territory, the army said.
“They may look like toys but I can assure they are not toys, they are weapons intended to kill and to inflict damage,” Conricus said.
He said that so far Israel had sought to warn off those launching the airborne devices but that could change.
“Hamas and other militants, but mainly Hamas” hit back after the first air raids with more than 45 rockets and mortar rounds fired from Gaza toward Israel, seven of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, he added.
Three more landed inside the Jewish state, he said, but did not account for the remainder.
In response, Israeli planes carried out more raids against 25 “terror objectives” including an underground training compound, according to the army.
Gaza medical sources said that five people were lightly injured in the strikes.
In a joint statement, the military wings of Hamas and allied militant group Islamic Jihad said they had “targeted seven Israeli military positions near Gaza... in response to continued Israeli aggression against resistance sites in Gaza.”
Conricus said that most of the 200,000 Israeli civilians who live within range of the short-range rockets fired from Gaza “spent the night in bomb shelters.”