US releases $195 million in frozen military aid to Egypt

The Trump administration has decided to release $195 million in military aid to Egypt that was frozen last year. (The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS)
Updated 26 July 2018
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US releases $195 million in frozen military aid to Egypt

  • The funds for Egypt, a key US ally, were withheld last year after the passage of a law that severely restricted the work of non-governmental organizations
  • Since 2013, international human rights groups have criticized President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s government

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration has decided to release $195 million in military aid to Egypt that was frozen last year because of human rights concerns, a State Department official said Thursday.
“Recognizing steps Egypt has taken over the last year in response to specific US concerns... the administration has decided to allow Egypt to use the remaining $195 million,” the official said, without describing those steps.
The funds for Egypt, a key US ally, were withheld last year after the passage of a law that severely restricted the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
“There remain areas of concern, and we will continue to make clear the need for progress in addressing them, including... addressing our concerns about the NGO law,” the State Department official said.
“We will continue to look for and encourage opportunities to improve and bolster cooperation,” the official said.
The US “remains committed to strengthening our strategic relationship with Egypt,” the official added.
Since 2013, international human rights groups have criticized President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s government for cracking down on secular and left-wing activists, as well as Islamists close to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Human Rights Watch said last year that the NGO law would lead to “unprecedented levels of repression and ... criminalize the work of many NGOs.”


Brother of Palestinian teen Tamimi sentenced for stone-throwing

Updated 21 August 2018
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Brother of Palestinian teen Tamimi sentenced for stone-throwing

  • Ahed Tamimi was teenage girl who became an icon of the Palestinian cause when she was arrested for slapping a soldier
  • Waed had already received a suspended sentence for stoning Israeli security forces in 2016

JERUSALEM: The brother of a teenager who became a symbol of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after slapping two soldiers has been sentenced to jail for throwing stones at a police officer, the army said Tuesday.
Waed Tamimi, the brother of Ahed Tamimi, confessed to his role in a March 2017 “violent riot” in which an Israeli police officer was wounded by stones thrown by Palestinians at his vehicle, according to a military court ruling from Monday.
Since he had already received a suspended sentence for stoning Israeli security forces in 2016, he was handed a 14-month sentence for the 2017 incident as part of a plea bargain, the court document said.
Asked by the court if he had anything to say, the 22-year-old said: “I have nothing to add. There will be no third time,” according to the ruling, which was published by the army on Tuesday.
The incident took place in Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank, where the Tamimi family lives.
Tamimi’s sister, Ahed, was released from prison last month after an eight-month sentence for hitting and kicking two Israeli soldiers in front of her house in the occupied West Bank.
In an interview the day after her release, the now 17-year-old told AFP that she understood she had become a “symbol” of the Palestinian cause.
Video of that incident went viral, leading to praise and support from Palestinians but scorn from Israelis who accused her activist family of using her in staged provocations.
Rights groups harshly criticized Israel for the length of Ahed Tamimi’s sentence.