Palestinians call for strike, ‘day of rage’ in Hebron
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Palestinians call for strike, ‘day of rage’ in Hebron

Soldier hurt, 2 Palestinian terrorists killed in attack near Hebron; pro-Iran faction in Gaza says IDF killed its member; Israeli civilian killed, four Israelis injured in earlier incidents

  • Soldiers and paramedics at the scene of an apparent stoning and hit-and-run attack in the West Bank on October 20, 2015. (Screen capture: Friends in Time of Need/Twitter)
    Soldiers and paramedics at the scene of an apparent stoning and hit-and-run attack in the West Bank on October 20, 2015. (Screen capture: Friends in Time of Need/Twitter)
  • Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's meeting in Amman, Jordan, on October 20 2015. (Foreign Ministry)
    Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's meeting in Amman, Jordan, on October 20 2015. (Foreign Ministry)
  • File: A police guard stands near the entrance to the village of Issawiyah on September 9, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    File: A police guard stands near the entrance to the village of Issawiyah on September 9, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Hamas official Hassan Yousef at his office in Ramallah, July 30, 2015 [Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel]
    Hamas official Hassan Yousef at his office in Ramallah, July 30, 2015 [Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel]
  • Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal at the president's residence in Jerusalem on March 22, 2015 (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)
    Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal at the president's residence in Jerusalem on March 22, 2015 (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address the press in Jerusalem on October 20, 2015 (screen capture: Channel 2)
    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address the press in Jerusalem on October 20, 2015 (screen capture: Channel 2)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Gaza border together with Defense minister Moshe Ya'alon (L), and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot (R) on October 20, 2015. (Chaim Tzach/GPO)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Gaza border together with Defense minister Moshe Ya'alon (L), and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot (R) on October 20, 2015. (Chaim Tzach/GPO)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.

IDF detains Hamas leader for ‘incitement’

IDF troops and Shin Bet security service forces say they have arrested Hamas leader Hassan Yousef in an overnight raid near Ramallah.

Yousef, 60, is one of the top figures in the terror organization in the West Bank. He has been actively instigating and inciting terrorism and publicly encouraging and praising the execution of attacks against Israelis, the army says.

“Hamas’ leaders cannot expect to propagate violence and terror from the comfort of their living-rooms and pulpits of their mosques. When you encourage, promote and praise the death the innocent the IDF will act swiftly in order to contain the hateful incitement that jeopardizes the safety and wellbeing of so many Israelis and Palestinians alike,” IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner says.

In the past Yousef has been arrested and imprisoned multiple times.

Mosab Hassan Yousef in Israel (photo credit: AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Mosab Hassan Yousef in Israel (photo credit: AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

His son is Mosab Yousef, a Hamas defector nicknamed the “Green Prince” who fled to the US and now advocates against Islamism.

Jeb Bush: No moral equivalence in Israel’s war on terror

Republican presidential hopeful and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tweets a link to a snippet from a Fox News interview in which he says there is no “moral equivalency” between Israel trying to defend itself from Palestinian terrorists.

Bush speaks a week after spokespeople for the Obama Administration said Israel may be using “excessive” force in its efforts to prevent terror attacks. Top Israeli officials angrily rejected the comments and they were later withdrawn, including by US Secretary John Kerry in a phone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palestinians arrested in West Bank raids

IDF and Israel Police forces arrested a resident of the village of Yamoun, near Jenin in the West Bank overnight, after four stolen motorcycles were found in his home, Hebrew-language website Ynet reports.

IDF, police and Border Police forces arrested several wanted persons in the West Bank overnight, the army says.

In a tweet, the IDF reports it arrested 20 people wanted for “popular terror” which usually consists of stone-throwing and low level violence.

According to the Walla news website, 35 people were arrested, including 10 Hamas members.

Abbas to meet Kerry in Amman this week

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman, Jordan, on Friday, Israel Radio quotes Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki as saying.

Senior Fatah official Wassel Abu Youssuf says the PA is not enthusiastic about the upcoming meeting and assesses that nothing new will come out of it.

In an interview with Arabic paper A-sharq Al-awsat, Abu Youssuf says Abbas will tell Kerry that the international community should give guarantees that Israel will “end the occupation” according to a clear timetable.

Jewish Home MK speaks about his weed-smoking habits

Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal says he smoked weed, including during his tenure as a lawmaker.

Magal was interviewed by Channel 2 for a program that will air this evening.

“I did already smoke up as an MK, but I never made speeches or took decisions under the influence [of cannabis],” Magal says.

“I didn’t say I will no longer consume drugs, as an MK I declared that I stopped smoking,” Magal says, as the Channel 2 interviewer confronts him with a photo published on Facebook which shows him sitting in a friend’s home with what looks like a bag of weed on the coffee table in front of him.

“I cannot say I didn’t smoke,” he says.

Magal is trying to promote legislation that would decriminalize cannabis use. “There is no reason to open criminal files against young people who only smoke light drugs,” he says. He found an ally in this campaign in Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, from the other end of the political spectrum. Zandberg is also working to decriminalize weed.

MK Yinon Magal leaves a press conference after a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on March 22, 2015 (photo credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

MK Yinon Magal leaves a press conference after a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on March 22, 2015 (photo credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

General strike in Isawiyah today

Residents of Isawiyah, a Palestinian village in northeastern Jerusalem, announce a general strike today in protest at the closing of three out of four entries to the village.

They are also protesting the exhaustive security checks residents must undergo when they come and go in the one entry left open, Israel Radio reports.

The strike includes schools, public transportation and all workers outside the village who live in Isawiyah.

Palestinian media yesterday said a 65-year-old woman died when she was stuck in traffic en route to a hospital after she was lightly injured when she inhaled tear gas.

There have been numerous riots in Isawiyah, a village of some 20,000 residents, in recent weeks. Fadi Aloun, who was shot and killed outside the Old City on October 3 after stabbing an Israeli, was a resident of Isawiyah.

File: A police guard stands near the gas station in Jerusalem's French Hill, near the entrance to the village of Isawiyah neighborhood on September 9, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

File: A police guard stands near the gas station in Jerusalem’s French Hill, near the entrance to the village of Isawiyah neighborhood on September 9, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Bullets, gun parts found in Palestinian’s home

Weapons including cartridges, bullets and gun parts were found in the home of a Palestinian from a village near Hebron in the West Bank. Israel Police officers arrested the man, in his thirties, and opened an investigation.

At least 12 said killed in Russian airstrikes in Syria

Syrian opposition forces say at least 50 people were wounded in airstrikes by Russian jets on a village in the Latakia region in northwestern Syria, Israel Radio reports.

At least 12 people were killed according to one report, including fighters from among the rebels opposing the Assad regime.

Russian jets also dropped leaflets over neighborhoods in the city of Aleppo calling on residents to leave their homes ahead of airstrikes planned for coming days.

Yesterday another Iranian general was killed in battles with the rebels, the station reports.

Balad MKs reject condemnation of terror attacks

Members of Balad, one of the parties comprising the Joint List, say they did not agree to a statement published by Joint List leader Ayman Odeh condemning Sunday night’s terror attack in Beersheba.

Odeh is a member of Hadash, another of the parties in the Joint List. He published the statement after a faction meeting on Monday.

The Joint List publishes statements only after all parties in the faction agree on their content, but Balad MKs told the Walla news website that they have been boycotting Joint List faction meetings for the past two weeks.

Officials in Balad say the faction took advantage of their absence to “publish a press statement the content of which was not agreed on by Balad members.”

In response, officials in Joint List say the decision to publish the statement, just like other faction decisions, was made during the faction meeting.

Arab MK Hanin Zoabi at a hearing on her case at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, December 9, 2014 (photo credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Arab MK Hanin Zoabi at a hearing on her case at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, December 9, 2014 (photo credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Palestinians clashing with security forces near Hebron

Palestinians are clashing with Israeli security forces in Beit Awa, near Hebron, according to the Walla news website.

The troops are using stun grenades and tear gas in order to quell the protest.

27 Palestinians staying in Israel illegally nabbed

Police arrested 27 Palestinians who were in Israel illegally yesterday overnight.

One of them, according to the Ynet news website, was released in the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange.

Netanyahu — Palestinian state will continue conflict

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is speaking in Jerusalem at the Zionist Congress in Jerusalem.

He says PA President is not a moderate and incites to terrorism “all the time, day in and day out.” Netanyahu also says a Palestinian state, if established, will not bring an end to the conflict.

Flight from US to Israel declared an emergency

A flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv was declared an emergency. Is not yet clear why.

Police arrest 14 suspects for ‘disturbing the peace’

Police and Border Police officers arrested 14 suspects on allegations of disturbing the peace, including 10 adults and four minors, police says in a statement.

Since the evening of Rosh Hashanah, on September 13 and until today, 490 suspects were detained, including 278 adults and 212 minors.

Soldier lightly hurt when stabbed in West Bank

Initial reports suggest a soldier was stabbed in the southern Hebron Hills in the West Bank and was lightly wounded.

The stabber was shot according to Army Radio. At the time of writing it is not clear whether the stabber is alive or dead.

Hebron Hills attacker apparently killed by soldiers

The man who stabbed a soldier in the southern Hebron Hills was apparently killed by IDF soldiers.

IDF confirms soldier stabbed in West Bank

The army’s statement on the stabbing attack:

Moments ago, an assailant stabbed an IDF officer during a violent riot near Beit Awwa. The force responded with fire toward the assailant.

Magen David Adom confirms that the attacker was killed.

Defense Ministry recognizes sexual assault as act of terror

The Defense Ministry recognizes a woman who was sexually assaulted as a terror victim for the first time, setting a precedent.

The victim, who was 14 years old when she was sexually assaulted by four Palestinian teens in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood of Jerusalem, will be eligible to receive recognition and financial assistance from the National Insurance Institute as a victim of a terror attack, according to the Walla news website.

Stabbing attacker named as Adi Hashem al Masalmeh

The Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry names the attacker killed in the southern Hebron Hills today, near Negohot, as Adi Hashem al Masalmeh.

He was 24 years old and a resident of Beit Awwa, in the southwestern West Bank.

Spain arrests suspected jihadist about to head to Syria

A 22-year-old Spanish woman suspected of trying to reach Syria to join Islamist extremists was arrested today at Madrid airport before boarding a flight to Turkey, police say.

The woman is originally from the southwestern province of Huelva and has converted “to the most extreme form of Islam and allegedly maintained contact with radical elements,” they say in a statement.

“The woman had planned to travel to Turkey and then go to Syria to join the ranks of Daesh,” police adds, using the Arabic name for the Islamic State group.

She was the latest of several suspected female IS sympathizers detained in Spain since last year over security concerns.

— AFP

Herzog says country ‘may be heading for civil war’

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog says at a conference of the Israel Democracy Institute that the situation in Jerusalem is a preview of what a binational Jewish-Palestinian state would look like and warns that the current government is leading Israel toward such a state.

“There is a feeling that there are groups in Israeli society that do not regret the assassination of [former prime minister Yitzhak] Rabin and do not understand its implications on Israeli society,” Herzog says.

The conference marks 20 years since Rabin’s assassination, which took place on November 5, 1995.

“Despite the national challenges we have overcome, Israeli society finds itself in places we’ve never been before. Are we on the way to civil war?” he asks.

“Jerusalem is the picture of the future binational state we are heading to. The separation between the [Jewish and Palestinian] peoples must become a reality. We must separate from the Palestinians. The solution of divorcing from the Palestinians is not ‘Love of Arabs’ but the only Zionist solution,” Herzog says.

File: Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog speaks during a party meeting at the Knesset on July 27, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

File: Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog speaks during a party meeting at the Knesset on July 27, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Dore Gold, in Amman, says incitement must stop

Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold addresses a top security conference in Jordan, reiterating Israel’s commitment to the status quo on the Temple Mount.

In his speech to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, known as OSCE – Gold tells the delegates about the “need to fight incitement” as a key ingredient in the war on terror, which plagues the nations represented at the conference, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry.

Gold sits next to the foreign ministers of Jordan and Egypt.

The Vienna-based OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization.

— Raphael Ahren

Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's meeting in Amman, Jordan, on October 20 2015. (Foreign Ministry)

Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s meeting in Amman, Jordan, on October 20, 2015. (Foreign Ministry)

Man critically wounded after objects are hurled at his car, in West Bank

An Israeli was wounded near Hebron when unknown assailants hurled objects at his car.

According to reports the man is in critical condition.

Australian MP says Israel ‘can count on understanding’ of his government

Israel can “count on the compassion and understanding” of the Australian government as it faces the current terror wave, a parliamentarian from the ruling Liberal Party of Australia says.

“In times of trauma and crisis such as this, it is imperative that opinion makers, be they journalists or politicians, speak the truth and demonstrate moral clarity,” MP Michael Sukkar, a Christian and the son of a Lebanese immigrant, declares. “Those who seek to justify the deaths of innocent Israelis by blaming them on settlements or events in Gaza should be utterly ashamed of themselves.”

Addressing the House of Representatives Monday, Sukkar lists several examples of anti-Jewish incitement by Palestinian politicians and clerics, arguing that they could not be dismissed as mere rhetoric. Rather, they need to be recognized as “commands to be obeyed with merciless and fanatical brutality.”

Sukkar also takes Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to task for “vile statements,” suggesting that they encourage terror attacks against innocent Israelis.

“Given these terrible atrocities, I want to take this opportunity to convey my sincerest condolences to the people of Israel and their grieving families in the Australian Jewish community,” Sukkar says. “They can certainly count on the compassion and understanding of this government at such a difficult time.”

— Raphael Ahren

Victim was apparently run over by vehicle after leaving own car

The man badly wounded near Kiryat Arba, south of Hebron, was apparently hit by a vehicle after his own car was hit by rocks or other objects. The man stopped, exited his car and then was hit by a passing vehicle.

Magen David Adom paramedics gave him initial treatment and he was then evacuated by helicopter to a hospital.

Man run over south of Hebron pronounced dead

The man hit by a car earlier today was pronounced dead, Israel Radio reports.

Driver caught, suspected of running over man intentionally

Channel 2 says the truck driver who hit an Israeli man and killed him was captured. It is not clear whether the driver ran over the victim deliberately or by accident.

Army Radio reports that security forces at the scene suspect that the driver did so intentionally.

Video from scene of crash

Watch a clip from the scene of the fatal car crash.

Paramedic’s account of scene south of Hebron

A paramedic that treated the man who died earlier today describes the scene: “When we arrived at the location, we found an approximately 50-year-old man lying next to an automobile. He was unconscious, with no pulse, and was not breathing. He was suffering from multi-system trauma. We gave him life-saving medical treatments and CPR, but in the end were forced to pronounce his death,” says paramedic Eyal Mor-Yosef.

Abbas to address UN Human Rights Council next week

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will address the United Nations’ top human rights body next week, the UN says.

“We expect that on October 28, here in Geneva, the Human Rights Council will hold a special meeting, (which) will feature an intervention by President Mahmoud Abbas from Palestine on the situation in the region,” UN spokesman Michele Zaccheo says.

He stresses that the event would not be a special session of the council, but rather a “meeting” lasting about one hour, including a speech by Abbas, but with no room for subsequent questions or debate.

Such a special meeting has been called only once before by the UN’s top rights body, when Chilean President Michelle Bachelet spoke to the council in 2007, Zaccheo said.

The announcement comes as UN chief Ban Ki-moon is expected to arrive in Israel and the Palestinian territories to try to calm nearly six weeks of escalating violence.

— AFP

Palestinian hit-and-run driver turns himself in to PA police

The driver of the truck that hit an Israeli man and fled turns himself in to Palestinian police, Army Radio reports.

The man says he hit the Israeli accidentally but then fled because he feared for his life in the current atmosphere.

He was not aware that the man stopped by the side of the road because his car was pelted with rocks just moments earlier.

Palestinian police officers have transferred the truck driver to Israeli police for interrogation.

Demonstrations this morning at TA University

Dozens of Israeli Arab students protested at the entrance to Tel Aviv University today against what they called “mistreatment, arrests, the Judaization of Jerusalem and daily execution of sons and daughters of the Palestinian nation,” Ynet reports.

According to the report the students called Israel a “terrorist state” and said all land “from Rafah to Metulla” is occupied.

A counter-demonstration by right wingers took place at the same time. Protesters held signs saying “Inciting at the taxpayer’s expense” and “Shame on you, terrorism-supporters and liars.”

Watch arrest of Hamas leader Hassan Yousef

The IDF releases a video of the arrest of Hamas leader in the West Bank Hassan Yousef. Watch:

Oren Hazan says he received death threats on Facebook

Likud MK Oren Hazan says he has been receiving death threats on Facebook, posted to his page by Arab and Turkish internet users.

According to a report in Hebrew-language daily Maariv, several people posted images of bloody knives, people wearing ski masks and photos of victims of recent terror attacks, accompanied by slogans calling for the murder of Jews.

Following the complaint, the Knesset transferred the matter to the hands of Israel Police.

Hazan told the paper today: “I live in Ariel [a West Bank Jewish town] and take these threats very seriously. Only a few days ago they marked the date of the assassination of Rehavam Ze’evi, who was murdered when he was staying at a hotel in Jerusalem.”

Ze’evi was the leader of the far-right Moledet party, which advocated a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by a forced population transfer.

“I also stay in hotels in the city, and I have no doubt that because I am an MK from Likud and because of my speeches at the Knesset, there are those who threaten my life. We are in the midst of a wave of terror attacks, such things cannot simply be brushed aside,” says the MK.

Likud Member of Knesset Oren Hazan during a Likud party meeting at the Knesset, June 15, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Likud Member of Knesset Oren Hazan during a Likud party meeting at the Knesset, June 15, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Police to grill several in mob attack on Eritrean man

Police will interrogate several people on suspicion of taking part the beating of Eritrean Haftom Zarhum in the confusion that ensued after a shooting terror attack in Beersheba on Sunday. He died shortly after.

The number of suspects is not clear yet, but is between four and six. Among the suspects to be interrogated are an officer in the Israel Prison Service and a prison warden.

Police are waiting for the result of an autopsy that would determine whether Zarhum was killed by a bullet fired at him or by the beating he suffered at the hands of the crowd.

Gideon Sa’ar slams government’s handling of terror wave

Former Likud MK and minister Gideon Sa’ar, who many see as the man most likely to challenge PM Netanyahu for leadership of the party, criticizes the government’s handling of the recent terror wave.

“Israel urgently needs leadership that will know how to accept responsibility and not shake it off,” Sa’ar says at the Israel Democracy Institute marking 20 years since the assassination of slain PM Rabin.

“We’ve heard enough words. In days like these it is important to safeguard core values and any lynching of passersby or attacks against crews of reporters should be condemned. Nevertheless, in these days of terror, means like deportation and revoking citizenship should be employed,” he says.

Sa’ar adds that Israel needs leaders that “initiate, not just react. Israel needs leadership that serves the people and not the other way around.”

Former minister of interior Gideon Sa'ar holds a press conference on September 17, 2014, announcing he will resign from both the cabinet and the Knesset after the Jewish holidays. (Flash90)

Former minister of interior Gideon Sa’ar holds a press conference on September 17, 2014, announcing he will resign from both the cabinet and the Knesset after the Jewish holidays. (Flash90)

Tens of thousands flee new Syria offensives

Tens of thousands are fleeing new regime offensives in Syria, the UN warns, as Russian airstrikes were reported to have so far killed 370 people, many of them civilians.

The mass exodus is focused south of Syria’s second city Aleppo, one of five areas where regime troops have launched renewed attacks since Russia began its air war on September 30.

“Around 35,000 people are reported to have been displaced from… the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo city, following government offensives over the last few days,” says Vanessa Huguenin, spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

She says many of the displaced were living with host families and in informal settlements in the west of the province.

“People urgently need food and basic household and shelter items,” she says. “Aid agencies are growing more and more concerned for families living outdoors as the weather is getting colder, especially overnight.”

— AFP

Main Bethlehem checkpoint to be closed this weekend

Police will close a checkpoint leading out of Bethlehem from October 22 at midnight until October 25th, to vehicles and pedestrians alike.

Entrance to Jerusalem will be allowed only through the Tunnel and Mazmoria checkpoints.

No reason for the closure was cited.

Man hit by car in West Bank in apparent car-ramming terror attack

A pedestrian was hit by a car near a major West Bank junction and moderately wounded.

Magen David Adom paramedics are on their way to the scene.

Initial reports suggests the incident is a deliberate car-ramming terror attack.

The driver was disarmed by security forces and his condition is as yet unclear.

2 people hurt in car-ramming attack; driver killed

Two people were lightly wounded in what is apparently a car-ramming terror attack. The driver was shot and killed by security forces.

Avraham Hasano, 50, killed in attack near Hebron

The man killed earlier today after being struck by a truck near Hebron was identified as 50-year-old Avraham Hasano of Kiryat Arba.

 

20-year-old, 30-year-old lightly hurt in Gush Etzion attack

MDA paramedic Dror Eini is at the scene of the attack near Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank and says:

“When we arrived at the scene we saw a 30-year-old man standing at the intersection who had been hit by the car. He was fully conscious but suffering from a light injuries to his extremities. In addition, we saw a 20-year-old who was also fully conscious and walking around, who also had wounds on his arms and legs. We treated them on the scene and then sent them to Haddassah Ein Kerem Hospital.”

A photo of the car involved in a suspected terror attack Monday near the West Bank's Gush Etzion junction, south of Jerusalem. (Magen David Adom)

A photo of the car involved in a suspected terror attack Monday near the West Bank’s Gush Etzion junction, south of Jerusalem. (Magen David Adom)

UNESCO head seeks to postpone Western Wall vote

UNESCO Secretary General Irina Bokova asks the UN agency’s organizing committee to postpone a vote on a Palestinian resolution calling for recognition of the Western Wall as a holy place for Islam.

The move comes as Bokova fears that voting on the initiative may inflame the Middle East to an even worse degree than currently. Voting on the proposal “could be seen to alter the status of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls” and incite further tensions, she says.

A report in the Hebrew-language paper Maariv said Bokova made the request after meeting Israel’s envoy to the agency, Carmel Shama Hacohen.

Bokova, according to the report, then met the Palestinian envoy to the agency and asked him to soften the wording of the resolution’s text. After the Palestinians refused, she asked the agency to postpone the vote. It was initially scheduled to take place today.

Every member of UNESCO carries the responsibility “to take decisions that do not further inflame tensions on the ground and that encourage respect for the sanctity of the Holy Sites,” she said.

Shama Hacohen tells Maariv: “The Palestinians have made the text of the resolution worse compared to previous [proposed resolutions at UNESCO] and now also want ownership of the Western Wall. This raises objection from countries even among those that do not support us. Among European countries, all countries but one said that if the Palestinians don’t soften the text of the resolution they will oppose it. We are continuing our diplomatic efforts to the last minute.”

Carmel Shama-Cohen, Likud Knesset member who was supposed to participate in meeting with Egyptian parliamentarians (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Roads to Gush Etzion junction closed after attack

Roads leading to the Gush Eztion junction in the West Bank, scene of an attack on two Israeli pedestrians moments ago, have been closed by police.

 

IDF says Gush Etzion attacker tried to stab soldier, civilian

The IDF says in a statement about the recent attack near the Gush Etzion junction that a Palestinian man attempted to ram the pedestrians at a bus stop, “then left his car and attempted to stab the pedestrians.”

“A civilian and soldier were both injured and evacuated for medical treatment. Security forces on scene shot the attacker,” the IDF says.

Britain’s Hammond: There are 10,000-13,000 IS fighters in Iraq

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says there are between 10,000 and 13,000 Islamic State fighters in Iraq, Reuters reports.

He makes the comments during an address to British lawmakers.

In Syria, Hammond adds that according to UK figures, there are some 80,000 rebels who are not members of Islamic State or the Nusra Front, a radical Sunni organization affiliated with al-Qaeda and espousing a worldview not far from Islamic State’s.

Suspicious object found near Nes Ziona kindergarten

A suspicious object was found moments ago near a kindergarten in the central town of Nes Ziona. Police sappers are at the scene and inspecting it to see if it’s a bomb.

The circumstances of the incident are not immediately clear, but Channel 2 says the incident may be criminal in nature.

Netanyahu: ‘Impressed’ Gaza border under control

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits troops on the Gaza border and says he’s “impressed that the situation here is under control.”

Netanyahu took a peek into the Gaza Strip from an observation post on the border and received a briefing along with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the border of the Gaza Strip on October 20, 2015. (Haim Zach / GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the border of the Gaza Strip on October 20, 2015. (Haim Zach / GPO)

He says that Israel is trying to maintain calm in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza border, and that “I think that here it’s clear to Hamas that we consider it responsible for what happens in Gaza and for what comes from Gaza, and that we won’t tolerate violation of our borders or attacks on our territory or people. I’m impressed that this message has been well understood.”

Simultaneously with his visit, dozens of Palestinians threw stones and firebombs at the Erez Crossing on the northern end of the Gaza Strip and IDF soldiers responded with crowd dispersal means, Ynet reports. Palestinian media also reports clashes with the IDF east of the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. The Hamas Health Ministry says two Palestinians were injured by IDF fire.

Palestinian killed, 3 injured in clashes with IDF on Gaza border

The Hamas Health Ministry says a 27-year-old Palestinian man was killed and three others injured in clashes with the IDF near the border of the Gaza Strip, east of the Bureij refugee camp.

The man was identified as Ahmed Sharif al-Sarhi.

Two Palestinian men also snuck through the border fence into Israel near the central Gaza Strip Bureij refugee camp, an army spokeswoman says. IDF troops apprehended the suspects, who do not appear to have been armed.

Rivlin: Israel won’t alter ‘single letter’ of Temple Mount status quo

President Reuven Rivlin says at a press conference with visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Israel won’t change “even a single letter” of the status quo on the Temple Mount.

“The Temple Mount is held captive by people who want to ignite a religious war,” he says. “Israel won’t let this happen, and won’t change even a single letter of the status quo.”

Border Police officer hurt in firebomb attack at Rachel’s Tomb

A Molotov cocktail was thrown at Border Police officers near Rachel’s Tomb, outside Bethlehem. One Israeli soldier was injured.

Another firebomb was thrown at the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit. No injuries were reported.

Palestinians also threw rocks at an Israeli bus near the West Bank city of Hebron. No injuries were reported.

European states oppose UNESCO resolution on Western Wall

Many European countries oppose the UNESCO resolution that would declare the Western Wall in Jerusalem a Muslim site in its current form, and are trying to either get the wording changed or remove it altogether, sources tell The Times of Israel.

According to a senior European diplomat, the Russians are currently considering submitting a no-action motion, which would mean that the Palestinians’ resolution is withdrawn and not voted on. Many European Union member states would support such a move, a senior European diplomat says.

“Broadly, we agree with the comments from the director-general,” the diplomat says, referring to UNESCO chief Irina Bokova’s statement today in which she says she “deplores” the proposal since it “could further incite tensions.”

Bokova’s statement marked the first time the organization’s director-general has publicly weighed in a vote to be taken by the executive board, a step for which she was widely criticized by several member states.

Some of the text of the Palestinian draft resolution – submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Kuwait, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates – is “very unhelpful” and “clearly unacceptable,” the senior diplomat says, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

If the resolution is not withdrawn, Western officials will work on the text and try “to get rid of the most troubling passages,” the diplomat says. If the Arab states behind the motion refuse to amend the text then many European states can be expected to vote against it.

The vote is scheduled for Wednesday but some states are trying to postpone it.

— Raphael Ahren

Hundreds of Palestinians riot near Rachel’s Tomb

Hundreds of Palestinians are rioting near Rachel’s Tomb, and several firebombs and a pipe bomb have been thrown at Israeli troops guarding the site, Wallla news reports.

Earlier a Border Police officer was injured by a firebomb thrown by a Palestinian at the site.

The tomb, believed to house the remains of the biblical matriarch Rachel and considered holy to Jews, is located just north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

IDF fires on Gaza snipers near border

The IDF says that Israeli security forces identified terrorists in the Gaza Strip preparing to snipe at Israeli forces carrying out defensive activities near the southern Gaza Strip. The IDF said the soldiers fired at the snipers and hits were confirmed.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on the Gaza side.

Last week Israeli forces conducting repair work on the border came under fire from Gaza snipers, and earlier this month an IDF vehicle was fired upon by snipers as well.

IDF launches probe into ‘lynch’ of Eritrean in Beersheba

The IDF has opened an investigation into the conduct of soldiers who were present when Israeli civilians and a soldier began beating an Eritrean man who had been shot at the Beersheba central bus station.

The Military Police investigations unit launched a preliminary probe into the incident, in which Haftom Zarhum was brutally attacked, Channel 10 reports. The 29-year-old later succumbed to his injuries.

“The Investigative Military Police joins the Israel Police in investigating the incident, and should they find irregularities, an investigation will be opened against the suspects,” IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz says.

Channel 2 reports that the implication is that soldiers at the scene of the attack behaved in a manner unbecoming the uniform, or even fled the scene of the attack rather than acting to stop the attacker.

Abbas: Israel ‘made Palestinian lives unbearable’

PA President Mahmoud Abbas says that the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank has made the lives of the Palestinian people unbearable, Israel Radio reports.

Speaking at a press conference with the visiting president of Lithuania, Abbas says that young Palestinians have been driven to despair, and disenchantment and are pressured by the growing aggression of Israel and Israeli settlers, and the lack of a diplomatic future.

Netanyahu, UN chief hold joint press conference

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon are holding a joint press conference at the moment in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu blames PA President Mahmoud Abbas for glorifying terrorism against Israel, and says Abbas “joined the Islamic State” in claiming Israel is harming the Al-Aqsa mosque. Ban says he’s concerned about statements by Palestinian leaders and calls on Israel to its utmost to calm the situation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hold a joint press conference on October 20, 2015 in Jerusalem. (screen capture: Walla news)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hold a joint press conference on October 20, 2015 in Jerusalem. (screen capture: Walla news)

Pro-Iran group in Gaza says IDF killed one of its members

A pro-Iranian armed group in the Gaza Strip says that the Palestinian man reported killed by IDF fire today was one of its operatives.

Harakat al-Sabireen, a splinter group which broke away from Islamic Jihad and has symbols similar to that of Hezbollah, issued a statement saying 27-year-old Ahmed Sharif al-Sarhi was a leader of one of its armed group, which was outlawed by Hamas earlier this year.

The group says that this was not the first time Israel attempted to kill al-Sarhi.

Hamas in July banned the Harakat al-Sabireen, claiming the faction which reportedly has close ties with Iran has been trying to disseminate Shi’ite ideology, Al Monitor reported.

Flag of the Gaza-based Palestinian faction Harakat al-Sabireen

Flag of the Gaza-based Palestinian faction Harakat al-Sabireen

IDF may call up reserves if violence doesn’t abate

The IDF is already preparing for the possibility that it may have to call up reservists to help support troops standing guard in the West Bank and Jerusalem, should the current violence persist for months longer, Channel 10 reports.

Mustering reserve troops would help beef up the already increased military and police presence, but also help rotate out troops that have already been dispatched to protect highways and Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

 

Firebomb thrown at Abu Tor house, no injuries

A Molotov cocktail was thrown at a house on Naomi Street in Jerusalem’s Abu Tor neighborhood. The firebomb exploded against a wall; no injuries were reported.

Police are searching the area for suspects.

In a separate incident across town, a Palestinian approached Border Police officers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya with a flaming Molotov cocktail and threatened the officers. The man was shot and injured in the leg, police say.

Netanyahu: I’ve got binocular experience

Netanyahu responds to Yedioth Ahronoth, which published a photo of him looking through binoculars with the lens covers on during a visit to the Gaza border earlier today, writing on Twitter that “I have a little experience with binoculars.”

Former defense minister Amir Peretz notoriously was caught on camera looking into binoculars with their covers on, an image which became iconic of his perceived ineptitude in managing the Second Lebanon War.

2 Palestinians said shot after attempted stabbing near Hebron

Initial reports are coming in of an attempted stabbing near a Jewish settlement next to the West Bank city of Hebron. Unconfirmed reports say the two alleged attackers were shot.

IDF soldiers are on the scene.

IDF soldier hurt, 2 Palestinians dead in Kiryat Arba attack

An IDF soldier has minor injuries and at least two Palestinian terrorists were shot dead in an attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, next to Hebron, Channel 2 reports.

IDF confirms soldier injured, 2 assailants killed in Hebron

The IDF confirms that two Palestinians approached an army post in Hebron, where two soldiers were standing guard. One Palestinian stabbed one of the soldiers in the head, inflicting very light injuries, and the second soldier shot both men.

Burning tires thrown at settlement near Hebron

Dozens of burning tires were hurled at the southern entrance of Kiryat Arba, a Jewish settlement outside Hebron, shortly after an attack on an IDF post nearby.

Channel 2 tweets a photo from the scene.

Palestinians call for Hebron ‘day of rage’

Palestinian groups call for a general strike and a “day of rage” in Hebron on Wednesday following the shooting of two Palestinians who attacked IDF soldiers at a guard post next to the Beit Shalom settlement enclave.

Herzog tells Ban to condemn Palestinian terror

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog and fellow Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni met with UN chief Ban Ki-moon. Herzog calls on the nations of the world to condemn Palestinian and Islamist terrorism, lest their silence be misconstrued as support.

He tells Ban that he must make it clear to the Palestinians that terrorism will lead them to a diplomatic dead end.

Palestinians shot by IDF in Hebron attack named

Palestinian media identifies the two terrorists shot by the IDF after attacking a soldier in Hebron as 15-year-old Bashar al-Jabari and 17-year-old Husam al-Jabari

35-year-old suffers heat stroke at Tel Aviv night run

An Israeli man participating in the Tel Aviv night run has been hospitalized after suffering heat stroke while taking part in the race.

The 35-year-old man was in serious condition at Ichilov Medical Center. Four others have been hospitalized for a variety of maladies while running in the event.

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