Bennett submits bill requiring 2/3 Knesset majority to divide Jerusalem
search
Live updates (closed)Latest: Far-right leader Marine Le Pen wins seat in French parliament

Hamas says it neither wants nor expects another war with Israel

Parole board to rule on ex-PM Olmert's early release next week; ministers join PM in denying knowledge of Qalqilya expansion plan; tennis champ Sela snags Nottingham title ahead of Wimbledon

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

  • Members of the Izz ad Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamass military wing, take part in a ceremony, on December 18, 2016, in Gaza City in the memory of one of their leaders, Mohamed Zaouari, who was murdered in Tunisia. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)
    Members of the Izz ad Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamass military wing, take part in a ceremony, on December 18, 2016, in Gaza City in the memory of one of their leaders, Mohamed Zaouari, who was murdered in Tunisia. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)
  • Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on February 10, 2016. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)
    Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on February 10, 2016. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)
  • View of Amigous Craft Beer which bottle shows an image of US President Donald Trump wearing a Mariachi costume with a swastika, in Mexico City, on June 15, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Bernardo Montoya)
    View of Amigous Craft Beer which bottle shows an image of US President Donald Trump wearing a Mariachi costume with a swastika, in Mexico City, on June 15, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Bernardo Montoya)
  • Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister Office in Jerusalem, April 23, 2017. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool)
    Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister Office in Jerusalem, April 23, 2017. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool)
  • Security forces check a Palestinian man outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City before he boards a bus to the West Bank on June 17, 2017. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)
    Security forces check a Palestinian man outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City before he boards a bus to the West Bank on June 17, 2017. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)
  • A wildfire is reflected in a stream at Penela, Coimbra, central Portugal, on June 18, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA)
    A wildfire is reflected in a stream at Penela, Coimbra, central Portugal, on June 18, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 18, 2017 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 18, 2017 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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

Security around Damascus Gate to increase following attack

Following a deadly stabbing attack on Friday, Israeli political and police officials initiated a plan to expand security enforcement around the Old City of Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, police say.

Friday’s attack, in which 23-year-old border guard Hadas Malka was stabbed to death, was only the most recent at the Damascus Gate, which has seen dozens of stabbings and shootings over the past two years.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he was considering turning the Damascus Gate area into a “sterile area,” but declined to elaborate on what that would mean.

A police official says the discussions on if or how the security procedures around the Old City entrance would change were being held with “consultation from high-level political leadership.”

“A proposal was made, and the topic is still in the stages of study and discussion,” the spokesperson says.

“It’s still too early to establish [the plan] and make pronouncements,” she adds.

— Judah Ari Gross

Voter turnout in French parliamentary election sharply down

Turnout in the second round of France’s parliamentary election Sunday was sharply down on the last vote five years ago, official statistics show.

By midday only 17.75 per cent of the electorate had cast a ballot, down from 21.41% at the same time in the 2012 election and 19.24% in the June 11 first round of voting.

— AFP

Portugal says forest fires death toll climbs to 57

Raging forest fires in central Portugal kill at least 57 people, most of whom burnt to death in their cars, and injured scores of others, the government says.

Nearly 600 firefighters and 160 vehicles were dispatched late last night to tackle the blaze, which broke out in the afternoon in the municipality of Pedrogao Grande, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Coimbra, before spreading fast across several fronts.

Portugal was sweltering under a severe heatwave across the weekend, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in several regions.

Some 60 forest fires broke out across the country during the night, with around 1,700 firefighters battling to put them out.

The European Union says it would provide firefighting planes following a request from Lisbon.

— AFP

Iran, China hold joint naval drill in Persian Gulf

Iran’s navy is conducting a joint exercise with a Chinese fleet near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.

The official IRNA news agency says the drill includes an Iranian warship as well as two Chinese warships, a logistics ship and a Chinese helicopter that arrived in Iran’s port of Bandar Abbas last week.

It says the scheduled exercise came before the departure of the Chinese fleet for Muscat, Oman. It did not provide further details.

The US navy held a joint drill with Qatar in the Persian Gulf on Saturday.

US and Iranian warships have had a number of tense encounters in the Persian Gulf in recent years. Nearly a third of all oil traded by sea passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

— AP

Netanyahu ‘doesn’t recall’ approval of Qalqilya expansion plan

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly says he does not remember a cabinet decision made last year that would allow the Palestinian Authority to expand the city of Qalqilya in the West Bank.

After right-wing ministers denounced the scheme and claimed it had not been reviewed properly by the cabinet, Netanyahu announced earlier today that the plan would be revisited by ministers at a later date.

“I don’t recall a cabinet decision that was made regarding the expansion of Qalqilya,” he says at the weekly cabinet meeting according to Channel 2.

The plan would see 14,000 new apartments built in the Israeli-controlled Area C surrounding the city, potentially more than doubling the city’s population, from 50,000 to 110,000.

Last week, Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying the Qalqilya expansion plan was “presented by the defense minister last year and approved by the cabinet.”

Trump again slams Russia investigation as ‘witch hunt’

US President Donald Trump begins his day with a stream of tweets defending his record and lashing out at the investigation into Russian interference in the election.

In a two-part tweet posted early this morning, Trump writes: “The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt.”

He continues by saying: “Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm …massive regulation cuts, 36 new legislative bills signed, great new S.C.Justice, and Infrastructure, Healthcare and Tax Cuts in works!”

“Witch hunt” is how Trump characterizes the probe into Russia’s election interference and possible ties to his campaign associates.

Trump advisers describe the president as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy.

— AP

2 soldiers lightly injured when jeep overturns in West Bank

Two soldiers are lightly wounded after the hummer in which they were traveling flipped over outside the Adora settlement, in the south Hebron Hills.

They received medical treatment on the scene before being taken to the hospital.

The military says the vehicle was damaged and that the incident is being investigated.

In a separate incident, two civilian employees of the military are also lightly injured after the engineering vehicle they were in also flipped over near Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights.

According to the military, the men were doing “routine engineering activities” on behalf of the military in the Golan at the time of the accident.

The two men are taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The two car accidents come a day after one soldier was killed and three wounded after their hummer flipped over near the Gaza border.

— Judah Ari Gross

24 killed in airstrikes on Yemen market, official says

At least 24 Yemeni civilians are killed in an air raid on a market near the border with Saudi Arabia, a medical official says.

Most of the casualties worked in the Mashnaq market, which sells the mild narcotic qat, in the rebel-controlled northern Saada province, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen for more than two years against Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels.

— AFP

Portugal forest fire death toll rises to at least 62

The death toll from huge forest fires raging through central Portugal rises to at least 62, according to new figures issued by Secretary of State for the Interior Jorge Gomes.

The blaze, which broke out on Saturday in the Pedrogao Grande district, also left more than 50 people injured, including eight firefighters.

— AFP

Bennett submits bill requiring 2/3 Knesset majority to divide Jerusalem

Education Minister Naftali Bennett submits legislation that would require a special two-thirds Knesset majority on any decision to divide Jerusalem under a future peace deal with the Palestinians to the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation for approval.

Bennett, who leads the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, wants to amend the Basic Law on Jerusalem so that votes to divide the city will require the approval of 80 of the 120 MKs to pass, as opposed to a regular majority.

“The purpose of this law is to unify Jerusalem forever,” Bennett says of his legislation in a statement. “Reaching a majority of 80 MKs in order to divide Jerusalem is impossible and has no feasibility in the Knesset, which is why this law is so important.”

Cabinet ministers vote to ban binary options

The cabinet votes to ban Israel’s multi-billion dollar widely fraudulent binary options industry.

The law will shut down all binary option companies that operate from within Israel’s borders, and give the Israel Securities Authority the power to prosecute and jail those who breach the ban.

The bill was presented by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon directly to the cabinet as opposed to going through the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, where it had stalled.

A spokeswoman for the Israel Securities Authority told The Times of Israel last night it should be fast-tracked through the Knesset to be voted into law.

The legislation was put to ministers more than a year after The Times of Israel began exposing the widespread fraudulent practices of the binary options industry.

In a statement, the Attorney General’s Office praised the cabinet for cracking down on the “criminal phenomenon” in Israel.

Parole board to rule on ex-PM Olmert’s early release next week

A parole board says it will announce next Thursday, June 29, whether it will grant the early release of jailed former prime minister Ehud Olmert.

Olmert, who is serving a 27-month sentence for various corruption convictions, is seeking to have a third of his sentence cut off.

The announcement comes days after the State Prosecutor’s Office asked police to open a criminal investigation into Olmert over his alleged divulging of sensitive information in the memoirs he is writing.

Portugal declares three days of mourning over deadly forest blaze

Portugal declares three days of national mourning after the most deadly forest fire in its recent history raged through the center of the country.

Police investigators stand by a burnt car on the road between Castanheira de Pera and Figueiro dos Vinhos, central Portugal, June 18 2017. (AP/Armando Franca)
Police investigators stand by a burnt car on the road between Castanheira de Pera and Figueiro dos Vinhos, central Portugal, June 18 2017. (AP/Armando Franca)

The fire, which broke out Saturday in the Pedrogao Grande district, had killed at least 62 people and injured more than 50, according to the latest official update by this afternoon.

— AFP

Mexican beer label mocks Trump as swastika-wearing mariachi player

There is a force more powerful than prejudice, that cannot be contained by any wall, that unites people in friendship even if they do not speak the same language.

That force is beer, according to a trio of craft brewers from the United States and Mexico that have teamed up to create a new brew for the US President Donald Trump era.

The beer’s label portrays the American president as a traditional Mexican mariachi musician with a swastika belt buckle.

Trump lawyer says president not under investigation

A member of President Donald Trump’s outside legal team says the US president is not under investigation, contradicting a recent tweet from Trump.

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” attorney Jay Sekulow says the “president is not under investigation by the special counsel.” He says Trump’s statement on Twitter Friday was specifically in response to a story in The Washington Post about the expanding probe into Russia’s election meddling.

The president wrote on Twitter: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.” The message apparently referred to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general whose role leading the federal investigation has become increasingly complicated.

Sekulow said Trump “is not and has not been under investigation.”

— AP

UK official says paneling on Grenfell Tower violated building codes

Britain’s trade minister says the exterior paneling used on the exterior of the London high-rise, in which dozens were killed in a fire, appears to have violated building rules.

Greg Hands tells Sky News that “my understanding is that the cladding that was reported was not in accordance with UK building regulations. We need to find out precisely what cladding was used and how it was attached.”

Experts say the cladding and the insulation it contained seems to have spread the flames quickly along the exterior of the building, overwhelming safety devices like fire doors.

Hands cautions that investigators still don’t know exactly what cladding was used when the building renovation was completed last year. The building was gutted by a fast-moving fire early Wednesday, claiming at least 58 lives.

Controversial Al Quds Day march sets off in London

Thousands of people are gathered in London to take part in an annual rally to mark Al Quds Day.

Organized by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, the rally is billed as an event that “unites for the freedom of the oppressed in Palestine and beyond.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan had been urged to cancel the march. However, last week he told members of the British Jewish community that he lacked the authority to do so.

Previous Al Quds Day marches in London have been heavily criticized after participants were seen waving flags of terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

Ministers join PM in denying knowledge of Qalqilya expansion plan

Cabinet ministers Gilad Erdan and Yisrael Katz join Netanyahu in denying the cabinet had last year decided to allow the Palestinian Authority to expand the city of Qalqilya in the West Bank.

“The Qalqilya plan was never presented,” Katz tells Army Radio. “I never approved it or even voted for it.”

“I don’t understand who gave the Civil Administration the authority to approve such a large-scale building plan,” Erdan tells the radio station in an earlier interview.

The plan would see 14,000 new apartments built in the Israeli-controlled Area C surrounding the city, potentially more than doubling the city’s population, from 50,000 to 110,000.

After right-wing ministers denounced the scheme and claimed it had not been reviewed properly by the cabinet, Netanyahu announced earlier today that the plan would be revisited by ministers at a later date.

“I don’t recall a cabinet decision that was made regarding the expansion of Qalqilya,” he said at the weekly cabinet meeting according to Channel 2.

Last week, Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying the Qalqilya expansion plan was “presented by the defense minister last year and approved by the cabinet.”

Israeli tennis champ Sela snags Nottingham title ahead of Wimbledon

Israeli tennis champ Dudi Sela defeats Italian Thomas Fabbiano 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to win the ATP Aegon Challenger Nottingham Open.

Currently in 98th place in the world, Sela’s win this afternoon brings him closer to qualifying for the main round at the Wimbledon Championships next month.

Hamas neither wants nor expects another war with Israel

The Hamas terrorist organization which rules the Gaza Strip reportedly says it neither wants nor expects another war with Israel, and that Israel is similarly disinterested in another conflict with the Palestinian group.

“We in Hamas do not initiate wars and we do not expect one, this is our political assessment,” Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas’s deputy leader tells reporters in Gaza according to Reuters.

“We do not expect war because we are not interested and the occupation also say they are not interested,” he says, referring to Israel.

Hayya also says the group is working together with Egypt to secure its borders.

“Securing borders is a joint interest. We are keen and we have the determination and the ability to prevent any harm to reach out for Egypt from Gaza,” he adds.

Knesset postpones discussion of bill to curb domestic violence

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation postpones a discussion on an initiative to monitor suspected abusive spouses by forcing them to wear electronic tracking tags.

The bill would allow courts to order the tags placed on suspects after a complaint of domestic violence has been lodged against them, even without a full trial and conviction.

The author of the bill, MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) in a statement says slams the decision to postpone the discussion again.

“Petty political fights are being fought at the expense of women who are in danger,” she says. “The next tragedy is only a matter of time.”

A spokesperson from the party tells the Times of Israel the bill was pulled from the committee’s docket over opposition from the Finance Ministry, and will be revisited next month.

The move comes amid growing public outrage over the high murder rate of women by their partners, and with police investigating four such incidents that took place last week alone.

— Raoul Wootliff

Netanyahu makes condolence visit to Hadas Malka’s family

Prime Minister Benjaim Netanyahu and his wife Sara visit the bereaved family of Hadas Malka, the police officer who killed in a terrorist attack on Friday.

“We’ve just now met with a wonderful family, one with a deep love for the land and for the state,” Netanyahu says of the Malkas.

“She is the child of us all, a hero for us all,” he adds. “We bow our heads and salute her.”

Attack under way at tourist camp in Mali capital

A tourist camp popular with Westerners in the Malian capital is under attack, according to witnesses and an AFP journalist.

Malian troops and soldiers from France’s Bakhane counterterrorist force are heading to the site on the edge of Bamako, where nearby residents reported hearing shots fired while smoke billowed into the air.

There was no information immediately available on any casualties.

— AFP

Justice ministry: Non-Olmert material seized in publisher raid will be returned

The Justice Ministry says it will disregard any information seized from the Yedioth Ahronoth publishing house that is not related to jailed former prime minister Ehud Olmert.

When police raided the Rishon Lezion publisher and confiscated pages from Olmert’s memoirs earlier today, they also reportedly grabbed material from two other manuscripts, one by former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon and a biography about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“In contrast to reports, no material will be reviewed that is not related to Olmert’s book,” the statement says. “No one will examine it or make any use of it.”

The justice ministry says “all remaining materials will be returned and no copy will be kept by police.”

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen wins seat in French parliament

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen wins a seat in the French parliament, a senior figure in her National Front (FN) party tells AFP.

Le Pen, 48, the presidential runner-up to centrist Emmanuel Macron, will represent her northern fiefdom of Henin-Beaumont, a depressed former mining town, Steeve Briois says.

— AFP

read more:
comments
Live updates (closed) Latest: Far-right leader Marine Le Pen wins seat in French parliament

Bennett submits bill requiring 2/3 Knesset majority to divide Jerusalem

Education Minister Naftali Bennett submits legislation that would require a special two-thirds Knesset majority on any decision to divide Jerusalem under a future peace deal with the Palestinians to the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation for approval.

Bennett, who leads the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, wants to amend the Basic Law on Jerusalem so that votes to divide the city will require the approval of 80 of the 120 MKs to pass, as opposed to a regular majority.

“The purpose of this law is to unify Jerusalem forever,” Bennett says of his legislation in a statement. “Reaching a majority of 80 MKs in order to divide Jerusalem is impossible and has no feasibility in the Knesset, which is why this law is so important.”