Lax security blamed in Beersheba attack
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Peres: Netanyahu was never sincere about two-state solution

Israeli man seriously wounded in Netanya stabbing attack; earlier, Hebron man stabs three in Rishon Lezion — two in serious condition

Elie Leshem is deputy editor of The Times of Israel.

  • Former president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, November 2, 2015 (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
    Former president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, November 2, 2015 (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
  • Medics at the scene of a stabbing attack in Rishon Lezion on Monday, November 2, 2015 (Magen David Adom)
    Medics at the scene of a stabbing attack in Rishon Lezion on Monday, November 2, 2015 (Magen David Adom)
  • The scene of a stabbing attack in Rishon Lezion on Monday, November 11, 2015 (Magen David Adom)
    The scene of a stabbing attack in Rishon Lezion on Monday, November 11, 2015 (Magen David Adom)
  • The scene of a stabbing attack in Rishon Lezion on Monday, November 11, 2015 (Magen David Adom)
    The scene of a stabbing attack in Rishon Lezion on Monday, November 11, 2015 (Magen David Adom)
  • A police robot approaches a car carrying an explosive device, near the city of Hebron in the West Bank on Monday, November 2, 2015 (screen capture: YouTube)
    A police robot approaches a car carrying an explosive device, near the city of Hebron in the West Bank on Monday, November 2, 2015 (screen capture: YouTube)
  • 'Netanyahu has lost his way,' blares this image, posted by multiple Zionist Union MKs on Monday, November 2, 2015. (Facebook)
    'Netanyahu has lost his way,' blares this image, posted by multiple Zionist Union MKs on Monday, November 2, 2015. (Facebook)
  • MK Basel Ghattas on the Temple Mount on October 28, 2015 (Courtesy Joint List)
    MK Basel Ghattas on the Temple Mount on October 28, 2015 (Courtesy Joint List)

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

Police find makeshift bomb in West Bank car

An improvised explosive device, or IED, was discovered by police in a Palestinian car Monday morning near a checkpoint at the West Bank village of Azaria, police say.

Based on prior intelligence, police were stationed in the area in anticipation of an attempted attack.

Five residents of Hebron who were in the car were arrested.

Initial police assessments suggest the bomb was intended for a Fatah event in Hebron and not to be used in a terror attack against Israelis.

— Judah Ari Gross

Record 218,000 migrants crossed Mediterranean in October

More than 218,000 migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in October — a monthly record and nearly the same number as in the whole of 2014, the United Nations says.

“Last month was a record month for arrivals,” UN refugee agency spokesman Adrian Edwards tells AFP, pointing out that “arrivals in October paralleled the entire 2014.”

In October, 218,394 people made the perilous crossing — all but 8,000 of them landing in Greece — compared to 219,000 arrivals during all of last year, UN figures show.

The soaring numbers of arrivals last month bring to over 744,000 the number of people who have made the journey so far this year.

— AFP

PLO blasts Balfour Declaration on 98th anniversary

The Palestine Liberation Organization sends out a statement about the Balfour Declaration, issued 98 years ago today, in which the British Empire said Palestine should be the “national home for the Jewish people.”

The statement, by PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat, says the declaration “should serve as a reminder that what is happening in Palestine is a result of a colonial decision made in faraway capitals.”

He says that “the international community must assume its historic responsibility and take immediate steps to remediate the decades of occupation, colonialism and exile.

“The United Kingdom in particular should close the darkness of its colonialist past in the region by taking concrete steps in order to protect and promote Palestinian rights, including the recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

All construction frozen in East Jerusalem — report

The Jerusalem municipality has frozen all construction in the city’s eastern areas — in both Jewish and Arab neighborhoods, Army Radio reports.

The report says City Hall initially decided to freeze construction in the Jewish Ramat Shlomo neighborhood ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Washington, but then extended the decision to Arab housing as well so as not to appear to discriminate against Jewish residents of East Jerusalem.

Zionist Union says Netanyahu ‘lost his way’

The Zionist Union’s Knesset members are showing remarkable coordination: Many of them have changed their Facebook cover photos to the same image over the space of a few minutes.

The new image is a play on words — “Netanyahu has lost the north,” which in Hebrew also connotes losing his direction.

It’s a reference to the cabinet’s decision to reduce some tax benefits to residents of some northern towns.

Similar benefits were conferred on several settlements that hadn’t previously enjoyed them, sparking criticism from the Zionist Union and other opposition parties last week.

'Netanyahu has lost his way,' blares this image, posted by multiple Zionist Union MKs on Monday, November 2, 2015 (Facebook)

‘Netanyahu has lost his way,’ blares this image, posted by multiple Zionist Union MKs on Monday, November 2, 2015 (Facebook)

Police officially ban MKs from Temple Mount

The Israel Police officially bans members of Knesset from entering the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.

The temporary ban, signed by acting Israel Police commissioner Bentzi Sau, says that visits by MKs to the flashpoint site — holy to both Jews and Muslims — “will exacerbate tensions on the Mount, tensions that will, with a high degree of probability, radiate and have an impact on the security situation throughout the country.”

The Israel Police ban, published on Twitter by Channel 2 correspondent Amit Segal, ratifies an earlier statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proscribing MKs from entering the Mount.

MK Basel Ghattas on the Temple Mount on October 28, 2015. (Courtesy: Joint List)

MK Basel Ghattas on the Temple Mount on October 28, 2015. (Courtesy: Joint List)

Netanyahu’s statement, which initially referred to Jewish lawmakers and then — when it faced stiff criticism — extended to Arab MKs, has been challenged by Arab opposition parliamentarians, apparently requiring police to step in and make the prime minister’s instructions official policy.

Palestinian accusations that Israel is seeking to change the arrangements at the Temple Mount and allow Jews to pray there have fueled recent unrest in Israel and the West Bank. Israel denies the allegations.

Black box info shows Russia plane wasn’t hit by outside object

Contradicting earlier reports — which lent credence to the theory that a Russian flight may have been downed by terrorists over the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday — actual information from the black box of Airbus A321 showed that the plane was not struck from the outside before it crashed, Reuters reports.

Earlier Monday, a top Russian airline official said that the plane was downed by “an external impact,” ruling out the possibility of technical fault of pilot error.

Officials are still examining the information from the black box.

Two hundred and twenty-four passengers and crew were killed in the crash, which was claimed by the Islamic State group’s Sinai affiliate.

AFP contributed

Stabbing reported in Rishon Lezion

Preliminary reports are coming in of a possible terrorist stabbing attack in the coastal city of Rishon Lezion.

Reports say several people may have been injured in the attack, in the city’s central bus station, before the stabber was “neutralized.”

Police nab stabber in Rishon Lezion

An Israel police spokeswoman says a suspect in the stabbing in Rishon Lezion is in police custody.

Police say one woman was stabbed in the back and moderately wounded in the attack.

It is still unclear whether the stabbing was a terrorist incident.

Three wounded in the Rishon Lezion attack

The Magen David Adom rescue service says three people were wounded in the attack, and one is in moderate-serious condition.

Two were evacuated to a hospital for treatment.

Man seriously hurt in stabbing on Rishon bus

Reports say at least one of the wounded in Rishon Lezion is a man who was attacked at a second scene, on a bus.

The man is said to be in serious condition.

It isn’t immediately clear whether the two attacks were carried out by the same stabber.

Single stabber in Rishon Lezion — reports

Reports say the two attacks in Rishon were carried out by the same stabber.

First, the man boarded a bus and stabbed a man, then he ran toward the central bus station, where he stabbed another man and a woman, who is reportedly 80 years old.

Two seriously wounded in attack, one lightly

An update from the Magen David Adom rescue service on the condition of the wounded in Rishon Lezion:

WATCH: Footage from scene of attack

The Israel Police releases footage from the scene of the attack:

Attacker is 19-year-old Hebron man

The stabber in Rishon Lezion was a 19-year-old man from Hebron, police say.

Officers at the scene arrested the man and and prevented an angry mod from assaulting him, Israel Radio reports.

Medics describe scene of attack

MDA medics Yoni Ohayon and Ophir Partenki describe the scene of the attack:

When we arrived at the scene we saw on Herzl Street near the bakery a woman, about 80 years old, lying on the pavement, conscious, and suffering from a bleeding wound in her upper body. We gave her first aid and evacuated her to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in moderate-serious condition.

Another MDA medic Nir Babai describes treating the second casualty of the attack:

On the sidewalk sat a young man, about 26 years old, who was suffering from a stab wound in the leg. We administered initial care and evacuated him to the hospital.

A third man wounded in the attack was treated by MDA medics Moshe Pinto and Effi Bar:

We were led to a man, about 35 years old, who was lying in a bus with a stab wound to his upper body. He was fully conscious and told us that he noticed a commotion on the bus when he suddenly felt a blow to his back. We administered initial treatment to his stab wounds and evacuated him to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in moderate-serious, but stable condition.

Stabber was caught inside clothing store

Police say the attacker was caught after he entered a clothing store.

He stabbed one person in the store and then a woman who was in the store exited it and closed the door on him, police spokeswoman Luba Samri says.

Meanwhile, a group of police officers on motorcycles arrived and tackled the stabber and then prevented enraged citizens from attacking him, she says.

US says it’s possible Islamic State downed Russian plane

James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, says he can’t rule out that the Russian passenger plane that crashed in the Sinai was brought down by Islamic State extremists.

Clapper tells reporters in Washington that “we don’t have any direct evidence of any terrorist involvement yet” in the crash Saturday that killed all 224 people on the Metrojet.

But he notes that the Islamic State group, which has claimed responsibility, has a significant presence in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Asked if Islamic State extremists had the capabilities to bring down a passenger jet, he says, “It’s unlikely, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”

AP

Henkin couple’s killers say attack was revenge for Duma

The Palestinian men who gunned down Eitam and Naama Henkin in front of their four children last month planned the attack as revenge for the fatal firebombing of the Dawabsha family earlier this year, according to quotes from their interrogations cleared for publication Monday.

“We got together and decided that we had to do something as revenge over the attack against the Dawabsha family,” one of the terrorists, a Hamas member named Samir, told his interrogators. He was referring to a July firebombing incident in the Palestinian village of Duma in the West Bank that killed a toddler and his parents in their home. Defense officials say radical settlers carried out that attack, although police have yet to arrest suspects.

He said that he and his accomplice lay in wait on the night of the attack, October 1. When they saw the Henkins’ vehicle approaching, he said, he asked him to overtake the car, “and while he was overtaking it I fired.

“I remember firing 10 or 15 automatic rounds at the Israeli vehicle,” he continued. “At that moment the Israeli car, which was driven by an Israeli citizen, stopped, and we did too. I got out of the car with the gun, switched the clip and went over to the woman who was sitting next to the driver.”

He described how, as he was approaching Naama Henkin, a bloodied Eitam Henkin was struggling with his accomplice and attempting to grab his gun from him. He opened fire, killing Eitam Henkin and also wounding his accomplice.

“I don’t know how many shots I fired at the man, who was killed on the spot. Meanwhile, as I was firing, one of the bullets hit Carem [his accomplice’s] left hand,” he said. “I was attacked by the woman. I shot a few bullets at her and killed her on the spot.”

As for the kids in the backseat, he said, “I saw that inside the car were three or four children, but I didn’t fire at them. Then we got in the car and drove away.”

He did not express remorse during his interrogation, saying, “I don’t think the people I killed were innocent.”

Israeli killed by truck recognized as terror victim

The Defense Ministry announces that it will recognize Avraham Hasano, 54, of Kiryat Arba in the West Bank, as a terror victim.

Hasano was killed two weeks ago in an incident near Hebron.

He had stopped his car after it was hit by rocks thrown by Palestinians, and got out carrying a large wooden stick, apparently with the intention of attacking the rock throwers. Shortly after he moved onto the road, waving the stick threateningly, Hasano was run over by a truck. He was airlifted to a hospital for medical treatment but was declared dead shortly afterward.

The decision to recognize Hasano as a terror victim was delayed due to lingering doubt as to whether the driver of the truck, who fled the scene but then turned himself in to Israeli authorities, had deliberately run him over.

— Stuart Winer contributed.

Another stabbing attack wounds Israeli man — reports

Early reports are coming in of another stabbing attack, this time in the coastal city of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv.

An Israeli man was seriously wounded in the attack, before the stabber was shot, reports say.

Stay posted for more details.

Netanya stabber, shot by cop, in serious condition

The stabbing in Netanya was not a terror attack, but rather a criminal incident, Channel 2 reports, but police say they’re still looking into it.

The stabber is in serious condition after he was shot by a police officer, rescue services say.

WATCH: Police arrest Netanya stabber

Video footage posted to Twitter appears to show police arresting the stabber in Netanya:

Netanya victim, an elderly man, in critical condition

The stab victim in Netanya is an elderly man, about 70 years old, reports say.

He is in critical condition, rescue services say.

Earlier, a terrorist stabbed an 80-year-old woman in Rishon Lezion, seriously wounding her.

Netanya stabber a Palestinian man — police

Police say that the suspect in the stabbing in Netanya is a Palestinian from the town of Tulkarem in the West Bank.

The announcement indicates a stronger likelihood that the stabbing was a terror attack, although police haven’t said so outright.

Gantz defends last summer’s Gaza war

Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, during a conference held by the Institute for National Security Studies in Sderot, defends last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip.

“It was the right thing to do at the right time,” Gantz says.

“The best part of Operation Protective Edge was the unity of Israeli society,” he adds, using the Israeli government’s official name for the war.

Former IDF chief Benny Gantz delivers an address in Sderot, southern Israel, on Monday, November 2, 2015 (Judah Ari Gross)

Former IDF chief Benny Gantz delivers an address in Sderot, southern Israel, on Monday, November 2, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross)

Gantz also brushes off rumors and expectations that he will look to be elected to public office.

“I only came because I thought the invitation was appropriate,” he says, looking at the microphones from various news outlets.

“I don’t intend making on any other announcements,” he adds.

Judah Ari Gross

Police prevented attack on neutralized stabber

In the immediate aftermath of the attack in Netanya, a local man tried to attack the stabber, who had been shot by police, Channel 2 reports.

Police prevented the man from harming the Palestinian attacker and arrested the local, the report says.

Netanya victim in serious but stable condition

MDA spokesman Zaki Heller says that medics treated the victim of the stabbing in Netanya, who is 71 years old, at the scene before evacuating him to the city’s Laniado Hospital.

Raz Levy, a senior MDA medic who was at the scene, gives his account:

On the sidewalk lay a 71-year-old man, fully conscious, with a stab wound in his upper body. He told us that he was standing in the street when suddenly he felt a blow in the back. We administered initial, life-saving treatment, and swiftly evacuated him to Laniado Hospital in serious, stable condition.

Henkins’ killer didn’t shoot kids because Islam ‘forbids it’

According to a transcript from the interrogation of one of the men who killed the Henkin couple last month, he and his accomplice saw the four children in the back seat after killing their parents, but decided not to harm them.

“First of all, the Islamic religion forbids it — meaning, the murder of children,” cell leader Yihya Haj Muhammad is quoted by Channel 2 as saying to a Shin Bet interrogator. “My character prevents me from killing or harming a baby.”

Austrian far-right dismisses ‘anti-Semitic’ MP

Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), riding high in opinion polls and seeking to moderate its image, dismisses one of its lawmakers for an allegedly anti-Semitic Facebook post.

Susanne Winter, 58, has until 7:00 pm (1800 GMT) to quit her post as an MP in the Austrian parliament and from the FPOe or be expelled, the opposition party says in a statement.

She had replied on the social network to a posting about a global conspiracy of “Zionist money Jews” with: “Nice, you have taken the words right out of my mouth ;-).”

She added: “There are lots of things that I am not allowed to say. This makes me all the happier about courageous, independent people!”

The comments provoked outrage, with Vienna’s Jewish Community organization calling Winter a “disgrace to the Austrian parliament” and the chamber’s speaker referring the comments to state prosecutors.

Winter said her comments were in reference to an article that the other user was reacting to, but the FPOe sees it differently, saying she had “crossed a red line.”

AFP

Peres says Netanyahu was never sincere about peace

Former president Shimon Peres slams Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently said Israel has to accept that peace is unlikely and continue to live “by the sword.”

Former president Shimon Peres speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Jerusalem, Monday, November 2, 2015 (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

Former president Shimon Peres speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Jerusalem, November 2, 2015. (AP/Dan Balilty)

Those comments clearly rankle Peres, who has previously negotiated on Netanyahu’s behalf with the Palestinians and still considers PA President Mahmoud Abbas to be Israel’s best potential partner for peace.

“The alternative to two states is a continued war and nobody can maintain a war forever. If you say we should live on our sword don’t forget that there are other swords as well,” he tells the Associated Press in an interview.

Peres says that Netanyahu’s peace overtures have never “escaped the domain of talking.”

— AP

Ex-MK among suspects in massive graft case

Michael Gorlovsky, a former Knesset member for the Likud party, is under arrest on suspicion of blackmail and financial wrongdoing, police says.

Gorlovsky, who served in the parliament between 2003 and 2006, was among 20-odd officials arrested Monday on suspicion of felonies that include bribery, breach of trust and money-laundering of millions of shekels related to Israel’s National Roads Company.

A police statement earlier Monday pointed to a “system” in which senior employees of the national company worked with certain suppliers to ensure that they would be granted contracts by the company, in return for various kickbacks.

Police have been conducting a secret investigation over the past several months.

“The undercover investigation exposed and confirmed suspicions of several cases, all linked in an organized, systematic method, in which senior company officials promoted… certain external suppliers in return for bribes and benefits,” the police said in a statement.

— Times of Israel staff contributed.

Lax security blamed in Beersheba attack

A contractor hired to provide security at the Beersheba Central Bus Station is in hot water over suspicions that its lax standards may have made it easier for a terrorist to carry out an attack there.

Police, who have been investigating the deadly attack at the station on October 18, say that there was a “severe failure” on the part of the company at the time of the attack, according to Channel 10.

The company posted only seven guards at the various entrances to the station, as opposed to the 11 required, and did not check those entering the building — including the terrorist — as thoroughly as it should have, the report says.

Two people were killed in the attack: an Israeli soldier who was shot by the attacker, and an Eritrean national who was killed by security guards and an angry mob who mistook him for the terrorist.

The attacker was shot dead by security forces.

Knesset OK’s minimum sentence for stone throwers

The Knesset lends its final approval to a bill that would temporarily hike the minimum punishments against those who attack a moving vehicle with rocks or other objects.

The bill, which comes amid a spike in Palestinian violence and rioting, imposes a minimum sentence of three years on those convicted of throwing rocks at moving vehicles, but leaves judges with the option of handing down lighter sentences when there are “special circumstances.”

The bill also recommends that Israel’s social security law be amended so that those convicted of such offenses won’t be eligible for benefits while they serve out their sentences.

UN envoy urges Ban to battle body’s ‘structural’ hostility to Israel

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, uses his first meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to call on the organization to “uproot the structural hypocrisy and hostility against Israel from the UN,” according to a press release from Israel’s mission.

Danon also tells Ban that “the Israeli public perceives the UN as a biased institution against Israel,” the communique says.

“We need to build bridges between Israel and the United Nations, and to show to the world the true face of Israel,” he adds.

Israel's UN envoy, Danny Danon, poses with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during a meeting on Monday, November 2, 2015 (Shahar Azran)

Israel’s UN envoy, Danny Danon, poses with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during a meeting on Monday, November 2, 2015 (Shahar Azran)

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Live updates (closed)

Lax security blamed in Beersheba attack

A contractor hired to provide security at the Beersheba Central Bus Station is in hot water over suspicions that its lax standards may have made it easier for a terrorist to carry out an attack there.

Police, who have been investigating the deadly attack at the station on October 18, say that there was a “severe failure” on the part of the company at the time of the attack, according to Channel 10.

The company posted only seven guards at the various entrances to the station, as opposed to the 11 required, and did not check those entering the building — including the terrorist — as thoroughly as it should have, the report says.

Two people were killed in the attack: an Israeli soldier who was shot by the attacker, and an Eritrean national who was killed by security guards and an angry mob who mistook him for the terrorist.

The attacker was shot dead by security forces.