The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s developments as they unfolded.
Security cabinet approves Turkey detente 7-3
The high-level security cabinet approves the detente deal with seven ministers in favor and three opposed.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked vote against the agreement. All three had earlier announced they would oppose it.
The vote was nonbinding.
Turkey airport death toll climbs to 41
A triple suicide bombing at Istanbul’s international airport left 41 people dead and 239 wounded, the city governor says in a statement.
The governor’s office says 109 out of 239 wounded were discharged from hospital. Thirteen of the dead were foreign nationals, it adds.
Goldin family says deal a ‘prize’ for Hamas, terror
The family of slain Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin, whose remains are being held in the Gaza Strip, slams the Turkey deal.
The Goldin family, as well as the family of fallen soldier Oron Shaul, have been lobbying the government to include the release of their sons’ bodies as part of the deal.
“This is an agreement that the prime minister led, in an undemocratic step, which goes against the basic values of the IDF and the State of Israel since its founding,” the family says in a statement. “The prime minister has made Hamas a party in the agreement by way of Turkey, which sponsors the organization. Therefore, the prime minister is encouraging terrorism and giving Hamas a prize.”
Erdan says he wasn’t convinced Turkey has sway over Hamas
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says he voted for the Turkey deal “after much thought and anguish.”
“I researched the issue and unfortunately, I was not convinced that Turkey can force Hamas to return our soldiers and citizens,” he says, referring to the two Israelis thought to be held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, along with the bodies of two soldiers killed in the 2014 Gaza war.
He also defends the provision in the deal that compensates the families of the Turks killed on the Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010 after they attacked Israeli soldiers who boarded the ship.
“There are no perfect reconciliation deals,” he says. “Indeed, the payment is infuriating and frustrating, but I do not believe it to be true that it legitimizes the violent activities of terrorists who attacked our soldiers,” he says.
Israel in the past has made painful concessions in deals that have benefited the state in the long run, he says.
“The price we paid never signaled agreement or justification of the actions of those attacking us, whether it was Hezbollah, Hamas, or Egypt,” he says.
Erdan says on his urging, the security cabinet will discuss the missing citizens and the bodies of the soldiers and work to secure their release.
Turkey declares day of mourning over Istanbul attack
Turkey declares Wednesday a day of national mourning over a deadly attack at Istanbul’s international airport blamed by the government on Islamic State jihadists.
The government orders flags at half-staff.
‘For heaven’s sake man, go,’ Cameron tells Corbyn
British Prime Minister David Cameron Wednesday tells the leader of the main opposition Labour party Jeremy Corbyn, who is facing a revolt from MPs, to step down in the national interest.
“It might be in my party’s interests for him to sit there, it’s not in the national interests and I would say, for heaven’s sake man, go,” Cameron says to Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions in British parliament.
Rivlin pens condolence letter to Erdogan
President Reuven Rivlin writes a letter of condolence to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the lethal suicide bombings at Ataturk airport.
“I write to express my heartfelt condolences to you and the entire Turkish people, following the brutal terror attack on the Ataturk airport last night,” the president writes.
“This cowardly, murderous act is an example of the most vitriolic hatred the like of which we are sadly seeing across our region and the entire world today. I take this opportunity to welcome the chance to renew our good relationship especially because our strengthened dialogue will greatly aid in our joint efforts against this threat, and because it sends a strong message to the terrorists that we will stand untied against hatred.”
“The State of Israel is ready and willing to assist in any way possible to aid with the recovery from this attack, and to work together to ensure no such attack may be repeated. On behalf of all the Israeli people, I send my thoughts and prayers to the families of the bereaved, and for the speedy recovery of the injured,” Rivlin adds.
Sirens said heard in southern Israel
Sirens are reportedly sounding in the Gaza periphery.
Army investigating what triggered rocket sirens
The IDF says it is still investigating what prompted the rocket alert siren that sounded in the Israeli communities of Nirim and Ein Hashlosha near the Gaza border.
There have not yet been official reports of a missile landing in Israel or of an Iron Dome battery being activated.
— Judah Ari Gross
Sirens a false alarm, army says
The sirens in southern Israel went off in a false alarm, the army says.
Putin orders government to start ‘normalizing’ trade with Turkey
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday orders his government to begin the process of lifting sanctions imposed against Turkey after Ankara shot down a Russian warplane last year.
“I ask that the Russian government begins the process of normalizing general trade and economic ties with Turkey,” Putin says at a cabinet meeting following a telephone conversation with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
33 Sinai jihadists said killed in Egypt airstrikes
The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports that Egyptian airstrikes in the northern Sinai Peninsula have killed 33 Islamic State-aligned fighters and injured over 50.
Sanders worries Trump is benefiting politically from Brexit
Sen. Bernie Sanders is arguing that “the global economy is not working for the majority of people in our country and the world.”
Sanders, who hasn’t yet abandoned his presidential campaign, writes in a New York Times op-ed Wednesday that Republican Donald Trump “could benefit from the same forces” that led Britain to vote to leave the European Union. He says that any political advantage flowing to Trump from this market-moving vote “should sound an alarm for the Democratic Party.”
Sanders hasn’t conceded the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, although he has said he would vote for her.
In his Times article, Sanders says that American voters, like those who supported bolting the EU, “are understandably angry and frustrated by the economic forces that are destroying the middle class.”
Berlin to ban Hezbollah flags from anti-Israel march
The Berlin State Senate has agreed to ban Hezbollah flags, with their image of an upraised assault weapon, from an anti-Israel Al Quds march, likening the symbol to a call for genocide.
The announcement comes following a request by the American Jewish Committee in Berlin. The march is scheduled for Saturday.
Berlin state interior minister Frank Henkel, on the advice of the Berlin police, says that the flags would be added to the list of propaganda material that is not permitted to be displayed publicly.
A spokesperson for the Berlin police, Thomas Neuendorf, tells JTA that not only are Hezbollah flags banned, but Hezbollah symbols themselves may not be shown at all – whether on flags or posters or clothing or any other manner.
This is due to the fact that “the display of these flags and symbols can be tantamount to incitement to hate, in that they prompt people to chant hate slogans against a part of the population, namely Jewish fellow citizens,” he writes in a statement. “In addition, such actions represent an identification with and approval of Hezbollah and their acts that, in relation to the upcoming march, without current context, are not protected free speech.”
Hullabaloo in Knesset plenum as Zoabi demands Mavi Marmara apology
MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List) is loudly berated in the Knesset plenum by lawmakers who attempt to approach the podium and have her removed.
Zoabi urges Israel to apologize for the deaths of Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara who had violently attacked Israeli soldiers in 2010. Zoabi had participated in the Gaza flotilla at the time.
“Those who murdered need to apologize, you need to apologize,” she says.
Knesset members proceed to approach the podium and loudly demand Zoabi be removed. The lawmakers are held back by security personnel.
Yisrael Beytenu MK Hamad Amar, who is leading the session, said Zoabi “lied to me.” Zoabi requested permission to speak because she wanted to “apologize,” says Amar. “She lied.”
Zoabi is eventually led out of the plenum, escorted by security.
מהומת ענק לאחר שחברת הכנסת זועבי סירבה לעזוב את המליאה. רק בזכות המאבטחים זה לא גלש לאלימות pic.twitter.com/ZR4IuSPnCY
— דפנה ליאל (@l_daphna) June 29, 2016
Trump gets rock-bottom ratings in international survey
A new multi-nation survey finds that confidence in Donald Trump’s ability to manage foreign policy should he become US president is rock-bottom in a host of countries in Europe and Asia.
In seven of 15 countries outside of the US polled by Pew Research Center, Trump’s ratings are in the single digits. Large majorities in 11 of the countries have little or no confidence in the prospective Republican presidential nominee’s ability to manage international affairs. That includes 92 percent of Swedes, 89 percent of Germans and 82 percent of Japanese.
He polls best in China, where there is a split between 40 percent who have no confidence in Trump and 39 percent who do not offer an opinion. Trump, who has advocated trade protectionism and temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States, records his highest ratings in Europe among supporters of political parties that are anti-immigration or oppose European integration. But even among those poll respondents, his confidence ratings remains below one-third.
The survey, which examines international attitudes toward the US, gauged opinions from 20,132 people in Canada, the US, 10 nations in Europe and four in the Asia-Pacific between April 4 and May 29.
Hillary Clinton fares much better. A median of 59 percent in Europe have confidence in the Democratic contender — compared with just 9 percent for Trump. She also gets positive marks in Canada, Australia and Japan, although views are mixed in China, where 37 percent say they have confidence in Clinton and 35 percent say they do not.
41 still in intensive care after Istanbul attack
Turkey’s health minister says 41 people are still in intensive care after the shooting and bombing attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.
Officials say 41 others have been killed and more than 240 were wounded in the attack Tuesday night.
Health Minister Recep Akdag says 128 of those wounded are still in the hospital. The injured include people from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Switzerland.
Iraq inks deal for $2.7 billion US military loan
Iraq secures a deal Wednesday for a $2.7 billion US loan to finance the buying of ammunition and maintenance of tanks and fighters used in the fight against the Islamic State group.
A US embassy statement says the declaration of intent was signed by Ambassador Stuart Jones and Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
The US Foreign Military Finance credit facility will help Iraq “defer payment for the purchase of ammunition and maintenance of its F-16s (jets) and M1A1 (Abrams) tanks,” Jones says.
The deal gives Iraq eight and a half years to pay for its military purchases, in what the statement says was part of Washington’s efforts to ensure Baghdad’s economic difficulties do not affect the fight against IS.
French police probing new Charlie Hebdo threats
French police are probing new threats against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the target of a jihadist attack in January 2015 that left 12 dead, a legal source says Wednesday.
The publication has received a series of threatening messages on its Facebook page since June 8, and on June 22 a handwritten letter was posted to the newsroom containing the same threats and the words “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest).
“No one has been arrested at this stage and investigations are ongoing,” says the source.
Obama speaks to Erdogan, offers US assistance after attack
US President Barack Obama has telephoned his condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the deadly bombing at Istanbul’s airport.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama also offered US support and assistance in the investigation.
Paul Simon, 74, ‘ready to give up music’
More than half a century after he wrote “The Sound of Silence,” American singer Paul Simon says he is ready to hang up his guitar and stop making music.
“You’re coming toward the end,” he tells The New York Times in an interview published Wednesday. “Showbiz doesn’t hold any interest for me,” says the 74-year-old. “None.”
The folk star turned world music champion, whose US tour ends Friday, released his most recent album, “Stranger to Stranger” on June 3 to rave reviews.
Its single “Wristband” is one of the most played songs on college radio.
His current tour ends in Queens, the New York borough where he grew up and met his now estranged music partner Art Garfunkel.
He is then scheduled to begin a month-long tour of Europe on October 17 in Prague, shortly after his 75th birthday.
Following that, he tells the Times that his intention is to drift and travel for a year, perhaps with his third wife, the musician Edie Brickell.
“It’s an act of courage to let go,” Simon tells the newspaper. “I am going to see what happens if I let go. Then I’m going to see, who am I?”
If he does quit music, Simon will bring to a close an extraordinary career that has spanned six decades, won him more than a dozen Grammys and produced songs tracking 50 years of social awakenings.
Trump narrows gap on Clinton in new poll
The US presidential battle is too close to call, but one element is clear: Americans have soured on candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a poll released Wednesday shows.
Respondents to the latest Quinnipiac University national poll put Clinton ahead of Trump just 42 percent to 40 percent, a narrowing from Clinton’s four-point margin in the organization’s June 1 survey.
It is also considerably closer than the 12-point Clinton advantage in an ABC News/Washington Post poll published Sunday which highlighted Clinton capitalizing on Trump’s recent missteps.
The Quinnipiac survey of 1,610 registered voters notably shows that 61 percent believe the 2016 election “has increased the level of hatred and prejudice in the US.”
Of that group, two-thirds blame the Trump campaign, with just 16 percent blaming Clinton’s team.
Overall the survey shows less-than-flattering views of both candidates in the months before the November 8 election to determine who succeeds US President Barack Obama in the White House.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Hawaii wall irks neighbors
Billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is angering neighbors with the privacy settings he’s building at his Hawaii vacation property.
Zuckerberg is building a six-foot-tall wall around his waterfront property on the island of Kauai, and neighbors say it is blocking their ocean views and breezes, West Hawaii Today reported Tuesday.
Neighbors told the Hawaii newspaper they are also upset that he began construction without first consulting them.
“The feeling of it is really oppressive. It is immense,” neighbor Gy Hal says.
Shosana Chantara, a Kilauea resident, said the wall is blocking air circulation.
“You take a solid wall that’s 10 or more feet above the road level; the breeze can’t go through,” she says.
“I’m 5’8” and when I’m walking, I see nothing but wall,” says neighbor Donna McMillen. “It just doesn’t fit in with the natural beauty that we have here.”
Zuckerberg purchased the 700-acre Hawaii estate for $200 million in 2014.
Neighbors say they have written to Zuckerberg, but received no reply. Hall said that signs placed on the wall explaining the neighbors’ concerns were quickly ripped down.
Explosion in Turkey’s southeast kills 2 soldiers
Turkey’s state-run news agency reports Kurdish rebels have killed two soldiers and wounded three others in the southeastern province of Mardin.
The Anadolu Agency says Wednesday an improvised explosive device went off as an armored vehicle was passing the town of Derik. It blames the attack on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
Turkey has been caught in the throes of violence, combating both the PKK and the Islamic State group.
UK Jewish groups condemn hate crimes in wake of Brexit vote
Jewish groups in Britain condemn the uptick in racist harassment and other hate crimes in the wake of the country’s vote to leave the European Union.
There has been a 57 percent rise in reported hate crimes and racial incidents since the June 23 referendum, according to reports.
The Community Security Trust, the security arm of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom, tells JTA on Tuesday that it has not observed any increase in expressions of anti-Semitism in the wake of the vote.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews in a statement issued earlier this week calls on the government, civil society and businesses to make it “absolutely clear that EU nationals and other minorities resident in the United Kingdom are protected and valued.”
“It is important during these times of political uncertainty in our country to ensure that nobody feels vulnerable and threatened,” says the statement from the board’s chief executive, Gillian Merron.
Merron adds: “The Jewish community knows all too well these feelings of vulnerability and will not remain silent in the face of a reported rise in racially motivated harassment.”
6 Saudis killed, 27 injured in Istanbul bombings
Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Turkey says six Saudi citizens were killed in the attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, raising the death toll from an earlier report.
The Saudi Ambassador to Turkey, Adel Murdad, tells the state-owned al-Ekhbariya channel on Wednesday that 27 Saudis were wounded, one critically, while 11 have already been released from treatment.
Muslim-majority Turkey is a popular tourist destination for Arabs from the Gulf, particularly during the summer months. Tuesday’s attack also comes a week before the Eid holiday, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
The Saudi government says it “condemns and rejects the terrorist attack,” which has been blamed on the Islamic State group. The kingdom has close ties with Turkey’s government.
Obama to make first campaign stop with Clinton next week
US President Barack Obama will hit the campaign trail for the first time with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Tuesday in North Carolina, her staff announces.
“In Charlotte, President Obama and Hillary Clinton will discuss building on the progress we’ve made and their vision for an America that is stronger together,” Clinton’s campaign says in a statement.
Their debut joint campaign appearance for the 2016 election had been scheduled for June 15 but was postponed due to a mass shooting days earlier in Orlando, Florida.
Zionist Union MK urges Ethics Committee to suspend Zoabi
Zionist Union MK Nahman Shai lodges a complaint against Joint (Arab) List MK Hanin Zoabi with the Knesset Ethics Committee, urging her suspension after the firebrand lawmaker called IDF soldiers involved in the 2010 Mavi Marmara raid “murderers.”
Other Knesset members — from both the opposition and coalition — also railed against Zoabi for her remarks.
“IDF soldiers are our children, calling them murderers is an abomination. Zoabi be ashamed,” writes opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Twitter.
#letmegetthisstraight MK Zoabi calls IDF soldiers murderers and we still pay her salary? If she were in Congress she'd be expelled at once
— Michael Oren (@DrMichaelOren) June 29, 2016
“Why are there still people in the Knesset who dare call our soldiers, my children, murderers?” adds Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin.
Kulanu MK Merav Ben-Ari writes on Facebook: “A dirty and unimportant woman who is in the Knesset at the expense of all of our money stands up in the plenum and says IDF soldiers are murderers and the balcony of the plenum is full of soldiers.”
“There is no forgiveness,” she adds. “From my perspective, she doesn’t exist.”
Egypt president calls for reforms to counter extremists
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who came to power after a bloody crackdown on political Islamists, calls on Wednesday for religious reforms to counter extremists in a speech to Muslim clerics.
Sissi has often warned that Islamist extremism presents a vital threat to the region, which he suggested lags in development and women’s rights.
Not enough work, he adds, has been done to confront the ideology of extremists who have roiled the region and are waging a bloody insurgency in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
“We are on a mission, during one of the most difficult periods not only for Egypt, but for Egypt and all Arab and Muslim states,” Sisi says in the televised speech.
“Are we the most knowledgeable of nations?” he asks, referring to Muslim countries. “Are we the most tolerant nation? Are we the nation that most respects women?”
“If you found that the flaw was only in Egypt, we’d say OK. But I wonder, in how many of these 50 (Muslim) countries is this situation present?” he asks.
Early Islamic scholars, he says, confronted sayings and traditions wrongly attributed to the Muslim prophet Mohamed. Islamic law is partly based on Mohamed’s sayings that are deemed authentic.
“We can perform the same role, but regarding other things,” Sisi says, without elaborating.
“I fear that we have not until now found the real path to confronting fanaticism and extremism: look at the map of extremism in the world,” he adds.
Russia ‘very much concerned’ over Brexit fallout
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says his country is “very much concerned” with the consequences of the British referendum vote to leave the European Union.
“We believe that this referendum is an internal affair of the UK,” Lavrov tells reporters following a meeting in Paris with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault.
“But we’re closely monitoring the situation because we’re very much concerned with the impacts it might have on the relationship between Russia and the EU, Russia and the UK,” Lavrov adds.
Obama pledges end to ‘organizations of hate’ after Istanbul attack
US President Barack Obama is pledging to dismantle “organizations of hate” after the deadly bombing at Istanbul’s airport.
He says the gun and bomb attacks that killed 41 people at Ataturk airport on Tuesday shows how little these “vicious organizations” have to offer.
Turkish officials have blamed the attack on the Islamic State group.
Obama also offers his condolences to the Turkish people.
He speaks after a one-on-one meeting in Canada with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Obama also spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the flight to Canada.
Paris, Moscow admit Syria at stalemate
Paris and Moscow admit Wednesday that war-torn Syria is at a stalemate, urging each other to pressure their respective allies to restore a truce and relaunch a peace process.
“Today things are blocked,” says French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. “It is urgent to improve the situation on the ground and to encourage a resumption of negotiations. There’s no other answer,” Ayrault says after meeting in Paris with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
On Tuesday, Ayrault said he would ask Moscow “to pressure the Damascus regime to stop air strikes claiming thousands of lives, notably in Aleppo.”
But Lavrov, saying “not everything depends on the Russians,” calls on all sides to “pressure their protegé on the ground.”
“The problem will be resolved when our Western partners convince their ‘moderate’ protégés to withdraw from the positions of the Al-Nusra Front,” Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, which is fighting the Damascus regime, Lavrov says.
French high court reaffirms sentence for Holocaust denier
France’s highest court affirms a one-year prison sentence for a professor who questioned the Holocaust’s veracity.
The Court of Cassation rejected the appeal last week of Vincent Reynouard, who has since fled the country and is presumed to have escaped. It was the last of several appeals by Reynouard to the sentence imposed last year by a Caen court over a 2014 video in which he said the Holocaust may not have happened and called state commemorations of the deportation of French Jews ”manipulation of memory,” France 3 reported.
Reynouard has lost his license to teach in the public education system over repeated Holocaust denials.
Netanyahu consults with A-G on booting Zoabi from Knesset
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he spoke to the attorney general “to examine the process of ousting Zoabi from the Knesset.”
“In her actions and her lies, she crossed every line and there is no room for her in the Knesset,” the prime minister writes on Twitter.
IDF chief says terror to continue ‘for many years to come’
IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot says Israel “will continue to struggle against terror for many years to come, it’s a growing phenomenon,” the Ynet news website reports.
The IDF chief says the 1976 hostage rescue operation in Entebbe, Uganda, was successful largely due to the “trust” and coordination between the military and government at that time.
First bomber created diversion to allow others to enter airport — Turkish PM
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says one of the attackers at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport blew himself up outside, giving the other two the opportunity to get inside the building.
“When the terrorists couldn’t pass the regular security system, when they couldn’t pass the scanners, police and security controls, they returned and took out their weapons out of their suitcases and opened fire at random at the security check,” he said Wednesday.
“One blew himself up outside and the other two took advantage of the panic created during the shoot out and got inside and blew themselves up.”
Turkish mission to UN thanks Israel for support
Turkey’s mission to the United Nations thanks its Israeli counterpart for their support in the aftermath of the Ataturk airport bombings.
— Turkish Mission – UN (@Turkey_UN) June 29, 2016
US-backed Syrian fighters seize haul of IS documents
US-backed Syrian fighters battling the Islamic State group have snatched thousands of documents, cellphones and other digital devices from the jihadists, a Pentagon official says Wednesday.
The seizure comes as an anti-IS force comprising Kurdish and Syrian Arab fighters hones in on the northern city of Manbij, an important waypoint between the Turkish border and Raqqa, the jihadists’ de facto capital.
Colonel Chris Garver, a spokesman for the US-led anti-IS campaign, says Syrian Arab fighters were establishing “footholds” on the southern and western edges of Manbij, and had seized entrances to an intricate jihadist tunnel complex.
They also seized more than 10,000 documents from the outlying edges, including textbooks, propaganda posters, cellphones, laptops, maps and digital storage devices, Garver tells reporters.
“Exploitation of this information is ongoing to better understand Daesh networks and techniques, including the systems to manage the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq,” he adds, using an Arabic abbreviation for the IS group.