UN chief slams Netanyahu’s ‘outrageous’ claim on ‘ethnic cleansing’
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Ya’alon denies Israeli security officials now back Iran deal

Former defense chief rejects claim by US president that defense establishment has made peace with accord

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

  • Former Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya'alon  speaks at the 2016 Israel Medical Conference, at the International Conference Center in Jerusalem on August 16, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
    Former Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya'alon speaks at the 2016 Israel Medical Conference, at the International Conference Center in Jerusalem on August 16, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
  • Donald Trump delivering a speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sept. 7, 2016. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)
    Donald Trump delivering a speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sept. 7, 2016. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gives a press conference at a United Nations school in Gaza City on June 28, 2016. (AFP/MAHMUD HAMS)
    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gives a press conference at a United Nations school in Gaza City on June 28, 2016. (AFP/MAHMUD HAMS)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-defense minister Ehud Barak attend a press conference at the PM's office in Jerusalem, November 21, 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-defense minister Ehud Barak attend a press conference at the PM's office in Jerusalem, November 21, 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
  • Syrians run for cover during reported government air strikes in the rebel-held town of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, on September 9, 2016. (Abd Doumany / AFP)
    Syrians run for cover during reported government air strikes in the rebel-held town of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, on September 9, 2016. (Abd Doumany / AFP)
  • Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton September 5, 2016. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)
    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton September 5, 2016. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s developments as they unfolded.

US ‘not fulfilling’ Syria agreement — Russian military

Russia on Thursday accuses Washington of not meeting its obligations under the Syria ceasefire agreement struck with Moscow, while criticizing US officials for voicing skepticism over cooperation between the two countries.

Military spokesman Igor Konashenkov in a statement slams Washington for what he called “rhetorical fog” intended “to hide the fact that it is not fulfilling its part of the obligations.”

AFP

Let aid in ‘immediately,’ UN envoy implores Syrian gov’t

The UN Syria envoy calls on the Damascus government to let life-saving aid into the country “immediately” to take advantage of a truce, which he says was holding “by and large.”

Staffan de Mistura says that Damascus had promised to send authorization letters clearing large-scale humanitarian convoys to deploy but that those permits had “not been received.”

“This is something that is required to happen immediately,” de Mistura tells reporters.

AFP

Clinton back on campaign trail after releasing health info

Hillary Clinton returns to the campaign trail Thursday following a bout of pneumonia that sidelined her for three days and revived questions about both the Democratic nominee and Republican Donald Trump’s transparency regarding their health.

Clinton will spend Thursday campaigning in Greensboro, North Carolina, and speaking to a Hispanic group in Washington. It’s her first public appearance since Sunday, when she abruptly left a 9/11 memorial service in New York after feeling becoming dizzy and dehydrated. After a video emerged of her stumbling and being held up by aides, the campaign revealed she had been diagnosed with pneumonia days earlier.

Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, says the candidate’s break from the campaign trail helped her “sharpen the final argument she will present to voters in these closing weeks.” Clinton’s remarks Thursday will focus on lifting up children and families, as the campaign tries to break through with a more positive message.

AP

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton September 5, 2016. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton September 5, 2016. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

Poll shows Clinton, Trump neck-and-neck

A New York Times/CBS News poll published Thursday finds that in a four-way race, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump are tied at 42 percent, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson receiving 8% of the vote and Green Party candidate Jill Stein getting 4%.

The survey interviewed 1,433 registered voters and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (AP)

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (AP)

Likud slams Barak’s ‘pathetic comeback’

The Likud party slams former prime minister Ehud Barak after the latter pens an op-ed in The Washington Post deriding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “reckless conduct.”

The party dismisses the “nonsense” by the “most failed prime minister in Israel’s history” who is attempting a “pathetic [political] comeback.”

“The publication of an article that bashes Israel in the US media on the day the largest aid deal in the history of the US was signed is just further proof that Ehud Barak does not have Israel’s best interests at heart,” it says.

Ehud Barak speaks at the Herzliya Conference, June 16, 2016. (Adi Cohen Zedek)

Ehud Barak speaks at the Herzliya Conference, June 16, 2016. (Adi Cohen Zedek)

Peres still sedated, being ‘closely monitored’

The office of former president Shimon Peres says he is still being “closely monitored.”

“He is being closely monitored by his doctors, and continues to receive treatment as previously set forth. To enable him to rest, he is still sedated and on a respirator. Updates will be announced should there be any change in condition,” it says.

Former president Shimon Peres at the launch of a a new Israeli Innovation Center at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, July 21, 2016 (Yair Sagi/POOL/Flash90)

Former president Shimon Peres at the launch of a a new Israeli Innovation Center at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, July 21, 2016 (Yair Sagi/POOL/Flash90)

France calls on US to share details of Syria deal

France on Thursday calls for the United States to disclose the details of the Syria deal it brokered with Russia last week to its allies bombing jihadists in the war-torn country.

“It is important that there be good information and I hope we will receive it quickly,” French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says, referring to the US-Russia deal. “It seems to us that allies can certainly exchange information.”

AFP

Trump says he’d sell foreign assets if elected

Donald Trump is suggesting that, if he’s elected president, he would sell some foreign assets to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The Republican nominee is asked during a call-in with “Fox and Friends” how he would respond to potential sanctions imposed on a country that might hurt his company or hotels.

He responds that he “would absolutely get out in some form.” He says: “If it’s ownership, we’d have to sell.”

Trump has a long list of potential conflicts of interest thanks to his dealings with foreign companies and governments.

Trump says, if elected, he would “sever connections” with his company. His adult children and executives would run it and not discuss it with him.

Other elected officials have put their assets in “blind trusts” to avoid potential conflicts.

AP

Palestinian hunger-striker said to be in critical condition

A Palestinian prisoner who is in a coma after being on hunger strike for over 60 days is now in “critical condition,” the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs says 25-year-old Malik al-Qadi is “fighting death.”

Al-Qadi launched the hunger strike in protest of his detention without trial. The High Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected a petition to cancel his administrative detention, while the Israeli army spokesperson’s office told The Times of Israel al-Qadi “was placed under administrative detention due to his involvement in the terrorist organization, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which threatens the security of the region.”

Trump says giving speeches keeps him fit

Donald Trump says that standing at a podium, delivering his signature rally speeches, is one of the ways he stays healthy on the campaign trail.

The Republican presidential nominee says that delivering his speeches is “a really healthy act.” He appears on “The Dr. Oz Show,” in an interview that was taped Wednesday and broadcast Thursday.

Trump says giving speeches is “a lot of work” and he’s “using a lot of motion.”

He says: “I guess that’s a form of exercise?”

AP

Activists say airstrike kills 4 in eastern Syria

Syrian opposition activists say an airstrike on the eastern Syrian town of Mayadeen, which is held by the Islamic State group, has killed at least four people and wounded dozens.

That casualty toll is according to Deir el-Zour 24, an activist collective.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, says Thursday’s airstrike killed seven people.

It wasn’t known who carried out the airstrike.

Mayadeen is in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, near the Iraqi border. IS is not included in the US-Russia-brokered truce that went into effect this week.

AP

Bond denied for man accused of torching Florida mosque

The man accused of setting fire to a Florida mosque will not be released on bond.

St. Lucie County Judge Philip Yacucci orders 32-year–old Joseph Michael Schreiber held without bond Thursday on a charge of second-degree arson with a hate crime enhancement. Yacucci cites Schreiber’s two previous prison stays for theft and said he is a danger to the community and a flight risk.

St. Lucie County sheriff’s deputies arrested Schreiber on Wednesday, saying he set the Sunday night fire at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce. Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen had occasionally attended the mosque.

AP

Trump ‘feels 35,’ like golf bud Tom Brady; ‘it’s crazy’

Donald Trump says that, when he looks in the mirror, he sees a man much younger than his 70 years.

He says: “I would say I see a person that’s 35 years old.”

Trump speaks on “The Dr. Oz Show” in an interview broadcast Thursday.

Trump says that he sometimes plays golf with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. He says that when he’s with the 39-year-old Brady, “I feel I’m the same age as him. It’s crazy.”

Trump says that when you’re running for president, “you have an obligation to be healthy” because the job requires it.

AP

This image released by Sony Pictures Entertainment shows Dr. Oz, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a taping of "The Dr. Oz Show," in New York. The show will air on Thursday, Sept. 15. (Sony Pictures Entertainment via AP)

This image released by Sony Pictures Entertainment shows Dr. Oz, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a taping of “The Dr. Oz Show,” in New York. The show will air on Thursday, Sept. 15. (Sony Pictures Entertainment via AP)

Some of Golan Heights shells fired by rebels

Some of the stray mortar fire from Syria that hit the Golan Heights was fired by rebels, rather than regime forces, Israeli security sources say.

There is no indication the fire is directly targeting Israel or that the IDF plans on changing tactics on retaliating solely against Syrian government forces.

Israel holds the Syrian government responsible for the shells, which have thus far landed in open areas in the Golan Heights, causing no damage or injuries.

Avi Issacharoff

A picture taken from the Golan Heights on September 10, 2016, shows smoke rising from the Syrian village of Jubata al-Khashab. Israeli aircraft struck Syrian army positions after fire from its war-torn neighbor hit the Golan. (AFP/Jalaa Marey)

A picture taken from the Golan Heights on September 10, 2016, shows smoke rising from the Syrian village of Jubata al-Khashab. Israeli aircraft struck Syrian army positions after fire from its war-torn neighbor hit the Golan. (AFP/Jalaa Marey)

UN chief slams Netanyahu’s ‘outrageous’ claim on ‘ethnic cleansing’

UN director-general Ban Ki-Moon slams as “unacceptable and outrageous” a video posted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, in which he insisted that Palestinians were seeking the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews in the West Bank.

“I am disturbed by a recent statement by Israel’s Prime Minister portraying those who oppose settlement expansion as supporters of ethnic cleansing. This is unacceptable and outrageous,” Ban told the UN Security Council. “Let me be absolutely clear: settlements are illegal under international law. The occupation, stifling and oppressive, must end.”

The UN chief also condemns the Palestinian ongoing “glorification of terror” and rocket fire against Israel.

“I continue to be appalled that Palestinian parties choose to praise despicable acts, such as the 1972 terrorist attack against Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. The glorification of terror is disgraceful and the Palestinian leadership must put an end to it,” he says.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a press conference at a United Nations school in Gaza City on June 28, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a press conference at a United Nations school in Gaza City on June 28, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

On Gaza and the tit-for-tat fire between Israel and Syria on the northern front, the UN chief urges restraint.

“Just yesterday, militants in Gaza fired yet another rocket into Israel, which I condemn. Israel fired four missiles at targets in Gaza in response. Once again I reiterate that such attacks and the response they elicit do not serve the cause of peace,” he says.

“Turning to the Golan, I remain concerned by the continued breaches of the ceasefire line, and by fighting in the areas of separation and limitation. These developments undermine the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement, and jeopardize the ceasefire between Israel and Syria.

“In particular, recent fire from the Syrian Arab Armed Forces, impacted the Israeli-occupied Golan. On both occasions, Israeli Defense Forces responded with an airstrike. I call on Israel and Syria to abide by the terms of the Disengagement Agreement and exercise maximum restraint.”

Trump’s doctor declares him in ‘excellent physical health’

Donald Trump releases lab results Thursday from a recent medical examination, with his personal physician stating that the Republican presidential candidate “is in excellent physical health.”

The 70-year-old Trump, who is 6 foot 3 inches (1.90 meters) tall, weighs 236 pounds (107 kilograms), and his liver and thyroid functions are “all within the normal range,” his longtime doctor Harold Bornstein writes in a one-page letter that also lists Trump’s cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and blood pressure results.

“He takes a lipid lowering agent (rosuvastatin) and a low dose aspirin. He does not use tobacco products or alcohol,” he adds.

AFP

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Canton Memorial Civic Center on September 14, 2016 in Canton, Ohio. (AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Canton Memorial Civic Center on September 14, 2016, in Canton, Ohio. (AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN)

Ultra-Orthodox leaders demand meeting with police chief on train work

Ultra-Orthodox lawmakers are demanding a meeting with Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich in a bid to halt construction on Israeli train lines on Saturdays.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), and United Torah Judaism lawmaker Moshe Gafni pen a letter arguing that the maintenance work does not necessarily need to be done on the Jewish day of rest, while acknowledging that the work was limited and most workers fixing the lines are not Jewish.

Shas leader MK Aryeh Deri (right) speaks with United Torah Judaism leader MK Yaakov Litzman (left) during the opening session of the 20th Knesset, March 31, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Shas leader MK Aryeh Deri (right) speaks with United Torah Judaism leader MK Yaakov Litzman (left) during the opening session of the 20th Knesset, March 31, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

EU Parliament chief: Trump a problem ‘for whole world’

The president of the European Parliament says he fears that a victory in the US presidential election for Donald Trump, whom he labels “apparently irresponsible,” could boost what he calls “imitators” in Europe.

Martin Schulz, a member of Germany’s center-left Social Democrats, tells German magazine Der Spiegel in comments published Thursday that the Republican nominee is a problem “for the whole world.”

Schulz is quoted as saying: “If a man sits in the White House who flirts with having no idea and labels expertise as elitist baloney, a critical point is reached.” He says that would mean “an apparently irresponsible man” being in a position that requires the highest sense of responsibility.

Schulz, who leads the 28-nation European Union’s legislative assembly, adds: “My concern is that he could also boost imitators in Europe.” He didn’t elaborate.

AP

President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz is seen prior to being awarded an honorary Doctorate from the Hebrew University, during a ceremony at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on February 11, 2014. (Photo credit: Flash90)

President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz is seen prior to being awarded an honorary Doctorate from the Hebrew University, during a ceremony at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on February 11, 2014. (Flash90)

Suspected Florida mosque arsonist confesses to crime

An ex-convict who posted anti-Islamic rants online confessed to setting fire to a mosque that the Orlando nightclub shooter occasionally attended, and said he was embarrassed by the crime, according to an arrest affidavit released Thursday.

St. Lucie County sheriff’s detectives writes in the affidavit that after Joseph Michael Schreiber was arrested Wednesday, he told detectives that he had set the fire at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce on Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The blaze also coincided with the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

Schreiber, 32, told detectives he never intended to hurt anyone. No one was injured in the fire, which burned a 10-by-10-foot hole in the roof at the back of the mosque’s main building and blackened its eaves with soot.

Schreiber, who previously served two prison terms for theft, was developed as a suspect partly because of a tip from the public, the affidavit says.

He was arrested without incident Wednesday and charged with second-degree arson with a hate crime enhancement, a crime that carries a maximum 30-year sentence.

AP

ADL raps Donald Trump Jr. over ‘gas chambers’ remark

The Anti-Defamation League accuses Donald Trump Jr. of “trivializing the Holocaust” after the Republican candidate’s son uses the phrase “warming up the gas chambers” in a cryptic allegation against the US media.

“The media has been her [Clinton’s] number one surrogate in this. Without the media, this wouldn’t even be a contest, but the media has built her up. They’ve let her slide on every indiscrepancy [sic], on every lie, on every DNC game trying to get Bernie Sanders out of this thing. If Republicans were doing that, they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now,” Donald Trump Jr. tells a local Philadelphia radio station.

In response, the ADL urges him to retract his comments.

Dozens of housing units approved in East Jerusalem

The Jerusalem municipality approves dozens of housing units in the capital’s Gilo neighborhood, in areas that are over the Green Line, Channel 2 reports.

Homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo on December 17, 2015. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

Homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo on December 17, 2015. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

Ya’alon dismisses claim Israeli security back Iran deal

Speaking at the Washington Institute, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon dismisses Obama’s claim last month that Israeli defense officials now back the Iran nuclear deal.

The former defense chief says he “doesn’t know any” security officials who support the accord, which both he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly opposed.

He also expresses doubt that the new aid $38 billion defense package from US, signed Wednesday, will cover all of Israel’s military expenses.

Ya’alon outlines his view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying it won’t end until the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He also maintains PA President Mahmoud Abbas would not retain his leadership without Israeli security support.

Danon slams UN chief’s ‘distorted view’ on Israel

Israel’s ambassador to the UN slams director-general Ban Ki-moon for his criticism of Netanyahu’s “ethnic cleansing” video.

“This is a distorted view of the situation,” says Danny Danon. “The obstacle to peace starts and ends with Palestinian incitement to terrorism and Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

“Instead of directly condemning Hamas and its building of terror tunnels, and instead of investing time and resources in ensuring that the Palestinians end their incitement, the Secretary General chooses to condemn Israel on a regular basis.”

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon in April 2016 (Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images/JTA)

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon in April 2016 (Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images/JTA)

Returning to campaign trail, Clinton says she’s ‘doing great’

Hillary Clinton says she is “doing great” as she returns to the campaign trail after recovering from pneumonia.

The Democratic presidential nominee speaks briefly with reporters on her campaign plane Thursday as she heads to an event in Greensboro, North Carolina.

She does not take detailed questions, though was expected to do so later in the day.

Clinton hasn’t campaigned since she became dizzy and dehydrated during a 9/11 memorial service in New York on Sunday. Her campaign later acknowledged that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday.

AP

Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the traveling press aboard her campaign plane at Westchester County Airport on September 15, 2016 in White Plains, New York. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)

Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the traveling press aboard her campaign plane at Westchester County Airport on September 15, 2016 in White Plains, New York. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)

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UN chief slams Netanyahu’s ‘outrageous’ claim on ‘ethnic cleansing’

UN director-general Ban Ki-Moon slams as “unacceptable and outrageous” a video posted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, in which he insisted that Palestinians were seeking the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews in the West Bank.

“I am disturbed by a recent statement by Israel’s Prime Minister portraying those who oppose settlement expansion as supporters of ethnic cleansing. This is unacceptable and outrageous,” Ban told the UN Security Council. “Let me be absolutely clear: settlements are illegal under international law. The occupation, stifling and oppressive, must end.”

The UN chief also condemns the Palestinian ongoing “glorification of terror” and rocket fire against Israel.

“I continue to be appalled that Palestinian parties choose to praise despicable acts, such as the 1972 terrorist attack against Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. The glorification of terror is disgraceful and the Palestinian leadership must put an end to it,” he says.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a press conference at a United Nations school in Gaza City on June 28, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a press conference at a United Nations school in Gaza City on June 28, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

On Gaza and the tit-for-tat fire between Israel and Syria on the northern front, the UN chief urges restraint.

“Just yesterday, militants in Gaza fired yet another rocket into Israel, which I condemn. Israel fired four missiles at targets in Gaza in response. Once again I reiterate that such attacks and the response they elicit do not serve the cause of peace,” he says.

“Turning to the Golan, I remain concerned by the continued breaches of the ceasefire line, and by fighting in the areas of separation and limitation. These developments undermine the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement, and jeopardize the ceasefire between Israel and Syria.

“In particular, recent fire from the Syrian Arab Armed Forces, impacted the Israeli-occupied Golan. On both occasions, Israeli Defense Forces responded with an airstrike. I call on Israel and Syria to abide by the terms of the Disengagement Agreement and exercise maximum restraint.”