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Lapid speaks with Egypt’s Sissi, thanks him for negotiating Gaza ceasefire

PM also discusses regional issues and his hopes to improve Palestinian economy with the Egyptian leader in extended conversation, his office says

  • Prime Minister Yair Lapid addresses Israelis after Operation Breaking Dawn, August 8, 2022. (GPO screenshot)
    Prime Minister Yair Lapid addresses Israelis after Operation Breaking Dawn, August 8, 2022. (GPO screenshot)
  • Iron dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel, in Sderot, on August 7, 2022. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
    Iron dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel, in Sderot, on August 7, 2022. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
  • A Palestinian man inspects a cemetery which was damaged  during fighting at the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, on August 8, 2022. The man's white T-shirt says the word 'Shalom,' or 'Peace' in Hebrew (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    A Palestinian man inspects a cemetery which was damaged during fighting at the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, on August 8, 2022. The man's white T-shirt says the word 'Shalom,' or 'Peace' in Hebrew (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
  • Surfers enjoy the early morning in the Mediterranean Sea off the southern coastal city of Ashkelon on August 8, 2022, following a ceasefire between the Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
    Surfers enjoy the early morning in the Mediterranean Sea off the southern coastal city of Ashkelon on August 8, 2022, following a ceasefire between the Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
  • President Isaac Herzog (2nd-R) meets with southern municipal leaders in Sderot on August 8, 2022, the morning after a ceasefire was a reached to end fighting between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
    President Isaac Herzog (2nd-R) meets with southern municipal leaders in Sderot on August 8, 2022, the morning after a ceasefire was a reached to end fighting between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
  • Illustrative: A fuel truck enters the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel on August 8, 2022 (SAID KHATIB/AFP)
    Illustrative: A fuel truck enters the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel on August 8, 2022 (SAID KHATIB/AFP)
  • Supporters of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group march with posters depicting senior commanders Khaled Mansour (L) and Tayseer Jabari, who were killed in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, during a rally in Lebanon's refugee camp of Burj al-Barajneh on August 7, 2022. (Anwar Amro/AFP)
    Supporters of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group march with posters depicting senior commanders Khaled Mansour (L) and Tayseer Jabari, who were killed in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, during a rally in Lebanon's refugee camp of Burj al-Barajneh on August 7, 2022. (Anwar Amro/AFP)
  • Israel's Iron Dome air defense system intercepts a rocket launched by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip, above the southern coastal city of Ashkelon on August 7, 2022. (Jack Guez/AFP)
    Israel's Iron Dome air defense system intercepts a rocket launched by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip, above the southern coastal city of Ashkelon on August 7, 2022. (Jack Guez/AFP)
  • Israeli police officers at the scene of a fire caused after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit a field near Sderot, August 7, 2022. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
    Israeli police officers at the scene of a fire caused after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit a field near Sderot, August 7, 2022. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
  • A ball of fire and smoke rise during Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip, August 7, 2022. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
    A ball of fire and smoke rise during Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip, August 7, 2022. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
  • Left, Prime Minister Yair Lapid delivers a message a day after the close of Operation Breaking Dawn, from the Israel Defense Forces' Tel Aviv headquarters on August 8, 2022. Right, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech during the One Ocean Summit, in Brest, Brittany, February 11, 2022. (Amos Ben Gershom / GPO; Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)
    Left, Prime Minister Yair Lapid delivers a message a day after the close of Operation Breaking Dawn, from the Israel Defense Forces' Tel Aviv headquarters on August 8, 2022. Right, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech during the One Ocean Summit, in Brest, Brittany, February 11, 2022. (Amos Ben Gershom / GPO; Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)

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

Lapid thanks Egypt’s el-Sissi for brokering Gaza ceasefire

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech during the One Ocean Summit, in Brest, Brittany, February 11, 2022. (Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech during the One Ocean Summit, in Brest, Brittany, February 11, 2022. (Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks with Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, thanking him for his country’s role in negotiating a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinain Islamic Jihad terror group, which went into effect last night.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the two spoke for a long time, not only about Gaza but about the general situation with the Palestinians and the region.

“Prime Minister Lapid said that Egypt has a highly significant position in preserving regional stability and security,” the PMO says.

According to the Israeli readout, the two also discussed Israel’s ongoing normalization efforts with other countries in the region.

“[El-Sissi] raise the issue of the Palestinians and the prime minister stressed his vision for strengthening the economic situation of the Palestinians,” Lapid’s office says.

Grease star Olivia Newton-John dies at 73

Olivia Newton-John, in an undated photograph. (courtesy)
Olivia Newton-John, in an undated photograph. (courtesy)

Film and music star Olivia Newton-John has died following a decades-long “journey with breast cancer,” her husband says.

In a Facebook post on her official page, Newton-John’s husband, John Easterling, says she “passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends.”

Newton-John, who was born in Cambridge, England, was the granddaughter of the Nobel Prize-winning German-Jewish physicist Max Born, who fled to the UK during Nazism’s rise in Germany.

Best known around the world for her role in the hit musical Grease and for her solo music career, the 73-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer over 30 years ago.

“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” her husband writes.

Newton-John is survived by her husband and daughter Chloe Lattanzi.

PIJ leader: If Israel doesn’t free prisoners in a week, we’ll resume fighting

Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhaleh. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhaleh. (Screen capture: YouTube)

The head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group threatens to resume its attacks if two of its members currently being held by Israel are not released, a day after a ceasefire went into effect, following three days of fighting.

In an interview aired on the Islamic Jihad’s Palestine Today television network, Ziad Nakhaleh said the organization had made the ceasefire contingent upon Israel releasing two members of the group: Bassam al-Saadi, the head of the organization’s activities in the West Bank, and Khalil Awawdeh, who is currently on a hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention by Israel.

“From the very beginning, we insisted that the two leaders be freed — the brother on hunger strike, and Bassam Al-Saadi. The enemy tried to proceed slowly in agreeing to this demand, but in the end it has conceded to these demands, with explicit Egyptian guarantees — that our mujahid brother Khalil Awawdeh will set out for the hospital tomorrow, and then he will go home. As for Bassam Al-Saadi, we received an explicit promise, in writing, that Egypt pledges to follow up on his release in the shortest possible time frame,” Nakhaleh says.

Israeli officials have denied this arrangement, saying they did not intend to release either man early.

In his speech, Nakhaleh says his organization told the Egyptians that Israel has one week to release the prisoners or it will call off the ceasefire.

“I want to make it clear that if Israel, the enemy, does not abide by these demands that it agreed to, then we would treat this as if there was no [ceasefire] at all, the [ceasefire] agreement was void, and we will resume the fighting, inshallah. If the enemy does not carry out its obligations according to the agreement, we will not hesitate for a moment to resume the fighting, and then Allah can do with us as He wills,” he says.

US supports EU proposal for a return to the 2015 Iran deal

The United States indicates it is willing to adopt a new European Union proposal for a mutual return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

In a statement, the US State Department describes the tabled draft as “the best and only basis on which to reach a deal.”

“For our part, our position is clear: we stand ready to quickly conclude a deal on the basis of the EU’s proposals,” the State Department says, indicating the deal’s restoration was up to Iran.

“They (Iran) repeatedly say they are prepared for a return to mutual implementation,” the spokesperson added. “Let’s see if their actions match their words.”

Iran, for its part, sounded guarded, raising skepticism about the chances for a breakthrough after a months-long stalemate.

“Naturally, the cases require comprehensive study,” IRNA quotes an anonymous senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official as saying. “We will transfer our views and supplementary points.”

But Western diplomats have warned that time is running short, as Iran’s nuclear program rapidly advances under diminishing international oversight. They also worry that looming midterm elections in the US could empower Republicans who oppose the accord.

Ben & Jerry’s seeks injunction against its Israeli franchisee

Ice cream containers at the Ben and Jerry's factory near Kiryat Malachi, on July 21, 2021. (Flash90)
Ice cream containers at the Ben and Jerry's factory near Kiryat Malachi, on July 21, 2021. (Flash90)

Ben & Jerry’s is seeking an injunction in a New York court against its parent company, amid ongoing legal fallout over the ice cream maker’s attempted boycott of West Bank settlements last year.

The ice cream maker wants to prevent its parent company Unilever from transferring intellectual property to Ben & Jerry’s Israel, which Unilever granted independence in a settlement earlier this year.

Ben & Jerry’s argues that Ben & Jerry’s Israel could usurp the company’s image by taking a new flavor and changing its branding. For example, Ben & Jerry’s could make a pro-Palestinian flavor, and the Israeli branch could take the same flavor, and brand it as pro-settlement, the lawyers argue.

Ben & Jerry’s considers the branding surrounding its social mission and activism as key to its business success.

As evidence, the plaintiff’s lawyers point to the Ben & Jerry’s Israel website, which displays company branding in English, and an interview Israeli franchise owner Avi Zinger gave to Haaretz, in which he said he “can do what he wants” with the company.

Lawyers representing Conopco, the main US branch of Unilever, say Ben & Jerry’s does not have the authority to make such claims because the intellectual property is owned by Unilever, and Unilever’s agreement with Ben & Jerry’s Israel is already closed.

The Ben & Jerry’s board, which is pressing the case, only has limited power related to its social mission, and does not have the authority to force business decisions, the lawyers argue.

They also say there is no imminent threat to Ben & Jerry’s branding, calling the suspicions “highly speculative and remote,” and that the agreement with Ben & Jerry’s Israel only allows the use of Hebrew and Arabic branding anyway.

The judge has not yet ruled on the injunction. The hearing takes place in the federal Southern District Court of New York.

Israel returns F-35 fleet to active service after tests for ejector seat problems

An Israeli F-35 fighter jet takes off during the military's Blue Flag exercise in October 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)
An Israeli F-35 fighter jet takes off during the military's Blue Flag exercise in October 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli Air Force has completed its evaluation of its F-35 fleet, after an issue with the fighter jet’s ejector seat was discovered by the US.

According to the military, the problem was not found in any of the Air Force’s 33 jets, and they have been returned to full service.

The Israel Defense Forces adds that the fleet also participated in recent airstrikes against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

Gantz says Israel achieved its main goals in Operation Breaking Dawn

Defense Minister Benny Gantz addresses Israelis after Operation Breaking Dawn, August 8, 2022. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz addresses Israelis after Operation Breaking Dawn, August 8, 2022. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz – speaking after Prime Minister Yair Lapid in a joint press conference – articulates the three clear objectives Israel achieved in Operation Breaking Dawn: removing the “immediate threat” against residents of the Gaza border region, “maintaining operational freedom of action,” and preserving deterrence against enemies who threaten Israel’s citizens and sovereignty.

“In the future, if necessary, we will conduct preemptive strikes in order to protect the citizens of Israel, its sovereignty and infrastructure. This is true on each of the fronts, from Tehran [Iran] to Khan Yunis [Gaza],” the defense minister adds.

Public approves of Lapid, Gantz handling of conflict but no bump in polls

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (right) Prime Minister Yair Lapid (center) and Northern Command chief Amir Baram on the Lebanese border, near the coast, on July 19, 2022. (Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (right) Prime Minister Yair Lapid (center) and Northern Command chief Amir Baram on the Lebanese border, near the coast, on July 19, 2022. (Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)

Polls taken today after three days of conflict with the Islamic Jihad in Gaza indicate that the Israeli public thinks that Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz did a good job, but the support is not translating into a bump in the polls for them.

According to a Channel 12 poll, 68 percent of Israelis think Israel won the conflict with a similar number approving of Lapid’s handling of the conflict. Gantz gets a 73% approval rating.

However, the approval is not translating into better numbers in the upcoming elections, according to surveys taken by all three major networks.

Channel 12 foresees Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud getting 34 seats and Lapid’s Yesh Atid with 24 seats.

Gantz’s Blue and White gets 12; Religious Zionism 10; Shas 8; United Torah Judaism 7; Joint List 6; Ra’am 5; Labor 5; Yisrael Beytenu 5 and Meretz 4.

Ayelet Shaked’s Zionist Spirit fails to cross the threshold.

This again leaves the 120-seat Knesset deadlocked, with the pro-Netanyahu bloc on 59 seats, the current coalition on 55, and the Joint List on 6.

Similar results are seen in Channel 13’s poll that gives Likud 34; Yesh Atid 22; Blue and White 11; Religious Zionism 11; Shas 7; United Torah Judaism 7; Joint List 6; Yisrael Beytenu 5; Labor 5; Meretz 4; Ra’am 4; Zionist Spirit 4.

This is the only poll that sees Zionist Spirit making it in, possibly giving Netanyahu a majority if they go with him, with the pro-Netanyahu bloc on 59, the anti-Netanyahu bloc on 51, and Zionist Spirit possibly playing the kingmaker with 4 seats.

The Kan public broadcaster meanwhile, forecasts Likud with 33; Yesh Atid on 23; Blue and White 12; Religious Zionism 11; Shas 8; United Torah Judaism 7; Yisrael Beytenu 6; Joint List 6; Labor 5; Meretz 5, and Ra’am 4.

This again puts the pro-Netanyahu bloc at 59, the anti- Netanyahu bloc at 55, and the Joint List at 6.

Netanyahu: Government with Ra’am in wouldn’t have been able to conduct Gaza strikes

Likud party head Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media at the Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv, on July 26, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Likud party head Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media at the Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv, on July 26, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Transitioning back into campaign mode, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu says that, had the coalition that includes the Islamist party Ra’am not fallen, Israel would not have been able to “fight terror” in the Gaza Strip.

“Only after this government with Ra’am fell, and only after Knesset dispersed, was it possible to go out to this operation,” says Netanyahu in a video message minutes after a joint statement by Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

“Only a stable government that’s not reliant upon Ra’am and the [majority Arab] Joint List can fight terror,” he continues.

Netanyahu is campaigning against  Lapid and Gantz in the upcoming November elections. Much of his Likud party’s messaging says that neither of them will be able to assemble the necessary 61 minimum of the Knesset’s 120 seats to form a coalition without including an Arab party.

In a last whiff of unity, Netanyahu includes a rare congratulations to a government he lambasted for being weak against terror, saying that “we are all united” when fighting terrorism.

“I congratulate the government, the Shin Bet, and our beloved IDF soldiers on another successful operation against terror in Gaza. In the fight against terror, we are all united. There’s no opposition, there’s no coalition,” the opposition leader says.

Lapid thanks Netanyahu for setting aside politics during Gaza fighting

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (left) has a briefing on the Israel-Gaza conflict with Prime Minister Yair Lapid, August 7, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (left) has a briefing on the Israel-Gaza conflict with Prime Minister Yair Lapid, August 7, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid thanks opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu for putting politics aside and “backing the government” during the Friday-Sunday Gaza conflict.

In addition to thanking the security establishment and Egyptian mediators, Lapid says: “I would also like to thank the opposition and opposition leader Netanyahu, who showed responsibility and backed the government throughout the operation.”

Despite the mudslinging characteristic of election campaigning, political rivals from across the blocs unified in support for the state and its military, as is characteristic of most Jewish Israeli politicians during a security event.

Yesterday, Netanyahu broke his year-long embargo on receiving security briefings from the outgoing government’s prime ministers.  He is entitled to the briefings as the opposition leader.

He immediately came out in support of the military — but not the government — when the operation launched on Friday, and then explicitly backed the government in comments after his briefing from Lapid yesterday.

Lapid offers a new path to residents of Gaza: livelihood, dignity and peace

Prime Minister Yair Lapid addresses Israelis after Operation Breaking Dawn, August 8, 2022. (GPO screenshot)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid addresses Israelis after Operation Breaking Dawn, August 8, 2022. (GPO screenshot)

In his first public statement since the close of the three-day military operation against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Yair Lapid reaches out to the residents of Gaza, offering them a different path going forward.

In a statement to the nation after the end of 66 hours of fighting, Lapid says all Israel’s targets in the operation were achieved and Israel’s deterrence has been restored.

But he also turns to the residents of Gaza and tells them it can be very different if they reject violence.

“During the entire operation, a special effort was made to prevent harming those not involved. The State of Israel will not apologize for protecting its residents using force, but the death of innocents, especially children, is heartbreaking,” Lapid says in the prime-time address.

“I want to address the residents of Gaza and tell them: there is another way. We will know how to protect ourselves from anyone who threatens us, but we also know how to give work and livelihood and a life of dignity to everyone who wants to live in peace by our side,” Lapid says.

“There is another way to live. The path of Abraham Accords, of the Negev summit, of innovation and economy, of regional development and joint projects. The choice is yours. Your future depends on you,” Lapid says.

The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, which sat out Operation Breaking Dawn. Rather, Israel operated against Islamic Jihad, which Lapid says posed a concrete terror threat.

Elkin: We won’t free thousands of prisoners in any exchange

Minister of Housing and Construction Ze'ev Elkin attends a conference in Modi'in, December 5, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)
Minister of Housing and Construction Ze'ev Elkin attends a conference in Modi'in, December 5, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)

Housing Minister Zeev Elkin says the government is not prepared to free thousands of Palestinian prisoners to get back Israeli captives held in Gaza.

“There won’t be a release of thousands of prisoners in return for the captives and the missing,” Elkin tells the Kan public broadcaster, amid reports that there was a chance to forge a deal in the wake of the ceasefire agreement.

The Hamas terror group holds two living Israelis — Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed — as well as the bodies of two Israeli soldiers: Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.

Israel and Hamas have held indirect talks in an attempt to reach a prisoner exchange deal. A similar deal in 2011 to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas’s clutches saw 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners released, many of them convicted terrorists.

However, Elkin says that “there are constant efforts to move the negotiations forward.

Spain, Portugal see hottest July ever recorded

A man cools off in a public shower at a beach during a hot, sunny day in Barcelona, Spain, July 21, 2022. (AP Photo/ Francisco Seco)
A man cools off in a public shower at a beach during a hot, sunny day in Barcelona, Spain, July 21, 2022. (AP Photo/ Francisco Seco)

Spain has never had a month as hot as July in more than six decades, the national weather office AEMET said Monday.

For the first time since weather records started in 1961, July registered an average temperature of 25.6 degrees Celsius (78 degrees Fahrenheit), that was 2.7 C (36 F) above the recorded average for any month of July.

The southern Andalusian town of Morón de la Frontera posted the highest temperature of the month with 46 C (115 F) on July 24. The northwest Galicia region posted a record temperature of 44 C (111 F) in Ourense city.

The extreme heat and lack of rain has caused many wildfires and worsened drought in many areas. The European Forest Fire Information System says 2022 has been the worst year so far, in terms of scorched territory and the number of fires for Spain. The body says some 240,000 hectares (585,00 acres) have been razed in more than 370 fires.

Neighboring Portugal’s weather service IPMA also said July was the hottest since national records began in 1931. The average temperature was 25.1 degrees Celsius (77.3 degrees Fahrenheit), it said. That was almost 3 degrees C higher than the expected July average.

Polish Auschwitz survivor, novelist Zofia Posmysz dies at 98

Zofia Posmysz, a then-96-year-old Polish Catholic woman who survived the Nazi German concentration camps of Auschwitz and Ravensbrueck, poses at her home in Warsaw, Poland, January 14, 2020. (AP Photo/ Czarek Sokolowski, File)
Zofia Posmysz, a then-96-year-old Polish Catholic woman who survived the Nazi German concentration camps of Auschwitz and Ravensbrueck, poses at her home in Warsaw, Poland, January 14, 2020. (AP Photo/ Czarek Sokolowski, File)

Zofia Posmysz, a Polish World War II-era resistance fighter who survived the Auschwitz and Ravensbrück concentration camps and later became a journalist and novelist, has died at 98.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau state memorial museum says Posmysz died today in a hospice in Oświęcim, the southern Polish town where Auschwitz was located during Nazi Germany’s wartime occupation of Poland.

She would have turned 99 in two weeks.

Posmysz, a Roman Catholic Pole, was born on August 23, 1923, in Krakow.

She was 18 when she was arrested in 1942, for her association with the Polish resistance in Krakow. After spending more than two years at the Auschwitz death camp, she was deported to Ravensbrück and then later to Neustadt-Glewe, where she was liberated at the war’s end in 1945, the Auschwitz memorial says.

She returned to Poland after the war, working as a journalist, including for Polish radio, and writing several novels. Her most famous work was titled “The Passenger,” a novel that she first wrote as a radio play, titled “The Passenger in Cabin 45.” It tells the story of an Auschwitz survivor who meets her former concentration camp guard on a ship voyage, and was the basis of a film and an opera.

In 2006, she was among the former prisoners who welcomed the German-born Pope Benedict XVI to the former Auschwitz camp.

UN Security Council to hold open session on Gaza fighting

China, which currently holds the UN Security Council presidency, has agreed to a request from the Palestinian mission to open today’s emergency session on the recent Gaza escalation.

The Security Council meeting was originally scheduled to take place behind closed doors with no participation from the Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors. Both Israeli envoy Gilad Erdan and Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour will now address the live-streamed session at 3 p.m. local time (10 p.m. IST).

The hearing was originally requested while the fighting was still taking place on Saturday by Security Council members China, France, Ireland, Norway, and the UAE.

Erdan calls on UN to condemn Islamic Jihad rocket fire at civilians

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan gives a press statement ahead of the Security Council's emergency meeting to discuss the recent Gaza escalation on August 8, 2022. (Israeli Mission to the UN)
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan gives a press statement ahead of the Security Council's emergency meeting to discuss the recent Gaza escalation on August 8, 2022. (Israeli Mission to the UN)

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan calls on the world body to condemn Islamic Jihad rocket fire at civilians and contrasts it with the IDF, which he says aborted an airstrike in Gaza three times at the last minute upon determining that it could result in civilian casualties.

Erdan makes the revelation during a press statement ahead of the UN Security Council’s emergency closed-door meeting to discuss the recent escalation between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

The envoy calls on the Security Council to issue a condemnation of Islamic Jihad, saying that failure to do so “will only motivate them to continue in their destructive ways.”

Erdan insists that Israel worked extensively to avoid civilian casualties during the 66-hour escalation in which 45 people were killed, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. The IDF estimates that 11 of those casualties were innocent civilians caught in the line of fire during airstrikes targeting PIJ fighters.

The Israeli army says 16 Palestinians were killed by failed PIJ rocket launches that landed inside Gaza.

During the press conference, Erdan shows footage of an Israeli Air Force operation that was aborted due to fears that it would lead to civilian casualties. “Israeli Air Force aborted the mission three times, I repeat, three times, due to the presence of children in the area.”

Official: Israel could face funding crunch to replenish Iron Dome interceptors

A missile from Israel's Iron Dome air defense system is launched in the southern city of Sderot on August 6, 2022. (Jack Guez/AFP)
A missile from Israel's Iron Dome air defense system is launched in the southern city of Sderot on August 6, 2022. (Jack Guez/AFP)

A senior official tells Army Radio that Israel could face a funding crunch to replenish the Iron Dome interceptor rockets.

Hundreds of interceptors were fired in recent days to defend Israeli towns and cities against the more than 1,000 rockets fired by Islamic Jihad.

“Without a budget law, there is no doubt there will be problems in the future with production and acquisition of Iron Dome interceptors,” the senior official says.

“There will be limitations we will have to deal with,” he says.

Senior official: Qatar played significant role helping bring about ceasefire

A senior official tells the Kan public broadcaster that Qatar played a significant role in helping to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The unnamed official credits the good relations developed over the last year with Egypt, which was the major mediator in the conflict, but also with Qatar.

Israel does not have formal relations with Qatar, but frequently works with the Gulf nation on Gaza.

The official says that Israel believes that Qatar has great potential to help rehabilitate Gaza and ensure stability in the region.

Family who buried cat killed in rocket attack shocked when he came home

Jewel the cat returns home after the family held a funeral for him after he was feared killed in a rocket attack in the Eshkol region Screen capture/Channel 12)
Jewel the cat returns home after the family held a funeral for him after he was feared killed in a rocket attack in the Eshkol region Screen capture/Channel 12)

An Israeli family who thought they had lost their cat in a rocket attack were shocked when he came home several hours after being buried.

The family who live in the Eshkol region near Gaza, tells Channel 12 that their cat Jewel disappeared after a rocket landed near their home.

They searched for him and were upset to discover his body under a car that had been destroyed by the rocket. They then buried him in their garden.

However, several hours later Jewel nonchalantly walked into the home, leaving the family to wonder whose cat they had buried.

 

 

Litzman avoids jail time, gets NIS 3,000 fine for trying to stop Leifer extradition

Former Minister Yaakov Litzman arrives for a court hearing as part of his plea bargain, at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on August 08, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Former Minister Yaakov Litzman arrives for a court hearing as part of his plea bargain, at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on August 08, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Former health minister Yaakov Litzman is sentenced to eight months’ probation and a NIS 3,000 ($900) fine for using his position to try to thwart the extradition to Australia of Malka Leifer, a former principal of an Orthodox girls school in Melbourne accused of sexually assaulting minors.

A judge accepts the plea deal under which Litzman pleads guilty to fraud and breach of trust for pressuring a state psychiatrist to deem Leifer unfit for extradition.

The ultra-Orthodox politician, who has announced he is not running in the next elections, avoids the charge of obstruction of justice and he is not convicted of moral turpitude in the case.

Leifer was eventually extradited to Australia last year, nearly 13 years after she fled Melbourne as allegations against her were coming to light and after a six-year legal process, during which a court determined that she had feigned mental illness in order to avoid facing justice. She is now facing trial in Australia for sexually abusing girls at a Jewish school.

EU submits a ‘final text’ at Iran nuclear talks, saying negotiations are over

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani waves as he leaves after talks at the Coburg Palais, the venue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna on August 4, 2022. (Alex HALADA / AFP)
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani waves as he leaves after talks at the Coburg Palais, the venue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna on August 4, 2022. (Alex HALADA / AFP)

The European Union has submitted a “final text” at talks to salvage a 2015 deal aimed at reining in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, a European official says.

“We worked for four days and today the text is on the table,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells reporters. “The negotiation is finished, it’s the final text… and it will not be renegotiated.”

Israeli High Court rejects petition to ban abortion after 24 weeks

The High Court of Justice flatly rejects a petition to ban abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy.

“Pregnancy is an occurrence of much importance and many consequences in a woman’s life. Gauging the risks involved in pregnancy and in terminating one is a professional (medical and psychological) one of the first order and decided, according to the law, by a professional committee made up of medical specialists and a social worker,” the court writes.

“As such, setting up any artificial limit or test, as the plaintiffs ask, is not only arbitrary but clearly against the clear intent of the law,” the court says.

 

Gaza mother tells Israeli TV of her fears, says support for wars is fading

Palestinians inspect their house which was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
Palestinians inspect their house which was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

In a rare interview with Israel’s Channel 12 news, a woman who lives in the Gaza Strip describes her terror during Israeli strikes and says public support for Hamas and Islamic jihad is fading.

Speaking in English and on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals from Hamas, which rules the Strip, the woman says there has been a change in public feelings.

“The view, the perspective, the thought of Gaza people has changed completely. In the previous wars they were with the resistance, with Hamas and Jihad, but now people are calling for the stop of war,” she says.

“The only one who gets demolished and (are) losing is the people of Gaza, not the leaders,” she says.

Asked what she tells her children during the airstrikes, she says she lies to them.

“I lie to them and tell them that it is a celebration, not a bombing, they try to believe me but look at my face and see how I’m scared and know that I’m not giving the truth,” she says.

She tells Israeli TV of her most fearful moment.

“The moment I felt was most scary was the moment when I was in the kitchen and my child was in another room, I felt a sudden bombing happen, I felt like my child would go with this bombing,” she says.

 

Greek PM says he was ‘unaware’ of phone hacking of prominent politician

Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stands outside Maximos Mansion in Athens, May 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)
Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stands outside Maximos Mansion in Athens, May 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)

Greece’s prime minister says  he was unaware that the country’s intelligence service had been bugging an opposition politician’s mobile phone for three months, insisting that he wouldn’t have allowed it had he known.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who faces elections next year, makes the remarks in a televised address to the nation three days after a wiretapping scandal led to the resignations of the head of the National Intelligence Service, Panagiotis Kontoleon, and the general secretary of the prime minister’s office, Grigoris Dimitriadis.

“What happened might have been in accordance with the letter of the law, but it was wrong,” Mitsotakis said. “I didn’t know about it and obviously, I would never have allowed it.” The National Intelligence Service, known by its acronym EYP, answers directly to the prime minister’s office, a change Mitsotakis brought about himself after winning 2019 elections.

Mitsotakis says the mobile phones of Nikos Androulakis, who had been running for the leadership of the socialist PASOK opposition party at the time, had been placed under “legal surveillance” from Sept. 2021 for three months. The wiretaps had been halted “automatically” a few days after Androulakis won the party leadership race, he said, but did not elaborate on why the opposition politician was targeted.

Androulakis filed a complaint with prosecutors at Greece’s Supreme Court on July 26 saying there had been an attempt to bug his cellphone with spyware named Predator.

Predator was originally developed in North Macedonia and subsequently in Israel.

Erdogan slams Israel for Gaza fighting: No excuse for killing children

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a signing ceremony at Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Turkey on July 22, 2022.  (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a signing ceremony at Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Turkey on July 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slams Israel for carrying out strikes in the Gaza Strip against Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“There can be no excuse for killing children, Turkey stands by the Palestinian people,” the Anadolu news agency quotes him as saying in a speech.

Erdogan’s criticism comes despite a recent rapprochement with Israel after more than a decade of strained ties.

Several Palestinian children are among the dead after three days of fighting, although Israel says some of them were killed when Islamic Jihad rockets fell short and exploded in residential areas inside Gaza.

In his speech, Erogan also reiterates his support for a two-state solution with a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He also calls issues surrounding the flashpoint  Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City a “red line” for Turkey but does not elaborate.

Gantz, defense chiefs hold assessment on ceasefire

Defense Minister Beny Gantz (center) holds an assessment with military chief of staff Aviv Kohavi (right) and other officials at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, August 8, 2022. (Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Beny Gantz (center) holds an assessment with military chief of staff Aviv Kohavi (right) and other officials at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, August 8, 2022. (Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz wraps up an assessment with senior military and security officials, as a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad holds since last night.

Gantz expresses “great appreciation” to the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security agency, his office says.

“The defense minister instructed the security forces to continue operational readiness in all areas, and to work to take advantage of the achievements of the operation to achieve stability and peace,” a statement adds.

Gantz also instructs officials to prepare a task force to strengthen defenses in towns in southern Israel, especially those close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

Hamas says Palestinian death toll in fighting rises to 45

Rami Arada inspects the rubble of his family house after it was destroyed by in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022.(AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Rami Arada inspects the rubble of his family house after it was destroyed by in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022.(AP Photo/Adel Hana)

The death toll during the three days of violence in the Gaza Strip has risen to 45, Hamas authorities say.

Israel has denied responsibility for some of the deaths, which it says were caused by Palestinian Islamic Jihad rockets fired at Israel that landed short inside the coastal enclave.

The Hamas Government Information Office in Gaza says another 360 people were wounded amid the fighting, which ended with a ceasefire last night.

The Gazan officials do not say how many of the total killed were affiliated with terror groups. The PIJ, Hamas, and another terror group have claimed 15 of the deaths as members.

Liberman meets with community leaders in south, promises compensation

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman meets with community leaders in southern Israel who were affected by the latest round of fighting with terror groups in Gaza.

Liberman promises financial compensation to all those who missed work due to the fighting and the lockdown that preceded it.

Liberman says he is expanding the compensation to those in a 40-kilometer radius from the border, up from the previously agreed-on 7 kilometers.

Liberman also notes that money has already been set aside to improve the bomb shelters in the area.

Ukraine calls for de-militarization of occupied nuclear plant

A Russian serviceman stands guard in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, May 1, 2022. (AP Photo)
A Russian serviceman stands guard in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, May 1, 2022. (AP Photo)

Kyiv is calling for the establishment of a demilitarized zone around a nuclear power station in east Ukraine where recent fighting with Russian forces has raised fears of a nuclear accident.

Zaporizhzhia — Europe’s largest atomic power complex — was occupied by Russia early in its invasion.

In recent days, it has been the scene of strikes that have damaged several structures, forcing the shutdown of a reactor.

“What needs to be done is to remove occupying forces from the station and to create a de-militarized zone on the territory of the station,” says Petro Kotin, president of Ukraine’s nuclear energy company, Energoatom.

“The fact that they are there is the greatest danger going forwards, towards an accident with radiation or even to a nuclear catastrophe,” he adds in a statement distributed by the agency.

Report: Trump demanded his generals be loyal like German generals were to Hitler

US President Donald Trump with, from left, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, listen to questions from members of the media during a briefing with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room at the White House on October 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
US President Donald Trump with, from left, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, listen to questions from members of the media during a briefing with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room at the White House on October 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Former US president Donald Trump clashed repeatedly with his generals over his desire to hold a huge military parade in Washington DC, the New Yorker reports.

According to the report, Paul Selva, an Air Force general and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Trump it was a bad idea and that “it’s what dictators do.”

Trump also angered the military leaders by telling them he didn’t want any injured vets taking part in the parade. “I don’t want them,” Trump reportedly said. “It doesn’t look good for me.”

Later, as Trump grew frustrated that the generals were not exhibiting blind loyalty to him, he exclaimed to his chief of staff, John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general: “You fucking generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?”

“Which generals?” Kelly asked.

“The German generals in World War II,” Trump responded.

“You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?” Kelly said.

AG approved killing of PIJ leader after being told it would not lead to war

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, May 29, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, May 29, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara says she gave Prime Minister Yair Lapid the go-ahead to carry out the killing of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader without convening the security cabinet because she was assured the act would not lead to war.

In response to a question from Channel 12 as to why she did not insist the cabinet be convened in accordance with the law, Baharav-Miara says that the security establishment had assured her the strike would not lead to war, so it was not necessary to convene the top level security body.

Baharav-Miara notes that every case was judged individually.

“In this case, given the intelligence information assessment meetings, the professional security officials unanimously said that the military action that had been decided on given the circumstances was not a military action that could lead to war,” she says

“Given the professional assessment, the judicial decision was made,” she adds.

 

 

Ahead of primaries, Labor announces 5,000 new members in recent weeks

Labor leader and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli at Labor's leadership primaries headquarters in Tel Aviv, July 18, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)
Labor leader and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli at Labor's leadership primaries headquarters in Tel Aviv, July 18, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)

The Labor party says its registered party members shot up by 5,000 in the 5 weeks since the Knesset dispersed and snap elections were called.

A total of 40,000 eligible party members can now vote in the Labor party’s primary tomorrow to set its Knesset slate under leader Merav Michaeli.

Michaeli is credited with rebuilding the party since taking the helm in 2021. Recovering from its flirtation with the electoral threshold, Labor joined the outgoing coalition with seven seats and contributed three ministers.

Michaeli has promised to continue growing Labor as a party that aspires to lead the center-left.

During final Gaza rocket barrage, Ben Gurion Airport passengers were rushed back into terminal

Illustrative: An El Al flight takes off at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv, October 25, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)
Illustrative: An El Al flight takes off at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv, October 25, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)

Army Radio reports that passengers boarding flights at Ben Gurion Airport were rushed off the aircraft sleeves and back into the terminal amid a rocket attack in central Israel last night.

The passengers took shelter in the terminal’s reinforced area as a rocket siren sounded, but the Israel Airports Authority later said no rocket was heading their way.

After investigating the matter, the IAA confirmed no rockets came close to the airport, and none were intercepted over the area — despite some Hebrew media reports that said one rocket was indeed shot down over the airport.

Flights resumed after around 11 minutes, after checks revealed that no shrapnel from a potential rocket or interception had damaged the runways.

Flights inbound to Israel held their positions as the rocket sirens sounded in Tel Aviv, a standard procedure.

The barrage came shortly before a ceasefire went into effect.

Iranian, Lebanese advisers said killed in explosion at Yemeni rebel camp

At least six Iranian and Lebanese advisers were killed in Yemen by a ballistic missile that exploded while being redeployed at a camp run by the Iran-backed Houthi rebel group, according to Arabic-language reports.

The reports carried by Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya and Al-Hadath say dozens of Houthi fighters were also killed, and that the blast triggered a second explosion in a nearby factory and weapons dump near Yemen’s capital Sa’ana.

It was not clear from the reports if the Lebanese were linked with Hezbollah, another armed faction supported by Tehran.

Gaza’s sole power plant restarts after fuel enters Strip in wake of ceasefire

A picture shows a power generating facility in the middle of the Gaza Strip on August 17, 2020. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
A picture shows a power generating facility in the middle of the Gaza Strip on August 17, 2020. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s sole power plant restarted today after fuel trucks crossed from Israel into the Hamas-run enclave following the start of a truce ending three days of deadly conflict between the Israeli military and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the electricity company says.

“The plant has started working to generate electricity,” Mohammed Thabet, spokesman for the company, tells AFP. The plant had shut on Saturday after running out of fuel following Israel’s closure of the goods crossing.

Gaza pedestrian crossing expected to reopen in coming days if calm holds

View of the closed Erez crossing, in Beit Hanun, between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip, on August 4, 2022. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)
View of the closed Erez crossing, in Beit Hanun, between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip, on August 4, 2022. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)

Israel’s Erez border crossing with the Gaza Strip could be reopened to Palestinian laborers as soon as tomorrow, according to Army Radio.

Citing security sources, the radio station says any decision to again allow in workers from Gaza depends on continued calm. A decision is expected in the coming days.

Earlier, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians announced the reopening of border crossings to allow fuel and humanitarian aid into Gaza, but has continued to bar the entry of pedestrians through Erez.

Islamic Jihad identifies 12 members of military wing killed in Gaza fighting

Supporters of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group march with posters depicting senior commanders Khaled Mansour (L) and Tayseer Jabari, who were killed in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, during a rally in Lebanon's refugee camp of Burj al-Barajneh on August 7, 2022. (Anwar Amro/AFP)
Supporters of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group march with posters depicting senior commanders Khaled Mansour (L) and Tayseer Jabari, who were killed in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, during a rally in Lebanon's refugee camp of Burj al-Barajneh on August 7, 2022. (Anwar Amro/AFP)

Palestinian Islamic Jihad identifies 12 members of its military wing killed in fighting with Israel, including two of the terror group’s top commanders in Gaza.

PIJ’s Al-Quds Brigades releases a graphic with photos of the 12 fighters, among them Tayseer Jabari and Khaled Mansour, the respective leaders of Islamic Jihad’s northern and southern brigades in Gaza. The former was killed in an Israeli strike Friday that kicked off the conflict, while the latter was targeted on Saturday night.

Hamas, the terror group that controls Gaza, said two members of its military wing were killed in the fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad, while the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said one of its fighters was killed.

The three-day conflict ended last night with a ceasefire that has held into today.

IDF announces lifting of all security restrictions in wake of Gaza ceasefire

Police block roads near the border with the Gaza Strip on August 4, 2022. (Flash90)
Police block roads near the border with the Gaza Strip on August 4, 2022. (Flash90)

The military announces that as of noon, all security measures the Home Front Command put in place across the south and center of the country have been lifted after the ceasefire last night to end the fighting in Gaza with Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

A statement from the Israel Defense Forces says the move follows a situational assessment it held.

The restrictions were largely related to gatherings. In towns closer to the border, residents were asked to remain close to bomb shelters.

Palestinian teen charged with murder for ramming cop in stolen car

Police officer Barak Meshulam, killed July 17, 2022 (Courtesy)
Police officer Barak Meshulam, killed July 17, 2022 (Courtesy)

Prosecutors file murder charges against a 17-year-old Palestinian for fatally ramming a police officer at a checkpoint in central Israel last month.

The suspect is accused of entering Israel illegally and driving well over the speed limit in a stolen car, with which he ran over Master Sergeant Barak Meshulam.

The indictment includes a charge of aggravated murder, along with illegally entering Israel and driving a stolen car without a license, among others.

Meretz MK hits out at Gantz: Don’t exploit Gaza operation for political ends

MK Yair Golan, a member of the outgoing coalition’s left-wing Meretz party, accuses Defense Minister Benny Gantz of making hay out of Israeli operations in Gaza against Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Golan, who served as a top IDF officer when Gantz headed the military between 2011 and 2015, bristles over a video of the defense chief meeting with officials to approve a targeted killing of a senior PIJ commander.

“Let’s keep the IDF out of politics. Let’s prevent the exploitation of operational activities for political needs. Let’s not be Bibi,” Golan tweets in a swipe at both Gantz and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Herzog hails locals in visit to south after Gaza fighting: ‘The wall protecting Israel’

President Isaac Herzog (2nd-R) meets with southern municipal leaders in Sderot on August 8, 2022, the morning after a ceasefire was a reached to end fighting between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog (2nd-R) meets with southern municipal leaders in Sderot on August 8, 2022, the morning after a ceasefire was a reached to end fighting between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog meets with southern municipal leaders as he visits the rocket-hit city of Sderot after a ceasefire took effect last night to end fighting between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“Without this region, there would be no State of Israel. You are the gateway to the State of Israel and you are the wall protecting the State of Israel,” Herzog says, according to a statement from his office.

The president hails the “incredible resilience” of Israelis in communities near the Gaza border and “everyone who engaged in defense together with you.”

“I hope and pray that we will now see calm and that Israel’s citizens will know calm and security. We must always be ready for any threat that might arise,” he sats.

Gaza border region announces ‘full return to routine’ after ceasefire

The Eshkol Regional Council informs residents of the southern Israeli region, which was battered heavily by rockets from Gaza during Operation Breaking Dawn, of a “full return to routine” after last night’s ceasefire.

A statement from the council says limits on gatherings and workplaces will be lifted, roads will be reopened and that educational activities and agricultural work can resume. It adds that regular train service will resume at noon and says public swimming pools can also reopen.

Israel not planning to free Islamic Jihad prisoners following ceasefire

The West Bank head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, Bassam al-Saadi, is seen shortly after his arrest by Israeli troops on August 2, 2022. (Courtesy)
The West Bank head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, Bassam al-Saadi, is seen shortly after his arrest by Israeli troops on August 2, 2022. (Courtesy)

Israel did not agree to release Khalil al-Awawda, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad member who is hunger-striking in protest of his detention by Israel without any charges, nor the terror group’s West Bank leader Bassam al-Saadi, who was arrested last week in a move believed to have sparked the round of violence in Gaza.

Israel has no intentions to release the prisoners early as demanded by PIJ following the ceasefire in Gaza last night, The Times of Israel has learned.

Meanwhile, senior Israeli officials point out the intensive and, in their eyes, successful ongoing contacts with Egypt, Qatar, the United States and other countries during the fighting in Gaza.

“They knew all the elements of our decision-making beforehand and also our efforts to avoid acting, and to ensure [the conflict] was as limited as possible,” says one of the officials.

“The Qataris have an important role here as a player that creates economic stability,” the official says.

These efforts helped in the ceasefire process, which began on Saturday.

The fact that Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s general-secretary Ziad Nakhaleh was in Tehran meeting the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps made it harder to him to agree to a ceasefire, according to the officials.

Officials were especially pleased with Egypt’s role. “Egyptian mediation was very intensive. Our relationship with them is extremely close.”

Israel’s political leadership initially wanted the ceasefire to come into effect yesterday afternoon, but had to give a few more hours to allow the IDF to complete operations, say the officials.

Israeli officials hint at opening for further deals with Hamas, PIJ after ceasefire

Senior Israeli officials indicate that there is an opening for further agreements with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the wake of the ceasefire to end fighting in Gaza.

“There are absolutely aware that there is an opportunity in the aftermath that we don’t want to miss,” says an official, pointing at the ongoing attempts to arrange for the return of Israeli civilian captives and bodies of IDF soldiers held by Hamas, among other opportunities.

“The signals from Hamas in recent weeks have been received,” an official says.

“We want to take things forward, and not make do only with a ceasefire with PIJ,” says one of the officials.

The return to Israel’s regular policies toward Gaza will happen gradually and in a way that “sends a message about the future,” says one of the officials.

These policies are expected to be put back in place over the next couple of days.

Hamas pressured Islamic Jihad to accept truce, wanted to stay out of fight — officials

Supporters of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups take part in a rally to celebrate a shooting attack in Tel Aviv, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 8, 2022. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)
Illustrative: Supporters of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups take part in a rally to celebrate a shooting attack in Tel Aviv, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 8, 2022. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)

Hamas was in touch with Egypt throughout Operation Breaking Dawn and pressured Palestinian Islamic Jihad to agree to a ceasefire, say senior Israeli officials this morning.

“We knew throughout that Hamas wanted to stay out” of the conflict, the officials say.

However, the officials say that Hamas failed in its responsibility to head off a conflict, which it should have done by pressuring PIJ before it started: “That is an expectation we have of someone who presumes to rule the Strip and its population.”

The officials argue that Hamas stayed out of the fight because of Israel’s military and civil policies over the past year. “That includes Operation Guardian of the Walls and the important economic incentives for the population,” they say.

Israeli officials pleased with Gaza ceasefire, say knew from start Hamas wouldn’t join Islamic Jihad

Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, in Gaza City, August 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File)
Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, in Gaza City, August 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File)

Senior Israeli officials say that they are pleased with the way the ceasefire with Palestinian Islamic Jihad has held up overnight.

“We can now start looking toward the next phase,” says one of the officials who briefed Israeli reporters Monday morning.

The officials stress that Israel embarked on the three-day operation “not by our choice.”

They say that Islamic Jihad terrorists, especially the two regional commanders assassinated during Operation Breaking Dawn in Gaza, were preparing to intensify their operations against Israel.

Israel was aware that the arrest of senior PIJ commander Bassam al-Saadi in Jenin would increase tensions, but did not expect it to be the spark that set off such a serious escalation, according to the officials.

De-escalation was Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s primary concern. Diplomatic efforts by other countries to pressure PIJ to rein in its threats against Israel did not play out initially, say the officials. Israel also limited movement near the Gaza border in an attempt to reduce friction and to avoid providing targets for PIJ snipers.

“But we couldn’t keep holding the Gaza border area in that situation, and our prior efforts failed to prevent the intention to carry out shooting attacks, and we understood we were moving toward an operation,” says an official.

“Then we realized that Islamic Jihad does not intend to leave this issue without operating, and operating in a significant way.”

Israel understood from the outset that Hamas would not join in the fighting and that it would be fighting only against PIJ.

The operation was designed to stop planned anti-tank and sniper attacks. “There was also an opportunity [to strike] the commander of their northern sector,” says an official.

Fuel trucks enter Gaza as Israel reopens border crossings after ceasefire

Israeli trucks carrying diesel fuel enter the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Israel-Gaza border, October 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Illustrative: Israeli trucks carrying diesel fuel enter the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Israel-Gaza border, October 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Fuel trucks are entering Gaza this morning as an Egypt-brokered truce between Israel and Islamic Jihad terrorists in the Palestinian enclave holds, an AFP journalist at the crossing says.

The trucks pass from Israel through the Kerem Shalom goods crossing to southern Gaza, the AFP journalist says, hours after a ceasefire deal came into effect ending three days of deadly conflict.

Labor primaries to go ahead Tuesday after Gaza ceasefire takes effect

Polling booths for the Labor party primary in the Tel Aviv Convention Center, February 11, 2019. (Raanan Cohen)
Illustrative: Polling booths for the Labor party primary in the Tel Aviv Convention Center, February 11, 2019. (Raanan Cohen)

The Labor party announces its primaries will go ahead tomorrow as planned, after saying yesterday it was considering delaying the vote before the Gaza ceasefire took force last night.

Party members will be able to vote digitally or at a polling booths in Haifa, Beersheba, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Hospital in south treated 60 for injuries from running to shelter or for anxiety amid Gaza fighting

Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon says it provided medical treatment to 60 people during the fighting in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which ended with a ceasefire last night.

According to the hospital, it treated 21 people who suffered anxiety and 39 who were lightly hurt as they ran to bomb shelters amid rocket fire.

It says 53 of those injured have since been released from the hospital.

Security minister: Israel refused demands to release high-profile Islamic Jihad members

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev attends a Labor faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Public Security Minister Omer Barlev attends a Labor faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev says that the ceasefire deal did not include an agreement to release two high-profile members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad who are in Israeli custody.

The Cairo-mediated ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad was said to have included an Egyptian promise to work toward the release Khalil al-Awawda, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad member who is hunger-striking in protest of his detention by Israel without any charges, and the terror group’s West Bank leader Bassam al-Saadi, who was arrested last week in a move believed to have sparked the round of violence in Gaza.

“Israel did not agree to anything, we responded negatively to the demands,” Barlev tells the Kan public broadcaster.

“Al-Saadi is like any prisoner, and the administrative detainee [al-Awawda], like any other administrative detainee. Toward the end of the detention period, the Shin Bet will assess the situation and decide whether to release him. Most of the times the Shin Bet extends [detention],” Barlev says.

Israel says Gaza crossings to reopen for humanitarian aid

View of the closed Erez crossing, in Beit Hanun, between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip, on August 4, 2022. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)
View of the closed Erez crossing, in Beit Hanun, between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip, on August 4, 2022. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says in a statement that crossings between Israel and Gaza will reopen for humanitarian aid at 9 a.m., subject to a security assessment.

The statement by Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, widely known by its acronym COGAT, says that if the situation remains calm, an assessment will be held on the potential full reopening of the crossings.

The border points have been shuttered for a number of days.

The Defense Ministry said Sunday that three mortars fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad hit the Erez Crossing between Israel and Gaza. The terminal roof was damaged as a result of a fire, and shrapnel fell into the entrance hall, the ministry said. There were no injuries.

IDF begins to lift restrictions on communities close to Gaza, reopens roads

Security forces block roads near the border with the Gaza Strip on August 4, 2022 (Flash90)
Security forces block roads near the border with the Gaza Strip on August 4, 2022 (Flash90)

After the ceasefire held overnight, the Israel Defense Forces says in a statement that it will begin to lift restrictions imposed on residents of the Gaza border area.

All the roads in the region that have been shut for a number of days will be reopened, the IDF says in a statement. The roads had been shut since last Tuesday amid fears of attack ahead of the latest round of fighting.

In addition, residents of border communities are no longer required to stay in close proximity to a protected area.

Trains will be restarted between Sderot and Ashkelon at noon.

IDF estimates 27 civilians killed in Gaza fighting, 15 by terror group’s rocket misfires

Palestinians salvage belongings from the rubble of their home, following Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, on August 7, 2022. Israel says it is conducting strikes on terror targets while terror groups fire rockets at Israel. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Palestinians salvage belongings from the rubble of their home, following Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, on August 7, 2022. Israel says it is conducting strikes on terror targets while terror groups fire rockets at Israel. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

In a briefing to reporters, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson says the military believes 51 people were killed in Gaza during the most recent round of fighting, 24 of them from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

The military says its figures are estimates.

According to the military, 16 people people uninvolved in the hostilities were killed by Gazan rockets which fell short.

A further 11 people were killed who were not affiliated with terror groups, meaning that a total of 27 Gazan civilians — including a number of children — were killed in the fighting.

The military believes it killed 24 terrorists from the Islamic Jihad terror group.

“More Palestinians were killed by the failed firing by Islamic Jihad than by the firing of the IDF,” spokesman Ran Kochav says.

Kochav says “lessons will be learnt” in the wake of the killing of the 11 people not directly involved in the fighting.

The military also says approximately 1,100 rockets were fired toward Israel by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Approximately 200 rockets fell short of their targets and landed in the Gaza Strip, the military says.

The Iron Dome missile defense system had a 96 percent success rate, the IDF says.

The IDF says it carried out strikes on approximately 170 targets linked to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, including senior officials and activists of the terror group.

IDF says most military aims achieved in Gaza, ‘gradual return to routine required’

IDF units close to the border with Gaza on August 7, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
IDF units close to the border with Gaza on August 7, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says that most of the military aims during Operation Breaking Dawn were achieved.

In a briefing to reporters, a spokesperson says that a “careful and gradual policy of returning to normal routine is required.”

Despite the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad holding for the entire night, many restrictions still remain in place for those living in communities closest to the border with Gaza.

This means educational facilities in towns near the Gaza Strip will remain closed, gatherings will be largely banned and residents will still need to remain close to bomb shelters.

Slightly looser restrictions are in place for the rest of the northern Negev and part of the Lachish region.

UN’s Mideast envoy welcomes Gaza ceasefire, mourns loss of life and injuries

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefs, over video conference, the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question on January 26, 2021. (Daniela Penkova/UNSCO/File)
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefs, over video conference, the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question on January 26, 2021. (Daniela Penkova/UNSCO/File)

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland welcomes the ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, which has gone into effect after over three days of fighting.

“I welcome the ceasefire in Gaza and Israel after days of conflict. Deeply saddened by the loss of life & injuries, including children,” Wennesland tweets.

“I commend Egypt for its crucial role in establishing the ceasefire and for the strong support from Qatar, US & others,” he says.

“The situation is still very fragile, and I urge all parties to observe the ceasefire.”

PIJ leader: We’ll resume fighting if Israel doesn’t ‘stick to what we agreed upon’

Ziad Nakhaleh, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, says that its members dealt with Israel’s “aggression” with “steadfastness,” adding that he “salutes the Palestinian nation.”

In a statement, Nakhaleh also warns that “if the enemy doesn’t stick to what we agreed upon via the Egyptian mediator, we will resume fighting.”

IDF to reassess safety restrictions on Gaza-area residents

The IDF is due in the coming hours to reassess the necessity of special safety instructions currently in place for residents of areas near the Gaza Strip.

Despite the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad holding for the entire night, the restrictions still remain in place. This means educational facilities in towns near the Gaza Strip will remain closed, gatherings will be largely banned and residents will still need to remain close to bomb shelters.

Slightly looser restrictions are in place for the rest of the northern Negev and part of the Lachish region.

Officially, the restrictions are valid until 6 p.m. Monday, but they could be canceled earlier.

Biden welcomes Gaza ceasefire, says US proud to back life-saving Iron Dome

US President Joe Biden speaks about the economy during a meeting at the White House in Washington, July 28, 2022. (AP/Susan Walsh)
US President Joe Biden speaks about the economy during a meeting at the White House in Washington, July 28, 2022. (AP/Susan Walsh)

US President Joe Biden welcomes the ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, which has gone into effect after over three days of fighting.

Biden says the US has been in contact with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Qatar and Jordan in order to bring a swift end to the fighting, and he thanks Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi along with Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani for their central roles in the effort.

The president also commends Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his government’s “steady leadership throughout the crisis.”

As the White House did on the first day of the conflict, Biden expresses his support for Israel’s right to defend itself against “indiscriminate” PIJ rocket fire and adds that the US “is proud of our support for Israel’s Iron-Dome, which intercepted hundreds of rockets and saved countless lives.” Earlier this year, the US approved an additional $500 million in funding for Iron Dome replenishments following the May 2021 Gaza conflict.

Biden laments the civilians whose lives were cut short by the conflict, “whether by Israeli strikes against Islamic Jihad positions or the dozens of Islamic Jihad rockets that reportedly fell inside Gaza.”

He says his administration supports “timely and thorough investigation[s]” into those deaths.

“We also call on all parties to fully implement the ceasefire, and to ensure fuel and humanitarian supplies are flowing into Gaza as the fighting subsides,” the president says.

As has been the case in just about every Biden administration statement regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Biden closes by asserting that “Israelis and Palestinians both deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy.”

“My Administration will remain engaged with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to support that vision and to implement the initiatives launched during my [recent] visit to improve the quality of life for Palestinians and Israelis alike,” he adds, apparently referring to the package of steps announced last month aimed at improving Palestinian livelihood, but which have yet to be implemented and require Israeli follow-through.

Gaza-area regional council won’t resume education activities, despite truce

The Sdot Negev Regional Council announces that after a security assessment and despite a ceasefire taking effect, communities in the Gaza-area region won’t resume educational activities tomorrow.

This means there won’t be shuttles to special education institutions, daycares won’t be opened, and summer camp activities won’t be held.

PA leader Abbas welcomes ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses a rare meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council, on February 6, 2021. (WAFA)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses a rare meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council, on February 6, 2021. (WAFA)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praises the ceasefire reached between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, ending more than three days of fighting.

“We welcome the Egyptian efforts that led to the halting of the occupation’s aggression in Gaza,” Abbas says.

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