The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they happened.
CAIRO — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Thursday that a full US troop withdrawal from Syria announced by US President Donald Trump last month will go ahead despite widespread criticism.
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw our troops has been made. We will do that,” Pompeo tells a joint press conference in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
The US top diplomat is on a whistlestop tour of the Middle East to address the concerns of regional allies about the surprise pullout plan.
Prosecutors file an indictment against two residents of northern Israel for the murder of an Arab Israeli teenager.
Yara Ayoub, 16, was found dead in an alley in her hometown of Jish in November, fueling protests over violence against women across the country.
According to the indictment filed today at the Nazareth District Court, Mohammad Maraee Abu Zeinab and a minor, both from Jish, slit Ayoub’s throat in a bakery managed by Abu Zeinab on November 23 and also stabbed her numerous times.
They then allegedly threw Ayoub’s body in a dumpster, where it was found three days later.
Prosecutors say Abu Zeinab decided to kill Ayoub after being forced to give her hundreds of shekels on a number of occasions, but do not explain why he needed to pay her.
The name of the minor, who is 17, is barred from publication.
The High Court of Justice rejects a petition from family members of a Palestinian terrorist who killed an American-Israeli man in the West Bank to halt the partial demolition of their home.
Khalil Jabarin, 17, from the Palestinian city of Yatta, fatally stabbed Ari Fuld in September outside a supermarket at the Gush Etzion Junction. Before collapsing from his wounds, Fuld chased after Jabarin and shot him as he tried to stab a bystander.
Jabarin was subsequently detained and security forces mapped out the floor of the family home where he lived to prepare it for destruction.
The Kan public broadcaster reports Justice George Karra dissents on the ruling, arguing there is no reason to demolish the floor on which Jabarin lived.
The judge who ordered the release of a number of suspects in the killing of a Palestinian woman defends investigators’ handling of the case amid allegations of misconduct.
The Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court earlier today agreed to release four of five minors detained in connection to the death of Aisha Rabi, who was fatally struck on the head by a rock in October while in a car with her husband in the northern West Bank.
The Shin Bet security service, which has led the investigation, has come under fire from far-right activists and lawmakers over the minors’ detention and faced accusations of torture, which it has denied.
“It is clear that the investigating unit, together with the Shin Bet, are carrying out the investigation in a thorough, serious and strenuous manor, while trying to arrive at the truth,” Judge Guy Avnin writes in the ruling, according to a statement from police.
“At this time I found the investigative unit properly took advantage of the time period when the suspect was detained,” he adds.
Avnin also says the strength of the allegations against the suspect are very high, as is the concern that he would obstruct justice if released, necessitating his continued detention.
An Egyptian security delegation arrives in the Gaza Strip and meets Hamas officials.
Pictures posted on Twitter show Ayman Badia, the deputy head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services, and Ahmad Abdelkhaliq, the official in the Egyptian GIS in charge of the Palestinian file, arriving at Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh’s office in Gaza City.
A source tells the Gaza-based Safa news site that the Egyptian officials came to the coastal enclave to discuss the Rafah crossing, intra-Palestinian reconciliation and efforts to reinforce a ceasefire between Israel and terrorist groups in the Strip.
On Monday, the Palestinian Authority pulled its employees out of the Rafah crossing, putting its regular operation at risk.
Egyptian authorities have not said if they will allow the sole crossing between Egypt and Gaza to remain open on a regular basis without PA employees present.
— Adam Rasgon
— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) January 10, 2019
In a speech criticizing the Obama administration’s policy in the Middle East, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls on US allies in the region to form a united front against Iran.
Speaking in Cairo, Pompeo criticizes former US president Barack Obama’s 2009 speech in the Egyptian capital and defends America’s role in the region as a “force for good.”
“The results of these misjudgments have been dire… we grossly underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism, a debauched strain of the faith that seeks to upend every other form of worship or governance,” Pompeo says.
“ISIS drove to the outskirts of Baghdad as America hesitated,” he continues, using an acronym for the Islamic State jihadist group.
Pompeo charges that the Obama administration’s policy toward Iran led it to ignore Hezbollah’s stockpiling of missiles that threaten Israel.
“America’s penchant for wishful thinking led us to look the other way as Hezbollah, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Iranian regime, accumulated a massive arsenal of approximately 130,000 rockets and missiles,” he says during a speech in Cairo.
“That arsenal is aimed squarely at our ally Israel.”
Pompeo credits US President Donald Trump for adopting a more confrontational approach toward Iran and pulling out of the nuclear deal meant to limit its nuclear program.
“President Trump has reversed our willful blindness to the danger of the regime and withdrew from the failed nuclear deal with its false promises,” he says.
“Countries increasingly understand that we must confront the ayatollahs, not coddle them,” Pompeo adds.
Pompeo welcomes Israel’s warming ties with Arab Gulf states in a speech calling for Middle East countries to put aside “old rivalries” and confront Iran.
“New bonds are taking root that were unimaginable until very recently,” he says, pointing to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trip last year to the sultanate of Oman, a country with which Israel has no formal ties.
Pompeo also notes the judo competition in Abu Dhabi where for the first time Israeli athletes were able to compete under the Israeli flag.
“It was also the first time an Israeli culture and sports minister attended a sports event in the Gulf. She said, and I quote: ‘It is a dream come true,'” he says, quoting Miri Regev’s reaction to the playing of the Israeli national anthem.
The Trump administration’s envoy for Middle East peace condemns the deputy leader of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party for taking part in a rally last week where a coffin bearing pictures of the US president and Prime Minister Netanyahu were burned.
Mahmoud Al-Aloul, a Fatah/PA leader, was recently at a ceremony where a coffin with photos of @POTUS & @Netanyahu were burned. Disgraceful & disgusting. Stunts like this only harm Palestinians. Once again – time to get serious if you want to help Palestinians. pic.twitter.com/4c40Fed2v4
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) January 10, 2019
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accuses the United States of sowing instability in the Middle East following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech calling for a united front to thwart Iran’s regional ambitions.
Whenever/wherever US interferes, chaos, repression & resentment follow. The day Iran mimics US clients & @SecPompeo's "human rights models”—be it the Shah or current butchers—to become a “normal" country is the day hell freezes over. Best for the US to just get over loss of Iran.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 10, 2019
BEIRUT — An al-Qaeda-linked coalition in Syria has expanded its presence in the last major rebel stronghold in the country, cementing the extremists’ hold on the region in northwestern Syria.
Opposition activists say the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Arabic for Levant Liberation Committee, or HTS, took over control of most of Idlib province and the surrounding countryside after forcing rival insurgents to accept a deal for a civil administration run by HTS in their areas.
The deal follows days of fighting during which the HTS seized more than two dozen villages from the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front.
The developments threaten to derail a cease-fire in the area reached in September between Turkey and Russia that averted a Syrian army assault on Idlib.
WASHINGTON — The oldest synagogue in Washington, DC, is on the move again — the third time in 50 years after spending nearly a century in its original home.
The building inaugurated in 1876 was moved to a site where it will be a part of the Capital Jewish Museum.
Workers used dollies to move the structure on Wednesday a block and a half to the corner of 3rd and F streets in Washington’s Northwest quadrant.
The Adas Israel building, originally located at 6th and G, where it was inaugurated by US president Ulysses S. Grant, moved three blocks in 1969 to make way for the new headquarters of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro), and again, 50 feet, in 2016 for a major development, the Capitol Crossing.
The move took two hours and was attended by city officials and rabbis, who delivered the traveling prayer before movers set the building on its way.
Labor Party head Avi Gabbay calls on Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Israel Resilience chief Benny Gantz not to sit in a government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“You can’t be shocked by Netanyahu’s attacks on legal authorities and then run to join his coalition,” Gabbay says at an event to launch Labor’s campaign for Knesset elections in April.
WASHINGTON — Senator Bernie Sanders is apologizing to women who’ve shared experiences of harassment by male supervisors while working on his 2016 presidential campaign.
The Vermont independent says alleged misconduct by male aides “was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign or any campaign should be about.”
He says rhetoric about “ending sexism and ending all forms of discrimination … cannot just be words.”
Sanders’ comments follow a Politico report that a former Sanders adviser, Robert Becker, had assaulted a female subordinate. Becker denies the allegation. The New York Times also has detailed allegations of unwanted sexual advances and pay inequity on Sanders’ 2016 campaign.
Sanders says he was unaware of Becker’s alleged behavior.
The reports of harassment are raising questions about whether Sanders can launch a second presidential campaign.
MK Eitan Cabel brands Labor leader Avi Gabbay a “liar” and again calls for him to resign, blaming him for the party’s current woes in election polls.
Speaking at what is meant to be a festive event to launch the opposition party’s election campaign, Cabel says he made a mistake to support Gabbay in the second round of the party’s leadership primaries in 2017 and lays into him for disbanding the Zionist Union alliance with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua.
“You broke up the Zionist Union without consultations, you led, you navigated. This failure is completely Gabbay’s. We can still save these elections. This is the great moment, to create a front against [Prime Minister] Netanyahu in which the Labor party is the central axle,” says Cabel, a longtime Labor lawmaker.
Cabel was booed during his speech, as was Gabbay, highlighting the deep discontent among Labor voters over the public infighting between party leaders since early elections were called last month.
— with Raoul Wootliff
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has recently ordered investigators to collect additional testimony from witnesses in a corruption case involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hadashot TV news reports.
The investigation, known as Case 4000, involves suspicions Netanyahu advanced regulation benefiting Bezeq controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch in exchange for flattering coverage from the telecom firm’s Walla news site. Police have recommended both men be charged in the case.
According to Hadashot, a number of Walla employees have been called to provide testimony, including senior figures at the news site and others who haven’t previously given testimony.
Citing unnamed officials close to the investigation, the report says the addition testimony is not expected to delay Mandelblit’s announcement on whether he intends to indict Netanyahu.
Police have also recommended Netanyahu be charged in two other criminal investigations. The prime minister, who has denied any wrongdoing, has called on Mandelblit not to summon him to a pre-indictment hearing if the process cannot be wrapped up before Knesset elections in April.