The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.
The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a session in the coming days to address recent incidents of Quran burning in Europe, a council spokesman says.
“The UN Human Rights Council will hold an urgent debate to discuss the alarming rise in premeditated and public acts of religious hatred, as manifested by the current desecration of the holy Quran in some European and other countries,” council spokesman Pascal Sim told reporters, citing a request from Pakistan on behalf of some members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Palestinian media reports say the Israeli military is deploying reinforcements to the West Bank city of Jenin.
In footage shared online, a large convoy of army vehicles, including bulldozers, is seen entering the area.
— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) July 3, 2023
Israeli officials deny ordering residents of the Jenin refugee camp to evacuate, after Palestinian media said the IDF had ordered residents to leave the area.
Crowds of Palestinians are leaving Jenin, as Israeli forces crack down on terror groups in the West Bank city.
The IDF’s Arabic language spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, says the evacuation reports are baseless.
Security officials tell the Ynet news site that the IDF did not issue an evacuation order, and that the Jenin residents are fleeing to escape the fighting.
Hundreds of armed terrorists are holed up in the crowded quarter of the city, the officials say, and Israel has indicated the operation will continue.
Military officials tell the Walla news site that hundreds of families have fled Jenin of their own accord to escape the fighting.
Hundreds of protesters gather outside of the Ramle police station, where demonstrators arrested at the Ben Gurion Airport rally were taken, to demand their release.
The demonstrators staged a mass rally at the airport earlier today to protest the government’s renewed push to advance legislation aimed at remaking Israel’s judicial system.
Police say 37 protesters were arrested for disturbing the peace after overrunning barricades, blocking roads, and entering Terminal 3.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “is deeply concerned about the developments in Jenin,” according to a statement released by his office.
Guterres “affirms that all military operations must be conducted with full respect for international humanitarian law,” the statement says.
Asked about Israeli drone strikes, a spokesperson tells reporters, “It is not acceptable for there to be armed attacks in areas of high population density.”
“All parties need to abide by international humanitarian law,” the spokesperson says.
The spokesperson says Guterres is evaluating the situation, and is “in touch with a range of parties,” while he stresses the need to avoid further escalation.
There is widespread agreement among Israeli political and security leaders that the counter-terror operation in Jenin should continue, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
A security official tells the network, “There are still many goals that Israel wants to achieve.”
The security official says messages are being sent to Gaza and Lebanon, telling terror groups in those areas to stay out of the fighting.
Dozens of Arab Israelis protest against the Israeli counter-terror operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.
The demonstrations take place in the mixed Arab-Jewish cities of Jaffa, next to Tel Aviv, and in Haifa, according to the Ynet news site.
The protesters carry signs that say, “From the Negev to the Galilee, with our Palestinian people.”
Arab Israeli political leaders have also denounced the operation in Jenin.
Palestinian media outlets report that Israeli forces are ordering Palestinians to evacuate part of the Jenin refugee camp, as the army conducts a major operation in the area.
Footage shows Palestinians walking down a street near an army jeep.
There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defenses Forces on the reports.
جيش الاحتلال يجبر أهالي مخيم جنين على إخلاء المخيم pic.twitter.com/CFHSJzsY86
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) July 3, 2023
Other reports say residents are fleeing the fighting.
The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency services group says it has evacuated 3,000 people.
Palestinian media outlets also say Israeli Air Force fighter jets are flying over Jenin.
A short clip published online shows an aircraft flying over the area.
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) July 3, 2023
Turkey’s foreign ministry denounces Israel’s anti-terror operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.
“We strongly condemn the incursion carried out by the Israeli forces today,” the Turkish foreign ministry says in a statement.
“We are deeply concerned that the current tension in the region could trigger a new spiral of violence following these attacks, and we reiterate our call on the Israeli authorities to act with common sense and put an end to such actions,” it says.
“We wish Allah’s mercy upon our Palestinian brothers who lost their lives in the incident, a speedy recovery to the injured and extend our condolences to the State of Palestine and its people.”
The UAE also condemned the operation earlier today.
The US and UN have issued warnings to avoid civilian casualties.
Commenting on the IDF’s ongoing operation in Jenin, the US State Department says, “It is imperative to take all possible precautions to prevent the loss of civilian lives.”
There have been no reports yet of civilian deaths in the Jenin operation, but dozens were reported wounded.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is “doing everything to avoid civilian casualties.”
“Today’s events further underscore the urgent need for Israeli and Palestinian security forces to work together to improve the security situation in the West Bank,” a statement from a State Department spokesperson adds, after reiterating an earlier White House statement that backed Israel’s right to self defense against Palestinian terror organizations.
The US statement comes as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says the PA will end all cooperation with Israel, including security ties.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says the PA will end all cooperation with Israel, including security ties, following the large-scale IDF raid on the Jenin refugee camp.
Calling an emergency session of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, Abbas said the PA would immediately halt all contact and meetings with the Israeli side.
“In light of the Israeli lack of commitment to the Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh understandings — the leadership announces that these understandings are no longer binding,” a statement from Abbas says.
Abbas has threatened to halt security coordination with Israel several times in the past.
Previous Palestinian moves to suspend this coordination have been short-lived, in part because of the benefits the PA enjoys from the relationship and also due to US and Israeli pressure to maintain it.
The PA has limited control over scattered enclaves in the West Bank, and its forces have little authority in terror strongholds like the Jenin camp.
Police declare the anti-government protest at Ben Gurion airport “illegal,” after demonstrators overrun barricades, block roads, and enter Terminal 3.
The declaration paves the way for police to use force to disperse the demonstrators.
A police statement says that, so far, 37 demonstrators have been arrested for disturbing the peace.
Police say that in addition to crowding into the road, demonstrators dragged plants into the streets to create barricades.
התקווה:ערב היסטורי בנתב״ג מה שקורה הערב בשדה התעופה בן גוריון הוא התשובה הכי ברורה והכי נחושה,של המחאה הגדולה והחשובה בתולדות המדינה* 🇮🇱למעלה מ-10,000 מפגינים*25 עצורים (בינתיים)*ומדינה שלמה שיודעת שיש לה לוחמי דמוקרטיה אמיצים נחושים פטריוטים.לא ניתן להם לחוקק דיקטטורה*‼️
— רות לירן PsyD (@ruthshalva) July 3, 2023
Speaking in English at the US Independence Day event, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stresses that the US is Israel’s “irreplaceable and indispensable ally.”
“America has provided Israel with moral and political backing against those who would wipe us out, the only Jewish state,” he says.
“Security cooperation has never been better, intelligence sharing has never been deeper,” he says.
“America defeated the forces of totalitarianism, but we should also remember a basic truth: freedom is precious and it is never free,” the prime minister continues.
“As I speak, our troops are battling the terrorists with unyielding resolve and fortitude while doing everything to avoid civilian casualties,” he says.
“In the months ahead, Israel and America will work closely together to thwart the danger posed by Iran and seize the opportunity to expand the circle of peace.”
President Isaac Herzog also declared that “Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America.”
“Once again, the State of Israel is being forced to contend with hatred,” he says of the ongoing Jenin operation.“I pray that they complete their mission and return home safely and soundly.”
“We share the obstinate hope that even as we fight, we do so towards the ultimate goal of peace and prosperity for all,” he says.
“I am looking forward to sharing Israel’s unique story with the American people on behalf of every Israeli,” he says ahead of his trip later this month to the US Congress, “the story of a nation that rose like a phoenix out of the ashes of destruction.”
“May the land of the free and the home of the brave and this land of Israel know only peace, prosperity, and success.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in Hebrew at the beginning of his remarks at the US embassy’s July 4 event, giving a muscular warning to Palestinian terrorists as IDF forces operate in Jenin.
“In recent months, Jenin has turned into a safe haven for terror,” he says. “There are no places that are safe for terror.”
“Anyone who tries to hurt Israelis — his place is in jail or in the grave,” he thunders to applause.
“I salute you,” he says to the troops fighting in Jenin.“We will continue with the operation until its completion.”
“Like all democracies, we are both works in progress,” says Ambassador Tom Nides at the US Independence Day celebration at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
“Like all democracies, we are both works in progress, imperfect but striving to live up to our founding ideals, and we are both countries that understand that greatness flows from goodness,” he continues, saying he is optimistic about the future of both countries.
“Your commitment and love for the state of Israel … will always be commended,” Nides says to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a week before he returns to the US.
“I love these two people,” he says of President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal.
Thousands of anti-government demonstrators overrun police barricades at Ben Gurion airport outside Terminal 3.
The protesters close down the main road outside the terminal, and hundreds manage to enter into the arrivals hall.
Vehicles are also blockaded by slow-moving convoys on the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway outside the airport.
Despite dragging away demonstrators earlier and arresting at least 15, police, including mounted officers, pull back.
The scene from Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport. Absolute chills. The patriotism on display here today will live in the Israeli memory for years to come. pic.twitter.com/YXAnBN66ZH
— Blake Flayton (@blakeflayton) July 3, 2023
The airport says that most flights are still leaving and arriving as scheduled, however, several delays are displayed on the board.
The chief of the military’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox says the Israeli operation in the northern West Bank city of Jenin is not going to be a one-off campaign.
“This operation doesn’t stand on its own. This day doesn’t stand on its own,” Fox tells reporters at the Salem checkpoint, some 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from Jenin.
“There is a series of operations here, just like we were here a week ago and two weeks ago, we will finish this operation, and we will come back in a few days or a week, and we will not allow this city of refuge for terror,” Fox says.
“This isn’t a limited incident, we want to improve the security and increase our freedom of action,” he adds.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hails the IDF operation in Jenin, saying it is changing the equation in the fight against terror in the West Bank.
Speaking after an assessment with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and the heads of the IDF and Shin Bet, Netanyahu lauds the achievements in the raid.
“In recent months, Jenin has become a haven for terrorism — we are putting an end to it,” Netanyahu says, noting that Israeli forces killed several gunmen, arrested others, and found and destroyed a host of weapon and bomb-making facilities — some of them “on an industrial scale.”
Netanyahu points out that the forces are operating in a densely populated area and “they are doing it with minimal harm to civilians.”
The premier claims that the operation will change “the equation against terrorism,” and compares it to the recent operation against Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the 2021 Guardian of the Walls operation against Hamas.
“We are doing it today in Jenin with a combination of measures, surprise, use of power, and changing the rules. This also adds to the deterrence capacity of the State of Israel, both to protect against further terrorist attacks and to change the equation in the region,” he says.
The Israel Defense Forces publish footage showing members of the elite Maglan unit clashing with Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Jenin early this morning.
The IDF says that, since this morning, troops have questioned over 100 Palestinian suspects.
Several of them have been released, while others have been taken in for further questioning.
More than 300 explosive devices were seized and demolished by troops during the operation.
And the military has carried out some 20 drone strikes across the city and Jenin refugee camp.
IDF publishes footage showing members of the elite Maglan unit clashing with Palestinian gunmen in Jenin early this morning. pic.twitter.com/cf9AUGZo4D
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) July 3, 2023
The Palestinian Authority health ministry’s latest toll from the fighting says that eight Palestinians have been killed, and another 80 wounded.
Among the wounded are 17 who are listed in serious and critical condition.
A ninth Palestinian was killed during clashes with the IDF early this morning in an unrelated incident near Ramallah.
The Israel Defense Forces says troops demolished several “combat management rooms” used by Palestinian gunmen in Jenin to observe Israeli forces in the West Bank city.
“Demolishing the combat management rooms deals a blow to the terror infrastructure that operates in the area,” the IDF says in a statement.
The military publishes images showing the rooms, which are equipped with monitors displaying dozens of surveillance cameras.
Police say they have so far arrested 15 anti-government demonstrators at Ben Gurion airport for unrest and public disturbances.
A police statement says that officers “are continuing at this time with an uncompromising enforcement operation outside Terminal 3” at the airport.
There is lots of pushing and shoving between protesters and police, including with officers mounted on horseback.
Police have at least two water cannons stationed at the scene, but have not yet used them.
The Israel Defense Forces says it has canceled a large concert that was set to take place in the southern city of Sderot this evening, “in order to take extra precaution” as tensions are high amid a major operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Over the past year, the Islamic Jihad terror group has launched rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip in response to members being killed or arrested in the West Bank.
The IDF says the head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, decided on canceling the Pe’er Tasi and E-Z show, following an assessment with the head of the Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Rafi Milo.
Israel is planning to send a 1,000-strong delegation to this year’s annual United Nations COP28 climate conference — its largest to date — headed by President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Foreign Ministry announces.
More than 100 companies, including 30 start-ups, will join seven or eight ministers, officials from various ministries, academics, investors, businesspeople, and environmental groups at the confab, set to take place between November 30 and December 12 at Dubai’s Expo complex.
The country intends to hold around 70 events — nearly double the number put on during last year’s COP27 event, held in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Herzog and Netanyahu are slated to participate in the leaders’ summit December 1-to 2.
One in seven new startups is now dealing with climate technology, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen says, and Israel wants to share its knowledge with the world and leverage it to form regional partnerships.
Cohen speaks at the opening of a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem to prepare for COP28.
It was attended by 250 people from a wide spectrum of climate-related sectors.
The UAE is hoping to attract 80,000 visitors from 198 countries.
Some travelers took extraordinary measures to make sure they would make their flights, given the Ben Gurion protest.
A group of nearly 150 Israeli youth athletes from settlements in the West Bank start to gather at the airport before 6 p.m., despite not departing to South Korea until 11.
“It messed things up for us, but we got over it,” says one of the athletes’ parents. “We love our country and we love our democracy,” she adds.
The Haroush family similarly arrived over five hours early for their flight to Thailand, saying that the protests ruined their day en route to vacation.
Hailing from Beersheba, the five family members say the protest is “a disgrace and an embarrassment.”
“This is the welcome we are giving tourists? What are they going to say about Israel,” says the family matriarch. “They destroyed my ears,” complained her daughter. “It’s so loud.”
Police say a 14-year-old Palestinian has been detained for allegedly stabbing and lightly wounding an Israeli man in the central city of Bnei Brak.
A suspected terror motive is being investigated, police add.
The man was taken to the Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in the city.
בני ברק רחוב הצבי דקירה פציעה קלה, נעצר ערבי, עם סכין.. pic.twitter.com/wWYc2rZTYp
— חדשות ישראל והעולם (@Funny1Il) July 3, 2023
Chants of “democracy” and “this government is criminal” ring through Ben Gurion’s arrival hall.
As they clear protesters from inside the airport terminal, police allegedly asked demonstrators to remove their Israeli flags.
“He told me that I need to leave because of my flag,” says protester Yariv, to a senior officer.
A group of junior officers had tried to escort him out of the terminal.
“It’s an illegal order – this is the Israeli flag,” he tells the police.
Yariv ultimately agrees to a police request to leave the area.
The Israel Defense Forces says troops located hidden underground storage sites with weapons and explosives inside a mosque in the West Bank city of Jenin.
After lengthy gun battles with armed Palestinians who were holed up inside the mosque, Israeli forces managed to break in, the IDF says.
The IDF says that on the ground floor, troops found two underground storage sites containing explosives, weapons, and other military equipment.
The equipment is being seized and destroyed, the IDF adds.
Hundreds of unsuspecting tourists receive a harsh welcome to Israel as they are greeted at Ben Gurion airport by thousands of anti-judicial reform activists with noise makers and drums, filling Terminal 3 with cacophony.
Emerging into the ferocious noise is a group of British university students visiting Israel for the first time with the Taglit Birthright program.
“I’m awfully scared. I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” says 18-year-old Ella Cohen, from London.
She was unaware of today’s airport protest, and said her first impression of stepping into this version of Israel is that it’s “chaotic and a bit unsafe.”
“Looks like Israel is a democracy, but what are they demonstrating for?” asks Eleopold, 75, from New York.
He says that he has heard of the judicial overhaul through US media, but doesn’t know how to contextualize today’s demonstration.
“We came off the plane and just ran into this thing,” he says.
Weighing in for the first time on the Israeli military’s widespread military operation in the northern West Bank’s Jenin Refugee Camp, the White House expresses its support for “Israel’s security and right to defend its people against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups.”
A National Security Council spokesperson adds in a statement that the administration is “monitoring the situation closely.”
Police detain four anti-government protesters during demonstrations at Ben Gurion airport as thousands gather at the site as they use force to stop them from blocking roads.
Police say they were detained for blocking the road to the entrance of the arrival hall.
Hebrew media say that police are bringing water cannons to the scene.
Hundreds of demonstrators continue to stream toward the airport, many arriving by train.
מאות מפגינים פורקים מהרכבת ומצטרפים. יש כאן כבר אלפים. בואו!!
— Yoav Glasner (@Yoglas74) July 3, 2023
Troops operating the West Bank city of Jenin have uncovered an explosives laboratory with hundreds of devices already prepared for use, the Israel Defense Forces says.
The IDF says two similar labs with dozens of makeshift bombs are also found in the area.
The soldiers confiscated the weapons and explosives, the IDF says.
In a separate incident, the IDF says Border Police troops shot a wanted Palestinian man in Jenin. The suspect is taken by military forces to a hospital in Israel for treatment before he will be questioned.
Another Palestinian gunman was shot during clashes in the area, and troops seized his weapon, the IDF adds.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has overruled hardline National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and delayed the continuation of work on a wind turbine project that sparked riots among the Druze community, Hebrew media reports.
Netanyahu informs Druze leaders that the work will be delayed by a further month while a committee is established to examine the issue.
Ben Gvir had previously agreed that the work be halted until the end of this week’s Eid al-Adha, a holiday marked by both Muslims and Druze. However, he vowed work would start immediately after.
Thousands of Druze residents of the Golan Heights protested and rioted last week against the construction of the wind farm near the town of Majdal Shams, burning tires and hurling rocks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at massive police forces securing the area.
The plan has angered Druze villagers who see the project as a threat to their agrarian way of life, an encroachment on ancestral lands and a solidification of what they view as Israel’s occupation of the territory.
The United Arab Emirates “strongly condemns” Israel’s Jenin operation, calling for “the immediate halt of repeated and escalating campaigns against the Palestinian people.”
The UAE Foreign Ministry also stresses the need to return to regional and international peace efforts and end practices that threaten a two-state solution.
The UAE’s tone is noticeably less strident than that of Jordan and Egypt.
Hundreds of anti-government protesters begin gathering outside, and in some cases inside, the main terminal at Ben Gurion airport amid a heavy police presence.
They are putting up signs and calling out “Democracy” and other slogans against the ongoing judicial overhaul.
מקפלן אל בן גוריון – שעה וחצי לפני השעה שבה הכריזו המפגינים על תחילת ההפגנה (17:30), הגיעה קבוצה נחושה ורועשת לנתב"ג והחלה להפגין בקומה 0 מול הכניסה
צילום: כוח קפלן pic.twitter.com/L8lBCaeuqw
— דמוקרטTV (@Democrat_TV) July 3, 2023
The anti-government protesters have called for a major demonstration at the airport today.
In some cases, police can be seen trying to push demonstrators out of the arrival hall.
A confrontation breaks out between settlers from the illegal West Bank outpost of Homesh and residents of the nearby Palestinian village of Burka.
Video footage distributed by the Yesh Din organization, which campaigns against the settlements, shows masked men throwing stones at Palestinians in a cemetery in Burka.
One individual pictured among the assailants has his face uncovered and is sporting a yarmulke and long peyot, or sidelocks, typical of some religious settlers.
According to information passed to Yesh Din by a resident of the village, the attackers also threw rocks at a house close to the cemetery, smashing windows.
A spokesperson for the Homesh outpost says, however, that Palestinians from Burka set fires close to the outpost and that an Israeli man was injured in the confrontation and was taken for medical treatment.
A picture of a man with a bloodied head is also forwarded by the spokesperson.
The IDF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Masked men, apparently settlers from the Homesh outpost, in confrontation with Palestinians in Palestinian village of Burka today. (Video footage from Burka resident via Yesh Din) pic.twitter.com/buOWp9xI7q
— Jeremy Sharon (@jeremysharon) July 3, 2023
The UN’s Mideast envoy Tor Wennesland says he has been in contact with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to deescalate the situation in Jenin and “ensure humanitarian access and delivery of necessary medical and other supplies” into the northern West Bank where the IDF is conducting a broad counter-terror raid.
Wennesland tweets that the escalation is “very dangerous” and says “all must ensure the civilian population is protected.”
Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian areas, says on Twitter that she was “alarmed by scale of Israeli forces operation,” noting the airstrikes in a densely populated refugee camp. She says the UN is mobilizing humanitarian aid.
Residents said electricity was cut off in some parts of the camp
AP contributed to this report
Palestinian media outlets are reporting that Israeli forces are threatening to bomb a mosque in the West Bank city of Jenin, where a number of gunmen are hiding and clashing with Israeli forces.
Earlier, the Israel Defense Forces said it carried out a drone strike against gunmen near the mosque who were shooting at Israeli troops.
Palestinian media also claim IDF forces targeted a vehicle in Jenin. There are no further details available on the incident.
Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of the political bureau of Hamas, urges all young men in the West Bank to join the fight in Jenin, claiming there are already “hundreds of thousands willing to sacrifice their lives.”
“To our heroes in the West Bank, from the south to the north: This is your day, young men. Fight with all the weapons, all your anger and with any means possible to defend our honor in Jenin, ” he says in a statement.
“Those who responded to the crimes of the occupation in the West Bank belong to all factions of the resistance, and are fighting together as one body,” he continues, “even if the statements are issued by different groups.”
“We are ready to sacrifice our lives, and the enemy’s threats do not scare us. We will strike the enemy at the time and place of our choosing, and by any means, whether with stones, bullets or rockets, like the Kassam that was launched a few days ago from Jenin,” he adds, referring to a failed rocket test last week in the northern West Bank city.
“There are hundreds of thousands of settlers living illegally in the West Bank, according to international law. We have hundreds of thousands of young men who are ready to become martyrs and defend the holy places,” he concludes.
Hadash-Ta’al chair MK Ayman Odeh says the government’s ongoing Jenin operation is part of a plan to annex parts of the West Bank.
“The goal is the annexation of Area C,” Odeh says at the outset of his Knesset faction meeting, referring to Israeli-controlled areas under the Oslo Accords.
“The Palestinian nation will continue to struggle until a nation is formed on 1967 lines, alongside the State of Israel,” he says.
Labor party leader Merav Michaeli blames Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s past governments for enabling lawlessness in Jenin.
The security situation in Jenin is “a result of strengthening Hamas and weakening the Palestinian Authority, by past Netanyahu governments,” Michaeli says, at the opening of her Knesset faction meeting.
This is “longtime policy is exploding in our faces,” she adds.
“Real security can be achieved only through a diplomatic deal,” she says, calling for a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Michaeli further charges that the coalition is “taking advantage of the operation” to push a bill to restrict judicial review over the “reasonableness” of elected officials’ decisions.
“I am not backing up the government, I am sending strength to the IDF and to security forces,” she says.
Knesset Constitution Committee chair Simcha Rothman says he hopes to bring the coalition’s bill to limit judicial review over the reasonableness of elected officials’ decisions for committee approval this week. That would allow it to advance to its first reading on the Knesset floor as early as next Monday.
“I join all those who regret the legislation. I wish we had a court that shouldn’t be restricted, because it uses unreasonableness only when it’s extreme, but that’s not the case,” he adds.
Rothman says that there are stupid and incompetent politicians, but that their decisions should not be subject to court scrutiny, as a principle of democracy.
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid says that he has a meeting set next week to receive a security update from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “as is set by law.”
Lapid, saying that he supports Israel’s security forces, asks the international community to consider this year’s 28 terror victims “before denouncing Israel” for its newly opened front against terror in Jenin.
In response to reporter questions, Lapid says he is not calling for a halt to major protests planned this afternoon at Ben Gurion Airport.
“What should have happened today is for the government to stop the legislation. Then there would be space to end the demonstration at Ben Gurion. This is what the protest organizers said, too,” says Lapid, at the outset of Yesh Atid’s Knesset faction meeting.
“Protesters have a full right to demonstrate in a democratic country. As long as we are a democratic country,” he adds.
The Israel Defense Forces publishes a series of clips and photos showing troops operating in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
The IDF says forces are continuing to operate in the area, including the Jenin refugee camp, to “foil terror.”
צה"ל, שב"כ ומג"ב ממשיכים לפעול בעיר ובמחנה הפליטים ג'נין לסיכול טרור pic.twitter.com/wecM3aJMqU
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) July 3, 2023
Senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhleh calls the IDF operation in Jenin a “massacre” and says the terror group will respond.
“What is happening in Jenin is a massacre by the enemy against the Palestinian people,” Nakhleh says.
“The Palestinian resistance and the Al-Quds brigades will respond to put a halt to this massacre,” he adds.
An Israeli soldier lightly wounded this morning by grenade shrapnel during a major operation in the West Bank city of Jenin has returned to the field after being released from a hospital.
The Israel Defense Forces says First Sgt. “Ayin,” from the elite Duvdevan unit — who can only be identified by his rank and initial of his first name in Hebrew — “insisted” on returning to his unit after being treated.
He was hit by shrapnel from a grenade thrown by other IDF troops.
The IDF says he returned to the northern West Bank area a short while ago to continue the efforts to “foil terror in the Jenin refugee camp.”
Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman slams coalition plans to exempt ultra-Orthodox youth from the military draft, following a Sunday meeting of coalition heads on the matter.
“We’ll split into two Israels: those who go to the army and those who go to the yeshiva,” Liberman says, with his party’s slogan “equality in sharing the burden” emblazoned behind him.
Liberman says that there are currently 170,000 Israelis enrolled in religious study, and estimates that this number will jump to a quarter million should the proposed Basic Law: Torah Study pass and give a basis for sweeping exemptions.
Liberman says the timing of the political decision is ironic given that overnight Israel launched Operation Bayit Vegan in the West Bank city of Jenin.
While saying he supports the security forces, Liberman criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to launch the operation without convening his cabinet.
“It shows how much Netanyahu doesn’t value his ministers and doesn’t trust them,” he says.
Pop star Noa Kirel, who represented Israel in the recent Eurovision competition, sold out her recently announced concert at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park in under 5 hours, Hebrew media reports.
The park holds some 65,000 people and Kirel’s representatives say they are considering adding an additional gig after the September 21 concert.
Deputy State Attorney Liat Ben Ari says that Arnon Milchan, a key witness in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial, told her he feels uncomfortable with the presence of Netanyahu’s wife Sara in the hall where he is testifying in the Old Sea Hotel in Brighton, UK.
“This morning when I and Attorney [Alon] Gildin entered the hall the witness turned to us and asked to tell us that he feels very uncomfortable with the situation that has been created in which Mrs. Netanyahu is sitting in the hall and the prime minister is in [the Jerusalem District Court room] in Jerusalem,” Hebrew media reported on the seventh day of Milchan’s testimony.
“The witness feels very uncomfortable and asks that the court understand his feelings — these are his words. I asked him to tell the court and he asked us to say it [instead],” says Ben Ari.
Sara Netanyahu has flown out to the UK for Milchan’s testimony and has been present every day in the conference room in the Brighton hotel where Milchan is testifying. He did not come to court in Israel due to health problems.
Last week, Ben Ari accused Sara of communicating through gestures and expressions with Milchan during his testimony and also objected to an incident last Wednesday when she embraced and briefly spoke with Milchan in the hall before his testimony began.
Presiding Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman implicitly reprimanded the prime minister’s wife following that incident, saying anyone involved in the case should have no contact with Milchan during his testimony.
Netanyahu’s defense attorney Amit Hadad objects strenuously to Ben Ari’s comments, and says it is “illegitimate” for the prosecutors to speak with the witness, adding, “I asked the witness if he is requesting that Mrs. Netanyahu leave the room and he said no.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a situation assessment of the operation in Jenin, according to his office. He is updated on the progress of the operation, the latest intelligence reports, and options for next steps.
He is joined in his Jerusalem office by National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, and virtually by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, and the IDF heads of military intelligence, operations, COGAT, and the Military Intelligence Research Division.
The mostly Arab Hadash-Ta’al party slams the IDF operation in Jenin, saying that using more force won’t solve Israel’s problems in the West Bank.
“The Israeli thesis that ‘what can’t be solved with force, can be solved with more force’ has failed again and again, and will fail this time as well,” the party says. “Meanwhile, many Palestinians are paying with their lives.”
“The only solution is to end the occupation and control over the Palestinian people,” the statement says.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s office puts out a statement saying that recent media speculation over his preferences for the next police commissioner are false.
“In response to questions from reports, it should be clear that the process to identify the next Israel Police commissioner has not yet begun,” the statement said, calling recent reports “speculation.”
The statement apparently follows an article in the Haaretz daily that said Ben Gvir was considering appointing controversial IDF officer IDF Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter to the post.
Winter was recently again passed over for promotion and is expected to retire from the IDF.
Winter came under considerable criticism in the 2014 Gaza war for comments he made at the time that framed the operation as a religious fight, for allegedly passing information to politicians without proper approval, and for his actions during the highly controversial “Black Friday” battle in Rafah.
The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out an airstrike against Palestinian gunmen who were targeting Israeli troops near a mosque in the West Bank city of Jenin.
“Exchanges of fire are taking place with gunmen adjacent to a mosque in the Jenin refugee camp,” the IDF says. “An IDF aircraft struck to remove the threat.”
The IDF says it will provide further details on the strike later.
The incident comes amid a major IDF operation in the West Bank city.
The Palestinian Authority health ministry raises the toll of the Israeli military’s raid in the West Bank city of Jenin to eight.
The ministry does not immediately identify the latest fatalities.
Earlier, Palestinian health officials said 27 people were wounded, including seven seriously, as a result of the IDF’s airstrikes and during clashes with Israeli troops.
The ministry says the death toll is likely to rise further due to there being several critical injuries.
Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization – also known as MIT – says it uncovered a Mossad cell in the country and arrested seven members, according to the pro-government Daily Sabah.
The report says that Israel used Arab spies in the country to gather intelligence on targets in Lebanon and Syria.
Among the targets was a Hezbollah building in Beirut where senior military and political figures live.
The joint MIT/Istanbul police operation found 56 operatives, who reportedly “were gathering biographical intelligence on foreign nationals through an online routing method, tracking vehicle movements via GPS, hacking into password-protected networks based on Wi-Fi devices and finding private locations.”
They were trained in Bangkok and other international locations, says the newspaper.
The Mossad agents, allegedly including a Palestinian, came from several Middle Eastern countries, and communicated with their handlers through burner phones.
The Daily Sabah report said cybertech training was provided by the Indian owner of Cyberintelligence International Private Ltd, a Tel Aviv-based firm. The company’s owner helped the spies break into phones and send links to targets that would give access to their computers.
The company did not respond to calls or emails.
The newspaper also reveals training methods the Mossad uses to develop its spies in the country.
MIT announced in May and in December that it had busted other Mossad cells in the country.
Hamas, which Turkey does not consider a terrorist organization, has offices in Turkey, making it a prime target of Israeli intelligence. In addition, Syrians, Lebanese, and Iranians live in and travel through Turkey.
A spokesperson for the Israeli military says that while the operation in Jenin was expected, its execution was a surprise to those on the ground in the West Bank city.
“People were aware that we were probably going in,” army spokesman Richard Hecht tells reporters, “but the method of striking from the air,” with a target in the core of the camp, “basically caught them by surprise.”
He says troops remained inside the camp but were after “specific targets” and “not trying to hold ground.”
“We are still seizing weapons and ammunitions” and “infrastructure,” Hecht says, adding the focus was on Jenin camp and that there was no specific timeline for ending the operation.
It involved “brigade-level” troop numbers, he says.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calls for the Palestinian leadership to hold an “urgent meeting” on the Israel Defense Forces operation in the West Bank city of Jenin, the official Wafa news agency reports.
The agency also says that the PA and Jordan have held talks on the matter.
Earlier, Jordan condemned “Israeli aggression” in Jenin and called on the international community to pressure Israel to stop the operation before the situation “explodes.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says the army operation in the West Bank city of Jenin “is progressing as planned,” according to remarks issued by his office.
“In the past few hours, we dealt a heavy blow to the terror organizations in Jenin and managed to record impressive operational achievements,” Gallant says following an assessment he held with IDF chief. Lt. Gen Herzi Halevi and other senior officers.
He says the troops “will receive full support to do whatever is necessary and to operate on the ground and in the air, in order to protect the citizens of Israel and preserve full freedom of action throughout [the West Bank].”
Israel informed the US of its plan to carry out an operation in Jenin weeks in advance, according to Haaretz.
The Prime Minister’s Office has not yet responded to requests for comment.
The Knesset’s Welfare Committee advances a bill that would give ultra-Orthodox candidates preferred representation in government companies and city halls.
The bill would create affirmative action for Haredi job candidates, giving them preference over similarly qualified non-ultra-Orthodox candidates.
It would also guarantee jobs for Haredi candidates by requiring certain local authorities to employ Haredim at a rate proportional to their representation in the population.
United Torah Judaism lawmaker Moshe Gafni, who backed the bill, tells the committee, “You always say that there’s a need to integrate the Haredi population in the workforce. Here you go.”
The bill is approved for its first reading on the Knesset floor.
Settler leaders welcome the IDF’s operation in Jenin, after a recent spate of terror attacks in the West Bank that gave rise to demands by settlement politicians for a proactive military response.
Ariel Elmaliach, the chair of the Eli settlement in the northern West Bank outside of which Palestinian terrorists shot four Israelis to death last month, says the Jenin operation will “restore national pride” and will “change the paradigm” so that Israel initiates confrontation with terror groups instead of reacting to them.
“The terrorists need to be afraid to leave their holes, and in parallel we need to eradicate the terrorist nests around the northern Samaria district,” continues Elmaliach, who called for a military operation in Palestinian cities and villages after the Eli attack.
Mayor of the Efrat settlement Oded Revivi says the Jenin operation is the moment to “internalize” the message of “no to separation and walls, but rather creating neighborliness and shared society,” and argues that Israeli territorial withdrawals such as from Palestinian population centers in the West Bank through the Oslo Accords and from Gaza in 2005 have failed.
“The Efrat Municipal Council’s relations with its neighboring villages is the model that should be adopted to internalize that the Arabs are here to stay and the settlements are here to say,” says Revivi.
Head of the Beit El Regional Council Shai Alon says he “welcomes the decision to put an end to terrorism” and that “all the residents of Judea and Samaria stand behind the security forces and support their operation to restore quiet to the entire region.”
Palestinian media publish footage showing damage caused by Israeli military bulldozers in the West Bank city of Jenin.
The D9 bulldozers have been ripping up roads in the city, apparently to ensure no roadside bombs are hidden in the area.
During a raid in Jenin last month, a large bomb detonated under an IDF vehicle, injuring seven soldiers.
The IDF entered Jenin this morning with a large number of forces following airstrikes on a site used by various armed groups in the city.
تغطية صحفية: دمار واسع إثر عدوان الاحتلال المستمر على مخيم جنين. pic.twitter.com/w0dEEuhZ0Q
— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) July 3, 2023
The Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee restarts its discussion on constraining judicial review over the “reasonableness” of elected officials’ decisions.
In the backdrop to this fourth hearing on the controversial bill is the Israel Defense Force’s newly launched Operation Bayit Vegan, ongoing in the West Bank city of Jenin.
“Stop this race. This isn’t the appropriate day to hold the discussion,” says Yesh Atid lawmaker Karine Elharrar.
“What’s so urgent?” Elharrar continues.
Likud MK Tally Gotliv interrupts another opposition lawmaker making the same point, saying that anti-judicial overhaul demonstrators should “postpone the protests at Ben Gurion Airport.”
The Palestinian Authority health ministry raises the death toll of the Israeli military’s raid in the West Bank city of Jenin to seven.
The ministry says three of them were killed in the initial airstrikes on the Jenin refugee camp.
The PA does not immediately identify the latest fatalities.
Earlier, Palestinian health officials said 27 people were wounded, seven of them seriously, as a result of the IDF’s airstrikes and during clashes with Israeli troops.
The ministry says the death toll is likely to rise further due to there being several critical injuries.
A spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas describes the Israel Defense Forces operation in the West Bank city of Jenin as a “war crime.”
“What the Israeli occupation government is doing in the city of Jenin and its camp is a new war crime against our defenseless people,” says Nabil Abu Rudeineh, according to the PA’s official Wafa news service.
He says the Palestinian people “will remain steadfast on their land in the face of this brutal aggression until the occupation is defeated and freedom is achieved.”
“All these crimes committed by the occupation government and its terrorist settlers will not achieve security and stability for them unless our Palestinian people also feel them,” Abu Rudeineh says.
He calls on the international community “to break its shameful silence and take serious action to compel Israel to stop its aggression against our Palestinian people, and to hold it accountable for all these crimes.”
The Israeli military launched the campaign amid high tensions following a series of deadly terror attacks carried out by Palestinians from the Jenin area.
At least five Palestinians have been killed in the hours since the Israeli military launched its operation in the West Bank city.
A candidate in Tiberias’s October 2023 mayoral election tells a Knesset committee that she has been offered “jobs” in exchange for quitting the race.
Shani Illouz tells the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee, which is preparing a bill that would affect eligibility for Tiberias’s municipal race, that she has been pressured to back down.
The controversial Likud-backed bill would enable an acting mayor to run in municipal elections without the one-term cooling-off period currently required by law.
The cooling-off period was implemented with the intention of reducing the advantage that an acting mayor would have as an incumbent, under the theory that it is undeserved because acting mayors are appointed, not elected.
“No one made offers to you,” Tiberias’s acting mayor and chief beneficiary of the bill, Boaz Yosef, slaps back.
In a missive to troops, the chief of the military’s West Bank division says the goal of the major operation in Jenin is to “change the situation” in the West Bank city.
“The city of Jenin, and in particular the refugee camp, is a stronghold of terror that exports terrorism to the entire [West Bank] and the home front,” says Brig. Gen. Avi Blot.
“In the eyes of the enemy, the refugee camp has become a ‘refuge city’ and the IDF’s freedom of action in the area is challenged,” he says.
“We are heading into this operation to change the situation and expand our freedom of action. Our mission: to create operational control, thwart and arrest terrorists, destroy enemy infrastructure, and confiscate weapons,” Blot says.
Blot refers to the operation by name, calling it Bayit Vagan, literally Home and Garden.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit has said that the operation has no official name, despite Blot’s internal letter.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh says in a statement that “our people” know how to respond to the massive operation by the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank city.
“We call on our people throughout the West Bank to stand by Jenin and defend its people in order to thwart the enemy’s plan,” Haniyeh says in a statement.
“The blood being shed in Jenin will determine the nature of the next stage in all directions,” he says.
“Our people and their resistance everywhere know how to respond to this barbaric aggression,” Haniyeh says.
At least five Palestinians have been killed in the hours since the Israeli military launched its operation.
The campaign appeared to be the largest in the West Bank in years, and came as tensions were sky-high following a series of deadly terror attacks carried out by Palestinians from the Jenin area.
Jordan condemns “Israeli aggression” in Jenin, and calls on the international community to pressure Israel to stop the operation before the situation “explodes.”
According to Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi speaks with senior Palestinian Authority official Hussein Al-Sheikh to condemn the operation, calling it “a dangerous escalation that would set off wide cycles of violence.”
Safadi stresses that “the repeated Israeli attacks on Palestinian cities will only contribute to increasing tension, which is also fueled by illegal Israeli measures that undermine the two-state solution and kill hope in the chances of achieving a just and comprehensive peace.”
Jordan’s top diplomat also calls on Israel to engage in negotiations to bring about a two-state solution.
The Israel Defense Forces has so far detained some 20 suspects during the operation in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, a military spokesperson tells The Times of Israel.
The spokesperson says the army will provide an exact number later.
Palestinian media outlets say Israeli forces shot and critically injured three Palestinians in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Graphic footage from the scene shows the three men lying on the floor near a car.
The reports claim Israeli troops opened fire at anyone attempting to approach them.
The IDF has not yet commented on the incident. Earlier, the IDF said troops were clashing with Palestinian gunmen across the city during a major counterterrorism operation.
The Brothers in Arms protest group, made up of reservists from the Israel Defense Forces, calls on the coalition to cancel today’s deliberations on the “reasonableness” bill, saying the anti-overhaul protests will continue for as long as the legislation continues to be advanced.
“Rothman, stop the discussions in the Constitution Committee!” the organization says in a statement, addressing far-right Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman, the chair of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and a key architect of the government’s contentious plans to dramatically weaken the judiciary.
“We give our backing to the IDF soldiers currently operating in Jenin. As long as Simcha Rothman chooses to continue the discussions in the constitution committee, we are forced to continue protesting,” the organization says.
“We call on Rothman to cancel today’s discussions,” the statement reads.
Anti-overhaul protests were ramped up today as the Knesset committee was set to meet to continue its talks on the contentious legislation to limit judicial oversight on government decisions.
Opposition MK: PM making decisions without security cabinet because doesn’t trust coalition partners
An opposition lawmaker says he believes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making decisions without convening the security cabinet because he does not trust his hardline coalition partners.
“They probably skipped holding a security cabinet meeting because of the distrust between Netanyahu and his partners,” National Unity MK Ze’ev Elkin tells Army Radio.
“This could be why they are not calling it an ‘operation,’ because then it would require approval from the cabinet,” Elkin charges.
While prime ministers have in the past carried out military action without security cabinet approval, there have been a number of reports in recent months of Netanyahu deliberately leaving far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir out of the decision-making process on security matters.
An Israeli soldier is lightly hurt during the military’s operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.
The Israel Defense Forces says the soldier was hit by shrapnel from a grenade hurled by other Israeli forces.
He is taken to a hospital for further treatment, the IDF adds.
The Palestinian Authority health ministry raises the toll of the Israeli military’s raid in the West Bank city of Jenin to five.
The ministry does not immediately identify the latest fatality.
Earlier, Palestinian health officials said 27 people were wounded, seven of them seriously, as a result of the IDF’s airstrikes and during clashes with Israeli troops.
Likud MK Danny Danon calls for the overhaul legislation as well as the protests to be temporarily paused for a few days while the Israeli military is operating in the West Bank city of Jenin.
“I think that at this time, both sides need to put everything aside and support our troops, who do not have an easy task at the moment. And we can go back to it all in a few days,” Danon tells Army Radio.
“I think that everyone — the legislators, the protesters, the analysts — should back our troops and project a sense of unity,” Danon says.
Hours earlier, Israeli military forces launched a major operation in Jenin focused on the city’s restive refugee camp, with reports of airstrikes on multiple targets.
Meanwhile, as the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee continues deliberations on the “reasonableness” bill, anti-overhaul protesters have kicked off a day of stepped-up action.
Palestinian Authority names 4 killed in Jenin operation; at least one apparently terror group member
The Palestinian Authority health ministry names the four Palestinians killed during the Israeli military’s operation in the West Bank city of Jenin: Samih Firas Abu al-Wafa, Hussam Muhammed Abu Dhiba, Aws al-Hanoun, and Noureddine Hossam Marshoud.
Images circulating online show al-Wafa brandishing an assault rifle, indicating he was a member of an armed group in Jenin.
— Newpress | نيو برس (@NewpressPs) July 3, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces said it carried out strikes on targets belonging to various terror groups in the Palestinian city.
الشهداء الذين ارتقوا حتى اللحظة في الاشتباكات والمواجهات المستمرة مع الاحتلال :
الشاب محمد أبو سمرة
الشاب سميح أبو الوفا
والشاب حسام أبو ذيبة
والشاب أوس هاني حنون pic.twitter.com/Lbx6yqCCd9
— watan (@PPalestine2) July 3, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces says troops located and seized a makeshift rocket among other weapons during the ongoing operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.
The IDF says it is continuing to operate in the city at this time, and is clashing with Palestinian gunmen.
IDF drones have carried out more than ten strikes in Jenin since this morning, the military says.
The IDF adds that forces also demolished a laboratory used to manufacture explosive devices.
“Security forces will continue to act as much as is necessary in order to foil the threat of terrorism in the area,” the military adds.
As The Times of Israel’s political correspondent, I spend my days in the Knesset trenches, speaking with politicians and advisers to understand their plans, goals and motivations.
I'm proud of our coverage of this government's plans to overhaul the judiciary, including the political and social discontent that underpins the proposed changes and the intense public backlash against the shakeup.
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