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Hundreds gather for protest rally ahead of West Bank outpost demolition

‘This land is ours,’ settler leader tells crowd before bulldozing of 15 homes in Netiv Ha’avot early Tuesday

Some two thousand Israelis attend a protest rally at the West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha'avot on June 11, 2018, ahead of its scheduled demolition. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel)
Some two thousand Israelis attend a protest rally at the West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha'avot on June 11, 2018, ahead of its scheduled demolition. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel)

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

Ahead of summit, Iran tells Kim: Don’t trust Trump

Iran says North Korea should be wary of negotiating with US President Donald Trump following his withdrawal from the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi says Monday that North Korea should approach this week’s summit with Trump with “awareness.” He says Iran views Trump and the United States with “great pessimism,” saying they are known for “quitting treaties and violating their commitments.”

Trump recently withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the Obama administration had reached with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. The agreement required Iran to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

Trump has announced the restoration of US sanctions, while European leaders are trying to preserve the deal.

The US president is set to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday.

— AP

Knesset committee okays withholding PA funds over Gaza fire kite damages

The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee unanimously approves withholding funds to the Palestinian Authority to offset damages caused by flaming kites flown from Gaza toward Israel.

“Justice needs to be done here. Whoever burns fields should know that there will be a price,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says in a statement praising the approval.

The proposal to withhold PA funds has faced criticism, with analysts noting that it could encourage Hamas, which rules Gaza, to send more kites in a bid to harm the PA, its Palestinian rival.

Right-wing French leaders call Muslim rapper’s concert at Bataclan ‘sacrilege’

PARIS — Right-wing French leaders condemn as “sacrilege” a decision to allow a provocative Muslim rapper to play the Bataclan concert hall in Paris where terrorists massacred 90 people three years ago.

Medine — who caused an outcry when he attacked hardline secularists in a controversial 2015 song, “Don’t Laik,” a week before the Charlie Hebdo killings — is to play the Bataclan for two nights in October.

French opposition leader Laurent Wauquiez says he was shocked that “someone who sings about ‘crucifying secularists’ and calls himself ‘Islamo-scum'” should appear at the venue “less than three years after Islamist barbarism cost the lives of 90 of our compatriots.

“It is sacrilege and dishonors France,” the leader of the Republicans party tweets.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen says that “no French person can accept that this guy spew out his rubbish at the Bataclan.

“We have had enough of complacency and worse, of this incitement to Islamist fundamentalism,” she adds in a tweet.

An online petition organized by her National Front party calling for the concerts to be banned had over 15,000 signatures by Monday morning.


Kurz: Austria has ‘special responsibility’ toward Israel, Jews

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pledging his country will fight anti-Semitism in Europe.

“We Austrians know that in light of our own history, we have a special responsibility toward Israel and the Jewish people,” he says. “I can assure you that Austria will fight all forms of anti-Semitism in Europe with determination.”

Kurz also says Austria will “raise awareness in Europe for the special situation and the special security needs of Israel.”

Kurz’s party is the senior member in a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, which Israel boycotts over its Nazi roots.

Wishing Trump luck, Liberman says nukes must be kept from ‘axis of evil’

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman wishes US President Donald Trump luck ahead of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Preventing nuclear weapons from the axis of evil states is an important mission that will impact the whole world for the better,” tweets Liberman.

“I’m sure the determined and unapologetic leadership of President Trump will bring great results,” he adds.

Netanyahu praises Austria’s Kurz for stance against anti-Semitism

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for his efforts to combat anti-Semitism, calling him a “true friend of Israel and the Jewish people.”

“We deeply appreciate the steps taken by the Austrian government and the Austrian parliament in recent months, most notably among them your speech, a wonderful speech of the 80th anniversary of the Anschluss. You addressed historical responsibility. You clearly opposed anti-Semitism and you spoke about Jewish life in Austria. You said, and I want to quote this, ‘Austria was not only a victim but also a perpetrator.’ These are courageous and bold words,” Netanyahu tells Kurz at his office in Jerusalem.

“You have backed up your words with actions. You’ve shown zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism,” he adds.

Tiny ancient Quran on display in Israel for Ramadan

A tiny 10th century Quran is on display for the first time as part of a collection of Islamic texts being shown at Israel’s National Library to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Curator Raquel Ukeles says this week that the exhibition is aimed at drawing attention to Islam and minority cultures in the Jewish state.

Ukeles says the Quran is “fragile, but well-preserved” and is special because it was written without punctuation. She says it likely served as “a religious talisman.”

The Quran is only 68 by 37 millimeters (2.5 inches by 1.5 inches) in size.

Islam is the dominant faith of Israel’s Arab minority, which makes up around a fifth of its population, and of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

— AP

PM praises advancement of bill to slash PA funds over terror payments

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at his weekly Likud faction meeting, praises the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee for authorizing a bill to slash funds to the Palestinian Authority by the amount Ramallah pays out to convicted terrorists.

Specifically, Netanyahu thanks the committee for supporting “my proposal to also deduct funds from the Palestinian Authority for damages caused by fires on the Gaza border. Justice needs to be done. Those who burn fields will pay the price.”

On Sunday, the prime minister instructed National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat to work on a process that would withhold payments to the PA to offset compensation for communities living on the Gaza border that have seen tens of thousands of acres of fields and nature reserves destroyed in blazes over the past month and a half.

That proposal, however, was not included in the bill voted on during Monday’s committee meeting. Instead, the committee accepted a request made by a representative of the Prime Minister’s Office for the terror victim fund to also go toward compensation for property damage as a result of terror attacks.

— Raoul Wootliff

German far-right party ends drive to expel member over Nazi guilt remark

BERLIN — Leaders of the far-right Alternative for Germany party ends a drive for the expulsion of a prominent member who suggested the country end its tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past.

The party’s national leadership decides unanimously Monday not to appeal last month’s decision by a party tribunal in the eastern state of Thuringia rejecting calls for Bjoern Hoecke’s expulsion.

In February 2017, the leadership voted to start expulsion proceedings against Hoecke, its leader in Thuringia. Hoecke had said Germany needs to perform a “180-degree turn” when it comes to remembering its past, and said the Berlin memorial to the Jews killed in the Holocaust is a “monument of shame.”

Expulsion proceedings were championed by then-party leader Frauke Petry, who left the party acrimoniously last fall.

— AP

Bjoern Hoecke, chairman of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the eastern federal state of Thuringia, gives a statement on February 13, 2017, at the Thuringian regional parliament in Erfurt, Germany. (AFP Photo/dpa/Hendrik Schmidt)

9 injured, 2 critically, in West Bank car crash

A collision between two cars in the West Bank injures nine people, including two critically, the ZAKA emergency service says.

The accident happened on Route 465 between the settlements of Halamish and Ateret, according to Zaka.

It says a military helicopter has been called in to evacuate the victims.

Flaming balloon from Gaza damages roof of building in southern Israel

A number of fires have broken out in southern Israel as a result of incendiary kites and balloons launched by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, officials say.

In one case, a balloon laden with burning material landed on the roof of a storehouse in one of the communities in the Hof Ashkelon region, causing light damage to the building before it was put out, a spokesperson for the region says.

Fires are also reported in the area around Kibbutz Mefalsim, temporarily shutting down traffic in the nearby Route 232 highway, officials from the Sha’ar Hanegev say.

— Judah Ari Gross

New Yorker says Trump, Israel, Gulf states planned to counter Iran

The New Yorker publishes a major feature setting out what it claims are plans by US President Donald Trump, Israel and the Gulf states to battle Iran and sideline the Palestinians.

The report says Netanyahu believed Barack Obama had “no special feeling” for Israel. It also says Netanyahu yelled at the former US president over the phone that a Palestinian effort to join the International Criminal Court was like “a nuclear warhead aimed at my crotch.”

Kim takes night-time jaunt in Singapore ahead of summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is out of his luxurious hotel for a late-night city tour hours ahead of his summit with US President Donald Trump.

Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan says Kim went to the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore on Monday night.

The foreign minister posts a photo showing him with Kim at the place on Facebook. South Korean media says Kim went there with his sister Kim Yo Jong and other top deputies.

Kim is meeting Trump on Tuesday for a summit aimed at discussing the future of his nuclear program. It would be the first summit between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

— AP

Knesset postpones debate on recognizing Armenian genocide

The Knesset postpones a plenum debate on recognizing the Armenian genocide that was scheduled to take place tomorrow.

The plenum debate will now take place on June 26, following Turkish elections, as a result of an agreement reached between Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg.

Earlier this month, a ministerial debate on recognizing the genocide was delayed at Netanyahu’s request after the Foreign Ministry advised the initiative could aid Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in elections.

Turkey strongly rejects classifying the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces during and after World War I as a genocide.

Hariri says Iran shouldn’t interfere in Lebanon’s affairs

BEIRUT — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri criticizes a top Iranian general for comments he reportedly made recently in which he praised Iran-backed groups for making gains in last month’s parliamentary elections.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies gained more than half the seats of the 128-member parliament in the May 6 parliamentary elections.

Lebanese media aired a video posted on social media showing Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite fighting Quds Force, saying that Hezbollah’s victory came at a time when some Arab countries labeled it and its leaders as terrorists.

Hariri tells reporters later Monday that the comments are “regrettable,” adding that interfering in Lebanon’s internal affairs is “not in their (Iran’s) interest, nor those of Lebanon or the region.”

— AP

Army says shooting death of Palestinian teen a case of mistaken identity

Military prosectors announce they were not pursuing criminal charges against soldiers who shot dead a Palestinian teenager and wounded several others in 2016 in what the army described as a case of mistaken identity.

“As the troops were operating in a clear operational event that was complicated and intense, the professional failures do not justify criminal proceedings, despite the tragic outcome,” the army says in a statement.

On a noncriminal, disciplinary level, the commander of the unit that killed Mahmoud Badran, 15, was denied entrance into the army’s company commanders course and left the military.

On the night between June 20 and 21, 2016, Israeli troops opened fire at a car full of Palestinian teenagers as they were traveling down the Route 443 highway in the West Bank, believing them to be a group of Palestinian youths who had earlier thrown cinderblocks at cars and spilled oil on the road, the army said.

“The commander of the unit misidentified the car… and the troops fired at the wheels of the vehicle. A short while after shooting, the mistake became known and medical treatment was given to the wounded,” the army says.

The military notes there were a number of “professional failings” in how the shooting was carried out, but says that the misidentification was “earnest and reasonable.”

— Judah Ari Gross

Hundreds gather for protest rally ahead of West Bank outpost’s demolition

Hundreds of Israelis gather in the Netiv Ha’avot outpost for a protest rally against the High Court of Justice ruling to demolish 15 homes tomorrow morning in the Elazar settlement neighborhood, which were found to have been built on private Palestinian land.

Slated to address the crowd are Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and chairman of the Yesha settlement umbrella council, Hananel Dorani.

— Jacob Magid

People attend a protest rally at the West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha’avot on June 11, 2018, ahead of its scheduled demolition. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel)

Liberman says 160 terrorists killed in Gaza border clashes

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says during a Knesset plenum session that 160 terrorists have been killed since late March during weekly clashes along the Gaza-border.

“Up to now, 160 terrorists have been killed near the [border] fence. The average Gaza resident hasn’t come to the fence. Those who have indirectly or directly received a salary and orders from Hamas,” he says.

The number he provides is higher than that of the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, which says some 130 Palestinians have been killed during the violent protests.

Settler leader throws shade on West Bank outpost demolition

Gush Etzion Regional Council chairman Shlomo Ne’eman throws some shade on the upcoming demolition of the Netiv Ha’avot outpost in the West Bank.

“Families are about to sacrifice their homes on the altar of the rule of law — a law that has no justice, no morality. A law that states that a Jew who built a house on his land should stand up and go because of violent attacks by left-wing organizations that aim to throw us out,” he says. “We have news for them: This land is ours. These stones are ours. These thorns are ours, and these homes will be rebuilt. Not just 15 or 150 homes, but 400 homes, and that is just the beginning.”

He adds: “Whoever attacked us from the beginning did not sleep, made us build and grow, in a bloc on which we gave our lives before the age of 9, and our sovereignty was realized in full and soon, in Gush Etzion and in every part of the homeland.”

“We are here for our people and for the cities of our God”

— Jacob Magid

Bennett attacks High Court ahead of West Bank outpost demolition

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) addresses a protest rally ahead of the demolition of the Netiv Ha’avot outpost in West Bank, slamming the High Court of Justice for ordering the community to be bulldozed.

“Anyone who wants to demolish 15 homes here will receive 350 houses on this very hill… I have no other word [to describe the situation] except absurd … I do not remember a legal action with so little logic as here,” Bennett tells the crowd.

“At times, [the judges of] the High Court of Justice are major activists on behalf of human rights,” Bennett says sarcastically. “But suddenly when it comes to citizens here, that activism is frozen. When it comes to the rights of the settlement movement, suddenly the court is passive.

“Unfortunately tomorrow the homes will be evacuated, but at the same time, we have already established the continuation of the neighborhood, but the campaign will be crowned with success when the prime minister’s promise is fulfilled in full,” to legalize the remainder of the outpost, Bennett adds.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also a member of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, says the settlement movement will emerge stronger after the evacuation of the outpost.

“We have changed the discourse from one of how we evacuate to how we legalize and we are in the midst of a process of legalizing all of the settlement in Judea and Samaria,” she says, using the biblical name for the West Bank “From this difficult and unnecessary evacuation, we will be strengthened and build ”

— Jacob Magid

Austria’s Kurz says he respects Israel’s decision to boycott Freedom Party

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz addresses the Israeli boycott of his coalition partner, the far-right Freedom Party, saying he respects Israel’s decision.

“I don’t see this as a boycott, but rather that there are reservations about the Freedom Party,” Kurz tells Channel 10 in the interview.

He said the Freedom Party, which has Nazi roots, is working to deal with its past.

“It renounces every type of anti-Semitism and together we’re leading in the government a very pro-Israel line,” he says.

Likud MK to launch hunger strike until rolling tobacco tax raised

Likud MK Yehudah Glick threatens to launch a hunger strike beginning tomorrow, until rolling tobacco is taxed as much as cigarettes.

Glick accuses Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon of holding up the tax.

“Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is taking our children hostage for political calculations,” Glick says from the Knesset podium, according to the Walla news site.

200 teens barricade themselves in last illegal outpost home ahead of demolition

Around 200 teenagers protesting the court-ordered demolition of some of the homes in the illegal West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha’avot have barricaded themselves inside the last building slated to be razed.

A number can be heard talking about violently resisting the evacuation by police.

— Jacob Magid

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