The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they happened.
IDF: Hundreds of Palestinians protest throughout West Bank
The IDF says several hundred Palestinians are protesting throughout the West Bank to mark Nakba Day. The main points of friction, the army says, are in Hebron, Ramallah, at Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem, and at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem.
— Jacob Magid
Housing minister says Israel may kill Hamas leaders if rioting continues
Housing Minister Yoav Galant hints Israel would kill the Hamas leadership if the terror group persists in organizing the protests at the Israel-Gaza border.
Speaking at a security conference, Galant, who is a member of the security cabinet, also says Israel’s security would be strengthened by improving the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
“If Hamas continues to make mistakes, [Hamas’s Gaza chief] Yihya Sinwar and senior officials will be putting their lives at risk,” he says. “Hamas is an angel of death for the innocent residents of the Gaza Strip.”
Netanyahu slams Erdogan as ‘among Hamas’s biggest supporters’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismisses criticism of Israel by Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Erdogan is among Hamas’s biggest supporters, so there’s no doubt he knows all about terror and massacres,” Netanyahu says.
“I suggest he not preach morality to us.”
Erdogan and his government accused Israel of committing a massacre in Gaza and engaging in terror and genocide.
Iran hails ‘constructive meeting’ with EU on nuclear deal
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he had a “very good and constructive” meeting with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, as the 28-nation bloc seeks to save the Iran nuclear agreement following last week’s US withdrawal.
Zarif talks with Federica Mogherini to prepare a bigger meeting later Tuesday with the three other EU partners in the deal, Germany, France and Britain.
The EU hopes to convince Iran to continue to respect the nuclear pact.
After an hour-long meeting at EU headquarters, Zarif says he believed both sides are “on the right track” to make sure that the interests of the deal’s “remaining participants, particularly Iran, will be preserved and guaranteed.”
Turkey urges Islamic world to review Israel ties, calls summit
Turkey urges Islamic countries to review their ties with Israel and says it will call an extraordinary summit of the world’s main pan-Islamic body after dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza border.
Ankara has reacted with fury to the deaths of 60 Palestinians in Monday’s clashes and protests, according to Palestinian figures, on the same day as the United States formally moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in the face of international opposition.
“Islamic countries should without fail review their relations with Israel,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim tells his ruling party in parliament.
“The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre,” he adds.
Yildirim says Turkey has called an “extraordinary summit” of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Friday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the body.
Police nab four suspected of smuggling NIS 40m worth of cocaine into Israel
Police catch some 40 million shekels’ worth of cocaine that reportedly was smuggled into the country from Latin America.
Four residents of Israel’s south are arrested following an investigation that included contact with international law enforcement bodies, police officials say.
After the Tuesday arrests, officials say they plan to charge the suspects with conspiracy, money laundering and drug trafficking.
Gaza health official says Gazan baby may not have been killed by IDF tear gas
Gaza health officials are casting doubt on initial claims that a 9-month-old baby died from Israeli tear gas fired during mass protests on the Gaza border with Israel.
A medical doctor says the baby, Layla Ghaben, had a preexisting medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to disclose medical information to the media.
Layla’s family claimed Tuesday that the baby had ended up in the area of the protest as a result of a mixup. The Gaza Health Ministry initially counted her among several dozen Palestinians killed Monday.
A Gaza human rights group, Al Mezan, says it is looking into the circumstances of the infant’s death.
Ramallah marks 70 years to ‘nakba’ with 70-second siren
Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah mark the 70th anniversary of their mass displacement in Israel’s Independence War with a 70-second siren.
People stand at attention and traffic stops in parts of the city Tuesday to mark the moment, though in some areas the sirens appear to malfunction and can barely be heard.
Palestinians mark May 15 as their “nakba,” or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of people either fled or were expelled from their homes in 1948-9.
UN rights chief slams Israel over ‘appalling’ deaths in Gaza
The spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights slams Israel for the “appalling, deadly violence in Gaza yesterday.”
“The rules on the use of force under international law have been repeated many times but appear to have been ignored again and again,” the statement reads. “It seems anyone is liable to be shot dead or injured: women, children, press personnel, first responders, bystanders, and at almost any point up to 700m from the fence.”
The statement says “lethal force may only be used as a measure of last – not first – resort, and only when there is an immediate threat to life or serious injury. An attempt to approach or crossing or damaging the fence do [sic] not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition.
“Again, we call for independent, transparent investigations in all cases of death and injury since 30 March. Since 30 March, 112 Palestinians, including 14 children, have lost their lives at the fence and thousands have been injured.”
Germany signals support for independent Gaza inquiry
Germany signals its support for an independent probe into the deadly violence on the Israel-Gaza border, after the United States blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for such an investigation.
“It is our view that an independent investigation commission can clarify the violent incidents and the bloody violations at the border area,” says government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Germany also blames the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which controls Gaza for stoking the flames.
“It is clear that everyone has the right to peaceful protest, but it is just as clear that this right to peaceful protest should not be abused in order to provoke violence. And Hamas has been pushing for an escalation of violence,” adds Seibert.
The United States on Monday laid the blame for the deadly unrest “squarely on Hamas,” which it said was “intentionally and cynically provoking” a response from Israel.
UK calls for independent Gaza probe, slams Hamas for ‘exploiting’ protests
Britain calls for an “independent investigation” into the violence on the Israel-Gaza border that left 60 people dead, after the United States blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for a probe.
“The United Kingdom supports an independent investigation into what has happened,” Alistair Burt, a minister at the Foreign Office responsible for Middle East affairs, tells parliament.
He calls on Israel to show “greater restraint” in the use of live fire, and says that the inquiry should look into why so much was used.
However, he also says it was “deplorable but real that extremist elements have been exploiting these protests,” adding the government “understands the reasons why Israel would seek to protect its border and its border fence.”
Burt repeats Britain’s commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict, and says it did not agree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
He also tells parliament that the government had “no information to suggest UK-supplied equipment” was used against Gazans.
American envoy: ‘US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel is now open, thank God’
The American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, tweets that the US embassy’s new home in Jerusalem “is now open, Thank God.”
The tweet, as well as the stone plaque at the former consulate’s compound, both emphasize the Trump administration’s formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, listing the city, for the first time, as “Jerusalem, Israel.”
Friedman writes: “The United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel is now open, Thank God. I am so honored to have executed the direction and vision of our great President. Like the Ten Commandments, the words on the Embassy are written in stone!”
The United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel is now open, Thank God. I am so honored to have executed the direction and vision of our great President. Like the Ten Commandments, the words on the Embassy are written in stone! pic.twitter.com/YwWtMarJR2
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) May 15, 2018
Saudi Arabia ‘rejects’ US embassy transfer to Jerusalem
The Saudi Arabian government says it opposes the US decision to relocate its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The kingdom rejects the American administration’s decision to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem,” the council of ministers says in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
“This step represents a significant prejudice against the rights of the Palestinian people which have been guaranteed by international resolutions,” it says.
“The government of Saudi Arabia has already warned of the grave consequences of such an unjustified move,” SPA adds.
Arab League calls on ICC to investigate ‘Israeli crimes’
The Arab League’s Permanent Committee on Human Rights urges the International Criminal Court prosecutor to urgently investigate “the crimes of the Israeli occupation” against Palestinians.
“Israel is an oppressive and murderous entity and its politicians and officers must be taken to the International Criminal Court,” Amjad Shamout, the committee’s chairman, says in a statement.
Shamout was referring to the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters, including Hamas operatives, by Israeli forces during protests and clashes on Monday.
Spanish court scraps village’s discriminatory boycott of Israel
Pro-Israel activists in Spain obtain a court ruling voiding a municipality’s unconstitutional motion to boycott the Jewish state.
The 2nd Administrative Court of Castellón de la Plana delivered its ruling earlier this month on the June 2017 resolution to boycott Israel passed at the city council of Benlloch, a village of 1,115 inhabitants located in eastern Spain.
The resolution, which passed with the support of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, declared Benlloch an “Israeli apartheid free space” and a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
But the court ruled this act violated the principles of equality guaranteed in the Spanish constitution.
The motion “compromises Article 14 of the Spanish Constitution by inciting and producing discrimination over circumstances of birth, race, gender, religion, opinion or any other personal or social circumstances,” the ruling read.
IDF: At least 24 Gazans killed yesterday were terror group members
The Israeli army says at least 24 of people killed by IDF troops during yesterday’s riots along the Gaza border have been identified as known members of terrorist organizations.
The military says this is based on joint investigations with the Shin Bet security service.
“Most of the people killed belonged to the Hamas terror group, and some to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” the army says.
Hamas has acknowledged that at least 10 of its members were killed in Monday’s riots, with Palestinian officials putting the total death toll at 58.
— Judah Ari Gross
Hamas, Islamic Jihad reveal names of operatives killed at fence protests
Hamas and Islamic Jihad release the names and photos of the terror groups’ operatives who were among those killed by IDF fire at the Gaza fence protests yesterday.
Gaza: First martyrdom pictures coming in, ten killed were members of Hamas' internal security apparatus. pic.twitter.com/ELm75Tpp25
— Björn Stritzel (@bjoernstritzel) May 15, 2018
Gaza: More martyrdom pictures, this time from Saraya al-Quds, the armed wing of Iran-sponsored Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Three of its members were killed at Khan Younis. pic.twitter.com/fGlnS7I4u8
— Björn Stritzel (@bjoernstritzel) May 15, 2018
1,300 Palestinians protesting ‘Nakba Day’ in West Bank
Some 1,300 Palestinians are taking part in violent demonstrations across the West Bank, the army says, as part of “Nakba Day,” which commemorates what they call the “catastrophe” of Palestinians’ displacement from their homes during the war that followed the creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
According to the IDF, the protests are taking place at 18 locations in the West Bank.
Rioters are setting tires on fire and throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops, the army says. The soldiers are responding with riot dispersal methods such as tear gas and rubber bullets.
The troops “are prepared for a variety of scenarios,” the army says.
— Judah Ari Gross
Some 400 turn out for renewed Palestinian protests along Gaza border
In the Gaza Strip, some 400 Palestinians are taking part in protests along the security fence, a striking decrease from the 40,000 people who participated in yesterday’s border clashes, the army says.
This dramatically lower turnout can partially be credited to reported efforts by Hamas to rein in the riots, after dozens of Palestinians were killed yesterday, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.
However, the low numbers can also likely be attributed to the tens of thousands of people attending the funerals of those killed on Monday.
— Judah Ari Gross
Belgium calls for international probe of Gaza violence
Belgium is calling for an international investigation into Monday’s escalation in violence along the Gaza border, where Israeli soldiers shot and killed more than 50 Palestinians, including many Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists, during mass protests.
Prime Minister Charles Michel links the violence on the border with the Trump administration’s decision to relocate the US Embassy to contested Jerusalem despite international and Palestinian protests.
Michel says the violence and killings would be moved onto the calendar of the European Union summit in Sofia on Wednesday and Thursday.
Michel calls the Israeli actions “unacceptable violence,” saying “there is a clear lack of proportionality and we are asking for an international investigation.”
He says he is outraged by the violence, especially in contrast with the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on the same day.
He says “we knew that there was a great risk, that this decision to move the embassy would bring less security, bring tragedies, and sadly we were right.”
Turkey says willing to take in Gaza wounded
Turkey says it is prepared to take in wounded Palestinians after Israeli fire killed dozens and wounded hundreds during Monday’s Gaza border protests.
Health Minister Ahmet Demircan says Turkey’s emergency agency and the military had prepared an “air bridge” to transport wounded Gazans and were waiting for negotiations to conclude.
He says the wounded are at high risk due to insufficient health care in Gaza.
Two Hamas cells penetrated Gaza fence on Monday, fired at IDF forces
The IDF releases video footage of a gun battle Monday between its forces and two Hamas squads that penetrated the border fence.
The squads, consisting of eight individuals, opened fire on an elite IDF unit on the Israeli side. A gunbattle ensued. All eight Hamas fighters were killed, while no IDF soldiers are hurt.
According to the Israeli military, an Israeli team entered Gaza earlier today at the same location along the fence, located the hiding place of the Hamas force and found bombs and equipment for cutting through the border fence stashed at the site. The force destroyed the site.
According to the army, the Hamas operation was one of many attempts to penetrate the border fence yesterday under cover of mass protests.
IDF reveals details of the Gaza border gunbattle with Hamas
The IDF reveals details of the clash between Hamas fighters and the IDF’s Maglan special forces unit on Monday during the mass protests at the Gaza border fence.
Members of the Maglan unit fended off an attempted incursion into Israeli territory by a cell of eight armed Hamas operatives in the northern Gaza Strip, the army says.
In the early hours of Monday afternoon, the IDF “received information about preparations by Hamas members to cross the security fence” in the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF says.
Shortly after 1 p.m., a team from Maglan, a special forces unit trained in operating behind enemy lines, was sent to the scene.
“There, eight armed terrorists began throwing pipe bombs and grenades at the troops and the fence,” the army says.
Surveillance footage from the clash shows the suspected terrorists hiding behind a pile of burning tires. As the IDF’s army jeeps pulled up, at least six explosives are seen being thrown toward the border.
“In order to drive them back from the fence, the troops used riot dispersal means. In response, the Hamas terror operatives opened fire at them,” the army says.
“The Maglan unit fired back at the terrorists, acting professionally and [firing] accurately, and prevented a serious shooting attack against our troops and thwarted the intention of the [Hamas] operatives to cross the fence, under the cover of the civilian [protests],” the IDF says in a statement.
Later, when Israeli troops inspected the scene, they found that the eight men were in possession of a handgun, grenades, wire cutters and crowbars.
— Judah Ari Gross
Palestinian, 51, said killed in clashes at Gaza border fence
A 51-year-old Palestinian man is the first to be killed at the Gaza border fence protests on Tuesday, according to Palestinian health officials.
Palestinians say the man was killed by IDF fire near the fence just east of the Boureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.
Two Tunisian police officers attacked near Tunis synagogue
TUNIS, Tunisia — A 45-year-old man is arrested in Tunis after stabbing a police patrol near a synagogue in the city.
No one was hurt in the attack, the Tunisian Interior Ministry says.
Officials bolstered the police presence around the synagogue after the late morning attack.
The man, a resident of a Tunis suburb, has no criminal record, a police spokesperson says.
He is currently being questioned by anti-terror officials, the ministry says in a statement. An investigation was opened to determine his motive and his possible membership in extremist groups.
Belgium summons Israeli envoy over Gaza statements
Belgium’s foreign minister Didier Reynders is summoning the Israeli ambassador after she indicated that all Palestinians killed in Monday’s violence were “terrorists.”
Prime Minister Charles Michel says he was “shocked” by the interview with RTBF in which ambassador Simona Frankel said that those who died in Monday’s clashes “are terrorists, 55 terrorists.”
Reynders says that “the comment that consisted of saying that all killed or hurt were terrorists — that we can obviously not accept.”
He also took offense at Frankel’s comment that Israeli soldiers had to act before there were casualties on their side.
“There were two statements I could not accept: One on proportionality of force by saying they could not wait for Israeli casualties — there were none,” he says.
Haley lashes UN ‘double standard,’ says Gaza violence unconnected to embassy
“We are all concerned about violence in the Middle East. But there is a lot of violence in the region and I will note that there is a double standard in the chamber about what to condemn,” US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tells the United Nations Security Council in a debate now underway on the clashes in Gaza.
“Last week Iran fired rockets at the Golan heights, a reckless example of violence in the region that the Security Council must condemn. In recent days, Hamas terrorists backed by Iran have incited violence against Israeli forces and infrastructure. That too must be condemned.”
She adds: “The US welcomes a discussion of how to put an end to this violence. There is far too little [discussion] in the Security Council of Iran’s promotion of violence in the region. However, in the minds of some, today’s meeting was not called to discuss any of these examples of violence.
“Today’s meeting was called to discuss the violence that some saw as connected to the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
“Those who suggest the violence has anything to do with the embassy in Jerusalem is sorely mistaken; rather it comes from people who will not accept Israel in any part of Israel.”
— Raoul Wootliff
Haley: Hamas incited the violence on Gaza border
Haley continues: “In recent days, multiple news organizations have documented the Hamas incitement in Gaza. They have reported on their encouragement to [Gazans to] carry weapons. Loudspeakers urging he crowds to, quote, ‘get closer, get closer’ to the security fence.
“That Hamas has attacked the Kerem Shalom crossing — this is how determined they are to make the lives of the people there miserable.
“They light kites to cause as much destruction as possible.
“Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday.
“I ask you — who among you would accept this activity on your border? No one would act with as much restraint as Israel has,” Haley says.
— Raoul Wootliff
Israeli envoy to UN: Gaza casualties are victims of Hamas’s war crimes
Israel ambassador to the UN Danny Danon says every Palestinian casualty in Gaza “is a victim of Hamas’s war crimes.”
In a statement before an emergency session of the UN Security Council, Danon says: “Over the past month, Israel had to defend itself from the violent rioters along the security fence with Gaza. The rioters have thrown Molotov cocktails, planted explosive devices, and rolled burning tires. They have sent flaming materials over the fence and into Israel, spreading deadly fires across our fields. And they have tried, on multiple occasions, to break down the fence and infiltrate Israeli territory.”
He shows a photograph of the Kerem Shalom border crossing on fire, and adds, “Had the rioters broken down the fence and infiltrated Israel, there can be no doubt that the damage to Israeli towns and villages would have looked like this.”
“Hamas has committed war crimes not only against Israeli civilians but also against its own people – turning them into human shields for their own cynical gain. Every casualty that has resulted from the recent violence is a victim of Hamas’s war crimes.”
Kuwait to propose UN resolution to protect Palestinian civilians
Kuwait intends to circulate a draft UN resolution to protect Palestinian civilians, its ambassador to the United Nations says.
Mansour al-Otaibi says the draft would be circulated “most probably tomorrow” and would be designed to protect the Palestinians and “provide international protection for civilians.”
He speaks moments before the UN Security Council opened an emergency meeting to discuss the violence, which left 60 Palestinians dead, including what Israel says were at least 24 fighters belonging to terror groups, with a moment of silence.
Gaza violence could lead to new confrontation, UN coordinator says
“This cycle of violence in Gaza needs to end,” Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, tells an emergency session of the UN Security Council.
“For if it does not, it will explode and drag everyone in the region into another deadly confrontation,” he tells the Council by video link from Jerusalem.
Bennett lashes Erdogan, urges Israel recognize Armenian genocide
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the right-wing Jewish Home party, is unimpressed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s lashing of “terror state” Israel for committing “genocide” in Gaza.
“Erdogan is soaked with Hamas terror from head to toe. It was a [serious] mistake to sign a compensation deal with him [in 2016] worth tens of millions of dollars following the Marmara incident.
“At the time I said he would return to hurt us, and I even voted against that shameful agreement, which unfortunately passed in the cabinet.”
Bennett proposes three steps in response to Erdogan’s comments:
“1. I approached the Knesset Speaker to authorize an official Israeli recognition of the Armenian Genocide committed by Turkey.
“2. I requested the Prime Minister discuss with the Cabinet recognition of the rights of the Kurdish minority in Syria…
“3. I ask you, the Israeli public: Cancel your trips to Turkey. Immediately. Go on vacation in the Galilee or Golan. You too play a role.
“Israel will no longer hold back from defending its honor and will safeguard its borders and citizens.”
Erdogan to Netanyahu: Israel is ‘apartheid,’ read the 10 commandments
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan ups the ante in the escalating war of words between him and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
After an exchange in which Erdogan accused “terror state” Israel of “genocide” in Gaza and Netanyahu retorted that Erdogan “knows all about massacre and terror,” Erdogan hits back, urging Netanyahu to read the Ten Commandments.
“Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people’s lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions,” he writes in a Twitter post.
“He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can’t cover up crimes by attacking Turkey.
“Want a lesson in humanity? Read the 10 commandments.”
Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people's lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions.
He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can't cover up crimes by attacking Turkey.
Want a lesson in humanity? Read the 10 commandments.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) May 15, 2018
IDF sends medical supplies into Gaza Strip
Israel opens the Kerem Shalom crossing and is working to help humanitarian aid pass into Gaza, the IDF says.
Eight trucks filled with medical supplies, four sent by the Palestinian Authority, two by the UN children’s agency UNICEF, and two more by the IDF, pass into the Strip.
The supplies in the IDF’s two trucks include 14,000 saline packets, 20 examination beds, 25 IV hangers, 12,500 bandages, pediatric kits, and other basic medical supplies.
The supplies come as the Strip’s hospitals are overwhelmed by thousands of Palestinians wounded in clashes with IDF troops along the Gaza border on Monday.
Israel is also set to transfer large quantities of gasoline through the crossing, the army says.
“The aid that is being sent in by the [army’s] Technology and Logistics Directorate is part of a policy that distinguishes between the perpetrators of terrorism and the innocent population in the Gaza Strip,” the army says.
‘Number’ of Palestinians arrested after crossing into Israel from Gaza
Israeli soldiers arrest “a number” of Palestinians who tried to cross into Israeli territory during a violent protest along the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip this evening, the army says.
“The suspects were tracked by troops the entire time they moved [toward the border] and they were arrested next to the security fence,” the army says.
An army spokesperson says she is not yet sure exactly how many people were arrested.
The suspects have been handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.
— Judah Ari Gross
Israel expels Turkish consul in Jerusalem in escalating diplomatic tiff
In another round of the current tit-for-tat between Israel and Turkey, Israel expels the Turkish consul in Jerusalem, the Israeli Foreign Ministry says.
The consul in Jerusalem, Hüsnü Gürcan Türkoğlu, who represents Ankara to the Palestinians, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry this afternoon, where the head of protocol Meron Ruben asked him to leave the country, ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon says.
— Raphael Ahren
Palestinian UN envoy calls for international inquiry over Gaza deaths
Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, speaks to the emergency session of the UN Security Council. He says:
“We meet today at a sad painful moment for the Palestinian people, with great sorrow and bitterness, we express our sincere condolences to the families of the martyrs.
“We also wish a prompt recovery to all those injured from the brutal Israeli attack on the Palestinian people besieged in the Strip.
“We condemn with full force the odious massacre by Israel of the people in the Gaza Strip.
“We call for an independent international inquiry under the auspices of the secretary general of the United Nations. We will accept the outcome of such an investigation, whatever it may be — as long as others accept it. Why are some people blocking it?”
— Raoul Wootliff
Palestinian envoy to UNSC: How many have to die before you take action?
The Palestinian UN envoy says Israel’s actions in Gaza are a “crime against humanity” in his comments to the UN Security Council.
“What this is is a war crime, a crime against humanity, in accordance with the Rome statute.
“We have come to the Security Council many times to stop the Israeli oppression against our people, who are crushed by the Israeli occupation, our people who have been suffering for over 70 years.
“We have begged you to prevent another massacre by Israel, the occupying power.
“We only ask for one thing, a transparent investigation of what is going on on the ground.
“How many Palestinians have to die before you take action? … Why does the Security Council do nothing? Why are you paralyzed? How long are you going to follow this double standard?”
Peace Now protest outside Likud HQ demands easing of Gaza blockade
The left-wing advocacy group Peace Now holds a protest outside Likud’s party headquarters in Tel Aviv urging a new peace process with the Palestinians.
“Hundreds are protesting now in from of [the site of Likud’s offices at] Metzudat Ze’ev — the right-wing path has failed, we demand a diplomatic solution of two states for the two nations, and an easing of the Israeli blockade on Gaza, whose residents are choking,” the group says in a tweet that includes a photo of the protest.
מאות מפגינים עכשיו מול מצודת זאב – דרך הימין נכשלה, דורשים פתרון מדיני של שתי מדינות לשני העמים והקלות לתושבי עזה שנחנקים תחת המצור הישראלי. pic.twitter.com/BsLEWSYx7c
— שלום עכשיו (@PeaceNowIL) May 15, 2018
US Iran sanctions to target auto, aircraft sectors first — report
The United States will re-establish sanctions against Iran progressively, kicking off with the automobile and civil aviation sectors, a source close to the French government says.
Energy and finance will follow, with companies facing punishment if they continue to do business with Iran, after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal with Tehran.
August 6 will see the re-introduction of auto and civil aviation sanctions, according to the source.
Sanctions in the energy sector, covering oil, gas, and petro-chemicals, will follow on November 4.
“There will be the obligation to reduce imports of Iranian crude oil and, in more general terms, sanctions on any commercial operations and transactions of the [energy] sector with Iran,” the source says.
On the same day, sanctions will be extended to the financial sector with “a ban on transactions with a certain number of major financial actors, including the central bank” and on the use of messaging systems such as the international banking system Swift, the source says.
Dutch researchers uncover dirty jokes in Anne Frank’s diary
Researchers using digital editing techniques decipher the writing on two pages of Anne Frank’s diary that she had covered over with brown masking paper, discovering four risque jokes and a candid explanation of sex, contraception, and prostitution.
“Anyone who reads the passages that have now been discovered will be unable to suppress a smile,” says Frank van Vree, director of the Netherlands Institute for War Holocaust and Genocide Studies. “The ‘dirty’ jokes are classics among growing children. They make it clear that Anne, with all her gifts, was above all also an ordinary girl.”
Anne, age 13 at the time, wrote the two pages on Sept. 28, 1942, less than three months after she, her family, and another Jewish family went into hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex behind a canal-side house in Amsterdam.
Later on, possibly fearing prying eyes or no longer liking what she had written, she covered them over with brown paper, and their content remained a tantalizing mystery for decades.
It turns out the pages contained four jokes about sex that Anne herself described as “dirty,” and an explanation of women’s sexual development, sex, contraception, and prostitution.
“They bring us even closer to the girl and the writer Anne Frank,” Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House museum, says Tuesday.
4,000 take part in ‘Nakba Day’ Gaza border protests
Some 4,000 Palestinians are taking part in rioting along the Gaza border, the Israeli army says, up from 400 who were demonstrating there earlier in the day, but far less than the 40,000 who clashed with Israeli troops a day earlier.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says that two Palestinians have been killed and over 160 are injured to varying degrees.
The rioters are throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at soldiers on the other side of the fence and rolling burning tires at the border “with the intention of starting fires in Israel and harming Israeli forces,” the army says.
IDF soldiers are responding with riot dispersal means and, in some cases, live fire. “They are operating in accordance with the rules of engagement,” the army says.
— Judah Ari Gross
Some 700 Palestinians demonstrate across West Bank
Approximately 700 Palestinians are taking part in violent demonstrations across 14 locations in the West Bank, the army says.
The protesters are throwing rocks and firebombs at Israeli troops. The army says the soldiers are trying to disperse the protesters with riot-dispersal means, like tear gas and rubber bullets.
— Judah Ari Gross
ICC vows to ‘take any action warranted’ over Gaza violence
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court vows Tuesday that she is watching closely the unrest in Gaza and would “take any action warranted” to prosecute crimes.
“My staff is vigilantly following developments on the ground and recording any alleged crime that could fall within” the tribunal’s jurisdiction, Fatou Bensouda warns in a statement to AFP.
“The violence must stop,” she insists, urging “all those concerned to refrain from further escalating this situation and the Israel Defense Forces to avoid excessive use of force.”
The Palestinian Authority joined the ICC in January 2015, signing up to the Rome Statute which underpins the world’s only permanent war crimes court.
The Palestinians asked the prosecutor to investigate alleged crimes committed in the Gaza war the previous year, and Bensouda opened her inquiry just a few days later.
She recalls Tuesday that the “situation in Palestine is under preliminary investigation by my office.”
“I will be watching and I will take any action warranted by my mandate under the Rome Statute,” she warns, a day after one of the bloodiest days for years in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Netanyahu says Hamas put Gazans in the line of fire
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accuses Hamas of deliberately putting children in the line of fire amid an outcry over the Israeli army’s killing of dozens of Palestinians, both civilians and Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives, along the Gaza border.
The Israeli premier tells US television network CBS that troops were left with no choice but to use lethal force during protests called by Hamas intended to breach the Israel-Gaza border, and as a protest at Monday’s opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem. He says responsibility for the deaths lay entirely with the Islamist movement.
“They [Hamas] are pushing civilians — women, children — into the line of fire with a view of getting casualties,” Netanyahu told CBS.
“We’ve tried to minimize casualties, they are trying to incur casualties in order to put pressure on Israel, which is horrible,” he adds.
“These things are avoidable. If Hamas had not pushed them there nothing would happen. Hamas holds responsibility for doing this and they’re deliberately doing it.”
A string of foreign governments have voiced alarm about the use of live fire against the protesters, with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing the Jewish state of “state terror” and “genocide.”
But Netanyahu says other countries would have done the same to prevent its borders being breached.
“I don’t know of any army that would do anything differently, if you had to protect your border against people who say, ‘We are going to destroy you and we are going to flood into your country,'” he says.
“You try other means, you try all sort of means, you try non-lethal means and they don’t work so you are left with bad choices, it’s a bad deal. You go for below the knee and sometimes it doesn’t work, unfortunately.”
Erdoğan vows ‘strong message’ from Islamic summit on Palestinians
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vows that a planned summit this week of the world’s main pan-Islamic body would send a “strong message” on the death toll in Gaza.
“The extraordinary meeting on Friday will give a very strong message to the world from Istanbul,” Erdoğan says at a press conference in London with British Prime Minister Theresa May, adding that all members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) were invited.
Corbyn in 2010 resolution tried to get Israel kicked out of Eurovision
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been accused of insufficiently opposing anti-Semitism in his party, attempted to get Israel banned from Eurovision and other European events.
In 2010, Corbyn proposed that Israel be banned from all European cultural and sporting events. At the time, he was a member of Parliament for Labour. He was elected party leader in 2015.
Corbyn’s proposal was titled “European Sporting and Cultural Relations with Israel.” It had one co-sponsor, did not receive any support from other lawmakers, and was tabled in June 2010.
The motion read: “The House considers that since Israel is not in Europe then it is not appropriate that it competes in European sporting and cultural events, and therefore requests the Government to encourage [organizers] of events for European countries to exclude Israel.”
Censuring Turks, Israel says it ‘won”t tolerate’ ill treatment of diplomats
Israel’s Foreign Ministry says it “won’t tolerate” diplomats being treated the way its expelled ambassador to Turkey was early Wednesday, after Eitan Na’eh was thoroughly patted down during a security check at Istanbul airport before boarding a plane back to Israel.
“This behavior is a blatant violation of the customary diplomatic behavior code between countries,” spokesman Emmanual Nahshon adds, after Turkey’s charge d’ affairs was brought in for a dressing down and subjected to his own security check. “That stance has also been directly clarified to authorities in Ankara.”
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