Liberman said to spar with rest of cabinet, which supports emerging Gaza truce
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Liberman said to spar with rest of cabinet, which supports emerging Gaza truce

Defense Minister asserts that Israel must deal strong blow against Hamas, but is unable to elaborate on what such an incursion would look like

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks to residents of the Gaza periphery in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom on October 26, 2018. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks to residents of the Gaza periphery in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom on October 26, 2018. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

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

Israeli raid of PA governor’s office in East Jerusalem sparks clash with locals

Israeli security forces raid an East Jerusalem compound where the offices of the Palestinian Authority governor of Jerusalem are located and confiscate computers and documents.

Two men sustain injuries after attempting to prevent the troops from entering the building.

The raid comes three days after police broke up an East Jerusalem conference it said was organized by the PA and detained several people involved.

Police said two people suspected of assaulting officers were arrested, and PA Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith was detained for questioning.

Former Joint List MK petitions to be transferred to different prison with better conditions

Former Joint (Arab) List MK Bassel Ghattas, who is currently serving a two-year jail sentence for smuggling cellphones to inmates, has submitted a petition to the the Beersheba District Court requesting that he be transferred from Nafha Prison to another facility.

According to Ghattas, the Nafha site suffers from severe overcrowding. He says that he has a medical condition that has intensified since he began his prison sentence because there are no toilets at Nafha and prisoners are required to squat when going to the bathroom.

Syria says ready to cooperate with new UN envoy

Syria is ready to cooperate with new UN envoy Geir Pedersen as long as he avoids the methods of his predecessor, its deputy foreign minister says.

Pedersen, who assumes the role at the end of November, is the fourth negotiator to have been appointed the UN’s special envoy to Syria since the country’s war broke out in 2011.

A seasoned Norwegian diplomat, he replaces Staffan de Mistura, who announced he is leaving the post last month after a four-year stint.

“Syria will cooperate with the new UN envoy Geir Pedersen provided he avoids the methods of his predecessor,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Meqdad says, quoted by Al-Watan newspaper.

It would work with him if “he announces his support for the unity of Syria’s land and people and does not side with the terrorists as his predecessor did,” he adds, referring to rebel groups.

The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has long accused de Mistura of bias during his tenure.

Its opponents have said the change in UN envoy would have little impact on the fate of the country as international will and consensus were lacking

— AFP

Egypt says perpetrators of attack against Christians killed

Egypt says security forces have killed 19 militants in a shootout, including the gunmen suspected of killing seven Christians in an attack on pilgrims traveling to a remote monastery.

The Interior Ministry says the militants were tracked to a desert hideout west of the central Minya province, where Friday’s attack took place.

The ministry published photographs purporting to show the bodies of the slain militants. It says the men opened fire when security forces surrounded them.

Friday’s attack was the second in as many years to target pilgrims on their way to the monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor. A May 2017 attack left 29 dead.

Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 100 million people and have long complained of discrimination.

— AP

Macron says has ‘immense pride’ in New Caledonia vote for France

French President Emmanuel Macron expresses his “immense pride” that voters in the Pacific territory of New Caledonia had voted to remain part of France in a referendum.

“I must express firstly my immense pride that we have taken this historic step together,” he said in an address to the nation. “I also want to express my pride as the head of state that the majority of Caledonians have chosen France: it’s a sign of confidence in the French republic, in its future and its values.”

— AFP

IS attack kills 12 US-backed fighters in eastern Syria

The Islamic State group has killed 12 US-backed fighters battling to oust the jihadists from their eastern Syria holdout, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

The shootout comes days after IS killed nearly 70 US-backed troops in the same region.

North Korea slams sex abuse report

North Korea slams a report by Human Rights Watch which said sexual abuse of women was rampant in the isolated nation.

In its report released Thursday, the US-based rights group said North Korean police and other officials prey on women with near-total impunity.

HRW drew on interviews with more than 50 North Korean escapees to chronicle gruesome details of rape and other abuses perpetrated by security officers such as border guards, but also civilian officials.

In its response, the North’s Korean Association for Human Rights Studies says the “preposterous” report was “a part of political scheme fabricated by the hostile forces… to tarnish the image of the DPRK,” the state Korean Central News Agency reports, using the country’s official acronym.

“It is also an extremely dangerous provocation aimed at reversing the tide of peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula,” the statement says, branding the women interviewed as “human scum.”

In the HRW report, one anonymous former textile trader in her 40s recounted being treated like a sex toy “at the mercy of men.”

“On the days they felt like it, market guards or police officials could ask me to follow them to an empty room outside the market, or some other place they’d pick,” where they forced sexual encounters, she said.

“It happens so often nobody thinks it is a big deal. We don’t even realize when we are upset,” she added.

Pyongyang maintains that it protects and promotes “genuine human rights,” and says there is no justification for the West to try to set human rights standards for the rest of the world.

“Sexual violence in North Korea is an open, unaddressed, and widely tolerated secret,” says HRW executive director Kenneth Roth.

— AFP

UN says war-torn Yemen ‘living hell’ for children

Conflict-ravaged Yemen has become a “living hell” for children with thousands dying every year from malnutrition and easily preventable diseases, a top UN official says.

Geert Cappelaere, regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at UN children’s agency UNICEF, calls on the warring parties to join proposed peace talks later this month and agree to a ceasefire.

“Yemen is today a living hell — not for 50 to 60 percent of the children — it is a living hell for every boy and girl in Yemen,” he tells a news conference in the Jordanian capital.

According to UNICEF, 1.8 million Yemeni children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition, and the lives of 400,000 severely affected children are under threat.

Cappelaere says that 30,000 children die of malnutrition each year in Yemen, while a child dies every 10 minutes from easily preventable diseases.

— AFP

Sissi: Peace treaty with Israel stable and permanent

In a speech at the second international youth forum in Sharm el Sheikh, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says that “the peace agreement with Israel is stable and permanent,” and that most Egyptians support the agreement.

Sissi adds that when former president Anwar Sadat “raised his idea of peace, no one thought that this idea would one day be acceptable in the general opinion.”

Labor MK to homophobic rabbi: You’re the ugly face of Judaism

Labor MK Itzik Shmuli lambasted Yigal Levinstein after the national-religious camp rabbi penned a letter to coalition chairman David Amsalem praising him for the government’s position against allowing gay couples to adopt children.

“You are the ugly face of the fanatical and dark Judaism that has formed here,” Shmuli says of Levinstein, criticizing the state as well for paying the salary of “distributors of poison and Satan like you, whose views are like those of the ayatollahs in Tehran.”

4 injured in another crash on Route 90 near Dead Sea

Four people have been injured in a car accident on Route 90 near the Dead Sea area.

Two suffered moderate injuries to their upper bodies and two were lightly wounded, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

An MDA helicopter has arrived at the scene to help evacuate the wounded.

Earlier today, six Palestinians from East Jerusalem were killed in an accident further north along the same road.

PM to coalition leaders: I don’t know when elections will be held

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells coalition leaders during their weekly meeting that he does not know when the upcoming Knesset elections will be held, Israel Radio reports.

The latest they could be held is November 2019.

Ashdod teacher contracts measles

A teacher at an elementary school in Ashdod, a woman of approximately 40 years of age, has been diagnosed with measles.

In response, the school board has decided to vaccinate those first-graders who have not yet been vaccinated.

Abbas said to accept Gaza ceasefire currently being brokered by Egypt

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is said to have accepted the Gaza ceasefire agreement currently being brokered by Egypt, the London-daily al-Hayat reports.

In the past, Abbas has argued that Palestinian reconciliation had to take place before any ceasefires could be negotiated.

2 IDF soldiers injured in Ramat Gan car crash

Two IDF soldiers are injured after their car collides with a truck near Ramat Gan, the army say.

One soldier is seriously wounded with a head injury, the other sustains light wounds, according to medics.

The servicemen were taken to Ramat Gan’s Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital for treatment.

The accident occurred near Bar Ilan Junction on the Route 471 highway.

— Judah Ari Gross

Pompeo says he will meet N. Korea number two in New York

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he will meet this week in New York with North Korea’s number two, Kim Yong Chol, to resume denuclearization talks.

Pompeo’s announcement comes just a day after North Korea’s foreign ministry said the North will “seriously” consider reviving its nuclear weapons program unless US sanctions are lifted.

“I will be meeting this week in New York City with my counterpart, Kim Yong Chol,” he says on Fox News, adding that it would be “a good opportunity to continue the denuclearization discussions.”

— AFP

Yair Lapid calls for dismissal of homophobic rabbi

Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid calls for the dismissal Rabbi Yigal Levinstein after the head of the Bnei David national-religious premilitary academy wrote a letter to coalition chairman David Amsalem praising him for the government’s refusal to grant gay couples the right to adopt in Israel.

“Those who insult, plunder and incite cannot continue to head a preparatory program for even one more day,” Lapid says.

In his letter to Amsalem, Levinstein wrote that “a single-sex parented family is not a family … It is a perversion and a moral distortion … Only a world that has lost the truth and meaning can allow same-sex couples to fulfill their demands to raise a child.”

 

Israel to put out to tender offshore blocks for oil and gas exploration off Mediterranean

The Energy Ministry has announced that it will be putting out to tender 19 offshore blocks in the Mediterranean Sea for oil and gas exploration.

Details on the nineteen blocks slated to be put out to tender to companies will be announced later this month, Reuters reports.

Rocket sirens wail in southern Israel breaking brief calm on Gaza border

An incoming rocket siren sounds in the Sderot area of southern Israel.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The Israeli military says it is investigating what triggered the system.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF: Rocket sirens in southern Israel are false alarm

The rocket sirens that sent thousands of residents of southern Israel rushing to bomb shelters was a false alarm, according to the military.

The alarms sounded in the town of Sderot and surrounding Sha’ar Hanegev region, sending thousands of residents rushing to bomb shelters.

Tired migrants forge through Mexico toward US

Thousands of Central American migrants are pushing more quickly through Mexico in the hopes of fulfilling their dream of reaching the United States.

The majority of the roughly 4,000 migrants are headed Sunday toward the town of Cordoba, Veracruz, which is about 124 miles (200 kilometers) up the road. The daily trek will be one of the longest yet, as the exhausted group of travelers tries to make progress any way they can.

The journey now appears to be taking its toll.

A day prior, the group was beset by divisions as some migrants argued with caravan organizers and criticized Mexican officials before setting out on their own toward Puebla and Mexico City. Many are fighting off blistered feet and coughs.

It remained to be seen if the main contingent will continue directly north through the Gulf coast state of Veracruz or veer slightly westward and make a stop in the country’s capital.

Mynor Chavez is a 19-year-old migrant who says he could not get ahead in his home country.

“I have no hope. I graduated as a computer technician and not even with a degree have I been able to find work,” he says.

— AP

As measles scare intensifies, unvaccinated hospital visitors to be limited

As the measles scare in Israel intensifies, the Health Ministry announces that is will be refusing access to “sensitive” departments of hospitals to visitors who are not immunized against the disease.

These wards include intensive care and oncology.

Names of six East Jerusalem residents killed in Dead Sea car crash released

The six Palestinians from East Jerusalem who were killed this morning in a car crash on Route 90 have been identified as brothers Lutfi and Rajai Zahdi from Wadi Joz, Ala’a Qarash from the Old City of Jerusalem, Ahmad al-Ayoubi from Za’im, Majd Asila from Kafr Akab and Majd Samara from Kafr Akab.

Netanyahu to meet later tonight with US envoy Greenblatt

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet later this evening with US envoy Jason Greenblatt to discuss regional developments, as well as US efforts to jump-start the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians

Pittsburgh quarterback to wear cleats honoring victims of synagogue shooting

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will wear a special pair of cleats featuring the teams logo altered with the Star of David and the words, “Stronger than hate” to honor the 11 victims of the shooting last week at the Tree of Life synagogue.

PM says he was moved by international solidarity with Pittsburgh victims

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweets that he was “was moved to see millions of people across the globe express their support and solidarity a week after 11 of our Jewish brothers and sisters were massacred in Pittsburgh.”

“This is a time for unity. We must all stand together to fight antisemitism,” he says.

Labor head: Homophobic premilitary academy head shouldn’t even be considered a rabbi

Labor chairman Avi Gabbay says that Bnei David premilitary academy head Yigal Levinstein should not even be considered a rabbi, following his latest remarks against the LGBT community.

“Rabbi Levinstein has hurt… tens of thousands of LGBT individuals. The person who distorts human morality is Levinstein. Where I come from, such a person does not deserve the title ‘rabbi,'” says Gabbay.

Levinstein wrote a letter to coalition chairman David Amsalem praising him for the government’s refusal to grant gay couples the right to adopt in Israel.

In his letter to Amsalem, Levinstein wrote that “a single-sex parented family is not a family … It is a perversion and a moral distortion … Only a world that has lost the truth and meaning can allow same-sex couples to fulfill their demands to raise a child.”

Liberman said to spar with ministers during cabinet meeting on Gaza

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman sparred with ministers during today’s security cabinet meeting on the situation in Gaza, Channel 10 reports.

Liberman is said to disagree with the remainder of the cabinet who supports the emerging ceasefire agreement being negotiated between Israel and Hamas by Egypt.

The defense minister is said to have asserted that Israel must deal a serious blow to Hamas, but when he was pressed to elaborate on what that meant, he was unable to do so, Channel 10 reports.

Driver of truck that hit minibus near Dead Sea and killed 6 not cooperating with police

The driver of the truck that hit a minibus on Route 90 near the Dead Sea and killed six passengers has not been cooperating with the police, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

The driver, who is suspected of committing manslaughter, has remained silent since his arrest.

Kan reports that he has a long history of road violations, but that police have thrown out the possibility that he was under the influence at the time of the crash.

Finance minister backs idea that only party leaders can form government – report

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon tells senior officials in his Kulanu party that he sees the need to alter laws so that only the leader of each elected political party should have the right to form a government and not any other figure on the parties’ lists.

Such legislation would require changing the president’s powers as described in Basic Laws of the country and talk of making the adjustment comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused a former senior member of his Likud party — who of trying to organize a “putsch” to oust him following the next elections.

Funeral procession begins for victims of Dead Sea car crash

A funeral procession has began in East Jerusalem for the six Palestinians killed in a car accident on Route 90 near the Dead Sea.

The victims were identified as brothers Lutfi and Rajai Zahdi from Wadi Joz, Ala’a Qarash from the Old City of Jerusalem, Ahmad al-Ayoubi from Za’im, Majd Asila from Kafr Akab and Majd Samara from Kafr Akab.

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