The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.
Patriots to memorialize Ezra Schwartz with minute of silence
The New England Patriots football team will observe a minute of silence before its game overnight Monday against the Buffalo Bills, in memory of Ezra Schwartz, a native of Sharon, Massachusetts, who was killed in a terror attack in the West Bank on Thursday.
Schwartz was laid to rest in his hometown on Sunday.
We just got official word:There will be a moment of silence in memory of Ezra Schwartz, z"l, before tonight's Patriots game.
— Dov Lipman (@DovLipman) November 23, 2015
German Jewish group urges cap on refugee influx
The Central Council of Jews in Germany calls for a limit to the migrant influx because of problems with integrating the mainly Muslim newcomers, earning a quick rebuke from a pro-refugee charity.
“Sooner or later we won’t have a choice but to set an upper limit,” the council’s president Josef Schuster tells Die Welt daily.
“Many of the refugees are fleeing the terror of the Islamic State and want to live in peace and freedom, but at the same time they come from cultures where hatred of Jews and intolerance are an integral part.
“Don’t just think about the Jews, think about the equality between men and women, or dealing with homosexuals,” he adds.
Schuster’s comments are criticized by non-government group Pro Asyl, which says it is unfortunate the Jewish group is sharing the same position as the conservative Bavarian CSU party.
“It’s disconcerting when the CSU and the Central Council of Jews are in fact demanding that we suspend the European Convention on Human Rights,” says Pro Asyl’s head Guenter Burkhardt.
He stresses that article 33 of the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention bars signatory countries from sending asylum seekers back to places where their lives or freedom are threatened because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a social group or political opinion.
Footage shows men shooting Palestinian attackers in Jerusaem
CCTV footage of the attack at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market earlier today appears to show the two teenage girls attackers as they are shot by two men with guns.
In the video, one man who appears to be an older civilian fires at one of the girls as she lunges at him.
Then a uniformed man, who according to reports was a policeman, comes and fires at the other girl, who collapses against the wall just as another man tries to hit her with a plastic chair.
The second man then goes over to one of the girls and, it seems, kicks something out of her hand. Finally, he returns to the second girl, who is lying on the ground, and appears to fire at her again.
One of the attackers was killed and the other seriously wounded.
תיעוד ממצלמות האבטחה מהפיגוע הדקירה הבוקר בשוק מחנה יהודה בירושלים. pic.twitter.com/GFGwBea8Wt
— דני שוורץ חדשות 24-6 (@dannyschwarz24) November 23, 2015
6 Sudanese migrants killed near Egypt-Israel border
Egyptian security officials say six Sudanese migrants were killed and 17 wounded during a gun battle between Egyptian security forces and smugglers as they tried to illegally enter Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
The officials say that smugglers transferred the migrants in pickup trucks and dropped them off close to the border south of the town of Rafah before firing at border forces to allow the migrants to cross into Israel.
The smugglers then fled, leaving the dead and wounded migrants, who were taken to Rafah hospital for treatment. The officials speaks on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief the media.
Last week 15 Sudanese were killed and eight wounded trying to illegally cross into Israel.
Putin removes ban on nuclear cooperation with Iran
President Vladimir Putin eases restrictions on Russian companies working on Iranian enrichment sites as he travels to Tehran for his first visit since 2007.
A decree Putin signed on Monday enables Russian firms to help modify centrifuges at the Fordo enrichment site and help Tehran redesign its Arak heavy water reactor.
Russian companies can now also carry out activities linked to Iranian exports of enriched uranium of more than 300 kilograms in exchange for the supplies of natural uranium to Iran, the Kremlin decree says.
Under a historic July deal with world powers, Iran agreed to dramatically scale back its nuclear programme, making it much more difficult for it to develop nuclear weapons.
Tehran agreed to slash by two-thirds the number of centrifuges, machines that can “enrich” or purify uranium to make it suitable for peaceful uses but also for a nuclear weapon.
Russian companies are eyeing business opportunities after sanctions on Iran are lifted, expected in the next two months, as the nuclear deal reaches its “implementation” stage.
Putin arrived in Tehran on Monday for talks with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, with the Syrian conflict expected to be high on the agenda.
The one-day visit will also see Putin take part in a summit of gas exporting countries.
Soldiers shoot knife-wielding Palestinian in West Bank
A young Palestinian man armed with a knife approaches IDF soldiers near Hatmar Shomron Junction in the West Bank, the same junction where an Arab woman attempted to stab Israelis on Sunday, police say.
The IDF forces at the scene reportedly shoot and injure the would-be assailant.
No Israelis are harmed in the attempted attack.
The condition of the attacker is initially unclear.
Palestinian stabber killed
The Palestinian who was shot when he approached soldiers with a knife in the West Bank was killed, the army says.
Palestinian shoots, seriously wounds Israeli on Route 443
A Palestinian terrorist shoots an Israeli, seriously wounding him, at a gas station along Route 443 between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The attacker has been shot.
Man critically hurt in attack on Route 443
According to breaking reports, the victim in the attack on Route 443 is in critical condition, and the attacker did not use a gun in the attack but rather a knife.
Reports say the attacker may have been killed.
The attack takes place at a gas station along the road, the site of a stabbing attack five months ago.
Paramedics attempting to save life of wounded Israeli man
Pictures shared on social media appear to show paramedics attempting to save the life of the Israeli man gravely wounded in the attack on Route 443.
BREAKING PHOTOS: 19 y/o Israeli man seriously wounded in stabbing attack on Highway 443, Arab terrorist neutralized. pic.twitter.com/UvNqZBGNuI
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) November 23, 2015
443 attack victim dies, rescue services say
The Magen David Adom and Zaka emergency medical services say that attempts to resuscitate the victim of the attack on Route 443, an Israeli man of about 18, have failed, and he has been declared dead.
In shooting Route 443 attacker, soldiers also wounded woman
MDA director Eli Bin says that in shooting the Palestinian stabber at the gas station, soldiers may have hit another woman in the hand.
The woman drove to a nearby IDF post, where she was administered treatment, he says.
Netanyahu urges Israeli ‘perseverance’ in face of attacks
In an address to the media, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urges the Israeli public to “persevere” amid the spate of Palestinian attacks.
He says Israelis’ endurance has got them through hard times in the past and will see them through their current tribulations.
Route 443 closed due to suspicious object
The westward lanes of Route 443 are closed due to a suspicious object near Shilat Junction outside Modi’in.
Palestinians said to riot on Gaza border
Early reports say Palestinians are rioting at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
At least one Palestinian is said to have been wounded by Israeli fire at the scene.
Route 443 reopened after attack
PM says army has free rein in the West Bank
Netanyahu, during a visit to the Etzion junction, where an Israeli woman was stabbed to death Sunday, dismisses the notion – propounded by coalition politicians such as Education Minister Naftali Bennett – that the army has not been given carte blanche to preempt attacks in the West Bank.
“On the offensive end,” he says, “we’re going into every site. We’re entering [Palestinian] villages, we’re entering towns, we’re entering homes, and conducting widespread arrests. There are no restrictions on the activities of the IDF and the security forces; on the contrary – there’s full support, and this is important.”
Netanyahu says that security forces take advantage of their freedom to act in the West Bank “night in and night out, day in and day out,” preventing a situation where “hundreds of Israelis” are killed every year by suicide bombers and other attackers.
But, he adds, “We need to carry out additional actions to counter what [threats] do exist.”
Netanyahu says that in addition to bolstering its forces in the West Bank in general, the IDF has been stepping up other activities, including checking “every Palestinian vehicle” that travels on major traffic arteries.
He also details actions planned specifically for the Etzion junction, which has seen multiple lethal attacks in recent weeks, describing a “local bypass” of the junction, recommended by “defense officials.”
As far as punitive actions against attackers, he says even extended families of those who carry out attacks are now being denied permission to work in Israel. “Such a family,” Netanyahu says, “is aware of the fact that one of its members is a radical, and anyone who is about to [carry out an] attack – such a family has no right to work in Israel. We revoke it, and that’s important.”
He reiterates his oft-repeated refrain about “internet incitement” and claims that Israel is “also preparing to take care of the social networks using various means.
“But,” he concludes, “I think that the most important means at our disposal are perseverance, bravery and a resolve to fight this terrorism as we have fought its various manifestations over the past century. Those we have in abundance, and with them we will win this time as well.”
Palestinian attacker named
The Palestinian man who stabbed an Israeli to death at a gas station on Route 443 before soldiers shot him dead is named as Ahmad Taha of the village of Qatanna, outside Jerusalem.
Channel 2 reports that he was not an employee of the gas station and had arrived there with the intention of carrying out an attack.
The TV station airs footage of Israeli soldiers standing next to a group of young Palestinians detainees at the gas station.
In Gulf, Kerry calls for united front against IS
In Abu Dhabi, US Secretary of State John Kerry stresses the urgent need to unite a region riven by conflict against the threat from the jihadist Islamic State group.
Kerry believes his ambitious plan to bring Syria’s other warring parties to the negotiating table is the key to isolating and ultimately defeating the extremists.
So he came to Abu Dhabi to encourage his Emirati and Saudi allies in their efforts to convince Syria’s rebel factions to agree a ceasefire with Bashar Assad’s regime, he says.
“That’s why I’m here,” he tells reporters, repeating his hope that a ceasefire between the opposition and the government could be struck “in a few weeks.”
“We’re working very hard to accelerate the efforts out of Vienna, to give that diplomatic process life,” he says. “You can be confident that the diplomatic front is in high gear, with a very real plan on the table to be implemented.”
Hadar Buchris, killed yesterday, being laid to rest
Hundreds of Israelis pay their last respects at the Jerusalem funeral for Hadar Buchris, 21, who was killed Sunday in a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank.
“Our dear, beautiful Hadar, so smart and sensitive. You had a big heart,” her father, Aryeh, says in his eulogy. “Everything was still in front of you; you wanted to accomplish so much. We’re devastated by your tragic passing. You left us shocked and in pain. We can hardly bear it.
“You’re one of those large-than-life girls. The pain is immense, so immense, but we’ll be strong and continue to unite the family more than ever. I promise you that. We will never stop missing you and thinking about you.”
Paris mastermind Abdeslam believed to have fled to Germany
A Belgian paper, Le Soir, reports that terrorist Salah Abdeslam apparently managed to flee Belgium and enter Germany.
Abdeslam is thought to have driven a BMW from the eastern Belgian city of Liege, not far from the western border of Germany.
Brussels, the Belgian capital, has now been under a security lockdown for a third straight day. Public transportation and the school system were shut down as police continue their manhunt for Abdeslam, suspected of being the brain behind the November 13 terror attacks in Paris that left at least 130 people dead.
After 2 attacks in a week, women protest at Etzion junction
Hundreds of women held a protest today at the Gush Etzion junction calling on the government to handle the ongoing wave of terror attacks. Their demonstration comes after two attacks took place in the area over the past week. Four people died in the attacks, three in a shooting attack last week and one in a stabbing attack yesterday.
The women, all mothers of families living in the area, came to the junction by bus and private car. According to the Hebrew language paper NRG, they were shouting slogans accusing the government of not doing enough to bring a stop to Palestinian terrorism and incitement.
The time has come “to stop driving to school, after school activities or going shopping” from becoming potentially lethal.
According to NRG, people living in the area are fuming at the government and security establishment after Hadar Buchris, 21, was stabbed to death at the junction yesterday despite the deployment of dozens of troops in the area. Col. Roman Goffman, commander of the Etzion Brigade, admitted that soldiers at the site should have intercepted the terrorist who stabbed and murdered Buchris and pledged to examine why the stabber managed to enter the area without undergoing a security check.
Iranian report says Russia preparing transfer of S-300
Russia and Iran have “unity of views” on Syria, a spokesman for the Kremlin says after President Vladimir Putin held talks in Tehran with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Describing the meeting as “quite constructive,” the spokesman says Iran and Russia are against “external attempts to dictate scenarios of political settlement in Syria” and any change in leadership should come through elections.
Meanwhile, Iranian envoy in Russia Mehdi Sanaei said Russian steps to transfer the S-300 missile defense to Iran have already begun, according to an Iranian report. The transfer and deployment of the system will be completed by the end of 2015, according to the agreement between the two countries.
The system is considered among the finest of its type in the world and a possible serious threat to Israel’s air supremacy.
Russia said it would move ahead with the deal after the Lausanne understandings were reached in April, laying the groundwork for the nuclear agreement signed between Iran and world powers in Vienna in early July.
— AFP contributed
Speaker at Palestinian funeral calls on Allah to ‘count the Jews, kill them to the last one’
A speaker at a funeral of two Palestinians broadcast live on official Palestinian Authority TV called on Allah to “do justice to the oppressed against the oppressors, and give them victory over the tyrants, O Master of the Universe. Strike the Jews, count them and kill them to the last one, and don’t leave even one.”
The funeral, on Monday a week ago, was held for Laith Manasrah and Abu Al-Aish. They were shot and killed by IDF soldiers when the military came to demolish the home of terrorist Muhammad Abu Shaheen, 30, who murdered 25-year-old Israeli Danny Gonen on June 19, 2015.
According to the IDF, Manasrah and Al-Aish fired at Israeli soldiers. Palestinian reports said they were only observing the demolition when they were shot by the IDF.
See the video translated by NGO Palestinian Media Watch:
Israeli expert says West ‘underestimated’ IS risk
Europe and the global community erred and underestimated the threat by Islamic State to the West, a leading Israeli analyst tells a French paper.
Speaking to L’Express, Yoram Schweitzer, from the Institute of National Security Studies (INSS), says that greater involvement by NATO and the West is necessary in order to defeat the Sunni terror group.
Admitting that intervention on a wide scale in Iraq and Afghanistan have not given “conclusive results,” Schweitzer said IS is a “significantly higher” threat than al-Qaeda because Islamic State has an “expansionist” agenda. The organization will not restrict itself to Iraq and Syria, Schweitzer says, adding that the world has “for a long time believed, wrongly, that the [group] would limit itself to inspiring minor actions in Europe and would reserve its atrocities for the Middle East. But today the world has realized that it will apply its strategy of shock and scare tactics in the West as well.”
Schweitzer says that “at this stage,” the politics of the West “exclude the presence of boots on the ground in favor of an aerial campaign, a few military counselors and providing arms.
“The type of war in the face of IS is different from the Second World War or the Vietnam War. Sending a large number of foot soldiers would be futile,” Schweitzer says, since “it would serve ISIS propaganda that qualifies them as an occupation force.”
Israel, the analyst tells L’Express, is not a priority for Islamic State at the moment, just as the group avoids “states with strong militaries” like Iran or Turkey. The group focuses on weak countries where it can score victories, like Syria, Iraq or Libya.
Arab woman — We are all the same blood, we all live here together
An Arab women in her fifties who passed by near the scene of a terror attack in Jerusalem today says she is “very angry at the bullshit they do here to the Jews.”
Hawala Jaber, a resident of Um al Fahm, has been working in Jewish homes for many years, says veteran Channel 2 reporter Moshe Nussbaum.
Speaking decent Hebrew tinged with a heavy Arabic accent, Jaber speaks to Nussbaum a mere hour after two Palestinian girls attacked a Palestinian elderly man with scissors and were shot. A security guard was wounded by shrapnel. One of the attackers was killed at the scene. She tells Nussbaum:
We live here together, we are all flesh and we are all blood. Under the blood, there is no such thing, Arab or Jew. It is all nonsense, we all live together. In the Old City you have Jews here and Arabs here and just a road between them. All our lives we live together.
Jaber criticizes the terrorists. “Crazies, no brain. They must be giving them pills that make their heads turn,” she speculates aloud.
The vast majority of terrorists in the recent wave of terror attacks have been teenagers. Civilians listening to her clap and cheer.
As the Channel 2 crew continues filming, the scene turns surreal in a way characterizing better than any analysis the reality of life in Israel. Two young female soldiers who were nearby spontaneously erupt in a traditional song to boost morale. The lyrics: “The eternal nation is not afraid, not afraid of the long road ahead.”
A civilian joins them and they start dancing in a circle; he then grabs Mrs. Jaber, who joins them in the dance.
Mladenov calls on Israel to lift Hebron travel restrictions
UN Envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov calls on Israel to lift all travel and movement restrictions currently imposed on Palestinian residents of Hebron.
Mladenov says during a press conference with Hebron governor Kamal Hamid that it is “regrettable” that 5,000 Palestinian students have a hard time getting to school and that stores and businesses in the West Bank city are shuttered.
Hebron, Mladenov says according to a report on Israel Radio, has become a ghost town.
Mladenov arrived in Hebron to see from up close how the town and its economy can be helped. He called on all sides to condemn violence, stop incitement and lower tension, so that negotiations on a two-state solution can resume, Israel Radio reports.
The Palestinians recently announced that Hebron was the “capital of Palestinian fury.” Many of the attackers in recent weeks hailed from Hebron, after the focal point of attacks moved from East Jerusalem.
Female terrorist was sister of man killed by IDF fire
One of the Palestinian women who carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem today was Hadil Wajia Awad, 14. She was shot at the scene after stabbing an elderly Palestinian from Bethlehem, mistaking him for a Jewish Israeli.
Awad was the sister of Mahmoud Awad, who died in November 2013 at the age of 24. He was shot in the back of his neck with a rubber bullet eight months earlier during a protest near the Qalandiya checkpoint on March 1, 2013.
According to the human rights group B’Tselem and other activists, Awad was shot at in violation of IDF regulations, which mandate that even non-lethal weapons such as small-caliber or rubber bullets — as in this case — should not be aimed at the upper body.
The rubber bullet penetrated Awad’s head. Awad was operated on in the Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem after receiving initial treatment at a Ramallah hospital.
According to a prominent left-wing Israeli activist going by the moniker “John Brown,” the fact that the bullet penetrated Awad’s head may indicate that he was shot at close range.
A Military Police investigation was opened only nine months after the incident.
Twitter user “OccPal-Gaza” today explained the “rationale” as to why Awad’s sister went on a stabbing rampage today.
Q. Why do they do it? A. Brother of 16y/o Hadeel (killed after alleged stabbing attack today) was killed by Israeli occupation in 2013.
— OccPal-Gaza (@OccPalGaza) November 23, 2015
The military investigation has yet to conclude.
Victim of terror attack today named as Ziv Mizrahi, IDF soldier
The man who was stabbed and killed on Route 443 earlier today was an IDF soldier, the army cleared for publication. He was named as Ziv Mizrahi, from Givat Ze’ev, a community north of Jerusalem.
A woman wounded in a stabbing — in a separate incident today — was identified as an IDF officer.
Palestinians celebrate ‘success’ of killing IDF soldier
Palestinians in the village of Katana are celebrating the “success of Ahmad Taha, a terrorist who stabbed and murdered IDF Private Ziv Mizrahi, 18, today on Route 443.
In a Channel 2 report, a picture of Taha is shown where he visits the grave of a terrorist who carried out an attack on Route 443 in August.
Mizrahi, according to his rank and young age, had only just recently joined the armed forces.
Details announced for funeral of soldier killed in terror attack
The funeral of Ziv Mizrahi, an IDF soldier who was murdered in a stabbing attack today on Route 443, will take place tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
Barkat to visit Etzion Junction in ‘solidarity’
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat will pay a call on Gush Etzion tomorrow morning for a “visit of solidarity,” his office said in a statement.
The tour by the mayor and his entourage will begin at the Gush Etzion Junction. The mayor will continue on to the locations of recent terror attacks and will meet owners of businesses from the commercial center at the junction.
Barkat will be accompanied by Davidi Perl, head of the Etzion Regional Council; his deputy Moshe Saville; and Jerusalem Municipality councilman and business mogul Rami Levy.
Police defend sapper who shot terrorist twice
The Israel Police defends the decision of an off-duty sapper, who shot Hadil Wajia Awad twice after she stabbed an elderly Palestinian man in Jerusalem today.
The sapper was the first person to arrive on the scene. After Awad and a second terrorist did not heed his calls to halt, he shot them.
According to Channel 10, the sapper was not sure whether Awad was hurt badly enough to be considered disarmed and no longer dangerous, and so he decided to shoot her a second time.
The police say their regulations have not changed and the instruction to officers is to shoot with intent to disarm an attacker, not to kill them.
Officers noted that in the past, there were instances in which attackers continued in their attempts to stab Israelis after they were shot and presumed no longer a threat.
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