The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.
Ben Gurion Airport workers to strike Friday night, Saturday
Israel Airport Authority employees declare a general strike at Ben Gurion International Airport on Friday night and Saturday in protest of possible new tax regulations being introduced by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.
If the labor action is carried out, the union says Israel’s main airport will operate on a “Yom Kippur basis,” a move that will force hundreds of flights departing on Shabbat to be rescheduled.
The IAA is opposed to a plan by Deri that would see the Authority pay additional taxes that would be distributed to residents in the vicinity of the airport.
Last month, an unannounced labor strike at the airport protesting the firing of seasonal workers at the end of the busy summer season saw hours-long delays in departures and baggage claims.
IS takes credit for suicide attack in Baghdad suburb
The Islamic State group claims responsibility for a double suicide attack that killed 11 people.
In an online statement, the extremist group says two suicide bombers yesterday targeted Shiites in Baghdad’s southeastern suburb of Nahrawan. The authenticity of the statement could not be immediately verified by The Associated Press.
Iraqi officials say two attackers started shooting civilians in a popular shopping area, before blowing themselves up. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
IS has carried out insurgent-style attacks in Iraq as the extremists have slowly lost territory across the country over the past three years.
UN Syria envoy hails meeting with world powers
The UN envoy for Syria is hailing a “useful” meeting with diplomats from the five permanent Security Council members, while calling on the rival sides in the war-torn country to get down to “business.”
Staffan de Mistura speaks to The Associated Press after briefing envoys from world powers about the eighth round of UN-mediated peace talks under his guidance, which begins later Tuesday in Geneva.
He was to meet later today with opposition leaders, and said he expected a delegation from the government of President Bashar Assad to arrive Wednesday.
The meeting included Brett McGurk, the US envoy for the fight against the Islamic State group, and the French Foreign Ministry’s political and security affairs director Nicolas de Riviere.
Russia’s ambassador in Geneva Alexey Borodavkin said Russia appreciated the “opportunity,” but “at the same time, we have some doubts about this kind of format, and do not consider it an established one.”
Jewish groups say church probe into 1918 killing of czar anti-Semitic
A Russian Orthodox Church panel looking into the 1918 killing of Russia’s last czar and his family says it’s investigating whether it was a ritual murder — a statement that has angered Jewish groups.
Father Tikhon Shevkunov, the Orthodox bishop heading the panel, said after yesterday’s session that “a large share of the church commission members have no doubts that the murder was ritual.” A representative of Russia’s state investigative agency said it will also probe the theory.
Rabbi Boruch Gorin, a spokesman for the Federation of Jewish Communities, is expressing concern about the claims he described as part of anti-Semitic propaganda, according to Interfax.
Nicholas II and his family were executed by a Bolshevik firing squad in July 1918. The Russian Orthodox Church made them saints in 2000.
Sentencing set for Florida man in Jewish center bomb plot
A federal judge is set to sentence a Florida man convicted of plotting to bomb a synagogue and Jewish school center during Passover last year.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for today in Miami for 41-year-old James Medina, who pleaded guilty to a federal religious hate crime and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The maximum sentence is life in prison.
Authorities said Medina admitted to planning to attack the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center. Medina was arrested in April 2016 after approaching the center with a fake bomb provided by an undercover FBI informant.
FBI recordings showed Medina supported the Islamic State extremist group and claimed an obligation to attack Jews in the US.
Court documents also indicate that Medina suffers from bipolar disorder.
Egypt says police kill 11 suspected ‘terrorists’ in shootout
Egyptian security forces killed 11 suspected “terrorist elements” during a raid on a hideout for militants providing support for jihadists in the Sinai, the interior ministry says.
A ministry statement says police are still identifying the suspected jihadist fighter killed in the raid in Ismailiya province after they opened fire on security forces approaching the hideout.
Prison reportedly rejects ex-president Katsav’s appeal for eased parole
The prison parole board reportedly denies a request to ease the parole conditions of former president and convicted rapist Moshe Katsav, who was released from prison last December after serving five years for rape and other sexual offenses.
The reasons given for rejecting the appeal are barred from publication, according to the Ynet news site.
In August, President Reuven Rivlin rejected a similar request from Katsav, citing the “nature of the crimes.”
12 ultra-Orthodox draft-dodgers arrested after clashing with Jerusalem police
Ultra-Orthodox draft-dodgers clash with police outside an IDF recruitment office in Jerusalem, in the latest demonstration by fringe religious groups against mandatory military service.
Dozens of protesters blocked Rashi Street in the capital, and threw eggs and rocks at police officers attempting to disperse the demonstration.
A statement from police says 12 protesters were arrested and “public order has been restored, and all roads have been opened to traffic.”
UN says Syrian regime agrees to ceasefire in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta
Syria’s government agrees to a ceasefire in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, following days of heavy bombardment, the United Nations envoy to the war-ravaged country says.
“Russia has proposed and the government has accepted a ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta,” Staffan de Mistura tells reporters in Geneva, where an eighth round of peace talks aimed at ending the Syrian conflict was getting underway.
De Mistura says he learned of the proposal from a Russian envoy during a meeting of ambassadors from Security Council permanent representatives — Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States — earlier today.
Liberman says ‘no Iranian military force on Syrian soil’
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says there is no physical Iranian presence on Syrian soil, in an apparent contradiction to repeated warnings by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over recent weeks that the Iranians are establishing a foothold in the country.
“It’s correct that there are some Iranian advisers and experts [in Syria],” Lieberman tells the Ynet news site. “But there is no Iranian military force on Syrian soil.”
“All the actors in the region know that we are the strongest power in our area,” he says. “Israel is a regional power.”
— Sue Surkes
Jordan’s Abdullah warns US no solution to ‘Palestinian cause’ will fuel violence
Jordan’s King Abdullah II warns the Trump administration that failure to resolve the Palestinian issue will spur violent unrest in the Middle East.
“The King stressed that failure to reach a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause will fuel further extremism and violence in the Middle East,” the readout from the meeting says.
Abdullah’s warning comes as the White House delegation tasked with resolving Israeli-Palestinian peace is preparing to ramp up its attempts to renew negotiations between the sides.
Separately this week, the Jordanian king met separately with US Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
— Eric Cortellesa
Hamas, PA dispute fate of Gaza employees as transition deadline looms
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority spar over the fate of tens of thousands of employees in Gaza ahead of a key deadline, the latest sign that a landmark reconciliation agreement between the two leading Palestinian factions is faltering.
In a statement, the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority stresses the “necessity of all old employees returning to work,” instructing ministers to arrange for the transition.
But Hamas calls the decision a “violation” of pre-existing agreements between the two sides.
Under an agreement made last month, the Hamas terrorist group is supposed to hand over power in Gaza to the PA, dominated by the secular Fatah party, by Friday.
A key sticking point has been the fate of tens of thousands of PA employees who stopped working when Hamas seized Gaza in a 2007 quasi-civil war.
Hamas hired its own employees afterwards and the future of the two sets of staff is a key issue to resolve.
Police investigating Jaffa building explosion make several arrests
Police have reportedly made several arrests in the investigation into a massive explosion in Jaffa last night that left three people dead.
According to reports, an illegally installed gas cylinder at a hardware store sparked the explosion that leveled an entire building on Yefet Street.
Two of the dead were identified as Rimon Huri of Jaffa and Ali Abu Jama from Taibe. The name of the third casualty has not yet been released.
At inauguration of Kenyan president, opposition calls for ‘people’s assembly’
Kenya’s opposition is calling for a “people’s assembly” next month amid its claims that the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta is illegitimate.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga is calling for the December 12 assembly and his supporters say the gathering will elect a leader to run the country until new elections can be held. The day is Kenya’s Independence Day.
The calls come on the day that Kenyatta was sworn in and urged an end to hatred and divisions. During and after the ceremony, police fired rifles and tear gas to break up an opposition gathering to mourn the dozens of people killed in the months of election unrest.
Netanyahu is in Kenya to mark the swearing in, but is not attending the inauguration ceremony.
Florida man sentenced to hospital, prison for Jewish center bomb plot
A Florida man will be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment and likely serve 25 years in prison for plotting to bomb a synagogue and Jewish school center during Passover last year.
A Miami federal judge imposes that sentence on 41-year-old James Medina, who pleaded guilty to a religious hate crime and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The maximum sentence is life in prison.
Authorities say Medina planned to attack the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center. Medina was arrested in April 2016 after approaching the center with a fake bomb provided by an undercover FBI informant.
FBI recordings showed Medina supported the Islamic State group and claimed an obligation to attack Jews in the US.
His lawyers say Medina suffers from significant mental health problems.
Kenya opposition leader says police kill 3 in protests against inauguration
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga says police have shot dead three people during protests against the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta after months of election turmoil.
Odinga is speaking at a memorial for the dozens of people killed since the original August election, which the Supreme Court nullified over irregularities.
His remarks come shortly after police fired rifles and tear gas to break up a large opposition gathering at the original venue for the memorial.
Odinga is surrounded by people carrying wooden tombstones with the names of those killed in recent months.
Netanyahu announces Israel to open an embassy in Rwanda
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces that Israel will open its first-ever embassy in Rwanda.
Netanyahu, who is in Kenya to mark the swearing in of President Uhuru Kenyatta, says the new embassy is part of a wider effort to “deepen cooperation between Israel and African countries.”
The statement says officials are also considering starting direct flights between the two countries.
Israel marking 70th anniversary of UN vote that called for creation of Israel
Israel is marking the 70th anniversary of a historic United Nations Resolution 181 which for the first time called for the creation of two states in British Mandate Palestine: one for Jews, one for Arabs.
US Vice President Mike Pence will address the gathering. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau and President Reuven Rivlin will deliver remarks via video.
Bill to prevent East Jerusalem withdrawal cleared for final vote
The Knesset’s Constitution, Justice and Law Committee on Tuesday green-lights for its final votes a bill requiring the support of two-thirds of the Knesset to hand over any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians under a future peace deal.
Following today’s 9-7 committee vote, the bill will move forward to its second and third plenum readings, where it was expected to be passed into law.
No date has been set for the final votes.
State prosecutor: Recommendations bill ‘problematic and unnecessary’
State prosecutor Shai Nitzan slams the so-called recommendations law as “problematic and unnecessary.”
“This is a problematic and unnecessary law that will damage the work of the State Attorney’s Office,” Nitzan says at a media conference in Eilat.
“If I could understand what interest it served to the Israeli public, I would be content with it,” he says. “But unfortunately it’s really problematic and I thought it best to clearly state my position on it.”
Suspected Israeli crime lord deported from Colombia arrested at Ben Gurion
Assi Ben-Mosh, a suspected Israeli criminal deported from Colombia yesterday, is arrested upon his arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport.
Colombian authorities accuse Ben-Mosh of running drug and prostitution rings in several towns and cities where he owned hotels.
His operations also reached into Ecuador, Brazil and Mexico, local media reported.
Pence says Trump ‘actively considering when and how’ to move US embassy to Jerusalem
At the event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the UN’s vote calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, US President Mike Pence hails the unwavering bond between the US and Israel.
“Israel didn’t need a resolution to call for its existence, because its right to exist is self evident, and timeless,” he says.“Israel is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.”
In the keynote speech, Pence underscores US support for Israel, asserting that ties between the two countries have never been stronger than under the Trump administration.
“As President Trump says, “If the world knows nothing else, let them know this: America stands with Israel,” he says. “Under our administration, America will always stand with Israel.”
He notes recent steps taken at the UN on behalf of Israel, and says “the days of Israel-bashing at the United Nations are over.”
He adds that Trump is “actively considering…. when and how” to move American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Pence: Trump administration working to fix ‘glaring failures’ of Iran deal
US President Mike Pence says the Trump administration is working with Congress to fix the “glaring failures” in the Iran nuclear deal reached under the previous administration.
“We will no longer support Tehran’s support for terrorism across the region and across the world,” he tells participants at a New York event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the UN’s vote paving the way for the establishment of a Jewish State.
“As we speak, our administration is working with Congress to overcome some of the Iran deal’s most glaring problems.”
“Under President Trump, the US will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons,” he says. “This is our solemn promise to you, to Israel and to the world.”
“We will defeat the forces of terror so they will no longer able to threaten us, our allies or our way of life,” he says to applause.
70 years after UN vote, Netanyahu hails Israel’s ‘progress, prosperity and power’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hails Israel’s “progress, prosperity and power,” at an event in New York event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the UN vote that paved the way for the establishment of a Jewish State.
“Today we are a thriving democracy that also helps so many people throughout the world,” he says in a pre-recorded address.
“I have no doubt that we will gather in another 70 years to celebrate Israel’s continued progress, prosperity its power and the peace its achieved with its neighbors because of all of you, and all of us.”
Netanyahu also thanks US Vice President Mike Pence for delivering the keynote remarks at the event, and extends his gratitude to Trump and the American people “for their steadfast support of Israel.”
In Kenya, PM says Israel seeking observer status at African Union
On a one-day visit to Nairobi for celebrations as Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term, Netanyahu says he is seeking observer status for Israel at the African Union.
“This is my third visit to Africa in 18 months and my second visit here to Kenya,” he says at a festive in a video clip released by his office.
“We believe in the future of Africa, we love Africa and I would like very much not only to cooperate on an individual basis with each of your countries but also with the African Union,” he adds.
Netanyahu, who also serves as foreign minister, is seeking business and security ties with African nations as well as their support at UN bodies.
EU invites Netanyahu to an ‘informal exchange of views’ in Brussels next month
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini formally invites Prime Minister Netanyahu for an “informal exchange of views” with the EU’s foreign ministers on the sidelines of the the Foreign Affairs Council on December 11 in Brussels, the union’s mission in Ramat Gan says.
“The meeting is part of the regular close contacts the EU has with Israel,” the statement says, adding that European Council President Donald Tusk will visit Israel on December 6.
“The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss issues of common concerns such as the MEPP (Middle East Peace Process), bilateral relations and regional issues. Preparation is now ongoing,” the statement says.
North Korea fires ballistic missile, South Korea says
North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile, according to the South Korean military Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The missile flew eastward from South Pyongan Province according to Yonhap news agency, which said the South Korean military and US were analyzing.
The South’s unification minister said yesterday that signs of unusual activity had been detected in North Korea.
German neo-Nazi’s Holocaust denial convictions upheld
A German court upholds two convictions of a well-known neo-Nazi for Holocaust denial and sentenced her to 14 months in prison.
Ursula Haverbeck, 89, is sentenced by a district appeals court in Detmold for repeatedly denying the Holocaust, which is a crime in Germany.
Haverbeck had appealed her 2016 conviction for writing to the Detmold mayor during the trial of an Auschwitz guard claiming the death camp was only a labor camp. In closing arguments at that trial she again denied the Holocaust, prompting another conviction.
Several courts have sentenced Haverbeck to prison sentences in the past, including a Berlin district court in October, but Haverbeck has remained free pending appeals.
The German news agency dpa reported Haverbeck’s lawyers would again appeal this latest conviction.
34 ultra-Orthodox rioters arrested in Jerusalem anti-draft protests
Police in Jerusalem arrest 34 ultra-Orthodox rioters involved in anti-draft disturbances throughout the afternoon and evening, a spokesman says.
He says additional units are mobilized in the relevant neighborhoods in the capital and are prepared to respond to any further illegal demonstrations as needed.
Ultra-Orthodox rioters clashed with police officers throughout the day during violent protests in Jerusalem against the imprisonment of community members who ignored army draft orders.
Demonstrators gathered outside the IDF draft office on Rashi Street in the capital and blocked the entrance to the building, as well as the road outside.
Officers who arrived to disperse the protesters were pelted with rocks, eggs, and other items, leading to three officers being lightly injured, police said.
Reports said that 3 police officers were lightly injured in the demonstrations.
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