AG said to warn cabinet that Khan al-Ahmar razing will hurt Israel at ICC
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AG said to warn cabinet that Khan al-Ahmar razing will hurt Israel at ICC

Mandelblit cautions ministers that a forced, rather than voluntary clearing of West Bank hamlet could harm Israeli response to Palestinian claims against Jewish state at The Hague

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

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and then-cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on July 5, 2015. (Emil Salman/Pool/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and then-cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on July 5, 2015. (Emil Salman/Pool/Flash90)

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

Rivlin: Generations post-Rabin forgetting implications of his assassination

Speaking at the state ceremony marking 23 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, President Reuven Rivlin argues that younger generations are forgetting the implications of the former prime minister’s murder.

“The truth is, something is not working. We are witness to the erosion of the centrality of murder and its implications for the Israeli public,” he says.

“Everyone can remember Yitzhak Rabin as a man and a leader in his own way, but we must agree that we want to remember together the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin,” he explains, asserting that the murder of a prime minister must be perceived as something beyond politics.

The president says that Israelis have thus far been unable to grasp this fact and that in turn, “the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin [has divided] us into tribes and camps.”

“I am afraid that ceremonies and speeches will not help, as long as we find it difficult to agree on what we are trying to remember.”

At Rabin memorial, former PM’s grandson slams Netanyahu for ‘breaking’ Israel

Speaking at the state ceremony marking 23 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the former prime minister’s grandson lambastes Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the Israeli premier is “breaking” the country.

“A leadership that encourages segregation and violent attacks against other opinions, one that drives and incites by defining and cataloging anyone who thinks differently as a ‘sourpuss’ or a ‘leftist’ is breaking us apart and will bring about the next destruction,” says Yonatan Ben Artzi.

During a speech last year in the Knesset, Netanyahu attacked the opposition and media as “pickles” over their purported sour outlooks.

Ben Artzi continues, arguing that “a leadership that mocks and disparages citizens who feel distress (over Israel’s current situation) is the source of the same evil (involved in Rabin’s assassination), and it will deepen the rift, division and internal conflict in this country.”

Jordan announces that it will be annulling part of its peace treaty with Israel

Jordan’s King Abdullah II announces that Amman will be pulling out of the part of its 1994 peace treaty with Israel that granted the Jewish state use of two small agricultural areas along the border that were part of the Hashemite Kingdom.

They include areas at Naharayim in the north and the Tzofar enclave in the southern Arava desert, both of which will now return to Jordanian hands within a year.

The legal ramifications of the decision are minimal, as the appendix to the treaty that granted Israel use of the areas included a renewal clause after 25 years, when both sides will have the option to abandon the deal. The 25th anniversary of the agreement is next year.

Along with the announcement, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry has sent a formal notice of the decision to the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

 

UK says Saudi explanation of Khashoggi death not credible

Britain says Saudi Arabia’s account of the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside its Istanbul consulate was not credible and the culprits must be “held to account.”

After a fortnight of denials, Saudi authorities admitted Saturday that the Washington Post columnist, a prominent critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed after entering the consulate in Turkey on October 2.

But it has faced a growing chorus of incredulity over its belated explanation that he died in a “brawl,” as world powers demand answers and the whereabouts of his body.

“I don’t think it’s credible,” Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tells the BBC, adding there was a “serious question mark over the account that has been given.”

— AFP

Cabinet approves delay of Khan al-Ahmar razing by several weeks

The cabinet approves a delay of the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar by “several weeks” in order to provide time for negotiations for an agreed-upon evacuation of the residents of the central West Bank Bedouin hamlet.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked are the lone votes against the proposal submitted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ministers advance bill conditioning arts funding on ‘loyalty’

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation votes to advance a bill that would allow the government to withhold funding for cultural “organizations that are working against the principles of the state.”

The decision fast-tracks the legislation introduced by Culture Minister Miri Regev and supported by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

The law will allow the government to withhold funding from organizations or events that present any of five topics: denying the State of Israel is a Jewish, democratic country; inciting racism, violence, or terror; supporting the armed struggle or acts of terror against Israel by an enemy state or a terror group; marking Israel’s Independence Day as a day of mourning; any act of destruction or physical degradation of the flag of the state or any state symbol.

Left-wing lawmakers have slammed the move, with Knesset opposition leader Tzipi Livni saying the “demand for loyalty in art is another step in silencing expression and forcing culture to be a mouthpiece for the government.”

Responding to Jordanian plans to partially annul peace deal, PM says he’s ready to negotiate

Responding to an announcement by Jordan that it will not be renewing part of its peace treaty with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he plans on negotiating with Amman to ensure that the entire deal remains intact.

“There is no doubt that the entire agreement is important and dear to both our countries. We will negotiate with Jordan for its extension.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II announced on Sunday he was pulling out of part of the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan that granted Israel use of two small agricultural areas along the border that were part of Jordan.

They include areas at Naharayim in the north and the Tzofar enclave in the southern Arava desert, both of which will now return to Jordanian hands within a year.

The legal ramifications of the decision are minimal, as the appendix to the treaty that granted Israel use of the areas included a renewal clause after 25 years, when both sides will have the option to abandon the deal. The 25th anniversary of the agreement is next year.

Ministers delay debate on bill seeking to jail Israeli boycott activists

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approves a two-week delay on debating legislation that would jail Israelis who actively support a boycott of the country or its products.

A senior committee member told the Haaretz newspaper earlier Sunday that the legislation sponsored by Likud backbencher Anat Berko harms Israel’s interest and “will not pass.”

The bill would legislate a jail term of seven years for anyone who “takes an active part in the movement to boycott Israel or its products.”

The bill uses vague language about which national interests it will apply to and could enable the inclusion of West Bank settlements and their products, Haaretz reported, citing sources close to Berko.

Ministers fast-track bill banning family visits to Hamas prisoners

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation advances legislation that prevents Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails from receiving family visits.

“The bill will allow me to continue to prevent family visits for Hamas terrorists imprisoned in Israel, as long as this terrorist organization holds the bodies of our soldiers and Israeli citizens without allowing anyone to see them and check in on their status,” says Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in a statement praising the decision.

Rocket sirens blare in Israeli communities north of the Gaza Strip

Incoming rocket alert sirens blare in Israeli communities north of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army says it is investigating what triggered the alarm.

The sirens are heard in the communities of Netiv Ha’asara and Yad Mordechai, in the Hof Ashkelon region.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Judah Ari Gross

IDF: Troops fire at Gazans who crossed border into Israel and hurled explosive devices

The army says a number of Gazans crossed the border fence into Israel and hurled a number of explosive devices before IDF troops fired in their direction, causing them to flee back to the coastal enclave.

Turkey to quiz more witnesses in Khashoggi probe — report

Turkish prosecutors have summoned more witnesses to testify as part of the investigation into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, local television reports.

Twenty-five more people will be quizzed as witnesses, the private NTV broadcaster says, without providing any further details.

On Friday, prosecutors questioned staff members of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul inside Istanbul’s main courthouse, including the consulate driver, technicians and accountants.

Early on Saturday Saudi Arabia finally admitted that Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi leadership and a Washington Post contributor, was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

For more than two weeks it had insisted that he left the building alive.

— AFP

Barzani’s party tops Iraq Kurd vote despite failed independence bid

The dominant party in Iraq’s Kurdistan has secured the most seats in the autonomous region’s parliament, despite its leader Massud Barzani having championed an ill-fated independence referendum last year, the local electoral commission says.

Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won 45 of 111 seats in the September 30 elections, up from 38 at the last polls in 2013, according to final results that have been announced by the commission.

Barzani was the key backer of Kurdistan’s independence vote in September 2017 that was deemed illegal by Iraq’s central government and saw Baghdad impose economic penalties and retake disputed territory.

The KDP’s main rivals, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), likewise made gains and will see 21 of its lawmakers enter parliament, up from 18.

The leaders of the region’s top two political parties also took their rivalry to Baghdad, contesting the honorary role of Iraqi president.

— AFP

Turkey will reveal ‘naked truth’ over Khashoggi death

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vows to reveal the “naked truth” over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying that he would make a new statement on the case next week.

“We are looking for justice here and this will be revealed in all its naked truth, not through some ordinary steps but in all its naked truth,” Erdogan tells a rally in Istanbul.

— AFP

Medics pronounce two dead in West Bank car crash

Magen David Adom medics pronounce the deaths of two Palestinians in their 30s after a car accident involving an Israeli vehicle whose driver suffered moderate injuries.

The incident took place on Route 446 near the northern West Bank settlement of Beit Aryeh.

Netanyahu slams Rabin granddaughter for claim official called slain PM ‘traitor’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uses his speech at the Knesset memorial ceremony for Yizhak Rabin to attack the slain prime minister’s granddaughter for claiming earlier in the day that an official in the Prime Minister’s Office had called her grandfather “traitor.”

“To my amazement, and I am still amazed, I heard today that a spokesperson at the Prime Minister’s Office published a post with a picture of Yitzhak Rabin’s handshake with Arafat in the White House with the caption ‘traitor,’” he said, referring to the claim made by Noa Rothman, Rabin’s granddaughter, at the official state ceremony held at Har Herzl.

“It never happened,” he says.

Netanyahu says he had directed his office to look into the claim by Rothman, and it was discovered that the post she had been referring to had been written by Breitbart columnist Caroline Glick.

Ministers push off debating equal rights bill aimed at reassuring Druze

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation delays for four months a vote on a bill seeking to ensure equal rights for Israel’s Druze citizens.

Labor MK Salah Saad, who introduced the legislation, slams the committee’s decision, saying the government had promised to address Druze concerns over unequal treatment following the passage of the nation state law and now was avoiding doing so.

“It seems that Netanyahu silenced the protests with promises he knew he would not uphold. A regime which lies to the public cannot expect the public to remain loyal to that regime,” he says in a statement.

We don’t know where the body is,’ says Saudi FM on Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says, “We don’t know where the body is,” in reference to journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The prominent critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was killed after entering the consulate in Turkey on October 2.

Al-Jubeir calls the killing a “tremendous mistake” and asserts that Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman was “not aware.”

He also asserts that Saudi-US ties “will weather” the incident.

— with AFP

Ex-coalition completes 11th interrogation in bribery probe

Likud MK David Bitan has exited the Lahav 433 national fraud unit headquarters in Rishon Lezion. He was questioned for the 11th time, as part of an ongoing investigation into suspicions that he accepted hundreds of thousands of shekels in bribes, some of which he allegedly received after becoming a member of Knesset.

The questioning lasted eight hours.

Police respond to incendiary balloon that landed in central Israel

Police sappers are dispatched to the central Israeli town of Ben Zakai, where an incendiary balloon landed.

Authorities are working on determining where the balloon came from.

An incendiary balloon, found in the central Israeli town of Ben Zakai, on October 21, 2018. (Israel Police)

Liberman: Cabinet decision to raze Khan al-Ahmar irreversible

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says that the cabinet’s decision today to approve the razing of Khan al-Ahmar, albeit with a several week delay, is irreversible.

“The government must try to exhaust another attempt at voluntary evacuation, but the moment the cabinet decides that Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated, this is a process that is irreversible,” he says while speaking at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies.

He criticizes Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked for voting against the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to delay the demolition of the central West Bank Bedouin hamlet.

“I do not think we should be constantly against the prime minister… Sometimes you have to be flexible, rather than turning everything into an internal struggle, a struggle within the camp and an effort to earn a few more votes,” he says.

AG warned cabinet that forced-razing of Khan al-Ahmar could harm Israel at ICC — report

Ahead of the cabinet’s vote to delay the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit warned the ministers that a forced clearing of the Bedouin hamlet could harm the Israeli response to Palestinian claims against the Jewish state, at the International Criminal Court, Channel 10 reports.

According to ministers at the meeting, Mandelblit urged them to ensure that Israel exhausts all options in an effort to reach a voluntary clearing.

 

After deeming all-female tank crews trial a success, IDF said to freeze program

Four months after declaring its pilot of all-female tank crews a success, the IDF has frozen the program.

The Kan public broadcaster reports that the soldiers who were trained in the program will move to the mixed-gendered Caracal Battalion.

IDF said to be detonating explosives hurled near Gaza fence during protests last week

The IDF is currently operating along the Gaza Strip detonating explosives that were hurled near the fence surrounding the coastal enclave during the weekly Friday protests.

Residents of Israeli communities bordering the Gaza strip say they have been hearing loud noises over the past hour.

US mulls revoking recognition of transgender people — report

The administration of US President Donald Trump is considering a proposal to narrowly define gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by birth genitalia, The New York Times reports.

According to a memo obtained by The Times, the Department of Health and Human Services is leading the effort to establish a legal definition of sex under federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in government-funded education programs.

It is the latest effort by the Trump administration to chip away at protections for the LGBTQ community.

The department’s proposed definition of gender would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times.

“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposed in the memo, which was drafted and has been circulating since last spring, The Times says.

“The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

— AFP

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