Netanyahu on Iran deal: ‘Fix it or nix it’
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Netanyahu on Iran deal: ‘Fix it or nix it’

At UN General Assembly, PM says 'sunset clause' in 2015 agreement will allow Iran to produce 'as many nuclear weapons as they like as soon as the deal expires'

Raoul Wootliff covers politics, corruption and crime for The Times of Israel.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 (screen capture: YouTube)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 (screen capture: YouTube)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara listen to US president Donald Trump address the UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara listen to US president Donald Trump address the UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before the start of US President Donald Trump's speech at the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, on September 19, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before the start of US President Donald Trump's speech at the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, on September 19, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)
  • President Donald Trump speaks to the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Donald Trump speaks to the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)
    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrives at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)
    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrives at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)
  • US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)
    US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)
  • A billboard depicting the first lady Melania Trump and advertising a language school displayed in Zagreb, Croatia, September 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
    A billboard depicting the first lady Melania Trump and advertising a language school displayed in Zagreb, Croatia, September 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
  • US President Donald Trump speaks during a dinner with Latin American leaders at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, September 18, 2017, in New York, with from left, White House chief of staff John Kelly, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    US President Donald Trump speaks during a dinner with Latin American leaders at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, September 18, 2017, in New York, with from left, White House chief of staff John Kelly, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)
    US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)
  • The section prepared for prayer for the Women of the Wall by Robinson's Arch in Jerusalem's Old City is open for Jews, both men and women, to pray together as seen here, on July 17, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
    The section prepared for prayer for the Women of the Wall by Robinson's Arch in Jerusalem's Old City is open for Jews, both men and women, to pray together as seen here, on July 17, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they happened.

IDF fires Patriot missile at drone flying over Golan Heights

The army says it appears to have downed a drone flying from Syria that was on track to enter Israeli airspace in the Golan Heights.

The IDF is still verifying details of the incident, a spokesperson said.

Video footage taken from the ground appears to show the smoke trail of the missile over the Israel-Syrian border.

Threat level raised in north after IDF fires at drone

The army has raised the threat level in its Northern Command after it fired a Patriot missile at an unmanned drone flying over the Golan Heights.

Golan Heights residents report numerous IDF jets flying overhead.

IDF says it downed suspected Hezbollah drone

The army says that the Patriot missile it fired in the Golan Heights succeeded in bringing down what appears to be a Hezbollah drone.

The unmanned aircraft was attempting to cross into Israeli airspace, it says.

“The IDF will not allow any breach or attempted breach by Iranian terror groups, Hezbollah or global jihad militias of the Golan Heights border,” it says in a statement.

“We will respond to any such action in a direct and clear manner and we will act to prevent any further attempts,” the statement adds.

‘The man who saved the world’ dies in Russia

Stanislav Petrov, a Soviet military officer who is widely credited with helping prevent a nuclear war with the United States, has died aged 77, his son says.

Former Soviet missile defense forces officer Stanislav Petrov poses for a photo at his home in Fryazino, Moscow region, Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Petrov, whose story was told in a documentary titled “The Man Who Saved the World,” received several international awards, was honored at the United Nations.

In September 1983, Petrov was an officer on duty at a secret command center south of Moscow when an alarm went off signalling that the United States had launched intercontinental ballistic missiles. The officer — who had only a few minutes to make a decision and was not sure about the incoming data — dismissed the warning as a false alarm.

Had he told his commanders of an imminent US nuclear strike, the Soviet leadership — locked in an arms race with Washington — might have ordered a retaliatory strike.

Instead the 44-year-old lieutenant colonel reported a system malfunction and an investigation that followed afterwards proved he was right.

— AFP

IDF says downed drone was Iranian-built

The IDF says the unmanned aircraft it downed over the Golan Heights was an Iranian-built drone that took off from the Damascus airport.

It was sent on a reconnaissance mission on behalf of Hezbollah, an IDF statement says.

Shin Bet busts East Jerusalem terror cell

The Shin Bet general security service announces it has arrested eight East Jerusalem residents who formed a terror cell that carried out several firebombings and other attacks in the capital.

Most of the suspects came from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, and all are residents of Israel. The group occasionally called itself the “Ghosts of Silwan,” the Shin Bet says in a statement.

The suspects allegedly planned to shoot at Israeli targets in Silwan, including vehicles belonging to Israeli residents and Jewish homes in the neighborhood. The cell had plans to obtain the weapons needed to carry out the attacks, the statement adds.

Government tells High Court it won’t revisit Western Wall agreement freeze

Responding to a High Court petition against the suspension of a previously approved plan to enhance a pluralistic prayer area at the Western Wall, the government says it has no intention to “rethink” its freeze of the initial agreement.

In an 11-page response to the court’s request that the government readdress the decision, the state’s attorneys wrote that they had brought the issue up with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, “after weighing all the extenuating circumstances,” decided at this time not to bring it up for discussion in the government.

The section prepared for prayer for the Women of the Wall by Robinson’s Arch in Jerusalem’s Old City is open for Jews, both men and women, to pray together as seen here, on July 17, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The controversial decision to freeze Western Wall agreement followed calls by Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition allies to scrap the deal. The plan, approved by the cabinet in January 2016, would have seen the establishment of a properly prepared pavilion for pluralistic prayer — as opposed to current temporary arrangements — under joint oversight involving all major streams of Judaism.

Yesterday, speaking to journalists in New York, Netanyahu adamantly defended Orthodoxy’s religious monopoly in Israel, arguing that it was impossible to change the delicate status quo that has existed since the state was founded.

Reform movement slams government decision not to revisit Western Wall backtrack

The Reform movement slams the government decision, announced in a response to a High Court petition, not to rethink the suspension of a previously approved plan to enhance a pluralistic prayer area at the Western Wall.

Netanyahu “is continuing his ill-intentioned and disrespectful behavior towards Reform and Conservative Judaism and the Women of the Wall,” says Orli Erex Lehovsky, the lawyer representing the movement at the High Court.

“We will request that the High Court judges obligate the government to respect the right of millions of Jews in Israel and around the world to equal treatment,” she says.

 

 

Liberman says those who threaten Israel will ‘pay a dear price’

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman threatens that any country or terrorist group that threatens Israel will “pay a dear price, very dear,” after the IDF shot down what it believes was an Iranian built drone sent by Hezbollah toward the Israeli Golan Heights.

“I want to again note the high level of preparedness by the IDF, which knows how to handle every surprise, every problem and every threat,” Liberman says, during a visit to the Elbit defense contractor in the southern town of Arad.

“As I’ve said in the past, we do not intend to suffer any threat or any attempt to harm the security of the State of Israel. Anyone who tries to harm our sovereignty needs to know that he will pay a dear price, very dear,” he says.

“We are ready for any scenario, in every region,” Liberman adds.

— Judah Ari Gross

Melania Trump threatens lawsuit over English class billboard in Zagreb

Billboards featuring Melania Trump and the slogan “just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English” are removed from the Croatian capital after her lawyer threatened a lawsuit.

The billboards were part of a marketing campaign by a private English language school, which tried to persuade Croats to learn English by reminding them of the Slovenian-born US first lady’s personal experience.

A billboard depicting the first lady Melania Trump and advertising a language school displayed in Zagreb, Croatia, September 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

But Mrs. Trump did not accept what was apparently meant to be a joke. Her Slovenian lawyer demanded that the billboards be immediately removed.

Lawyer Natasa Pirc-Musar tells the AP that she is “satisfied with the fact that the school admitted that they violated the law” and that the billboards were removed on Tuesday.

She says, “we are still analyzing possible further legal steps.”

— AP

UN secretary general: ‘Two-state solution remains only way forward’

UN Secretary General António Guterres opens his first General Assembly with a call to renew steps towards a two-state solution.

“We must not let today’s stagnation in the peace process lead to tomorrow’s escalation,” he tells the UN chamber in New York.

“The two-state solution remains the only way forward must be pursued,” he says.

Calling for stronger international cooperation to combat terrorism, Guterres says that while “terrorism can never be justified,” countries must “do more to address the roots of radicalization, including real and perceived injustices.”

Netanyahu arrives at UN for Trump’s first General Assembly address

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives at the United Nations headquarters in New York ahead of US President Donald trump’s first address to the General Assembly, set to take place within the hour.

Trump is expected to address the Iranian nuclear deal in his speech.

Netanyahu is scheduled to speak to the assembly at approximately 9:30 p.m. Israel time.

IDF to close West Bank, Gaza crossings for Rosh Hashanah

The IDF announces it will put in place a closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, ahead of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

The closure, a routine procedure ahead of Israeli and Jewish holidays, is expected to last until midnight on Saturday, “depending on a situational assessment,” the army says.

Palestinians prepare to cross from Israel into the Gaza Strip at the Erez Crossing, September 3, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The closure is intended to prevent attempts at terror attacks in Israel during the holiday period and also to allow the security officials who operate the crossings to celebrate the festival. Exceptions will be made for humanitarian and other outstanding cases, based on an assessment by the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration.

The Jewish high holidays, of which Rosh Hashanah is the first, are generally seen by defense officials as a period of increased tension in the region, when the risk of terror attacks is higher.

— Judah Ari Gross

Trump leaves Trump Tower on way to UN

Trump’s motorcade has left his Trump Tower, where the president is staying, to make the five-block journey to UN headquarters.

He is set to take the podium in a few minutes for his first address to the annual General Assembly.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu enters the plenary hall ahead of the speech.

Trump speaking at UN in first General Assembly address

US President Donald Trump takes the podium at the United Nations headquarters in New York for his first address to the annual General Assembly.

He is expected to use his speech to urge the international community to put pressure on Iran and North Korea.

In brief remarks to a UN panel yesterday, Trump chastised the world body for its bloated bureaucracy and budget, saying, “We are not seeing the results in line with this investment.”

But even with that scolding, Trump pledged to the UN that the United States would be “partners in your work” to make the organization a more effective force for world peace.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is listening to the speech in the plenary. He will give his own address later tonight.

Trump opens UN speech with praise of his administration

Trump opens his speech to the United Nations by praising the work his administration has done since he was sworn in as president in January.

“The United States has done very well since election day in November ,” he says, noting low unemployment numbers and a strong stock market.

“Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been,” he adds, touting a new agreement to increase military spending.

Trump to UN: World faces ‘both immense promise and great peril’

Trump warns the UN General Assembly of the threat faced by global terrorism.

“Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes in this body not only sponsor terrorists but threaten other nations with the most destructive weapons known to humanity,” he says.

“We meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril.”

Trump: ‘I will always put America first’

Trump says that the world needs “strong sovereign nations” to create “a more safe and peaceful future for all people.”

“I will always put America first, just as other leaders should put their countries first,” he says, to the applause of Netanyahu in the audience.

“We expect all nations to respect the interest of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation,” he says. “The world is safer when nations are strong, independent and free.”

He adds: “We do not seek to impose our way of life on any one but to let it shine as an example.”

Trump calls for cooperation to confront ‘small group of rogue regimes’

“We must work together and confront together those who threaten us with chaos and terror,” Trump tells the UN General Assembly.

“The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the UN is based,” he says.

Trump urges countries to stand up against these “evils.”

Trump: If US forced to fight, ‘no choice but to totally destroy North Korea’

Trump says that if North Korea continues its aggression and the US is forced to defend itself from an attack, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea”

“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime,” he says of Northe Korean leader Kim Jung Un.

“No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arming itself with nuclear weapons and missiles,” he says. “It is time for North Korea to realize that denuclearization is its only acceptable future.”

Trump: Iran deal ‘one of worst and most one-sided transactions’

Trump slams the Iranian regime during his UN address, saying it “masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of democracy.”

Iran “speaks openly of mass murder, death to America, destruction to Israel,” he says, adding that the country’s chief exports are “violence, bloodshed and chaos.”

“Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to Hezbollah and other terror groups that kill innocent Muslim and attack their Arab and Israeli neighbors,” he says.

Money also goes to “shore up Bashar Assad’s dictaorship, fuel Yemen’s civil war and undermine peace in the entire Middle East,” he adds.

Trump says that the United States “cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program.”

“The Iran deal is one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the US has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal was an embarrassment to the US.”

Trump tells UN that US pays it too much

Trump says that the US is paying too much to the United Nations, and not getting its money’s worth.

“The United States is one out of 193 countries in the UN and yet we pay over 20 percent of the budget. In fact we pay much more,” he says.

“If the UN could accomplish its stated goals, this investment would easily be worth it,” he adds. But according to the US president, the international body is failing at its stated goal of providing peace and prosperity to the world

“Major sections of the world are in conflict and some are going to hell,” he says.

“We hope the UN can one day be a much more effective advocate of human freedom and dignity in the world. In the meantime, we think that nations of the world should pay their dues and not only rely on the United States.”

Hungary set for fresh anti-Soros blitz

Hungary is set to launch another state “national consultation” about US financier and Jewish philanthropist George Soros.

The campaign would be to investigate public views on the “Soros plan,” and would likely be launched next month, government spokesman Bence Tuzson says.

Last week a top official in the ruling Fidesz party, Lajos Kosa, said that this “Soros plan” includes Europe accepting a million migrants per year and the demolition of Hungary’s anti-migrant border fences.

An anti-Soros billboard with a swastika and Soros’s name replaced by Viktor Orban’s seen in Budapest on July 17, 2017. (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has regularly attacked the Hungarian-born Soros in the last year, calling him a “public enemy” for his alleged backing of uncontrolled mass immigration.

A national consultation earlier this year also focused on Soros, seen as a liberal bogeyman by Budapest who funds a raft of civil society groups in central and eastern Europe. An image of the 87-year-old laughing adorned billboard posters alongside a message urging Hungarians “not to let Soros have the last laugh.”

— AFP

Netanyahu praises Trump’s UN speech

“In the course of my 30-year acquaintance with the UN, I have never heard a speech that was more sharper or more courageous,” Netanyahu says in a statement following Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly.

“President Trump spoke the truth about the dangers lurking in the world, and called to forcefully confront them themselves to ensure the future of mankind,” he adds.

— with Raphael Ahren

UN report says 40 million in ‘modern slavery’ in 2016

UN agencies and partners say some 40 million people were ensnared by modern slavery last year, decrying a scourge that disproportionately affects women and girls.

The new report by the UN’s labor organization, ILO, and the migration agency IOM found that women and girls accounted for 29 million of those affected by modern slavery, or more than seven in 10 people overall.

Of the total, 25 million people were victims of forced labor, and 15 million victims of forced marriages. A companion study from ILO found that 152 million children aged 5 to 17 were subject to child labor.

Authors say the data came from face-to-face interviews with more than 71,000 people aged 15 or older.

— AP

Outreach services for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur expect 70,000 Israelis

The Tzohar Rabbinical Organization in partnership with Yachad Ohr Torah Stone is hosting services on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and expect to reach nearly 70,000 people throughout Israel.

Through its network of volunteers, 250 shofar blowers will provide their services in cities, moshavim and kibbutzim and an additional 300 people will lead holiday services. Tzohar arranged for the printing of thousands of new holiday prayer books with explanations of the prayer service and customs of the holiday.

From Tzohar’s video for Accessibility Shabbat, highlighting the issues of those who are visually impaired (Courtesy Tzohar)

On Yom Kippur, a day commemorated by the vast majority of Israelis including those that identify as secular, Tzohar and Yachad Ohr Torah Stone volunteers will lead services in over 350 locations, including schools and community buildings.

This year, for the first time, Tzohar will also make sets of the four species, a lulav and etrog, available to communities for Sukkot.

— JTA

Hurricane Maria leaves one dead, two missing in Guadeloupe

At least one person was killed as Hurricane Maria battered Guadeloupe, officials said Tuesday, in the first confirmed casualty from the huge storm sweeping the eastern Caribbean.

The person was killed by a falling tree, the local administration said, while two more were reported missing after their ship sank off Desirade, the easternmost island in the French territory’s archipelago.

— AFP

Rouhani: US will forfeit world’s trust if exits nuclear deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that the United States will loose international support if it pulls out of the 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump railed against during his address to the UN General Assembly.

“Everyone will clearly see that Iran has lived up to its agreements and that the United States is therefore a country that cannot be trusted,” Rouhani tells journalists.

“We will be the winners,” he adds, while the United States “will certainly sustain losses.”

Trump said that the deal was “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

“Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me,” the US president added.

US puts South African twin brothers on terror list

The United States adds South African twin brothers accused of plotting attacks on the US embassy and Jewish institutions to its terror blacklist.

Tony-Lee Thulsie and Brandon-Lee Thulsie were arrested in South Africa in July 2016.

Besides allegedly conspiring to bomb the US embassy in Pretoria and unspecified Jewish facilities they are also accused of planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group.

Their arrests were the first in South Africa relating to alleged IS membership.

The State Department said that because of the threat they pose to US security the pair had been named “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.”

“These designations seek to deny Tony-Lee Thulsie and Brandon-Lee Thulsie the resources they need to plan and carry out terrorist attacks,” the State Department said in a statement.

“Terrorism designations expose and isolate entities and individuals, and deny them access to the US financial system,” it said.

— AFP

Russian helicopter reportedly fires on spectators at drills

A Russian military helicopter gunship accidentally fired on spectators during war games in western Russia, injuring several people, according to local reports.

The Russian military acknowledged that a helicopter accidentally fired a rocket during drills, but did not say when and where it happened. It insisted that no one was hurt in the incident.

The video released on the online 66.ru, RBC and Life.ru news portals show a pair of Ka-52 helicopter gunships sweeping low at the Luzhsky range, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the border with Estonia, during the Zapad (West) 2017 maneuvers. The video showed one of the helicopters firing a rocket that explodes next to a spectator on a parking lot.

66.ru said Tuesday that two people were seriously wounded and two vehicles were destroyed in the incident. It said the accident happened Sunday or Monday, and that the video was provided by an unidentified witness.

Life.ru said the rocket exploded near a crowd of journalists, military experts and foreign military attaches.

— AP

Netanyahu trying to persuade world leaders to switch UN speech slots

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his team are trying to persuade world leaders from a number of countries to switch their allotted slots to give speeches at the UN General Assembly.

Netanyahu is currently down as the last speaker of today’s morning session in New York, but due to the time difference and several speeches having gone well beyond their 15-minute time slot, he may not speak until after 10 p.m Israel time. He was originally set to speak at around 8.30 p.m.

The Prime Minister’s Office says that efforts are underway to advance the address, apparently because they want speech to be carried live on prime time evening news which finishes at 9 p.m. If the speech is delayed any further, Netanyahu may even miss the print deadline and with no editions published over Rosh Hashanah or Shabbat, the speech would not make the newspapers until Sunday.

The leaders of Tajikistan, Zambia, Lithuania, Qatar and Turkey are currently set to speak before Netanyahu, according to the UN schedule.

Macron says throwing out Iran nuclear deal ‘grave error’

French President Emmanuel Macron warns that ending the Iran nuclear agreement would be a “grave error,” after his US counterpart Donald Trump again denounced the seven-nation deal.

“To reject it now without proposing anything else would be a grave error, and not respecting it would be irresponsible,” Macron says in an address to the UN General Assembly.

Netanyahu tells Israelis to stay up to watch his UN speech

As Israeli prime-time ticks away, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posts a video to Facebook and Twitter urging Israelis to tune in to his social media channels later to view his UN General Assembly speech.

The prime minister was originally scheduled to speak at around 8.30 p.m., which falls in the middle of the nightly news, but four speakers still remain before his turn and viewers numbers start to drop around 9 p.m.

In a video filmed from inside the plenary hall, Netanyahu says, “In around two hours, make sure to tune in and watch.”

Netanyahu promises that his speech is one not to miss.

“Today, I will say things that I believe the ruler of Iran and also the people in Iran will remember forever,” he says in Hebrew. “I think they will also remember what President Trump said here.”

Hitler speech found at home of man suspected of shooting black family

A law enforcement official says a copy of an Adolf Hitler speech was found at the home of white man accused of killing two black men and firing on a black family.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Authorities said at an earlier news conference that Kenneth James Gleason would be charged with first-degree murder in the shooting deaths last week of a homeless man and a dishwasher who was walking to work.

Authorities say the men were unarmed when they were attacked. Authorities say Gleason also shot at the house of a black family in his neighborhood before the killings. No one was hurt in that shooting.

— AP

At sideline luncheon, Trump’s talks of UN’s ‘unlimited potential’

President Donald Trump is hailing the “unlimited potential” of the United Nations at a luncheon.

Trump says at the Tuesday gathering hosted by the UN secretary general that he has been a critic, but has “also been someone that said the United Nations has tremendous potential.”

Trump is sitting at the head table with leaders from Lithuania, Turkey, Guinea, Liberia, Jordan, South Korea, Ecuador, Switzerland and Japan.

Trump, who gave his first address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, toasted to the “great, great potential of the United Nations.”

Trump frequently belittled the UN when he was a presidential candidate. And some aides within his White House believe the UN acts as a global bureaucracy that infringes on the sovereignty of individual countries.

— AP

Emir of Qatar at UN: International community must put ‘more pressure’ on Israel

Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, calls on the international community to “put more pressure on Israel to end the occupation and ensure a two-state solution.”

“Israel still stands in the way of advancing a just and lasting peace and rejects the Arab Peace Initiative,” he says, criticizing what he calls “serious provocative” acts on the Temple Mount.

Peace can only be achieved “through establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital,” he says.

Erdogan at UN: Palestine is ‘the gaping wound of the world’

Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on the international community “to support our Palestinian brothers in the West Bank and Gaza in their struggle for unified Palestinian state.”

“The continuation of the peace process can only be possible of Israel immediately stops settlement activity and takes steps toward a two-state solution,” he says.

Palestine is “the gaping wound of the world,” he says, saying that steps must be taken to prevent further crisis on the Temple Mount.

Erdogan calls for end to nuclear weapons

“We are against nuclear weapons,” Erdogan tells the UN General Assembly, calling for world to “be cleansed of nuclear weapons.”

“I would like to stress that we are against all kinds of nuclear weapons – which have been an increasingly important item on global agenda in recent days,” he says.

Trump greets Netanyahu before speech

US President Donald Trump greets Benjamin Netanyahu before the prime minister delivers his speech at the UN General Assembly, September 19, 2017. (GPO)
US President Donald Trump greets Benjamin Netanyahu before the prime minister delivers his speech at the UN General Assembly, September 19, 2017. (GPO)
US President Donald Trump greets Benjamin Netanyahu before the prime minister delivers his speech at the UN General Assembly, September 19, 2017. (GPO)

Netanyahu speaking at UN General Assembly

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes to the podium at the UN General Assembly in New York as the last speaker in the morning session.

In a video filmed at the UN ahead of his speech, Netanyahu said his speech would not be one the Iranians would soon forget.

“Today I will say things that I believe the ruler of Iran and also the people in Iran will remember forever,” he said in Hebrew. “I think they will also remember what President Trump said here.”

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Trump’s peace envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt are in the plenary hall to listen to the speech.

Netanyahu opens UN speech with praise of Israeli tech

“We’re in the midst of a great revolution of Israel’s standing in the world,” Netanyahu says at the start of his speech to the UN General Assembly.

“So many countries have finally woken up to what Israel can do for them, they now realize what Warren Buffet and Google have known for years. Israel is the innovation nation,” he says, praising Israeli technology in a number of fields.

“In recent years, Israel has provided intelligence that has prevented dozens of major terror attacks around the world. We have saved countless lives. You may not know this, but your governments do. They’re working closely with Israel to keep your country safe.”

Netanyahu says Israel’s standing in the world improving

Netanyahu says Israel’s reputation around the world is improving. “Israel is embracing the world, and the world is embracing Israel,” he says.

“I spoke last year about this profound change. Look at what happened since. Hundreds of prime ministers and foreign ministers and other leaders have visited Israel, many for the first time,” he says, naming Trump and India’s Modi as notable examples.

Netanyahu notes that he has traveled to six continents in the last year.

“I haven’t visited Antarctica yet. I want to go there, because I heard that penguins are also enthusiastic supporters of Israel,” he jokes.

Netanyahu slams ‘UN’s absurdity’ over Israel

Netanyahu says that despite Israel’s improved standing in the world, the UN continues to attack the Jewish state.

Noting that the World Health Organization adopted a Syrian-sponsored resolution criticizing Israel, Netanyahu says: “As John McEnroe would say, You cannot be serious.”

“Is there no limit the UN’s absurdity?” he asks.

Netanyahu goes on to say that the UNESCO decision to declare the Tomb of the Patriarchs a Palestinian heritage site is “worse than fake news. That’s fake history.”

“There are signs of positive change even at the United Nations,” he says of the UN secretary general saying that denying Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitism. “But for many years, the epicenter of anti-Semitism has been here, in UN.”

Netanyahu thanks Trump for ‘bold’ speech

Netanyahu says that despite anti-Israel actions at the UN, “there’s a marked change in the position of some of our key friends thanks to President Trump’s unequivocal support.

“I’ve been ambassador to the UN, a long-serving prime minister and heard countless speeches,” he says. But “none were bolder, more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today.”

Netanyahu calls to end Iran deal ‘sunset clause’

Saying he agrees with Trump that the Iran nuclear deal is “an embarrassment,” Netanyahu says the agreement not only does not prevent the path to a nuclear weapon, “but it actually paves it.”

Netanayhu says the so called Sunset Clause that removes the restrictions on Iran in some 10 to 15 years will allow it to produce an arsenal of nuclear weapons immediately after.

“That’s why I said two years ago, the greatest danger is not that Iran will rush to a single bomb by breaking the deal, but that Iran will be able to build many bombs by keeping the deal,” he says. “Imagine the danger of hundreds of nuclear weapons in the hands of a vast Iranian Islamist empire, with the missiles to deliver them anywhere on earth.”

Noting North Korea, Netanyahu says the deal must be nixed or fixed.

“Nixing the deal means restoring massive pressure on Iran, including crippling sanctions, until Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons capability. Fixing the deal requires many things, among them inspecting military and any other site that is suspect, and penalizing Iran for every violation. But above all, fixing the deal means getting rid of the sunset clause.”

Netanyahu to Iranian people: ‘You are our friends’

“Many supporters of the nuclear deal naively believed that it would moderate Iran. It would make it a responsible member, so they said, of the international community,” says Netanyahu.

“Well as you know, I strongly disagreed. I warned that when the sanctions on Iran would be removed, Iran would behave like a hungry tiger unleashed, not joining the community of nations, but devouring nations, one after the other. And that’s precisely what Iran is doing today.”

Netanyahu says he has a “simple message” for Aytaolla Khameini, Iran’s dictator.

“The light of Israel will never be extinguished,” he says in Hebrew.

He also has a message to the Iranian people, he says.

“You are our friends,” he says in Persian.

Netanyahu says Israel committed to achieving peace with neighbors

“Israel is committed to achieving peace with all our Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians,” Netanyahu says, noting his appreciation of cooperation with Egyptian President Sissi, whom he met just a few hours ago.

Netanyahu ends UN speech with New Year greetings

“Tomorrow evening, Jews around the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah,” Netanyahu says at the end of his speech. “It’s time of reflection, and we look back with wonder at the miraculous rebirth of our nation, and we look ahead with pride to the remarkable contributions Israel will continue to make to all nations.

“You look around you and you will see those contributions every day – in the food you eat, the water you drink, the medicines you take, the cars you drive, the cell phones you use, and in so many other ways that are transforming our world,” he continues.

“You see it in the smile of an African mother in a remote village, who, thanks to an Israeli innovation, no longer must walk eight hours a day to bring water to her children. You see it in the eyes of an Arab child, who was flown to Israel to undergo a life-saving heart operation. And you see it in the faces of the people in earthquake-stricken Haiti and Nepal who were rescued from the rubble and given new life by Israeli doctors.”

He quotes the prophet Isaiah: “I have made you a light unto the nations, bringing salvation to the ends of the earth.” And he concludes: “Today, 2,700 years after Isaiah spoke those prophetic words, Israel is becoming a rising power among the nations. And at long last, its light is shining across the continents, bringing hope and salvation to the ends of the earth.”

“Happy New Year, Shanah Tovah from Israel. Thank you,” he concludes before leaving the podium.

Iranian Guard drills near Iraq, ahead of Kurdish referendum

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard begins a military exercise in the northwestern Kurdish region near the Iraqi border ahead of a Kurdish independence referendum in the neighboring country.

The Guard’s website does not say how long the drill will last, only that airborne and missile units are participating in the exercise.

Iraq’s Kurds are set to vote Monday in a referendum on support for independence. The Kurds are likely to approve the referendum, but the non-binding vote is not expected to result in any formal declaration of independence.

Iran and Iraq have been close allies since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. Both are opposed to Kurdish independence, and Baghdad has said the referendum is unconstitutional.

— AP

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