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French FM says Iran will not get a ‘better deal’ than the one on the table

On sidelines of UN in New York, Catherine Colonna tells reporters that it appears ‘the window of opportunity seems ready to close again’ on reaching a nuclear agreement

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna speaks at a press conference at the French Mission, Sept. 19, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna speaks at a press conference at the French Mission, Sept. 19, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

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

Nir Barkat calls to constrain the role of attorney general

A Nir Barkat campaign event in Tel Aviv on September 19, 2022. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/ Times of Israel)
A Nir Barkat campaign event in Tel Aviv on September 19, 2022. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/ Times of Israel)

Speaking to a crowd of party activists gathered in Tel Aviv, Likud MK and former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat says he wants to politicize and constrain the role of attorney general.

“We need to split the role of attorney general and turn the attorney general into a position of trust,” says Barkat.

Israel’s attorney general straddles an at-times conflicting line, serving at the top of the state prosecution and as the legal adviser to the government. Barkat says this situation, rare in western democracies, “is delusional.”

Placed in the eighth spot on the Likud list after the party’s August primary, the popular lawmaker sees himself as a potential successor to Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is currently on trial for three separate corruption cases and has attacked the State Prosecutor’s Office, attorney general, police and media in connection, maintaining his innocence and claiming that the charges against him were fabricated.

“The next reform that needs to be done is in the State Prosecutor’s Office,” Barkat says, adding that the office’s conduct is a source of “sleep depriv[ation].”

“They are unregulated and pose a threat to the system of governance. No one there pays a price for failures, for abusing justice, for persecution, and for injustices that occur against the public and its elected officials, which often end with nothing,” he adds.

The Hague ‘people’s tribunal’ urges justice for slain journalists in Mexico, Sri Lanka, Syria

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, on March 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, on March 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

A series of civil society-led hearings culminated today in The Hague with a call for an “independent and comprehensive” review of how to protect media workers in an age of increasing authoritarianism.

Launched by a coalition of press freedom organizations in November last year, this “People’s Tribunal” heard evidence and analysis about the killing of journalists in Mexico, Sri Lanka and Syria.

While it has no legal powers to convict anyone, the tribunal aims to raise awareness, pressure governments, and gather evidence through what it calls its form of “grassroots justice.”

The tribunal’s leaders say Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Syria each failed to protect the lives of journalists — whose cases were examined in the hearings — and “demonstrated the lack of a wider will” to bring journalists’ killers to justice.

Lapid departing for New York to speak at UN General Assembly

Prime Minister Yair Lapid boards a plane at Ben Gurion Airport taking him to Berlin, Germany, on September 11, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid boards a plane at Ben Gurion Airport taking him to Berlin, Germany, on September 11, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid will depart for New York in several hours, ahead of a series of meetings and a speech at the UN General Assembly.

Tomorrow, Lapid is slated to meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

On Wednesday, he is scheduled to sit down with new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, as well as local Jewish leaders. The following day, Lapid will address the UNGA.

The Prime Minister’s Office indicated earlier that Lapid was hoping to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah while they are both in New York, although such a meeting is not on the official schedule.

Israel says it will begin production at Karish gas rig even without Lebanon deal

Prime Minister Yair Lapid flies over the Karish gas field on July 19, 2022. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid flies over the Karish gas field on July 19, 2022. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Israel says that it intends to began producing gas at the Karish gas rig, regardless of whether a deal with Lebanon is reached over a longtime maritime border dispute between the two nations.

In a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Israel says it hopes and intends to negotiate a deal with Beirut ending the dispute over maritime areas claimed by both countries.

Such a deal, the statement says, should “serve the interests of the citizens of both countries. The agreement will contributed a lot to regional stability.”

Israel thanks US mediators for working to broker the deal. But the statement notes that the production of gas at the Karish rig “is not connected to the negotiations. The rig will begin producing gas without delays as soon as it becomes possible.”

Queen Elizabeth’s coffin lowered into royal vault, concluding funeral service

The Bearer Party take the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, from the State Hearse, into St. George's Chapel inside Windsor Castle on September 19, 2022, for the committal service. (Andy Commins / POOL / AFP)
The Bearer Party take the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, from the State Hearse, into St. George's Chapel inside Windsor Castle on September 19, 2022, for the committal service. (Andy Commins / POOL / AFP)

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is lowered into the royal vault at St. George’s Chapel, in Windsor Castle, at the conclusion of her committal service.

The Lord Chamberlain, the most senior official in the British royal household, breaks a rod known as the “wand of office,” as the royal family and hundreds of mourners bid a final farewell to the late monarch.

Andrew Parker, who is the former head of Britain’s domestic secret service, MI5, breaks the white rod and places it on the queen’s coffin. The ritual symbolizes the end of his service to the monarch.

Earlier David Conner, the Dean of Windsor, paid tribute to the queen, telling 800 mourners gathered at the chapel about the queen as “someone whose uncomplicated yet profound Christian faith bore so much fruit.”

He said: “In the midst of our rapidly changing and frequently troubled world, her calm and dignified presence has given us confidence to face the future, as she did, with courage and with hope.”

Cyprus and Israel agree to resolve dispute over gas reservoir in disputed waters

An offshore drilling rig is seen in the waters off Cyprus' coastal city of Limassol, July 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
An offshore drilling rig is seen in the waters off Cyprus' coastal city of Limassol, July 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Cyprus and Israel agree to speedily resolve a long-running dispute on exploiting a natural gas reservoir that straddles the maritime boundaries of both countries, energy ministers said.

Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar held talks in Nicosia with her Cypriot counterpart, Natasa Pilides, to end a decade-long row over exploiting the reservoir in the eastern Mediterranean.

The energy ministers “agreed on the continuation of the constructive process followed for the Aphrodite and Yishai deposits issue for a fair and speedy resolution,” says a commerce ministry statement.

The statement says that working groups have made progress and that “both sides expressed optimism about the chances of a settlement and encouraged the companies involved to continue their dialogue.”

Elharrar says that, due to the global energy crisis and Europe’s growing gas needs, “it is in our best interest for both sides to expedite their work for a swift, transparent and fair settlement.”

The Cypriot Aphrodite field and Israel’s Yishai gas field expand across the maritime territory claimed by both countries.

French FM: No ‘better offer on the table’ for Iran nuclear deal

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna speaks at a press conference at the French Mission, Sept. 19, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna speaks at a press conference at the French Mission, Sept. 19, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna says that Iran will not get any better offer on the nuclear deal than the one it has right now.

In comments to reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly carried by Reuters, Colonna says that “there will not be a better offer on the table and it’s up to Iran to take the right decisions.”

She adds that the US and European powers involved in the negotiations both agree that they will not cede to Tehran’s demands to shut an International Atomic Energy Agency investigation into suspected nuclear activity.

US envoy Lipstadt calls Raisi’s comments on Holocaust ‘ludicrous and dangerous’

Deborah Lipstadt, nominated to be the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, with the rank of ambassador, speaks during her Senate Foreign Relations nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Deborah Lipstadt, nominated to be the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, with the rank of ambassador, speaks during her Senate Foreign Relations nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Deborah Lipstadt, the US ambassador to monitor and combat antisemitism, says that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s recent comments on the Holocaust are “ludicrous.”

In an interview with CBS yesterday, Raisi — asked about the Holocaust — suggested that it should be”investigated by researchers and historians. There are some signs that it happened.”

Lipstadt says Raisi’s “call for ‘research’ to determine whether the Holocaust happened is ludicrous and dangerous. His statement is a form of Holocaust denial and a form of antisemitism.”

Queen Elizabeth’s coffin completes procession through central London

Queen Elizabeth II's funeral cortege borne on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy travels along The Mall  in London, Sept. 19, 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool Photo via AP)
Queen Elizabeth II's funeral cortege borne on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy travels along The Mall in London, Sept. 19, 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool Photo via AP)

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II competes a procession at walking pace through central London and is bound in a hearse for her final resting place at Windsor Castle.

After being pulled more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) from Westminster Abbey on a gun carriage by 142 Royal Navy sailors, the coffin is transferred to a hearse at Wellington Arch, near Buckingham Palace.

Dozens of Buckingham Place staff stand in a neat line in the palace courtyard, and many bow or curtsey as the procession passes by.

The monarch’s coffin will travel by car the 20 miles (32 kilometers) to Windsor Castle, where she will be interred later today alongside her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.

Iranians protest death of woman following arrest by ‘morality police’

People protest at Allameh Tabataba'i University in Tehran, following the controversial death of a young Kurdish woman while in custody by the 'morality police,' which enforces strict dress codes, September 19, 2022. (UGC / AFP)
People protest at Allameh Tabataba'i University in Tehran, following the controversial death of a young Kurdish woman while in custody by the 'morality police,' which enforces strict dress codes, September 19, 2022. (UGC / AFP)

Fresh protests break out at several universities in Iran’s capital, local media report, over the death of a young woman who had been arrested by the “morality police” that enforces a strict dress code.

The rallies come a day after police made arrests and fired tear gas in the woman’s home province of Kurdistan, where some 500 people had protested, some smashing car windows and torching rubbish bins, reports say.

Public anger has grown since authorities on Friday announced the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in a hospital after three days in a coma, following her arrest by Tehran’s morality police during a visit to the capital.

Chilean FM apologizes to Herzog for president’s refusal to accept envoy’s credentials

Chile's Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola Noguera, right, in Luque, Paraguay, July 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
Chile's Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola Noguera, right, in Luque, Paraguay, July 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

After Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in London today, Chile’s Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola apologizes to President Isaac Herzog for last week’s diplomatic incident in which Ambassador-Designate Gil Artzyeli was prevented from presenting his credentials to the Chile’s President Gabriel Boric.

According to Herzog’s office, Urrejola expresses regret for the incident, and clarifies that Santiago is interested in turning a new leaf in its relations with Israel.

Chile had said the unusual spat had to do with “the political sensitivity” generated by the death of a 17-year-old Palestinian during an IDF operation in the northern West Bank.

On Saturday, Chile’s Foreign Ministry announced that Artzyeli would be allowed to present his credentials on September 30.

Israel nominates ambassador to Turkey as nations reestablish ties

Israel's charge d'affaires in Turkey, Irit Lillian (Foreign Ministry)
Israel's charge d'affaires in Turkey, Irit Lillian (Foreign Ministry)

Irit Lillian, Israel’s charge d’affaires in Ankara since February 2021, is selected to serve as the next ambassador in Turkey, the Foreign Ministry announces. There has been no ambassador in the country since 2018, when Turkey recalled its ambassador and asked Israel’s to leave to protest Israel’s response to rioting on the Gaza border, in which dozens of Palestinians were killed.

Last month, the two sides announced that they would be restoring full diplomatic relations after two years of slow reconciliation, which picked up pace noticeably this year with mutual visits by senior officials.

“From the beginning, it was clear that we were building a process in which we agree to disagree,” Lillian — who has previously served as Israel’s ambassador to Bulgaria and Australia — told The Times of Israel during an August interview. “We are going into proper, positive bilateral relations that have a wide range of activities, but we know that there are points we don’t agree on,” she said. “We know we are not going into a perfect marriage.”

The Foreign Ministry also announces the appointment of Ismail Khaldi, its first Bedouin diplomat, as Israel’s envoy to Turkmenistan.

Ravit Baer, currently working in the ministry’s Political Strategic Division, will be the consul-general in Shanghai. The position was originally offered in February to Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, in a move widely seen as an attempt to shore up the coalition by installing the Meretz MK, who was seen as a defection risk, safely in China.

The appointments will require final approval from the government, and, because it is a transition government, the approval of Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara as well.

IDF: Objects hurled at Syrian border were anti-personnel mines

Illustrative: Part of the fence separating northern Israel from Syria and Jordan, in the Golan Heights, Northern Israel, on March 3, 2021. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
Illustrative: Part of the fence separating northern Israel from Syria and Jordan, in the Golan Heights, Northern Israel, on March 3, 2021. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says objects hurled by four Syrian suspects at the border with the Golan Heights earlier were anti-personnel mines.

Earlier today, Israeli troops opened fire at the suspects, injuring and arresting one.

Initially the IDF said the items thrown at the border were unidentified.

“From the inspection of the findings in the field, it became clear that the objects that were thrown are anti-personnel mines,” the IDF says in a new statement.

Yesh Atid MK criticized for comments on religious society

Yesh Atid MK Ram Ben Barak attends a faction meeting at the Knesset on January 15, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Yesh Atid MK Ram Ben Barak attends a faction meeting at the Knesset on January 15, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yesh Atid MK Ram Ben Barak receives backlash for comments he made earlier today about the role of religion in society.

In an interview on Radio Tzafon earlier today, Ben Barak said that the Religious Zionism party is “dangerous and anti-democratic.” He adds that “soon female TV presenters will be wearing head coverings and women won’t be able to serve in the army — that’s where we’re heading.”

Religious Zionism head Bezalel Smotrich calls on Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid to condemn Ben Barak’s remarks, which he labels “incitement.”

Ben Barak, however, defends his comments, tweeting that he “respects any way people chose to live their lives,” and that what he intended to say on the radio was that in a government headed by Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, religion “will be enforced.”

Shin Bet nabs 7 members of Hamas cell planning attacks on Israelis

Members of a Hamas cell arrested by Israeli security forces in the West Bank in September 2022. (Shin Bet)
Members of a Hamas cell arrested by Israeli security forces in the West Bank in September 2022. (Shin Bet)

The Shin Bet security agency says security forces recently uncovered and arrested a Hamas network in Nablus and Hebron that planned shooting and bombing attacks.

According to the Shin Bet, the group of seven members was directed by a Hamas member in the Gaza Strip to prepare for attacks against civilians and security forces in the West Bank.

The Shin Bet says they had practiced shooting and had conducted tests with explosive devices. Several firearms were seized following their arrests.

The suspects are charged with serious security offenses, the Shin Bet says.

Meretz files petition to disqualify Idit Silman from running for Knesset

MK Idit Silman chairs a Knesset Health Committee on on June 7, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
MK Idit Silman chairs a Knesset Health Committee on on June 7, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Meretz party files a petition to the Central Elections Committee to ban former MK Idit Silman from running in the upcoming election.

The party charges that Silman — who was elected as a Yamina MK and is now running with Likud — is guilty of “political corruption” for brokering a deal to get a reserved spot with Likud in exchange for bringing down the coalition, which is illegal.

At Auschwitz, IDF chief slams Iran’s Raisi for ‘denying painful truth of history’

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi speaks at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland, September 19, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF chief Aviv Kohavi speaks at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland, September 19, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi, during a visit to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, responds to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s remarks doubting the Holocaust.

“You don’t have to be a historian or a researcher to understand the horrors of the Holocaust — you have to be a human being,” Kohavi says.

“Anyone who lies and denies the painful and solid truth of history, easily lies today, and will naturally lie in the future,” he says, referring to Raisi. “This is another reminder that such people should not be allowed to possess any capacity of any kind for development of weapons of mass destruction,” he adds, referring to Iran’s nuclear program.

Swiss court convicts woman of stabbing attack, IS ties

Illustrative: Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 28 September 2008. (CC BY SA, Wikimedia commons)
Illustrative: Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 28 September 2008. (CC BY SA, Wikimedia commons)

Switzerland’s federal criminal court convicts a Swiss-Italian woman of attempted murder and ties to the banned radical group Islamic State over the stabbing of two women in a department store.

She is handed a nine-year prison sentence.

The attacker, who is in her late 20s but was not identified by name, is also convicted by the court in the town of Bellinzona of “repeated illegal practice of prostitution,” the court says. Regulated prostitution is allowed in Switzerland.

The verdict follows a four-day trial in late August and early September over the Nov. 24, 2020, attack in the Manor chain department store in the southern Swiss city of Lugano.

The attack was a rare instance of violence linked to radical Islamic extremism in Switzerland, which was largely spared the wave of such violence that has hit other countries in Europe and around the world over the past two decades.

Two-minute silence observed across UK as Queen Elizabeth laid to rest

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is carried into Westminster Abbey, followed by King Charles III and other relatives, Sept. 19, 2022. (Dominic Lipinski/Pool via AP)
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is carried into Westminster Abbey, followed by King Charles III and other relatives, Sept. 19, 2022. (Dominic Lipinski/Pool via AP)

A two-minute silence is observed across the United Kingdom in memory of Queen Elizabeth II as the late monarch’s state funeral service drew to a close in Westminster Abbey.

Britain’s royal family, along with hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries gathered at the Gothic abbey in London for the service Monday, lowers their heads as Household Cavalry trumpeters play “The Last Post.”

The congregation then observes a two-minute silence before singing the national anthem.

A lament, played by the Queen’s Piper, brings the service to a close.

After the service, the queen’s coffin was to be laid to rest at Windsor Castle .

Lebanese president says maritime talks with Israel in ‘final stages’

Energean's floating production system (FPSO) at the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. (Energean)
Energean's floating production system (FPSO) at the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. (Energean)

Lebanese President Michel Aoun says that indirect talks with Israel to end a maritime border dispute are in their “final stages.”

In a tweet, Aoun says that the talks are wrapping up “in a way that guarantees Lebanon’s rights to explore for gas and oil.”

Israel and Lebanon have been holding US-brokered talks for more than a year over a dispute that centers on maritime rights to an area where Israel is exploring via the Karish gas field.

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