The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded.
NEW YORK — The Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency posts a photo that was taken last night of PA President Mahmoud Abbas alongside US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
The photo was taken during a presidential reception at the Museum of Natural History on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s high-level week. Those invited were able to receive a photo with the president, one attendee tells The Times of Israel.
The two leaders did not hold a separate sit-down, and Biden reserved his meetings mainly for European allies.
A boat carrying migrants from Lebanon capsized off Syria’s coast this afternoon leaving at least 28 people dead, Syrian state media reports.
The incident is one of the deadliest since a surging number of people have tried to flee crisis-hit Lebanon by sea to Europe. In Lebanon alone, tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs and the Lebanese pound has dropped more than 90 percent of its value, eradicating the purchasing power of thousands of families that now live in extreme poverty.
Syria’s state television quotes the head of the Syrian Ports Authority Brig. Gen. Samer Kobrosli as saying that at least 28 people died in the incident. Kobrosli adds that 15 survivors are being treated at the Al-Basel Hospital in the coastal city of Tartus, most of them Lebanese and Syrians, and some without identification papers.
Heartbroken,Syrians escaped Assad security harassment & bombs to Lebanon,so badly treated they got on a death boat to Europe,which sank oppositeTartous So far 20 bodies including children recovered,22 survived the sea to be caught by Assad security,which they had originally fled. pic.twitter.com/2C5FnSNt9c
— Majd khalaf 🇺🇦 (@majdkhalaf1993) September 22, 2022
State media quotes one survivor as saying the boat carried over 150 people, which would leave over 100 migrants still missing at sea.
An Israeli man is lightly hurt in a suspected stabbing attack at the Shilat junction near Modiin in central Israel, medics say.
The man is stabbed in his hand, according to medics reporting from the scene.
The alleged assailant has been shot, the Zaka emergency service says.
There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces or Israel Police on the incident.
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked says that Prime Minister Yair Lapid was wrong when he told the UN General Assembly that most Israelis support a two-state solution.
“Most Israelis oppose a Palestinian state,” she tells Channel 13 news.
Shaked claims that Lapid’s comments on Israel conditioning statehood on the Palestinian state being peaceful “explains why it does not work.”
She says her decision to criticize the premier, in English, over the speech earlier Thursday was “legitimate” because the parties had agreed in coalition talks that a two-state solution wouldn’t be on the table.
Meretz chief Zehava Galon writes that Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s remarks in support of a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly are “historic.”
“Finally, the vision of peace is on the agenda,” left-wing leader Galon tweets.
“To put an end to the cycle of bloodshed, to end control over millions of Palestinians, and to years of pain and bereavement on both sides.”
Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich slams Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s endorsement of a two-state solution at the UN General Assembly, saying that a Palestinian state is a “shameful surrender to terrorism.”
The far-right leader says that Lapid is “striving for the division of the land, the handing over of territories and the expulsion of tens of thousands of Jews from their homes.”
Smotrich charges that discussion of a Palestinian state and the “instilling hope in the sails of Palestinian nationalism” will lead to increased terror attacks against Israeli citizens.
“We will find ourselves again with buses exploding and terror all over the country,” Smotrich warns.
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides calls Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s decision to express his support for a two-state solution in his speech before the UN General Assembly “courageous.”
“Peaceful coexistence is only way forward. As POTUS urged here in July, ‘two peoples, with deep & ancient roots in this land, living side by side in peace and security,'” Nides tweets.
Courageous speech by @IsraeliPM @yairlapid at #UNGA supporting the two state solution. Peaceful coexistence is only way forward. As @POTUS urged here in July, “two peoples, with deep & ancient roots in this land, living side by side in peace & security."
— Ambassador Tom Nides (@USAmbIsrael) September 22, 2022
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu rails against Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly, charging that Lapid is “endangering” Israel’s future by renewing discussion of Palestinian statehood.
Netanyahu says that “Lapid is bringing the Palestinians back to the forefront of the world stage and putting Israel right into the Palestinian pit,” in a video message released during Lapid’s remarks.
In recent years, Israeli leaders have largely distanced themselves from the two-state solution, even though Netanyahu himself called for a two-state solution at the UN in 2016.
Netanyahu has moved away from that line in recent years, and now takes credit for having “removed Palestinian statehood from the global agenda.”
Netanyahu’s comments come just 38 days from Israel’s November 1 election, after which Netanyahu hopes to have the numbers to cobble together a right-religious government.
His religious Zionist partners, as well as many of his party members, are staunchly pro-settlement and against relinquishing Israel’s claim on territories for an independent Palestinian state.
The Likud leader says that a Palestinian state would be a security threat, charging that Lapid “is going to give them a terrorist state in the heart of the country, a state that will threaten us all.”
In the last section of his UN speech, Prime Minister Yair Lapid calls upon “every Muslim country — from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia — to recognize… our hand is outstretched for peace.”
Saudi Arabia and Indonesia are the two most important Muslim countries that have been mentioned as possible candidates to join the Abraham Accords.
“We proved our desire for peace through the Abraham Accords, the Negev Summit, and the agreements we’ve signed with the Arab world,” says Lapid.
“The State of Israel is the only country in the world founded by a book. The Book of Books. The Tanakh,” Lapid says, referring to the Hebrew Bible.
“That book and the principles of liberal democracy require us to stretch out our hand in peace. Our history requires us to be clear-eyed and very careful.”
Prime Minister Yair Lapid moves on to the section of the speech that has been stirring up headlines over the past 24 hours – peace with the Palestinians.
“An agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel’s security, for Israel’s economy, and for the future of our children,” Lapid declares.
The prime minister says that most Israelis support a two-state solution. “I am one of them,” he declares.
Israel has a condition, however: “That a future Palestinian state will be a peaceful one. That it will not become another terror base from which to threaten the well-being and the very existence of Israel. That we will have the ability to protect the security of all the citizens of Israel, at all times.”
“You can ask us to live according to the values in the UN Charter,” he says, “but you cannot ask us to die for them.”
Lapid reminds the chamber that Israel left Gaza in 2005, and has been met with over 20,000 rockets, not with peace.
He says that Israel is ready to lift restrictions on Gaza “tomorrow morning,” and help build their economy.
“We only have one condition. Stop firing rockets and missiles at our children.”
Lapid also names the Israeli civilians being held by Hamas in Gaza, and the soldiers whose bodies have not been returned to Israel.
“Put down your weapons, bring home our children who are being held in captivity – Hadar and Oron, may their memory be a blessing; Avera and Hisham, who are still alive – and we will build your economy together.”
After blasting those who spread lies about Israel, Prime Minister Yair Lapid turns to Iran, saying the Islamic Republic is the one “conducting this orchestra of hate.”
The prime minister charges Tehran with hating its own people, and says that “the world is silent” while young Iranians suffer.
“They pay for their desire to live a life of freedom — with their lives,” he says.
Lapid brings up the author Salman Rusdhie, the novelist who was stabbed in August after living for decades under an Iranian fatwa calling for his death; and Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian woman who died last Friday days after being arrested for violating hijab regulations.
“Their hate is a way of life,” he says. “It is a way to preserve their oppressive rule.”
Iran is the only UN country to openly call for Israel’s destruction, Lapid points out.
“And this building is silent,” he charges. “What are you afraid of? Has there ever been a time in human history where silence stopped violence?”
Lapid then moves to Iran’s nuclear program. “If the Iranian regime gets a nuclear weapon, they will use it,” he says, calling for a credible military threat.
“And then — and only then — to negotiate a longer and stronger deal with them,” Lapid says, repeating the argument he has multiple times in recent weeks. “It needs to be made clear to Iran, that if it advances its nuclear program, the world will not respond with words, but with military force.”
“Every time a threat like that was put on the table in the past, Iran stopped, and retreated.”
Lapid accuses the world of “choosing the easy option.” He says that Israel cannot do that, and will “do whatever it takes” to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon.
“We will not stand by while there are those who try to kill us. Not again. Never Again.”
Prime Minister Yair Lapid turns to two threats in the second part of his speech — the “demise of truth” and the nuclear threat from Iran.
“Our democracies are slowly being poisoned by lies and fake news,” he says. “Reckless politicians, totalitarian states and radical organizations are undermining our perception of reality.”
He says that Israel faces this phenomenon more than any other country, citing the May 2021 case of a picture of a Russian girl being used as a photo of a fictitious Palestinian child killed by Israeli jets.
Lapid charges that billions of dollars have been invested into spreading lies about Israel.
The child in that photo was not a victim of an air strike in Gaza.
The photograph was taken in Moscow, 2018. Source: https://t.co/HDX9EASjLM Based on the recent photos on Instagram, the child is doing well. Please stop posting this photograph. pic.twitter.com/uHicR0PqH6
— HoaxEye (@hoaxeye) May 15, 2021
“I am not a guest in this building,” Lapid stresses. “Israel is a proud sovereign nation, and an equal member of the United Nations. We will not be silent when those who wish to harm us, use this very stage to spread lies about us.”
The Israel Defense Forces believes the suspected car-ramming reported by troops in Huwara earlier was likely an accident.
The Palestinian driver of the car with Israeli license plates hit an IDF soldier operating in the area.
Troops opened fire at the vehicle and the driver crashed.
He is treated at the scene by military medics and taken to a hospital.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid opens his address to the United Nations General Assembly with a reminder that the very same body voted to create the Jewish state in November 1947.
Seventy-five years later, says the prime minister, Israel is a prosperous, innovative liberal democracy. This happened, Lapid argues, because Israel decided not to be a victim.
“We didn’t only reach the Promised Land, we are building the Promised Land,” he says.
History is determined by people, he continues, and they can choose whether the future is one of war and isolation or peace and partnership.
Lapid then pivots to May’s Negev Summit: “There were six of us. The Secretary of State of the United States, Foreign Ministers of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Israel. A dinner that only two years ago no one would have believed was possible.”
He recounts how the dinner was suddenly interrupted by news of a deadly terror attack in Hadera.
“The room fell silent.”
And then one of the Arab Foreign Ministers said, “We are always against terror, that’s why we are here.”
“And five minutes later we put out a joint statement from the six of us condemning the attack and sanctifying life, cooperation and our belief that there is a different way,” Lapid says.
He then asks who is doing better – those in the Middle East who choose peace, or those who choose war?
He notes that his government has Arab ministers and an Arab party, the Supreme Court has Arab judges, and Arab doctors save lives in Israeli hospitals.
“Come and visit us. You will discover that Israel is an incredible, cultural mosaic,” he says.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets with UK Prime Minister Liz Truss on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
The meeting comes a day after Truss said she was looking to move the British Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
A statement from Abbas says the two discussed “issues of mutual interest.”
H.E. President Mahmoud #Abbas of the State of #Palestine and Minister Dr. Riyad Mansour @Palestine_UN join Prime Minister @trussliz of the @UKUN_NewYork on the sidelines of #UNGA to discuss issues of mutual interest. @UN #UnitedKingdom #UNGA77 pic.twitter.com/TMQXD7vuJa
— State of Palestine (@Palestine_UN) September 22, 2022
Israel says that immigration to the country over the past 12 months hit a two-decade high, with influxes from Russia and war-torn Ukraine accounting for nearly three-quarters of new arrivals.
In a statement issued days before the start of the Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashanah, Israel’s immigration ministry says 60,000 Jews had moved to the country during the last Jewish calendar year, more than double the 28,000 recorded the previous year.
Among those that had undertaken “aliyah” — meaning “rising up” in Hebrew, referring to Jewish immigration to Israel — Russians accounted for 47 percent, while 25 percent were people who came from Ukraine.
Under Israel’s law of return, anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent is entitled to Israeli citizenship.
Hebrew media reports that attempts by Russian Jews to qualify for Israeli immigration have spiked further following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent decision to call up 300,000 reservists to fight in the ongoing war in Ukraine.
There were, however, no official figures available on that reported acceleration.
An Israeli soldier is lightly hurt following a suspected ramming attack in the West Bank town of Huwara, the military and medics say.
The Rescuers Without Borders emergency service says the soldier is being treated at the scene after being hit by a Palestinian car.
The Israel Defense Forces says the alleged assailant has been caught by troops.
Troops had opened fire at the vehicle amid the suspected attack.
The suspect’s condition is not immediately clear.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is calling on every UN Security Council member to “send a clear message [to Russia] that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately.”
Blinken is addressing a council session about Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this week that his nuclear-armed country will “certainly use all means available to us” if its territory is threatened and to defend the country and its people.
Israel and the United States wrap up a four-day navy drill in the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea, involving American naval drones.
During the drill — dubbed “Digital Shield” — Israeli Navy manned vessels from the 915th Fleet and Snapir Unit sailed alongside unmanned systems of the US 5th Fleet’s Task Force 59, according to statements from both militaries.
The Israel Defense Forces says the drill was aimed at “strengthening cooperation” and using “artificial intelligence as part of the operational toolbox.”
According to the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), the drill also focused on “enhancing maritime awareness using unmanned systems and artificial intelligence in support of vessel boarding operations.”
“The cooperation of the forces on manned and unmanned platforms is an innovative opportunity to build an extensive maritime image and to integrate other parties and forces to work together in the maritime arena, with all of them having a common goal, to maintain the security of the region and the various shipping routes,” says Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagri in remarks provided by the IDF.
“Integrating unmanned systems with our partners advances our integration efforts. Ultimately, we are strengthening ties and innovating new capabilities with regional partners to enhance maritime security,” says Lt. Cmdr. William Ricketts of Task Force 59, in remarks published by NAVCENT.
Earlier this month, Iran attempted to seize two US Saildrone Explorers in the Red Sea, the same type of naval drones used in the recent drill, along with a Devil Ray T-38 model.
At least 31 civilians have been killed in an Iranian security forces crackdown on protests that erupted over the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the morality police, an Oslo-based organization says.
“The people of Iran have come to the streets to achieve their fundamental rights and human dignity… and the government is responding to their peaceful protest with bullets,” Iran Human Rights (IHR) director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam says in a statement, publishing a toll after six days of protests.
IHR says it had confirmed protests taking place in over 30 cities and other urban centers, raising alarm over “mass arrests” of protesters and civil society activists.
Protests first erupted over the weekend in the northern province of Kurdistan, from where Amini originated, but have now spread across the country.
IHR said its toll included the deaths of 11 people killed Wednesday night in the town of Amol in the northern Mazandaran province on the Caspian Sea, and six killed in Babol in the same province.
The United States places Iran’s morality police on its sanctions blacklist today following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab headscarf improperly.
The US Treasury says the morality police was “responsible” for Amini’s death, which has sparked an outpouring of popular anger, as it announced the sanctions “for abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of the rights of peaceful Iranian protestors.”
The Palestinian Authority had recommended committing Mousa Sarsour, a Palestinian suspected of killing an 84-year-old Israeli woman, to a psychiatric institution, a month before he carried out the attack, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
Sarsour, 28, had a work permit to enter Israel, despite the psychiatric recommendation, the report says.
His body was found hanging in an apparent suicide shortly after he killed Shulamit Rachel Ovadia in Tel Aviv.
CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour says she canceled an interview with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after he demanded that she wear a head covering.
Amanpour says after Raisi was 40 minutes late for the planned interview when an aide came up and demanded she wear a headscarf.
When she declined, “the aide made it clear that the interview would not happen if I did not wear a headscarf. He said it was ‘a matter of respect,’ and referred to ‘the situation in Iran’ – alluding to the protests sweeping the country,” Amanpour says.
This was going to be President Raisi’s first ever interview on US soil, during his visit to NY for UNGA. After weeks of planning and eight hours of setting up translation equipment, lights and cameras, we were ready. But no sign of President Raisi. 2/7
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) September 22, 2022
The Israel Defense Forces says troops arrested four Palestinians suspected of shooting at the West Bank settlement of Efrat in July.
The four men were arrested recently in the Dheisheh refugee camp, a month and a half after the attack on July 27, the IDF says.
In the attack, a window of a home in the settlement was damaged.
The IDF says three M-16 assault rifles were seized from the suspects during their arrest.
The father of Mahsa Amini, the young woman who died in custody while being held by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating its strictly enforced dress code, says officials prevented him from seeing parts of her body before she was buried.
In an interview with BBC Persian yesterday, Amjad Amini says he was only able to see her face, but not the back of her head, as well as her legs.
He also insisted that his daughter did not have any preexisting medical conditions, as the interior minister has claimed.
Her death has sparked widespread protests across Iran.
The Palestinian terror group Hamas threatens a “religious war” against Israel over what it called “violations against Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque” ahead of the upcoming Jewish High Holidays.
Hamas’s threats came just ahead of the Jewish New Year and a day after a group of Jewish activists visited the Temple Mount and blew the shofar — a ram’s horn that’s trumpeted in the run-up to and during the Jewish High Holidays.
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday, and in the succeeding weeks thousands of Israelis are expected to visit Jerusalem.
Omer Barlev, Israel’s minister in charge of police, told Kan public radio yesterday that Israeli authorities would not limit Jewish visits to the contested Jerusalem holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Addressing reporters in Gaza City, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar decries what he calls a “blatant attack on the religious and Islamic status of the city and the mosque,” saying Israel bears full responsibility for “the possibility of dragging the entire region into an open religious war.”
He says the terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip, would “defend the rights and sanctities of our people by all possible means.”
The small Jewish community in Tehran has sent out a letter to members warning them to stay away from synagogues in the upcoming days due to the widespread protests sweeping Iran, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reports.
The call comes just days ahead of the Jewish New Year.
Iran has been hit by protests following the death in custody of a young woman arrested by the “morality police.”
World leaders, including Prime Minister Yair Lapid, are addressing day three of the United Nations General Assembly.
Israel today begins administering doses of coronavirus vaccines tailored to fight the highly infectious Omicron variant as its health authorities urges at-risk groups and those over 65 to get the shot.
The rollout of the new vaccine makes Israels one of the first countries to start distributing Omicron-specific vaccines. Health officials are now voicing growing concerns about increased COVID-19 infections in the upcoming winter.
Arsen Arutiunian, an official with healthcare provider Clalit, says there has been “big demand” for the booster since the new campaign began. He said the clinic has been flooded with phone calls from people of all ages looking to schedule an appointment.
“I received all of the previous vaccinations. So far, touch wood, I haven’t been infected even though my entire family has. I’ve somehow become Teflon,” said Eytan Gurfinkel, a Tel Aviv resident.
Israel is set to issue another 1,500 work permits for Palestinians living in Gaza, raising the total number of Gazans working in the country to 17,000.
Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, widely known by its acronym COGAT, says the policy change is contingent on continued “security stability” between Israel and Gaza.
The move will begin next week, after Rosh Hashanah, COGAT says.
The Defense Ministry has signed off on a tentative plan to eventually raise the number of Gaza permits to 20,000, a policy that defense officials view as a means of maintaining quiet on the country’s southern front.
The Gaza Strip has been blockaded by both Israel and Egypt for over 15 years in an attempt to contain the enclave’s Hamas rulers. Israel says the tight restrictions on goods and people are necessary for national security.
Critics lament the blockade’s impact on ordinary Gazans, around 50 percent of whom are unemployed, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. The sky-high poverty rates make employment in Israel an attractive option to those lucky enough to receive permits.
Israel’s embassy in Mexico City is vandalized by demonstrators calling on Israel to extradite a former senior official wanted in connection with the disappearance of 43 students in 2014.
The demonstrators defaced the embassy, including slogans of “Death to Israel.”
After the incident, Israel issues a summons to the Mexican ambassador in Israel.
“We view this issue very gravely. We expect that Mexico will fulfill its international obligations,” says Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
They are demanding the extradition of Tomas Zeron, the former head of the Criminal Investigation Agency.
Zuron, who is in Israel and seeking asylum, is facing allegations of serious irregularities surrounding a probe into one of the country’s worst human rights tragedies, as well as accusations of torture and embezzlement.
Zeron is wanted on charges of compromising an investigation into the disappearance of 43 students in 2014. He is also accused of embezzling over $50 million and torturing suspects.
Zeron fled Mexico after the case into the mass abduction was reopened, following the election of Lopez Obrador in 2019. He has been in Israel since and has requested asylum.
A New York Times report last year said Israel is not cooperating in protest of Mexico’s support for human rights investigations of Israel at the United Nations.
A military court denies the appeal of an officer charged with over 70 counts of sex crimes to be released to house arrest amid his trial.
Lt. Col. Dan Sharoni is accused of filming nude female subordinates without their knowledge, as well as some civilians, over the course of at least eight years.
Sharoni has remained in jail since he was arrested last November. The court denies his appeal to be released to house arrest, citing the risk he still poses.
The officer will remain under arrest until the end of legal proceedings.
Police say they have arrested a man and intend to charge him in the killing of Yelena Greenberg, 27.
Her body was found in a field near the central Israeli city of Rehovot last month after she was stabbed to death.
Police ask the court to extend the custody of the suspect, identified as Jason Blaze, until the end of proceedings against him.
Police say he was arrested with bloodstained clothes and there was evidence he had bought several bottles of gasoline that were found at the scene and with which he apparently intended to burn the body.
He was arrested the day of the murder but only appeared in court today after he tried to kill himself before the arrest.
Police did not give a motive for the murder, but the victim’s family have said she rebuffed his romantic advances.
The March of the Living organization announces that it is launching a drive to preserve some 8,000 pairs of shoes belonging to child victims of the Auschwitz death camp.
The effort, in partnership with Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, the Auschwitz Memorial, and the Neishlos Foundation, aims to stop the decay of the shoes, which it called a “historic documentation of life and death.”
“We see the conservation of the shoes of these innocent children as an eternal testimony to the brutality of the Nazi regime as well as a significant educational initiative,” says International March of the Living Chairman Dr. Shmuel Rosenman.
The project, dubbed “From Soul to Sole,” will continue for two years.
Of about 230,000 children – most of them Jewish – who arrived in Auschwitz from the time it opened in 1940, only a few hundred survived, including 60 newborns.
Kremlin-backed authorities in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in east Ukraine say that at least six people were killed by Ukrainian strikes on an outdoor market in the city.
“According to initial information, six people were killed and six more were injured in shelling of the Kryty market,” city official Alexei Kulemzin says in a statement on social media, while pro-Russian media released footage showing charred vehicles, a corpse and shattered glass from the scene.
The Kremlin says reports of military-aged men fleeing Russia after Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization are “exaggerated,” according to Reuters.
Putin ordered the risky mobilization after setbacks for his troops nearly seven months after they invaded Ukraine in the first call-up in Russia since World War II.
Many responded by trying to leave the country, and flights out quickly became booked and the cost of tickets soared.
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