The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s developments as they unfolded.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Iran is building factories to produce precision-guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon.
Ahead of the meeting between the two leaders in Jerusalem, Netanyahu says Iran is trying to turn Syria and Lebanon into a military base to launch attacks on Israel.
“Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment, and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as warfronts against its declared goal to eradicate Israel,” Netanyahu said. “This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the UN should not accept.”
— AP contributed
A car bomb in the Iraqi capital’s Shiite-majority district of Sadr City on Monday killed 11 people and wounded another 26, security officials and medical sources say.
A police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, says the bombing in northeastern Baghdad left “11 dead and 26 wounded.”
Members of Iraq’s security forces were among the victims, medical sources say, confirming the toll.
A male nurse jailed for life two years ago for killing two hospital patients with lethal drug overdoses murdered at least 90 patients in total, and possibly twice as many, police say Monday, calling it post-war Germany’s worst killing spree.
Niels Hoegel, 40, was jailed in February 2015 for two murders and four counts of attempted murder or causing bodily harm on intensive-care patients at the Delmenhorst hospital near the northern city of Bremen.
Police say Monday that forensics experts had since exhumed and analyzed more than 130 additional bodies and had found evidence of a vastly higher death toll at two hospitals where Hoegel had worked between 1999 and 2005.
“The insights we were able to gain are terrifying, they surpass what we could have imagined,” says Johann Kuehme, police chief in the city of Oldenburg, where the other hospital is located.
The death toll “is unique in the history of the German republic,” says the chief police investigator in the case, Arne Schmidt, adding that Hoegel killed “without a discernable pattern” and preyed especially on those in critical condition.
A municipality near Paris warns farmers of an elevated risk of theft of sheep and fowl ahead of the Muslim and Jewish holidays of Eid al-Adha and Yom Kippur, respectively.
The warning, which provoked angry reactions on the part of communal leaders who felt it was discriminatory, came in a letter sent earlier this month by veterinary services of Hauts-de-Seine, an area comprising several suburbs east of the French capital, the Le Paisien Weekly reported last week.
The letter instructs farmers to practice “the highest degree of alertness” ahead of the Muslim holiday, which this year falls on September 1, and the Jewish one 28 days later, because followers of those religions perform “unauthorized sacrifices” of sheep and chickens, respectively.
On Eid al-Adha, some Muslims sacrifices sheep and lambs in conditions that animal rights activists find cruel, and which also provoke resistance by opponents of Muslim immigration. And in the hours prior to Yom Kippur, in some Jewish communities roosters and chickens are waved several times in the air and slaughtered as atonement for sins incurred during the previous year. The meat is given to charity. Religious laws forbid the use of a stolen chicken for the rite.
“Ill-intentioned individuals could try to catch the animals in order to perform clandestine slaughters,” the circular also warns.
Joel Mergui, president of the Consistoire, the organization responsible for providing religious services to Jewish communities, said that after reading about the circular, he was “amazed to discover” that he “suddenly and collectively, with all the coreligionists of the Jewish faith, become a potential chicken thief,” Mergui, a physician and one of French Jewry’s most highly-regarded leaders, told the La Croix daily Friday.
More than 30,000 people are expected to be housed in shelters as monster storm Harvey continues to devastate the Texas city of Houston and surrounding areas, a top federal emergency official says Monday.
“This shelter mission is going to be a very heavy lift. We’re anticipating over 30,000 people being placed in shelters temporarily to basically stabilize the situation and provide for their care,” Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long tells a news conference in Washington.
“Right now this is still an ongoing situation. We’re not at recovery yet,” he says, adding that authorities were conducting swift water rescues and searching for victims across as many as 50 counties in Texas.
Meeting Netanyahu, Guterres recalls past secret talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders at his office when he was prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, saying it had exposed him to the difficulties of the peace process.
The UN secretary general holds talks with Israeli leaders Monday on his first visit since taking office, making a forceful argument for a two-state solution with the Palestinians and speaking of his “dream” for peace.
“I dream that I will have the chance to see in the Holy Land two states able to live together in mutual recognition, but also in peace and security,” Guterres says in remarks at Netanyahu’s office.
Guterres also speaks of improving economic and social conditions for Palestinians to provide them with a “dividend” and incentive for peace.
— AFP, Times of Israel staff
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says Israel cannot secure the release of the bodies of slain IDF soldiers held by Hamas and two Israeli citizens held captive by the Gaza terror group short of occupying the Strip or capitulating to the terror group’s demands.
Any other solution, Liberman tells The Times of Israel, requires patience.
He calls on Israel to change tack and cease releasing Palestinian security prisoners in exchange for captive Israelis.
“The time as come to break the equation that began with the Jibril deal that saw those released initiate and carry out the First Intifada, and through the Shalit deal, whose freed [prisoners] set the tone for Hamas in Gaza, including the organization’s leader Yahya Sinwar. Those released in the Shalit deal are responsible for the murder of [seven] Israelis,” says Liberman.
— Avi Issacharoff
Liberman tells UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the Hezbollah terror group is stashing weapons and missiles in civilian houses along the Israel-Lebanon border.
“Hezbollah is putting various weapons, including missiles and rockets, in civilian houses in villages and cities along the border, aimed at Israeli citizens,” says Liberman. “The Lebanese government and residents of southern Lebanon must know that Israel will act with very great force in a confrontation during which rockets are fired at its citizens.”
He reiterates comments by Netanyahu earlier in the day that Iran is setting up missile production centers in Lebanon.
Hamas leader Yihya Sinwar says the terror group will negotiate with Israel through a mediator if the Jewish state first releases Palestinian prisoners freed during the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner swap who have since been rearrested by Israel on terror charges.
That precondition has been rejected by Israel.
Israel is seeking the release of two Israeli citizens and the bodies of two IDF soldiers killed in the 2014 Gaza war.
US President Donald Trump on Monday declares an emergency in Louisiana as part of the southern state was being pelted with rain from tropical storm Harvey.
The declaration allows the federal government, specifically the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate relief efforts. It also provides federal funding for disaster relief.
“This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency has inflicted on the local population,” the White House says in a statement.
“Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.”
The Supreme Court rules Israel may deport African migrants to a third country, rejecting a petition by human rights groups.
A special panel of five justices says there is no evidence the third-party states are dangerous, as claimed by activists.
However, the court also rules that Israel may not imprison the asylum-seekers for more than 60 days, unless they are being uncooperative. Refusal to leave to a third country will not be considered grounds for extending the detention beyond the 60-day period, the court says.
Gilead Sciences will pay $11.9 billion in cash to buy Kite Pharma, founded by Israeli-American oncologist Arie Belldegrun, and plant a stake in an emerging area of cancer treatments that train a patient’s immune cells to attack tumors.
Kite’s portfolio of potential treatments includes one for the blood cancer lymphoma that could receive US regulatory approval later this year.
The Santa Monica, California-based company specializes in developing treatments that are custom-made to target a patient’s cancer. Called CAR-T, this type of therapy involves removing immune cells from a patients’ blood, reprogramming them to create an army of cells that can zero in on and destroy cancer cells and injecting them back into the patient.
Gilead has developed top-selling treatments for HIV and the liver-destroying hepatitis C virus, but leaders of the biotechnology company told analysts Monday that its push into oncology has been largely nascent so far. They said that the Kite deal helps establish Gilead as a leader in so-called cellular therapy and provides an opportunity to diversify revenue.
“(Kite’s) work has opened a clear path towards the potential cure for lymphoma patients who’ve run out of options and are desperately in need of treatment,” Gilead president and CEO John Milligan says.
— AP, Times of Israel staff
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon will speak at the Zionist Organization of America conference in November, The Atlantic reports.
Bannon, who was also invited to the ZOA’s conference last year but failed to appear, returned to the right-wing Breitbart website after leaving the White House.
“Steve is one of the best friends that Israel has had in any administration,” says external political and policy adviser to the ZOA Arthur Shwartz. “We’re honored that he accepted our invitation.”
Morton Klein, the president of the ZOA, says: “All I can tell you is Steve Bannon is going to be at the dinner.”
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Sen. Tom Cotton, and Joe Lieberman are also scheduled to attend, the report said.
Bannon may introduce casino mogul Sheldon Adelson at the event, according to The Atlantic.
The new Gaza leader of the Palestinian terror group Hamas says it has restored relations with Iran and is gearing up for renewed hostilities with Israel.
Yahyah Sinwar tells reporters Monday that Iran is now “the largest backer financially and militarily” to Hamas’ armed wing. It was his first meeting with journalists since taking up his post in February.
Iran was once Hamas’ largest backer. But relations cooled after Hamas refused to back Iran’s close ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, in his country’s civil war.
Sinwar says that with Iran’s help, Hamas is “accumulating” its military powers in preparation for a battle meant for “the liberation of Palestine.”
Hamas, a terror group that seeks Israel’s destruction, has fought three wars with Israel since seizing control of Gaza in 2007.
Dozens of Jewish families in Houston were either evacuated or moved to the second floors of their homes due to flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, the local Jewish Family Service says.
Some 150 neighborhood blocks in the city that are home to members of the Jewish community have been damaged in floods as part of the hurricane, the JFS says in a conference call with community leaders, the Texas Jewish Herald-Voice reports.
Many of the families affected by the floods also were flooded out in 2016 and 2015. Some of the families have flood insurance and others do not, according to the report.
The Evelyn Rubenstein JCC reports suffering flood damage. Prior to the hurricane it had collected emergency supplies and will serve as a distribution center for the community. The Jewish Family Service also reports flood damage, as does at least three Houston synagogues.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tells Israel’s Channel 2 he believes religious privileges in Jerusalem are “equal” for all three monotheistic religions.
Asked about Jewish connections to Jerusalem in the wake of several resolutions by the UN’s cultural agency that ignored Jewish ties to the holy city, Guterres says, in his view, Muslims, Christians, and Jews have equal religious rights.
Swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti are found spray-painted on a Long Island, New York, high school.
The walls, doors and windows in the back of Syosset High are vandalized between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Sunday, Nassau Police tell the local media.
In addition to the anti-Semitic graffiti, “MS13” was painted on the school building. MS-13 is a Salvadoran-based street gang that has been blamed for more than 20 killings on Long Island in the past year and a half.
Syosset Board of Education trustee Joshua Lafazan in a statement condemning the graffiti says he would call for increased security patrols at all school district buildings.
Houston police Chief Art Acevedo says authorities have rescued 2,000 people from flooding in the city.
Acevedo says the city has 185 critical rescue requests still pending as of Monday morning. He says the goal is to rescue those people by the end of the day.
The comments came at a news conference where officials provided updates on Harvey, which is still pouring rain on the Houston area.
Harvey came ashore late Friday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane, but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. The slow-moving storm has caused catastrophic flooding in Texas.
Conan O’Brien meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his Jerusalem residence.
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) August 28, 2017
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) August 28, 2017
Earlier, the US comedian visits the Old City and Western Wall. Photos of the television host walking through the Old City show Israeli fans clamoring for selfies.
O’Brien arrived in Israel late last week to film an episode for his “Conan Without Borders” series.
Netanyahu says the government will introduce new legislation to enforce the deportation of African migrants to third-party African countries.
The prime minister’s statement comes as a Supreme Court ruling permits the state to send the migrants to a third country with their consent. The court decision also says the government may not imprison migrants for over 60 days.
In a statement, the prime minister says Israel’s efforts to curb illegal immigration consist of three elements: the wall along the southern border, agreements with the third-party African countries to absorb the migrants, and enforcement.
“We will have to introduce an amendment to implement these agreements,” he says.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked says she plans to introduce legislation that would allow Israel to deport the migrants to other African nations “even without their consent.”
“We will fight this war until we reach the necessary results,” she says.
Two men stab one policeman to death and wound another in Dagestan in Russia’s North Caucasus on Monday before being shot dead by police, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.
It is the second attack in Russia in 10 days claimed by IS, after a man armed with an axe wounded seven in the Siberian city of Surgut on August 19.
Russian investigators have said they are investigating both attacks as criminal incidents, despite the claims by IS.
The attackers used knives to stab the two police officers before being “eliminated” at a petrol station in the Caspian Sea town of Kaspiisk, the regional Investigative Committee says.
IS later claimed responsibility through its Amaq propaganda agency, calling the assailants “soldiers of the Islamic State.”
The founder of the internet’s oldest white supremacist site says he is trying to get back online Monday, after a company revoked its domain name following complaints that it promotes hatred and is linked to dozens of murders.
Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who has operated stormfront.org since 1995, said he didn’t receive any warning before Network Solutions blocked the use of the stormfront.org name on Friday.
Stormfront.org had more than 300,000 registered users, Black says, with traffic increasing since a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Popular with the KKK and neo-Nazi groups, the site included forums where users sometimes promoted white power events.
“I’m talking to my lawyers, and that’s about all I can do right now,” Black, of West Palm Beach, Florida, says in a telephone interview. “I can switch to another domain, but it might wind up the same way.”
Another major white supremacist website, The Daily Stormer, was previously shut down by the web-hosting company Go Daddy and then Google after the violence in Charlottesville.
A state witness in a graft probe into a multi-billion shekel deal to purchase naval vessels from Germany has reportedly been sent to a witness protection apartment.
Channel 2 reports that Miki Ganor, who was previously kept under house arrest, was not permitted to return home and has been sent to a secured location.
Ganor, a former agent for the German submarine company Thyssenkrupp, is suspected of giving bribes in connection with a decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to buy three submarines from the Germany company in a deal reached despite opposition from the Defense Ministry.
Floodwaters reach the roof lines of single-story homes Monday, and people can be heard pleading for help from inside, as Harvey kept pouring rain on Houston, after a chaotic weekend of rising water and rescues.
The nation’s fourth-largest city is still largely paralyzed, and there is no relief in sight from the storm that spun into Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, then parked itself over the Gulf Coast. With nearly 2 feet of rain still expected, authorities worry whether the worst is yet to come.
Water gushes from two reservoirs overwhelmed by Harvey, as officials seek to release pressure on two dams that have been at risk of failing from the immense floodwaters that have filled the city. The move aimed at protecting the downtown business district risks flooding thousands more homes.
Meanwhile, authorities continue plucking people from the floodwaters — at least 2,000 so far, according to Police Chief Art Acevedo.
At least 185 critical rescue requests are still pending on Monday morning. The goal is to rescue those people by the end of the day, Acevedo says.
In an interview with Channel 2, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres agrees that Israel is occasionally “bullied” at the United Nations.
“In some situations, this is true. In other situations, Israel needs to understand that people may disagree with the policies of this government and this is not a form of anti-Semitism,” he says.
Guterres says he believes Israel is treated fairly by the UN secretariat. Elsewhere, “it depends on the member states.”
Guterres said earlier Monday that calling for Israel’s destruction is a “form of modern anti-Semitism” and said he would treat Israel with “impartiality” amid vocal complaints by Israeli officials that the world body is biased against the Jewish state.
Guterres also tells the Israeli TV station that US President Donald Trump did not fully grasp the implications in his response to the neo-Nazis Charlottesville rallies.
“I think he was not sufficiently aware how tragic this is,” the UN secretary-general says. Trump was reaching out to voters, he added, but “this is a matter of fundamental values.”
On August 11 and 12, a throng of hundreds, many carrying guns, converged on Charlottesville, Virginia, yelling anti-Semitic and racist slurs and carrying Confederate flags and neo-Nazi and KKK signs. Several street fights broke out between the demonstrators and counter-protesters, and a woman was killed and others injured when one of the white supremacist protesters drove a car into people marching against the rally.
Trump’s first response was to say “many sides” were at fault, while pointedly declining to even mention the racist hate groups that had organized the rally. Two days later, he called out the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, who played an outsized role in the demonstration, by name.
Days later, however, Trump doubled down on his original assessment allocating equal blame to “both sides” and saying there were “very fine people” among the right-wing protesters.
A Washington-area Catholic priest who left his post because of revelations of his Ku Klux Klan past never apologized or paid court-ordered restitution to two Jewish institutions for burning crosses on their property.
Bill Aitcheson, a priest at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Fairfax City, Virginia, acknowledged his college days in the KKK and said his Catholic faith saved him, in an essay published a week ago in the Arlington Catholic Herald, the Washington Post reports.
He referred to the white supremacist rally earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia, writing “racists have polluted minds.”
Aitcheson temporarily stepped down from his post within the Arlington Diocese at his own request, following the publication of the essay, according to the Post.
The Washington Post reports that the essay glossed over Aitcheson’s tenure in the KKK, saying he was a “violent ringleader” of the white supremacist group in Maryland while a student at the University of Maryland, and served jail time for burning crosses, threatening to kill Coretta Scott King, and plotting to take down water systems, and military installations, as well as launch an armed revolution, for which he had stockpiled bombs and guns.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and PA President Mahmoud Abbas meet in Ankara to discuss the peace process.
“To find a solution and provide peace is not only in Palestinians’ favor, but also that of Israel,” says Erdogan, according to Turkish media.
“As Turkey, we always back efforts to accelerate the peace process,” he adds.
Erdogan also condemns Israeli actions in Jerusalem, namely the installation of security measures around the Temple Mount in July, following a terror attack that saw three Arab Israelis shoot and kill two Israeli police officers. Israel later removed the security measures, following widespread protests.
“We do not want the holy city of Jerusalem, which we have served for four centuries, to dominate the news with blood, tears and conflict,” he says.
At an event celebrating 50 years of settlement in Samaria — the northern West Bank — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledges to the thousands present that his government will not evacuate additional settlements.
“We are here to stay forever. There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel,” he says.
— Jacob Magid
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