The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded.
The EU says it is “deeply concerned” by an incident involving an inspector with the UN’s nuclear watchdog last week in Iran which led to her having her accreditation canceled.
In a statement delivered to a special meeting of the governing body of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an EU representative says: “The EU is… deeply concerned by the incident concerning one IAEA inspector.”
“We understand that the incident was resolved and call upon Iran to ensure that no such incidents occur in the future,” the statement says.
Reiterating the EU’s “full confidence in the inspectorate’s professionalism and impartiality,” the statement calls “upon Iran to ensure that IAEA inspectors can perform their duties in line with its legally binding safeguards agreement.”
Iran said earlier today it has canceled the inspector’s accreditation after she triggered an alarm last week at the entrance to the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.
The alarm during a check at the entrance gate to the plant in central Iran raised concerns that she could be carrying a “suspect product” on her, the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation said in a statement posted online.
As a result, she was denied entry and briefly detained, it added, without specifying whether or not anything had been found in her possession.
Iraq’s main port reopens after being blocked by protesters for five days, while in Baghdad, four protesters are shot dead while trying to remove security barriers in a major central street, security and medical officials say.
At least 24 others have been wounded as security forces fired live rounds and tear gas to disperse the protesters, security and medical officials say. They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
In Baghdad, security forces open fire on protesters marching in downtown’s Rashid street, where the central bank is located, as they tried to remove barriers near two bridges that lead to the west bank of the Tigris river. Demonstrators have been trying to reach the Green Zone on the other side, which houses government offices and foreign embassies.
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks in the capital and across the Shiite south to demand sweeping political change. The protesters complain of widespread corruption, a lack of job opportunities and poor basic services, including regular power cuts despite Iraq’s vast oil reserves. More than 250 people have been killed since October 1.
A former member of the Labour Party’s inner circle urges the public to vote for Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Britain’s December 12 election, saying that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is “unfit” to lead the country due to anti-Semitism.
Ian Austin, one of former prime minister Gordon Brown’s closest allies, tells the BBC that the Labour Party has been poisoned by “anti-Jewish racism” under Corbyn’s leadership. Austin left the party in February over its handling of an anti-Semitism scandal.
“There’s only two people who can be prime minister on December 13 — Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson,” Austin tells the BBC. “And I think Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to lead our country.”
Austin’s startling interview comes a day after deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, who has often clashed with Corbyn, announced he was stepping down. The two actions underscore the unease many Labour lawmakers have with Corbyn’s left-wing views, his leadership and his ambivalence over Britain’s ties to the European Union.
Since he took charge in 2015, Corbyn has moved Labour further to the left and away from the center ground staked out by former prime minister Tony Blair.
Two spokespeople for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party file an appeal to a district court against the authorization granted to police to search their personal cellphones as part of an investigation into their suspected harassment of a state witness in one of the corruption cases against the premier.
Attorneys for Ofer Golan and Johnatan Urich claim police illegally searched their phones as well as the phones of other suspects of attempting to intimidate Shlomo Filber, who provided the key testimony in the bribery case known as Case 4000.
They claim investigators told them information they had obtained illegally.
French President Emmanuel Macron says a lack of US leadership is causing the “brain death” of NATO and that Europe must start acting as a strategic world power.
In an interview with The Economist magazine published today, Macron says “what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO.”
He says US President Donald Trump “doesn’t share our idea of the European project” and that the US shows signs of “turning its back on us,” notably by unexpectedly pulling its troops out of northern Syria.
Macron says European members of the 29-member alliance “should reassess the reality of what NATO is in the light of the commitment of the United States.”
Macron and Trump join their counterparts in London on December 3-4 for a NATO leaders’ meeting.
The United States calls for “serious steps” to be taken after Iran resumed uranium enrichment at its underground Fordo plant in a new step back from its commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal.
“Iran’s expansion of proliferation-sensitive activities raises concerns that Iran is positioning itself to have the option of a rapid nuclear breakout,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says in a statement.
“It is now time for all nations to reject this regime’s nuclear extortion and take serious steps to increase pressure.”
Iran’s plans to increase its nuclear activity at Fordow raise concerns that Iran is positioning itself for a rapid nuclear breakout. It is now time for all nations to reject its nuclear extortion and increase pressure.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 7, 2019
The European Union issues a statement saying its missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah are “concerned” about Israel’s arrest this week of the Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem affairs minister Fadi al-Hadami for conducting political activity in East Jerusalem.
“This was his third arrest since he took office last April,” the statement says. “The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah are concerned about the recent arrests and raids on senior PA representatives in Jerusalem.
“The EU has consistently underlined that it will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. The aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.”
Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut reprimands representatives of the Israel Prisons Service for cuffing Russian hacker Aleksey Burkov’s legs during a court hearing on his pending extradition to the United States.
“You have a nerve, you asked for approval and didn’t get it, and you are acting against orders,” Hayut says.
During the hearing, Burkov’s lawyers file what they say is a letter of complaint sent by Russia to Israel saying Jerusalem has been ignoring a Russian extradition request for three years.
After the Iranian Judo federation was banned by international sports authorities from all competitions over its boycott of Israeli athletes, another Iranian sports team has pulled out of a competition to avoid facing the Israeli squad, according to Israel’s public broadcaster Kan.
Israel and Iran have been placed in the same group in the upcoming World Deaf Futsal Championships, along with Argentina and Sweden. Israel was due to play against Iran on Saturday. Futsal is similar to soccer, with five players per side on a small court.
The Iranians said they wouldn’t show up unless they were moved to a different group, the report says. When that didn’t happen, they withdrew from the competition entirely.
The top inspector for the UN’s nuclear agency has accused Iran of evading attempts to gather information on Tehran’s uranium production at a warehouse flagged by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year and where particles were found earlier this year, according to Bloomberg.
The report cites “two officials familiar with the briefing who asked not to be identified” as saying that Massimo Aparo told diplomats in a closed-door meeting yesterday in Austrian capital Vienna that the Islamic Republic is “evading attempts to discover the source of man-made and natural uranium particles detected at a warehouse in Tehran.”
Hebrew-media reports that the case against IDF soldiers accused of assaulting Bedouin citizens last month is leaning toward a plea deal that would see three of the eight troops admit to assault and serve 52 days behind bars.
The soldiers, who belong to the ultra-Orthodox battalion Netzah Yehuda, say the sides haven’t yet signed such a deal and that some of the soldiers are opposed to it.
The Israel Defense Forces appoints a new head of its Digital Transformation Administration, tasked with connecting all branches of the military to one operational internet.
Brig. Gen. Ziv Avtalion will take over the position from Brig. Gen. Omer Dagan, who has commanded the administration since it was formed in 2018.
Though the Digital Transformation Administration has existed for nearly two years, the appointment of its new commander today is seen by the IDF as an important milestone in the process of bringing the military online, granting all units better access to advanced technological tools.
“We were blessed with the opportunity to live in the throes of an information revolution and digital transformation, which are changing our lives dramatically. The IDF is making the most of digital systems as a central cornerstone, which will increase our lethality and help us shorten the length of a war,” the head of the IDF’s Teleprocessing Corps, Maj. Gen. Lior Carmeli, says at the ceremony for Avtalion.
The creation of the Digital Transformation Administration was part of IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi’s multi-year Momentum Plan, which is currently being rolled out.
— Judah Ari Gross
British police says all 39 bodies found inside a refrigerated truck in southeast England last month have now been identified as Vietnamese nationals.
Essex Police, the local force investigating the gruesome discovery of 31 men and eight women in the back of a truck on October 23, confirm that the victims’ families have been informed.
An 89-year-old Auschwitz survivor who is a senator-for-life in Italy is assigned police protection in response to revelations that she is subject to 200 social media attacks each day.
Italian state radio says Milan’s prefect, who reports to the interior minister, has assigned a Carabinieri paramilitary police security detail to Liliana Segre because of the threats against her.
Segre unwittingly provoked one of the country’s most intense confrontations with anti-Semitism since the end of its Fascist dictatorship during World War II. She called for the creation of a parliamentary committee to combat hate, racism and anti-Semitism. Parliament approved her motion — but without votes from Italy’s right-wing parties.
Matteo Salvini’s euroskeptic League party, Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia and Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy all abstained, in a move that defied the kind of social consensus that has marked Italian post-war politics.
Israel’s ambassador to Italy tweets his dismay about the threats. “An 89-year-old survivor under escort symbolizes the danger that the Jewish communities in Europe are facing today,” says Ambassador Dror Eydar.
— with AP
Iran is alleging that a UN inspector it blocked from a nuclear site last week tested positive for explosive nitrates.
Iran’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharibabadi, makes the allegation at a suddenly called meeting in Vienna.
He does not elaborate on why he thinks the woman had the residue on her, though he says she went to the bathroom while waiting for a secondary screening and apparently removed the material. This happened at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility.
There is no immediate comment from the IAEA.
This incident comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US over its nuclear program.
The Kan public broadcaster reports that Argentina’s soccer team, which along with superstar Lionel Messi is scheduled to play a friendly match against Uruguay in Israel on November 18, has filed a special request to the Saudi king asking that the team’s plane be allowed to pass through Saudi airspace on its way to Israel.
The kingdom is weighing the request and is leaning toward accepting it, although the final decision has not been made yet, the report says.
If the request is approved, the team will arrive in Israel earlier than expected.
The Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu parties end a coalition negotiation meeting after many hours, saying in a joint statement that their talks on basic guidelines for a potential unity government have yielded understandings on several issues.
The parties, led respectively by Benny Gantz and Avigdor Liberman, say that according to agreements, the next annual budget would feature a minimum monthly pension increase for the elderly to 70 percent of the minimum wage. The budget would also not interfere with a plan to raise stipends to people with disabilities.
The statement adds that both parties’ negotiation teams will meet again in the coming days.
Such a unity government would also require a coalition deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, with whom no progress has been made in negotiations.
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who was convicted and jailed for corruption, offers to serve as an adviser for the ultra-Orthodox parties in coalition negotiations with Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party.
“If and when it is needed, if it is possible [for Gantz] to hold talks with the ultra-Orthodox, I would be happy to help the ultra-Orthodox find the right way to hold the talks,” Olmert says in an interview with Haredi news website Kikar Hashabbat.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman hosts the Central Intelligence Agency’s director, state media says, after three people were charged in the US with spying on Twitter users critical of the royal family.
The king and Gina Haspel “discussed a number of topics of mutual interest,” the official Saudi Press Agency says, without offering details.
The meeting in Riyadh was attended by a number of Saudi officials including Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and intelligence chief Khalid al-Humaidan.
Haspel’s visit comes after a US court yesterday charged three people, including two Saudis, with spying on Twitter users critical of the kingdom’s royal family.
The trio — including two former Twitter employees — allegedly worked to unmask the ownership details behind dissident Twitter accounts on behalf of someone prosecutors designated “Royal Family Member-1.” The Washington Post has reported the latter to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
Ties between firm allies Washington and Riyadh have been strained over the brutal murder last year of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A critic of Prince Mohammed, Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
The CIA has reportedly concluded that the prince himself was closely linked to the murder, a charge vigorously denied by Riyadh.
Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz, the current prime minister-designate, calls on the international community to tighten sanctions on Iran after it renewed nuclear activity in its facility in Fordo.
The development “is another wake-up call for the world — pressure must be increased and sanctions tightened,” Gantz says in a tweet. “Iran is dangerous for the world’s security. Iran is dangerous for Middle East stability. Iran is dangerous for Israel.
“There is no political disagreement [in Israel] regarding the Iranian threat — we are all committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejects French President Emmanuel Macron’s view that NATO is experiencing “brain death,” saying that such comments are not necessary.
Macron “used drastic words, that is not my view of cooperation in NATO,” says Merkel after talks with visiting chief of the transatlantic defense alliance Jens Stoltenberg.
“I don’t think that such sweeping judgments are necessary, even if we have problems and need to pull together,” she adds.
Stoltenberg meanwhile stresses that “NATO is strong,” adding that the United States and Europe “work together more than we have done for decades.”
Macron’s explosive comments come ahead of a NATO summit in Britain next month.
“You have no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies. None,” charged the French president.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accuses Iran of “continuing to lie” regarding its nuclear ambitions, after a meeting on the matter was held by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“About a year ago at the UN I exposed Iran’s secret plan to develop nuclear weapons in Turquzabad, on the outskirts of Tehran,” Netanyahu says, recalling his speech at the General Assembly. “I called on the IAEA to inspect Turquzabad. The agency indeed sent inspectors to the site. This morning the agency convened a special meeting in which it determined that Iran had lied regarding its nuclear program.
“I am telling you — it is continuing to lie,” he adds. “Iran is continuing to conceal its nuclear program. Iran is also continuing and has renewed even its illegal uranium enrichment, which is aimed solely at producing nuclear weapons.
“I call on the international community to wake up. I call on nations to join the United States and Israel and further increase the pressure on Iran,” he says.
“Iran is a danger not only to Israel and the Middle East. It is a danger to the entire world,” Netanyahu concludes. “I welcome the fact that at least today, the IAEA has understood so very well. In any case I again would like to make it clear that Israel won’t allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, under any circumstances.”
Alongside his previous video statement, released in Hebrew, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a more strongly worded English statement in which he accuses Europe of “stalling” on Iran’s nuclear program and urges nations to confront Tehran’s “aggression and terror.”
“Everything I told you a year ago has now been confirmed by the IAEA,” the premier says, recalling his exposure of the Turquzabad facility in last year’s UN General Assembly. “The IAEA has confirmed that Iran is has been violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran continues to hide its secret nuclear weapons program.
“It’s time for the nations of the world to resist Iran’s aggression and terror,” Netanyahu adds. “It’s time to snap back sanctions. It’s time to pressure Iran until it changes its ways. Iran must stop attacking the nations of the Middle East. Iran must stop threatening to destroy Israel. Europe must stop stalling. It must act against Iranian aggression now.”
Ten Israelis have been detained since this morning at the Kyiv airport, with Ukrainian authorities refusing to grant them access into the country, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
The Foreign Ministry says it is aware of the case, adding that “the Israeli Embassy in Ukraine is in contact with [the Israelis] and dealing with the matter with local authorities.”
It isn’t initially clear why the Israelis have been refused entry.
Lebanon’s outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri says discussions regarding the formation of a new government are underway among various political groups.
Hariri speaks after meeting President Michel Aoun. He provides no other details.
Hariri resigned on October 29, meeting a key demand of protesters who have been demonstrating for three weeks across the country against an entire political class they blame for bringing Lebanon to the verge of bankruptcy.
Aoun is required to set a date for binding consultations with heads of parliamentary blocs to name a new prime minister. But he has yet to do that, nine days after Hariri’s resignation.
The demonstrations have continued, meanwhile, as protesters accuse politicians of dragging their feet while an economic and financial crisis worsens.
The UN nuclear watchdog says it “does not agree with” Iran’s claims about one of its inspectors testing positive for traces of explosives.
The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency offers a rare statement to journalists after Iran’s representative made the claim earlier in Vienna.
The IAEA says that the “agency does not go into details in public about such matters, but based on the information available to us, the agency does not agree with Iran’s characterization of the situation involving the inspector, who was carrying out official safeguards duties in Iran.”
The IAEA adds that it will “consult with Iran with a view to clarifying the situation.”
John Bolton, who abruptly stepped down in September as US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, is willing to testify in the country’s inquiry regarding the impeachment of the president, Washington Post reports, quoting people “familiar with his views.”
Bolton is expected to be “damaging” to Trump and confirm statements of other administration officials who expressed alarm at the president’s alleged efforts to push Ukraine to investigate his political rivals while holding up military aid to Kyiv, the report says.
However, that isn’t likely to happen soon since before agreeing to testify, Bolton wants a court ruling on an ongoing constitutional dispute between the Trump administration and the US Congress on subpoenas — and that could take well into next year, the report adds.
Likud MK Nir Barkat publishes a video addressed to UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the British Jewish community, saying Corbyn was causing “embarrassment” to his party and that Israel “will not be silent” in the face of anti-Semitism.
“Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, I want to explain to you something about our people,” the former Jerusalem mayor and current member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says in the English-language clip. “When you attack one of us, you are attacking all of us. You need to understand that anti-Semitism in 2019 will not be tolerated. Our history shows that what starts as words, quickly leads to violence and even worse. But this time around, the State of Israel stands ready and we will not be silent. With your attacks on Israel’s legitimacy and by promoting hatred of the Jewish state, you are bringing shame on yourself and embarrassment to your party.”
“And to my friends in the Jewish community in Britain, please know that we are always here for you,” Barkat adds. “If you choose to embrace aliyah and come home to Israel, we will welcome you with open arms. We are one people with one heart — in Britain, in Israel, and all over the world, and no enemy will never ever defeat us.”
Moscow hails comments by French President Emmanuel Macron in which he said he believed NATO is experiencing “brain death.”
“These are golden words… a precise definition of the current state of NATO,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova writes on her Facebook page.
An Israeli judge is reportedly concerned for his security after two of his relatives were shot to death this week in southern Israel.
According to Channel 12 news, security guards in the town of Omer spotted suspects scoping out the home and car of Beersheba District Court Judge Naser Abu Taha, who lives in the community.
This activity was reported to the court and a probe into the matter led to the arrest of a suspect, who the network says was released after being questioned.
Days later, the judge’s relatives Jalal and Mohammed Abu Taha were shot dead outside Omer.
The report says though there is no evidence directly connecting the shooting to the intelligence gathering, the incident raises concerns the judge was the initial target of the killing.
Quoting sources close to the judge, Channel 12 says Naser Abu Taha felt threatened before and after the shooting.
Police have opened an investigation against Eliezer Berland, a rabbi convicted in the past of serial sexual misconduct who leads a cult of supporters, following an investigative television show that found he told a cancer patient not to accept medical treatment and to pay him money and she will live, Channel 13 reports.
After her daughter died as a result of that advice, Nurit Ben Moshe filed a police complaint, with her lawyer arguing that Berland’s conduct constituted manslaughter.
The investigation will focus on trying to get inside information from Berland’s supporters, a tough task since they are a closed circle and tend to be extremely devoted to their leader. Many of them have taken violent action and threatened those who speak against Berland.
A New York judge has ordered US President Donald Trump to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging he misused his charitable foundation to further his political and business interests.
Judge Saliann Scarpulla also signs off on an agreement to close the Trump Foundation and distribute about $1.7 million in remaining funds to other nonprofit groups.
A request for comment has been emailed to Trump’s lawyer.
New York’s attorney general filed a lawsuit last year alleging Trump and his family illegally operated the foundation as an extension of his businesses and his presidential campaign.
Attorney General Letitia James had been seeking about $2.8 million in restitution from the president. Scarpulla cut that amount to $2 million.