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Israel complained to Russia for inviting Hamas leader to Moscow — report

Russia said to dismiss request, saying that Jerusalem is also holding talks with Palestinian terror group

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as they prepare to deliver joint statements, after a meeting and a lunch in the Israeli leader's Jerusalem residence, June 25, 2012. (AP/Jim Hollander, Pool/File)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as they prepare to deliver joint statements, after a meeting and a lunch in the Israeli leader's Jerusalem residence, June 25, 2012. (AP/Jim Hollander, Pool/File)
  • Airbnb's Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs Chris Lehane (2L) meets with Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan (2R) in the northern West Bank on December 18, 2018. (Samaria Regional Council)
    Airbnb's Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs Chris Lehane (2L) meets with Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan (2R) in the northern West Bank on December 18, 2018. (Samaria Regional Council)
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on October 23, 2018. (AP/Amr Nabil)
    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on October 23, 2018. (AP/Amr Nabil)
  • Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2011. (AP /Virginia Mayo, File)
    Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2011. (AP /Virginia Mayo, File)
  • A picture taken on July 14, 2018 shows smoke plumes rising following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City. (AFP / MAHMUD HAMS)
    A picture taken on July 14, 2018 shows smoke plumes rising following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City. (AFP / MAHMUD HAMS)
  • This February 13, 2015 file photo shows British musician Roger Waters of Pink Floyd as he talks to members of the media outside the US embassy in central London. (AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL)
    This February 13, 2015 file photo shows British musician Roger Waters of Pink Floyd as he talks to members of the media outside the US embassy in central London. (AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL)

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

IDF’s ‘roof-knocking’ tactic killed two Gazan teenagers in July — report

Israel’s “roof-knocking” military tactic for warning Gazans of an impending airstrike to spare civilian lives allegedly killed two Palestinian teenagers in Gaza earlier this year, the New York Times reports.

The US paper cites a new report by rights groups B’Tselem and Forensic Architecture, which concludes that two teenage boys who were on the roof of a high-rise building in Gaza City on July 14 were in fact killed by the warning shot, which is designed to be loud but not lethal.

The report says the IDF released an incomplete video of the strike that didn’t show the boys’ deaths.

The military denies doctoring the video, saying the first visual evidence of the teenagers’ presence on the roof was today with the release of the new report.

Rona Ramon said to request cremation to spare family another funeral

Rona Ramon, the widow of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon who died of cancer yesterday, reportedly asked to be cremated to spare her children from having to bury another family member.

According to the Ynet news site, Ramon before her death left instructions that no funeral be held for her, and that her body be cremated.

The 54-year-old passed away after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. She is survived by her parents and three children: Tal, Yiftah and Noa.

Her husband, Israel’s first and only astronaut, was killed in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster. Six years later, their son Asaf, who had followed in his father’s footsteps to become an Israeli air force fighter pilot, was killed in a training accident.

Ramon reportedly said at Asaf’s funeral that he was taking her spot at the cemetery.

Nearly 2,000 jailed for life since 2016 coup: Turkey state media

Nearly 2,000 people have been sentenced to life in prison since the July 2016 attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish state media reports.

State news agency Anadolu says some 1,934 suspects have been told by the courts that they will spend the rest of their life in jail.

Of these, 978 people were jailed for life, Anadolu reports, while 956 were sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment, which has replaced the death penalty in Turkey and carries harsher conditions than normal life imprisonment convictions.

A total of 239 out of 289 cases opened after the failed coup have been closed. The remaining 50 include 18 in Ankara and nine in Istanbul, Anadolu adds.

Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, sits at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania in 2014 (AP Photo/Selahattin Sevi, File)

Ankara accuses the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen of ordering the 2016 coup attempt and refers to his movement as the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization.”

Gulen strenuously denies Turkey’s claims and followers insist his movement promotes peace and secular education, ridiculing the description of themselves as a terror group.

More than 3,050 people in all have been convicted over links to Gulen, with 1,123 given different jail sentences ranging from over a year to 20 years in prison.

— AFP

Vatican committee: Church credibility at risk over sex abuse

Organizers of a Vatican summit on sex abuse prevention are warning that the credibility of the Catholic Church is in jeopardy over the abuse scandal and are urging participants to meet with victims to hear their pain firsthand.

In a letter sent to the presidents of bishops’ conferences worldwide, organizers say the church must develop a “comprehensive and communal response” to the crisis, and that the first step is “acknowledging the truth of what has happened.”

Pope Francis invited the church leaders to the February 21-24 summit to respond to the latest eruption of the scandal in the US, Chile and elsewhere. The Vatican said the summit would focus on three main areas: responsibility, accountability and transparency.

Organizers wrote: “Each of us needs to own this challenge.”

— AP

Defying Roger Waters, Pink Floyd cover band to perform in Israel

After announcing the cancellation of three planned shows in Israel following pressure from BDS activist Roger Waters, the UK Pink Floyd Experience cover band will come to Israel for concerts on January 4, 5 and 6, Israeli production company EGOEast Productions confirms.

The band will host Israeli Pink Floyd tribute band Echoes as part of performances in Beersheba, Tel Aviv and Haifa.

— Jessica Steinberg

UK court jails neo-Nazi couple who named child after Hitler

A British court sentences a fanatical neo-Nazi couple who named their baby son after Adolf Hitler to prison for belonging to a group banned under anti-terror laws.

Adam Thomas is sentenced to six and a half years in prison and his Portuguese partner Claudia Patatas to five years in prison by judge Melbourne Inman at Birmingham Crown Court.

Thomas, 22, and Patatas, 38, are among six people sentenced for membership of National Action, which in 2016 became the first right-wing group to be banned under anti-terror laws.

In his sentencing, Inman says the group has “horrific” goals.

National Action wants “the overthrow of democracy in this country by serious violence and murder, and the imposition of a Nazi-style state which would eradicate whole sections of society by such violence and mass-murder,” Inman says.

Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas, accused neo-Nazis who named their baby after Hitler. (West Midlands Police via BBC)

The judge says the couple, who gave their child the middle name “Adolf,” has “a long history of violent racist beliefs.”

“You acted together in all you thought, said and did, in the naming of your son and the disturbing photographs of your child by symbols of Nazism and the Ku Klux Klan.”

Photographs recovered from their house showed Thomas cradling his newborn son while wearing the Ku Klux Klan white robe.

The couple’s close friend, Darren Fletcher, who admitted National Action membership before trial, is also jailed for five years for the same crime.

Fletcher, 28, taught his daughter to give a Nazi salute.

Daniel Bogunovic, 27, a leading member of National Action’s Midlands chapter, is sentenced to six years and four months.

Two other men, cyber security worker Joel Wilmore, 24, and van driver Nathan Pryke, 26, are also sent to prison.

— AFP

Trump accuses Facebook, Twitter, Google of Democrat bias

US President Donald Trump takes a swipe at tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google, accusing them of being biased in favor of opposition Democrats.

“Facebook, Twitter and Google are so biased toward the Dems it is ridiculous!” Trump tweeted. “Twitter, in fact, has made it much more difficult for people to join @realDonaldTrump. They have removed many names & greatly slowed the level and speed of increase. They have acknowledged-done NOTHING!”

Trump’s tirade follows a detailed US Senate report on Russian troll farms that disrupted the 2016 US presidential election via social media.

— AFP

Court extends remand of suspect in beating of Arab bus driver

The Jerusalem District Court extends the remand of a suspect in last week’s brutal beating of an Arab bus driver in the West Bank settlement of Modiin Illit by one day.

The decision overturns yesterday’s ruling by a lower court that said the suspect can be released to house arrest.

Putin claims Russia’s new weapons have no foreign equivalent

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the country’s new weapons have no foreign equivalents and will help ensure its security for decades to come.

Speaking during a meeting with the top military brass in Moscow, Putin specifically mentions the new Kinzhal hypersonic missile and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, saying they have significantly bolstered Russia’s military capability.

Kinzhal has already been commissioned by the military. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says the aircraft carrying missiles have flown 89 patrol missions this year.

Shoigu says the Avangard will enter service with the military next year.

Putin says Russia will have to respond to the planned US withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. He reaffirms a strong denial of Washington’s claim that Russia has violated the pact and blames the US for breaking it.

— AP

Meeting Abbas, Jordanian king accuses Israel of causing ‘escalation’ in West Bank

Jordanian King Abdullah meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and accuses Israel of carrying out an “escalation” of violence in the West Bank, to Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency.

Abdullah also calls on the international community to pressure Israel to halt its actions in the West Bank, the Petra report adds.

“His majesty stressed the necessity that the international community bear its responsibilities regarding the Israeli escalation and exert all forms of pressure on Israel to halt these measures that will only lead to more violence,” it says.

Hussein al-Sheikh, a top PA official, yesterday told Palestine TV, the official PA television channel, that Jordan and Egypt had exerted pressure on Israel to stop “the dangerous escalation” in the West Bank.

A string of terror attacks took place in the West Bank and Jerusalem last week, resulting in the deaths of two Israeli soldiers and a baby boy who was delivered prematurely after his pregnant mother was shot, as well as leaving several others injured.

In the wake of the attacks and amid manhunts for suspects, Israeli security forces killed the alleged gunman from October’s Barkan terror attack and partially demolished his home, and killed the man believed to have been behind the shooting which led to the baby’s death. They have also raided Ramallah several times and demolished the home of a Palestinian accused of killing an Israeli soldier in May.

Meanwhile, settlers lobbed rocks at Palestinians driving along Route 60, the West Bank’s main thoroughfare, and in some cases, targeted homes in Palestinian villages.

— Adam Rasgon

Israel-Saudi rapprochement said to face setback due to Khashoggi murder fallout

The ongoing secret rapprochement with Saudi Arabia has reportedly been hindered by the international backlash over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The US-based writer was killed on October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, with the CIA concluding Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was at least aware of the plan.

In the international fallout, two key aides to the crown prince have lost their jobs.

Citing several unnamed officials “familiar with the matter,” the WSJ report says that both sacked officials — Saud al-Qahtani and Ahmed al-Assiri — were deeply involved in Riyadh’s outreach to Israel, which has now faced a setback.

Qahtani, a media adviser, reportedly ordered Saudi press to soften Israel’s image as an enemy, and his subordinate Assiri made several secret visits to the Jewish state — making him the highest-ranked Saudi official to visit the country. The discussions were said to focus on purchasing Israeli surveillance software.

The report adds that Mossad chief Yossi Cohen met Saudi officials several times during the past year. It says Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates regularly share intelligence information with one another on Iran and on transit through the Red Sea.

Teenager dies after he is hit by a bus in Tel Aviv

A 17-year-old boy dies after being hit by a bus on Jerusalem Boulevard in Tel Aviv.

According to Hebrew-language media reports, the victim was riding an electrical bike.

He was taken to Wolfson hospital in Holon, but after attempting to save his life the medical staff pronounces his death.

Police recommend Hadera mayor stand trial for corruption

Police recommend indicting Hadera Mayor Zvi Gendelman for fraud and breach of trust, along with a contractor with whom he had an alleged illicit electoral deal.

Gendelman is suspected of working in favor of contractor Sammy Levy when he was a mayoral candidate, in exchange for Levy’s support in the vote. The two didn’t report their ties to authorities as required, police say in a statement.

Conclusions in the investigation, conducted by the Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit, will now be handed to the state prosecution, which will make a final decision on whether to press charges.

European soccer organization opens probe of Chelsea over anti-Semitic chants

UEFA has launched an investigation into alleged anti-Semitic chants during Chelsea’s Europa League tie at Vidi, the governing body of European announces.

Minutes into the Europa League match in Budapest on December 13, which ended 2-2, a vocal minority of Chelsea fans were heard allegedly singing a derogatory chant about Tottenham Hotspur supporters, featuring anti-Semitic language.

Chelsea condemned the chanting and promised to take the strongest possible action against any supporters found to be guilty of singing racist songs.

The incident in Hungary came a matter of days after four fans were suspended for abusing Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling.

The England forward later issued a statement accusing the British media of fueling racism in the way it reports certain stories about black players.

Chelsea banned four supporters pending an internal inquiry.

The results of UEFA’s investigation will be published by the middle of January.

— AFP

Trump directs Pentagon to create ‘Space Command’

US President Donald Trump orders the creation of “Space Command,” a new organizational structure within the Pentagon that will have overall control of military space operations.

“I direct the establishment, consistent with United States law, of United States Space Command as a functional Unified Combatant Command,” Trump says in a memo to Defense Secretary Defense Jim Mattis.

The new command is separate from Trump’s goal to build an entirely new branch of the military called “Space Force,” but could be a step in that direction.

— AFP

Israeli baby hurt as rocks hurled at car in West Bank

A nine-month-old baby is lightly wounded as rocks are pelted at an Israeli car near the Palestinian town of Halhul in the West Bank, Hebrew-language media reports.

The baby is taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for treatment.

Poll shows Hamas leader Haniyeh would win Palestinian elections

A public opinion poll shows that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would lose to the leader of the Islamic terror group Hamas if elections were held today.

The poll conducted by prominent pollster Khalil Shikaki and released today shows that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would win with 49 percent to Abbas’ 42 percent.

Shikaki links the results to what is perceived as a Hamas “win” in its latest confrontation with Israel and dissatisfaction with Abbas’ government, particularly over a new social security law.

The poll interviewed 1,200 people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and had a 3 percent margin of error.

Abbas’ Fatah faction and Hamas are bitter rivals. Palestinian elections were last held in 2006 and have been repeatedly delayed since.

— Agencies

Settler leader hosts top Airbnb official in effort to overturn West Bank boycott

Airbnb’s Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs Chris Lehane meets with Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan in the northern West Bank.

The sit-down comes a day after the vacation rental giant rejected reports that it had walked back its decision to remove listings in Israeli settlements.

Dagan brings Lehane’s delegation to the Barkan Industrial Park where two Israelis were killed in an October terror attack. The settler leader says the Airbnb official was impressed by the continued operation of the site’s factories where both Israeli and Palestinians are employed.

“I was pleased to hear that they opposed the boycott movement. We also agreed that they would consider my request [to walk back their decision] and that the dialogue would continue,” Dagan says in a statement.

— Jacob Magid

Haley says Trump’s peace plan detailed, takes advantage of ‘new technology’

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has given a hint of the Trump administration’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians, saying it’s long, takes advantage of new technology, and has a lot both sides will like and things they won’t like.

Nikki Haley speaks at a UN Security Council Meeting on the Middle East on November 19, 2018. (Courtesy)

Haley says Israelis and Palestinians as well as countries around the world have a choice: They can focus on the parts they dislike, which she says means returning “to the failed status quo of the last 50 years.” Or they can focus on parts they like and encourage peace negotiations to move forward.

The ambassador tells the UN Security Council that “both sides would benefit greatly from a peace agreement, but the Palestinians would benefit more, and the Israelis would risk more.”

— AP

Trump agrees to shut down his embattled charity

US President Donald Trump has agreed to shut down his personal charity, the Trump Foundation, which has been accused of engaging in “persistently illegal conduct,” the New York attorney general says.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood says the Foundation will be dissolved and its remaining assets distributed to other charities.

“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone,” Underwood says in a statement.

— AFP

Arab League urges Australia, Brazil to shift stance on Jerusalem

The Arab League adopts a resolution calling on Australia and Brazil to “abide by international law” concerning the status of Jerusalem.

The bloc decides to dispatch a “high-ranking delegation” to Brazil and Australia to inform officials there on the need to “abide by international law” concerning the city.

The decision is taken at an extraordinary meeting at the League’s Cairo headquarters attended by delegates from member countries.

The pan-Arab body also calls on the UN Security Council to “assume its responsibilities by putting pressure on Israel… and stop its aggression against the Palestinian people.”

In November, Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro announced his intention to move his country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

And on Saturday Australia announced its recognition of west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, although a contentious embassy shift from Tel Aviv will not occur until a peace settlement is achieved.

Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.

— AFP

Incendiary balloon from Gaza lands in Israel for 1st time since truce agreed

For the first time since a truce was agreed last month with terror group Hamas which rules Gaza, an incendiary balloon lands in Israeli territory.

The balloon was discovered this morning by IDF troops near the Gaza border, attached to an improvised explosive device, Hebrew-language media reports.

The bomb didn’t detonate and the balloon — which was reportedly tracked in the air by the forces — caused no injuries or damage.

UN Mideast envoy condemns Palestinian terror attacks, Israeli settlements

The UN envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, condemns last week’s West Bank terror attack in Ofra in which a pregnant woman was seriously injured and her baby died, as well as Hamas’s rocket launches at Israeli cities.

“There is no justification for terror and I call on all to condemn it,” he tells the UN Security Council. “The indiscriminate launching of rockets against Israeli towns and villages violates international law, placing civilians under imminent threat.”

Mladenov also criticizes Israel for apparently shooting a Palestinian man in the West Bank while he was walking away, and for allegedly killing a 4-year-old boy on the Gaza border.

The envoy says he “acknowledges” Israeli efforts to prevent settler violence against Palestinian civilians, and says Hamas has an “obligation to protect children from violence and ensure that they are never put in harm’s way.”

He slams Israeli settlements, saying they are “illegal under international law, undermine hope among the population, trust between the parties, and the two-state solution itself.”

Mladenov particularly notes the impending demolition of the Bedouin hamlet Khan al-Ahmar deemed illegal by Israel, saying such a move “could amount to a serious violation of Israel’s obligations under international law.”

Chelsea chairman blames ‘unpleasant’ anti-Semitic minority for shaming club

Bruce Buck, chairman of British soccer club Chelsea, has blamed a “deeply unpleasant but vocal minority” for shaming the club’s fans in an open letter following recent incidents of abuse.

The Premier League club and police opened investigations after alleged racist abuse was directed at Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling by a section of home supporters at Stamford Bridge earlier this month.

Chelsea suspended four supporters pending an investigation.

And minutes into last week’s Europa League clash with Vidi in Budapest, a vocal minority of Chelsea fans were heard singing a derogatory chant about Tottenham supporters, featuring anti-Semitic language.

European governing body UEFA has announced it launched an investigation into the chants, with the results due to be published next month.

“After recent events, I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to our community and fans to condemn the actions of a few mindless individuals at some of our recent matches,” Buck says in the letter published on the club’s website.

In this February 13, 2018, file photo, Chelsea FC chairman Bruce Buck speaks during the Qatar National Sports Day 2018 event at Stamford Bridge Stadium, in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File)

“These actions are unacceptable and unwelcome both in our club and in football.”

“A deeply unpleasant but vocal minority which refuses to join us in the 21st century has shamed the great majority of our decent, well-behaved fans.”

He says the club “must all come together to stamp out these ugly scenes,” listing a number of initiatives that Chelsea have been involved in to tackle discrimination.

“If you do not share these values, this is not the club for you,” he says.

“We must not allow a small minority of fans to bring further embarrassment upon us, and will continue to take the strongest possible action against them.”

— AFP

UN Security Council to discuss Hezbollah tunnels on Wednesday

The UN Security Council will convene tomorrow to discuss Israeli accusations against the Hezbollah terror group over attack tunnels discovered by the IDF on the Israel-Lebanon border, Israel’s UN missions says in a statement.

The discussion, requested by Israel and the United States, will begin at 10 a.m. local time (5 p.m. Israel time).

Israel has so far uncovered four passages crossing into Israel from Lebanon, and the UNIFIL peacekeeper force has confirmed their existence and acknowledged they violate UN resolution 1701 adopted at the end of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

“It is time for the Security Council to employ all its means against the terror infrastructure of Hezbollah, which is continuing to strengthen under the Lebanese government,” Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon says in a statement.

Dutch supermarket dismisses anti-Semitism claim as misunderstanding

The Netherlands’ largest supermarket chain dismisses as a misunderstanding footage published Friday by bloggers showing an employee of the Albert Heijn chain laughing as a man wearing a kippah walks by.

The bloggers, who run the Bondgenoten YouTube channel, filmed the reactions of passersby to one of them wearing a kippah. At the supermarket near a heavily Muslim part of Utrecht, a worker laughs as the blogger walks past them. A security guard asks, “What are you doing?” and the employee replies: “Mocking.”

An Albert Heijn spokesperson writes on Twitter that “the employees shared an internal joke” before the blogger walked in. “It’s a coincidence that the filmmakers misinterpreted. Very annoying,” the spokesperson adds.

Elsewhere at the same shopping center, the bloggers filmed two men shouting “cancer Jew” at them, then denying shouting it and telling them to “get lost.” In the city center, a passerby told the blogger: “Dirty homo.”

In a recent survey on anti-Semitism among 16,395 European Jews in 12 countries, the Netherlands had the highest number of respondents — 11 percent — saying they always avoid wearing a kippah in public due to safety concerns. Less than a third of Dutch respondents said they never avoid wearing a kippah, with 22 percent saying they avoid doing so frequently.

— JTA

Israel said to protest to Russia over invitation for Hamas leader

Israel has voiced strong protest to Russia for inviting Hamas politburo leader Ismail Haniyeh to Moscow, Channel 10 reports.

During the past two weeks, Israeli envoy to Russia Gary Koren is said to have complained to senior Russian officials about the invite, while Netanyahu hasn’t been invited to meet Putin since Syrian air defenses downed a Russian plane when attempting to hit an Israeli jet. Moscow has blamed Israel over the incident.

Senior Israeli officials are quoted saying Israel has made similar protests to Russia’s embassy in Israel.

Haniyeh’s invite hasn’t yet matured into an actual meeting.

Moscow reportedly dismissed the Israeli protests, saying Jerusalem is also holding talks with the Palestinian terror group.

Sentencing of ex-Trump aide Michael Flynn postponed

US President Donald Trump’s former national security chief Michael Flynn receives a postponement of his sentencing after an angry judge threatens to give him a stiff sentence.

Russia collusion investigation head Robert Mueller had proposed Flynn receive no jail time for lying to investigators about his Moscow ties.

But Judge Emmet Sullivan says Flynn has behaved in a “traitorous” manner and gives the former three-star general the option of receiving a potentially tough prison sentence now — or wait until Mueller’s investigation is closer to being completed to better demonstrate his cooperation with investigators.

— AFP

Minister bans agriculture imports from PA despite security officials’ opposition

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) has ordered an indefinite freeze on imports of Palestinian agricultural goods into Israel, Hadashot TV news reports.

The decision, taken by Ariel without consultation with other government bodies or security officials, could cost the beleaguered Palestinian economy as much as NIS 1 million ($265,000) a day.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel attends a Jewish Home faction at the Knesset in Jerusalem, December 11, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The move has drawn criticism from security officials who fear a further economic squeeze of the Palestinians could lead to an escalation in violence amid efforts to restore calm to the West Bank after a spike in terror attacks over the past week.

According to Ariel, the decision is a response to a Palestinian Authority order to meat purveyors to stop buying lamb from Israeli suppliers, an order that violates standing agreements between Israel and the PA.

Ariel’s move can be overturned by the government.

Israel said to supplies funds — via Mossad — to protect Jewish communities abroad

An Israeli ministry has recently supplied the Mossad spying with more than NIS 10 million ($2.66 million) to fund security for Jewish communities around the world, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

Citing “officials,” the report says the money handed out by the unnamed ministry is intended to support local security bodies.

The report points out that such funding could be diplomatically sensitive — since it could be perceived as Israeli interference in internal affairs of foreign countries.

Paris woman’s nose broken in alleged anti-Semitic assault

A French-Jewish woman tells police that two teenagers robbed and hit her on a main street of Paris suburb, hurling anti-Semitic insults.

The woman, aged 20, says in her complaint to police that the incident happened yesterday in the heavily Jewish suburb of Sarcelles north of Paris, the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, writes in a statement.

Prying her cellphone out of her hands, the two assailants, whom she says were black, hit her face while saying: “Are you afraid, you Jewess?” she tells police. A passerby intervened, allowing the woman to flee to her home with a broken nose and bloody face, the report says. She was on her way home from work, she also says. The two alleged assailants fled the scene. BNVCA calls on police to investigate and apprehend the suspects.

France has seen an increase of 69 percent in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the first 10 months of 2018 over the corresponding period last year, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said last month.

In addition to anti-Semitic assaults motivated purely by hate, French Jews have reported an increase in the number of incidents also featuring robbery. Some of the victims were selected because they are Jewish, while others began as random criminal acts before escalating into violent assaults after the perpetrators discovered the Jewish identity of their victims.

— JTA

Belgian premier resigns as coalition comes under pressure

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has resigned amid pressure on his government after the biggest party in his coalition quit over his support for the UN global compact on migration.

Michel tells Belgian lawmakers that “I am taking the decision to offer my resignation. I am now going to see the king” to inform him.

The lawmakers were demanding that he submit his new minority government to a confidence vote, but Michel had so far refused and a confrontation seemed likely this week.

— AP

Three people injured in shooting in northern Israel, motive unclear

Three people are wounded in a shooting at a gas station near Kibbutz Megiddo in northern Israel.

The motive is unclear.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says paramedics are treating two people who were seriously injured, and another person who is in moderate condition.

Trump’s Mideast envoy slams Abbas’s Fatah for ‘vile’ glorification of terrorists

US President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East peace process, Jason Greenblatt, slams the ruling Palestinian faction in the West Bank, Fatah, over its support for two terrorists who killed Israeli civilians.

In a tweet, Greenblatt shares a statement from Fatah — which is headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas — in which Ashraf Na’alowa and Salih Barghouti are hailed as “heroes.” Greenblatt brands the statement “disgraceful, vile and contemptible.”

Na’alowa killed two Israeli coworkers at the Barkan Industrial Park in October. Barghouti committed last week’s shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Ofra in which a pregnant woman — along with six others — was seriously injured and her baby later died. Both were killed last week in shootouts with IDF forces attempting to arrest them.

Megiddo shooting likely a botched robbery — reports

Reports in Hebrew-language media suggest the shooting near Kibbutz Megiddo is a criminal incident and not a terror attack, likely an attempted robbery that went awry.

Reports now say there are five casualties, four of whom are seriously injured and another in moderate condition.

Large police forces are on their way to the scene.

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Belgian premier resigns as coalition comes under pressure

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has resigned amid pressure on his government after the biggest party in his coalition quit over his support for the UN global compact on migration.

Michel tells Belgian lawmakers that “I am taking the decision to offer my resignation. I am now going to see the king” to inform him.

The lawmakers were demanding that he submit his new minority government to a confidence vote, but Michel had so far refused and a confrontation seemed likely this week.

— AP