Despite tensions over downed plane, Israel and Russia hold economic meeting
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Russia gave Syria S-300 missiles for free — report

Netanyahu says he’ll soon meet Putin, discuss Iranian presence on Golan border and arms transfers to Lebanon’s Hezbollah

In this illustrative photo taken on August 27, 2013, a Russian S-300 air defense system is on display at the opening of the MAKS Air Show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Russia (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)
In this illustrative photo taken on August 27, 2013, a Russian S-300 air defense system is on display at the opening of the MAKS Air Show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Russia (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

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

2nd victim of West Bank terror shooting to be buried

Ziv Hajbi, who was killed by a Palestinian gunman in a shooting attack in the West Bank, will be buried today at 2 p.m. in the southern Israeli farming community of Nir Yisrael.

Hajbi, a 35-year-old father of three, was an accountant at the Alon Group, which has a factory in the Barkan Industrial Park in the northern West Bank.

Along with fellow employee Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, who was buried last night, Hajbi was shot to death there by coworker Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa. A third woman was also moderately wounded in the attack.

Israeli security forces are still working to find Na’alowa, who fled the scene of the shooting and is believed to be hiding in the West Bank.

Despite tensions over downed plane, Israel and Russia hold economic meeting

Despite lingering tensions between Israel and Russia over the downing of a Russian jet by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli airstrike last month, representatives of the two countries are set to kick off a session in Jerusalem of the joint Russian-Israel intergovernmental committee of economic cooperation.

The two-day meeting will include decisions on a number of topics, Israel’s Foreign Ministry says, including trade, pension payments for Russian immigrants, education and health, among others.

Additionally, talks will be held between Israel and members states of the Russian-dominated Eurasian Customs Union on a free trade deal.

The Russian delegation will be led by Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov and the Israeli side by Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin.

“This meeting, in particular in these days, has great important and reflects the will of the two sides to preserve their relations and advance them even further,” a statement from the Foreign Ministry says.

US urges UN court to toss out Iranian case on frozen assets

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The US is urging the United Nations’ highest court to toss out a case filed by Iran that seeks to recover around $2 billion worth of frozen assets the US Supreme Court awarded to victims of a 1983 bombing in Lebanon and other attacks linked to Iran.

The hearing at the International Court of Justice is based on a bilateral treaty that the Trump administration terminated last week after the court ordered Washington to suspend some of the sanctions it re-imposed on Iran after withdrawing from the nuclear deal in May.

US State Department lawyer Richard Visek tells the 15-judge panel that US objections to the court’s jurisdiction and admissibility “provide a clear basis for ruling that this case should not proceed to the merits.”

— AP

Man badly hurt after apparent self-immolation in Jerusalem

A man is badly injured after apparently lighting himself on fire next to a park in Jerusalem, police say.

The man is brought by Magen David Adom paramedics to a hospital in the city.

Police who arrived at the scene are working to clarify the circumstances of the incident.

Egyptian army says 52 jihadists killed in Sinai

CAIRO — Egyptian security forces pressing a campaign against jihadists have killed 52 suspected Islamist fighters in the Sinai Peninsula in operations in which three soldiers also died, the army says Monday.

The military launched a sweeping operation in February focused on the Sinai in eastern Egypt aimed at wiping out jihadists, including from the Islamic State terror group, who have been waging a bloody insurgency.

On Monday, the military says that 52 “takfiris” or Sunni Muslim extremists were killed in two separate operations by security forces in the restive peninsula.

Three members of the armed forces were also killed in these operations, it says in a statement, without stating when they took place.

The military has regularly reported operations in the Sinai since it launched the campaign.

According to official figures, a total of more than 350 suspected jihadists and at least 30 soldiers have been killed in the “Sinai 2018” campaign.

— AFP

Hundreds attend funeral for West Bank terror shooting victim

Hundreds attend the funeral of Ziv Hajbi, a 35-year-old father of three who was killed yesterday in a shooting attack in the West Bank.

Among those attending the funeral, the Walla news site reports, are relatives of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, who was also killed in the attack at the Barkan Industrial Park and buried last night.

Mother of terror victim on attacker: ‘I want this person to die’

The mother of terror victim Ziv Hajbi remembers her son as someone who “loved life, loved work,” and calls for the death of his suspected murderer.

“He left early in the morning for work and this is what he got in the end, this is what we got in the end,” Channel 10 news quotes Iris Hajbi as saying at the funeral in the southern moshav of Nir Yisrael.

Hajbi was one of two Israelis killed in the shooting attack yesterday by a Palestinian coworker at the Barkan Industrial Park.

“I want this person to die,” Iris Hajbi says of the attacker. “Anyone who touches Jews should be killed.”

“On this coming Shabbat he has a birthday. He is 35, just 35,” she says of her son. “Why do I need to bury my son at age 35.”

Turkey summons Saudi envoy over missing journalist, asks to search consulate

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has summoned the Saudi ambassador in Ankara to request Riyadh’s “full cooperation” in an investigation over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The 59-year-old Khashoggi went missing last Tuesday while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée.

A Turkish official says the Saudi ambassador met with Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal on Sunday at the ministry. The Turkish private NTV television says Ankara requested permission for Turkish investigators to search the consulate building in Istanbul.

Turkish officials claim that the Washington Post contributor was slain at the consulate and his body was later removed from the building.

Saudi officials have denied the allegations as baseless. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he would await the results of an investigation.

— AP

Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018, in Istanbul. (AFP Photo/Ozan Kose)

France’s Le Pen distances herself from Steve Bannon

ROME — French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is distancing herself from former White House strategist Steve Bannon, saying only Europeans will save the continent.

Le Pen says Monday, at a meeting in Rome, that she wants to clarify “lots of conjecture” about Bannon’s reported plans to set up a foundation, The Movement, to boost far-right parties in Europe.

Le Pen says Bannon is not European, but rather an American who wants to create a think tank.

She says: “But we, and we alone, are the ones who will shape the political force that is born from the European elections, because we are attached to our liberty, attached to our sovereignty and we together, the representatives of the different peoples of Europe, are the ones who will shape the political forces that aim specifically to save Europe.”

— AP

National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, right, and former White House strategist Steve Bannon hold a press conference at the party congress in the northern French city of Lille, on March 10, 2018 (AP Photo)

Wanted Egyptian jihadist captured in Libya

BENGHAZI, Libya — The self-styled Libyan National Army says its troops have captured a prominent jihadist wanted in neighboring Egypt.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Monday, the army says Hesham Eshmawi was captured in an “operation” in the eastern town of Derna.

A Twitter account run by spokesman Ahmed al-Mosmari publishes a mugshot of Eshmawi with a bloodied face. The image matches photos of Eshmawi widely used in the Egyptian media.

Eshmawi, a former Egyptian army officer, has long been suspected of having fled to Libya from where he masterminded attacks in Egypt.

He is believed to have been behind a 2013 assassination attempt against then-Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim and several deadly ambushes of security forces in the country’s Western Desert near the Libyan border.

— AP

Good governance group appeals to High Court over police chief’s tenure

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel files an appeal with the High Court of Justice over Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s decision not to extend the tenure of Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich for a fourth year.

The group says any decision by the government on a new police commissioner presents conflict of interest concerns in light of ongoing criminal investigations involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The situation in which the prime minister himself is under investigation naturally places all members of the government in a position in which in any decision they make regarding the identity of a new police commissioner will be tainted by concerns of a conflict of interest and won’t receive the trust of the public,” the group says in a statement.

Erdan last month announced he would not keep Alsheich on the job for a customary fourth year. The police chief has been at loggerheads with Netanyahu over the corruption probes, two of which police have recommended the premier be charged over.

Police Chief Roni Alsheich (left), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan at a welcoming ceremony held in Alsheich’s honour, at Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, on December 3, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Qatar Airways to continue Iran flights despite US sanctions

DOHA, Qatar — US sanctions on Iran will not impact Qatar Airways’ flights to the Islamic Republic, the airline’s boss Akbar al-Baker says on Monday.

Speaking at a high-profile business conference in the Qatari capital Doha, al-Baker says services to Iran would continue despite a tightening economic and political squeeze on Iran by Washington.

“Aviation is not a sanctioned industry, Qatar Airways will continue to operate into the cities we are currently operating in Iran,” he says. “Our flights to Iran will not be affected.”

Qatar Airways’ Iran destinations include Mashhad and Shiraz, while the airline operates daily flights to Tehran, according to its website.

Baker’s comments come as US President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to impose a second round of tough sanctions on Iran next month.

— AFP

 

Woman injured in West Bank shooting attack released from hospital

Sara Vaturi, who was shot yesterday during a terror attack in the West Bank, is released from Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tivka.

Vaturi, 54, was moderately injured in the deadly shooting at the Barkan Industrial Park.

Tehran dismisses Saudi Arabia’s claims it can replace Iranian oil

TEHRAN, Iran — The Iranian oil minister says on Monday that the market will never believe “exaggerated” claims by Saudi Arabia that it can replace Iranian oil shipments lost due to renewed US sanctions.

“Such exaggerations might please Mr Trump, but the market will never believe them,” Bijan Namdar Zanganeh says, according to the oil ministry’s SHANA news site.

“These statements were made due to Mr. Trump’s pressure on Saudi authorities. In reality, neither Saudi Arabia nor any other producer has such a capability,” he adds.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg on Friday that Saudi Arabia “did (its) job and more” by making up for the recent drop in Iranian oil sales.

He said Iran’s sales had fallen by 700,000 barrels per day since the United States announced in May that it was pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposing sanctions on its oil industry.

— AFP

This photo from March 12, 2017, shows a an Iranian oil facility on Kharg Island, on the shore of the Persian Gulf. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

Jewish National Fund sets aside NIS 100 million for projects in Gaza area towns

The Jewish National Fund announces it’ll set aside NIS 100 million to fund projects in Gaza-adjacent communities.

It says the funds will go toward housing projects, bicycle paths and playgrounds, and restoring damaged forests, among other things.

The decision comes after KKL-JNF’s board of directors met in the southern city of Sderot and toured the border area.

Communities near the Gaza Strip have had to contend for months with the launching of flaming airborne devices from the Palestinian enclave toward Israel as part of the “March of Return” border clashes. The incendiary devices have burned thousands of acres of forest and farmland and caused millions of shekels in estimated damages.

Navy clashes with Palestinian boats on Gaza maritime border

Dozens of Palestinian boats are taking part in a violent naval protest against the Israeli Navy to mark 11 years since Israel imposed a blockade on the Palestinian enclave after the Hamas terror group came to power there.

In addition, thousands of Palestinians are clashing with Israeli troops along the northern Gaza border, near Zikim beach, south of Ashkelon, the military says.

The protesters threw rocks and rolled burning tires toward the troops on the other side of the security fence, the spokesperson says.

There too, the soldiers responded with tear gas and other less-lethal weapons, as well as live fire in some cases.

— Judah Ari Gross

Minister accuses Hebrew U of ‘chutzpah’ in case of detained US student

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan accuses the Hebrew University of Jerusalem of “chutzpah” after it calls on him to allow an American student detained at the airport to enter the country.

Lara Alqasem, a US citizen of Palestinian descent, has been in custody since she arrived at Ben Gurion Airport last week for a master’s program at the university. The Population Immigration and Border Authority said the decision to deny Alqasem entry was due to her “boycott activity” against Israel and membership in Students for Justice in Palestine, a campus group that calls for boycotting Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians.

“It is very sad that the Hebrew University is taking the side of a foreign boycott activist who served in a violent group that ‘shuts the mouths’ of every Israel supporter on campuses in the United States,” Erdan, a member of the ruling Likud party, writes on his Twitter account.

“What chutzpah this body has, which is funded by the Israeli public, to ignore the law and the delegitimization campaign against the state and to instead help someone who boycotts and wants to harm Israel,” he adds.

In addition to calling on Erdan and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to allow Alqasem to enter Israel, the university has also requested to join an appeal Alqasem filed against her deportation, the Haaretz daily reports.

Gaza fire balloon sparks blaze in south

Since this morning, firefighters have worked to extinguish one blaze in southern Israel caused by an incendiary balloon launched from the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Fire and Rescue Services says.

— Jacob Magid

Trump says he has no plans to ax Deputy AG Rosenstein

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump says he doesn’t have plans to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Rosenstein’s job security has been under question since news reports last month said that he had discussed possibly secretly recording Trump to expose chaos in the White House and invoking constitutional provisions to get him removed from office.

Rosenstein is joining Trump aboard Air Force One to an event in Florida on Monday, a likely indication that his Justice Department job is at least temporarily safe.

Trump tells reporters Monday that he has a “very good relationship” with Rosenstein. Their meeting two weeks ago was postponed amid the Supreme Court nomination hearings.

Rosenstein oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.

— AP

US President Donald Trump speaks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, on October 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Bennett claims family of West Bank terrorist to get NIS 15,000 a month

Education Minister Naftali Bennett claims that the family of the Palestinian terrorist who killed two Israelis yesterday in a West Bank shooting attack will begin receiving NIS 15,000 a month at the start of November.

“This must be stopped,” the Ynet news site quotes Bennett saying in reference to the Palestinian Authority’s policy of paying monthly stipends to families of security prisoners.

Speaking at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies, Bennett also gripes that the homes of Palestinian attackers are not being demolished swiftly enough.

“We need to destroy the home of the terrorist. Not measure, destroy,” Bennett says.

The Israel Defense Forces said yesterday it had measured the home of Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, the gunman in the attack, ahead of its eventual destruction.

Labor leader meets Jordan’s king in Amman to talk peace process

Jordan’s King Abdullah II hosts opposition Labor party leader Avi Gabbay in Amman for talks on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Abdullah called for a revival of the peace process based on a two-state solution with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, according to his office, among other conditions.

Gabbay also voiced support for the two-state solution, the royal court says, calling it the best way to guarantee Israel’s security.

GOP senator warns of major impact on US-Saudi ties if journalist was killed

WASHINGTON — A top Senate ally of US President Donald Trump warns Monday of a “devastating” impact on the US alliance with Saudi Arabia if allegations are confirmed that the kingdom killed a prominent journalist.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says Riyadh must provide “honest answers” after a Turkish government source said that the Saudis killed Washington Post opinion contributor Jamal Khashoggi when he visited the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

Graham says his position was shared by Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ben Cardin, a senior Democrat on the panel.

“We agree that if there was any truth to the allegations of wrongdoing by the Saudi government it would be devastating to the US-Saudi relationship and there will be a heavy price to be paid — economically and otherwise,” Graham tweets.

“Our country’s values should be and must be a cornerstone of our foreign policy with foes and allies alike,” he says.

Trump and his administration have not commented on the fate of Khashoggi, who Saudi Arabia insists left the consulate.

— AFP

Senate Judiciary Committee member Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina) delivers remarks about Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh during a mark up hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, September 28, 2018. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

Labor head says two-state solution best way to ensure peace, Israel’s security

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay issues a statement on his meeting in Amman today with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

“Gabbay expressed his commitment to promote peace between Israel and the Arab states in the region on the basis of the two-state solution. Gabbay noted this is the best way to ensure peace and long-term security for Israel,” the statement says.

Gabbay also told Abdullah of his “deep appreciation” for the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, as well as for the king’s efforts to further regional stability.

Erdogan says Saudis must prove writer left consulate

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Saudi Arabia has the responsibility to prove its claim that a missing Saudi journalist left the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, went missing October 2, after he visited the Saudi Consulate to complete paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancee. Saudi officials said the journalist, a Washington Post contributor, left the building, while Turkish officials say he did not.

Turkish officials have said authorities believe Khashoggi was killed at the consulate, allegations denied by Saudi Arabia.

Speaking during a visit to Hungary, Erdogan says the Saudis “cannot save themselves by saying he left.”

Erdogan says Turkish police, intelligence and judiciary officials are investigating. Erdogan says he himself was following the investigation, saying it was his political and humanitarian duty.

— AP

Netanyahu says Israeli lives ‘not cheap,’ vows to catch West Bank attacker

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows Israeli security forces will track down the Palestinian attacker who killed two Israelis in a terror shooting yesterday in the West Bank.

“We’ll catch the despicable murderer and settle the score with him. The blood of Israeli citizens is not cheap,” he says at an event in the Golan Heights.

29 Palestinians said injured in Gaza border clashes

29 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza border, the Hamas-run health ministry says, including 11 hurt by live fire.

Netanyahu calls on world to recognize Israeli sovereignty in Golan

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls on the world to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, saying if Israel were not there, Iran and its proxies would fill the void.

“Israel in the Golan is a justified reality based on ancient rights. Israel in the Golan is a fact the international community must recognize,” Netanyahu says at an event in the Golan.

“As long as it depends on me the Golan will always remain under Israeli sovereignty because otherwise we’d get Iran and Hezbollah on the edge of the Sea of Galilee.”

Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and later extended sovereignty over the plateau in a move never recognized by the international community.

Netanyahu vows Israel will continue to work against Iranian efforts to set up establish itself in the Syrian Golan and prevent the transfer of “lethal weapons” to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

He says he will discuss these issues in his next meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin but does not indicate when this will be.

“I know President Putin understands my commitment to Israel’s security and I know he also understands the importance I ascribe to the Golan Heights, that all of us ascribe to the Golan Heights and Israel’s heritage,” the prime minister says.

Russia gave Syria S-300 missiles for free — report

Russian state news agency TASS quotes an official source saying three S-300 air defense batteries recently transferred to Syria were a donation.

“On October 1, three battalion sets of S-300PM systems of eight launchers each were delivered to Syria,” the source is quoted saying.

“These systems were previously deployed at one of the Russian aerospace forces’ regiments which now uses the S-400 Triumf systems. The S-300 systems underwent capital repairs at Russian defense enterprises, are in good condition and are capable of performing combat tasks,” the source adds.

Russia last month announced it would provide Syria with the S-300 after a Russian reconnaissance plane was downed by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli air strike. Israel and the United States have condemned the transfer of the advanced anti-aircraft system.

Cop likely to be indicted for allegedly breaking arrested Arab activist’s knee

The Police Investigations Department informs an officer that he may be indicted for allegedly breaking the knee of an Arab Israeli activist under arrest.

The Justice Ministry says the charges would include assaulting a detainee, making threats and injuring a detainee.

“Before it is decided to file an indictment the officer has been invited to present, through his [legal] representatives, his claims in a hearing process,” the ministry says in a statement.

The officer has been on compulsory leave since May.

Jafar Farah was one of some 20 protesters arrested during a Gaza solidarity rally that drew allegations of police violence.

Farah, who heads the Mossawa Center rights group, praises the expected indictment and hopes the officer will be punished.

“From the beginning, I believed the version [of events] — that’s the version, that’s what happened, it’s factual,” Hadashot TV news quotes Farah saying.

Arab-Israeli NGO worker Jafar Farah, who alleges a police officer broke his knee after he was arrested. (Screen capture: Twitter)
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Despite tensions over downed plane, Israel and Russia hold economic meeting

Despite lingering tensions between Israel and Russia over the downing of a Russian jet by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli airstrike last month, representatives of the two countries are set to kick off a session in Jerusalem of the joint Russian-Israel intergovernmental committee of economic cooperation.

The two-day meeting will include decisions on a number of topics, Israel’s Foreign Ministry says, including trade, pension payments for Russian immigrants, education and health, among others.

Additionally, talks will be held between Israel and members states of the Russian-dominated Eurasian Customs Union on a free trade deal.

The Russian delegation will be led by Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov and the Israeli side by Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin.

“This meeting, in particular in these days, has great important and reflects the will of the two sides to preserve their relations and advance them even further,” a statement from the Foreign Ministry says.