Firefighters extinguish blaze sparked by Gaza balloon
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Abbas’s son said to tell US envoy he opposes two-state solution

Report quotes Tarek Abbas saying as he doesn’t believe deal for two states is possible, he prefers one state with equal rights for all

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, flanked by his two sons Yasser (L) and Tarek (R), gives a short statement before leaving a hospital near Ramallah in the West Bank on May 28, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, flanked by his two sons Yasser (L) and Tarek (R), gives a short statement before leaving a hospital near Ramallah in the West Bank on May 28, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

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

Police say suspected serial pedophile also targeted minors overseas

Police say a youth sports coach arrested earlier this month on suspicion of molesting dozens of underage Israeli girls online also targeted minors overseas.

“We are constantly receiving additional complaints,” the Ynet news site quotes a police representative telling the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court during a remand hearing for Beno Reinhorn, 35, of Herzliya.

“The suspect did not limit himself to harming minors in Israel but also abroad,” the police representative added.

The extends Reinhorn’s remand during the hearing until August 26.

Police announced Reinhorn’s arrest last week. He is suspected of dozens of sexual offenses against minors, including rape, sexual harassment, sodomy, indecent acts, computer crimes and other offenses.

Police treating Barcelona stabbing as a terror attack

MADRID — Barcelona police say they are treating a man’s knife attack on officers at a city police station as a terrorist incident.

Commissioner Rafel Comes, the second-in-command of the Barcelona police, tells a news conference that police shot dead the man after he entered the premises on Monday and pulled out a knife.

Comes says the man shouted “Allah” and other words that police officers did not understand.

But he says police have found no evidence linking the incident to last year’s terror attacks in Barcelona and nearby Cambrils, which killed 16 people.

Intelligence services are helping with the investigation.

— AP

Catalan police officers stand guard at the entrance of a building during a raid, following an attack in Cornella de Llobregat near Barcelona, Spain, on August 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

2 Israelis sentenced in Thailand for killing of Netanya mob boss

A court in Thailand sentences two Israelis to 25 years in prison for the murder of an Israeli mob boss in the country earlier this year.

Dolev Zuaretz and Eyal Bokel were arrested in January after traveling to the island of Koh Samui, where they were filmed killing Netanya crime boss Maor Malul.

Channel 10 news quotes sources close to Bokel’s family saying they will ask the Justice Ministry to request the two be extradited to Israel to serve out their sentences.

Palestinian envoy to UK tells Corbyn not to ‘give in’ on anti-Semitism definition

The Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to the United Kingdom backs the opposition Labour Party over its recently adopted definition of anti-Semitism and calls on party leader Jeremy Corbyn not to “give in” to calls to change it.

The definition adopted by Labour, which strips out clauses from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition dealing with criticism of Israel, has been met anger from British Jewry and further added to criticism the party has been soft on dealing with anti-Semitism under Corbyn.

According to The Times, Manuel Hassassian has hailed Corbyn for his “principled stance” on the matter.

“Pro-Israeli interest groups in Britain are using the anti-Semitism row to silence criticism of Israel,” Hassassian is quoted saying.

He applauds Labour for not adopting the full IHRA definition, under which he claims “accusations of racism against Israel could be deemed anti-Semitic.”

“Labour rightly judged that this example could be used as a tool to challenge criticism of nationalist tendencies and violations of human rights in Israel and legitimize its prolonged occupation of the Palestinians rather than protecting Jews worldwide,” he says.

UK court extends remand of suspect in Parliament car-ramming

LONDON — A terror suspect accused of crashing his car into the security barriers surrounding Britain’s Houses of Parliament appears in court Monday on charges of attempted murder.

Sudanese-born British national Salih Khater is accused of driving into a group of cyclists and then police officers last Tuesday.

He appears at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Monday where judge Emma Arbuthnot, England’s chief magistrate, remands him in custody following a seven-minute hearing.

The 29-year-old is charged with two counts of attempted murder of members of the public and of police officers. He doesn’t enter a plea on Monday.

Khater will next appear for another short hearing at the Old Bailey in London, England’s central criminal court, on August 31.

Prosecutor Samuel Main alleges that Khater “accelerated into a group of cyclists,” then, having driven through them, “veered off the open road, down a chute and towards police officers” guarding the parliament building.

The incident followed a “short but intensive period of reconnaissance,” he alleges.

Main says detectives had made extensive inquiries and had come up with “no evidence” of an accident, mechanical failure, a medical episode or disorder, intention to commit suicide or a crisis in Khater’s personal circumstances.

The prosecutor alleges it was a “deliberately calculated attack.”


A police van suspected of carrying Salih Khater arrives at Westminster Magistrates court in central London on August 20, 2018. (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall)

Netanyahu hails Pepsi’s ‘huge deal’ to acquire Israel’s SodaStream

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hails the purchase of Israel’s SodaStream by US-based PepsiCo for $3.2 billion.

“The recent large acquisitions of Israeli companies proves not only the technological capabilities but also the business capabilities that developed in Israel,” Netanyahu writes in Hebrew on his personal Twitter page.

“I welcome this huge deal that will enrich the state’s coffers and the important decision to keep the company in Israel,” he adds.

Liberman talks regional security with Trump aide Bolton

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman meets with US President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton in Jerusalem following the latter’s meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On his Facebook account, Liberman writes he showed Bolton a map of all the underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip destroyed by Israel.

“This is a tremendous operational intelligence accomplishment that was achieved thanks to the creative genius of the people of the security establishment,” he writes in Hebrew.

According to Liberman’s office, the two discuss a number of security issues, among them Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

“We have a very supportive president in the White House and a very supportive administration and this gives us significant maneuvering room vis a vis our enemies to the north and south,” Liberman’s office quotes him saying.

“Thank you John for your great contribution to Israel’s national security,” he tells Bolton.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (R) meets with US National Security Adviser John Bolton in Jerusalem on August 20, 2018. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Pepsi CEO says SodaStream HQ will remain in Israel, no planned layoffs

After purchasing Israel’s SodaStream for $3.2 billion, the incoming CEO of PepsiCo says the company’s headquarters will remain in Israel.

“This is a growth story” for both the companies, says Ramon Laguarta at a press conference in Tel Aviv with SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum.

“We want to keep SodaStream as it is,” adds Laguarta. “We want to put more resources into SodaStream and keep the infrastructure that we have in Israel.”

The company has committed to keeping the business local for 15 years, he says, but “I think it is going to be forever, because the infrastructure is so powerful.”

“This company has demonstrated it is a very successful business,” he adds. “Why would you derail a successful business?”

Laguarta also says that PepsiCo does not plan to lay off workers in Israel following the deal and that SodaStream will maintain its own brand.

— Shoshanna Solomon

Border Police seize Hamas ‘terror funds’ from East Jerusalem man

Police announce the arrest of an East Jerusalem resident suspected of receiving NIS 30,000 in “terror funds” from Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The suspect, a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp in his 40s, was arrested yesterday by Border Police as he was leaving Shuafat, according to police.

Police say they believe the funds were meant as a payment for the family of the suspect’s brother, a Hamas operative imprisoned in Israel. Police don’t name the suspect’s brother or say why he was imprisoned.

The suspect, who had the cash on him when he was arrested, was taken for further questioning.

“This operation is part of the fight of the Israel Police and security organizations against funds used for terrorism and/or originated with terror groups,” police say.

Israeli new shekel banknotes seized from a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem that police allege were transferred from Hamas in the Gaza Strip, on August 19, 2018. (Israel Police)

German FM visits Auschwitz, ‘the most horrible place on earth’

OSWIECIM, Poland — German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visits the former Nazi-German death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, which he calls “the most horrible place on earth.”

Maas has often said that the site which Nazi Germany installed in occupied Poland during World War II inspired him to go into politics.

“I saw thousands of children’s shoes that were taken off them on their way to the gas chamber, tons of human hair that was taken from people before they were sent to the gas chamber,” Maas says after visiting the site in the southern Polish city of Oswiecim.

“This is the most horrible place on earth. And it is here where you have to make a choice: either you lose all faith in humanity, or you gain the hope and the strength to stand up for human dignity and to work for it,” he adds.

“This is a place of remembrance that reminds us Germans above all of what we did to millions of people. We need this place because our responsibility will never end.”

Auschwitz-Birkenau has become a symbol of Nazi Germany’s genocide of European Jews, one million of whom were killed at the camp between 1940 to 1945.

More than 100,000 others, including non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and anti-Nazi resistance fighters, also died there.


German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Marian Turski (R), an Auschwitz survivor and chairman of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, walk to the death wall at the former Nazi extermination camp on August 20, 2018. (AFP Photo/Janek Skarzynski)

Economy minister says SodaStream acquisition won’t be a tax boon for state

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says PepsiCo’s purchase of Israeli drink maker SodaStream for $3.2 billion will “enrich the state’s coffers,” Economy Minister Eli Cohen says the deal will not be a major boon for the tax collectors.

“The tax revenue from this specific deal won’t be high because we encourage companies to operate in the periphery at a low tax rate,” Cohen tells Isrel Radio.

“The state’s profit is that people get up in the morning for work, make a living honorably and don’t show up at the unemployment office,” he adds.

Police minister vastly eases eligibility for gun licenses

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan significantly eases restrictions on applications for gun permits in a move that will increase access to firearms for hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

Under the new guidelines, which Erdan’s office unveiled today, veterans of IDF infantry units will now be eligible to request a gun permit.

Additionally, officers and noncommissioned officers will no longer be required to return their gun permits or firearms after their release from active reserve duty.

“Many civilians saved lives during terror attacks,” says Erdan in a statement. “With more skilled civilians carrying guns, the chances of thwarting attacks without casualties will grow and the number of casualties will decrease.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan speaks at the inauguration of a new station in the northern city of Tirat Carmel on May 22, 2018. (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)

Trump dares ex-CIA chief to sue him over revoked clearance

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump on Monday dared former CIA director John Brennan to take legal action to try to prevent him from stripping security clearances from other current and former officials.

“I hope John Brennan, the worst CIA Director in our country’s history, brings a lawsuit,” Trump tweets. “It will then be very easy to get all of his records, texts, emails and documents to show not only the poor job he did, but how he was involved with” the Russia probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller. “He won’t sue!”

The war of words between Trump and Brennan continued as scores of additional former US national security employees joined a wave of opposition to the president’s threat to continue pulling clearances. To date, more than 250 have publicly expressed opposition.

Speaking Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Brennan said he has been contacted by a number of lawyers about the possibility of an injunction in the wake of Trump’s move to revoke his clearance and his threat to nine others who have been critical of the president or are connected to Mueller’s investigation, which Trump has called witch hunt.

Trump yanked Brennan’s security clearance on Wednesday, saying he felt he had to do “something” about the “rigged” probe of Russian election interference. And he has said he may do the same for nine others, including a Justice Department official whose wife worked for the firm involved in producing a dossier on Trump’s ties to Russia.

— AP

Meretz leader blasts new eligibility requirements for gun permits

An opposition lawmaker attacks the Public Security Ministry’s easing of requirements for gun permits, saying it should in fact being doing the opposite.

“There is no doubt that what is missing in Israel is more guns on the street,” Tamar Zandberg, head of the left-wing Meretz party, tweets sarcastically.

“Instead of dealing with the incredible number of weapons floating around in the streets and endangering lives, [the ministry] is simply expanding the number of gun permits,” she continues.

“This is a tool of the death that [we] must strive to reduce the use of as much as possible, definitely for citizens.”

Firefighters extinguish blaze sparked by Gaza balloon

Firefighters extinguished one blaze in southern Israel today that was sparked by an incendiary balloon launched from the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Israel Fire and Rescue Services says.

Abbas’s son said to tell US envoy he opposes two-state solution

One of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s sons told the US envoy for Middle East peace that, unlike his father, he does not support a two-state solution, Channel 10 news reports.

Tarek Abbas met Jason Greenblatt on the the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last year, according to the report, and said as he does not believe a two-solution is still possible, he favors one-state with equal rights for all citizens.

“I support a one-state solution between the Jordan [river] and the Mediterannean Sea, with equal rights for all its citizens,” the report quotes him saying.

According to Channel 10, Greenblatt wanted to meet with Tarek Abbas in order to reach out to one of the closest people to the PA leader and enlist him to help advance the Trump administration’s peace efforts.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, flanked by his two sons Yasser (L) and Tarek (R), gives a short statement before leaving a hospital near Ramallah in the West Bank on May 28, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

Likud MK suspected of graft said to claim PM would make him police minister

A Likud lawmaker under investigation for suspected bribe-taking was recorded saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to appoint him as public security minister, Hadashot TV news reports.

According to the report, Bitan told Moshe Yosef, who police have referred to as the lawmaker’s “banker,” that Netanyahu had agreed to the appointment.

“Netanyahu arranged with me to become public security minister. He is afraid of the media, but [the appointment] is done,” Bitan is quoted saying.

Hadashot news says friends and associates of Bitan were also recorded discussing the appointment, saying Bitan would appoint a police commisioner who is more “easy-going” than incumbent Roni Alsheich.

“Bitan will get rid of Roni Alsehich. Instead, he’ll search for a police commisioner who is more easy-going, who it is possible to work with,” the unnamed friends and sources were quoted saying.

Bitan stepped down in December as coalition whip, after it emerged he was suspected of receiving bribes when he served as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion, as well as a member of Knesset.

Coalition chairman Likud party MK David Bitan leaving the Lahav 433 national crime unit of the Israel Police on December 10, 2017. (Roy Alima/Flash90)
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Live updates (closed)

Firefighters extinguish blaze sparked by Gaza balloon

Firefighters extinguished one blaze in southern Israel today that was sparked by an incendiary balloon launched from the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Israel Fire and Rescue Services says.