The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they happened.
Amid drug shortage, Gaza health ministry stops chemotherapy treatments
Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesman for the Hamas-run Gazan health ministry, says chemotherapy treatments at Gaza City’s pediatric hospital are being stopped because the hospital has run out of a vital drug used to boost the immune systems of patients undergoing the treatment.
“Chemotherapy treatments at Rantisi Hospital will come to a halt Sunday morning,” al-Qidra says, “because of the depletion of the drug Neupogen used to boost the immunity of patients, putting the lives of hundreds of sick people in serious danger if this crisis is not resolved immediately.”
Explosion in north Syria kills 18, demolishes building
At least 18 people are killed and dozens are injured in an apparent terror attack in northern Syria. The explosion in Sarmada, a town in the northern Idlib province that is now the focal point of the Syrian civil war, collapsed a five-story building, trapping people inside, according the White Helmets rescue organization.
According to initial reports, no one has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Inspectors catch uninspected, unrefrigerated meat shipment from PA to Israel
Agriculture Ministry officials say they have intercepted an unregistered shipment of nine tons of beef, poultry and mutton, as well as over a ton of mutton fat, from the Palestinian Authority into Israel.
The meat was not refrigerated and had not undergone veterinary inspection either in the PA or in Israel, officials say.
The shipment “constituted a very real threat to the public,” the ministry says in a statement.
The smuggler of the meat, a 60-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, is under arrest.
Jordan says fourth officer succumbs to wounds after storming building
Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghuneimat says a fourth police officer has succumbed to his wounds hours after assailants opened fire and set off explosions that killed four members of the security forces trying to storm a building in Salt, Jordan.
Three officers were killed in the initial raid early Sunday, as were three suspected jihadists whose bodies were pulled from the rubble of the building. Five suspects are in custody.
The Hala Akhbar news website linked to Jordan’s military says the suspects are Jordanians and that the cell had planned to attack security installations and other sensitive targets. The site says the suspects had been armed with explosives, grenades and weapons, and had carried out Friday’s bomb attack at a music festival in the predominantly Christian town of Fuheis, west of the capital of Amman.
Iran arrests 67 in ‘economic crimes’ crackdown backed by Khamenei
Iran’s judiciary says 67 people have been arrested in recent weeks as part of a corruption crackdown approved by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
More than 100 government employees have also been barred from leaving the country, spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie says, according to the judiciary-linked Mizan news agency.
“Our enemy America has decided to put pressure on people and it intends to put our economy under pressure, but to no avail,” Ejeie says.
“There are individuals who try to use this opportunity and hoard basic goods and increase pressure on people by hoarding and smuggling,” he adds.
On Saturday, Khamenei approved a request from the head of the judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, to set up special revolutionary courts to try people for economic crimes.
Increased pressure from the United States, including its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions, have exacerbated longstanding public anger over mismanagement and corruption in the economy.
Netanyahu: If ultra-Orthodox don’t compromise on draft, we’ll go to elections
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells fellow coalition leaders that if the ultra-Orthodox parties don’t compromise on a military draft law for their communities’ seminary students, the government will dissolve and go to elections next month.
“We have to know where [United Torah Judaism party head Yaakov] Litzman stands on the draft issue,” Netanyahu tells the top ministers. “The ball is in Litzman’s court. If the Haredim want to reach a compromise, we can get through this. We have to find out if they want that.”
Two people notably missing from the meeting: Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who backs the plan put forward by the Defense Ministry and supported by much of the coalition, and Litzman himself.
At the meeting, those in attendance — including Jewish Home chief Naftali Bennett, Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, Shas’s Aryeh Deri and UTJ MK Moshe Gafni representing the party — agreed that if an agreement could not be reached on the draft bill by the next cabinet meeting, then that meeting will set the date of the next election.
That gives the Haredi parties three weeks to reach a compromise. No cabinet meeting is scheduled during the government’s August vacation.
Iraq PM cancels visit to sanctions-hit Iran
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi cancels a visit to Iran, his press office says, days after Baghdad announced it would comply with US sanctions against Tehran.
Abadi will still go ahead with a planned visit to Turkey on Tuesday but has scrapped the Iran leg of the trip “because of his busy schedule,” the office tells AFP.
The previous day, an Iraqi official who did not want to be named had said Abadi would visit neighbors Turkey and Iran to discuss economic issues.
The premier said last Tuesday that Iraq — which relies on neighboring Iran as a source of cheap imports — would reluctantly comply with US sanctions against Tehran that took effect the same day.
According to Iraqi political sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, Iran initially agreed to the visit but changed its mind because it was unhappy about Abadi’s remarks.
300,000 unpublished files on Yemenite immigrant children still in state archive
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked instructs the Israel State Archives to release some 300,000 unpublished files relating to the children of Yemenite immigrants, whose arrival in Israel over half a century ago has been at the center of a lingering controversy over their fate.
The Knesset Committee for Archives, chaired by Shaked, hears on Sunday that the hundreds of thousands of Israel Police files have not been published in the past and that their existence was apparently largely unknown.
Since the 1950s, more than 1,000 families — mostly immigrants from Yemen, but also dozens from the Balkans, North Africa, and other Middle Eastern countries — have alleged their children were systematically kidnapped from Israeli hospitals and put up for adoption, sometimes abroad, in what is known as the Yemenite children affair.
Shaked tells the State Archives to conduct a review of the files and then release them. She also instructs the Israel Defense Forces to release relevant statistics it has about the Yemenite children, on condition that they do not impact the privacy of individuals, Army Radio reports.
Ohio gets new Jewish newspaper
Bucking industry trends which have seen the closure of local newspapers across the country, the Cleveland Jewish News expands into central Ohio with the establishment of the Columbus Jewish News.
The News replaces the recently closed Ohio Jewish Chronicle, which shut down last month after a 96-year run. Recent research indicates that more than 1,800 American newspapers have shut down since 2004.
The new paper, which is being distributed to all Jewish households in the area and offers local, regional and world news, features, sports and opinions, debuted last Thursday with a 44-page full-color issue.
Children among 39 civilians killed in Syria arms depot blast — report
An explosion at a weapons depot in a rebel-held town in northwest Syria killed at least 39 civilians including a dozen children, a monitor says.
An AFP correspondent at the site in Sarmada in Idlib province near the Turkish border says the explosion of unknown origin caused two buildings to collapse.
Rescue workers used a bulldozer to remove rubble and extract trapped people, the correspondent says.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria, says a previous toll of 12 civilians killed increased after more bodies were retrieved from the rubble.
The cause of the blast is “not yet clear,” Abdel Rahman says.
He says most of those killed were family members of fighters from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance led by jihadists from Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, who had been displaced to the area from the central province of Homs.
US ambassador urges UK to back Trump on Iran nuke deal
LONDON — The US ambassador in London urges Britain to back US President Donald Trump in pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement, saying a united front is the best way to persuade Tehran to change its course.
Ambassador Robert Wood Johnson writes in the Sunday Telegraph that “we are asking global Britain to use its considerable diplomatic power and influence and join us as we lead a concerted global effort towards a genuinely comprehensive agreement.”
Trump pulled out of the deal in May and last week began reinstating economic sanctions against Iran that were eased in exchange for concessions on Iran’s nuclear program.
The UK, France, Russia, China, Germany and the European Union, which also signed the deal, have criticized Trump’s decision and continue to back the agreement with Iran.
1,800 evacuated as France defuses British WWII bomb
RENNES, France — Some 1,800 people are ordered to evacuate their homes in northwest France as a bomb squad defuses a British bomb from World War II, officials say.
The 220-kilogram (485-pound) bomb was found in late June during construction work near the center of Rouen in Normandy.
Residents living within a 270-meter (nearly 900-foot) radius of the site are told to leave the area early Sunday ahead of the operation, which wound up shortly after 11:00 a.m.
Discoveries of bombs and shells from World War II are common in France and elsewhere on the continent.
Aid group: Ships not willing to save Mediterranean migrants
ROME — Migrants in distress at sea tell their rescuers that several ships passed them by without offering assistance, a European aid group said Sunday while seeking safe harbor for a rescue vessel with 141 migrants aboard.
SOS Mediterranee says that due to the recent refusal of Italy and Malta to let rescue vessels carrying migrants dock, ships might be now unwilling to do rescues “due to the high risk of being stranded and denied a place of safety.”
On Friday the group’s chartered ship Aquarius, which it operates in partnership with Doctors Without Borders, rescued 141 people in waters off Libya. Of these, 25 were found adrift on a small wooden boat that had no motor and was believed to have been at sea for about 35 hours, the group said. The other 116 people, including 67 unaccompanied minors, were rescued later that day, it said.
Nearly three-quarters of those rescued originate from Somalia and Eritrea. Many migrants recounted how they were “held in inhumane conditions in Libya,” where human traffickers are based, the aid group aid.
It added that Libya’s rescue coordination authorities wouldn’t provide the Aquarius with “a place of safety” and asked it to request safe harbor from another country’s authorities.
UK home secretary urges Corbyn’s ouster over visit to terrorists’ graves
Britain’s Home Secretary, the Conservative politician Sajid Javid, slams Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his 2014 visit to the graves of Palestinian terrorists.
“If this was the leader of any other major political party, he or she would be gone by now,” Javid says in a Twitter post.
If this was the leader of any other major political party, he or she would be gone by now https://t.co/q1oa07Rngd
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) August 12, 2018
Corbyn has been under renewed criticism since Saturday, when the Daily Mail newspaper published photos of him holding a wreath during a 2014 ceremony at a Tunisian cemetery.
It appears from the snapshots that Corbyn was standing near the graves of Palestinian terrorists involved in the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
In 2017, the Sunday Times revealed that in an October 2014 article published on the radical left-wing website Morning Star, Corbyn recalled a visit to Tunisia where he marked the anniversary of Israel’s 1985 attack on the Palestine Liberation Organization’s headquarters there, laying wreaths at a cemetery commemorating Palestinians said killed by Israeli forces in various incidents.
Egypt hands Muslim Brotherhood leader another life sentence
An Egyptian court sentences five people, including the head of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, to life in prison on violence-related charges.
It’s the latest of several life sentences for Mohammed Badie, who has also been sentenced to death in separate trials since his 2013 arrest. Charges have included inciting violence and planning attacks against the state.
The Cairo Criminal Court on Sunday sentences four others to 10-15 years imprisonment on the same charges, related to the killing of seven people in 2013. The verdicts can be appealed.
The case is related to the violence that convulsed Egypt after the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, a senior Brotherhood figure, amid mass protests five years ago. In August 2013, security forces killed hundreds of people when they dispersed two pro-Brotherhood sit-ins.
Egypt detains another monk linked to abbot’s death
Egyptian authorities detain another monk as part of their investigation into the death of an abbot in a monastery north of Cairo last month.
The state-run MENA news agency identifies the 33-year-old monk by his monastic name, Valtos, and says he is under police guard after an attempted suicide.
Word of the arrest comes a day after prosecutors said a detained and recently defrocked monk, identified as Isaiah, confessed to collaborating with others to kill Bishop Epiphanius, abbot of St. Macarius Monastery. The bishop was found dead on July 29.
His funeral was attended by Pope Tawadros II, the spiritual leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Christians, one the world’s oldest Christian communities.
Settlement on alert after suspicious figure said spotted climbing fence
Security officials in the central West Bank settlement of Beit Horon instruct residents to remain in their homes after a suspicious figure is seen climbing over the community’s fence.
Security forces are on their way to the scene.
— Jacob Magid
New harassment accusation leveled at embattled Labor MK Eitan Broshi
MK Shelly Yachimovich posts new accusations of sexual harassment against fellow Labor Party lawmaker MK Eitan Broshi.
Broshi has faced a growing chorus of criticism after an incident last month in which he touched a fellow MK, Ayelet Nachmias-Verbin, on the backside. The incident led to the revelation of a sexual harassment accusation 15 years ago.
The new accusation, published by Yachimovich on her Facebook page today, may be the most serious yet. Yachimovich posts the accusations of an unnamed woman she says served under Broshi when the latter was a battalion commander in the army. The woman, who is not identified, accuses Broshi of persistent harassment over a lengthy period of time.
Broshi responds in a statement that the claims in the post “never happened,” and demands that Yachimovich surrender her parliamentary immunity so he can sue her for libel.
Israeli wins 3 million shekels in lottery, but doesn’t collect
Some Israeli is walking around unaware he or she is a millionaire. The Payis lottery says a ticket bought for the June 16 “Double-Lotto” lottery took second-place, earning a prize of NIS 3 million ($810,000). But the lucky buyer hasn’t come to collect.
Fire service says one fire in southern Israel started by Gaza balloon today
A spokesman for the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services says that one fire, in Dorot in southern Israel, was started by an incendiary balloon launched from the Gaza Strip today.
The news comes after officials had earlier announced that for the first time in months, no fires had been caused by incendiary balloons today.
Trump trade rows are ‘destroying’ growth, says German minister
Germany’s economy minister lashes out at US President Donald Trump, slamming his global trade rows and efforts to “dictate” Europe’s dealings with Iran through renewed US sanctions.
In an interview with German weekly Bild am Sonntag, Peter Altmaier warns of the damaging consequences of a full-blown US-China trade war, and expresses concern about Trump’s decision to slap hefty metals tariffs on Turkey in an escalating diplomatic row.
“This trade war is slowing down and destroying economic growth, and creates new uncertainties,” Altmaier says. “The past has shown that consumers suffer most in trade wars, because goods become more expensive.”
Trump has already slapped punitive tariffs on Chinese imports worth $34 billion and additional levies on $16 billion in Chinese goods will kick in later this month, with Beijing vowing to respond in kind.
Trump also announced on Friday that he would double tariffs on steel and aluminium from Turkey, pushing the lira to historic lows against the dollar.
Officials say ‘all clear’ in suspected Beit Horon infiltration
Security officials in the Beit Horon settlement in the central West Bank say there is no longer any suspicion of a possible terrorist infiltration.
The settlement has been on high alert for the past couple of hours after residents reported seeing an unidentified person climbing over the settlement’s fence.
Eurovision hosting at risk after official rejects NIS 110m in government funding
A government official says Israel won’t be acquiescing to public broadcaster Kan’s demand that the state fund NIS 110 million ($29.6 million) of the NIS 170 million ($45.7 million) cost of hosting the Eurovision song contest next year.
The statement, reported by Hadashot television news, could mean Israel won’t be hosting the pop music contest.
Kan is also asking the government to supply the 12 million euros ($13.7 million) in guarantees demanded by Eurovision organizers.
Earlier today, Kan’s chairman Gil Omer sent the latest in a series of letters to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other ministers warning that if the money wasn’t made available by the government, Israel would lose the hosting rights to one of the biggest shows on the European cultural calendar.
Omer also warned that if a decision wasn’t made by Tuesday, within 48 hours of sending his letter, Eurovision might move on regardless.
Opponents of white supremacist rally begin to gather in Charlottesville
Dozens of activists and residents gather at a Charlottesville, Virginia, city park to protest racism and to observe the one-year anniversary of a rally by white supremacists that turned deadly.
The Rev. Seth Wispelwey is a founder last year of a group of clergy and lay people called “Congregate C-ville.” The group came together in direct response to white nationalists who gathered in Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally on August 12, 2017.
On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Wispelwey says the city’s residents are still reeling from the violence that day, but he expresses hope that the anniversary can be a turning point.
Anti-racism protesters march through Charlottesville
More than 100 people are demonstrating against racism in downtown Charlottesville, marking the one-year anniversary of a violent white nationalist rally and protesting this year’s ramped-up police presence.
The group begins marching Sunday morning after a rally held at a city park and makes its way toward downtown. Some marchers link arms as they walk.
The group directs chants against police officers who were accompanying the march, including “cops and Klan go hand in hand.”
Law enforcement officials faced blistering criticism in the wake of last year’s rally for what was perceived as a passive response to the violence that unfolded.
Demonstrators chant, “Will you protect us?”
Protesters against white supremacist rally gather near White House
A park across the street from the White House is already filling up with people who oppose a white nationalist demonstration that is scheduled to take place later today.
The white nationalists are gathering in Washington on the first anniversary of their rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent and led to the death of a counterprotester.
A stage has been set up in Lafayette Park and rap music is playing for a crowd of about 300, many of whom are carrying signs saying “Shut down white supremacy.”
Uniformed police officers and a line of police barricades have cut the park in half, restricting the counterprotesters to the northern half, farthest from the White House.
A counterprotest organizer, speaking from the stage, says: “We will be here until these fascist forces are gone, however long that takes.”