The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they happened.
Germany: Turkey’s EU bid canceled if it revives death penalty
Germany says negotiations for Turkey to join the European Union would end if the Turkish government decides to revive the death penalty following a failed coup.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin Monday that the EU is a “community of values, therefore the institution of the death penalty can only mean that such a country could not be a member.”
For the moment, he says that Germany and other EU countries are watching the internal Turkish debate on whether to institute the death penalty, but that the EU’s position is clear.
“We categorically reject the death penalty and an institution of the death penalty would mean an end to the negotiations to join the EU,” he said.
Turkey government sacks some 9,000 over coup accusations
Turkey’s state-run news agency says the Interior Ministry has sacked close to 9,000 personnel across the country, following Friday’s foiled coup attempt. Anadolu Agency says a total of 8,777 employees attached to the ministry were dismissed, including 30 governors, 52 civil service inspectors and 16 legal advisers.
Other media reports said police and military police officers and coast guards were also removed from duty. The government has blamed the failed coup — which led to at least 294 deaths and wounded 1,400 others — on supporters of a U.S.-based Muslim cleric who has become President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief opponent.
Uncle says Nice attacker recruited by Algerian IS member
The uncle of the truck driver who killed 84 people on the French Riviera last week says his nephew was indoctrinated about two weeks ago by an Algerian member of the Islamic State group in Nice.
IS claimed responsibility for last week’s attack, though Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says Monday investigators have found no sign yet that Bouhlel had links to a particular network.
The driver’s uncle, Sadok Bouhlel, tells The Associated Press that given Bouhlel’s family problems — he was estranged from his wife and three children — the Algerian “found in Mohamed an easy prey for recruitment.”
Bouhlel’s rapid radicalization has puzzled investigators. Friends and family say he had not been an observant Muslim in the past.
“Mohamed didn’t pray, didn’t go to the mosque and ate pork,” says Sadok Bouhlel, a 69-year-old retired teacher, in the driver’s hometown of Msaken, Tunisia. He says he learned about the Algerian recruiter from extended family members who live in Nice.
Iran begins trial for 21 linked to storming of Saudi posts
Iran begins a closed trial on Monday for 21 suspects in the storming of Saudi diplomatic missions earlier this year, the semi-official ISNA news agency reports.
The report does not provide further details about the hearing, the first of its kind to be held in the case.
Protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and a consulate in Mashhad in January after Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shiite cleric and dissident. Iran views itself as the defender of the world’s Shiites.
The attacks on the diplomatic missions led to the severing of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, regional rivals that back opposite sides in the civil wars in Syria and Yemen.
Last month Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for “transparency” in the trial and reiterated earlier remarks that the attack went against Iranian laws. In April, Iran said 48 people, including four clerics, would be tried in relation to the storming of the diplomatic missions.
Netanyahu’s ex-chief of staff questioned by police
Ari Harow, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is once again facing police investigators Monday, reportedly in connection with a corruption investigation against the prime minister.
Harow was detained by police at Ben Gurion Airport Thursday morning and taken in for some 14 hours of questioning, after which he was released to house arrest.
In December, he was questioned by police under caution for a “range” of offenses he was suspected to have committed while working in the Prime Minister’s Office. But on Thursday and Monday, investigators in the Israel Police’s high-profile crimes unit interrogated Harow about suspected corruption by Netanyahu himself, Israel Radio reported.
The Los Angeles-born Harow was appointed chief of staff of the PMO in 2014, serving there for a year before leaving to run the 2015 election campaign for Netanyahu’s Likud party.
He first worked for Netanyahu as foreign affairs adviser during his spell as leader of the opposition. He then spearheaded the 2009 election campaign that catapulted Netanyahu back to office. Following the election, he served as the prime minister’s bureau chief until 2010, managing the prime minister’s schedule and advising him on a range of issues.
French PM booed at Nice tribute for attack victims
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls is booed in Nice on Monday before and after the minute of silence for the victims of the deadly Bastille Day attack.
Shouts of “Murderers!” and “Resign!” ring out as Valls and two ministers leave the seafront where a huge crowd gathered to remember the 84 people mowed down on July 14 by truck driver Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, an AFP reporter says.
Emotions in France are running high since the 31-year-old Tunisian rammed a 19-ton truck into a crowd leaving a fireworks display, leaving a trail of crumpled bodies in his wake.
Opposition parties have accused the Socialist government of not doing enough to prevent the third major attack in France in 18 months.
The government has attempted to fend off the criticism, saying that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had no known links to jihadist networks and claiming he became radicalized only recently.
Attacker killed in shootout outside Ankara courthouse
Turkish security forces kill an armed attacker who shot at them from a vehicle outside the Ankara courthouse where suspects from the failed coup were appearing before judges, reports say.
AFP correspondents outside the courthouse — where dozens of suspected coup plotters are having their first hearings — report hearing gunfire and scenes of panic as the clash erupts.
The Dogan news agency says the attacker is killed by police while two other people are arrested.
It is not clear if the incident is linked to the coup but television reports say the attacker is a soldier, without giving further details.
Two soldiers convicted of raping female servicemember
Two male soldiers, a private and a corporal, are convicted by a military court in the south of raping and sexually assaulting a female soldier serving at the Hatzerim Air Force Base.
The attack took place in April 2015. The indictment that led to this week’s conviction charged that other male soldiers watched the rape, and even filmed it.
One of the soldiers, the private, was also convicted of a rape of a fellow soldier a few months earlier, in November 2014.
In a statement following the conviction, the army says it “will deal severely with sexual crimes, show zero tolerance toward assault and will prosecute sex offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”
The soldiers’ sentencing is expected in the coming weeks.
Stephen Colbert crashes RNC stage for ‘Hunger Games’ prank
A video posted online shows “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert taking over the microphone on stage in Cleveland in a “Hunger Games” themed prank at the site of the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday.
The video shows Colbert behind the podium saying it’s his honor “to hereby launch and begin the 2016 Republican hungry for power games” and banging a gavel. A man who appears to be security then confronts Colbert, who says “I know I’m not supposed to be up here, but let’s be honest, neither is Donald Trump” before being led off stage.
Colbert dressed like “Hunger Games” emcee Caesar Flickerman for the spoof, complete with a blue wig. He’s worn the same getup on his show in a recurring bit about the presidential campaign.
Muslim mob stabs Christian to death in Egypt over feud
Egyptian officials say a Muslim mob stabbed a Coptic Christian to death over a personal feud.
Bishop Macarious of the southern Minya governorate says the mob attacked the families of two priests with knives and batons in the village of Tahna al-Gabal late Sunday. Fam Khalaf, 27, is killed and the father of one of the priests is wounded.
Police confirm the incident and say they arrested four people.
After the attack, Christian residents gather at a local church for prayers for the dead and protests on Monday.
Christians make up 10 percent of Egypt’s mostly Muslim population. Sectarian violence occasionally erupts, mainly in rural communities in the south. Islamic extremists have also targeted Christians.
Funeral underway for US-born IDF soldier killed in grenade accident
The funeral begins for US-born IDF soldier Shlomo Rindenow, 20, killed Sunday morning when a grenade accidentally exploded near an army post on the Golan Heights.
Rindenow is being buried on Kibbutz Netzer Hazani. The funeral procession leaves the kibbutz’s synagogue Monday afternoon and heads toward the cemetery.
Earlier Monday, hundreds accompanied the funeral procession of a second soldier, Staff Sgt. Hussam Tafesh, 24, who was killed in the explosion. Tafesh was buried in his Galilee hometown of Beit Jann.
Three more soldiers were injured in the incident. The army has launched an investigation.
Palestinian stabber identified as brother of April attacker
The Palestinian man who stabbed two IDF soldiers Monday is identified by Palestinian officials as Mustafa Brad’aih, the brother of another Palestinian man who was killed in April in a similar stabbing attack against IDF troops.
Brad’aih stabbed and lightly injured two soldiers near the West Bank village of Al-Aroub, north of Hebron on Highway 60, today.
He was shot and wounded by one of the injured soldiers.
According to Palestinian Authority Health Ministry officials, he was shot twice in the stomach, but is hospitalized in stable condition.
His brother, Ibrahim Brad’aih, 54, a resident of Al-Aroub, attacked an IDF soldier with an ax on April 14 and was shot and killed by soldiers nearby. The ax struck the soldier in the helmet, but did not penetrate. The soldier was unharmed.
France appoints first female Israel envoy
France appoints a new ambassador to Israel.
Hélène Le Gal is scheduled to replace Patrick Maisonnave, who has held the job since 2013.
Le Gal, who is expected to arrive in Tel Aviv in September, is set to become the first woman to hold the post. Having served in Israel in a diplomatic post in the 1990s, she most recently served as a foreign policy adviser to President Francois Hollande, focusing on Africa.
— Raphael Ahren
Istanbul district leader critically hurt in shooting
The deputy head of Istanbul’s Shisli district, where many of the city’s Jews live, is shot in the head Monday afternoon in an apparent assassination attempt.
He is in critical condition, according to multiple media reports.
A man entered Cemil Candas’s office and fired at him.
The incident follows a shooting attack outside an Ankara courthouse and a reported bomb threat at the Turkish parliament, both on Monday, as the country still reels from an abortive weekend coup attempt.
Authorities have not established direct links between the spate of violent incidents and the coup attempt.
69% of complaints against postal service found justified
Israelis often complain about the national postal service. If the latest report by the state ombudsman, released Monday, is any indication, they’re not wrong to complain.
The report says complaints focused on long lines at post offices, and complaints that mail takes as much as two weeks to arrive — in a country no bigger than New Jersey.
The state ombudsman investigated the complaints, and concluded 69 percent of them were justified.
Phones, cocaine found at home of Nice attack suspect
French officials say police found 11 telephones, cocaine and 2,600 euros ($2,900) in cash at the home of a suspect held in the investigation into the deadly Bastille Day attack in Nice.
The suspect is among seven people in custody in the probe into last week’s attack, which killed 84 people. Three of the suspects are brought to French intelligence headquarters in Paris on Monday to face eventual terrorism charges, according to a security official.
At the home of one of the suspects, an Albanian national, investigators find the phones and cocaine, according to that official and the Paris prosecutor’s office. They won’t elaborate on the relationship between the suspect and attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who was killed by police after ramming a truck through a crowd watching fireworks.
Turkish lira rallies, stocks battered in wake of coup
Turkey’s lira rallies on Monday after suffering one of its steepest-ever drops to a historic low in the aftermath of the weekend’s aborted military coup, but the stock market plunges over eight percent.
The lira was trading at 2.97 to the US dollar, a gain in value of 1.4% on the day, paring some of its earlier gains.
In the wake of the coup attempt late Friday, it had crashed 4.99% to trade at a historic low of 3.04 lira to the dollar.
The lira was trading at 3.29 to the euro, a gain in value of 1.1%. On Friday it had tumbled 4.8% in value against the euro to trade at 3.34 to the euro.
Currency markets appear to have been reassured by the failure of the coup and the reimposition of order under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
But the Istanbul stock exchange, which was not open when the coup took place, fell 8.5% to 75,733 points.
Israel’s UN envoy: Iran continuing to defy Security Council
Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Danny Danon, says Iran “continues to act in defiance of the Security Council.”
Speaking at the entrance to the Security Council at the UN’s New York headquarters, Danon points to Iran’s continued missile tests, including one last week of a “ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead,” Israel’s mission to the UN says in a statement.
“This latest missile test proves that Iran continues to act in defiance of the Security Council. The international community cannot bury its head in the sand and make do with words to combat the Iranian threat,” Danon says.
“Council members must understand that Iran’s actions do not only defy the Security Council, but present a real threat to Israel, the Middle East, and the entire free world,” he adds.
Netanyahu begins first-ever PM’s Question Time in Knesset
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu begins taking questions from lawmakers in the Knesset plenum, as part of the new Question Time format introduced in Israel’s parliament for the first time this term.
The prime minister will answer questions for one hour and forty minutes (the forty minutes added for the additional portfolios he holds as foreign, communications, economy, and regional cooperation minister). Three-quarters of the questions will come from the opposition.
This is the first time the prime minister will be grilled in the plenum as part of the new format.
— Marissa Newman
Liberman: Next confrontation will end decisively
Iran remains Israel’s greatest threat, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says in his first briefing as defense minister to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Tehran is continuing to develop its missile program “in force, including its military program,” he tells lawmakers.
“One doesn’t need to guess the target of these missiles,” he quips.
He says the fact “that the world’s nations are ignoring Iran’s violations” of UN Security Council resolutions related to its missile program “must be looked into.”
He promises to prioritize protecting the homefront in wartime more than his predecessors. And he reiterates years-long campaign promises to decisively defeat Israel’s enemies.
“If someone tries to force us into a confrontation, it must end decisively. That’s the guiding word, decisively. We must wipe out any desire and motivation to deal with us a second time.”
Netanyahu denies scandal allegations as ‘nonsense,’ ‘lies’
During parliamentary Question Time in the Knesset, Netanyahu denies allegations and accusations published in media reports according to which his son was given a passport under an assumed name, had a bank account in Panama under that name, and had transferred funds to that account.
“There is no passport, there is no Panama, there is no account,” he says in response to a question on the subject by Zionist Union MK Yael Cohen-Paran.
He calls the accusations against him in that and other alleged affairs “nonsense” and “lies.”
Netanyahu says, “in this case as well, there is no fire, there is no smoke, there is only hot air. A lot of hot air.”
He adds: “Spoiler alert. Nothing will come of this, because there’s nothing in it.”
— Marissa Newman
Netanyahu says Amona settlement’s removal under discussion
At the Knesset’s first-ever Question Time for the prime minister, PM Benjamin Netanyahu addresses calls by some lawmakers and cabinet ministers to settle via legislation the lands dispute surrounding the Amona settlement in the West Bank.
The High Court of Justice has ruled that the land is privately owned by Palestinians, and ordered the buildings constructed on this private land removed by December 2016.
Netanyahu rejects the claims by the MK asking the question — Issawi Freij of Meretz — that the lands are “stolen,” saying the problem is a lack of appropriate regulations. He says he has held meetings with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon on the matter, and current DM Avigdor Liberman has asked for a few days to consider the matter and seek a solution.
— Marissa Newman
Netanyahu: I’ve failed to solve the rabbinate-Diaspora crisis
Speaking in the Knesset Monday, Netanyahu addresses two rabbinical court rulings in recent weeks that called into question conversions conducted by prominent US Rabbi Haskel Lookstein.
“The rabbinate is not mine,” he says. Since entering politics, he says, he has striven to reach agreements from both sides on the issue.
“It’s not easy. It’s one of the most difficult problems I’ve encountered.”
He says he fears the “tears” both within Israel and in discussions with Diaspora Jewry, but reiterates the need for agreement on the issue. “I want to solve it by way of agreement, it’s not easy. And until this moment, I can’t say I succeeded.”
— Marissa Newman
Netanyahu rejects rabbi’s anti-gay comments
Netanyahu condemns comments by Rabbi Yigal Levinstein against the LGBT community, and rejects demands that he respond to “every deplorable comment.”
“I am not a response machine. I am not a internet commentator,” he says, when asked by Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg why he hasn’t commented.
But, he says, the rabbi’s remarks were “inappropriate, not acceptable, not acceptable to me, and shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone else.
“I think a human being is a human being and I act accordingly.”
— Marissa Newman
Netanyahu: Settlement freeze won’t bring Palestinians to the table
Netanyahu rejects the “assumption” that a freeze in settlement building will bring Palestinians to the table.
He says Israel had a “total freeze” from the end of 2009 for 10 months. “This didn’t prove successful, to put it mildly, until today.”
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, he says, makes demands as preconditions for talks that “my government can’t agree to, and I don’t think an alternative to my government would agree to.”
Netanyahu says he hopes burgeoning ties with moderate Arab states “will bring Palestinians to a more realistic position. We’re trying it, it’s not entirely clear what these states will bring” to the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.
— Marissa Newman
Netanyahu: Abbas, not I, runs away from peace talks
Netanyahu tells the Knesset on Monday that the Arab League’s peace initiative could be a basis for peace talks with the Palestinians, but only in a revised form.
“If it’s a script, then certainly we cannot [agree to it]. If it’s a basis to open talks, then sure,” he says.
“My ideal solution is a disarmed Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state,” he adds, but laments that there is “no mutual recognition.”
If a Palestinian state is founded, “will it be a Switzerland? Or will it be a Fatah state? A Hamastan?”
There are no peace talks, Netanyahu insists, because PA President Mahmoud Abbas “runs away, runs away, runs away, because he knows that he will have to make concessions — concessions on Jaffa, concessions on Acre, concessions on Beersheba. This is the simple truth.”
— Marissa Newman
UK’s anti-EU foreign secretary arrives for first EU meeting
New British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who recently likened the European Union to Adolf Hitler’s vision for Europe, comes to Brussels Monday to meet for the first time with his EU colleagues, and says he hopes to cooperate closely.
Johnson led a winning campaign to persuade British voters to leave the European Union, but says the referendum’s outcome last month “in no sense means we are leaving Europe.”
“We are not going to be in any way abandoning our leading role in European cooperation and participation of all kinds,” Johnson says before the start of an EU foreign ministers’ meeting. He says last week’s terror attack in Nice, France, shows the need for European countries to coordinate their response to terrorism, and that he would support an EU call for “restraint and moderation” in Turkey following the failed military putsch there.
Despite Johnson’s anti-EU stance, Federica Mogherini, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, tells reporters that “our common work on foreign and security policy continues and today we will welcome him as a new member of the family.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who has said Johnson “lied a lot” to turn British public opinion against the EU, vows to speak to him “with the greatest sincerity and frankness.” Ayrault also calls for a quick start to formal talks on Britain’s exit from the 28-nation bloc to end what he called the current situation of uncertainty as to the country’s intentions and relationship with its European partners.
Accused Turkey coup leader said to confess to role
Turkey’s state-run news agency says that the country’s former Air Force commander accused of being the coup ringleader has confessed to a role in Friday’s failed coup attempt.
Anadolu Agency quotes Gen. Akin Ozturk as telling prosecutors questioning him in Ankara that he “acted with the intention of carrying out a coup.”
Before his detention, Ozturk denied in a statement that he was involved in the uprising, insisting that he had worked to quash the coup.
Republican National Convention gets underway in Cleveland
The Republican National Convention gets underway in Cleveland, Ohio, in one of the most fraught election cycles in memory.
Live video of the convention is available here:
Rabbi Ari Wolf delivers RNC opening convocation
Rabbi Ari Wolf, who the JTA news service says serves as a chaplain in Cleveland’s police department, delivers the opening convocation as the Republican National Convention gets underway.
In court, Turkey ex-air force chief denies planning coup
One of the most senior military figures detained on charges of involvement in Turkey’s failed coup bid appears in court Monday and denies he was the mastermind of the plot.
Looking tired and haggard with his ear bandaged in images published by state media, former air force chief General Akin Ozturk appears before the criminal court in Ankara.
The court is to decide if he and 26 other generals and admirals should be remanded in custody ahead of trial, the state-run Anadolu news agency reports.
They are accused of trying to overthrow the existing order and also of plotting to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In his statement to prosecutors, Akin denies he was the ringleader of the coup, whose identity remains unclear.
“I am not the person who planned or led the coup. Who planned it and directed it, I do not know,” Anadolu quotes him as saying.
Some state-linked Turkish media had earlier quoted him as confessing to have played a prime role in the coup, but later replaced this information with his denial.
Turkish journalists condemn raids against media
A Turkish journalists’ association condemns raids and violence against media organizations and journalists both during and in the aftermath of Friday’s failed coup.
The coup plotters took control of state broadcaster TRT during the uprising and forced a newscaster to read a statement declaring that they had seized control. The headquarters of private CNN-Turk channel and Hurriyet newspapers were also raided.
Photojournalist Mustafa Cambaz was killed while protesting the coup.
The Turkish Journalists Association, or TGC, says it condemns the attempts “to eliminate parliamentary democracy, the people’s basic rights and freedoms and the freedom of press or expression.”
The TGC also says the media played a role in countering the coup “despite being subjected to attacks, repression and threats.”
AP: Secret document lifts Iran nuke constraints
A document obtained by The Associated Press shows that key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will ease in slightly more than a decade, halving the time Tehran would need to build a bomb.
The document is the only secret text linked to last year’s agreement between Iran and six foreign powers. It says that after a period between 11 to 13 years, Iran can replace its 5,060 inefficient centrifuges with up to 3,500 advanced machines.
Since those are five times as efficient, the time Iran would need to make a weapon would drop from a year to six months.
Iran says its enrichment is peaceful, but the program could be used for nuclear warheads.
Two diplomats providing the information Monday demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to do so.
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