UNESCO passes another resolution ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem
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Live updates (closed)Latest: Israeli Jew killed rushing West Bank checkpoint left suicide note

Palestinians hail UNESCO vote as victory for international law

Netanyahu calls UN cultural body’s resolution rejecting Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem ‘absurd’; Israeli Jew killed rushing army checkpoint left suicide note

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

View of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, September 29, 2015 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
View of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, September 29, 2015 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

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

IS attack in northeastern Syria refugee camp kills dozens

At least 32 people are killed in an Islamic State group attack near a refugee camp on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq, a monitor says.

“At least five suicide attackers blew themselves up outside and inside a camp for Iraqi refugees and displaced Syrians in Hasakeh province,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel Rahman says.

Heavy clashes then erupted between the IS fighters and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, some of whose combatants were among the dead, Abdel Rahman tells AFP.

A Kurdish activistsays the victims are mostly women and children displaced from the conflict. He spoke on condition of anonymity fearing for his safety.

— Agencies

Erdogan rejoins Turkey ruling party after near 3-year absence

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejoins the Turkish ruling party after a nearly three-year absence, in the first major change to come into effect following the referendum victory on expanding his powers.

Erdogan signed a membership document to rejoin the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) that he co-founded, at a ceremony at its headquarters, an AFP photographer says.

Party officials burst into thunderous applause and sang the national anthem.

— AFP

Netanyahu says UNESCO resolution denies ‘historical truths’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slams the United Nations cultural agency over an upcoming resolution that indicates rejection of the Jewish state’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem.

“There is no other people in the world for who Jerusalem is as holy and important as for the Jewish people, Netanyahu says at the annual Bible Quiz competition finals on Independence Day.

“Even though a meeting will take place at UNESCO today that will try to deny this historical truth,” he says.

“We denounce UNESCO and uphold our truth, which is the truth,” he adds.

The resolution that will be voted on later today also harshly criticizes the Israeli government for various construction projects in Jerusalem’s Old City and at holy sites in Hebron, and calls for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza without mentioning attacks from the Hamas-run Strip.

For the first time in 30 years, a secular student wins bible quiz

For the first time in over three decades, a secular Israeli student wins the International Bible Quiz.

Sagiv Lugasi, a teenager from the northern town of Ma’alot Tarshiha, wins the annual competition held every Independence Day in Jerusalem.

According to reports in Hebrew-language media, Lugasi’s win marks the first time a secular student wins the competition in over 30 years.

Rejecting UNESCO measure, Italy says UN body should not settle ‘ideological conflicts’

Italy says it will vote against the upcoming UNESCO resolution that does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, saying the UN cultural body is an inappropriate forum to settle “ideological conflicts.”

“I have given clear instructions to our representative in the organization to vote against the political decision on Jerusalem, which is being discussed on an Israeli holiday, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano says according to the Ynet news site.

“Our position is very clear, UNESCO can not be a place to settle ideological conflicts where questions are raised that are unrelated to us,” he adds.

Later today, on Israel’s 69th Independence Day, UNESCO is set to pass a resolution that indicates rejection of the Jewish state’s sovereignty in any part over Jerusalem.

Turkey’s Erdogan threatens to say ‘goodbye’ to EU

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns the European Union that Ankara will walk away from its long-running membership process if new accession chapters are not opened.

“There is no option other than opening chapters that you have not opened until now. If you open, then great. If you don’t open, then goodbye,” Erdogan says after rejoining Turkey’s ruling party in Ankara.

“Turkey is not their (the EU’s) doorman,” he adds.

The “chapters” are the policy areas that are being addressed in the long-running membership talks.

“First you have to handle these chapters and fulfil your promises. Then we will sit at the table and talk. Otherwise, we have nothing left to discuss with you,” Erdogan says.

Sixteen chapters have been opened out of a total of 35 since accession talks began in October 2005, although Turkey’s bid to be a part of the bloc dates back to the 1960s.

Denmark bans six hate preachers, including five Muslims

Denmark publishes a blacklist of six foreign preachers accused of spreading hatred, including five Muslims and an American Evangelical pastor, banning them for at least two years.

The list includes two Saudis, a Canadian, a Syrian and two Americans, including pastor Terry Jones who burned copies of the Koran in 2011.

The blacklist “sends a clear signal that travelling fanatical religious preachers who try to undermine our democracy and fundamental values of freedom and human rights are not welcome in Denmark,” the immigration and integration ministry says in a statement.

— AFP

Assailant shot in attempted stabbing attack outside Jerusalem

An assailant is shot and critically injured in an attempted stabbing attack at the Hizmeh checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, police say in a statement.

The West Bank man approached the checkpoint and apparently tried to stab security forces on duty, according to the statement.

Israeli troops fired on the alleged assailant. Reports in Hebrew-language media say the assailant is critically wounded.

The north Jerusalem crossing is closed until further notice.

Police confirm alleged attacker in critical condition

Police say the man who was shot while attempting to to stab Israeli security forces at a Jerusalem area checkpoint is in critical condition.

Earlier, the West Bank man approached the Hizme Checkpoint and apparently tried to stab security forces on duty, according to police.

Israeli troops opened fire on the alleged assailant.

The north Jerusalem crossing is closed until further notice.

UNESCO passes another resolution ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem

The United Nations’ cultural agency passes a resolution that indicates rejection of the Jewish state’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem.

The resolution is adopted, with 20 countries voting in favor, 22 abstaining and 10 opposing.

The US, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, Lithuanian, Greece, Paraguay, Ukraine, Togo and Germany all voted against the resolution.

Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed UNESCO over the resolution.

“There is no other people in the world for who Jerusalem is as holy and important as for the Jewish people, Netanyahu says at the annual Bible Quiz competition finals on Independence Day. “Even though a meeting will take place at UNESCO today that will try to deny this historical truth.”

“We denounce UNESCO and uphold our truth, which is the truth,” he adds.

The resolution also harshly criticizes the Israeli government for various construction projects in Jerusalem’s Old City and at holy sites in Hebron, and calls for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza without mentioning attacks from the Hamas-run Strip.

— with Raphael Ahren

Israel’s UN ambassador slams ‘shameful’ UNESCO resolution

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations slams the resolution passed by the body’s cultural agency that rejects the Jewish state’s sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.

“This distorted decision and the attempts to undermine the connection between Israel and Jerusalem will not change the fact that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Danny Danon says in a statement.

“This is a shameful decision,” Danon adds.

The UNESCO resolution was adopted earlier on Israel’s Independence Day, with 20 countries voting in favor, 22 abstaining and 10 opposing.

Despite loss, Israel’s UNESCO envoy calls vote a ‘great achievement’

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO tells The Times of Israel even though the UN cultural body passed a resolution ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem, the voting results from member nations reflect a “great diplomatic achievement.”

“This is a great diplomatic achievement,” Carmel Shama-Hacohen says. “Support for Israel has almost doubled and spread to Africa, South America and Eastern Europe.”

The UNESCO resolution adopted earlier on Israel’s Independence Day, passed with 20 countries voting in favor, 22 abstaining and 10 opposing.

Shama-Hacohen points to a similar UNESCO resolution passed last October in which the US was the only member nation to vote alongside Israel in opposing the measure.

“Despite these excellent results, these are still proposals that have no place in the family of nations and certainly not in UNESCO,” he says.

“Voting against a country on its independence day is a new low for Arab countries, but the results are a [surprise] for them,” Shama-Hacohen says.

“They arrived this morning full of arrogance, thinking that they have the EU in their pocket, but ended up with five countries voting against them for the first time.”

— with Raphael Ahren

Israeli UNESCO envoy defiantly tells UN: We are here to stay

Israel’s UNESCO ambassador slams the UN cultural body for passing another resolution ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

“Voting against a nation on its Day of Independence in a despicable attempt to ‘manufacture’ history, using ‘fake accusations’ and ‘fake history,’ it is a new low, even by UNESCO standards,” Carmel Shama-Hacohen tells member states draped in an Israeli flag.

Turning to the Palestinian and other Arab representatives, Shama-Hacohen says: “The State of Israel is celebrating today 69 years, in spite of your many efforts to undermine Israel. You might win a few more meaningless votes, but as long as this is your chosen path, you will never have a state.”

“You might think you won today but actually you lost again,” he says.

Israel’s advancements in technological and medical innovation, its protection of minorities and empowerment of women are proof that “Israel wins,” Shama-Hacohen says.

“We are proud and happy with all of our achievements. However, we would love not to win over you, but win WITH YOU,” he adds. We CAN win together. It is not a zero sum game.

“It is time for you to realize: we are your neighbors and we shall forever be. Your loss is our loss and our win could be your win and vice versa.”

Deputy FM: UNESCO vote ‘falsifies history,’ harms body’s credibility

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely criticizes UNESCO for adopting a resolution denying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem as an effort to “falsify history.”

“UNESCO’s expected political decision only harms the organization — which is supposed to preserve heritage and culture — by repeatedly misusing its role when it comes to Israel,” she says in a statement.

“Israel does not need approvals from political bodies to connect the unshakable historical connection to our eternal capital, a connection that is over 3,000 years old and cries out from each and every stone in this city,” she adds.

The UNESCO resolution adopted earlier on Israel’s Independence Day passed with 20 countries voting in favor, 22 abstaining and 10 opposing.

Hotovely thanks the member states for voting against the resolution, praising them for “standing by the truth and not submitting to politics that falsifies history.”

Netanyahu says UNESCO vote on Jerusalem ‘absurd’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticizes the “absurd” UNESCO resolution that rejects the Jewish state’s sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem and vows to continue diplomatic efforts aimed at reducing support for UN measures critical of Israel.

“Over the last two days I’ve had numerous conversations with various heads of state and foreign ministers about the absurd vote at the UN,” Netanyahu says at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. “The result is that a number of countries that support this absurd proposal is shrinking,” he says. “A year ago it was 32, six months ago it dropped to 26, and now its down to 22 countries.”

“I still want to make a systematic and consistent effort to reduce this even further, because these kinds of votes have no place at the UN,” Netanyahu says.

“Today there are more countries that support Israel or abstain [from voting against it] than countries that oppose Israel,” he adds. “Its a change, for the first time.”

After UNESCO vote, Rivlin calls to move all foreign embassies to Jerusalem

On the heels of a vote that saw UNESCO adopt a resolution that denies Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, President Reuven Rivlin calls on the international community to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and move their embassies there.

“Jerusalem has always been the center of the Jewish world. The place, we have prayed towards for thousands of years. There was never any doubt, that Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel,” Rivlin tells a group of foreign ambassadors gathered at his residence for an independence day celebration.

“It is time to put an end to the absurd. It is time to recognize Jerusalem, as the official capital of the State of Israel. De facto, not just de jure. It is time to move all the official embassies here, to Jerusalem,” he says.

The UNESCO resolution adopted earlier on Israel’s Independence Day, passed with 20 countries voting in favor, 22 abstaining and 10 opposing.

Herzog condemns ‘anti-Semitic’ UNESCO resolution

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog joins the chorus of Israeli officials condemning the UNESCO resolution denying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, calling the measure “anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.”

“This [resolution] is an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel disgrace that distorts the history of the Jewish people and their unshakable connection to their capital, Jerusalem,” he says in a statement.

“This is a miserable, baseless and aggressive decision that will find itself in the garbage can of history, just like the accusation that Zionism is racism,” he adds.

Minister calls for annexation of Jerusalem-area settlements

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz calls on Israel to annex large parts of the West Bank in response to a UNESCO vote that rejects Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

“The appropriate answer to UNESCO’s decision and to anyone else who doubts our right to sovereignty is to pass the ‘Greater Jerusalem Law’ that includes extending Israeli sovereignty to the surrounding communities of Greater Jerusalem: Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Beitar Illit and the Etzion Bloc,” Katz says in a statement.

“Passing this law in full 50 years after the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem will send a clear message: Jerusalem is one and united under Israeli sovereignty,” he says.

The UNESCO resolution adopted earlier on Israel’s Independence Day passed with 20 countries voting in favor, 22 abstaining and 10 opposing.

Bedouin tribesmen kill 8 suspected IS militants in Egypt’s Sinai

A powerful local Bedouin tribe in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula says it killed eight suspected Islamic State fighters in battle and captured three more.

The Tarabeen tribe has clashed repeatedly with a local IS affiliate in recent weeks, opening a new front against the insurgency raging in the northern Sinai, which borders Gaza and Israel.

Moussa al-Delh, a senior member of the tribe, says the clashes broke out in the town of Rafah along the Gaza border, and that no tribesmen were killed.

Egyptian security forces have been battling the extremists in the northern Sinai for years. The insurgency grew far more deadly following the military overthrow of an elected Islamist president in 2013. IS has claimed three recent church bombings on the mainland that killed dozens of worshipers.

— AP

Palestinians hail UNESCO resolution as victory for international law

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the UNESCO resolution rejecting Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem as a victory for International Law.

In a statement, the ministry expresses gratitude to members of the UN cultural body for “confront[ing] the dangers posed by the illegal practices of Israel, the occupying Power, in the City and elsewhere, which threaten the cultural and historical integrity of these invaluable sites.”

“We reiterate the single most important threat confronting Jerusalem and other important heritage sites in Palestine continues to be the Israeli occupation and its illegal practices, as well as its intransigence and refusal to respect international law and the obligations it must honor in accordance with these laws,” the Ministry says.

Ramallah calls Israeli diplomatic efforts aimed at dissuading member states from voting in favor of the resolution a “cynical campaign of political manipulation.”

Israeli Jew killed rushing West Bank checkpoint left suicide note

The Jewish man who was shot dead rushing Israeli security forces at a Jerusalem area checkpoint reportedly left a suicide note describing his mental illness and a deep psychological distress.

According to reports in Hebrew-language media, the 20-year-old from the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood in Jerusalem left the note with a friend several days ago.

Police said the unnamed man rushed the Hizme checkpoint with a knife and tried to stab a member of the security forces.

Troops opened fire as they believed they were in “immediate and concrete danger,” police said in a statement.

He died of his injuries shortly after.

Five held, weapons seized in French anti-terror raid

French anti-terror police on Tuesday arrested four men and one woman and seized weapons in raids just days before the presidential election run-off, sources say.

Some of the arrests were made in northern France, with two pistols and two machine guns found during one of the raids, a source close to the case says.

The weapons belonged to a man close to one of the suspects, who held the guns legally.

Some of the suspects were in touch on social media or the internet and some of their messages made authorities fear they were planning violent acts, the source adds.

— AFP

Bennett hails Israel Prize recipients as entrepreneurs, ‘endless optimists’

Education Minister Naftali Bennett hails this year’s recipients of the Israel Prize as “endless optimists” who acted as entrepreneurs to turn their dreams into reality.

At the 2017 Israel Prize ceremony, Bennett says entrepreneurship is Israel’s “secret ingredient.”

“Israel’s secret ingredient is entrepreneurship: entrepreneurship in the youth movements; entrepreneurship in the IDF; entrepreneurship in high-tech and the economy; social and educational entrepreneurship.” Bennett says.

“Our strength is in entrepreneurship, not innovation. What is the difference between the two? Innovation is what gives birth to ideas, whereas entrepreneurship is what turns the idea into reality.”

“Dear boys and girls: we are the State. All of us. If something is broken – fix it. If something is wrong – act.”

Bennett says an entrepreneurial spirit is what all of this year’s prize recipients have in common.

“Everyone sitting on this stage is an entrepreneur. You all dared. You all dreamed. You all fulfilled,” he says. “They are all endless optimists. Instead of complaining about problems, they repair the world.”

5 arrested at right-wing protest in Jerusalem

Police arrest five right-wing protesters taking part in an illegal demonstration in downtown Jerusalem.

According to police spokeswoman Luba Samri, the five are arrested for refusing to comply with police officers dispersing the protest at IDF Sqare.

Two protesters attempted to block the light rail tracks in the major intersection adjacent to the Old City, Samri says.

The arrested protesters are taken to the downtown Jerusalem police station for questioning. Samri says two of the five are minors.

Hamas ultimatum to Israel: Comply with hunger-striking prisoners

The Hamas military wing reportedly says it will increase the number of Palestinian prisoners it will demand from Israel in a potential prisoner exchange deal if Israel does not comply to the demands of the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

According to Israel’s Army Radio, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades tells Israel that for each day it continues to ignore the demands of striking Palestinian prisoners, it will add 30 more prisoners to its demands in a potential prisoner exchange in the future.

Hamas is currently demanding the release of 60 prisoners from its ranks who were re-arrested by Israel after being freed in 2011 exchange.

According to Palestinian figures, around 1,500 prisoners, mostly from the Fatah organization and including many convicted terrorists, are taking part in the open-ended hunger strike announced two weeks ago in a bid to improve their conditions in Israeli prisons.

The Israel Prison Service puts the current number of strikers at around 820, and says 300 have already dropped out.

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Live updates (closed) Latest: Israeli Jew killed rushing West Bank checkpoint left suicide note

UNESCO passes another resolution ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem

The United Nations’ cultural agency passes a resolution that indicates rejection of the Jewish state’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem.

The resolution is adopted, with 20 countries voting in favor, 22 abstaining and 10 opposing.

The US, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, Lithuanian, Greece, Paraguay, Ukraine, Togo and Germany all voted against the resolution.

Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed UNESCO over the resolution.

“There is no other people in the world for who Jerusalem is as holy and important as for the Jewish people, Netanyahu says at the annual Bible Quiz competition finals on Independence Day. “Even though a meeting will take place at UNESCO today that will try to deny this historical truth.”

“We denounce UNESCO and uphold our truth, which is the truth,” he adds.

The resolution also harshly criticizes the Israeli government for various construction projects in Jerusalem’s Old City and at holy sites in Hebron, and calls for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza without mentioning attacks from the Hamas-run Strip.

— with Raphael Ahren