The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they unfolded.
The High Court has rejected a petition from left-wing organization Ir Amim to move the route of a nationalist march to mark Jerusalem Day on June 2.
The Flag March is an annual parade which passes through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City to mark the city’s liberation in 1967.
The march is usually attended by far-right activists and the Muslim Quarter route has been the source of tensions in the past. Shopkeepers are usually told to close early and residents are made to stay at home as flag-waving nationalists march by.
Ir Amim had argued that tensions would be heightened because of the overlap with the last days of Ramadan, slated to end June 5.
In their decision, the judges note that police have committed to keep order during the march and say Ir Amim does not have standing in the case to file a petition for an injunction.
House Democrats will hear from former CIA director John Brennan about the situation in Iran, inviting him to speak next week amid heightened concerns over the Trump administration’s sudden moves in the region, sources say.
Brennan, an outspoken critic of US President Donald Trump, is scheduled to talk to House Democrats at a private weekly caucus meeting Tuesday, according to a Democratic aide and another person familiar with the private meeting.
Both were granted anonymity to discuss the meeting.
The invitation to Brennan and Wendy Sherman, the former State Department official and top negotiator of the Iran nuclear deal, offers counterprogramming to the Trump administration’s closed-door briefing for lawmakers also planned for Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Democratic lawmakers are likely to attend both sessions.
Tel Aviv University’s board of directors has appointed law Prof. Ariel Porat as its new president.
Porat, who is also a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, will replace Joseph Klafter, who is retiring after 10 years at the helm of the school.
Porat served as dean of TAU’s Law Faculty from 2002 to 2006 and in 2014 was a recipient of the Emet prize, among the most prestigious awards for Israeli academics.
In a statement sent out by the school, Porat says he is “proud to take on the task.”
Culture Minister Miri Regev on Sunday has criticized the display of Palestinian flags during the Eurovision song contest finals in Tel Aviv, including by one of Madonna’s dancers.
“It was an error,” Regev, a right-wing minister known for provocative stances, tells journalists before a cabinet meeting.
“Politics and a cultural event should not be mixed, with all due respect to Madonna.”
Regev criticized Israeli public broadcaster Kan for not having prevented the flags from being shown, though it was unclear what could have been done.
During Madonna’s performance at the Eurovision extravaganza, which began Saturday night and stretched into Sunday morning, two of her dancers could be seen side-by-side with Israeli and Palestinian flags on their backs.
Separately, Icelandic group Hatari displayed scarfs with Palestinian flags when results were being announced.
The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the event, condemned both displays.
Regev also criticized KAN for not having filmed any of its “postcards” of participating singers in the West Bank.
However, Norwegian act KEiiNO filmed its promo in the Judean Desert in an area that appeared to be in the West Bank.
Saudi Arabia is calling for emergency regional talks to discuss mounting Gulf tensions.
King Salman invited Gulf leaders and Arab League member states to two emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences,” the kingdom’s official SPA news agency reports.
The UAE’s foreign ministry agres the current “critical circumstances” require a unified Arab and Gulf stance.
The meetings will be a “significant opportunity for the countries of the region to achieve their aspirations for establishing peace and stability,” it says.
Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, says his country does not want to go to war with Iran but would defend itself.
An explosion has targeted a tourist bus near Egypt’s pyramids in Giza, Reuters reports.
There is no immediate word on casualties.
Initial reports suggest some 16 people were injured in the Egypt bus blast.
Pictures purport to show light damage to the bus and tourists in the area.
— EHA News (@eha_news) May 19, 2019
The outgoing head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, tells Al-Jazeera his country is not looking for war.
But he adds his army can easily defeat any enemy if need be.
“The enemies of Iran don’t hunt for a war, either. But there is a difference between them and us: they are afraid of war; their limit is where their life is in danger, which makes them easy to be defeated,” he says, according to state-run news agency IRNA.
The comments echo a similar statement from Saudi Minister Adel al-Jubeir earlier in the day that his country does not seek war but will defend itself.
AFP reports 17 people have been injured in the Egypt tourist bus blast, attributing the information to medical and security sources.
Reuters reports that many of the injured are foreign tourists.
A video purports to show the bus that was damaged.
— EHA News (@eha_news) May 19, 2019
The Arab League is calling on the German parliament to rescind a resolution that condemned a boycott movement against Israel as “anti-Semitic.”
The Bundestag passed a motion on Friday against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, warning that its actions were reminiscent of the Nazis’ campaign against Jews.
The Arab League’s assistant secretary-general for Palestinian affairs Saeed Abu Ali says in a statement the Bundestag’s motion against BDS is “regrettable… unjustified… (and) biased” in favor of Israel.
He urges Germany’s parliament to “reverse this erroneous step and support the Palestinian people’s right for liberation.”
Security sources tell AFP that South Africans and Egyptians were among those injured when an explosive device went off, hitting a tourist bus.
Israel Foreign Ministry says after an initial check that no Israelis were aboard the bus.
A major junction in Haifa has reopened after being closed off Saturday when a leak of flammable industrial gas was discovered in the area.
Police had closed off the so-called Home Center Junction at Yigal Yadin and Halutsei Hata’asiya roads in an industrial zone in the city’s east over the leak.
Authorities say there is no longer any threat to the public, according to Hebrew-language media reports.
The Egypt Independent reports that 25 South Africans were on the bus damaged by a blast near the Giza pyramids.
It says four Egyptians who were in a car on the same road were also injured by flying glass and shrapnel.
Five more people have been arrested over a deadly crane collapse at a building site in Yavne Sunday morning.
The arrests brings the number of managers and others detained to 13. Some are questioned as possible suspects while others are just brought in to give testimony, according to Haaretz.
Four people were killed in the work accident, three when concrete slabs fell on them and a fourth when he became trapped atop the crane. According to Haaretz, the four were all Israelis and had been on the site to dismantle and move the crane.
A debate in the Polish city of Kielce descended into a display of anti-Semitism and skullcap-throwing as candidates sparred over restitution to Jewish Holocaust victims.
During the debate, which took place Saturday, Dawid Lewicki, a candidate for the far-right Confederation political alliance, stuck a kippah in front of a candidate from the ruling Law and Justice party and said, “This is the symbol of Law and Justice. They kneel before the Jews, they sell the country for $300 billion,” according to Polish press reports.
The Law and Justice candidate, Anne Krupka, then threw the kippah off the table. Later when she got up to speak, a video shows Konrad Berkowicz, another Confederation official, pick up the kippah and hold it above her head.
Konrad Berkowicz z Konfederacji, a pani z Prawa i Sprawiedliwości.
Przyszli koalicjanci. 😂😀
Mówiłem, że koalicja to wrzutka PiSu, żeby suweren uwierzyl w koalicje i glosowal na PiS. pic.twitter.com/X3FFAQch4O
— Ken (@KenLewak) May 19, 2019
Poland’s ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski says in a tweet that he condemns the incident. “All expressions of racially motivated hatred are unacceptable,” he says.
Yes, I condemn it. Unequivocally. All expressions of racially motivated hatred are unacceptable. https://t.co/2oosHF1Na1
— Marek Magierowski (@mmagierowski) May 19, 2019
Donald Trump has dismissed Republican lawmaker Justin Amash as “a total lightweight” for being the first member of the party to call publicly for the US president’s impeachment.
Amash — a staunch libertarian on the right of the party — declared that any other person would have been prosecuted over Trump’s multiple attempts to thwart Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian election interference.
“Never a fan of @justinamash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there,” Trump tweets about the Michigan lawmaker, who is of Palestinian heritage.
He says that if the Michigan lawmaker had “actually read the biased Mueller Report… he would see that it was nevertheless strong on NO COLLUSION and, ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION…”
Trump calls Amash “a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!”
Never a fan of @justinamash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy. If he actually read the biased Mueller Report, “composed” by 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump,….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
….he would see that it was nevertheless strong on NO COLLUSION and, ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION…Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side? Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Reacting to the Polish anti-Semitism incident, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon says it’s nothing to get worked up about.
“This a fringe racist party that isn’t even worthy of responding to,” he says.
The Defense Ministry has begun building a large dirt berm along a road that runs near the northern Gaza Strip, to protect vehicles from anti-tank missiles being shot by Palestinian terrorists, Ynet reports.
A video published by the Kan public broadcaster shows the berm near Kissufim and the Black Arrow memorial site. In November, a bus recently emptied of soldiers was hit by an anti-tank missile there, seriously injuring the driver.
Earlier this month, an Israeli man was killed when an anti-tank missile shot from Gaza hit his car near Erez, in the same area.
US President Donald Trump’s policies are making war with Iran much more likely, House intelligence panel head Adam Schiff, a Democrat, tells CBS’s Face the Nation.
“What is taking place now was all too predictable. The steps the administration has taken to renege on the Iran agreement, to try to force Europe to renege on the Iran agreement, to try to force Iran to withdraw from the agreement to go back to the path of enrichment, the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist group, the belligerent rhetoric from the administration from Pompeo, from Bolton, all of these policy decisions have led us to a state where confrontation is far more likely and that cannot be ignored,” he says.
Schiff, one of the few lawmakers to have been briefed on the threat emanating from Iran, says it is real, but “When you take a series of steps that, yes, ratchet up tensions, you shouldn’t be surprised when the intelligence tells you, ‘Hey tensions have been ratcheted up.'”
Senator Mitt Romney tells CNN’s State of the Union that he does not think war with Iran is on the table.
“I don’t believe for a minute that either the president or John Bolton…has any interest in going to the Middle East and going to war. That’s just not going to happen. There’s no interest in doing that,” he says.
All three of Israel’s main newscasts at 8 p.m. lead off with expanded segments on four workers killed at a building site Sunday morning, reflecting frustration over a lack of worker safety.
Activists, labor representatives workers and others point out that enforcement is lax, and punishment against those involved non-existent.
Twenty workers have been killed so far this year, after 38 were killed last year, leading to a commitment by the government to hire dozens of more safety inspectors, apparently to little avail.
Channel 13 news says the crane industry is almost totally unregulated, with anybody able to build or take down the mammoth machines, potentially endangering the public.
The state panel mulling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request to let foreign businessmen fund his legal defense has given him a week to turn over documents relating to his financial holdings, or they will reject his request, Channel 13 news reports.
The panel has offered to allow Netanyahu’s cousin, Nathan Milikowski, and businessman Spencer Partrich, both based in the US, to pay the prime minister’s lawyers, if he discloses details about his financial dealings with Milikowski.
Suspicions have arisen over Netanyahu’s holdings in a US steel manufacturer, which he sold to Milikowski almost a decade ago, and its ties to German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp.
An apparent mortar round has exploded near Baghdad’s Green Zone, home to the heavily fortified US Embassy.
The explosion comes days after the US pulled non-essential staff from the area over an unspecified threat, amid rising tensions with Iran.
— with AP
There are unconfirmed reports that a Katyusha rocket was shot at Baghdad’s Green Zone. There are also reports of multiple rounds shot in Baghdad.
There are no immediate reports of casualties, and no claim of responsibility.
The US is taking its first step toward rolling out the Trump administration’s long awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, and is set to announce a meeting focusing on economic aspects of the long-shot proposal, CNN reports.
The channel, citing a senior administration official, says the administration will announce plans for an economic “workshop,” designed to boost investment in Palestinian territories, to take place in Bahrain on June 25 and 26.
“People are letting their grandfathers’ conflict destroy their children’s futures. This will present an exciting, realistic and viable pathway forward that does not currently exist,” Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, seen as a main architect of the plan, tells CNN.
Kushner tells CNN that the Bahrain meeting will seek to avoid politics to avoid getting bogged down in tougher issues, and foreign ministers will be shunned in favor of finance ministers.
“We recognize that this needs to go hand in hand with the political plan, but this will be the first chance to roll out details of the economic plan,” says an unnamed official.
“We think this will showcase the potential of the entire region,” the official says. “If there’s peace, it will touch on not only the West Bank and Gaza, but also Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. The economies will become integrated.”
The White House confirms the Bahrain meeting as the first part of the peace plan roll-out, in a joint statement with Manama.
“This workshop is a pivotal opportunity to convene government, civil society, and business leaders to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement,” the statement reads.
“If implemented, this vision has the potential to radically transform lives and put the region on a path toward a brighter future.”
US Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin says the meeting will “offer Palestinians exciting new opportunities to realize their full potential.”
There is no immediate response to the US/Bahrain announcement from either Israel or the Palestinians.
On Twitter, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and US envoy Jason Greenblatt have yet to begin bickering.
Iraq’s state-run news agency confirms that a Katyusha rocket crashed inside Baghdad’s Green Zone without causing any casualties.
Alert sirens sounded briefly in Baghdad after the explosion was heard, according to Associated Press reporters on the east side of the Tigris River.
In a statement released by the White House, Jared Kushner says the US will present its “vision on ways to bridge the core political issues very soon.”
“Economic progress can only be achieved with a solid economic vision and if the core political issues are resolved,” he says.
“We look forward to engaging with business and thought leaders from throughout the region and the world to build consensus around the best steps the international community can take to develop the foundation for a prosperous future. The Palestinian people, along with all people in the Middle East, deserve a future with dignity and the opportunity to better their lives.”
It is not yet clear whether an Israeli representative will be invited to the Manama meeting.