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Two Israelis killed in West Bank shooting

PM pauses in the middle of fervid address to stare silently at delegates; blasts Abbas’s allegations Israel trying to take over Temple Mount

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers at a military post in Beit Jala, outside Jerusalem. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers at a military post in Beit Jala, outside Jerusalem. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged developments on Thursday as they unfolded.

Russia strikes Syrian targets in fresh strikes

Russia reportedly carried out fresh airstrikes in Syria, targeting sites along the length of the coastal mountain range defining the Assad regime’s heartland, from Jisr al-Shughur in the north to Talbiseh — site of bombings Wednesday — near Homs, reporter Nabih Bulos reports on Twitter.

Woman, child hurt by rocks near West Bank settlement

A woman and her infant child are injured after Palestinians threw stones at cars near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa. The car’s windshield was shattered in the attack, and the woman injured her leg.

IDF troops are at the scene and clashes with Palestinians are ongoing.

Jerusalem gears up for massive Sukkot parade

Major arteries in central Jerusalem are shut to vehicle traffic ahead of the Jerusalem March, which is set to take place this afternoon and is expected to include tens of thousands of participants.

The annual Sukkot parade will wend its way through downtown and is projected to draw at least 60,000 people.

Russia confirms new Syria strikes

Russia said Thursday that its warplanes had bombed “four Islamic State targets” in Syria overnight, including a command center and weapons depot.

The airforce “destroyed the headquarters of terrorist groups and a weapons warehouse in Idlib area and a command center… in Hama region,” the defence ministry said in a statement. A car bomb factory north of Homs was also destroyed, it said.



Turkel committee approves Alsheich as next top cop

The Turkel Commission has approved the appointment of Roni Alsheich, the deputy Shin Bet chief, as the next Israel Police commissioner.

Israel’s been without a permanent police chief since Yochanan Danino stepped down in July. Gal Hirsch, a former IDF general who was tapped by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, dropped his nomination amid rumors of financial misconduct, paving the way for Alsheich’s nomination.

Alsheich, a father of seven who lives in the Tel Aviv suburb of Givat Shmuel, is nationalist religious and formerly lived in a West Bank settlement.

Russia ‘destroyed 12 Islamic State targets’

Russia’s defense ministry says it has damaged or destroyed 12 targets in Syria belonging to the Islamic State militant group, including a command center and ammunition depots.

Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in televised comments that Russian Su-25M and Su-25 jets have made 20 sorties. He insisted that Russian jets were only targeting militant positions were not carrying out attacks on civilian areas.


‘Hezbollah, Iran gearing up for ground op in N. Syria’

Lebanese sources tell Reuters that Hezbollah is preparing to take part in a large ground operation in northern Syria as hundreds of Iranian troops arrived in Syria in the past couple of weeks. The news comes just a day after Russian airplanes began striking Islamic State and other targets in Syria.

2 teens arrested for stoning Border Police in E. Jerusalem

Two Palestinian teens threw stones at Border Police officers in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of A-Tur and Issawiya on Thursday.

No injuries were reported. The teens were arrested and taken in for questioning, police said.

Police arrest teen suspect in Tekoa stoning

Police have arrested a 15-year-old Palestinian on suspicion of throwing stones at a car near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa and injuring a woman and her six-month-old baby.

Police say they expect to make additional arrests.

Obama refused to block UN Palestine statehood bid

US President Barack Obama twice rejected proposals by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid to have the US commit to rejecting any UN resolution recognizing a Palestinian state, Politico reports.

The move was apparently a trade-off to get Democratic lawmakers to support an Iran nuclear deal, but the president declined the proposal both times, White House officials and Senate aides tell the website.

Hotovely calls for ‘freedom of worship’ for Jews on Temple Mount

Ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s UN speech, set to take place at 7 p.m. Israel time, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely calls for a restoration of freedom of worship on the Temple Mount, Times of Israel correspondent Raphael Ahren reports.

Jewish prayer is currently banned on the Temple Mount.


Russia sought alliance with Kurds against Islamist rebels in Syria

Russia tried to forge an ad hoc alliance with Kurdish forces in Syria in order to operate against Jaish al-Fatah, a coalition of Islamist rebel groups unaffiliated with the Islamic State, senior Israeli officials say. The Kurds apparently didn’t respond to their appeals.

The airstrikes, which aim to expand the area under control of Syrian President Bashar Assad, will be followed up by ground operations by Russian, Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian forces around Idlib and Latakia, the senior sources say.

Avi Issacharoff

Jerusalem parade gridlocks city streets

Tens of thousands of marchers are making their way through the capital and, with main streets blocked off, traffic is at a standstill.

Revelers march through central Jerusalem on Sukkot as part of the annual parade on October 1, 2015. (Tallulah Floyd/Times of Israel staff)

Revelers march through central Jerusalem on Sukkot as part of the annual parade on October 1, 2015. (Tallulah Floyd/Times of Israel staff)

US-backed rebels say Russia hit their bases

Russian warplanes fired missiles at a training camp run by a US-backed rebel group in the northwest Syrian province of Idlib on Thursday, the group’s spokesman told AFP.

“At exactly 10:30 a.m., Russian planes targeted Suqur al-Jabal’s training camp, with four Russian planes firing more than 10 missiles,” said Mustafa Halabi, spokesman for Suqur al-Jabal (Falcons of the Mountain).

He said two more Russian warplanes attacked the base at noon local time, but that no rebels were hit.

Netanyahu speech among last, but not least

UNITED NATIONS — As usual, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to the General Assembly — expected at 7:00 PM Israel time — comes relatively late in the game. On the fourth day, the most prominent speakers, such as US President Obama, Russian President Putin or Pope Francis, have already delivered the addresses and left New York.

But this year, some other important countries have their representatives take the podium after Netanyahu.

Malaysia, Germany, India, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia are among the nations that will speak after the Israeli leader. It will be particularly interesting to hear the remarks of Riyadh’s foreign minister, Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir, since Netanyahu is expected to reference his country’s ostensible new alliance with the moderate Arab states in the wake of the Iran deal.

Right after delivering his speech, Netanyahu will conduct a short meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his office. Later Thursday evening, he will meet with American Jewish leaders in his hotel.

On Friday, he is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry and World Economic Forum chairman Klaus Schwab.

Raphael Ahren

Hamas calls Abbas speech ‘submissive,’ calls for end of Oslo Accords

Hamas lashes out at PA President Mahmoud Abbas a day after he delivered a speech at the United Nations threatening to dismantle the Oslo Accords, calling the address “emotional and submissive” and saying it “did not rely on our people’s strong cards, and consequently the results will not differ from those of previous speeches.”

“The credibility of this announcement remains subject to its implementation on the ground,” the Islamist terror group says. It calls upon the president to announce the end of the Oslo Accord and rescind recognition of Israel, end security cooperation and “unleash resistance” in the West Bank, halt arrests of Hamas fighters, reconcile with Hamas, and pursue prosecution of “Israeli war criminals” at the ICC.

‘Russia ready to launch airstrikes in Iraq’

Russia says it’s ready to consider airstrikes in Iraq if Baghdad asks, a senior diplomat says.



Russia strikes hit rebel-held territory

Data from the Carter Center shows that the Russian airstrikes in Syria targeted areas controlled by rebel groups, not the Islamic State, contrary to claims on Syrian and Russian state television.

The full report, with maps, can be found on The New York Times.

Adelson and Foxman enter UN ahead of Netanyahu speech

Casino magnate and Netanyahu backer Sheldon Adelson and outgoing ADL chief Abraham Foxman have entered the United Nations building ahead of the prime minister’s speech.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili of Lesotho is currently speaking, leaving the Greek and Georgian delegations until Netanyahu addresses the General Assembly.

Sources close to the PM say he’s going to deliver a hard-hitting response to Abbas’s address the day before.

Palestinian, Vatican flags fly outside UN before Netanyahu speech

UNITED NATIONS — Hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to the General Assembly, the Palestinian flag has now been hoisted alongside the flags of the Vatican (the world’s other non-member state at the UN) and the body’s 193 member states outside the iconic building near New York’s East River.

Yesterday, the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time in a well-attended ceremony in the UN’s Rose Garden. Hours after the ceremony concluded, however, the flag was no longer flying at the UN, neither on the post in the Rose Garden nor outside the UN building.

Palestinian and Vatican flags fly outside the UN on October 1, 2015. (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel staff)

Palestinian and Vatican flags fly outside the UN on October 1, 2015. (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel staff)

Netanyahu gets set to deliver UN speech

Netanyahu gets set to speak before the UN General Assembly and shares a photo on Facebook of his wife straightening his tie.

“I am about to head to the UN General Assembly to give my speech,” the PM writes. “I will refute the lies made against us and tell the world the truth about Israel.”

Netanyahu speech pushed back

After a last minute shuffle, Netanyahu’s speech is pushed back. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili is currently speaking and will be followed by Malaysian counterpart Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak. Then comes Slovakian Deputy PM Miroslav Lajcak, and only then Netanyahu.

Top EU official warns of rising anti-Semitism

A senior European Union official has warned of rising anti-Semitism in Europe as attacks and threats against Jews continue in EU member countries.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said Thursday that “in the last couple of years you’ve seen this age-old monster come up again in Europe.”

Speaking before a conference on religious intolerance, he said: “This is unacceptable. I thought we knew better. I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible … but it’s happening again.”

The EU’s fundamental rights agency says that anti-Semitic stereotyping is a reality in many countries and that some EU political parties are openly anti-Semitic.

Timmermans said that “it’s a vital question for the future of Europe that our Jewish community feels at ease and completely at home.”


PM fixes up speech before showtime

Netanyahu also shares a photo of himself and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Dermer making last minute fixes to his speech.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes final tweaks to his UN speech on October 1, 2015. (GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes final tweaks to his UN speech on October 1, 2015. (GPO)

Kerry meets IS coalition allies to discuss Syria

US Secretary of State John Kerry met with representatives from France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, the UAE and UK to discuss Syria, Al Monitor’s Laura Rozen reports.

IDF announces meeting with Russian brass in Tel Aviv

Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan will meet with his Russian counterpart next Tuesday Nikolai Bogdanovski in Tel Aviv and discuss coordination by the two militaries, the IDF spokesperson announces.

Netanyahu addressing UN General Assembly

After yet another jumble, Netanyahu is taking the podium.

PM knocks UN as ‘obsessively hostile’ to Israel

Netanyahu opens with a salvo at the United Nations itself, recounting that when he was ambassador at the august body 31 years ago, “then as now, UN was obsessively hostile against Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East.”

As expected, Netanyahu begins Iran tirade

No surprise, while Netanyahu opens with a comment about the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, he immediately launches into an a tirade against Iran.

Netanyahu catalogs Iran’s measures to “prop up Assad’s brutal regime” and a laundry list of other moves across the Middle East since the nuclear deal was reached with world power in July.

He says Israel will continue to “respond forcefully” to attempts to attack Israel from Syria, and thwart arms shipments to Hezbollah.

He accuses Iran of setting up terrorism cells in the Western hemisphere in the past six month.

Netanyahu compares Iran to ‘rapacious tiger’

The prime minister makes a lengthy comparison of Iran to a “rapacious tiger,” saying if it’s unchained from international sanctions it will gobble up more nations with its violence and won’t be turned into a “kitty.”


PM calls nuclear deal ‘marriage certificate of that unholy union’

After mentioning Iran’s support for international terrorism, Netanyahu turns to Iran’s nuclear program, saying the deal will give the Islamic Republic the fissile material for nuclear weapons within 10 years.

“As leader of a country defending against Iran’s aggression, I wish I could take comfort in the claim this deal blocks Iran’s path to nukes,” Netanyahu says.

“While giving the mullahs more money is likely to fuel more repression at home, it will definitely fuel more aggression outside Iran.”

“I have long said that the greatest danger facing our world is the coupling of militant Islam with nuclear weapons,” and proceeds to call the nuclear deal a “marriage certificate of that unholy union.”

Netanyahu whips out book of Khamenei’s speeches

Netanyahu’s much-anticipated prop for this year’s UN speech is a copy of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s book with speeches calling for the eradication of Israel “within 25 years.”

He rails against the UN body’s silence at Iran’s calls for the destruction of Israel, and takes a long pause with audible silence dominating the hall.

“It’s not easy for Israel to oppose something embraced by the greatest powers in the world. Believe me, it would be far easier to keep silent,” he says.

“As the prime minister of the Jewish state, I refuse to be silent.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the UN General Assembly on Thursday, October 1, 2015 (screen capture: YouTube)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the UN General Assembly on Thursday, October 1, 2015 (screen capture: YouTube)

Days when Jews are passive ‘are over,’ PM says

Netanyahu says preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons is the official policy, but says Israel will do whatever it takes to defend itself from those who seek its destruction. Paraphrasing the Haggadah, he says in each generation someone rises up to destroy the Jews and, in turn, fail.

“The days when the Jewish people remain passive in the face of genocidal enemies – those days are over,” he says.

Referring to Iran, he suggests they look around and see if Rome and Babylon are among the leaders gathered in the UN.

Netanyahu to Iran: ‘Your plan to destroy Israel will fail’

In message to Iran’s leaders, Netanyahu says “Your plan to destroy Israel will fail. Israel will not permit any force on earth to threaten its future.”

He says Israel will do what it must to defend itself.

He adds that he hopes the UN will more rigorously enforce the nuclear deal than the six international resolutions that Iran “systematically violated.”

Netanyahu alludes to close ties with Arab governments

Israel is working with Arab states and partners in Africa “to address our common security challenges from Iran and the challenges from ISIS and others,” he says.

He calls for “lasting partnerships” with Arab neighbors.

Mending fences, PM lauds common ground with Obama

For a bit of fence-mending, Netanyahu lauds Israel’s ties with the United States, says that despite disagreements over nuclear deal, “we have no disagreement about the need to work together to secure our common future.”

Looking on the bright side, he says that “President Obama and I agree on the need to keep arms out of the hands of Iran’s terror proxies.”

Netanyahu pledges commitment to 2-state solution

Netanyahu at long last gets to the matter of Israel and the Palestinians.

“Israelis know the price of war. I know the price of war,” Netanyahu says, emphasizing that Israel is committed to peace with Palestinians.

“I am prepared to immediately resume peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without any preconditions whatsoever,” he says.

He says he’s committed to the vision of two states for two peoples. About Abbas: “I hope he changes his mind.”

He blames the Palestinians for “rejectionism” and failure of peace process.

PM: UN should push for direct peace talks

He calls on the UN to help push for direct negotiations, says imposed solution won’t help.

Addressing Abbas: “We owe it to our peoples to try. To continue to try.”

“We can do remarkable things for our people,” he says.

At the same time, Netanyahu says the UN should finally rid itself of the obsessive bashing of Israel. To wit, he points out that the UN passed 20 resolutions against Israel and just one against Syria, where over 250,000 have died in nearly five years of civil war.

Israel ‘will always respect the shrines of all’ — PM

While reinforcing the Jewish link to the Temple Mount, Netanyahu says that “Israel will always respect the shrines of all.”

“It is Israel that ensures their safety,” he adds. He says the country ensures the freedom of worship of all religions, whereas across the Middle East religious freedoms are being cut down. “Israel will always stay true to their values.”

‘Israel is defending you,’ PM says in closing

“Israel is defending you,” Netanyahu says in closing. “Stand with Israel as we check the fanaticism at our door. Stand with Israel as we prevent that fanaticism from reaching your door.”

For those who missed it, here’s Netanyahu’s deafening silence from the podium:

A shot of Netanyahu’s speech from behind the scenes

Israel’s Ambassador in New York Ido Aharoni tweets a photo of Netanyahu’s speech from behind the scenes:

American envoy to Israel attended UN speech

While US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and US Secretary of State John Kerry weren’t at the UN for Netanyahu’s speech, Washington’s envoy in Tel Aviv Ambassador Dan Shapiro was.

Israeli, Palestinian officials respond to PM speech

The responses to Netanyahu’s speech are coming in thicker and faster than a greased-up jumbo jet.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog says that it “won’t have any impact” and that it was just another speech that “won’t achieve anything.”

An anonymous Palestinian official tells Israel Radio’s Gal Berger that “Netanyahu knows that the Palestinians cannot accept his demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and despite that he repeats it in his speech — nothing will change.”

“It was on Netanyahu to at least say that the impediments that stood before the previous round of talks were removed and that he’s prepared for negotiations which would bring an end to the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Joint (Arab) List MK Ahmad Tibi says on Twitter that Netanyahu’s lauding of Israel’s equality for Jews and Arabs, where Arab doctors treat Jewish patients, that “He forgot to mention that the doctor is undressed at Ben Gurion Airport, is rushing to the polls ‘in droves,’ like all Arabs in Israel.”

Yesh Atid party chair Yair Lapid, however, calls Netanyahu’s speech “excellent,” adding that “the problem is with Iran and Iranian terrorism and in order to fight this we need a regional agreement.

“If you don’t suggest a solution, someone else will suggest a solution for you and apparently you won’t like it,” he says.

Netanyahu’s Transportation Minister and fellow Likudnik Yisrael Katz says that even though Netanyahu’s speech is already known for its near minute-long silence, he’d prefer to call it “the speech of truth.”

“The prime minister stood before the UN General Assembly and said the truth,” Katz tells Channel 2. “The prime minister did well to confront the bold and harsh statements of [PA President Mahmoud Abbas].”

2 reported injured in West Bank shooting

Reports are coming in of a shooting which took place near the northern West Bank settlements of Itamar and Alon Moreh.

There are unconfirmed reports of at least two people injured.

IDF searches for suspects in shooting near Beit Furik

The shooting reportedly took place near the West Bank village of Beit Furik, outside Nablus.

IDF soldiers are on the scene, have closed off the road and are searching for suspects.

It isn’t immediately clear whether it was an ambush or a drive-by shooting, Channel 2 reports.

The IDF has no further information to add at the moment.

Israelis in critical, serious condition in West Bank shooting

According to emergency personnel, one of the Israelis injured in the shooting is in critical condition and the second is in serious condition.

West Bank attack believed to be drive-by shooting

The IDF believes the shooting was carried out from a passing vehicle which fled the scene after the attack, Channel 2 reports.

Israelis hurt in West Bank shooting die

Magen David Adom paramedics say both Israelis injured in the shooting were killed.

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