Senior minister: Trump-Kim summit sends strong message to Iran

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Tuesday’s events as they unfold.

8:05 pm

Netanyahu praises Trump for efforts to denuclearize North Korea, Iran

Netanyahu heaps praise on US President Donald Trump for his face-to-face meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un yesterday.

“I congratulate Trump on his historic summit in Singapore,” Netanyahu says in a statement. “This is an important step in the effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.”

The prime minister goes on to praise Trump for his “firm stance against Iranian efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons and its aggression in the Middle East.

Netanyahu calls Trump’s policies “important for Israel and for the rest of the world.”–
7:56 pm

Erdan to Twitter: Refusal to remove terrorists’ accounts could violate Israeli law

Gilad Erdan says that he has warned Twitter that allowing terrorist organizations access to the social media platform may be in violation of Israeli law.

Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem, Erdan says that unlike other social media companies, Twitter in many cases has declined to remove content posted by terrorist groups.

“As a result, the terrorist organizations are expanding their activity on Twitter to spread their propaganda,” he says, noting that Hamas has had an official account since 2015.

Erdan sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asking him to close the accounts of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

7:31 pm

Steinitz says Trump-Kim summit sends ‘strong’ message to Iran

Cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz says the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un was important for the Middle East.

Steinitz tells The Associated Press that North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons would send a “strong” signal to Iran. He says it would “increase the pressure on Iran” to give up its nuclear infrastructure and capabilities.

— AP

7:29 pm

Knesset speaker says razing outpost will only increase West Bank building

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein says the court-ordered razing of illegally built homes in Netiv Ha’avot will only spur on more Israeli construction in the West Bank.

“It is unnecessary suffering for the families and children, and it is a shame that we have been forced to reach this situation,” he says.

He goes on to claim that claims by Palestinian landowners whose petition led to the High Court ruling ordering the demolition were fake. He says all they managed to accomplish was more Jewish construction in the West Bank.

— Jacob Magid

7:19 pm

Deputy minister hosts iftar dinner at Knesset

Deputy Minister Michael Oren is hosting a fast-breaking meal in honor of Ramadan at the Knesset.

Attending the traditional iftar dinner are members of Israel’s Arab and Druze communities, including religious leaders and heads of regional councils, as well as the ambassadors to Israel of Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Paraguay.

The event was originally planned to take place at the Prime Minister’s Office — where Oren has an office — which would have marked the first-ever iftar dinner at the epicenter of Israel’s executive branch.

But the event was moved to the Knesset’s Jerusalem Hall due to a larger-than-expected list of attendees, Oren says. Still, he adds, it is the “first-ever multi-partisan” iftar in the Knesset, even though the only Muslim MK present, Akram Hasson, is also a member of Oren’s Kulanu party.

Addressing his guests, Oren recalls that he started a tradition to hold an iftar dinner at the Israeli embassy in Washington, a tradition that is still observed every year.

“The State of Israel is very proud of its citizens and its minorities — Muslims, Druze, Bedouins, Circassians, Christians,” Oren says. While Israel is a Jewish state, it is situated in the Middle East and honors local traditions.

— Raphael Ahren

7:11 pm

Paris suburb backtracks on ‘Nakba’ street after complaints

The mayor of the municipality of Bezons in the northwestern Paris region, Dominique Lesparre, removes a plaque commemorating the Nakba — the Arabic “catastrophe” that Palestinians use to denote Israel’s creation.

The plaques were daubed in graffiti last night, and were removed earlier today at the request of the top central government official for the Val-d’Oise region, who said they could “seriously disrupt public order.”

The CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish associations had also demanded the plaques be taken down, saying they “encourage the current acts of anti-Semitic violence by trying to give them historic justification.”

— Agencies

6:50 pm

Trump aide apologizes for ‘inappropriate’ comments on Trudeau

A top aide to US President Donald Trump apologizes for asserting that a “special place in hell” awaited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, following the acrimonious conclusion of a weekend G7 summit.

“Let me correct a mistake I made,” White House economic advisor Peter Navarro is quoted as saying by reporters at a Washington event organized by The Wall Street Journal.

“I used language that was inappropriate,” he says.

Navarro over the weekend had joined administration officials in lashing out at Trudeau following the weekend’s chaotic end to the Group of Seven summit in Quebec at which major economies clashed over tariffs.


6:40 pm

Anne Frank House museum unveils virtual reality tour

The Amsterdam museum dedicated to Anne Frank’s life launches a virtual reality tour of the cramped quarters where the Jewish diarist and her family hid from Nazis during World War II, marking what would have been her 89th birthday.

The Anne Frank House says the 25-minute tour means people won’t have to visit the museum to see the annex where the Franks and four other Jews hid from July 1942 until they were discovered in August 1944 and deported to concentration camps.

Anne Frank House executive director Ronald Leopold says the tour “offers an immersive experience” of the rooms hidden behind an Amsterdam canal-side house where Anne wrote her diary.

— AP

6:24 pm

Hostage situation unfolding in Paris, terror not suspected

Police say a man is holding two people hostage in an office in central Paris.

A police operation is underway. There is no indication of terrorist motives.

Police would not confirm whether the man was armed, and declined to provide more details.

Videos and images from the scene posted on social media show police officers outside a building in central Paris’s Petites Ecuries street.

— AP

6:08 pm

Syria amassing air defense systems near Israeli border — report

The Syrian army is reinforcing its aerial defenses near its border with Israel, a top commander in a pro-Assad militia tells Reuters.

The unnamed commander, who is not Syrian, tells the news agency that stationing the Russian-made Pantsir S1 batteries in the Syrian Golan aims “to renew the air defense system against Israel in the first degree.”

He adds that additional defenses will be stationed in the area in the coming days.

6:03 pm

Knesset speaker to visit families evicted from Netiv Ha’avot

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein says he will visit this evening the temporary homes of those evacuated from buildings in Netiv Ha’avot, in a show of support for the community.

Edelstein will place a mezuza on the doorpost of one of the structures, a Jewish tradition when moving into a new home.

Fifteen buildings were evacuated today, 21 months after the High Court of Justice ruled that they had been constructed on land not belonging to the state, and ordered that they be demolished.

— Raoul Wootliff

5:48 pm

On heels of Kim summit, Trump seeking ‘real deal’ with Iran

On the heels of his historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Trump says he hopes to negotiate a “real deal” with Iran in the future.

“I hope that, at the appropriate time, after the sanctions kick in — and they are brutal what we’ve put on Iran — I hope that they’re going to come back and negotiate a real deal because I’d love to be able to do that. But right now it’s too soon to do that,” Trump is quoted as saying.

5:30 pm

Alleged British neo-Nazi admits plot to murder lawmaker

An alleged member of a banned British neo-Nazi group pleads guilty to planning to murder a lawmaker.

Jack Renshaw is accused of buying a machete to kill Labour Party legislator Rosie Cooper last year.

The 23-year-old man pleads guilty to preparing acts of terrorism as he went on trial alongside five other alleged members of the outlawed group National Action. All six deny belonging to the group.

The British government banned National Action in 2016, describing it as a “virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic” neo-Nazi group.

National Action had praised Thomas Mair, a far-right extremist who murdered Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox in 2016.

— AP

5:12 pm

Police remove 27 protesters from Netiv Ha’avot

Police are removing 27 of the protesters clashing with police during the court-ordered evacuation and demolition of illegally built homes in the West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha’avot.

Police at the scene tell The Times of Israel the 27 were being bused to the southern city of Kiryat Gat before being released.

Police have rounded up dozens of rowdy young demonstrators that refused to leave the last home willingly. The bus will be taking them to Kiryat Gat

I asked one of the officers why they chose Kiryat Gat and he said, “it seemed random enough”

— Jacob Magid (@JacobMagid) June 12, 2018

–Jacob Magid

5:06 pm

South African city suspends council member over pro-Israel comment

The mayor of South Africa’s economic hub Johannesburg suspends a senior council member after she made a public declaration that the city was a “friend” of Israel.

According to a video of her speech, Mpho Phalatse, a councilwoman in charge of health, said at a weekend pro-Israel event: “I would like to declare that I am a friend of Israel and the city of Johannesburg is a friend of Israel.”

“We value you, we celebrate you, we appreciate you, feel at home…” she told participants at a conference held as part of a series of events organized by pro-Israel community and religious groups.

Mayor Herman Mashaba announced that he had decided “to suspend… Phalatse pending an investigation into the full and proper context in which those remarks were made.”

Mashaba says he was “disappointed” that the councilwoman attributed her personal sentiments to the city on such an “emotional and sensitive” issue.


5:03 pm

UN chief says Trump-Kim summit ‘important milestone’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomes the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “an important milestone” toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Guterres urged all those concerned to “seize this momentous opportunity” and again offered UN help to achieve the goal of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

The summit held in Singapore was “an important milestone in the advancement of sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization on the Korean peninsula,” Guterres says in a statement.


5:00 pm

PM says police questioning ‘welcome opportunity’ to clarify submarine deal

A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says the prime minister “welcomed the opportunity to clarify the picture” for police investigating the submarine affair.

“The prime minister welcomes the opportunity given to him to clarify the picture and put an end once and for all to the false allegations made against him by politicians,” the statement from Netanyahu’s office says.

The prime minister was questioned for 5 hours today over suspicions he struck an illegal quid pro quo deal with Bezeq officials to guarantee him more favorable media coverage. During the questioning, police said Netanyahu also discussed their ongoing graft investigation into a multi-billion-shekel purchase of naval vessels and submarines from a German shipbuilder. Netanyahu is not a suspect in that case.

The statement from Netanyahu’s office did not mention the Bezeq investigation.

4:42 pm

Police working to clear settlers from last holdout in Netiv Ha’avot

Police are working to evacuate protesters from their last holdout in Netiv Ha’avot. Youths are barricaded in the basement of the house with wire fencing, planks of wood and boulders, and dozens on the roof are harassing police and throwing paint and water on them.

Hundreds of others are outside the building watching the scene unfold. Police are carrying the demonstrators out one at a time.

— Luke Tress

4:42 pm

Police grill Netanyahu for 5 hours in Bezeq, submarine probes

Police say their questioning of Netanyahu in the high-profile Bezeq graft probe is over. According to a statement, investigators grilled the prime minister for 5 hours at his official residence in Jerusalem.

The questioning came after investigators acquired new evidence from a key state’s witness reportedly implicating Netanyahu in an illicit quid pro quo deal with Bezeq.

Police also said Netanyahu also gave testimony in Case 3000, also known as the submarine affair, during today’s questioning.

In Case 4000, Netanyahu is alleged to have provided regulatory benefits to Israel’s largest telephone company, Bezeq, in exchange for Bezeq’s chief shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, giving Netanyahu and his family positive coverage on the Walla news site, which Elovitch owns.

In Case 3000, police are investigating suspected corruption surrounding a multi-billion-shekel purchase of naval vessels and submarines from a German shipbuilder. While Netanyahu has not been named as a suspect, close associates of his, including his two personal lawyers, have been arrested or questioned.

4:24 pm

Israel to limit Helium imports to Gaza in response to arson kites

Israel announces it is limiting the entrance of helium into the Gaza Strip after Palestinians in the coastal enclave used the gas to fill incendiary balloons that were flown into southern Israel, sparking a number of large fires.

“The entrance of helium gas into the Gaza Strip will be limited in light of the use of it by terrorists to fill incendiary balloons,” says Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon.

In a statement, Abu Rokon warns that Israel will cut off the supply of helium if the incendiary balloon attacks continued.

The gas is used for a number of medical purposes, notably for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, which use a liquid form of helium for cooling.

The liaison’s office, which is part of the Defense Ministry, does not immediately say how much helium will still be allowed into the Strip.

— Judah Ari Gross

4:02 pm

Airstrike kills 10 civilians in northeast Syria, says war monitor

An air raid on a village in northeast Syria held by the Islamic State jihadist group killed at least 10 civilians including three children, a Britain-based monitor reports.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the strikes on Tal al-Shair in the northeastern province of Hasakeh were carried out by the US-led coalition fighting IS in Syria and neighboring Iraq since 2014.

There was no immediate confirmation from the coalition of the strike, the latest in a series of raids to have reportedly caused civilian casualties in the area in past weeks.

Tal al-Shair lies in a small pocket still held by IS fighters near the Iraqi border in the south of Hasakeh, where a Kurdish-Arab alliance backed by the coalition has been battling the jihadists in recent days.

According to the Observatory, a coalition air strike last week killed 11 civilians in the same IS-held area, and another 12 lost their lives in coalition raids on June 1.


4:01 pm

Liberman: Gaza aid contingent on Red Cross visiting captive Israelis

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says an increase in the amount of humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip would be contingent upon Hamas allowing the Red Cross to visit the Israelis held captive in the Palestinian enclave.

“We’re asking for the most obvious, humane humanitarian gesture — at least letting the Red Cross see our captives and fallen soldiers,” Liberman says during a visit to the Gaza border area. “After that it will be much easier, not necessarily to reach a long-term ‘hudna’ (ceasefire), but to give humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza.”

Two living Israeli men — Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed — and the remains two fallen soldiers — Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin — are believed to be held captive by the terror group in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has refused aid groups access to see them in violation of international law.

Goldin’s parents have led an influential campaign calling on the government to take a harsher line on Gaza until the captives are returned.

— Judah Ari Gross

3:53 pm

Trump says his tough rhetoric led to North Korea summit

US President Donald Trump says he sometimes “felt foolish” lobbing insults at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But he says without his harsh rhetoric, their summit may never have happened.

Trump is reflecting on his evolving rhetoric in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity in Singapore.

Trump, who had threatened “fire and fury” and called Kim “Little Rocket Man,” says: “I think without the rhetoric we wouldn’t have been here.”

He says that past administrations had what he called “a policy of silence” and did not respond when rivals “said something very bad and very threatening and horrible.”

Trump says, “That’s not the answer.”

He says of his rhetoric: “I hated to do it. Sometimes I felt foolish doing it. But we had no choice.”

— AP

3:33 pm

Police say settlers hurl rocks at officers during outpost evacuation, injuring 3

A statement from a police spokesperson says three officers were injured, after being violently attacked by mostly teenage protesters who barricaded themselves inside one of the illegally built homes in a West Bank outpost slated for demolition.

Police encountered “active resistance” from the protesters in Netiv Ha’avot who hurled rocks, bottles and other objects at the forces.

The statement says two officers were treated for head injuries, and another one was lightly injured in the leg.

3:08 pm

Russia says Trump-Kim summit ‘positive’

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hails the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un as a “positive” step, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports.

“We have not yet seen the documents (signed at the summit). I don’t think they have been published. But the mere fact that this meeting took place is of course positive,” the agency quotes Lavrov as saying.


3:06 pm

Protesters against outpost demolition blocking entrance to Jerusalem

Police say several dozen people gathered at the entrance to Jerusalem to protest the court-ordered demolition of the illegally built homes in the West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha’avot.

Protesters are burning tires, and are blocking traffic in several directions.

A police statement says officers are at the scene to disperse the demonstration and restore traffic to normal.

Drivers are leaving or entering Jerusalem are urged to use alternate routes.

2:47 pm

Settlers protesting demolition of illegal outpost attack officers

The group of mostly teens protesting the court-ordered demolition of some of the homes in the illegal West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha’avot are violently attacking officers trying to evacuate the last building slated for demolition.

One of the protesters threw a a rock at a police officer’s head, causing him to bleed. Another officer was hit in the head with a paintball.

2:21 pm

EU hails Trump-Kim talks as ‘crucial and necessary step’

The EU praises the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “crucial and necessary step,” saying it indicated that “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula could be achieved.

“This summit was a crucial and necessary step to build upon the positive developments achieved in inter-Korean relations and on the peninsula so far,” the EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.


2:17 pm

200 teens barricade themselves in last illegal outpost home ahead of demolition

Around 200 teenagers protesting the court-ordered demolition of some of the homes in the illegal West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha’avot have barricaded themselves inside the last building slated to be razed.

A number can be heard talking about violently resisting the evacuation by police.

— Jacob Magid

Police are preparing for resistance in only one of the 15 homes. They are saving it for last

— Jacob Magid (@JacobMagid) June 12, 2018

2:16 pm

Labor chief says Trump-Kim summit ‘can happen here too’

Labor party chairman Avi Gabbay takes to Twitter to enthuse that “what happened tonight…can happen here in the Middle East too.”

“As with any negotiations, the way forward demands building trust (even when it appears impossible) and finding shared interests,” he says.

“It’s just a first step,” he adds, “but leaders with the courage to initiate and bring [people] together can make all the difference. What happened tonight between the United States and North Korea can happen here in the Middle East too, or anywhere. It sounds crazy until it happens.”

2:10 pm

UN watchdog welcomes Trump-Kim joint statement

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog is welcoming US President Donald Trump’s joint statement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says his agency “stands ready to undertake any verification activities in (North Korea) that it may be requested to conduct by the countries concerned.”

He notes that the Trump-Kim statement signed Tuesday in Singapore includes a North Korean commitment “towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Amano says the IAEA “will closely follow the negotiations to be held between the two countries to implement the outcomes” of Trump’s summit with Kim.

— AP

2:07 pm

Liberman hails Trump-Kim summit a ‘significant breakthrough’

“I am sure that as determined as the USA and President Trump were to reach an agreement, they will also, of course, monitor its implementation and this will be a good example to other nations and other people,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says, in an apparent reference to Iran.

“We think this is an achievement and the most significant breakthrough that we’ve seen in recent years. I hope that beyond the signatures on the agreement, it will also be carried out in actuality and will stand up to the real test,” he says.

— Judah Ari Gross

2:03 pm

Trump says he will stop ‘war games’ with S. Korea

US President Donald Trump stuns the Korean Peninsula by announcing the stoppage of US-South Korean annual war games that have long been defended as defensive and vital by the allies.

Trump speaks to reporters after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, essentially taking the North Korean line on the military exercises, calling them “provocative.”

The 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea.

Trump calls the war games “tremendously expensive,” suggesting that South Korea does not contribute enough, and says they would be “inappropriate” as the US and North Korea negotiate a new relationship.

A statement from South Korean President Moon Jae-in says the Trump-Kim summit opens a new era of peace and cooperation. The statement did not address Trump’s comments about the drills.

Seoul’s presidential office tells The Associated Press that it was trying to discern the exact meaning and intent of Trump’s comments.

— AP

2:02 pm

Iran spokesman warns Kim about nuclear agreement with Trump

The spokesman for the Iranian government is warning North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that US President Donald Trump could nullify any nuclear deal with North Korea.

The semi-official Fars news agency quotes Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, as saying: “We are facing a man who revokes his signature while abroad.”

Nobakht’s remarks are the first by an Iranian official after Trump and North Korea’s Kim concluded their nuclear summit.

While flying for talks with Kim on Sunday, Trump rejected an agreement signed by the leaders of the G7 countries at their summit in Canada.

The US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May.

— AP

2:00 pm

Shin Bet declares Afula stabbing a terror attack

The Shin Bet security service declares yesterday’s stabbing attack, in which an 18-year-old Israeli high school student was seriously injured in the northern city of Afula, a terror attack.

Just before noon yesterday, Shuva Malka was stabbed on the street in Afula shortly before noon. Her attacker fled the scene.

A short while later, police arrested the suspected terrorist, identified as Nour al-Din Shinawi, a Palestinian man in his 20s from the West Bank city of Jenin, who had entered Israel without a permit.

Malka, who was seriously wounded, was rushed to Afula’s HaEmek Medical Center. As of this afternoon, she remains in serious condition and is being treated in the intensive care unit after undergoing emergency surgery.

The Shin Bet says that Shinawi did not have a record of being involved in terrorist activities, and that investigators are still working to determine a specific motive.

— Judah Ari Gross

This article provided by NewsEdge.