ISIS extremists have inadvertently uncovered a treasure-trove of ancient statues and inscriptions dating back to the days of the Assyrian Empire. The Iraqi government found the antiquities by chance in tunnels dug by ISIS in eastern Mosul.
As President Donald Trump signed his updated travel ban in Washington, Israel approved its own version, barring those who support boycotts against Israel or West Bank settlements from entering the country.
The law, approved in its final reading late Monday, was supported by the right-wing and centrist parties, while facing harsh criticism from human rights groups and left-wing parties. It allows the Interior Ministry to decide if boycott activists will be granted visas or residency permits.
"The most natural instinct, the most normal instinct of a normal man that loves those who love him and hates those who hate him, is to not turn the other cheek," said co-sponsor Bezalel Smotrich from the right-wing Jewish Home party, speaking during the Knesset debate about the bill.
"There is no reason in the world that someone who calls for a boycott on Israel should be allowed into the country to use our infrastructure as a basis to undermine us."
The law is intended as a measure to combat the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made defeating BDS a priority of his administration. Last summer, in a meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netanyahu declared that the BDS movement had been "beaten."
"Every country has the right to determine who enters its borders," said Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, speaking at conference on Tuesday.
"The law adopted yesterday to prevent the entrance of BDS activists into Israel is another step in our struggle against those who seek to delegitimize Israel while hiding behind the language of human rights."
Critics slammed the law as an attack on free speech and warned that it would lead to deterioration of Israel's standing in the international community.
"This law violates the most basic tenets of democracy by making political opinions a consideration that may prevent non-citizens from entering Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)," read a joint statement from two human rights groups, Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
"Those seeking to enter the country most certainly need not align their political positions with those of the current Israeli government in regards to the occupation."
Leaders of the BDS movement predicted the law would have the opposite effect, providing a tailwind to boycott efforts.
"This desperate and draconian law removes the already worn mask off the face of Israel's regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid," said Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement.
"Human rights defenders worldwide who support Palestinian freedom, justice and equality through BDS will clearly not stop their activism if denied entry; if anything, they will have even more motive to intensify it."
In February, Israel denied a work visa to Omar Shakir, the director of Israel and Palestine for Human Rights Watch (HRW), because of what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called "the hostile, extremist, and anti-Israel agenda of the organization."
Shakir was later allowed into Israel and was permitted to appeal the denial of his work visa.
"This decision and the spurious rationale should worry anyone concerned about Israel's commitment to basic democratic values," said Iain Levine, Human Rights Watch's deputy executive director, in a statement.
Last July, the Knesset passed a law requiring any NGOs that receive more than 50% of their financing from overseas to disclose the sources of their funding. Critics say the law targeted human rights organizations that oppose Israel's occupation of the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinian. The law's supporters say it prevents foreign meddling in Israel's affairs.
photo of Israel travel ban: Boycott supporters to be turned away
Syria's children are overwhelmingly suffering "toxic stress" from the country's brutal civil war, with possible long-term effects on their psychological and physical health, a report concludes.
Iraqi forces have taken control of several key government buildings and a bridge in western Mosul.
When a CNN team was caught up in an ISIS ambush, they took cover in the homes of ordinary Mosul residents. Two months later, they returned to find the families.
Leaders of Turkey and Israel visit Moscow as President Vladimir Putin tries to entrench Russia's resurgent role in the Middle East.
Twelve residents of the war-torn Iraqi city of Mosul were treated for injuries from a suspected chemical attack this week, an official with the International Committee of the Red Cross said.
The number of Iraqi civilians fleeing western Mosul since the start of the operation to take it back from ISIS has increased to 57,000. The number shot up by more than 10,000 over the past two days.
A UN-established commission has issued a damning report on human rights violations in Syria's war-ravaged Aleppo, accusing both sides of war crimes.
The commander of Iraq's Federal Police has said that ISIS militants in western Mosul are looking to cut and run from their defense of the group's last remaining stronghold in the country.
Crowds gathered in Jeddah to immerse themselves in three days of cosplay, video games, comics and panel discussions with their favorite television actors at Saudi Arabia's first Comic Con.
- J.D. Power & Associates 8 most dependable cars, minivan
- Wake up to this crazy good Goo Goo barbecue biscuit from Holler & Dash
- Muscle Shoals Swampers, Jimmy Hall appear in Bayside Academy music showcase
- New York City Ballet dancer returns to Alabama for "The Sleeping Beauty"
- Who should replace Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump on 'SNL'?
- Jimmy Buffett to return to The Wharf in Orange Beach
- Beer garden in the works for downtown Montgomery
- Weekend box office: 'Logan' tears up opening weekend with $85.3M debut
- Resumes are more art than science
- How to open a resume: Objective statement vs. qualifications summary
- Don't confuse a resume with an autobiography
- Do I really need a cover letter? Plus more common resume questions
- Tim Tebow stalked by Colorado woman at Mets spring camp: cops
- KING: The Democratic Party doesn't get why it's so unpopular
- Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy Obamacare replacement should be called ‘Abominable Care’
- Fisher’s finish leads to Match Play and a shot at Masters
- Robinson, Lind ready for a spring training job fight
- World Baseball Classic failing to draw interest of American fans
- Ben Carson confirmed by Senate as HUD secretary
- Proposed $54B jump in defense budget won’t help economy much
Recent middle east
- As Erdogan consolidates power in Turkey, the Kurdish opposition faces crackdown
- The teachers are unpaid and danger is ever present, but Mosul's schools are reopening
- 'Old slavery mentality' is making a comback in lawless Libya, migrants say
- Islamic State attacks Iraq's oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk
- Families caught in crossfire in western Mosul
- Mosul offensive: Assyrian artifacts discovered in abandoned ISIS tunnels
- 'Toxic stress' of war on Syria's children detailed in report
- Key buildings retaken from ISIS in Mosul
- Return to hell: Finding Mosul family who sheltered us
- Putin deepens Middle East influence
- Suspected chemical attack in Mosul, Red Cross says
- Number of Iraqis fleeing Mosul nears 60,000
- UAE's minister of happiness insists her job is no laughing matter
- Trump steps up airstrikes against Al Qaeda in Yemen; more ground raids could follow
- Iraqi commanders say a spot in the desert is key to winning control of the city of Mosul
- Iraq's offensive against Islamic State militants in western Mosul sends thousands on trek for safety
- The underground beauty salon that defied Islamic State in Mosul
- Islamic State is showing stunning resistance as Iraqi troops try to breach west Mosul
- Islamic State has been cranking out car bombs on an industrial scale for the battle of Mosul
- Dozens dragged from their homes as police clear illegal settlement in West Bank