Israel news

United States vote against UNHRC Gaza motion

By Jennifer Lipman, June 2, 2010

The United States has voted against a resolution by a UN body condemning Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Italy and the Netherlands also voted against the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) document, while the UK abstained.

The Palestinian-sponsored resolution was passed by a majority of 32. It calls for Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza and for an independent probe into the incident.

The UNHRC previously instigated the controversial Goldstone Report into the 2009 Gaza war.

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Turkey gives Gaza ultimatum to Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, June 2, 2010

Turkey’s foreign minister has said the country would normalise ties with Israel if it lifts the blockade of Gaza

Following the IDF raid of a flotilla ship on Monday, which left nine dead including several Turkish nationals, Ahmet Davutogu said: "It is time calm replaces anger".

He said: "I see no reason for not normalising the ties, once the Gaza blockade is lifted and our citizens are released."

His comments came as Turkish planes arrived in Israel to take the activists home.

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Rihanna performs in Tel Aviv

By Jennifer Lipman, June 2, 2010

R&B singer Rihanna has described performing in Israel for the first time as "an amazing experience".

The 22-year-old from Barbados took to the stage in Tel Aviv on Sunday, thrilling crowds with performances of her hits "Rude Boy" and "Russian Roulette".

Taking time out of a busy rehearsal schedule for her European tour, she volunteered on a wall painting with a group of Israeli scouts.

The Grammy winner spent time visiting tourist sites in Jerusalem including the Western Wall, where she posted a personal note.

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Israel not prosecuting pro-Palestinian activists

By Jennifer Lipman, June 2, 2010

Israel has said it will not be prosecuting the pro-Palestinian activists detained after the weekend's fighting on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

The move comes as Israel prepares to send 325 of the activists home immediately, with the remaining number expected to be flown home in the next 48 hours.

An aide said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had made the decision after consulting his cabinet.

Turkish planes have landed in Israel to return nationals to the country, while others are at Ben Gurion airport awaiting flights.

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Judge Goldstone removed from Hebrew University board

By Simon Griver and Simon Rocker, June 1, 2010

Judge Richard Goldstone has said he was unaware that the Hebrew University removed him from its board of governors until contacted by the Jewish Chronicle.

“This is the first I have heard about my position as a governor of the HU,” said the South-African born judge, who lead the United Nations investigation into Operation Cast Lead. “I feel confident that it is not correct and such action would not be taken without notice to me or the South African Friends of the Hebrew University.”

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Palestinian militants killed in Gaza

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

At least three Palestinian militants have been killed at a rocket-launching site in Gaza.

The Israeli Air Force confirmed a strike in the northern Gaza Strip. It came after two rockets were fired over the border, landing near to Ashkelon.

Earlier, two Palestinian gunmen were shot dead attempting to infiltrate the Gaza border.

Schools in the western Negev area have been closed and Israeli security forces are on high alert following the clash on a flotilla between the IDF and pro-Palestinian activists.

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Jewish Agency Facebook page vandalised

By Robyn Rosen, June 1, 2010

The Jewish Agency for Israel has been forced to suspend all comments on its Facebook page after it was vandalised with offensive remarks and images.

On Monday, it placed a message on its Facebook page stating that postings on its online wall had been “temporarily prohibited”.

It said: “Due to the flotilla incident in Israel today our Facebook page was vandalised with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish wall postings.

“For that reason, fan postings on the wall have been temporarily prohibited. We will do our best to remove comments with similar sentiments as soon as possible.”

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Israeli pioneer dies at 88

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

One of the founders of Israel’s Labour party, who was a key figure in the development of the Jewish state, has died at the age of 88.

Israeli politicians have paid tribute to statesman and writer Arie “Lova” Eliav, who served in five different Knessets and was instrumental in settling new immigrants into Israel.

Born in Moscow, he moved to Israel as a child and at 15 joined the pre-state Hagana. After fighting for the British Army in the Second World War, he was a key figure in bringing immigrants to Israel in the run up to independence.

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Egypt reopens Rafah crossing

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

The Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, has ordered the reopening of his country's border with Gaza.

The Rafah crossing will be reopened to allow humanitarian and medical aid into Hamas-controlled Gaza, following the weekend's raid on a flotilla ship which left at least nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.

Rafah has been kept mostly closed in the three years since Hamas gained control of the area. It is the only point on the Gaza border that Israel does not fully control.

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Israel miss out on Eurovision win

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

Israel finished in a disappointing 14th place in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Winning 71 points at the event in Oslo on Saturday, singer Harel Skaat missed out on the high ranking he had been predicted to gain.

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