Israel news

Israel eases Gaza land blockade

By Jessica Elgot, June 17, 2010

The Israeli government is to ease the blockade of Gaza, expanding what is allowed into the region by road.

The government said in a statement: "It was agreed to liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza, to expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision.”

Although products have not been specified, the security cabinet is expected to allow more than 100 new items to enter the territory. The naval blockade, which the activists on the Gaza flotilla attempted to break, will remain.


New Turkish flotilla to Gaza planned

By Jennifer Lipman, June 16, 2010

The Turkish group behind the flotilla which sailed towards Gaza in May has announced it is planning to send more ships.

The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Aid (IHH), said they would be sending a repeat convoy of at least six ships.

IHH, which allegedly has links with Islamic militant organisations, told members of the European Parliament the ships will set off for Gaza in July.

The move comes after Israeli cabinet ministers met to discuss easing the blockade of Gaza.


Report: Israel failed Gaza settlement evacuees

By James Lewis, June 16, 2010

A new report into the fate of the settlers evacuated from Gaza has accused successive Israeli governments of “absolute and complete failure” in dealing with them.

The state commission inquiry showed that 70 per cent of the settlers, who were forced to leave their Gush Katif homes during the Gaza withdrawal in 2005, have still not been found permanent homes. A large majority of those 9,000 who were removed from Gaza have still not been properly compensated and are currently living in temporary dwellings.


Royal honour for Israeli WW2 veterans

By Jennifer Lipman, June 16, 2010

Israeli war veterans who were injured fighting for Britain during the Second World War are to be royally honoured.

The 32 disabled soldiers will receive British Ministry of Defence medals on behalf of the Queen at a ceremony in Tel Aviv. The newly knighted Sir Tom Phillips, the outgoing British ambassador, will make the awards.

Some of the soldiers, who served in the Jewish Brigade, went on to fight for Israel during the war of independence in 1948.


Israeli cabinet discuss easing Gaza blockade

By Jennifer Lipman, June 16, 2010

Israeli cabinet ministers have met to discuss relaxing the blockade of Gaza.

Members of the security cabinet are looking into allowing around 100 more goods into Gaza.

The meeting has been adjourned and will reconvene later with an announcement expected soon. It comes after the decision earlier in June to ease the blockade by allowing in provisions including Coca Cola, shaving cream and spices.


Soldier likely to be charged for Cast Lead deaths

By Jennifer Lipman, June 16, 2010

An Israeli soldier is expected to be charged with manslaughter for the deaths of two people in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

If the case goes ahead this will be the third time a soldier has gone on trial for offences during the January 2009 incursion.

IDF investigators have said they suspeect that the soldier, from the Givati regiment, broke Israel’s rules of engagement in firing at two Palestinian women.

A 35-year-old woman and her mother were killed as a result of the shooting, which was mentioned in the UN’s Goldstone report.


Israeli policeman killed near Hebron

By Jennifer Lipman, June 14, 2010

An Israeli policeman has been killed by a Palestinian near Hebron.

Command Sergeant Major Yehoshua (Shuki) Sofer, 39, died in hospital after Palestinians opened fire near a West Bank settlement on Monday morning.

Two others were injured during the attack and are being treated in a Jerusalem hospital for chest and stomach wounds.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said it was “definitely” a terrorist attack; however, IDF officials also said they thought it was individually planned rather than being directed by a larger terror cell.


Lord Trimble to oversee Israel's flotilla inquiry

By Jennifer Lipman, June 14, 2010

Israel has said there will be an independent public inquiry into the clashes on the Gaza-bound flotilla in May.

Lord Trimble, who as David Trimble was First Minister of Northern Ireland, will be one of two foreign observers overseeing the commission, which will look into the events on board the Mavi Marmara ship. The other will be Ken Watkin, a retired Canadian general.


Israel to announce its own inquiry into flotilla

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 10, 2010

The Israeli cabinet is expected to appoint a committee of inquiry into the Gaza flotilla operation on Sunday.

The current plan is to a form a committee with a limited mandate which will not question soldiers who took part in the operation. The inclusion of international observers on the committee is still under consideration.

The IDF has already set up its own committee of military experts to investigate the operational aspects of the boarding of the flotilla.


Israel and Egypt: the new allies

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 10, 2010

The fallout from the Gaza flotilla and the emergence of Turkey as a clear ally of Iran and Syria and all but an official enemy of Israel, is part of a radically changing balance of power in the region, one that is seeing unprecedented levels of cooperation between Israel and Egypt.

Senior Israeli officials have been saying in recent months that Egypt has been pursuing two seemingly opposite courses in its relationship with Israel.