Britain will abstain from a crucial United Nations vote today over whether to endorse the Goldstone Report, despite urgent calls from Israel for Gordon Brown to reject it.
The UN Human Rights Council will vote in Geneva on whether to accept the report, which was strongly critical of Israel’s conduct during the Gaza offensive in January this year.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly held a heated phone conversation with Mr Brown yesterday where he claimed that if the resolution against Israel was to pass; it could completely derail the peace process.
The Israeli government is split over the correct response to Turkey’s decision to cancel a joint military exercise. While the Foreign Ministry is in favour of a belligerent stance, the defence establishment is trying to lower the tensions.
Israeli, American, Italian and Turkish warplanes were due to simulate dogfights against each other this week over Turkey, but Ankara barred Israel from participating at the last minute, in protest at Operation Cast Lead. The other participants then pulled out, leading to the cancellation of the manoeuvre.
Film director Ken Loach, a supporter of the Israeli film boycott, has criticised the chief executive of Israel’s leading film distribution company, who, he claims, did not inform him that his latest film would be shown at the Haifa Film Festival.
Mr Loach has frequently attacked Israel’s action in Gaza and was among the high - profile figures urging organisers of the Toronto Film Festival to drop a celebration of Tel Aviv last month.
The rabbi in the centre of the row over gender segregation at the Western Wall has compared the Jewish Agency to the Jerusalem rioters.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, has previously demanded more stringent gender segregation at the Western Wall, causing the Jewish Agency to halt all ceremonies for new olim at the Kotel.
The head of immigration and absorption at the Jewish Agency, Paula Edelstein, refused to segregate men and women during the ceremony, and the organisation will now hold the presentation at its own headquarters in Jerusalem.