Israel news

Dustin Hoffman did not cancel Jerusalem appearance

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

Jewish actor Dustin Hoffman did not halt arrangements to attend the Jerusalem Film Festival in the wake of the Gaza flotilla clash, despite what one of the organisers had claimed.

Yigal Molad Hayo, the associate director of the Cinematheque, the location of the annual festival, had told the Jerusalem Post he had been “very close to reaching an agreement” for Mr Hoffman to appear at the event.

But he said: “Then the flotilla happened and correspondence was ended.”

However he has now retracted his statement as “misleading and incorrect”.

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Obama: 'unwavering' on Israel's security

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu received a warmer welcome in Washington as President Obama called for the resumption of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians within the next two months.

In a marked contrast to March’s frosty meeting, the president also assured that America “will never ask Israel to take any steps that would undermine their security interests."

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Dancing soldiers escape trouble

By Jennifer Lipman, July 6, 2010

A group of Israeli soldiers will not face disciplinary action after footage of them dancing in uniform to a pop song appeared online.

Six soldiers from the Nahal brigade uploaded a video of them in Hebron performing a routine to the Ke$ha song Tick Tock.

In the “Batallion 50 Rock the Hebron Casbah” video the armed soldiers are patrolling to the sound of the Muslim prayer call, before breaking into the dance sequence when the pop song starts.

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Soldier to be charged for Gaza death

By Jennifer Lipman, July 6, 2010

The Israeli military has said it is charging a soldier with manslaughter for an incident during Operation Cast Lead.

His will be the third case of a soldier going on trial for offences during the January 2009 incursion into the Gaza Strip.

The soldier, named only as First Sergeant S, is from the Givati regiment.

Investigators said he broke Israel’s rules of engagement in firing at two Palestinian women, killing both. The troops been ordered only to fire warning shots at combatants in the crowd.

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Proposal to twin Dublin and Gaza

By Jennifer Lipman, July 6, 2010

The newly elected Lord Mayor of Dublin has suggested twinning the Irish capital with the Gaza Strip out of “sympathy”.

Gerry Breen proposed that the City Council explore the idea at its next monthly meeting, but said it was not meant as a criticism of Israel but as a positive step.

He said: "Gaza doesn't necessarily need to benefit from it, sometimes you can do these things because it's the right thing to do.

"It's saying that we empathise with the plight of the inhabitants in that area."

Both Dublin and Gaza are already twinned with Barcelona.

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Netanyahu to meet Obama at White House

By Jennifer Lipman, July 6, 2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set off for Washington to meet President Obama for what some have described as a “make-up visit”.

They are expected to discuss whether direct peace-talks between Israel and the Palestinians can be restarted, something Mr Netanyahu supports and Mr Obama sees as crucial to a two-state solution.

Mr Netanyahu recently said he was ready to meet the Palestinian President “today and tomorrow and the next day at any place.”

Palestinian leaders have so far rejected calls to start face-to-face negotiations.

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Noam Shalit slams IDF for Gilad kidnap

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

Gilad Shalit’s father has attacked the IDF for falling “asleep on the job” during the cross-border raid in which the soldier was captured more than four years ago.

Noam Shalit said official failings enabled the terrorists to infiltrate and kidnap his son, as well as kill two other Israeli soldiers.

He made the comments while on a visit near to the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza, where the then 19-year-old soldier was kidnapped by Palestinian militants in June 2006.

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Turkey demand Israel apologise for flotilla raid

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

The Turkish foreign minister has warned that the country will sever ties with Israel unless it apologises for the clash on a Gaza-bound flotilla in May.

Nine Turkish pro-Palestinian campaigners died and Israeli commandoes were attacked by activists wielding knives.

Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey will not wait long for the demands to be met, adding: "If they do not make any move, the process of isolating Israel will continue.”

An inquiry panel has already been set up in Israel, with two international overseers including Lord Trimble.

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Israel ready to release 1,000 prisoners for Shalit

By Marcus Dysch, July 2, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has said he is prepared to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

In a live address on Israeli television, Mr Netanyahu said he was ready "to pay the price" of releasing the prisoners, but would not allow them to return to the West Bank and would not set free "arch-terrorists".

He has come under increasing pressure from Shalit's family. More than 10,000 supporters of the family marched in Netanya on Friday morning as part of a 12-day protest march to Jerusalem.

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Ayalon: Shalit is the only Gaza crisis

By Jessica Elgot, July 1, 2010

Danny Ayalon told 70 ambassadors, including representatives from Egypt and the EU, at the Kerem Shalom Gaza crossing, that Israel consumes 25,000 tons of imported food and Gaza consumes 10,000 tons. Israel has a population which is seven times larger than Gaza.

However, Israel produces much of its own food, whereas Gazans depend greatly on imported supplies.

He said: “Israel is making every effort to make sure Gazans lack nothing. Hamas is the only obstacle in the residents' way.
 

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