Israel news

UK blamed for East Jerusalem building row

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 23, 2009

British diplomats played a major part creating the recent spat between Israel and the United States over Jewish building in East Jerusalem.

Last week, during a routine meeting with Israel’s new ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, at the State Department, the Americans objected to plans to convert the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem into 20 flats for Jewish families.

The building has been owned by American-Jewish millionaire Irving Moskovich for 24 years.

More..

Mother whose arrest fired rage ‘is innocent’

By Marcus Dysch, July 23, 2009

The grandmother of a three-year-old boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem until he weighed just 14 lb has said she is standing by her daughter-in-law, whose arrest has sparked rioting by some of the city’s strictly Orthodox factions.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is a member of the strictly Orthodox community in Stamford Hill, north London.

“I’m giving my daughter-in-law my full support for everything. She’s a wonderful woman. She’s never had a personal problem,” the 50-year-old said.

More..

El Al set to launch no-frills Euro fares

By Jan Shure, Travel Editor, July 23, 2009

El Al is set to launch cheap, no-frills fares for some of its European flights.

From November, Israel’s national airline will face competition from easyJet, Europe’s leading low-cost airline, which is to launch a route between London and Tel Aviv.

El Al is to test the no-frills market with low-cost seats on flights between Tel Aviv and Rome. A spokesman for the airline in London said there were no plans “at present” to introduce the cheap flights to London.

“We are starting the cheap flights as an experiment on the Tel Aviv-Rome route in September,” he said.

More..

Soldiers defend IDF’s conduct

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 23, 2009

IDF soldiers have responded to criticism of the army’s conduct in Operation Cast Lead by producing a website describing how the army did everything in its power to minimise civilian casualties.

Soldiers Speak Out was created by Stand With Us, a Los Angeles-based pro-Israel advocacy organisation, and includes videos of IDF reservists who fought in the Gaza operation.

More..

British diplomats involved in US-Israel tension

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 22, 2009

British diplomats played a major part in the recent spat between Israel and the United States over Jewish building in east Jerusalem.

Last week, during a routine meeting with Israel’s new ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, the Americans expressed objection to plans to convert the Shepherd Hotel in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah into 20 flats for Jewish families.

The building is owned by American-Jewish millionaire Irving Moskovich.

More..

El Al to offer 'no-frills' to Europe

By Jessica Elgot, July 21, 2009

El Al will roll out a ‘no-frills’ ticket on its scheduled flights from Israel, where tickets from £121 will be supplemented with charges for extras like meals and baggage.

Tickets are already being sold on the maiden budget flight from Tel Aviv to Rome in August.

But London flyers thinking of a low-cost El Al flight to Beijing or Bangkok without a meal will be disappointed: the airline is only offering its no-frills fares on short-haul flights.

More..

US to Israel: Stop building in East Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, July 20, 2009

The United States has issued a stark warning to Israel’s US ambassador over planned settlement construction in East Jerusalem and demanded that the project be scrapped.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that "Israel will not agree to edicts of this kind in East Jerusalem."

Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren was summoned to a meeting at the state department where he was told the US sought a freeze on new settlement construction in the east of the capital where an old hotel is being turned into Jewish homes by an American developer.

More..

Al-Jazeera shut down in West Bank

By Jessica Elgot, July 17, 2009

The West Bank offices of the TV channel, Al-Jazeera, have been shut down by the Palestinian Authority because, it has been claimed, the station portrays the Palestinian leadership in a negative light.

Al-Jazeera, which has offices in Ramallah, said it had been “stunned” by the allegations, which it fiercely contested.

The shut-down appears to be a direct result of what the majority PA party, Fatah, calls “false news” which it said the channel broadcast on Tuesday night.

More..

UK embassy gives £35k to Gaza report

By Jessica Elgot, July 17, 2009

Britain’s embassy in Israel is one of the financial backers of the human rights group, Breaking the Silence, it was revealed today.

The organisation, whose controversial report on the actions of the IDF during the Gaza conflict in January this year has just been issued, is said to have been given more than £35,000 by the UK, according to the 2008 donors’ list, published by the Jerusalem Post.

More..

Israeli warships sail through Suez Canal

By Jessica Elgot, July 16, 2009

Israel has sent two warships through the Egyptian-controlled Suez Canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

The move appeared designed to signal Israel's military strength to Iran.

Israeli ships often use the canal, but the government rarely publicises this.

Israel has said repeatedly that it will not rule out the possibility of taking military action against Iran over their nuclear weapons plans.

More..