Israel news

UN divided over Gaza ‘war crimes’ report

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 7, 2009

Israel has created a rift in the higher echelons of the United Nations over the investigation of alleged “war crimes” in the Gaza operation.

Israeli diplomats, backed by President Shimon Peres and American diplomats at the United Nations, have persuaded the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon not to investigate further the allegations of illegal actions carried out by the Israeli army during Operation Cast Lead. But Mr Ki-moon is under intense pressure from many in his own organisation to announce a new investigation.

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Child-killer suspect arrest

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 30, 2009

The arrest of a Palestinian suspect, who admitted carrying out the murder of a child a month ago, has confirmed the security forces’ theory of a lone attacker.

The General Security Service (GSS) arrested Mussa Tit, a 26-year-old shepherd from the village of Hirbet Safa, south of Jerusalem, two weeks ago.

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Man stole treasure found under home

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 30, 2009

Armed only with a bucket and spade, an industrious East Jerusalem householder excavated five ancient rooms under his East Jerusalem house, finding gold coins and many other archeological treasures, all of which he sold to dealers.

The 34-year-old resident of the Christian Quarter was arrested last week and is expected to be charged with selling antiques illegally and carrying out an archeological dig without permission.

The man admitted selling his findings to dealers in the Old City. When the police raided his home, they found only broken shards of pottery and two large jars.

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Israelis fend off pirates in ocean firefight

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 29, 2009

A team of Israeli security guards fought off armed Somali pirates who tried to hijack an Italian cruise ship in the Indian Ocean.

The Israelis fired pistols and used water hoses to repel six invaders who attacked in a fast motor boat, shooting and attempting to climb onto the cruise ship using a rope ladder.

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Jews and Muslims vow to protest against the Pope

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 23, 2009

Muslim and Jewish protesters are planning to disrupt the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Israel next month.

Residents of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City are planning a demonstration against the closure of the area around the Western Wall for 12 hours during the visit. Protesters have vowed to flock to the Wall and remain there for the duration of the stay.

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Hamas killing Palestinians

April 23, 2009

Hamas has been systematically murdering its political opponents in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Israeli operation four months ago.

A report published this week by Human Rights Watch (HRW) details at least 32 instances in which Palestinians were murdered by Hamas members. According to the report, at least 18 men were summarily executed during Operation Cast Lead, and at least 14 in the months since.

Most of the murdered were members of Fatah, Hamas’s rival in the inter-Palestinian power struggle.

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IDF: no war crimes were committed

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 23, 2009

The Israel Defence Force has denied all allegations of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, in a report published on Wednesday.

“We have not found even one case in which an Israeli soldier intentionally aimed and fired at innocent civilians,” said IDF deputy chief of staff, Major General, Dan Harel. “The IDF acted in accordance with international law and abided by the highest moral and professional standards.”

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Academic boycotter to study in Tel Aviv

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 23, 2009

One of the founding leaders of the movement to boycott Israeli academia has begun taking doctoral courses at Tel Aviv University.

Thousands of students at the university have already signed a petition calling on the board of governors to bar Omar Barghouti from the lecture halls, but the university is upholding the cause of academic freedom.

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Lev Leviev's lost billions hits Soviet schools

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 22, 2009

A major downturn in the financial fortunes of Russian billionaire Lev Leviev has hit the network of Jewish schools he founded in the former Soviet Union. Last week, Mr Leviev’s Africa-Israel holding company announced a 2008 loss of 4.9 billion shekels, attributed mainly to the slump in property prices worldwide. Israeli business journalists estimate Mr Leviev’s personal losses since the financial crisis began at $1.7 billion.

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Jerusalem: Yad Vashem cash woe

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 22, 2009

Holocaust research and commemoration programmes have been hit by the global recession and Israel’s security problems.

Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, which opened a new $50m museum four years ago, has been forced to freeze some of its main programmes. Among them was an initiative to collect the names of all the Jews murdered in the Holocaust — with 3.5 million gathered so far; to record survivors’ testimonies; and to compile an encyclopedia of Jewish communities.

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