Israel news

Hizbollah, Israel settle terms of prisoner swap

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 4, 2008

Israel is due to receive Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, captured two years ago, in the next two weeks in return for five Lebanese prisoners and the bodies of 10 Hizbollah fighters.

The cabinet voted this Sunday in favour of the plan despite Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warning that the two soldiers are presumed to be dead.

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Gaza journalist ‘beaten’ by IDF

By Ben Lynfield, July 4, 2008

A Palestinian journalist returning from a visit to the UK to receive an award has been hospitalised with fractured ribs and breathing difficulties following  what he claimed was abuse by Israeli security officials.

Mohammed Omer, 24, told the JC by phone from his bed in Gaza’s European Hospital that on June 26 at the Allenby Bridge Crossing into the West Bank he was strip-searched, questioned in an abusive manner and physically harmed, including being shaken and dragged across the floor.

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Ceasefire emboldens Hamas to raise stakes

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 4, 2008

The fragile Gaza ceasefire and the prisoner deal with Hizbollah have emboldened Hamas to demand a larger number of Palestinian prisoners in return for the captured Israeli soldier Sergeant Gilad Shalit.

Sporadic firings on Israel from the Gaza Strip have not caused the ceasefire to break down, despite at least four occasions on which Palestinians have fired mortars and Kassam missiles since the ceasefire began two weeks ago.

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Kadima leadership battle starts early

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 4, 2008

The two front-runners in the Kadima leadership primaries, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, began trading barbs this week, even before an official date for the primaries had been decided.

The primaries are expected in September, after Kadima committed to them in return for Labour agreeing not to vote for early elections.

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A day of disbelief

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 3, 2008

Everyone agreed that it was a terrorist attack that could not have been foreseen.

The driver of the number 13 bus attacked by 31-year-old Husam Dwiat told reporters that his first response had been to harangue him for bad driving.

“When he first hit us,” said Assaf Nadav, “I opened the window to shout at him about his driving. I thought it was just a careless accident. Then he turned the bulldozer around and tipped us over with his shovel.”

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Palestinian brings terror to Jaffa Road

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 2, 2008

A six-month-old baby was saved by two passers-by on Wednesday moments after her mother was crushed to death as a Palestinian terrorist drove a bulldozer into Jerusalem traffic.

The mother, Bat Sheva Unterman, was one of three people murdered by 31-year-old construction worker Husam Dwiat in a bloody rampage.

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Israel will swap land for peace, Livni tells Berlin

By Shelly Paz, June 27, 2008

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a Berlin conference this week that Israel was willing to accept territorial compromise in return for peace.

But Israel would not accept another “extremist Islamic state which is unable to fulfil its commitments and control its own territory”, said Ms Livni. She was one of 20 foreign ministers — including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — at the Conference in Support of Palestinian Civil Security and the Rule of Law hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

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Diaspora ‘crisis’ plan

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 27, 2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced a radical rethink of policy in Israel-diaspora relations this week, warning that “a serious crisis” of assimilation and alienation faces world Jewry.

In the keynote speech to the Jewish Agency’s board of governors in Jerusalem, Mr Olmert acknowledged that “the era of mass aliyah from countries of distress has come to a close”.

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Family fury as Olmert zig-zags on prisoner swap

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 27, 2008

The Israeli cabinet is to vote on Sunday on the prisoner exchange with Hizbollah, after a week in which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert twice changed his mind on the deal by which Israel is to receive two soldiers in return for handing over five Lebanese prisoners.

The prisoner swap seemed imminent last week after Israeli and Lebanese sources both confirmed that a deal had been brokered by the German government.

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Israeli top brass split over plan to hit Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 27, 2008

Media reports of a recent wide-scale Israeli military exercise over the Mediterranean — widely interpreted as a dry-run for a possible attack on Iran — have highlighted stark differences among the Israeli leadership over what action to take against Iran’s nuclear programme.

More than 100 F-15 and F-16 fighter planes, backed up by rescue helicopters, air-refuelling aircraft, command-and-communications and electronic-warfare planes, flew almost 1,000 miles simulating the flight-path which would be used to bomb Iran.

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