Israel news

Israel urged to employ more workers from PA

By Michal Levertov, December 30, 2008

American and European officials are putting pressure on Jerusalem over Israeli plans to impose levies on Palestinian labour within its borders.

In April 2008, the Israeli government agreed to approve an extra 5,000 employment permits for Palestinians within Israel.

However, a decision was made to charge Israeli employers of Palestinian workers a monthly fee of 1,000 NIS (£178), a move that US and Quartet officials fear may deter Israeli employers from hiring Palestinians, contradicting Israel’s commitments to increase Palestinian employment.

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Israel prepares troops and PR offensive to counter Hamas

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2008

Israeli representatives around the world are preparing the groundwork for a PR and diplomatic campaign that will accompany an IDF ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

The final decision on whether to launch such an operation has not yet been taken, but the government is preparing itself for all eventualities, including an immediate escalation.

A barrage of Kassam rockets and three IDF retaliatory attacks at the weekend signalled the end of the six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

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24 Russians die: Israel’s worst traffic accident

By Yaakov Katz, December 18, 2008

Israel has opened an investigation into what caused a tourist bus to crash into a guard-rail and plunge into a steep ravine near Eilat this week, killing 24 Russian travel agents in Israel’s worst traffic accident.

The group, from St Petersburg, flew into Ovda Airport on Tuesday and were on their way to Eilat to check out attractions for future Russian tourists.

Rami Vazana, the driver of another bus carrying Russian tour guides, said the vehicle passed him on a steep, narrow road when it crashed into the guard-rail and rolled down the slope.

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Fresh Gaza violence likely as truce ends

By Yaakov Katz, December 18, 2008

The Israel Defence Forces went on high alert this week as Hamas threatened not to renew their ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip.

The six-month truce between Israel and Hamas was due to expire today (Friday). While Israel prefers to extend it, Hamas appears to be split between continuing the pact and ending it. Damascus-based Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal said on Sunday that the ceasefire would not be renewed, while Hamas officials in Gaza said only that the issue was under review.

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At least 24 killed in Eilat bus crash

By Daniella Peled, December 16, 2008

At least 24 people have been killed after an Israeli bus carrying tourists plunged into a desert ravine north of the resort town of Eilat.

Dozens more passengers have been injured, with some reported to be in a serious condition.

The private bus was en route to an airport near Eilat when it veered off the Mitzpe-Ramon-Eilat road into the 80-metre ravine.

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Fears of fresh Gaza violence as ceasefire nears end

By Yaakov Katz, December 16, 2008

The Israel Defense Forces have gone on high alert as Hamas threatened to not renew their ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip.

The six-month truce between Israel and Hamas is due to expire on Friday. While Israel prefers to extend it, Hamas appears to be split between continuing the truce and ending it. Damascus-based Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal said on Sunday that the ceasefire would not be renewed, while Hamas officials in Gaza said only that the issue was under review.

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Student rescue boat arrives in Gaza

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 9, 2008

Two British academics have arrived in Gaza to collect Palestinian students who would otherwise be unable to take up university places abroad.

Prof Jonathan Rosenhead and Research Fellow Mike Cusham went by boat from Cyprus to collect the 16 students, some of whom have scholarships at colleges in Europe and North America.

They docked on Tuesday afternoon and hope to leave within the next few days.

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Likud names revealed

December 8, 2008

Likud chair Gideon Sa'ar has taken second place on the party's Knesset list after party chief Binyamin Netanyahu, followed by MK Gilad Erdan into third place in yesterday’s primaries.

Likud could now sweep the coming Knesset elections, according to recent polls. Those who secured high places on the list stand to gain senior government positions.

Netanyahu spoke after the 41 candidates were called to the stage, announcing, "Friends, today we chose a new leadership for Israel."

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Israel plans to extend Gaza Strip ceasefire

By Yaakov Katz, December 4, 2008

Despite a mortar attack that wounded eight Israeli soldiers last week and almost daily Kassam rocket fire from the Gaza Strip since then, Israel is hoping to extend the ceasefire with Hamas that is scheduled to expire later this month.

On December 19, the six-month truce with Hamas will officially expire. Defence officials said this week that the IDF assessment is that Hamas will want to extend the truce under which the crossings — which have been closed for most of the last month due to the rocket attacks — will be opened.

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Unilever to sell West Bank plant

By Michal Levertov, December 4, 2008

The multinational company, Unilever, is to sell its share in a food factory located in a West Bank settlement.

The Anglo-Dutch company, the manufacturer of 400 brands in 150 countries, intends to sell its 51 per cent stake in the Beigel & Beigel pretzel factory, based in the Barkan industrial zone near the settlement of Ariel.

In October, Swedish company Assa Abloy decided to move a locksmith plant from the same industrial zone following NGO reports warning that companies may be subject to law suits over the violation of international law if their factories are located in such areas.

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