Israel news

The war being waged online

By Jonny Paul, January 8, 2009

The crisis in Gaza has fuelled a fierce war on the internet by activists on both sides.

With Israel not allowing journalists into Gaza, the internet has become another front in the conflict.

The IDF has used YouTube to update people on Operation Cast Lead, with a dedicated page showing videos of Israeli troops in action.

Social networking site Facebook is being used to set up groups to drum up support for the various protests taking part across the country. Users can also sign up to a facility that automatically updates the number of Kassam rockets hitting Israel.

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Israel rejects ceasefire call

By Daniella Peled, December 31, 2008

Israel has rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

France had called for a temporary truce to allow humanitarian aid to reach the beleaguered Stri, but an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said that the plan failed to include any guarantees that Hamas would stop firing rockets at Israeli communities.

However, sources said the truce might be reconsidered if its terms were amended.

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Redrawn: Israel’s new danger zone

By Michal Levertov, December 31, 2008

Israel has rolled out a massive civil defence scheme across the south of the country to try to protect an estimated 500,000 citizens bracing themselves for an onslaught of long-range missiles from the Gaza Strip.

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'Shalit not in danger'

By Yaakov Katz, December 31, 2008

The IDF operation is not likely to endanger Gilad Shalit, the soldier captured by Hamas in June 2006, defence officials said this week.

Egyptian TV broadcast a report that Mr Shalit had been injured during the IDF operations. But the IDF released a statement saying: “Gilad Shalit is a valuable asset for Hamas.

“We believe it will do everything to keep him alive.”

Senior IDF officials have been in contact with the Shalit family and warned them that Hamas might try to use their son as part of the psychological warfare campaign against Israel.

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Israeli Arabs pelt police with stones

By Ben Lynfield, December 31, 2008

Palestinian citizens of Israel demonstrated this week over Israel’s aerial bombardments in Gaza, widely described by them as a “massacre”.

But Arab leaders and police both said confrontations had not reached the same degree of violence which characterised the October 2000 clashes at the start of the second intifada, when 13 Arab protestors were shot dead.

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In Gaza, no one feels safe

By Ben Lynfield, December 31, 2008

Shaken by the ferocity of Israel’s bombardments, Gaza Strip residents said that they felt nowhere was safe as they experienced “the scariest and worst time” they could remember.

Gaza City economic consultant Sami Abdul Shafi said he was spending his time trying to write about conditions which he said were the worst since the Israeli occupation in 1967.

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Israel claims success in the PR war

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 31, 2008

Fewer military officers; more women; tightly controlled messages; and ministers kept on a short leash. This was Israel’s new media game-plan in Operation Cast Lead.

The Gaza attack is the first major demonstration of Israel’s total overhaul of its ‘hasbara’ operation following the Second Lebanon War. While the military aspects of the operation were meticulously planned, a new forum of press advisers was also established which has been working for the past six months on a PR strategy specifically geared to dealing with the media during warfare in Gaza.

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Aliyah lowest since 1988

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 30, 2008

Last year was the worst in two decades for immigration to Israel, new figures have revealed.

Only 16,500 Jews arrived in the country, 16 per cent less than in 2007. However, aliyah from Britain was slightly up, with 680 new immigrants in 2008.

The aliyah figures, the lowest since 1988, can be attributed to the Israeli government’s decision to cap the immigration of Ethiopian Falashmuras, whose Jewish ancestry is contested.

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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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