Israel news

'No truce without end to smuggling'

By Yaakov Katz, January 14, 2009

As pressure mounted around the world for a Gaza ceasefire this week, it became clear that the key to a truce lay in Egypt — from where weapons are smuggled into Gaza.

Israel’s demand for a stop to the smuggling is based on lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War. UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the war and saw the deployment of UNIFIL in southern Lebanon, did not put an end to the smuggling of weapons from Syria to Lebanon. Since then, Hizbollah is believed to have tripled its missile stockpile from 15,000 to over 40,000 with longer ranges and larger warheads.


‘Rally cancelled’ message exposed as a hoax

January 9, 2009

A Hoax email was sent to thousands of inboxes late on Friday afternoon, claiming that today's (Sunday) Rally for Israel had been cancelled.

The email purported to come from the Board of Deputies but organisers immediately made clear it had no foundation. The rally will took place as planned.

Rabbi Danny Rich, the chief executive of Liberal Judaism, earlier dissociated himself from the solidarity rallies in London and Manchester.


Voices from the front line

January 8, 2009

We hope this will stop the Kassams
Elraz Azran
31, Restaurateur, Sderot


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.


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.


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.


'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.


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.


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.


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.