Israel news

MPs terrified by ‘close’ Sderot gunfire

By Dana Gloger, July 11, 2008

Conservative MPs have described their horror at experiencing a gunfire exchange in Sderot this week.

The politicians were close to the shoot-out between Israeli soldiers and snipers across the border when they visited the town on Wednesday as part of a five-day trip organised by Conservative Friends of Israel.

Peterborough MP and shadow communities and local government minister Stewart Jackson said: “We couldn’t see the gunfire, but could hear that it was close by. Not being able to see it actually made it more frightening.”


First grisly stage of prisoner swap begins

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 11, 2008

The IDF Chaplains Corps began exhuming bodies from a special graveyard this week as part of the first stage of the prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizbollah.

For its part, Hizbollah presented their preliminary report on missing IAF navigator Ron Arad, shot down over Lebanon in 1986.


Bulldozer killer’s home may not be demolished

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 11, 2008

High-ranking IDF officers have advised Defence Minister Ehud Barak not to order the demolition of home of Husam Dwiat, who killed three Israelis last Wednesday in Jerusalem.

Calls for the demolition of the house of Dwiat’s family in the Sur Bahir neighbourhood of East Jerusalem were heard from politicians following the tractor rampage in which Dwiat killed Bat Sheva Unterman, Elizabeth (Lili) Goren and Jean Relevy and wounded more than 50 others, before being shot by an off-duty soldier.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.