Gaza

Abbas: Hamas must allow Palestinian vote

By Jennifer Lipman, February 17, 2011

Palestinians will be denied their first opportunity to elect their leaders in five years if Hamas refuses to allow voting in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said today.

Palestinian Authority elections are set to take place this July, a year after they were postponed because the terrorist organisation refused to participate.

But a Hamas spokesman has already signalled the group’s decision to block this year’s vote.

Mr Abbas said: “Unless we are capable of holding elections in both the West Bank and Gaza, then we will not hold elections."

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Palestinian Authority: local elections in July

By Jennifer Lipman, February 8, 2011

The Palestinian Authority has announced plans to hold municipal elections this summer.

If it goes ahead, the vote will be the first opportunity Palestinians have had to elect their leaders since 2006 and the first local elections in six years.

Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for ruling party Fatah, said the vote had been scheduled for July 9, more than five years after Hamas won the popular vote in legislative elections.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas postponed the vote last July because Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, refused to take part.

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Praise for Israel's West Bank economic steps

By Jennifer Lipman, February 7, 2011

The British government has praised Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that Israel is to take concrete steps to advance economic growth in Palestinian areas.

The Israeli Prime Minister, along with Quartet envoy Tony Blair, revealed on Friday plans to help Gaza become more independent by developing its sanitation and water treatment plants.

The proposals also included moving forward with plans for a gas supply for the Palestinians, the revenue from which would go to the Palestinian Authority, and boosting exports from Gaza.

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Hall of Infamy: Lupe Fiasco

February 2, 2011

"Gaza Strip was getting burned, Obama didn't say s***t.

"That's why I ain't vote for him, next one either."

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Death threats over Israeli's Gaza film

By Robyn Rosen, January 27, 2011

An Israeli filmmaker has allegedly received death threats after a film she made about Israeli soldiers was aired on Channel 4 last night.

Nurit Kedar told Channel 4 News she had received threatening messages on the internet and her mobile.

The special report showed clips from Ms Kedar’s film, Concrete, where she interviewed IDF soldiers who had taken part in Operation Cast Lead in late 2008.

Ms Kedar told Channel 4 News: “I have had phone calls saying 'you should be hanged' and calling me a traitor.

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US praises Gaza flotilla inquiry

By Simon Griver, January 27, 2011

The Turkel Commission has concluded that the IDF acted in self-defence over the killings of nine Turkish activists when boarding the Marmara ship last May off the coast of Israel.

The Marmara was part of a flotilla transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza, but the members of the commission found that the dead activists carried knives. In addition, its report stressed that "during the searches conducted on the Mavi Marmara, no humanitarian supplies were found".

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New Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander's Middle East history

By Jennifer Lipman, January 21, 2011

The chair of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has said he is looking forward to working with the new Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, who was appointed following the resignation of Alan Johnson from the front bench.

Labour leader Ed Miliband appointed Douglas Alexander to replace Yvette Cooper yesterday, moving him from his role as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.

Mr Alexander, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, was first elected in 1997 in Tony Blair’s landslide victory.

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On this day: An anti-disengagement protest

By Jennifer Lipman, January 12, 2011

It would be the first major rally in opposition to Israeli Prime Minister’s proposal to unilaterally withdraw from parts of the West Bank and Gaza – but by no means the last.

At the rally, held in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, one settler proclaimed: "It will bring hundreds of casualties to the Israeli side because everyone will understand that terrorism will win in this war.”

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On this day: Kate Burton’s Gaza kidnap ordeal

By Jennifer Lipman, December 31, 2010

On December 28 former LSE student Kate Burton and her parents Hugh and Win were kidnapped in the Gaza Strip by members of the militant group Mujahadeen Brigades armed with automatic rifles. Three days later they were free.

The 24-year-old pro-Palestinian activist from Berkshire, employed by the Palestinian Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, was giving her parents a tour of Rafah, close to the Egyptian border, when they were taken. The kidnap took place just four months after Israel disengaged from Gaza.

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Hamas loads the launchers once again

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 29, 2010

Hamas has escalated its rocket attacks from Gaza, two years after Operation Cast Lead. But Israeli officials believe that the movement is not interested in a return to open hostilities and is, for now, "testing the limits".

Before this month and since the end of the Gaza conflict two years ago, Hamas had refrained from taking part in the attacks against Israeli patrols on the border and from carrying out missile launches against Israeli towns and kibbutzim.

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