Gaza

Cameron's comments are a measure of Israel's PR failure

By Martin Bright, July 29, 2010

David Cameron's description of Gaza as a "prison camp" during a visit to Turkey may have caused deep offence in Israel and parts of the Jewish community around the world, but the Prime Minister can be safe in the knowledge that his comments are relatively uncontroversial elsewhere.

Like most British politicians of his generation, Mr Cameron has no great knowledge of foreign affairs. But ignorance cannot explain why the Ankara speech did not make the usual diplomatic nod towards Hamas extremism and the threat to Israel's security.

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Anger over Cameron Gaza comments

By Rob Lyons, July 29, 2010

Prime Minister David Cameron's description of Gaza as a "prison camp" prompted anger this week from all quarters.

Mr Cameron, addressing Turkish businessmen in Ankara on Tuesday, declared: "The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable." And in reference to the Israeli blockade, he added: "Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp."

The remarks led to consternation that the PM should apparently use criticism of Israel as a vehicle by which to promote closer relations with Turkey.

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Analysis: This time, ignoring the council is right

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 29, 2010

A year-and-a-half ago, in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, the United Nations Human Rights Council announced that it was setting up a fact-finding commission to investigate claims of human rights abuse and war crimes.

The commission's chairman, one of the most respected members of the South African Jewish community and a committed Zionist, begged senior Israeli ministers to cooperate with him, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refused. The result was the damning Goldstone Report, which has continued to haunt Israel and especially the IDF for almost a year now.

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Hurndall father wants Hague meeting

By Jennifer Lipman, July 20, 2010

The father of a British activist shot in the Gaza Strip has said he wants to meet the Foreign Secretary to discuss the British government's "weak response" to his killer’s early release.

Tom Hurndall was shot while volunteering in Rafah for the International Solidarity Movement in 2003. In 2005 the man responsible, a former Israeli soldier called Taysir-al-Heib, was jailed for eight years for the “unlawful killing”.

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Hurndall family anger as killer freed

By Jennifer Lipman, July 20, 2010

The sister of a British activist killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003 has slammed the decision to release the man responsible early as “incredibly sad”.

Sophie Hurndall, whose brother Tom was shot while volunteering in Rafah for the International Solidarity Movement, said the family was “angry and shocked” to hear that Taysir-al-Heib would leave jail 18 months before his sentence expires.

Ms Hurndall told the Ha’aretz newspaper that the family had feared this would happen, despite the fact that three previous appeals by Mr al-Heib to have his sentence commuted had failed.

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Chris Patten: end blockade, talk to Hamas

By Jennifer Lipman, July 19, 2010

Conservative politician Lord Patten has attacked Israel for what he called the “medieval siege" of the Gaza Strip, and called for the European Union to do more to end it.

In an interview with the Guardian while visiting Gaza the former cabinet minister and current Oxford University Chancellor described it as "easier to get into a maximum security prison in the UK than to enter Gaza."

He called on the EU to take a position on Israel that is bolder and more independent from the United States and described the blockade of Gaza as "immoral, illegal and ineffective.”

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Early release for Tom Hurndall killer

By Jennifer Lipman, July 19, 2010

A former Israeli soldier imprisoned for killing a British activist in the Gaza Strip in 2003 is to be released before his sentence is up.

Taysir-al-Heib was sentenced to eight years for the "unlawful killing" of Tom Hurndall, a 22-year-old volunteer for the International Solidarity Movement.

But an army committee said he was no longer a threat and has agreed to release him 18 months before his sentence expires. His lawyer said Mr al-Heib had changed and added that he planned to get married.

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Baroness Ashton told easing blockade not enough

By Jennifer Lipman, July 19, 2010

A group of non governmental organisations have written to the EU High Representative claiming that Israel’s decision to ease the blockade of the Gaza Strip is not enough to rebuild the area’s economy.

The 19 organisations, including Amnesty International UK, Christian Aid, and War Child UK, asked Catherine Ashton to press for restrictions on Gaza to be lifted completely.

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CPS to probe judge who acquitted Gaza activists

By Jessica Elgot, July 15, 2010

The Crown Prosecution Service may investigate the conduct of a Brighton judge who inferred an anti-Israel activist should win a medal for bravery.

The Board of Deputies have asked the Office of Judicial Complaints to review the judge's summing up and the CPS have also requested a transcript.

Last month a jury acquitted seven activists of causing £200,000 worth of damage to an arms factory in January 2009. The defendants claimed they were trying to prevent the factory, owned by EDO MBM, from making arms for Israel during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

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Anti-Israel protesters block Athens flight

By Jennifer Lipman, July 14, 2010

Greek pro-Palestinian protesters delayed a flight to Israel for two hours by staging a demonstration against the situation in Gaza at the airport.

The Tel Aviv bound El Al plane could not take off on time after the group from a Communist backed union obstructed five counters, preventing passengers from checking in their luggage.

Police at Athens International Airport did not intervene but there were no reports of violence.

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