Gaza

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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Gaza protesters' sentences cut

By Simon Rocker, July 13, 2010

The Court of Appeal has reduced the prison sentences of a number of people who pleaded guilty to violent disorder in protests against Israel’s incursion into Gaza outside the Israeli embassy in London.

The judges cut the prison terms in some instances from two years to 18 months, and from 18 months to 10 in others: in one instance, they quashed a 12-month jail sentence and replaced it with a community order, citing an “inexcusable” delay in bringing the man to court.

Eight appeals for reduced sentences were accepted, two were dismissed.

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Gaza protesters appeal

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2010

A group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who attacked a coffee shop outside the Israeli embassy are appealing against their sentences.

The ten protesters were among more than 78 people charged following a demonstration against Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

Their lawyers are expected to argue that the “deterrent” sentences, some of up to two and a half years and most for violent disorder, were inappropriate.

Police intervened and arrested more than 100 people after the crowd threw stones and bottles.

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Israeli coalition hit by secret Turkish meetings

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 8, 2010

A meeting between Israeli and Turkish ministers last week, intended to be secret, seems to have done nothing to improve the countries' rocky relations, instead causing at least two crises within Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition.

Trade and Industry Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has close ties with politicians in many Muslim countries and has undertaken delicate diplomatic missions in the past. Following the breakdown of Israel's relationship with the Erdogan administration after the Gaza flotilla incident last month, Mr Ben-Eliezer tried to use back channels to mend fences.

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Analysis: No end in sight for IDF Gaza probes

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 8, 2010

Eighteen months after Operation Cast Lead in Gaza and there still is no end in sight to the investigations and court proceedings.

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