Gaza

Amnesty calls for further Gaza probe

By Simon Rocker, July 29, 2010

Amnesty International has called for further action to ensure that the perpetrators of alleged war crimes in last year's Gaza conflict are brought to book.

In February, the United Nations set a five-month deadline for Israel and the Palestinians to mount "credible" investigations into the conflict which expired on Monday.

In an official statement, Amnesty said this week: "A year and a half after the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel ended, the victims have yet to obtain justice, truth or full reparations; the perpetrators on both sides have yet to be held to account."

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Methodist set up Friends of Israel group

By Robyn Rosen, July 29, 2010

A Methodist preacher has set up a Methodist Friends of Israel group as a response to her church's call to boycott Israel.

Earlier this month the Methodist conference passed a report calling for a boycott of goods from "illegal" West Bank settlements, and for political lobbying to end Israel's occupation and the "siege of Gaza".

The decision was widely criticised and the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council said the church should "hang its head in shame".

Pam Smith, a preacher in Monmouth, South Wales, created a website and Facebook group to gain support for Israel.

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Arab MKs blast 'apartheid' Jewish state

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2010

Israeli Arab Knesset members have launched a blistering attack on the Jewish state and its Parliament, declaring Israel "racist, fascist and worse than apartheid South Africa".

Speaking to supporters of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at the House of Commons on Wednesday, MK Haneen Zoubi said: "Israel is much worse than the apartheid regime in South Africa. There were no ethnic cleansing policies there, but there are those policies in Israel."

Demand for entrance to the event was so great that supporters filled two committee rooms.

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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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