Gaza

Lib Dems urge ban on arms to Israel

By Marcus Dysch, March 19, 2009

The Liberal Democrats have called for a suspension of British arms sales to Israel following the Gaza conflict.

In a wide-ranging motion proposed by MP Edward Davey, the party’s foreign affairs spokesman, at its spring conference in Harrogate, delegates also voted for the suspension of the update to Israel’s association agreement with the EU, which provides the basis for the country’s dealings in Europe.

Lib Dem Friends of Israel chairman Monroe Palmer said: “Restrictions on trade with Israel will not resolve any problems in the region whatsoever.

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Oxfam official to be shown Sderot

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The head of the Reform movement, Rabbi Tony Bayfield, is to take a senior representative of Oxfam next week to Sderot, the southern Israeli town that has been the prime target of rocket attacks from Gaza.

“We will be going to a school in Sderot,” he told a meeting of the Reform council on Sunday, “and he can see Israeli children who have been physically and psychologically traumatised by the war to understand a bit better that there are two sides to the story.”

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Amnesty U-turn over Gaza weapons

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2009

Amnesty International has admitted it has no proof that British weapons were used by the Israeli army during the Gaza conflict.

The human rights organisation had last month accused the UK government of “aiding Israeli war crimes”, and called for a UN arms embargo.

But on Wednesday, Oliver Sprague, the charity’s arms programme director, appeared in front of a parliamentary select committee session on arms export controls.

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Worcester scraps Gaza twinning plan

By Marcus Dysch, March 10, 2009

Plans to twin the cities of Worcester and Gaza have been scrapped.

Worcester City councillors had approved a sister-city motion last month, saying residents felt strongly about January’s conflict and wanted to send a “personal message” of support.

But at a meeting on Monday, Worcester Twinning Association, an independent body which makes the final decision, rejected the proposal.

Its executive committee said there were insufficient resources to take on the “complex arrangements” needed to set up a “meaningful relationship” or active link.

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FO man suspended

March 5, 2009

Rowan laxton, who allegedly made antisemitic remarks after watching TV reports of Israel’s operation in Gaza has been suspended by the Foreign Office, a spokesman confirmed this week. Laxton was arrested after the incident.

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Twinning the war

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

An online property listings company claims it is preparing to advertise holiday homes — in Gaza.

Propertyindex.com swung into action after councillors in Worcester backed plans to twin the city with the war-ravaged area.

Lee Bramzell said his company would soon be offering “desirable properties in the Israeli city” and expected “plenty of interest in the alternative destination”.

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Gaza soldiers speak out

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

Ofer, a fighter in the Golani Brigade, was in the first wave of the ground offensive:

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Analysis: Squandering the victories of Operation Cast Lead

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

Six weeks since the end of Operation Cast Lead, Palestinian groups are still launching missiles, Hamas is busy replenishing its arsenal and Gilad Shalit remains incarcerated. Israelis are beginning to ask if it was all worth it.

Brigadier-General (res) Shmuel Zakai, former commander of the Gaza Division, fears that politicians will waste the IDF’s military victory . “The political leadership has, in the past, proved incapable of taking advantage of the opportunities afforded it by the IDF’s achievements.”

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Board reaches out to repair faith relations

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

An Islamic community centre will host a major Jewish exhibition as interfaith groups attempt to repair relations in the aftermath of the Gaza conflict.

The Board of Deputies’ Jewish Way of Life exhibition will be held at the centre in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in the spring.

At a meeting on Tuesday, members of the London Jewish Forum, synagogue bodies and the Board reaffirmed their dedication to developing stronger ties with the Muslim community.

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Scots cash for Gaza

February 26, 2009

The Scottish government is to provide more than £400,000 of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Eight Scots charities which work with Palestinian groups will receive funding to provide food and repair infrastructure. Michael Russell, Minister for External Affairs, said the £427,996 would come from the parliament’s International Development Fund.

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