Gaza

Noam Shalit: government giving up on Gilad

By Jennifer Lipman, June 23, 2010

The Israeli government has been accused of abandoning its fight to bring back kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit following the decision to ease the land blockade of Gaza.

The then teenager was captured during a border raid by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip in June 2006, and four years later the campaign to bring him home is still strong.

But speaking in the Knesset, Gilad's father Noam said the government needed to do more to ensure his return.
Mr Shalit said: "We are asking where Gilad stands in this equation. We are asking where is Gilad, our son?".

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Quartet: Palestinians should oversee Gaza crossings

By Jennifer Lipman, June 22, 2010

The Middle East Quartet peace mediators have called for Palestinian security personnel to operate the crossings from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

In a statement, the organisation said there should be a Palestinian Authority (PA) presence at the border as a way of reuniting the area with the West Bank and placing pressure on Hamas.

Following Israel’s move to ease the land blockade by allowing most civilian goods into Gaza, the Quartet, made up of representatives from the United States, Russia, the EU and the UN, said they are exploring “additional ways” to improve conditions.

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Blair: the door is open for Hamas

June 21, 2010

Tony Blair talks to Richard Angell from Progress about Israel's decision to liberalise its policy on Gaza and his hopes for Middle East peace

Always known for being an optimist, Tony Blair doesn't miss the opportunity to launch into how the change in Israeli policy will make a difference to everyday Gazans.

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Gaza blockade to be eased quickly

By Jennifer Lipman, June 21, 2010

Israel has set out details of how the Gaza blockade will be eased to allow in increased building equipment and food.

Under the new plan, which Israel has said will be implemented “as quickly as possible” it is expected that all civilian goods will be permitted to go into the area unless they are specifically banned.

Food, domestic supplies and building materials for Palestinian Authority and United Nations approved construction will be allowed in, with only "problematic dual-use" that could be used as weapons or in manufacturing arms prohibited.

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Gaza blockade eased but Hamas demand full lift

By Jessica Elgot, June 18, 2010

Israel’s announcement that it will ease the blockade of Gaza has been welcomed internationally but dismissed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Israel has already announced that some construction material, like cement and steel, supervised by international groups, will now be allowed through the blockade.

A full list of the newly approved items has not been released but Israeli media has widely speculated that all food items, toys, stationery, kitchen utensils and mattresses will be allowed in to the Strip.

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Uproar over Methodist Israel report

By Simon Rocker, June 17, 2010

Jewish leaders have condemned a "skewed" report on Israel prepared by the Methodist Church, warning it could set back interfaith relations for years.

The report, which is to be debated at the church's national conference later this month, calls for a boycott of goods from "illegal" West Bank settlements, and political lobbying to end Israel's occupation and the "siege of Gaza".

Over the past few days, Jewish organisations in London and Manchester have protested about its contents in meetings with Methodist representatives.

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Gaza settlers were 'failed by the state'

By James Lewis, June 17, 2010

A new report into the fate of the settlers evacuated from Gaza has accused successive Israeli governments of "absolute and complete failure" in dealing with them.

The state commission inquiry showed that 70 per cent of the settlers, who were forced to leave their Gush Katif homes following the Gaza withdrawal in August 2005, have still not been found permanent homes.

A large majority of the 9,000 evacuees have not been properly compensated and are currently living in temporary dwellings.

The state made the evacuees "refugees in their own country", said the report.

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Soldier faces charges over Cast Lead

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 17, 2010

The IDF's Military Advocate General, Major General Avichai Mendelblit, will hold a hearing next week for a soldier suspected of double manslaughter in last year's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The solider allegedly shot and killed two Palestinian women who were in a group of civilians holding white flags. This is the third and most serious case in which charges are being brought against soldiers involved in the operation.

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Syria: Gaza flotilla could mean war

By Jessica Elgot, June 17, 2010

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has said the attack on the Gaza flotilla activists could be a catalyst for more war in the Middle East.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Assad said there was no chance of peace with Israel’s “pyromaniac government”.

He said: "When you don't have peace, you have to expect war every day, and this is very dangerous."

Mr Assad said the raid on the flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists died, "destroyed any chance for peace in the near future".

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Israel eases Gaza land blockade

By Jessica Elgot, June 17, 2010

The Israeli government is to ease the blockade of Gaza, expanding what is allowed into the region by road.

The government said in a statement: "It was agreed to liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza, to expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision.”

Although products have not been specified, the security cabinet is expected to allow more than 100 new items to enter the territory. The naval blockade, which the activists on the Gaza flotilla attempted to break, will remain.

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