Israel claims success in the PR war

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 31, 2008

Fewer military officers; more women; tightly controlled messages; and ministers kept on a short leash. This was Israel’s new media game-plan in Operation Cast Lead.

The Gaza attack is the first major demonstration of Israel’s total overhaul of its ‘hasbara’ operation following the Second Lebanon War. While the military aspects of the operation were meticulously planned, a new forum of press advisers was also established which has been working for the past six months on a PR strategy specifically geared to dealing with the media during warfare in Gaza.


Top speakers’ pullout fails to dent Limmud

By Simon Rocker, December 30, 2008

The crisis in Gaza forced the withdrawal of Mark Regev, international media adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel, from the Limmud winter conference which opened at Warwick University near Coventry on Sunday.

Along with Mr Regev, Kadima MK Menachem Ben-Sasson also pulled out at the last minute because of the latest events at home.

Elliott Goldstein, chair of Limmud, said: “Obviously, we are sorry they can’t join us. But we still have nearly 100 presenters at the conference from Israel speaking on a huge range of topics, including the unfolding situation.”


Britain faces abuse backlash

December 30, 2008

The attacks on Gaza have led to an upsurge in abusive messages and grafitti directed against the Jewish community in the UK.

In Stamford Hill and Golders Green, the slogans "Jihad for Israel" and "Jihad the only solution for Palestine" have been daubed on buildings in the heart of the community. Some of the daubings appeared on a wall next to the main entrance of Finchley Synagogue.


Fresh Gaza violence likely as truce ends

By Yaakov Katz, December 18, 2008

The Israel Defence Forces went on high alert this week as Hamas threatened not to renew their ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip.

The six-month truce between Israel and Hamas was due to expire today (Friday). While Israel prefers to extend it, Hamas appears to be split between continuing the pact and ending it. Damascus-based Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal said on Sunday that the ceasefire would not be renewed, while Hamas officials in Gaza said only that the issue was under review.


Analysis: There is no easy solution

By Daniella Peled, December 18, 2008

Sunday’s vast rally in Gaza, with its ghastly Gilad Shalit tableau and tens of thousands of flag-waving Hamas supporters, was a sight intended to strike terror or awe into all who saw it (including the ranks of foreign cameramen).

But as a show of force it was pretty deceptive. The fact they still hold Shalit hostage is pretty much the only achievement Hamas can show off to the beleaguered occupants of the Strip. Things are probably about to get much worse, too.

The six month truce is up and Israel, much as it wants to continue it, fully expects an imminent escalation in the south.


Israel fears there will be more ‘Free Gaza’ boats

By Yaakov Katz, August 28, 2008

Israel's decision to permit two boats carrying international activists to sail into Gaza harbour has raised fears that human-rights groups will make additional attempts to sail into the Strip to protest the Israeli blockade.

Professor Jeff Halper, an Israeli participant, told the JC from Gaza that the group's ultimate plan was to establish a regular ferry service between Cyprus and Gaza and to recruit other ships.


Israel plans its response to ‘Free Gaza’ ship

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 22, 2008

The Israeli government will try to portray the Free Gaza movement's attempt to run a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip as both non-humanitarian and a project designed to question Israel's right to exist.

Israeli officials have kept a low profile over their response to the plan to sail two ships to Gaza loaded with hearing-aids and some 40 activists, including former UK premier Tony Blair's sister-in-law, Lauren Booth.

They prefer not to draw too much media attention to what they are calling "a stunt".


Israel ‘ill-prepared’ for Hamas-Fatah clash

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 8, 2008

The Israeli government is planning to review its policy and procedures regarding intervention in the ongoing bloodshed between Hamas and Fatah factions in the Gaza Strip.

About 190 Fatah members escaped to Israel over the last weekend following a crackdown by Hamas, with 87 allowed to continue to Jericho after being questioned by the IDF. Fourteen were detained for further questions and 23 remained in hospital in Israel. About 70 returned to Gaza.



Ships set to break Gaza ‘siege’

By Ben Lynfield, August 1, 2008

International activists plan to challenge the Israeli navy's blockade of Gaza next week by sailing there from Cyprus.

Their aim is to focus global attention on the strictures being maintained by Israel on movement of people and goods to the coastal enclave.

About 40 people, speaking 12 languages and coming from more than 20 countries, will be on board the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty, which are scheduled to depart from Limassol, Cyprus on August 5, according to organisers.



Blair snubs the Gaza Strip

July 18, 2008

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair cancelled a visit to the Gaza Strip this week after the Israeli General Security Service warned that terror organisations were planning to attack his convoy.

Mr Blair was planning to visit Gaza on Tuesday to meet local businessmen, UNRWA officials and representatives of NGOs in the area. A Hamas spokesman had announced the visit and said that the movement would ensure the security arrangements.