Gaza

Ceasefire emboldens Hamas to raise stakes

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 4, 2008

The fragile Gaza ceasefire and the prisoner deal with Hizbollah have emboldened Hamas to demand a larger number of Palestinian prisoners in return for the captured Israeli soldier Sergeant Gilad Shalit.

Sporadic firings on Israel from the Gaza Strip have not caused the ceasefire to break down, despite at least four occasions on which Palestinians have fired mortars and Kassam missiles since the ceasefire began two weeks ago.

More..

The view from the Gaza strip

By Ben Lynfield, June 20, 2008

“Everyone is waiting for the ceasefire because our lives are terrible.”

With those words, Raed al-Atamneh, a taxi-driver in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, summed up the mood in advance of the Egyptian-brokered truce.

“People expect goods to come into Gaza now. I hope this agreement will stop the shooting, stop the dying. People want to feel safe and have a good life, but the power is in Israeli hands, not Palestinian hands,” Mr al-Atamneh added.

More..

Gaza is no-go for Blair

By Shelly Paz, June 13, 2008

Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair has told the Commons foreign-affairs select committee that he would not visit the Hamas-run Gaza Strip for fear of disrupting peace efforts.

The former prime minister, addressing MPs last Thursday, said: “We need to get a ceasefire in Gaza, progressively to start reopening the crossings, start to get proper humanitarian help through, and then build our way back out of this situation where the people of Gaza can be helped.”

More..

No Gaza incursion — for now

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 13, 2008

A further round of bloodshed in Israel and the Gaza Strip and stalled  ceasefire talks has not given the Israeli leadership a renewed appetite for a large-scale military incursion into Gaza.

Amnon Rosenberg, a 51-year-old worker at a paint factory at Kibbutz Nir Oz, was killed in a mortar attack last Thursday morning and five others wounded. Hamas took responsibility for the attack. In retaliation, the Israeli Air Force attacked a Hamas position in Beit Lahiya.

More..

Forget the Palestinians — Iran is the big issue for presidential hopefuls

June 6, 2008

It was not the first time Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had told this story. Apparently, she thinks it resonates with Jewish-American crowds. It is the story of her last meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon before he went into a coma, how he showed her the sheep on his farm, and she, city girl that she is, had never met a sheep face-to-face, or so she says.

More..

UK students stuck in Gaza

By Ben Lynfield, June 6, 2008

Two Palestinian students accepted for study at UK universities but trapped in the Gaza Strip by Israeli travel strictures have issued pleas for Britain to intervene on their behalf.

Abir Abu Warda, accepted for a master’s in urban design at London Metropolitan University, and Wisam Abuajwa, accepted for a master’s degree in environmental studies at Nottingham University, told the JC that only the intervention of the Foreign Office could save their study plans in the face of a blanket Israeli ban on Gazans travelling abroad for higher education.

More..

Carter presses nuke button

By Francesca Segal, May 30, 2008

Former US president Jimmy Carter has breached diplomatic protocol by making specific public claims about Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

He became the first president to acknowledge publicly Israel’s nuclear capability when he addressed an invited audience of journalists last week at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival, on the Welsh borders.

More..

PA economy is a 'coiled spring'

By Ben Lynfield, May 30, 2008

A festival for Jericho celebrating it as the world’s oldest city; call centres providing jobs in the West Bank; a water desalination project for Gaza.

These and visions of new towns in the Judean hills were on offer last week at the Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem, hosted by Tony Blair and the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salaam Fayyad.

“The Palestinian economy is like a coiled spring. It has been put down and down and down and it is ready to bounce back,” Sir Ronald Cohen, head of the Portland Trust, told the conference.

More..

Al-Dura libel verdict U-turn

By Shirli Sitbon, May 23, 2008

A pro-Israel activist who had accused French TV of forging its report on the death of Mohammad al-Dura, the 12-year-old boy killed in Gaza in 2000 who became an icon of the second intifada, has been found not guilty of defamation by a Paris court. 

French website owner Philippe Karsenty had insisted that the France 2 report of the September 2000 incident, which showed the boy and his father crouching in front of a wall amid an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants at the Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip, was faked.

More..

Bin Laden calls for Gaza War

May 23, 2008

A recorded message claimed to be from Osama bin Laden called for Muslims to end the blockade on Gaza and attack Israel, which he claims is “very weak”. “Each one of us is responsible for the deaths of our oppressed people in Gaza, and dozens upon dozens have died due to this oppressive blockade,” a voice sounding like the al-Qaida leader is heard to announce on a recording posted on Islamist websites.

More..