Gaza

Muslim leader sues Blears in Gaza row

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

The deputy general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain is suing Communities Secretary Hazel Blears for defamation following a row over Israel’s actions in Gaza.

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‘Antisemitic’ Gaza cartoon sparks fury

By Nathan Guttman, April 2, 2009

A cartoon by one of America’s leading cartoonists has caused uproar among American Jewish groups, which have denounced it as antisemitic.

In his syndicated cartoon, published on March 25 in dozens of newspapers including the New York Times and the Washington Post, Pat Oliphant depicts a baby-carrying woman being pushed off a cliff by a headless, goose-stepping figure holding a Star of David with sharp fangs. The woman and baby are labelled “Gaza”.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called the cartoon “hideously antisemitic”.

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Arms still tunnelled into Gaza

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

Explosives are still being smuggled into Gaza, despite Operation Cast Lead and the international coalition set up to stop the flow of weapons.

Israeli intelligence reports have revealed that, since the end of the operation, 22 tons of explosives, 45 tons of explosive-making materials and hundreds of missiles and mortar bombs have been smuggled into Gaza through the tunnel beneath the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

This has been happening despite the efforts of eight Nato members, including the UK, who have set up a coalition to fight the smuggling.

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UK rabbis banned from Gaza over security fears

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

Two prominent British Liberal rabbis have been denied entry to Gaza after the Israeli authorities said it was too dangerous for them to visit.

Rabbi David Goldberg, emeritus rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood, and Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, had originally obtained Israeli clearance.

But when they arrived at the Erez crossing point into Gaza on the Sunday before last, Rabbi Goldberg said an Israeli officer told them: “Sorry, you can’t go, we’ve had security information that it would be dangerous.”

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IDF ‘war crimes’ probe ends amid controversy

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

The IDF’s Military Advocate-General, Brigadier Avichai Mendelblit, has closed the investigation into the testimony of Israeli soldiers who reported shootings of civilians during the Gaza operation — but the public controversy is far from over.

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UN chief says Israel’s Gaza policies fuel radicalism

By Simon Rocker, March 26, 2009

Israeli policies in Gaza have proved counterproductive and are only fuelling more radicalism, according to the head of the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees there.

John Ging, director of operations for UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency), met Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Foreign Office officials in London on Monday on the way to Washington to brief officials of the Obama administration.

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Israelis debate morality of Gaza

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 26, 2009

The publication of the experiences of young soldiers from Operation Cast Lead has kicked off a public debate in Israel over the morality of the army’s conduct in Gaza.

The stories of the soldiers, alumni of the Oranim pre-military academy, were published last week in Haaretz and Maariv. They described several IDF units as acting in a trigger-happy army that operated with scant regard for Palestinian civilians.

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Ministers’ ‘U-turn on war-crime law’

By Anshel Pfeffer and Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Senior Israeli officials have attacked the British government for reneging on its promise to change a law that allows private citizens to bring war crimes charges against Israeli officers.

The failure to alter the legislation effectively bars Israeli top brass from entering Britain for fear they would be arrested on arrival.

“Both the Blair and Brown governments promised us that they would bring the necessary legislation to Parliament,” said a senior Israeli diplomat. “But it is clear now that they never really meant to fulfil that promise.”

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Ken Loach accuses Israel of ‘great crimes’

By Marcus Dysch, March 19, 2009

The maverick film director Ken Loach has attacked Israel’s action in Gaza, calling it “one of the great crimes of the last decades” and arguing that the rise in antisemitism is a direct consequence.

Speaking during a Belgian press conference at the launch of an international independent tribunal on the conflict, Mr Loach said individuals and organisations behind Operation Cast Lead would “have to pay” for their actions.

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Nato nations pledge to halt smuggling of arms to Gaza

By Leon Symons, March 19, 2009

Nine Nato countries have pledged international action in a concerted effort to halt illegal arms smuggling into Gaza.

Britain is one of the nine and Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said on Wednesday: “We are not prepared to put up with arms smuggling and we are prepared to take action to stop and disrupt such activity.”

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