Gaza

Muslims condemn attacks on Jews

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2009

A group of Muslim activists has issued an open letter condemning antisemitic attacks in response to the Gaza crisis.

Addressed to “fellow Muslims”, the group of 18, including imams, businessmen and scholars, wrote that they were “deeply saddened” to hear of assaults on British Jews.

“We unreservedly condemn attacks on innocent British citizens and the desecration of all places of worship.”

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Miliband puts faith in democracy

By Leon Symons, January 15, 2009

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has called on Israel “as a beacon of democracy” to help find a political solution to its conflict with Hamas.

He told MPs that Israel argued against accepting UN resolutions which saw equivalence between a democratic state and a terrorist organisation.

“There is and can be no equivalence,” said Mr Miliband. Hamas had shown itself over a number of years “ready to be murderous in word and deed”.

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Settlers return as soldiers

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 15, 2009

Soldiers from the evacuated Gush Katif returned this week to some of the ruined settlements abandoned after Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005.

“I cried when our tank passed by the ruins of Netzarim and made a symbolic small tear in my uniform as a sign of mourning,” said one soldier interviewed through his parents and whose name cannot be used due to IDF restrictions.

An Israeli flag had been planted on the ruins and the road to Netzarim was being used by the 401th Armoured Brigade to cut Gaza City off from the southern part of the Strip.

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Rabbis' letter shows agony over conflict

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2009

A newspaper letter signed by leaders of the UK’s two Progressive movements and the leading Jewish interfaith activist, revealed growing unease within the community over Israel’s military campaign.

Published in the Observer, it voiced concern that Israel’s actions could “strengthen extremists” while civilian casualties threatened to “undermine international support for Israel”.

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Analysis: Israel's diplomatic failure led to UN resolution

By Danny Ayalon, January 15, 2009

In March 2001, Ariel Sharon visited George Bush for the first time as Israel’s new prime minister. As Sharon’s chief foreign policy adviser then, I remember the unwritten understanding those two men reached during that initial encounter: our countries would never surprise each other — we may not always see the situation in the same light, but we would always consult.

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IDF gets a fresh face

By Yaakov Katz, January 15, 2009

A Manchester-born soldier has become one of the public faces of the IDF during Operation Cast Lead.

Former paratrooper Elie Isaacson, 28, made aliyah in 2000 and heads the North American Desk in the IDF Spokesman’s Unit.

The work, he said, is extremely interesting. “We are dealing with press from all over the world and it is a challenge but we are more on top than ever before,” he said. “The fact that I have a combat background gives what I say a bigger punch since when I talk about the field I know what I am talking about. I have been there and have seen it.”

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Media clampdown in Gaza result of Lebanon lessons

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 15, 2009

Alongside the brigades of Merkava tanks and battalions of armoured personnel carriers sent to the Gaza Strip over the past two weeks, the IDF also sent a detachment of military police cars.

Their targets were not rowdy soldiers attempting to abscond without a pass. Rather, they were journalists — both Israeli and foreign — trying to photograph the massed forces and to interview the soldiers preparing to enter the combat zone.

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We learned lessons from the Blitz, says Home Front

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 15, 2009

The IDF Home Front Command studied the wartime Blitz while overhauling its operational plans before Operation Cast Lead.

It concluded that, if the people of London could continue working despite repeated nights of aerial bombings, there was no reason for Israel’s southern region to be paralysed by Hamas rockets.

Like the other major units of the IDF, the Home Command also underwent a comprehensive process of reassessment following the second Lebanon war.

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Games off as players join rally

By Craig Silver, January 15, 2009

Most Jewish football games were postponed so players could attend the rallies in London and Manchester.

Only nine matches were played in the MSFL, MJSL and Masters Leagues following an agreement between the league and teams. But there was no blanket postponement of fixtures.

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Wedding-ban couple say I do in safety

By Leon Symons, January 15, 2009

A familiar side-effect of the Gaza conflict has been its disruption of daily life — including celebrations.

In Israel, Sharon and Gilad Yaacobi, members of Kibbutz Gevim, just south of Sderot, were due to be married in a banqueting hall close to their home. But the party, last Thursday night, was banned by the army.

Instead, the general manager of Tel Aviv’s Hilton hotel, Ronnie Fortis, helped the couple relocate their wedding ceremony and party at his hotel, free of charge.

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