Gaza

UK teens volunteer for the IDF

January 8, 2009

British teenagers are working on army bases across Israel after being asked to help by the IDF.

The army approached the FZY youth movement, along with its American sister group Young Judea, to ask if participants on its year programme could volunteer. Teens from the religious Zionist movement, B’nei Akiva, also volunteered. Some IDF bases had been understaffed as soldiers were deployed to Gaza. The teenagers began working on eight bases across Israel on Sunday, packing kits for soldiers in Gaza, checking equipment for faults and monitoring stocks.

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The war being waged online

By Jonny Paul, January 8, 2009

The crisis in Gaza has fuelled a fierce war on the internet by activists on both sides.

With Israel not allowing journalists into Gaza, the internet has become another front in the conflict.

The IDF has used YouTube to update people on Operation Cast Lead, with a dedicated page showing videos of Israeli troops in action.

Social networking site Facebook is being used to set up groups to drum up support for the various protests taking part across the country. Users can also sign up to a facility that automatically updates the number of Kassam rockets hitting Israel.

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Lib Dems split over conflict

By Simon Rocker, January 8, 2009

The Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel are trying to broker a meeting between the Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor and the party’s leader, Nick Clegg, who has been outspoken in his criticism of Israel’s actions in Gaza.

In an article in Wednesday’s Guardian, Mr Clegg called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to condemn Israeli tactics and suspend arm sales and demanded that the European Union suspend a proposed new trade agreement with Israel.

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Anti-Israel violence erupts across world

January 8, 2009

Violence against Jews, and protests and demonstrations linked to the Gaza conflict, have occurred around the world.

The French Jewish community has suffered a number of attacks. The most serious incidents were in Toulouse, where a burning car was crashed into the gates of a synagogue on Monday. According to police, a second car was about to be rammed into the shul but the attackers abandoned the vehicle when an alarm went off. Police found petrol bombs in the vehicle.

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Analysis: Should Israel be in Gaza?

January 8, 2009

Melanie Phillips: Yes

War is hell. There can surely be not one amongst us who does not feel the utmost horror and anguish at the devastation and misery in Gaza and the deaths of civilians, especially children. And it may well get even worse.

This is because Hamas are using the people of Gaza as human shields behind which to store and fire their missiles. That’s what happened on Tuesday, when the IDF returned mortar fire from a school where Hamas were hiding amongst civilians. It appears that IDF shells detonated bombs

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Egypt holds key to ending the conflict

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 8, 2009

Egypt appears to hold the key to the solution of the Gaza crisis as the Israeli government waits for an improved ceasefire deal before ending Operation Cast Lead.

The IDF has indicated that it is prepared to escalate the ground offensive by reinforcing the units already operating in the Strip and entering Gaza City. However, the army high command and Defence Minister Ehud Barak are opposed to such a move as it may result in higher casualties.

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Bid to firebomb synagogue as protests grow

By Craig Silver, January 8, 2009

An attempt was made to firebomb a London synagogue at the weekend in a protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza.

The attack, just before midnight on Sunday, at Brondesbury Synagogue in Willesden, North-West London, was the most serious of 25 antisemitic incidents that have occurred since Israel launched its operation on December 27.

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We need to be scared, says IDF colonel

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 7, 2009

An IDF colonel has described how he hopes his troops feel fear as they continue to push into Gaza.

“Fear is healthy” Lt-Colonel Amir Ulo said this evening. “It is part of a warrior’s basic skills that helps him prepare, not fear that paralyses.”

Lt-Col Ulo is commander of the Combat Engineer Corps special operations unit Yahalom and his soldiers have been leading the IDF’s combat groups as they take up positions around Gaza.

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Israel rejects ceasefire call

By Daniella Peled, December 31, 2008

Israel has rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

France had called for a temporary truce to allow humanitarian aid to reach the beleaguered Stri, but an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said that the plan failed to include any guarantees that Hamas would stop firing rockets at Israeli communities.

However, sources said the truce might be reconsidered if its terms were amended.

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JC comment: Israel did not want to act

December 31, 2008

It is difficult not to be moved by the pictures from Gaza. Innocent civilians — in Gaza and elsewhere on the planet — are always caught in wars over which they have no control and, often, in which they have no interest. Most want simply to be left to get on with their lives.

Seeing Israel’s military hardware causing such damage in Gaza can seem hard to reconcile with the human need to protect civilians.

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