Gaza

Gaza spurs Latin American fears

By David Labi, January 29, 2009

Israel’s Gaza operation has led to a rise in antisemitism in Latin America and fresh fears for the safety of Venezuelan Jews, according to a prominent Latin American Jewish organisation.

In an open letter, the Confederación Latinoamericana Maccabi (CLAM) has expressed grave concerns over a new wave of antisemitism in Venezuela, prompted by events in Gaza.

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Substitute stars in peace talks

By Jay Grenby, January 22, 2009

A representative of grassroots peace organisation One Voice had to pull out of an adult education event at Woodside Park Synagogue to fly back to the Middle East to comfort a colleague after the death of several family members in Gaza.

The breach was filled at short notice by One Voice partnerships director Jake Hayman, who explained the aims of the organisation to a 50-strong audience, including many members of the shul’s youth group.

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Al Qaeda leader calls for Gaza reprisal in Britain

January 22, 2009

A Reuters reports says that an Al-Qaeda leader has called for retaliation attacks in Britain in return for the Gaza conflict, because, he says, the UK was behind the creation of Israel.

In a video posted on an Islamist website, Abu Yahya al-Libi, whose group took responsibility for the July 2005 terror attacks, said "It's high time that this criminal country, I mean Britain, paid the price of its historic crime. There is no child who dies in Palestine ... without this being the outcome of the (country) that handed Palestine to the Jews ... Britain."

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Egypt turns a blind eye to arms tunnels

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 22, 2009

The Egyptian regime is still enabling Bedouin smugglers to use the tunnels under their border with the Gaza Strip to transfer arms to Hamas, the JC can reveal.

Despite announcements by senior Egyptian officials that they would clamp down on the smuggling, local Bedouin traders are still offering — even after the Gaza ceasefire — to smuggle goods and people under the border.

These were the tunnels that enabled Hamas and the other Palestinian organisations to bring through materials to manufacture the missiles fired on Israel.

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Renewed hope for talks to free Shalit

January 22, 2009

Israel hopes to renew negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit, writes Yaakov Katz, if the new ceasefire holds, defence officials said this week.

Talks over Mr Shalit’s release have been suspended since the last ceasefire between Hamas and Israel took effect in June. But military officials said it was now possible that Operation Cast Lead will cause the group to ease its demand for the release of 1,400 Palestinian prisoners.

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IDF to fight ‘war crimes’ charges

By Yaakov Katz, January 22, 2009

The IDF and Foreign Ministry are preparing to combat dozens of lawsuits they fear will be filed against IDF officers on war crimes charges.

Several NGOs have accused Israel of using disproportionate force during its three-week Gaza campaign. Amnesty International accused Israel of “indiscriminate” military force resulting in war crimes. Oxfam International has accused Israel of “massive and disproportionate violence... in violation of international law.”

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PR battle to continue

By Yaakov Katz, January 22, 2009

The Israeli Foreign Ministry is implementing a “day after” hasbara plan to counter claims that the IDF perpetrated war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has appointed Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog to lead the post-war battle over public opinion and to coordinate aid to Gaza.

During the war, journalists were not allowed into the Gaza Strip and Hamas prevented access to areas where the IDF was operating to local journalists.

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War weakened Abbas, Palestinians warn

By Ben Lynfield, January 22, 2009

President Mahmoud Abbas has been politically wounded by the Gaza war, with Hamas enjoying a surge of popularity in the West Bank, according to Palestinian analysts.

“In political terms, Hamas has become much stronger and its rivals much weaker,” said Ghassan Khatib, a former PA minister.

“The mere fact that Israel is targeting Hamas makes Hamas popular, as does the fact that Hamas fought back and did not surrender, and in Palestinian eyes put on an impressive performance by being disciplined, organised and continuing to fire rockets until the last minute.”

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Analysis: After Cast Lead: where do we go from here?

January 22, 2009

Prepare for more civilian casualties

Anshel Pfeffer
Israel correspondent of the JC

It is, notoriously, hard to argue with success. And that seems to be the case with Operation Cast Lead. There were minimal Israeli casualties, and its leaders enjoyed more than 80 per cent public approval ratings, reaching across the political spectrum.

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MPs urge hate-attack clampdown

By Bernard Josephs, January 22, 2009

A parliamentary motion condemning attacks on the Jewish community as a result of the war in Gaza has been signed by more than 40 MPs - including critics of Israel. The MPs called on the government to stamp down on a wave of antisemitic incidents.

The motion, sponsored by Labour MP John Mann, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Antisemitism, also attacked the growing number of extremist websites, one of which calls for attacks against Jews around the world.

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