Shalit ‘begs for life’ in letter to family

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 13, 2008

Hamas has heightened the pressure on Israel by releasing another letter from captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

In the letter, addressed to his parents, First-Sergeant Shalit begged for his life and urged the Israeli government to do everything in its power to secure his release.


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.”


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.


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.


Hamas poised to agree Gaza ceasefire

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 23, 2008

Israel is poised to agree to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal with Hamas, despite the deal not including any assurances regarding the release of captured solder Gilad Shalit and an end to arms smuggling over the Egyptian border.


French meet Hamas

May 23, 2008

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner confirmed that Paris had held informal talks with Hamas. His statement followed a report in the Le Figaro newspaper in which retired French diplomat Yves Aubin de la Messuziere said he had met Hamas officials a month ago. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri confirmed the contacts, which contravene a Western embargo on negotiations with the group.


Peres rejects Hamas talks

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 9, 2008

President Shimon Peres reaffirmed Israel’s refusal to deal with Hamas in a special press conference for Israel’s 60th anniversary.

Peres speaks at the conference


Film ‘shows IDF did not kill family’

By Simon Griver, May 9, 2008

The IDF has released video footage to back its claim that the deaths of a Palestinian woman and her four small children last week was not caused directly by Israeli fire.

Anatomy of a strike: the IDF says its video footage shows that the Israeli strike
kills a militant while leaving the nearby family home unscathed


Hamas slams the Ramallah dance festival as ‘depraved’

By Ben Lynfield, April 25, 2008

A Hamas-affiliated jurist has condemned a dance festival now under way in Ramallah as sacrilegious and cautioned that it could cause Palestinian young men needed to fight Israel to become effeminate.

Marwan Abu Ras, chairman of the league of Islamic ulama, or scholars, in Gaza, said in remarks carried by Hamas’s Palestinian Information Centre website that the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival “is more than forbidden”.

It is the first time Hamas has condemned the festival, one of the main annual cultural events in the West Bank.


Not a shoah, just a PR calamity

By Jonathan Freedland, March 6, 2008

Good job, Matan. Well done. One short interview with Israel army radio and you’ve undone decades of hard work — and created an albatross that will hang around Jewish necks for another 20 years to come.

I’m speaking of Matan Vilnai, Israel’s deputy defence minister, who last week issued the following warning to the Palestinians of Gaza: “The more Kassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they [the Palestinians] will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.”