Israeli government

Israel marks four years of Ariel Sharon's coma

By Jessica Elgot, January 4, 2010

Israel has marked the fourth anniversary of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s coma after a massive stroke.

Mr Sharon, 81, has been in a coma since 2006 and is currently in a care facility in Ra’anana, outside Tel Aviv. He suffered a stroke several months after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

He was elected Prime Minister in 2001 as head of Likud, but abandoned his old party after making enemies when he backed the withdrawal from Gaza.

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Israeli MK: Boycott UK products

By Jessica Elgot, December 17, 2009

British-Israeli relations have plummeted further after an Israeli MP called for a boycott of British products.

Kadima MK Ronit Tirosh has led an initiative in the Knesset against Britain’s decision to label products from the West Bank as being made by Jewish settlers or Palestinians.

A petition signed by 40 of the 120 MKs is to be sent to the British government, urging them to reconsider the decision.

Ms Tirosh said: “I call on Israelis to think twice before buying British products if the decision is not rescinded by the British government."

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Israel and UK row over settlement labels

By Marcus Dysch, December 11, 2009

The Israeli government has accused Britain of encouraging a boycott of goods from West Bank settlements.

The two countries are locked in a diplomatic row after the British government released new guidelines for supermarkets on labelling of foods from settlements and products made by Palestinians.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued voluntary guidance to UK stores stating that labels should differentiate between “Israeli settlement produce” and “Palestinian produce”. Currently, foods are labeled “Produce of the West Bank”.

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BNP praises Israel minister on foreigners

By Martin Bright and Anshel Pfeffer, November 5, 2009

The British National Party has leapt on comments by Israel’s Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, to suggest that the extreme-right party shares a common immigration policy with Israel.

Mr Yishai claimed that foreign workers brought diseases into Israel and that their presence threatened the Jewish and Zionist identity of the state.

He also attacked cabinet colleagues who were in favour of allowing the children of illegal foreign workers to remain in Israel.

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Gaddafi: Give Palestinians nuclear weapons

By Jessica Elgot, October 26, 2009

The president of Libya Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has argued that the Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians and Saudi should be allowed nuclear weapons to defend themselves from Israel.

Col. Gaddafi told Sky News that if the Arab countries are not allowed to have nuclear weapons, then Israel should be similarly banned. Israel has never confirmed the existence of a nuclear arsenal.

He said: "Even the Palestinians should have nuclear weapons because their counterparts, or their opponents, have nuclear capabilities."

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Israel slips down rankings for media freedom

By Jessica Elgot, October 20, 2009

Israel has lost its place at the top of Middle Eastern states for media freedom after the restrictions placed on journalists during the Gaza war.

Reporters San Frontières, which complies an annual ranking of media freedom in 176 countries, placed Israel in 93rd place, below Kuwait, UAE and Lebanon.

Severe restrictions were placed on journalists covering the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Three journalists were killed in Gaza, 20 injured and five were arrested.

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Common cause at ZF

By Leon Symons, September 17, 2009

An Israeli politician has called on diaspora communities to work together with Israel to tackle common issues such as assimilation and education.

Addressing the Zionist Federation’s biennial conference in London, Kadima MK Yoel Hasson said: “I believe we are all one people. We have the same destiny and the same future and we should help and support each other.

“We should deal with assimilation and problems with young people. It’s not just your problem, it’s ours too.”

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Netanyahu and Mitchell 'can't agree on settlements'

By Jessica Elgot, September 15, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US envoy George Mitchell have failed to reach any agreement over settlement construction in the West Bank.

The two men held a two-hour meeting in Jerusalem, but Mr Mitchell has been forced to extend his stay in Israel until Thursday when the two will meet again for further discussions.

They had hoped to reach an agreement in time to announce plans for a potential settlement construction freeze at the meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York next week.

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Settlements approved before West Bank freeze

September 4, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to approve hundreds of West Bank housing units ahead of a possible construction freeze, according to Israeli officials.

Mr Netanyahu is expected to support the building of new units, in addition to the 2,500 that are yet to be completed. The new buildings will be based in the West Bank, rather than East Jerusalem.

The US has been pressuring the Israeli government to halt all new settlement construction.

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Hundreds of settlements will be approved before West Bank freeze

September 4, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to approve hundreds of West Bank housing units ahead of a possible construction freeze, according to Israeli officials.

Mr Netanyahu is expected to support the building of new units, in addition to the 2,500 that are yet to be completed. The new buildings will be based in the West Bank, rather than East Jerusalem.

The US has been pressuring the Israeli government to halt all new settlement construction.

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