Israeli government

Israel eases Gaza land blockade

By Jessica Elgot, June 17, 2010

The Israeli government is to ease the blockade of Gaza, expanding what is allowed into the region by road.

The government said in a statement: "It was agreed to liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza, to expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision.”

Although products have not been specified, the security cabinet is expected to allow more than 100 new items to enter the territory. The naval blockade, which the activists on the Gaza flotilla attempted to break, will remain.

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Israel wary of Iranian nuclear deal with Turkey

By Jessica Elgot, May 18, 2010

An Israeli government official has called Iran’s new nuclear deal with Turkey and Brazil a “trick”, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met cabinet members to discuss their concerns.

An agreement was signed yesterday in Tehran that Iran would ship enriched uranium to Turkey.

The enriched uranium would be exchanged for nuclear rods – which can be used in scientific research but cannot be processed to make weapons. However, Iran has said it will still continue to enrich its own uranium.

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Chomsky anger as Israel refuses him entry

By Jessica Elgot, May 17, 2010

US academic Noam Chomsky has been refused entry to the West Bank from Jordan by Israeli immigration officials.

The Jewish professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is a vocal critic of Israel, had been due to give a lecture at Birzeit University, near Ramallah.

But today an Israeli Interior Ministry spokesman said that the ministry would do all it could to ensure Professor Chomsky could get into the country.

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Egypt and Syria "boycott" Lieberman

By Jessica Elgot, May 11, 2010

Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, plans to attend a Mediterranean leaders’ conference despite threats from Egypt and Syria that they will boycott it in protest at his presence.

The conference, due to take place in Barcelona next month, is being held by the Union for the Mediterranean, an EU-sponsored initiative to promote good relations among Mediterranean countries.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is also scheduled to attend the event, which is to be co-chaired by France and Egypt.

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Threat to homes of fallen soldiers

April 22, 2010

The Israeli government will have to decide by the end of next week whether to demolish 11 illegally-built homes in the Givat Hayovel settlement on the West Bank. The defence establishment is trying to prevent the demolition, as two of the homes belong to IDF officers who were killed in combat.

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Israel, Palestinians agree to peace talks

By Jessica Elgot, March 8, 2010

Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to indirect peace talks, brokered by US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell, who is currently in Israel, met Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the last two days to raise the issue of restarting negotiations. He then met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this afternoon.

Israel and the Palestinians are expected to conduct four months of negotiations through a US mediator, which will focus on security issues and borders of a potential future Palestinian state.

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Israeli heritage site row 'could start intifada'

By Jessica Elgot, February 24, 2010

Israeli president Shimon Peres has said that the row over the protection of Jewish and Muslim heritage sites by Israel is being incited by extremists and Hamas.

Hamas’s leader in Gaza has called on Palestinians to attack Israel over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to include the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and the site of Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, in a £69m restoration plan. Both are also important Islamic shrines.

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Oxford student at Israeli minister: 'Kill the Jews'

By Marcus Dysch, February 9, 2010

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister was met by a protester screaming “slaughter the Jews” as he spoke at the Oxford Union.

Antisemitic and anti-Israel abuse was shouted throughout Danny Ayalon’s speech on Monday evening, with students causing numerous disruptions to the event.

During the hour-long session one student ran towards Mr Ayalon shouting the Arabic phrase “Itbah Al-Yahud” [Slaughter the Jews].

As many as 10 others, carrying Palestinian flags, made attempts to attack Mr Ayalon but were intercepted and removed by security.

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No peace? Blame the EU and the UN

By Stephen Pollard, February 8, 2010

The cliché about the annual Herzliya conference is that anyone who is anyone in discussions about Israel’s security is there. But that’s not quite true. Rather, everyone is there — from the most senior Israeli politicians, soldiers and advisers to students, foreign experts and even grubby hacks.

Most years there tends to be a theme on everyone’s lips. This year, there were two.

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Israel to fence off Egyptian border

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 14, 2010

After years of deliberations, the Israeli government has decided to build a border fence along its border with Egypt. The fence is meant to keep out terrorists, but the more immediate reason is to stem the flood of African refugees into Israel.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu authorised a plan presented to him by the Defence Ministry to spend NIS 1.5 billion on a fence between Israel and Egypt.

Besides a few short fences near the Gaza Strip to the north and Eilat in the south, most of the border, over 300km, is not fenced.

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