Palestine

Miliband dismissed Barak ‘war crimes’ prosecution bid

By Leon Symons and Anshel Pfeffer, October 1, 2009

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has delivered a withering riposte to an attempt by Palestinian supporters to have Ehud Barak arrested in Britain as a war criminal.

Addressing the Labour Friends of Israel fringe meeting, Mr Miliband warned: “This will never become a country where ministers of Israel are unable to come and have proper dialogue with the government of the United Kingdom.”

Earlier in the day, lawyers acting for 16 Palestinian families applied unsuccessfully to Westminster Magistrates’ Court for the warrant.

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Pro-Israel MP fires pro-Palestinian staffer

By Leon Symons, September 15, 2009

Brent North MP Barry Gardiner, one of Israel’s staunchest Parliamentary supporters, has sacked the man he appointed as his campaigns and communications manager for allegedly not revealing that he was pro-Palestinian.

Mr Gardiner, a former vice chair of Labour Friends of Israel, had appointed Joseph Brown to the post.

Last year Mr Brown was the union anti-racism officer at the London School of Economics (LSE) and took part in an anti-Israeli demonstration in January in the wake of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

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Abbas in dilemma over settlements

By Ben Lynfield, September 10, 2009

Israel’s approval of 450 new housing units in the settlements this week has placed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a vulnerable position, as he may have to make an embarrassing climbdown from his refusal to resume negotiations without a full settlement freeze.

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Analysis: This is a lesson for the residents of Gaza

By Miriam Shaviv, August 20, 2009

The notion that Israel is strangling the PA economy is part of the standard Western narrative — though it has little bearing in fact.

While the rest of the world is deep in economic crisis, the economy on the West Bank is growing by 7 per cent. Mr Brown, eat your heart out.

The lessons are twofold. First, while the “official” peace process seems stuck — Mr Obama’s efforts notwithstanding — on the ground, something real is happening.

The Palestinians on the West Bank are investing positively in their futures for the first time in years.

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Cautious optimism as PA economy booms

By Ben Lynfield, Nablus, August 20, 2009

For now, the store owners are smiling in Nablus, a city usually known for its violent uprisings, armed gunmen prowling the streets and hard-hitting clampdowns by Israeli soldiers.

The economy is lifting off after Israel eased or removed the checkpoints ringing the city, a process also underway elsewhere in the West Bank. In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund forecast a seven per cent growth rate for the West Bank for 2009.

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Divestment tops the Jews for Justice survey

By Leon Symons, July 30, 2009

The Jews for Justice for Palestinians survey sought to establish what kind of boycott its members would be ready to back. It elicited 417 responses to two sections. The first listed nine different boycotts:

- A consumer boycott of all Israeli goods
- Lobbying to achieve a full ban on the importation of Israeli products and produce
- Divestment from companies investing in Israel
- Suspension of all EU trade with Israel
- A boycott of state sponsored cultural institutions and artists in receipt of state sponsorship
- Divestment from Israeli companies

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Palestinian militant's threat to Bruno

By Jessica Elgot, July 28, 2009

Bruno actor Sacha Baron Cohen has stepped up his security after a threat from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
He ridiculed the group in the film when he visited the Palestinian militia’s leader Ayman Abu Aita.

Mr Baron Cohen’s character, a gay Austrian fashionista told Mr Aita: “Your King Osama looks like a kind of a dirty wizard or a homeless Santa.”

The group said the British comedian made "dirty use" of Mr Aita and said the film’s producers had misled them as to the real context of the film.

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Board stays out of export licence row

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

The Board of Deputies has resolved to stay out of any row between the Foreign Office and Israel over the decision to cancel five export licences.

It is adopting a “wait and see” strategy and will get involved only if receiving an indication from Israel that it should take up the case. The Foreign Office’s decision to ban the export of parts for Israel’s naval vessels was believed to have been prompted by a concerted campaign by pro-Palestinian groups.

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Al-Jazeera shut down in West Bank

By Jessica Elgot, July 17, 2009

The West Bank offices of the TV channel, Al-Jazeera, have been shut down by the Palestinian Authority because, it has been claimed, the station portrays the Palestinian leadership in a negative light.

Al-Jazeera, which has offices in Ramallah, said it had been “stunned” by the allegations, which it fiercely contested.

The shut-down appears to be a direct result of what the majority PA party, Fatah, calls “false news” which it said the channel broadcast on Tuesday night.

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Israelis deny Palestinians are a nation - but will give them a state

By Nathan Jeffay, July 16, 2009

Almost a third of Jewish Israelis claim that there is no such thing as a Palestinian people, according to a new opinion survey.

The figure is “very surprising”, said Ephraim Yaar, co-director of the research, which was carried out under the auspices of Tel Aviv University.

There has not been any polling on this subject until now and it was widely presumed that denial of Palestinian peoplehood, once standard among Israelis, had become a fringe position.

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