UK government

Hurndall father wants Hague meeting

By Jennifer Lipman, July 20, 2010

The father of a British activist shot in the Gaza Strip has said he wants to meet the Foreign Secretary to discuss the British government's "weak response" to his killer’s early release.

Tom Hurndall was shot while volunteering in Rafah for the International Solidarity Movement in 2003. In 2005 the man responsible, a former Israeli soldier called Taysir-al-Heib, was jailed for eight years for the “unlawful killing”.

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UK-Israel business links up

By Jennifer Lipman, July 14, 2010

Israel has overtaken Hong Kong as an investor in British industry.

Figures released by UK Trade & Investment place Israel in the top 20 countries investing in British companies.

Richard Salt, the director of UK Trade & Investment at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, said he was delighted Israel had risen in the rankings.

He called on more Israeli companies “to act now to benefit from the huge investment opportunities on offer in the UK.”

Mr Salt added: “I and my team will do our utmost to help those companies to succeed."

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British ambassador's praise for Hizbollah cleric

By Jessica Elgot, July 8, 2010

Britain’s ambassador to Lebanon has called Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, believed to be the spiritual leader of Hizbollah, her “favourite politician”.

The Shia cleric, who died on Sunday, was known for praising suicide bombers and calling for war against Israel and the West.

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Hate preacher banned from UK

By Leon Symons, June 18, 2010

Muslim preacher Zakir Naik has been banned by Home Secretary Theresa May from coming to Britain.

Mrs May said: “I have excluded Dr Naik from the UK. Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour.

“Coming to the UK is a privilege, not a right, and I am not willing to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the UK. Exclusion powers are very serious and no decision is taken lightly or as a method of stopping open debate on issues.”

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Britain gives Gaza £19m aid

By Jennifer Lipman, June 7, 2010

The British government has pledged to give £19 million in aid to Gaza and called on Israel to end the blockade.

Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, said the money is to go towards services including education and healthcare.

The donation is part of a £100 million financial deal with the UN Relief and Works Agency, which the Labour government arranged in 2006.

The announcement follows a second attempt by pro-Palestinian activists to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which has been in place since Hamas gained control of the area in 2007.

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MPs criticise Gaza blockade

By Robyn Rosen, June 3, 2010

More than 60 MPs, including Hampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson, have signed an early day motion, criticising Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

The EDM, tabled by Birmingham Northfield MP, Richard Burden, chair of the Britain Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group, demands a “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation” of the flotilla incident and claims that the blockade has “destroyed the economy of Gaza and deepened poverty”.

It also claims that Israel imposes “collective punishment” on the people of Gaza and states its actions are illegal.

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Antisemitic hate emails sent to MPs

June 3, 2010

The Labour MP, John Mann, has called for a police investigation after an antisemitic email was sent to every MP in Parliament on Wednesday.

Mr Mann, chair of the All-Party Group Against Antisemitism, condemned as "outrageous and disgusting" an email entitled "the Jews=blood sucker.

The email asked for condemnation of Israel's "piracy," and then appended an antisemitic article attributed to a "Jayne Gardener."

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Finchley MP gets antisemitism committee role

By Jessica Elgot, May 28, 2010

Newly-elected MP Mike Freer is the new vice president of the Parliamentary Committee against Antisemitism.

Mr Freer, Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green, will be the number two to MP John Mann, who has been re-elected to head the committee.

Mr Freer’s constituency has the highest number of Jewish voters in the country. He is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel and was chair of the Barnet multi-faith forum

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Hague: We will change universal jurisdiction

By Jessica Elgot, May 28, 2010

Foreign Secretary William Hague says he is committed to changing the law on universal jurisdiction, and that the government was planning a timetable to be announced soon.

Mr Hague had pledged during the election campaign that his party would change the law, which allows arrest warrants to be granted against war criminals, even if they are not British.

The law has meant an arrest warrant was briefly issued against Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni when she came to speak at a JNF conference in London last December.

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1922 Committee success for Halfon

By Leon Symons, May 27, 2010

Robert Halfon, the new Tory MP for Harlow in Essex, has been elected to the executive of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs.

Mr Halfon, former political director of Conservative Friends of Israel, defeated former Labour minister Bill Rammell with a majority of 4,925.

Now, even though he has been in Parliament for only a couple of weeks, he has been elected by fellow MPs to the c ommittee, which acts as a conduit for backbenchers to formulate their views independently of the front bench. It also plays a key part in the election of a new party leader.

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