UK government

Doubts over universal jurisdiction 'solution'

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2010

Arguments over alterations to the universal jurisdiction legislation have continued this week, despite the government’s announcement of a proposal to change the law.
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ustice Secretary Ken Clarke said the coalition would table a legislative amendment which will ensure the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is required before an arrest warrant can be issued, in response to a private prosecution for war crimes.

This would close the loophole which saw lawyers representing Palestinians secure such a warrant for Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni last December.

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Thousands sign Shalit petition

By Jennifer Lipman, July 23, 2010

A petition condemning the continued captivity of Gilad Shalit and calling for government action to secure his return has attracted nearly 6000 signatures.

Conservative MP Lee Scott will take the petition, organised by youth movement FZY, to the House of Commons on Thursday.

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Official: war crimes law to be changed

July 22, 2010

The Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, announced today that the coalition government will act “at the first opportunity” to change the law on universal jurisdiction for war crimes.

It will table a legislative amendment which will require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be issued, in response to any private prosecution for war crimes.

It is expected that the amendment will be introduced in September, when Parliament returns from its summer recess.

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Clarke: action soon on universal jurisdiction

By Marcus Dysch, July 21, 2010

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has promised that the government will address a law allowing private prosecutors to issue arrest warrants for visiting Israelis “in the very near future”.

Responding to a question on altering universal jurisdiction law by Hendon MP Matthew Offord, Mr Clarke described the current situation as “unsatisfactory”.

He said: “We are urgently considering how to proceed and expect to make an announcement shortly.

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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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