World news

Ireland expels Israeli diplomat

By Jennifer Lipman, June 15, 2010

The Irish government is expelling an Israeli diplomat because of the use of forged passports in the assassination of a senior Hamas militant.

Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said an investigation into the death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January had shown that eight fake Irish passports had been used.

Israeli has denied responsibility for the killing and the inquiry did not establish any more of a link between them and the use of Irish passport.


Modigliani scuplture sold for record figure

By Jennifer Lipman, June 15, 2010

A sculpture by Jewish artist Amedeo Modigliani has sold for a record amount at auction.

The limestone sculpture of a woman’s head was auctioned in Paris for 43.2m euros (£35.8m), beating both previous figures on the artist's work and overall records for French art sales.

An anonymous telephone bidder bought the 65 cm artwork, created around 1910 and first exhibited in the French capital in 1912.

The piece, held until now in a private family collection,is one of just 27 sculptures by Modigliani.


Survivors retrace first Auschwitz journey

By Jennifer Lipman, June 14, 2010

A trio of Holocaust survivors has set off on a journey to retrace the first rail convoy to Auschwitz exactly 70 years after it happened.

A memorial train will retrace the 140 kilometre route from Tarnow, in southern Poland, to Oswiecim, where the Nazis built the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1940.

On June 14 1940 the first train left for Auschwitz carrying 728 Jews and other victims of Nazi persecution to the gas chambers.


Palestinian territories beat Egypt in well-being

By Jennifer Lipman, June 14, 2010

The United Nations has published a report showing that the Palestinian territories have higher standards of development and well-being than the surrounding countries of Egypt, Yemen and Pakistan.

The Palestinian territories appear at number 110 out of 182 countries on the list. Compiled by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the annual report ranks countries on education, life expectancy and living standard.


French war graves vandalised with swastikas

By Jennifer Lipman, June 14, 2010

Nicholas Sarkozy has made a public apology after vandals defaced graves in a First World War cemetery in northern France with neon pink swastikas, SS insignia and other obscenities.

The French president called the graffiti covering 12 British and Canadian graves “revolting” and said in a letter to the Queen that it was an “odious act”.

He said he condemned “with the greatest firmness this horrible act” and asked that the Queen should pass on his sympathy and solidarity.


Turkey and Hamas to sue Israel flotilla officers

By Jessica Elgot, June 10, 2010

The Hamas justice minister has agreed a deal with Turkey to sue the Israeli officers who took part in the Gaza flotilla raid.

London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that Hamas’ Faraj al-Ghoul told his Turkish opposite number, Sadullah Ergin, in a telephone conversation, that Hamas had decided to pursue legally the naval officers through international courts.

Hamas said that Turkey had agreed to support Gaza residents, and to stand "stand-by-side" with them.


Analysis: Lebanon War lessons were totally ignored

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 10, 2010

When the commission of enquiry into the botched raid finally gets down to work, they should start by reading a three-year-old document. The Winograd Commission report, written in the wake of the Second Lebanon War four years ago, has no direct connection with the clash off the coast of Gaza, but all it had to say regarding the decision-making process of Israel's political and military leadership is relevant to the current crisis.


Killed flotilla passengers belonged to radical Islamist group

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 10, 2010

Most of the nine men killed on board the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara were members of Islamic movements, it has now emerged.

The majority belonged to Insan Hak ve Hurriyetleri, the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, or IHH. The Turkish Islamist movement has ties to Hamas and al Qaida and financed and organised the ferry's trip.

Israel claims that many of the other passengers on the ferry had links to terrorist groups as well.

IDF officers who were involved in last week's operation say there were two groups of passengers.


Hizbollah opens anti-Zionist 'victory' museum

June 10, 2010

● Abandoned tanks among debris of a shattered Israel
● Fleeing IDF soldiers leave behind weapons and fatigues
● The Star of David has its own tombstone in volcanic rock

Exactly 10 years after Israel withdrew from its security buffer zone in Lebanon, Hizbollah has opened a museum celebrating its "victories" over the Zionist entity.

The new multi-million-dollar complex in the town of Mleeta is the first permanent Hizbollah war museum and has already seen tens of thousands of visitors since it opened last month.


Welcome for new UN Iran sanctions

By Robyn Rosen, June 10, 2010

American Jewish organisations and the Israeli Foreign Ministry have welcomed Wednesday's decision by the United Nations Security Council to impose new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

Betty Ehrenberg of the World Jewish Congress said: "The WJC applauds the passage of this latest round of UN sanctions. It demonstrates that the international community is less and less willing to tolerate a rogue state that has an abysmal human rights record and continues to threaten its neighbours and the Western world.