Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Tourist ad falls foul of UK watchdog for claiming Jerusalem belongs to Israel

The UK’s advertising watchdog has banned the Israeli Government Tourist Office from using an ad which implies that Jerusalem’s Old City is part of Israel.

The ad shows a panoramic photo of the Old City with the caption “Israel has it all.” It appeared in a brochure produced by the Israeli Government Tourist Office (IGTO).

Last week, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint made by a member of the public against the ad and banned it from appearing again in its current form.

However, this is not the first time that the IGTO’s advertising campaigns have fallen foul of the watchdog.

This branch of the Israeli government has a track record of producing ads which either wipe the occupied West Bank and Gaza off the map or eliminate any trace of Palestinian history, heritage and culture from the land in order to promote Israel as a travel destination.

The IGTO’s latest publication is a glossy 32-page brochure, titled Taste of Israel, which was distributed in February by the supermarket Waitrose. more

Gaza vegetables to be shipped to Israel for first time in 8 years

Vegetables harvested in the Gaza Strip will be exported to Israel for the first time in eight years on Thursday.

A Gaza merchant, Salim Abu Samra, told Ma'an that four truckloads of Gaza tomatoes and eggplants would be shipped from the coastal enclave.

He confirmed that it would be the first shipment of its kind since Israel imposed a military blockade on Gaza in 2007 when Hamas came to power.

Before 2007, Gazan farmers used to regularly export carnations and strawberries to markets in the Middle East and in Europe.

However, agriculture in Gaza has been heavily affected by the blockade.

According to a 2013 American Near East Refugee Aid report, 46 percent of agricultural land in Gaza has been made inaccessible or unusable due to destruction caused by the "security buffer zone" as well as recent military conflicts. more

Egypt shuts down Rafah crossing after 2 days

Egyptian authorities shut down the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after it was opened exceptionally on Monday and Tuesday for humanitarian cases.

The crossings and borders department of the Gaza Ministry of Interior said in a statement that 1,010 passengers managed to leave the Gaza Strip for Egypt in two days, while 1,433 traveled into the coastal enclave.

Those who were given priority to leave to Egypt were patients receiving treatment abroad, holders of foreign visas and holders of Egyptian and foreign passports.

The statement added that 63 passengers were denied entry to Egypt without being given explanations.

Thousands of passengers are still on a waiting list hoping that Egypt will reopen the crossing again. more