In the UK and international media today, international efforts to stop the violence in Syria continue to dominate Middle East related coverage. A UN report accusing the Syrian regime of crimes against humanity and committing atrocities against the Syrian people is widely quoted. Several news sources note that Western and Arab nations will meet today and demand that Syria implement and immediate ceasefire and allow aid to reach besieged civilians in Syria. The Guardian quotes Foreign Secretary William Hague, who has signalled plans to step up sanctions in a bid to bring down the Syrian regime. BBC Online, meanwhile, suggests the summit will seek a truce between Syrian regime and opposition forces. Reuters and the Times report that former UN secretary general Kofi Annan has been appointed as the Arab League’s special envoy on the Syrian issue. The Times also runs an analysis piece arguing inaction is not an option for the world. The paper also publishes an editorial on the emergence of Qatar as a major power broker in the region. The Financial Times analyses Britain’s foreign policy challenges and assesses that the government is likely to support US-Israeli action against Iran. The paper also runs an opinion piece by Emile Nakhleh, former director of the CIA Political Islam Strategic Analysis Programme, Supporting Western assistance to the Syrian opposition. BBC Online also runs an analysis on the stalled efforts to form a Palestinian unity government. The Financial Times reports on the atmosphere in Iran ahead of the coming parliamentary elections. The Evening Standard, meanwhile, runs a report on the use of improvised bombs by terrorists, including the latest attacks against Israeli diplomats in India, Georgia and Thailand. The Financial Times also publishes readers’ letters on Iranian sanctions and Israel’s security concerns.
In the Israeli media today, several papers note that the UN Security Council unanimously condemned recent attacks against Israeli diplomats. Ma’ariv leads with the UN report on crimes against humanity committed by forces loyal to Syrian President Assad. Several papers note an international meeting today of Western and Arab states to discuss further measures against the Syrian regime. Yediot Ahronoth reports that several Palestinians who were released as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal have been re-arrested for involvement in terrorism. The paper also reports on Israeli efforts to ensure that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with US President Barack Obama goes smoothly. Ministers have been asked not to publically discuss the Iranian issue and marketing of new Jerusalem homes in neighbourhoods east of the Green Line have been postponed. Israel Hayom quotes President Shimon Peres warning that all options against Iran ought to be on the table. The Jerusalem Post reports that in an effort to increase economic sanctions on Iran, the US has offered to help India replace oil it buys from Iran. Haaretz notes in its front page that the Civil Administration in the West Bank disqualified plans to legalise an Israeli outpost. The Jerusalem Post reports that efforts to form a Palestinian unity government have reached an impasse. All papers also note that Israel’s High Court upheld a law pardoning people indicted during the 2005 Gaza disengagement.