UK press coverage of issues relating to Israel and the Middle East this morning continues to be dominated by Syria and Iran. The Financial Times carries an opinion piece arguing for the West to avoid military intervention. There is more extensive coverage of Syria on the newspaper websites and on BBC Online this morning, including failed attempts to evacuate injured journalists from Homs. The FT also has an article about the threat to oil prices from military escalation over Iran’s nuclear programme. Several papers comment on the success of the Iranian film ‘A Separation’ at the Oscars, with Metro London noting Iran’s trumpeting of success over the film’s Israeli rival, ‘Footnote’, and the Independent arguing that the Iranian film might make people think again about military action against Iran. Meanwhile both Metro London and the Independent have reviews of the controversial play, ‘Death of Klinghoffer’, about the Palestinian hijacking of a ship in 1985 and the murder of a disabled passenger. The Times and the Independent report on the latest Wikileaks release of emails from private intelligence firm Stratfor. The leaks include the claim of a Stratfor analyst that according to his Israeli intelligence source, Israel, acting with Kurdish forces, had destroyed parts of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. The Times also reports on the British Supreme Court legal ruling that exempted the BBC from releasing an internal report into its Middle East coverage.
The Israeli press, in particular Maariv and Yediot Ahronot, are dominated by domestic social and economic stories, including the reopening of drinks factory in northern Israel which was subject a dispute between the owners and the government, and the rise in petrol and other consumer prices. All papers also report that Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch will hand over today to Asher Grunis, with the Jerusalem Post reporting on the possibility that Beinisch will conclude her term by ruling certain laws on tax benefits to be discriminatory. The papers also widely report on an ultimatum by the government to residents of the illegal West Bank settlement of Migron that they will be evacuated by 31 March if they do not accept a proposed compromise. This story makes the front pages of Haaretz and Israel Hayom. Israel Radio News broke the story this morning of an attempted armed infiltration into Israel from the Sinai. Israel Radio and Haaretz online are reporting that according to a US official, Israel has told the US it will not warn them before any military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Israel Hayom also reports on the creation of a team by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to examine implementation of demolition orders against illegal buildings in Jerusalem, and on plans by education minister Gidon Sa’ar to increase school field trips to Hebron. The Jerusalem Post carries a quote on its front page from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from a ceremony last night to mark 20 years from the death of former Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin.