In breaking news, BBC, the Guardian and Daily Telegraph online report that a shooting took place in a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. Three people have reportedly been killed, including two children from the school. In other news, the Guardian online, BBC and Reuters note heavy fighting between opposition forces and the Syrian military in Damascus. The BBC reports the blocking of a Foreign Office website aimed at Iranian people by the regime in Teheran. The Independent notes the discussion around Supreme Court justice Salim Jubran’s silence during the Israeli national anthem at a ceremony for retiring Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch. Jubran, an Israeli Arab, has been accused of ‘degrading’ the country by his opponents, whilst supporters note that the words of the anthem refer only to the yearning of ‘a Jewish soul’ to be a free people in its land. Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon sided with Jubran, noting a ‘bad odour of racial oppression’ on the part of Jubran’s detractors, a position supported by Prime Minister Netanyahu. There are two very different obituaries in today’s press. On one hand, the Daily Telegraph notes the death of John Demjanjuk, convicted by a German court of complicity in the death of tens of thousands of Jews at the Sobibor camp, and identified in an earlier Israeli trial as the notorious ‘Ivan the Terrible’ of the Treblinka extermination camp. The Guardian, on the other hand, recalls the life of Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria, the prelate of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the largest Christian church in the Middle East. London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone has promised to make the city a ‘beacon’ for Islam, and to ensure that every non-Muslim ‘knows and understands the message’ of the Prophet Mohammed’s last sermon. According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, Livingstone also promised to make life for Muslims ‘a bit easier financially’ during a visit to the North London Central Mosque. The paper also has details of an email from Asma Assad, the British-born wife of the Syrian leader in which she claims ‘I am the real dictator’. In the London freesheet City AM, Zara Hayes describes a weekend of ‘energy, elegance and liberality’ in Tel Aviv, which countered her expectations of ‘IDF soldiers on every corner, stifling security measures and inescapable political discussions’.
Over the weekend, the Independent notes the ‘strange forgettability’ of the massacre of Syrian civilians. Patrick Cockburn notes the murder of 1700 Palestinians at Sabra and Chatila by Christian militiamen in 1982 who were ‘loosed on the refugee camps by Israel.’ The Sunday Times covered with the Assad emails. Also in the Sunday Times, Stephen Berkoff says that Jews are over-sensitive to anti-Semitism, but that ‘most of the Israelis I know are absolutely gung-ho for peace. They go out of their way to build bridges with the Palestinians’.
In the Israeli press today, Haaretz, Ynet, Ma’ariv and the Jerusalem Post report in their online editions on the heavy fighting in the Syrian capital between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and the opposition. Ma’ariv reports on efforts to prevent the UN Human Rights Council from ordering a commission of enquiry into the effects of Israeli settlement construction on the Palestinian population. The HRC, established in 2006 to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission, will today host Hamas legislator Ismail Ashkar in what Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor described as ‘a gruesome joke’. Yediot Ahronot notes concerns in Jerusalem that the US administration is trying to sway Israeli public opinion by leaking assessments that the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, is opposed to a military strike on the Iranian nuclear programme. The leak, which appeared in the New York Times, states the Mossad assessment that Iran has not yet taken the decision to build a nuclear bomb. Writing in the same newspaper, Smadar Peri reports on Iran’s increasingly close relations with Islamic Jihad, including support for strengthening the organisation’s ability to fire rockets at Israel, and the decline in relations between Iran and Hamas. Israel will submit a 44-page report to the Palestinian donors’ conference this week, which details ongoing cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Jerusalem Post notes that, despite the lack of progress in negotiations coordination on the ground intensified over the last year, with 764 joint security meetings last year, a 5% rise from 2010. Haaretz notes an initiative by two Israelis to reach out to Iranian citizens through an ‘Israel loves Iran’ Facebook page.