In today’s UK media, the Independent reports that Israeli police evicted Jewish settlers from a disputed house in Hebron. The paper notes the holiness of Hebron to both Jews and Muslims and includes criticism of Defence Minister Barak for treating settlers like enemies. The Guardian online notes the operation took 20 minutes and the settlers put up no resistance. The Financial Times runs analysis of Palestinians failure to follow through on demanding recognition of statehood from the international community. It comments on the pressure brought by Israel and the US, the international focus on Iran and Syria as well as the upcoming US elections as contributing factors. BBC online reports on an agreement allowing fuel to arrive from Israel into Gaza. Egypt has recently cracked down on fuel smuggling on the Egyptian-Gaza border, causing shortages in the strip. Both the Daily Mail and Times mention a poem written by Günter Grass, the German Nobel literature laureate, that has branded Israel a threat to world peace and warns against military strikes on Iran.
All online editions in Israel report on the grad rocket fired into Eilat this morning from the Sinai . No one was injured and no damage was caused. In other news, the Israeli media widely covers the eviction of the settlers from the disputed house in Hebron and the political fallout. Yediot Ahronot reports on Foreign Minister Lieberman saying he has no intention of dismantling the coalition because of the eviction, but did say, “This policy undermines the coalition’s stability and damages the ability of the components of the coalition to live alongside of one another.” They also allude to private conversations in which Likud ministers were far more critical of the Prime Minister. Ma’ariv notes a right wing initiative to remove the Defence Minister’s responsibility of Civilian Administration in the West Bank. Both papers note in their analysis a whiff of electioneering as a politicians pander to the right. Israel Hayom runs supportive comment of both the Prime Minister and Defence Minister. Ma’ariv runs an excerpt of the Prime Minister’s pre Passover interview. He underlines the governments stability and seeks to reassure settlers ‘’I am certainly in favor of strengthening the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria and in Hebron, but this should be done within the law.’’ Similarly, Haaretz runs a holiday interview with the prime minister where he focuses on economic and social issues. Haaretz and Ma’ariv note Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will come to Jerusalem after Passover and the leaders will exchange letters pertaining to the future of the peace process. Haaretz’s Tom Segev covers Günter Grass’s poem but dismisses it as more pathetic than anti-Semitic.