The Daily Telegraph reports that Russia has warned that the next round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of leading powers is unlikely to produce a breakthrough. Speaking in Tehran, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said, “one has to have patience to make progress.” The BBC reports growing international pressure on Russia to act more constructively in dealing with the deteriorating situation in Syria. A report by Israel’s State Comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss, on the decision-making process surrounding the operation to interdict the May 2010 Turkish flotilla bound for Gaza, is also reported in this morning’s UK press. The Independent notes the criticism levelled at Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whilst the Evening Standard quotes the report’s findings that the process was “flawed”. The BBC notes a report by two charities that criticises Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international donor community for the poor quality of the water supply in Gaza.
The Israeli press leads with the State Comptroller report into the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010. According to Maariv, the principal finding is that decisions were taken by the prime minister and defence minister alone, contravening the National Security Council Law. Yediot Ahronot describes the findings as a “charge sheet”. President Shimon Peres’s receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in a White House Ceremony last night, is also widely reported. Speaking to Haaretz, Peres said that there was no alternative to peace in the region. Peres requested that President Obama consider the release of former US naval intelligence office Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel in 1986, although the White House has said that US policy has not changed in this regard. Maariv notes a worrying escalation of tension ahead of the planned evacuation of five buildings on Ulpana Hill, in the settlement of Beit El, with calls to “defend bodily” the buildings slated for demolition. The Jerusalem Post notes the opening of Seret, the first Israeli Film and Television Festival in London, today.