Reuters reports this morning that Foreign Secretary William Hague met his Iranian counterpart on Thursday on the margins of a conference in Kabul, the highest level diplomatic contact since the storming of the British embassy in Tehran late last year. “The onus now was on Iran to respond in concrete terms. If Iran took concrete steps, the international community would reciprocate,” a Foreign Office statement said after the meeting. The UK media extensively covers the Egyptian Supreme Court’s decision to dissolve the lower house of parliament, and its possible impact in the country’s political transition. Analysing the unfolding situation, Ian Black writes in the Guardian that “the country’s progress from autocracy to democracy has been halting and complicated by tensions, divisions and violence at every turn.” The Financial Times and the Times report that Iran has arrested the alleged killers of two of its nuclear scientists, having accused Israel and the US of plotting the killings. BBC online and the Daily Mirror note a report issued by Save the Children charity, noting poor water quality in Gaza. BBC reports that the Palestine Football Association has asked European football’s governing body UEFA to bar Israel from hosting a tournament next year over Palestinian players in detention.
The Times of Israel and Maariv report that Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio station o Wednesday that an Israeli-Palestinian meeting may take place soon, although no exact time has been scheduled. An unnamed Palestinian source told Al-Ayyam newspaper that Mofaz and PA President Mahmoud Abbas will likely meet in Amman, Jordan, next week to discuss ways of renewing peace talks, which have been stalled since September 2010. In other news, the Israeli press widely covers the Egyptian Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to dissolve the newly elected parliament, in what is seen as a major setback for the Muslim Brotherhood which controlled the lower House. Haaretz publishes an interview with Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, in which he states that Israel would rather risk a military strike on Iran than face an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. Several papers note that the Yesha Council, which represents Israeli West Bank settlers, has called for mass demonstrations to prevent the eviction of homes in the Ulpana Hill neighbourhood scheduled by the end of the month. Ynetnews reports that despite the establishment of a ministerial committee to decide on settlement issues in the West Bank, Defence Minister Ehud Barak will still hold the final say regarding settlements. According to international law, the IDF is the sovereign power in the West Bank and therefore the Defence Ministry still has the power to determine policies regarding land and settlements. Times of Israel reports that a group of Israel Prize laureates, academics and other