The main item of Israel related coverage in the UK media today is the release yesterday from captivity in Gaza of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Metro-London, Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Independent, Times, Financial Times, Sun, Reuters, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, BBC Online, Sky News Online and the Scotsman report Shalit’s release, and the release of a large number of Palestinians convicted of terror offences. The Guardian has an analysis noting that the release could constitute a ‘poisoned chalice’ for the PA leadership, because of the boost it may give Hamas. The paper also notes that Adam Werritty, an associate of the former British Defence Secretary Liam Fox, was ‘bankrolled’ by what the paper describes as ‘three pro-Israel business tycoons.’ The Financial Times, Independent, Guardian and the Daily Telegraph also run pieces on these revelations. The Evening Standard, meanwhile, notes that Israeli officials shared sensitive intelligence with Mr Werritty in the mistaken belief that he was a member of Dr Fox’s staff. The Daily Telegraph has a piece linking Shalit’s release to the Arab Spring, an article by Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, welcoming the release, and an additional piece expressing concern over the release of the Palestinian prisoners and the implications of this.
In the Israeli media, the Shalit release yesterday dominates coverage. Haaretz has a piece contending that the prisoner swap ‘throws Hamas a lifeline.’ The paper also speaks to the mother of a young girl killed in a terror attack who says that the release constitutes a ‘massive failure.’ The Jerusalem Post notes a statement by US State Department Spokesman Mark Toner expressing US concern at the identity of some of the Palestinian prisoners released. Ynetnews and Haaretz note criticism of the Egyptian journalist who carried out an interview with Shalit before he was returned to Israel, and the journalist’s rejection of the criticism. The Jerusalem Post also reports a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Libya.