British media coverage of the Middle East is currently dominated by events in Libya. The main item of Israel-related coverage in the UK media today is the decision by the British government to upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation in the UK to that of ‘mission.’ The Daily Telegraph and the Guardian note this latest development. In other items, the Guardian has reports on the status of women in Israel and in Gaza, to mark International Womens’ Day. The paper also has a letter rejecting claims that a play about Israel by British writer Caryl Churchill is antisemitic. The Independent looks into how the Iranian regime has cracked down on unrest. BBC Online profiles new Egyptian Prime Minister Esam Sharaf. BBC Online also notes plans to broadcast a documentary on the Holocaust to Iran, via satellite Television. The Guardian has a piece on a decision by local authorities in Jerusalem to erect a fence in a nursery school playground to separate ultra-orthodox Jewish children from a secular Jewish kindergarten which shares the same building. The Independent has two letters on British attitudes toward Israel.
In the Israeli media, all papers note the upgrading of the Palestinian delegation in the UK. All papers also report on clashes yesterday between settlers and Palestinians near Nablus, and have coverage of the latest developments in Libya. Haaretz notes the plan to broadcast ‘Shoah’ in Iran via satellite television. The Jerusalem Post reports that according to PA negotiator Nabil Sha’ath the Palestinian Authority is working toward removing Hamas from the US and EU list of terrorist organisations, so as to pave the way for the Islamist movement to join a Palestinian unity government. Maariv notes a statement by Defence Minister Ehud Barak that Israel may need to request an increase in military aid from the US, given recent regional developments. The paper also reports on an idea by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a new Marshall Plan, the establishment and promotion of an international fund that would encourage democratic processes and major economic growth in Arab states in the Middle East.