UK-Israel intelligence cooperation could cease if Labour wins election
The Telegraph reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested that Israel may halt its intelligence cooperation with the UK if Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister and carries out his pledge to impose an arms embargo on Israel. Israel is one of the UK’s most important intelligence partners after the US.
Sky News reports that protests have taken place across the West Bank as Palestinians took part in a “day of rage” against last week’s US policy shift on the legality of Israeli settlements. An IDF spokesperson said Israeli soldiers responded “with riot dispersal means” to 1,000 protesters burning tyres and throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.
The Daily Mail and Reuters report that protests organised in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to attract large numbers of demonstrators, while only a handful of Likud senior lawmakers and cabinet ministers attended.
The Times reports that US troops have restarted operations against IS in eastern Syria. US Central Command head General Kenneth McKenzie stated that a major operation in the eastern Deir Ezzor province had captured at least 12 IS operatives.
The Telegraph reports that Turkey will sign a new contract for the S-400 defence system with Russia. Ankara received the first batch of Russia’s surface-to-air missile systems in July, prompting the US to remove Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet programme.
Reuters reports that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has admitted that Turkey carrying out tests with the S-400 system was “concerning,” but added that talks between Washington and Ankara to resolve the issue were still underway.
Reuters reports that the Saudi-led military coalition has freed 200 prisoners from the Houthi movement in a step that could further efforts to end the Yemen conflict.
BBC News and Reuters report that Lebanese Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri is withdrawing his candidacy for the premiership. He said that he hoped his decision would prompt parliamentary blocs to quickly agree a replacement. Hariri resigned almost a month ago in response to large-scale anti-government protests.
BBC News reports that the Iranian government has written to state-run organisations and private companies asking them which foreign websites they rely on. Some experts believe the latest move signals that Tehran plans to operate a “white list” scheme.
Reuters reports that Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli has claimed that approximately 731 banks and 140 government sites were torched during recent government protests.
The Guardian argues that the third outbreak of demonstrations in three years reveals “deepening economic woes and a sense of hopelessness” in Iran.
Reuters reports that UN investigators have so far identified 160 IS militants accused of massacres of Yazidis in northern Iraq in 2014 and are building legal cases against them.
Reuters reports that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on Egypt to respect freedom of the press, days after Egyptian security forces raided the office of independent news website Mada Masr.
Reuters reports that the top US general Mark Milley arrived in Iraq on Tuesday amid a spate of anti-government protests in the Middle East and questions about how they could impact Iranian influence in the region.
Reuters reports that Qatar could support Turkish plans to settle more than a million Syrian refugees in north-east Syria after its offensive against Kurdish militia in the region.
Reuters reports that Turkey is refusing to back a NATO defence plan for the Baltics and Poland until the alliance offers Ankara more political support for its fight against Kurdish YPG militia in north-east Syria.
In the Times, Hannah Lucinda Smith writes that “Erdogan’s power grab should worry Nato”: “The Turkish president is reshaping the western alliance’s second-biggest army in his own image”.
In the Guardian, Dan Sabbagh and Bethan McKernan reveal how UK technology fuelled Turkey’s rise to global drone power: “UK-based manufacturer supplied crucial missile component to Turkish drone-maker during development stage”.
The Independent reports that Lehava leader Bentzi Gopstein has been charged with inciting violence and terrorism. Israeli prosecutors have moved against Gopstein, who they said had publicly made “calls for committing acts of violence” and published “racially inciting” material.
The Times reports that an Egyptian court has ruled that a woman should equally share an inheritance with her brothers in a case that challenges centuries of tradition in the Middle East.
In the Guardian, UK academic Matthew Hedges writes that he “learned that Britain puts trade before its citizens” when detained in the UAE on spurious espionage charges.
In the Guardian, Dan Sabbagh, Jason Burke and Bethan McKernan explain that civilian casualties are mounting in Libya as “opposing sides deploy cheap Turkish and Chinese-made aircraft”.
In the Telegraph, Con Coughlin argues that during the UK election campaign, each party has proved less than forthcoming about issues pertaining to defence: “despite the threat of China, Russia and Iran, nobody has a credible plan for our national defence”.
IDF hits Gaza after rocket fire: The Israeli media reports that the Israeli Air Force hit Hamas targets inside the Gaza Strip including underground infrastructure and a weapons factory. The strikes were in response to two rockets that were fired into southern Israel last night. The Iron Dome missile defence system intercepted one and the other landed in an open area. A third rocket landed in the Gaza Strip. Kan Radio News reports comments by Prime Minister Netanyahu who said “We will respond vigorously to any attack against us and we will continue to guard the security of Israel on all fronts.”
Palestinians mark Day of Rage: The Israeli media reports the Palestinian’s “Day of Rage” held yesterday in protest at the recent US announcement that Israeli settlements do not contravene international law. Demonstrations took place across the West Bank including Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Kalkilya, Tulkarm and Nablus. In Ramallah around 2,000 people gathered and burnt Israeli and US flags along with posters of Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo. Palestinian sources report that Israeli forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas and 77 Palestinians were lightly injured.
Jewish extremist charged with incitement: Israeli media reports that state prosecutors have charged Bentzi Gopstein with incitement to violence and terrorism for inflammatory comments about Palestinians. Gopstein is the leader of Lehava, an organisation that campaigns against Jewish assimilation. He was also a parliamentary candidate for Jewish Power before he was banned from running in the election due to his racist statements about Arabs.