Critical Situation in Eastern Ghouta
The Times reports that conditions in Eastern Ghouta, the last rebel-held suburb of Damascus, have reached a critical point, with food in short-supply and tempreatures plunging.
The Guardian, and Independent report comments by a UN official that there is no evidence that disabled Palestinian, Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, who was shot in the head by Israeli forces, posed a threat.
BBC News Online, ITV News Online and the Evening Standard all report the phone call between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May. Downing Street and the White House said in statements that the two leaders discussed the situation in Yemen and the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
BBC News Online, Times, and the Guardian report accusations by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley that the missile fired from Yemen at Riyadh bears the hallmarks of a weapon produced in Iran.
The Guardian reports statements in a letter from Haley to other UN delegations that the US will be “taking names” of countries that vote to reject the Trump administrations recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
Owen Jones writes in the Guardian that the UK public’s continued silence over the humanitarian situation in Yemen gives “carte blanche” to the UK government to continue its “sordid support for the Saudi’s onslaught against civilians and human rights”.
The Telegraph reports the story of a Syrian baby from Eastern Ghouta who has become a symbol of the resistance against the Assad regime. Karim was severely injured by shrapnel from a bomb dropped in October leaving him blind in one eye and with a partially crushed skull, his mother was killed in the attack.
BBC News Online and the Telegraph both report the arrest by Israeli security forces of a Palestinian girl who was apparently filmed hitting Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank.
The FT reports that Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil company, has reaffirmed its commitment to Kurdistan as it pushes ahead with its biggest international production goals in spite of political instability in the region.
The FT reports that Saudi Arabia plans to boost spending to record levels next year with a $261bn budget intended to drag the economy out of recession.
All the Israeli newspapers report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a Chanukah candle-lighting ceremony with Likud activists last night. Maariv reports the Prime Minister’s remarks about ongoing police investigations in which he said: “So there’ll be recommendations, so what? I doubt it if you know, but the overwhelming majority of the police recommendations end in nothing. The maligners in the city squares and on the news editions are going to try to inflate this balloon before all the air goes out of it. Now they’re trying to build tension, ‘what’s going to happen with the recommendation?’ So I’m going to give you a spoiler. In another few weeks reporters and commentators are going to sit in the television studios and they are going to open the news editions with explosive headlines; ‘serious recommendations, one should say, very serious. One should say, the most severe the country has ever seen,’” Netanyahu said, mimicking the news coverage of the corruption accusations agaisnt him.
Commenting on the speech in Yediot Ahronot, Nahum Barnea writes: “Last night’s event is a milestone in the delegitimisation campaign that Netanyahu is waging against the police recommendations. The goal is twofold: to counteract in advance the foreseeable public damage following the police’s recommendations; and mainly, to create the impression that a pile of stillborn cases will be placed on the desk of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit next month.”
Haaretz reports Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s visit to the Gaza border. He praised the resident’s “optimism and spirit” and said the flow of rockets has now stopped. “Israel is prepared and ready as it has never been before, and from what we have seen in the past two days, Hamas has internalised and understands this, too.”
All the papers discuss Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s proposal, that the Supreme Court will only be empowered to disqualify laws with a panel of at least nine judges and a two-thirds majority. Maariv refers to it as “Shaked’s constitutional revolution”. Israel Hayom notes the bill that will weaken the power of the High Court and has caused anger in Kulanu who have vowed that it won’t pass. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is also opposed to the proposal.
All the papers continue to focus on the crisis at Teva pharmaceuticals. Yesterday the Netanyahu along with other senior ministers met with the Teva CEO Kare Schultz in an attempt to prevent the closure of the Teva factory in Jerusalem and other sites. According to Yediot Ahronot they were told by the CEO, “you can’t tell us who to fire.” Maariv reports that the Teva management told them the “factories in Jerusalem have no justification.”
Kan Radio News report that Fatah has announced another day of rage in the West Bank in protest at Trump’s Jerusalem announcement. Universities and PA government ministries will close to enable public servants, teaching faculties and students to attend protest marches. Fatah has called for a day of rage on Friday as well.