Heated exchanges at UN as Israeli and Palestinian diplomats clash over Gaza
The UK media continues to focus on the recent violence in Gaza. The Times and Telegraph report that funerals have taken place for those killed in Gaza on Monday. The Independent reports that two Palestinians were killed yesterday as the violence continued at a reduced level. The Independent and Chanel 4 News report on the international condemnation of Israel’s use of live fire against protestors. Chanel 4 News also reports that there is public support in Israel for Israeli military action in Gaza.
An opinion piece in the Times by Middle East Correspondent Richard Spencer says that “Palestinians everywhere are living without hope” right now, highlighting the plight of Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, which has been largely overshadowed by recent events in Gaza. Spencer says the international community should take more responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians. Also in the Times, a leading article titled “Hopeless in Gaza” says that by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, US President Donald Trump has given away an “enormous bargaining chip” and reduced the chance of any successful peace negotiations in the future.
BBC News Online reports on heated exchanges at the UN yesterday, with Palestinian and Israeli representatives giving their accounts of the recent events on the Israel-Gaza border that has left at least 60 Palestinians dead. Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour said: “We condemn in the most emphatic terms the odious massacre committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said Hamas “incite people to violence, place as many civilians as possible in the line of fire to maximise civilian casualties”. BBC News Online also reports that UK Prime Minister Theresa May called for an independent inquiry yesterday.
The Guardian published an opinion piece by Jonathan Steele, who blames the recent violence in the Palestinian territories on Trump. Steele says his “lack of understanding of the conflict has provoked the Palestinian violence and jettisoned any chance of peace”.
The Express reports that Saudi Arabia has called a meeting of the Arab League to discuss Trump’s “illegal decision” to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Telegraph, Mail Online, Reuters, Independent and the Times report that the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met with his French and German counterparts, along with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in an intensive diplomatic effort to save the Iran nuclear deal. The talks come in the wake of the US President’s decision to withdraw the US from the deal.
The Guardian published an article by Bruno Tertrais, who says Trump is “wrong on Iran,” but that the European allies have no choice but to try and sustain “a strong transatlantic partnership” by siding with the US.
The Guardian also published an opinion piece about Israel’s victory at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest by Michael Segalov. Segalov expresses his dismay that next year the competition will be hosted by Israel, saying: “those of us who adore this annual celebration must express our discontent”.
The Israeli media continues to focus heavily on the violence emanating from Gaza and the repercussions. Yediot Ahronot assesses that the decrease in violence yesterday was a result of, “understandings that were reached two nights ago by Israel and Hamas with Egyptian mediation. Now, with the army having fulfilled its mission and having blocked the demonstrations, the ball moves into the court of the political echelon, which will have to formulate a clear policy for Gaza on the humanitarian issue so as to relieve the pressure on the population in the immediate future.” Similarly, Israel Hayom credits Egyptian pressure on Hamas that prevented further demonstrations.
Haartz published an editorial about the need for policy change in the wake of the violence in Gaza. The editorial says that “the future of Israel is bound up with the future of millions of Palestinians who live under its control” and therefore the Israeli Government must “significantly ease the closure in order to dissolve the foundations of the misery that led to the recent demonstrations”.
Yediot Ahronot and Maariv review some of the events that took place on Monday on the Gaza border. For example, they reveal in the southern Gaza Strip an incident between three Hamas terrorists and combatants from the infantry, Givati’s Shaked battalion and snipers from an elite unit. The army claims that the terrorists were killed after trying to place bombs close to the fence. An examination of the site discovered that they were carrying grenades, knives, fence cutters and bombs—some of which they threw at the troops. In another example, also captured on film, commandos from the Maglan unit killed “two Hamas cells that were attempting to cross the fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF says that the first terrorist cell tried to breach the fence under cover of the demonstrators, opened fire and threw bombs at two Maglan jeeps. The combatants returned accurate fire, and at the end of the battle, eight terrorists were killed. No IDF troops were injured. The IDF displayed a gun, a bomb, a knife and a grenade, as well as tools for breaking the fence that the terrorists had been carrying. Subsequently, an aircraft and a tank attacked Hamas targets.”
All the Israeli media covers the diplomatic clash with Turkey. Yediot Ahronot reports the Turkish ambassador to Israel was recalled for consultations in Ankara on Monday evening. In addition, the leaders insulted each other on social media. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of being an apartheid state, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Erdogan one of Hamas’s greatest supporters and therefore understood terror and massacres very well and that he should not preach. The Turks also summoned the Israeli Ambassador for a reprimand, and then told him to leave until further notice. Israel wanted to reciprocate in a similar manner, but since the Turkish ambassador had been recalled a day earlier, it was decided to expel the consul general in East Jerusalem. Israel Hayom declared “Erdogan’s hypocrisy” as their lead headline. Similarly, other Ministers inserted themselves into the dispute, Maariv quoted Transport and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, who said: “The great inciter, Erdogan, a Muslim Brotherhood man and Hamas and Iran’s partner, is expelling our ambassador. There is no end to hypocrisy.” Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel announced in the Knesset that he had instructed his ministry to halt imports from Turkey. This morning, Kan Radio News reported Turkey’s ruling party blocked a bill submitted by an opposition party to impose sanctions on Israel and cancel agreements signed with it. Erdogan’s party, the Justice and Development Party, refused to support the motion submitted by the Peoples’ Democratic Party.
Israel Hayom covers Guatemala moving their embassy to Jerusalem. The paper quotes Minister of Tourism Levin, who said: “Only yesterday we were excited about the transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem, and tomorrow we will continue the sequence of events and celebrate the transfer of the Guatemalan Embassy to the capital. This is further evidence that when we insist on our rights throughout the country, and certainly in Jerusalem, that truth is victorious, and in the world, there are increasing numbers who recognise our rights.”