Russia seeks to promote Palestinian reconciliation
The Daily Mail reports on the criticism levelled by Human Rights Watch in a new report against Israeli banks contributing to the “proliferation” of West Bank settlements. The banks provide loans and mortgages for the construction of the settlements, which the group alleges violates their human rights obligations.
The Daily Mail also reports on the visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Argentina and the transfer by the Argentine government of thousands of state documents relating to the Holocaust and Nazi war criminals who fled to Argentina after the war. The documents have been digitized and comprise 140,000 secret files and photographs from 1939-1950.
BBC News Online reports an alleged Russian air strike in the Syrian town of Deir al-Zour that is reported to have killed dozens of civilians on Sunday. Activists say the strike hit camps for displaced people on the western bank of the Euphrates just outside Deir al-Zour. The BBC states that the strike was not possible to verify and the Russian government has not commented.
The Guardian reports that Scotland Yard’s war crimes unit is evaluating a request to investigate allegations that United Arab Emirates (UAE) security officials and politicians authorised the torture of three Qatari citizens in the UAE. The request was made possible by the UK’s legal powers of universal jurisdiction over serious crimes, and is likely to prove diplomatically embarrassing for the government.
The Times reports that Qatar is seeking to build bridges with the Jewish community in the US, in order to counter the Saudi narrative that Qatar supports terrorism and seek assistance to lift the Saudi-led blockade of the emirate. Qatar has hired the US based PR company Stonington Strategies and is spending US $500,000 on the project.
All the Israeli papers report the High Court’s decision to disqualify the law that exempts yeshiva students from the army. Yediot Ahronot reports that ultra Orthodox MKs are incandescent with rage, with Deputy Minister Meir Porush saying that “the High Court of Justice is eager for Armageddon”. The paper also reflects the dilemmas of coalition partners Avigdor Lieberman and Moshe Kahlon, who have not yet commented on the decision. Maariv quotes MK Yair Lapid who said that “the values and the spirit of the IDF won, our soldiers won today. We’ve begun to steer the helm of the ship toward sanity and values”. In its commentary Yediot Ahronot suggests “the High Court of Justice ruling is an important landmark in confronting the cynicism in which a Haredi minority prevents the State of Israel over and over again from becoming a slightly fairer and more properly-run country”. Israel Hayom highlights the views of ultra-Orthodox leaders that “this is a declaration of war”.
Haaretz suggest Russia is intervening in the internal Palestinian dispute and trying to bring about reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. The effort was part of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s agenda as he spent the last three days in the region. He met King Salman of Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah II of Jordan and spoke by phone with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. He also tried to heal the rift between the Gulf states and Qatar.
Maariv report the Israel Academy of Film and Television has decided not to invite Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) to its annual Ophir Awards, Israel’s equivalent of the Oscars. The paper quotes Regev calling it a “cowardly decision”.
Haaretz quotes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements relating to Kurdish independence. Netanyahu said that “Israel rejects the PKK and considers it a terrorist organisation, as opposed to Turkey, which supports the terror organisation Hamas. While Israel rejects terror in any form, it supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own”. He was responding to former IDF deputy chief, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, who expressed support for Kurdish independence and said that the Kurdish PKK fighting Turkey is not a terrorist organisation.
Yediot Ahronot criticises the security cabinet ministers as almost none of them attended the IDF military exercise that took place in the north over the last few days.
Haaretz highlights another High Court ruling that breaks the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly over granting a restaurant a kosher certificate. The judges ruled for the first time that business establishments could present to their customers documents attesting to the religious standards to which they conform.