Media Summary

Israeli athlete wins gold medal in 10,000m

The BBCTelegraph, Daily Mail, Business Insider, the Express and Reuters report on rockets that were launched from Gaza overnight. The Telegraph reports that 150 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza last night. Most of the rockets fired by Palestinian militants landed in open areas, but at least two hit the Israeli city of Sderot. At least four Israelis were wounded and taken to hospitals, including a 30-year-old Thai woman in moderate to severe condition. The Daily Mail reports that in retaliation to the rocket barrage, the Israel military carried out airstrikes in Gaza. The Hamas run Gaza health ministry said that 23 year old Enas Khammash and her 18-month-old daughter Bayan were killed the airstrikes which hit Jafarawi in central Gaza. Business Insider reports that sirens sounded across Southern Israel in communities that surround the Gaza Strip. Israel deployed its Iron Dome system and intercepted 25 launches. IDF said it struck more than 140 targets. The IDF said it fired at a vehicle used to launch rockets at Israeli territory. The Express reports that eight rockets were fired from Gaza and four fell into Sderot. The IDF said: “Terrorists shot at civilian vehicles that were being used in the effort to construct the barrier around the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. One vehicle was hit.” Reuters reports U.N. Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said: “I am deeply alarmed by the recent escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel, and particularly by today’s multiple rockets fired towards communities in southern Israel.”

The Times, the Telegraph, and the Express, report on comments made by Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell that Israel was attempting to carry out “genocide” against Palestinians. The Times reports that McDonnell also shared a platform with Jackie Walker, a since-suspended Labour activist who labelled Jews as the “chief financiers” of the slave trade. In the video of a far-left rally from November 2012, McDonnell said: “I think it’s absolutely critical now that we use every platform we can to expose what’s going on, which is effectively an attempt at genocide against the Palestinians.” The Telegraph reports that the Board of Deputies of British Jews has demanded that the shadow chancellor apologise to the Jewish community for his “wild claims”. A statement released by McDonnell’s spokesman said: “John takes pride in and stands by his track record, and will always stand up for the victims of such disproportionate violence.” Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Education Trust, wrote on Twitter: “Just a few days ago John McDonnell said that allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party had shaken him to the core, yet just a few months after Jackie Walker claimed Jews were chief financiers of the slave trade – a hugely offensive remark.”

Writing in the FT, Ilan Ben Zion comments on the reaction of Israel’s Druze community to the Nation-State law. Ben Zion writes that during a rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square last Saturday, Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Mowafaq Tarif said the new law demotes them to second-class citizens. “All our lives we’ve been proud of Israel, for whom human dignity and freedom is a supreme value,” Tarif said further that “despite our unwavering loyalty, the state does not see us as equals”. Yuval Diskin, a former head of Shin Bet, told the crowd that the law “does not serve to strengthen the state of Israel. Rather it serves a small and despicable political need to undermine the country’s foundations and to divide and strengthen hatred among us ahead of elections.” Jaber Habish, 35, a Druze army captain who helped organise the protest, said the law was “a serious blow to the faith I had in the state of Israel and the Jewish people.”

The Guardian, the Express and Reuters report on Trump’s sanctions on Iran. The Guardian reports that Iranian Ambassador to the UN, Gholamali Khoshroo argued that the US is making history not just by violating a United Nations Security Council resolution it voted for three years ago, but also by penalising countries who stick to the same unanimous resolution. The Express reports that Russia and China have rejected the reimposition of sanctions against Iran. The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated on Wednesday that “China’s commercial cooperation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said “We denounced any unilateral sanctions in circumvention of the UN Security Council decisions, all the more so if they have exterritorial applications and affect the interests of third countries, as is the case with the current US restrictions against Iran. Reuters reports that Beijing has cultivated close commercial links with Tehran, especially in the energy sector. China is Iran’s top oil customer and buys roughly 650,000 bpd of crude oil from Tehran. The imports are worth some $15 billion (£11.6bn) a year.

The Israeli media is dominated by events in Gaza. In Yediot Ahronoth Alex Fishman writes that “this is exactly how wars erupt from one moment to the next: unintentionally, unwantedly and without any real reason”. At the same time, Fishman writes that “the working assumption within the IDF is that Hamas does not want an all-out conflagration at the current juncture in time and that Hamas is likely to continue to act with restraint”.

In Maariv, Ben Caspit writes that “in order to deal with the problems posed by Gaza a decision needs to be made: We can conquer it, oust Hamas from power and clean it up; we can let the Palestinian Authority (PA) back into the Gaza Strip in the context of intra-Palestinian reconciliation and concede the return of the dead soldiers’ bodies for the time being; or we can tell the public (and the bereaved families) the simple and painful truth that we haven’t got the faintest idea what to do and that we mainly don’t want to do anything. UN Special Coordinator Mladenov isn’t going to give us deliverance, and nor will Egyptian intelligence, Qatari money or the tweeting American team of envoys. The decision needs to be made here. It needs to be made with courage by the person who was elected to make it. Left or right, forward or backward – a decision needs to be made. That is the meaning of leadership, which we don’t have.

Also in Maariv, Yossi Melman argues: “The government has no strategy. Only tactics. The possibility of arriving at an arrangement and splitting the issue of the captives and missing in action into separate negotiations, is also being examined.” Melman writes that “on the one hand, as someone who was burned in the Shalit deal, he [Netanyahu] is not prepared to agree to a painful exchange deal, in which Israel pays a high price. On the other hand, he fears telling the families and the public that Israel’s strategic interests demand an arrangement – even without an immediate solution to the issue of the captives and missing in action. Alternatively, he must state that there is no option but to open a military campaign in order to remove the conflagration terrorism from a hundred thousand residents of the Gaza periphery. But here, too, he hesitates.”

Yediot Ahronot and Haaretz report that a number of religiously observant soldiers training to be paratroopers turned their backs on a female instructor and refused to obey her orders, according to a tweet by the instructor’s mother, media personality, Shira Margalit. The army verified the story and said in response that a talk was held with the soldiers involved in which it was made clear that they could not discriminate between male and female instructors.

Haaretz reports that the EU has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that no decision has yet been made to withhold funds from a Left-Wing NGO.

Israel Hayom and Times of Israel report that Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter won a gold medal in 10,000 metres at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin.