Media Summary

Patel allies accuse Foreign Office minister of briefing against her

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Kim Sengupta in the Independent criticises former International Development Secretary Priti Patel for her visit to a hospital in the Israeli Golan Heights, arguing that Patel should have known that the UK does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The Guardian reports that Patel has been accused of overshadowing the Middle East minister Alistair Burt’s diplomatic activities in Israel during their concurrent visit there in August.

The Guardian also reports that Patel’s trip to Nairobi, which had to end early in order for her to fly back to London, is set to cost the British taxpayer £8,000.

The Telegraph features an editorial by Daniel Sugarman who argues that while Patel had to go, the rampant speculation about Israeli influence over the UK government can only fuel antisemitic tropes and has to stop.

The Sun and the Times report that allies of Patel have pointed the finger at Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan as having the “means and the motivation” to have briefed against Patel, ultimately leading to her resignation.

The Times also features a profile on the new International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, leading with the tagline that she is a “joker who knows how to make a splash”.

The Guardian and Reuters UK both report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned by police for a fifth time last night in relation to a series of corruption investigations.

The Guardian and the Mail Online report that Black Cube, the Israeli intelligence firm hired by Harvey Weinstein to suppress allegations of sexual abuse, has apologised for their involvement with the movie mogul.

The Guardian reports on the anti-corruption crackdown in Saudi Arabia stating that the process is rocking the already fragile Saudi economy and that this may risk a backlash against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his “Vision 2030” reform programme.

The Times reports that Syrian regime forces have taken ISIS’s last town in Syria, al-Bukamal.

The Times and Telegraph report the response in Lebanon to Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation, where his political party have called for his return from Saudi Arabia.

BBC News Online reports that French President Emmanuel Macron visited Saudi Arabia amid an escalating crisis between the Kingdom and Lebanon following the Lebanese PM’s resignation. Macron also discussed the crisis in Yemen with Saudi officials.

BBC News Online reports the ongoing anti-corruption crackdown in Saudi Arabia where the Kingdom’s attorney general has said that at least £76bn has been misused through systemic corruption and embezzlement in recent decades and that 201 people were being held for questioning.

The FT reports that Riyadh has called on Saudi citizens in Lebanon to leave “as soon as possible”.

All the Israeli media report that the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was being questioned yesterday by the Fraud Investigations Unit at the Prime Minister’s residence.   Haaretz also focuses on Case 4,000 – suggesting there is evidence that reinforces suspicions that Netanyahu is also involved in the case of alleged collusion between Bezeq, the telecom giant, and the Ministry of Communications.  Maariv also continues to report on Case 3,000, as David Shimron will be called for another round of questioning by the police, probably next week.  However, the paper assesses that “so far they do not have a ‘golden piece of evidence’ that would prove that Shimron committed a criminal offence”.

Haaretz reports that Saudi Arabia sent a message to its citizens who are visiting or residing in Lebanon to leave as soon as possible.  The Foreign Ministry of Kuwait also ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately.

Israel Hayom highlights Dore Gold, the former Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, giving a testimony to Congress on the challenges and opportunities of moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem.   He told Congress “Israel will never give up on Jerusalem” and “only a free and democratic Israel will protect the holy sites of all the great faiths in Jerusalem”.

Maariv reports Palestinian sources saying that when Palestinian Authority (PA) President MahmoudAbbas met the King and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they instructed Abbas to adopt the forthcoming peace plan from US President Donald Trump, or else resign.  The source assessed that he might resign due to the pressure being applied on him to accept the plan. Conversely, other Palestinian sources denied the reports.

Israel Hayom reveals that MKs lead by Ayelet Nahmias Verbin from the Zionist Union will lead a cross party task force to ensure that EU funding to the Palestinians does not fund terrorism or pay terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons.

 Kan Radio News reports US and European officials warned the PA that they would stop sending funds to its security forces if it recruited members of Hamas’s military wing in the Gaza Strip. Messages were relayed to the Commander of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service Maj. Gen. Majed Faraj and to other security chiefs in Ramallah.