Barak says Israel ready for ‘brave steps’
Middle East related coverage in the UK media today focuses on the on-going unrest in Syria. The Guardian notes that the Lebanese authorities have been turning back fleeing Syrians at the border, fearful of possible sectarian strife in northern Lebanon. The Daily Telegraph has an assessment of the current state of affairs regarding the revolts against autocratic rule in the Arab world. The Times, Financial Times, Independent, Scotsman, Reuters and BBC Online note the latest events in Syria, and the apparent renewed confidence of the Assad regime. The Scotsman notes that Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant has begun operating at a low level. Reuters notes that the trial of two US hikers imprisoned in Iran is due to start this week. Reuters also reports Iranian demands that renewed talks on Teheran’s nuclear programme be ‘without pressure.’ BBC Online notes that Syria has abandoned its campaign for a place on the UN Human Rights Council. BBC Online also reports on a protest by the brother of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit at an Independence Day event.
In the Israeli media, Haaretz has an article claiming that Israel has used a covert procedure to cancel the residency status of 140,000 West Bank Palestinians between 1967 and 1994. The paper also notes a report that Hamas is willing to renew negotiations over Gilad Shalit, and quotes Palestinian official Nabil Sha’ath who predicts the formation of a new Palestinian government within 10 days. The Jerusalem Post also quotes Sha’ath, and quotes Defence Minister Ehud Barak who pledged ‘all efforts’ to secure Gilad Shalit’s freedom but not at ‘any price’. The Jerusalem Post, together with Ynetnews, notes a statement by senior Syrian regime figure Rami Makhlouf who appeared to threaten Israel with ‘instability.’ Ynetnews had an additional piece on Israeli preparations for possible Palestinian unrest on ‘Nakba Day’ (The Palestinian day of protest against the creation of the State of Israel).