Media Summary

BBC News reports that Hamas has reiterated a call for Palestinians to step up visits to al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel has accused Hamas of “striving to ignite the region during Ramadan”, which begins on 11 March.


BBC News reports that Hamas has reiterated a call for Palestinians to step up visits to al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel has accused Hamas of “striving to ignite the region during Ramadan”, which begins on 11 March.

BBC News also reports that the IDF has finished building a new road which runs across northern Gaza from east to west, according to satellite images verified by the BBC. The IDF told the BBC they were attempting to gain an “operational foothold” and facilitate the movement of troops and equipment.

Dominic Lawson writes from Israel for The Times after his experience visiting kibbutz Kfar Aza and speaking to residents, displaced families and families of those killed and taken hostage.

The GuardianThe Daily Mail and The Financial Times report that Benjamin Netanyahu, has rejected Joe Biden’s comment that his approach to the war in Gaza is “hurting Israel more than helping Israel”, escalating a dispute between the leaders. Over the weekend, the US president said Netanyahu “must pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken” in Gaza and that his stance was detrimental to Israel’s interests.

The Guardian further reports on an aid ship carrying 200 tonnes of food to alleviate looming famine in the Gaza Strip, which remains docked in Cyprus, despite the push for maritime aid in the face of stalling ceasefire talks.

The Guardian also reports that about 200 anti-war protesters took to a roadside junction in central Israel on Saturday afternoon and began calling in Arabic and Hebrew for a ceasefire in Gaza, as passing cars honked their approval. It was the first time that residents of the Arab town of Tayibe came out to protest.

The Telegraph reports that Israeli police have used water cannon and made 19 arrests to disperse protests demanding the resignation of Benjamin Netanyahu. Thousands of Israelis took to the streets on Saturday evening as the anti-Netanyahu protest movement that faded following the Hamas attacks on Oct 7 regained traction.

The Financial Times reports that a confidential UN report has accused Israel of widespread abuse of Gazans it has detained during the war with Hamas, according to a copy seen by the Financial Times. The report by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said that Palestinians released from Israeli detention reported being subjected to abuses ranging from physical assaults and dog attacks to sleep deprivation and sexual violence.

The Daily Mail interviews British Israelis serving in the IDF, who discuss their experiences on the front line and their worries for families back home in Britain.

The Times also reports on the cruel torture used by Yahya Sinwar on fellow Hamas commanders, which was exposed in a recent document leak.

The Times interviews the government’s adviser on social cohesion, Dame Sara Khan, as she says that while Jews in London are frightened, there are no “no-go areas”.

The Telegraph reports that Conservative MPs have accused David Cameron of “sniping” at Israel over its handling of the situation in Gaza and have claimed the Foreign Office shows “anti-Israel sentiment.

BBC NewsReuters and Sky News report that Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s presence at the opening of a Holocaust museum in Amsterdam has sparked protests. Activists calling for a ceasefire gathered in a square near the National Holocaust Museum, in the city’s Jewish quarter.

Sky News reports that Israel has unveiled its new entry for the Eurovision Song Contest after its original track was criticised for lyrics that were thought to reference the Hamas attacks on 7 October. The new song, titled Hurricane, will be performed by singer Eden Golan during the international song competition in Malmo, Sweden, in May. The Guardian publishes a piece on why some are planning to boycott Eurovision over Israel participating.

Channel 12 reports on President Biden’s public rebuke of Prime Minister Netanyahu on Saturday, and Netanyahu’s response. Israeli political officials told the channel that “when Netanyahu says that he doesn’t know what President Biden meant, he is exacerbating the conflict between the two countries because the truth is that he knows exactly what the president meant… Biden’s frustration with Netanyahu has been gradually building in the past weeks. He [Netanyahu] knows exactly what bothers the president and hasn’t done anything in that direction. If things go on this way, there is real fear that the Americans will slam on the brakes and will prevent Israel from completing [its military operation] to collapse Hamas’s battalions in Rafah. It might also reach the point of damage to [American] diplomatic and military support for Israel,” said the political officials.”

Kan Radio reports Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments to Bild. Responding to President Biden referring to possible Israeli action in Rafah as a “red line”, Netanyahu said “We’ll go there. We’re not going to leave them. You know, I have a red line. You know what the red line is? That October 7 doesn’t happen again. Never happens again. And to do that we have to complete the destruction of the Hamas terrorist arm.”

Yediot Ahronot’s Ben-Dror Yemini warns that “Israel has entered into one of the gravest crises in its relations with the United States in history. Never since the War of Independence and, to a smaller degree, since the Yom Kippur War, has Israel been in such difficult shape. Unless a change is made, Israel is liable to lose—not in a single day, but in a process that still hasn’t peaked—the support of the most important power in the world, which is also Israel’s most important ally. The term “existential threat” has become somewhat eroded in the time since October 7 because of overuse. But we ought to take that term into account. We aren’t there yet. It isn’t going to happen tomorrow. But the warning sign is before us in full force, and our blind leadership can’t see it.” Netanyahu, he says, “has insisted on making every possible mistake.”

On Rafah, Israel Hayom reports that differences of opinion have emerged between the Israeli political and military echelons regarding an operation there. “Both military and political officials agree that conquering the city is necessary,” says the paper, “but each side blames the other for delaying the operation. Though the IDF presented the political leadership with a plan to evacuate hundreds of thousands of Gazans, Netanyahu thought it to be inadequate. Another consideration is Israel’s fear that it will be blamed for torpedoing hostage deal talks. Military officials said that the preparations to deal with Rafah have been fully drafted and can be executed the moment the political leadership gives the order.”

Israel Hayom reports Israeli security forces announcing yesterday that a terrorist cell comprising 13 Arabs citizens of Israel from northern Israel were charged with planning attacks on behalf of Hamas. “According to the indictment, one of the suspects maintained contact with Hamas terrorists in Gaza, who advised him on how to manufacture explosives and recruit additional members.”

Haaretz reports that Hamas is investigating whether the deputy head of Hamas’s military wing, Marwan Issa, was killed in IDF strikes in the Gaza Strip on Saturday. “Issa is number three in the organisation, second in command to Muhammed Deif, and the two are considered to be the links between Hamas’s political and military wings.” Army Radio adds that five Palestinians were killed in the air strike and another nine wounded in the strike in the Nuseirat refugee camp.

Ynet notes the beginning of Ramadan, with celebrations toned down from what is traditional. “Leaders in the Arab community in Israel have asked that food not be wasted and that pictures of banquets not be posted on social media platforms, in order to show support for Muslim families suffering from lack of food because of the war. Festivities should be held in private, they said.” As his officers prepare to secure Jerusalem in anticipation of tens of thousands of Muslim Arab citizens of Israel visiting the Temple Mount, Jerusalem police chief Doron Turgeman said “we understand that Ramadan this year is different and comes with threats and challenges. What will win is flexibility and our ability to react to a volatile situation.”

Maariv features Israeli operations in the West Bank in the leadup to Ramadan, as military and security forces look to prevent escalation there. “According to reports out of the Gaza Strip,” the paper says, “a Hamas operative who served with the organisation’s so-called ‘West Bank headquarters,’ which is responsible for attacks in Judea and Samaria, was killed ahead of Ramadan. The IDF Spokesperson’s Office announced yesterday the terrorist who killed Maj. (res.) Amishar Ben David in the southern Gaza Strip was killed on Friday in an operation that was carried out jointly from the ground and air. In addition, Nahal Brigade troops killed 13 terrorists in the past two days using sniper fire, tank fire and by directing combat jet air strikes.”

Haaretz  notes that IDF Chief of Staff Halevi ordered a disciplinary note for Brigadier General Hiram, following the latter’s order to blow up an Al-Asraa University compound in southern Gaza City without the approval of his superior. The IDF spokesperson said: “The collapse of the building and the process of approving the blowing up [of the building] will be thoroughly investigated by the commander of the Southern Command and presented to the Chief of General Staff. The investigation revealed that Hamas used the building and its surroundings for military activity against our forces, but the process of collapsing the building was done without the required approvals.”