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Media Summary

BBC News, Sky News, and The Standard all report UK Foreign Secretary Cameron saying that a ban on selling arms to Israel would only strengthen Hamas.

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BBC News, Sky Newsand The Standard all report UK Foreign Secretary Cameron saying that a ban on selling arms to Israel would only strengthen Hamas. Cameron said while he would not support a major ground offensive in the Gazan city of Rafah, the UK would not copy US plans to stop some arms sales. The Telegraph reports that Labour have now called for a pause in arms sales to Israel over concerns about an offensive in Rafah.

BBC News, The Telegraph and The Guardian report on President Biden’s decision on arms sales and the wider joint relationship.

The Independent reports that The Biden administration is sharing intelligence with Israel to help it target Hamas leadership and conduct other combat operations in the hope of limiting the invasion of Rafah, according to The Washington Post. (See Israeli Media Summary below for refutation of these suggestions.)

The Financial Times reports on the US ordering the evacuation of Rafah.

The Guardian reports that thousands of Israelis joined protests over the weekend calling for a deal to bring home hostages still held in Gaza by Hamas, early elections and the immediate resignation of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister.

The TelegraphThe GuardianThe Spectator, The Telegraphand Channel 4 all report on Israel’s participation in Eurovision, which ended in fifth place, and being the country achieving the highest support from the UK public.

The Guardian reports on the latest rounds of fighting in the Gaza Strip.

The Guardian also reports that for the student anti-war protests gripping the US, the words “Zionist” and “Zionism” have become a watchword – pejorative and emblematic of the violent state policies driving the war on Gaza. On social media and in the streets, critics no longer call out supporters of the state of Israel as “pro-Israel”: they call them Zionist. Some university encampments have posted signs saying: “Zionists not allowed.”

The Guardian and BBC News report that the Foreign Office is investigating a claim by Hamas that a British-Israeli hostage has died in Gaza. Hamas, proscribed as a terrorist group by the UK government, claims Nadav Popplewell died of wounds sustained in an Israeli airstrike more than a month ago.

The Times reports Israeli troops have been engaged in “close-quarters combat” with a reanimated Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip as Palestinians reel from a return to the intensity reminiscent of the early days of war.

For The TimesDominic Lawson writes about a recent visit to Doha and his view on Qatar’s influence, including on Israeli negotiations.

The Times reports on Hezbollah’s two museums in Lebanon – one for ‘Jihad’ and the other ‘Resistance’.

The Telegraph has released its view on the UN and Israel, saying: “This has been another week of shame for the United Nations, which has again voted to reward terrorism and victim-blame Israel.”

The Telegraph reports on how TikTok’s algorithm is so fraught with anti-Israel content in the face of a possible ban in the US.

Much of the Israeli media focusses on the marking of Memorial Day. Kan Radio quotes remarks by President Herzog at the official state opening of the commemoration at the Western Wall in Jerusalem yesterday evening. “I speak from this holy place at this holy moment to our brothers and sisters who are being held hostage and their families,” he said. “We do not forget for even one moment that there is nothing greater than the religious commandment to redeem captives. The entire nation is with you. We must show strength and choose life. We [must not] rest or remain silent until everyone returns home.” Speaking at a Yad Labanim ceremony, meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “this generation continues the work of its predecessors defending the country. In the last few months, it has revealed itself in its full strength. The more we hear about the horrific massacre, the more tales of heroism are exposed.”

Haaretz quotes Defence Minister Gallant saying at a memorial on Mount Herzl this morning that the current war “will shape our lives for decades to come.” He added: “This is a war that will continue until we return our hostages, dismantle the rule of Hamas and its military capabilities, and restore prosperity and creation to the State of Israel and the smile on the faces of its citizens.”

Yediot Ahronot’s Hanoch Daum takes stock of the Israel he sees on this Memorial Day. We recognise that we aren’t as strong as we thought, that we are capable of descending into internal conflicts that are all-eviscerating, and that we are surrounded by enemies who have the courage to fire on us from every direction. We have discovered some very difficult things about ourselves this past year. But we have also discovered some incredible things as well. We discovered a young generation that, at the moment of truth, the moment terrorists raided our country, fought fearlessly down to the last bullet. We discovered Israelis who risked their lives  to defend us. Members of the civilian security squads who fought alone against dozens of terrorists; reservists who thronged to the streets of Gaza City in search of Israelis who had been kidnapped, hostages whom they regarded as members of their own family.”

Yediot Ahronot also reports the shock news that Egypt has announced it will join South Africa’s lawsuit accusing Israel of genocide in the International Court of Justice at The Hague. The paper quotes Egypt saying that previously it had “known how to resolve the differences of opinion between us and Israel without damaging the peace agreement” between the two countries. However, it said, the “Israeli attack on Rafah and the extreme humanitarian danger that it poses as a result of the shortage of goods and basic services is leading to irreversible damage to the Palestinian people’s rights in the entire Gaza Strip.” A senior Egyptian officials is quoted saying “Our patience with Netanyahu is over. Israel’s most recent military moves in the Rafah area endanger Egyptian security. We do not intend to sit idly by. If Israel responds furiously to our decision to join South Africa’s lawsuit, the crisis will grow even worse.” Nonetheless, the same official denied that Egypt intends to withdraw from the peace treaty with Israel. “The situation is difficult,” said one senior Egyptian official, “but we haven’t reached, and I hope we do not reach, that stage.” Israeli officials are quoted expressing shock at the news. “It isn’t the statement about The Hague that troubles us,” said one, “but the fact that it is part of a problematic whole. We are in a situation we haven’t been in in the past in the relations between the countries. Egypt is showing us that it no longer has patience for us. That is sad and worrisome.”

Maariv includes a story refuting recent speculation that the Biden Administration has been withholding crucial intelligence from Israel. It had been speculated by several US media outlets that the American administration had offered the following deal to Israel: Israel would refrain from invading Rafah in return for intelligence [provided by the US] about the whereabouts of the hostages, of Yahya Sinwar and of Mohammed Deif, two top Hamas leaders. The paper quotes three senior Israeli officials denying these suggestions, and saying that “the Americans don’t know any more than we do” about Sinwar’s whereabouts. Maariv also suggests that Israeli officials believe that Biden’s recent remarks about a possible arms embargo had not helped him politically but had in fact produced the opposite result and that the President would be looking for a way to row the threat back.

On Sinwar’s whereabouts, Haaretz quotes US reports indicating that US officials believe the Hamas leader is not in Rafah but in the tunnel network beneath Khan Yunis.

Maariv also reports US CENTCOM commander General Michael Kurilla visiting Israel over the weekend and meeting with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Halevi. The two discussed several issues, including ongoing efforts to bolster the international coalition amid a review of the lessons learned from the deployment ahead of Iran’s April 13 missile attack against Israel. Halevi also presented the IDF’s plans for conquering Rafah and for operations in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighbourhood and the Jabalya refugee camp.

Ynet reports an Iranian member of parliament stating publicly that Iran is already in possession of a nuclear weapon. Ahmad Bakhshayesh Ardestani told Iranian media outlet Rouydad 24 that “in my opinion, we have achieved nuclear weapons, but we do not announce it.” Bakhshayesh Ardestani justified Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon by saying: “In a climate where Russia has attacked Ukraine and Israel has attacked Gaza, and Iran is a staunch supporter of the Resistance Front, it is natural for the containment system to require that Iran possess nuclear bombs. However, whether Iran declares it is another matter.”

Ynet includes a profile of Eyal Young, a British-Israeli member of the alert squad of Kibbutz Alumim, who was seriously injured during a battle against Hamas terrorists on October 7. “The most terrifying feeling I experienced in my life was the struggle to breathe after the bullet pierced my lung,” Young says. “I tried so hard to take another breath. The fight against suffocation was so relentless; I was sure it was going to kill me. It’s unlike anything else and doesn’t compare to any other pain. It’s absolute helplessness. You’re no longer in control of your body.”