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Media Summary

Dubai ruler hacked ex-wife’s phone

BBC News and The Telegraph report that Nicole Jack, a British woman who joined the Islamic State has asked UK politicians to open their minds to allow young children held across various camps to return to the UK. Jack herself is being held at the Roj Camp in northeast Syria. She has three daughters and said that the UK government has been “out of sight, out of mind” and cannot continue to sweep the children “under the carpet” and begged the government not to leave the children to “Stay out there and rot.” Her comments come shortly after Germany and Denmark repatriated dozens of women and children from the Roj camp.

BBC News reports that the Premier League approved the £305 million Saudi backed takeover of Newcastle United. The takeover was approved after the league received “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi Arabian government would not control the club.

A video report from BBC News reports on the political turmoil in Iraq. The video notes that “a political crisis continues to roil Iraq, as protesters remain on the streets in several cities despite a mounting death toll among them. The protesters demand a complete overhaul of the political system they see as sectarian and corrupt.”

The Financial Times and The Economist report on the upcoming elections in Iraq. The FT notes that young people are voicing their frustration, demanding rapid change and have taken to the streets over these concerns. The Economist reports that a threatened boycott of the elections and a low turnout rate could make the elections worthless, noting that “pathy and cynicism still prevail. Many of those in the vanguard of mass protests two years ago are calling for a boycott.”

Ben van der Merwe writes for The New Statesman about the threats facing the Yazidi community. First they were massacred by the Islamic State, and now they are facing deadly Turkish airstrikes.

The Guardian reports that Members of Parliament and human rights groups have called for an investigation into the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed, after a court found that he hacked into his ex-wife’s phone using the controversial Israeli NSA Pegasus software.

The Economist reports that Gulf States are trying to increase private employment but that subsidizing pay is proving costly and ineffective. The report notes that subsidies tend to fail because they “generally target the wrong people” – in Kuwait for example, an individual with “a specialised degree receives a subsidy two or three times larger than a high-school graduate, and almost seven times more than someone who did not finish high school.”

Reuters reports that Turkey has asked the United States to purchase 40 F-16 jets to upgrade its air force. A spokesman for the US State Department said that “the Department does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they have been formally notified to Congress.” The deal is still working its way through the Foreign Military Sales process which involves State Department approval and can be blocked by Congress.

The Guardian reports that the UN human rights council has ended its war crime probe into the ongoing Yemen conflict, in what has been seen as a defeat for the West. Bahrain, Russia and other countries were responsible for shutting down the probe. This was the first time in the council’s 15 year history that a resolution was defeated. The Dutch Ambassador to the UN said that he “cannot help but feel that this council has failed the people of Yemen.”

Makor Rishon reports that Israel has agreed to allow 5,000 workers from the Gaza Strip to apply for work permits in Israel as part of a major shift in the security establishment’s policy towards Gaza. Israel has also agreed not to punish Gaza with economic sanctions in response to any terror attacks as well as incendiary balloons. The paper notes that “Security officials said that the goal was to have quiet and to put the truce arrangement talks on track.”

Kan Radio News reports that following a decision by the Jerusalem Magistrate Court which partially accepted an appeal by a rabbi who prays on the Temple Mount, Israel has faced a wave of criticism. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement urging the government not to implement the court’s decision while Hamas condemned the ruling and called on Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank to revolt.

Kan Radio News reports that the quarantine policy for schools will be eased further following an agreement between Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. According to the new policy, students in the same class as an individual who tests positive will not have to quarantine, but rather take a PCR test and will be allowed back to school with a negative result.

Sima Kadmon writes for Yediot Ahronot about the latest developments, including coalition infighting, in the government. She writes, “It was no coincidence that [Yair] Lapid began his faction meeting this week with a grave warning: I want to remind my colleagues in the coalition that the budget has not yet been passed. The government has not yet been stabilized. Every one of us has a responsibility to maintain the coalition and not to start pointless wars.”

Walla reports that as part of one of her last international trips as Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel will not meet with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu. This follows a precedent as in her previous visit she did not meet with then opposition leader Tzipi Livni in 2011 or with Isaac Herzog on his visit to Berlin. The report notes that “Merkel’s relationship with Netanyahu was very charged and chilly. Merkel stopped trusting Netanyahu at an early stage after he became prime minister in 2009. They clashed a number of times because of the chancellor’s displeasure with Netanyahu on the Palestinian issue, but more because of her sense that he was not keeping his word on several issues, and sometimes he even leaked and distorted parts of their conversations. This reached a peak in 2017, when Merkel cancelled a meeting of the Israeli and German cabinets after Israel passed a law making it possible to expropriate private Palestinian land.”