Media Summary

EU foreign policy chief says he’s reached best deal possible with Iran

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borell, pens an op-ed in the Financial Timessaying that the current text of the Iran nuclear deal is the best possible outcome and should be implemented as soon as possible. Borell says that after more than a year of negotiations, the sides have reached “the best possible deal that I, as facilitator of the negotiations, see as feasible,” and he urges the parties to accept it or “risk a dangerous nuclear crisis”.

The Guardian follows the lives of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta, which is home to 1,144 people, half of them children. As part of the region’s larger Palestinian pastoralist community, the herders have lived in caves and farmed for generations, livelihoods that rely on free and unhindered access to pasture and water. The eight herder villages that make up Masafer Yatta face eviction following an Israeli high court ruling in May that sanctioned their forcible removal to allow for IDF training.

The BBC, Independent and the Guardian report that an Iraqi court has overturned the conviction of British geologist Jim Fitton who was wrongfully jailed for antiquities smuggling, his lawyer has said. Fitton was sentenced to 15 years after collecting stones and pottery shards during a tour. The appeal against his conviction was started more than a month ago. His son-in-law, Sam Tasker, said the family was “over the moon” but remaining cautious about his situation.

The city of Haifa is set to become an increasingly significant east Mediterranean shipping hub writes Reuters, with Chinese and Indian firms buying into its ports as Israel normalises ties with its Gulf Arab neighbours under a US diplomatic push.

The Financial Times reports that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Greece yesterday as the Saudi royal embarked on his first trip to EU states since the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a sign that Western leaders are seeking to bolster ties with the world’s top oil exporter despite concerns over human rights, Prince Mohammed was also scheduled to meet French president Emmanuel Macron this week.

The location of Iranian actor Nazanin Bahrami is “not known after she was detained”, says an Iranian women’s rights activist in the Independent. Bahrami was just one of 800 women who recently signed a statement condemning sexual harassment and violence against women in the film industry in Iran. “Many Iranian women in various industries have been facing sexual abuse by people connected to the regime. These women are often intimidated into silence.”

A popular Egyptian social media influencer has been arrested in Saudi Arabia, accused of posting sexually suggestive content, reported in the BBC. Tala Safwan, who has five million followers on TikTok and some 800,000 on YouTube, drew ire online amid claims a recent video had lesbian undertones. Safwan said that had not been her intention. Police in the strictly conservative kingdom however said the video could harm public morality.

In the Israeli media, Maariv notes that Russian officials partly dialled back their rhetoric yesterday regarding the Jewish Agency’s activity in the country, indicating that the issue at hand was legal in nature, and not political. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, “The situation should not be politicised or projected onto the entirety of Russian-Israeli relations.” Prime Minister Yair Lapid also issued a statement, “If there truly are legal issues with respect to the Jewish Agency’s important activity in Russia, Israel, as always, is prepared and willing to engage in dialogue about that while preserving the important relations between the countries.” President Herzog, a former chairman of the Jewish Agency, also commented on the standoff at a Channel 13 News conference, saying: “Russia is an important country in the region and in general, and a range of scenarios are possible and dozens of reasons [are possible] for why and how this incident developed. I would prefer not to engage in analyses. Sometimes we see things that we don’t always understand, and things that are seen from here aren’t seen from there. Let’s allow the processes to unfold.” Tomorrow a Russian court is scheduled to discuss the Jewish Agency’s continued activity in Russia.

In a commentary in Yediot Ahronot, Ofer Shelah criticises the Bennett-Lapid government and the previous Netanyahu government for their Russia policies, which he argues focused excessively on tactical considerations. The problem predates the Russian-Ukrainian war, argues Shelah, who writes: “From the day that the Russians arrived in Syria, almost seven years ago, Israel has viewed its presence there through a tactical prism and has been wary of taking any stand. Netanyahu boasted of the wonderful coordination that he created with Putin and of the pictures of the two of them at Red Square; but when Russian National Security Adviser Nikolai Patrushev proposed to his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat  in 2018 that Russia be considerate of Israeli interests in reaching an arrangement in Syria, and that Israel, in return, should help it resume its dialogue with the US on other matters, Ukraine being one of them, Netanyahu backed down in alarm.  It is not surprising that Putin’s arrangement for Syria was made with the leaders of Iran and Turkey, the same duo that he met with last week at a summit meeting, and from which, most likely, his friction with Israel began.”

Israel Hayom reports that Defence Minister Benny Gantz revealed yesterday Israeli military aircraft came under Russian anti-aircraft fire over Syria in May in an isolated incident. The anti-aircraft fire missed its target. The Russian launch happened when the aircraft “were no longer around,” he said. Israel’s coordination with Russia over Syria is “a situation that is stable right now, I think … but we are always reviewing this story as if we only just began it now,” Gantz added.

Yamina and Derech Eretz, formally part of New Hope, are close to signing an agreement on running together in the elections, according to Walla. Their negotiating teams discussed the emerging agreement last night and agreed on most of its sections. The teams will meet again today to finalise the agreement. The leaders of the parties, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel, are not expected to rule out joining a government headed by Netanyahu.

Kan Radio reports that an unarmed Palestinian in his sixties was injured by IDF fire last night near Nablus after he approached an army position and refused to heed the soldiers’ order to halt. The IDF Spokesperson’s Office issued a statement stressing that the soldiers had first fired in the air before shooting at the man. The incident is being investigated, including the possibility that the man was mentally ill.