Hamas, Fatah face tough questions following unity deal
The main item of Israel-related coverage in the UK media today is the signing by Hamas and Fatah leaders of a reconciliation deal in Cairo. The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Times, Evening Standard, Metro-London, Independent, Financial Times, Scotsman, BBC Online and Sky News Online all have coverage of this latest development. In other items, the Guardian and the Daily Mail note claims that Prime Minister David Cameron told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in their meeting that unless there was progress in the peace process, Britain would not ‘rule out’ any options (understood as a reference to expected Palestinian efforts to secure UN support for statehood). The Independent has a piece on Israel’s refusal to grant permits to a group of hairdressers from Gaza to travel to the West Bank. The Scotsman, Financial Times, Reuters and Sky News Online have reports on the ongoing crackdown in Syria. The Scotsman and Glasgow Herald note St Andrews University’s dismissal of claims of political influence deriving from donations to its Centre for Syrian Studies. BBC Online carries an interview with Egyptian presidential candidate Mohammed al-Baradei, and also with members of the Palestinian public on their views on the reconciliation deal. The Daily Mail has an opinion piece critical of proportional representation which claims that in Israel, small religious parties have blocked progress toward peace. The Evening Standard reviews a new comedy show in London about a walk along the length of the Security Barrier.
In the Israeli media, all papers focus on the signing of the Palestinian reconciliation deal in Cairo. Haaretz notes a US State Department confirmation that Washington will not cease its insistence that Hamas abide by Quartet conditions for its participation in the diplomatic process. The paper also speaks to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and notes world pressure on Israel not to block Palestinian access to tax funds. The Jerusalem Post notes a statement by British Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain’s support for Israel’s security is unshakeable. The paper also has an analysis of the reasons for Hamas choosing to support a reconciliation deal. Ynetnews notes the claims in the UK media that PM David Cameron told PM Netanyahu in their meeting that unless there was progress in the peace process, Britain would not ‘rule out’ any options. Ynetnews also has a report on Israeli missions abroad and their responses to a raised terror alert following the killing of Osama Bin-Laden. Ynetnews and the Jerusalem Post note that PM Netanyahu is scheduled to meet President Obama on 20 May.