Media Summary

Initial results suggest Hezbollah suffers losses to rivals in national elections

The BBC reports that the UN Security Council has condemned the killing of veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqla and called for an immediate probe into her death. The move followed outcry on Friday after Israeli police hit mourners at Abu Aqla’s funeral. Police said they acted after being pelted with stones. In a statement released on Friday, the Security Council said its members called for “an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation into the killing, and stressed the need to ensure accountability.” Though the statement showed a rare case of Security Council unity on an issue related to Israel, reports quoting diplomatic sources said there were difficult negotiations over the text’s contents.

The Financial Times argues that Abu Aqla’s death highlights challenges Palestinians face in holding the Israeli army to account for civilian deaths.

The Guardian interviews Gazan Omar Abu al-Ouf about his life following the Gaza conflict last May in which he lost all members of his immediate family when an Israeli airstrike destroyed their apartment building in a middle-class neighbourhood of Gaza city.

The Guardian, Reuters and the Independent report on the Lebanon national elections. Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group and its allies appear to have suffered some losses, with their opponents gaining more seats and some of their traditional partners not making it into the legislature, early results showed Monday. Gains reported by the Lebanese Forces (LF), which is vehemently opposed to Hezbollah, mean it would overtake the Hezbollah-allied Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) as the biggest Christian party in parliament. The LF won at least 20 seats, up from 15 in 2018, said the head of its press office, Antoinette Geagea. The FPM had won up to 16 seats, down from 18 in 2018, Sayed Younes, the head of its electoral machine, told Reuters. Hezbollah and its allies won a majority of 71 seats when Lebanon last voted in 2018.

Reuters reports that Iran’s foreign minister is expected to visit the United Arab Emirates today, the ministry spokesperson said, welcoming the appointment of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan as the Gulf state’s president last week.

In the Israeli media, Maariv reports that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is considering appointing Nir Orbach as the minister for settlement affairs as part of his effort to hold his own faction together and to keep the coalition intact. According to the report, “In the past several days, and in particular following Shimrit Meir’s resignation, people in Bennett’s inner circle have been urging him to take up right-wing causes that were abandoned on the advice of Meir, who believed he would be best served by taking more centrist positions.”

Meanwhile Channel 12 News and Israel Hayom report about two different facets of the agreement that was reached between coalition representatives and the United Arab List (UAL) to ensure the latter’s support in the Knesset. One of the new arrangements will allow for new buildings provided they are built within 70 meters from existing buildings. The owners will not be fined, under the new arrangement, and no demolition orders will be issued against the new buildings. Sources in the UAL, which suspended its activity in the coalition and the Knesset, welcomed news of the agreement, and described it as an “important cabinet decision on the issue of the unrecognized villages in the Negev”. The other agreement is that the UAL has secured special extra funding for Jisr az-Zarqa, an Arab town on the Mediterranean coast.

All the Israeli media lead with the rising cost of housing in the country. In the past year alone, house prices have risen by more than 16 per cent, with the sharpest rise recorded in northern Israel, central Israel and the Haifa area. Housing prices have been driven by global inflation. In Israel the Consumer Price Index rose in April by 0.8 per cent, and by 4 per cent in the past 12 months — a pace that hasn’t been recorded in more than a decade. The sharpest rises in prices were in fresh vegetables, clothing, transportation and culture and entertainment. The prevailing assessment is that the Bank of Israel will raise the interest rate to curb inflation. One outcome of that decision will be an economic slowdown.

Kan Radio follows comments by Matan Kahana, the outgoing religious services minister, who said that his fellow Yamina member, MK Yomtob Kalfon, had not been ousted from the Knesset. In an interview with Kan Television News last night, Kahana said that his resignation from the cabinet and his return to the Knesset had not been designed to prevent Kalfon from quitting the coalition. “I resigned because it is important at the current juncture in time for me to be in the Knesset in order to stabilise the coalition” said Kahana. He added that he believed that he would resume his duties as religious services minister.

Walla reports that Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked is threatening to veto initiatives put forward by government members, including Avigdor Lieberman and Benny Gantz, to make amendments to basic laws. Shaked tweeted this morning: “Suggests that coalition members stop toying with the idea of ​​making changes that are not agreed in the Basic Laws. This will not happen, exactly as stipulated in the coalition agreement. If required, the right will use the veto.” Over the weekend Lieberman said the Nation State Law should be amended to include the values of the Declaration of Independence after it was revealed that a Druze soldier had died during a special operation in Gaza in 2018.

Yediot Ahronot reports that President Isaac Herzog met with new UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Sunday to pay his condolences following the death of the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. “He left behixnd him a legacy of progress and friendship between the nations of the region and of striving for peace in the Middle East,” Herzog was quoted as saying in a statement from his office. Herzog also congratulated the new leader on his selection as president. Herzog was accompanied on the trip to Abu Dhabi by Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel and Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej.