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Media Summary

Iran demands $10 million for return to JCPOA negotiations

BBC News reports that leaked financial documents have uncovered that Jordan’s King Abdullah II has spent more than £70m on properties in the United States and United Kingdom. Abdullah reportedly used offshore firms to purchase the properties. The King’s lawyers say he spent his personal wealth on the properties, so there was nothing improper about using offshore firms.

The Telegraph reports that Iran’s foreign minister said that as a precondition for returning to JCPOA nuclear talks, $10 billion in frozen assets must be released by the United States. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the country’s hardline foreign minister said in a televised interview on Saturday night, “During my trip to New York, the US government had tried to contact me through various channels, and I emphatically told the intermediaries that if the Americans are serious in their intentions, then they must release 10 billion dollars of our frozen assets as a prerequisite.”

BBC News, The Associated Press and Reuters report on the tropical cyclone Shaheen causing large scale havoc across Oman and Iran. So far, nine people have been killed. The cyclone made landfall on Sunday with winds between 75-93 mph. Oman has evacuated thousands of its citizens from the coastal region, while streets in the country’s capital have been submerged. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have taken precautions given the developing situation.

The Financial Times reports that in an efforts to polish its imagine ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has held elections. The country announced the results of its first ever legislative elections. According to the interior ministry, turnout reached 63.5 per cent with the ministry adding “these elections will strengthen the rule of law and institutions of the country.” Reuters notes that the country’s women were unsuccessful in the country’s election, with none of the 26 women who stood being elected to 30 seats of the 45 seat advisory Shura Council. One of the women who stood for the election told the paper “to have all men is not the vision of Qatar.”

The Times reports that Turkish forces are tearing apart Christian families in Syria’s Khabur valley amid ongoing bombings by Erdogan’s forces. The paper notes “The Christian communities of Iraq and Syria have escaped the wholesale sectarian massacres inflicted by the Syrian regime, Isis and other forces in the Iraqi and Syrian conflicts, but they have been persecuted nonetheless. Their existence in Iraqi and Syrian Mesopotamia, a historical heartland, was already threatened. Now it is on the verge of extinction.”

All the Israeli papers note that the Knesset’s winter session will begin today with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu both due to address the Knesset. Maariv reports that a number of committees convened yesterday in what was described as a “marathon of meetings” to prepare the budget and arrangements bill.

Nahum Barnea comments on the beginning of the winter session in Yediot Ahronot writing that the governing coalition is “starting the second Knesset session of its existence slightly more mature, slightly more self-confident and slightly more scarred. In the boxing match that is going to be fought out in the next few months in the Knesset, each side has different goals: Netanyahu hopes to win in a knockout; the coalition hopes to win by points, each round in turn. For the time being, the coalition has had the upper hand.”

Kan Radio News reports that the Corona Cabinet decided yesterday to postpone outdoor venues from being exempt from the Green Pass as part of a wider measure to continue monitoring the infection data. Bennett commented during the meeting “we have begun to curb the Delta variant and we must not let it recover.” The Health Ministry reportedly said that various scenarios would lead to a drop in the infection rate and that the resumption of the school year would not change that.

Kan Radio News reports that the IDF has indicated that all personnel will be required to show a green pass. Those who have refused to get the third booster shot will need to present two negative COVID-19 tests every week.

Kan Radio News reports that Bennet will postpone the establishment of a commission into the submarine affair until the budget has passed. Justice Minister Gideon Saar said that all the prepatory work for the commission had been completed and that it will now be up to Defense Minister Benny Gantz as to when to introduce the commission for cabinet approval.

Yossi Yehoshua comments in Yediot Ahronot about the Prime Minister’s emergency meeting to discuss stamping out violence in Israel’s Arab society. He writes “   The GSS should have long since been involved in the battle against the raging violence, which has taken the lives of 100 Arab citizens of Israel since the start of the year and has turned Israel’s streets into the Wild West, even with the unbelievable pictures of police being violently beaten by local militias, of civilians who post on TikTok amusing videos of themselves holding automatic weapons and other footage that looks like it came from another country… There were no representatives from the IDF and the Defense Ministry at the meeting. They were surprised to read the statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Bureau that they are to be included in the effort… Defense Ministry officials had harsh criticism for the people who called the meeting but failed to invite them. They think that an orderly plan should have been devised that includes the GSS and the IDF, and only then should a meeting have been held. That didn’t happen and the matter is not being handled seriously. The same lack of seriousness is the reason that the only Arab minister in the government, Esawi Frej, was not invited.”Army Radio News reports that Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev said that the IDF would play no role in fighting crime in Israel’s Arab society.