Media Summary

Iranian naval vessel hit by Iranian missile

Reuters and the Associated Press report an Iranian missile struck a support ship in a friendly-fire incident, killing at least one Iranian sailor and wounding several others during a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman, Iranian media reported on Monday.

The Guardian reports that the Israeli government is threatening to take off air a Christian television channel that launched in the country to preach to Jews, warning that it will be barred if it breaks strict rules around proselytising.

The Guardian reports that the Australian government has told the International Criminal Court it should not investigate alleged war crimes in Palestine because Palestine is “not a state”, arguing the court prosecutor’s investigation should be halted on jurisdictional grounds.

Reuters reports that the Israeli government will demand that El Al Israel Airlines (ELAL.TA) carries out an overhaul, including layoffs, before agreeing to throw a lifeline to the cash-strapped airline, officials said on Sunday.

The Times reports that Iraq’s new prime minister has reinstated the country’s most popular military figure, a US-backed general whose demotion last year fuelled the protests that forced the country’s previous leader to resign. The Associated Press reports that Iraq’s judiciary ordered courts on Sunday to release anti-government protesters, carrying out one of the first decisions of the recently inaugurated prime minister just as dozens of demonstrators burned tires in renewed protests against the new leadership.

The Financial Times reports that a forensic auditor will review every transaction at Lebanon’s central bank, the economy minister said, in an exercise set to increase pressure on the long-serving head of the Banque du Liban as the government seeks a way out of its most severe economic crisis in decades.

The Independent reports that Syrian and Russian forces have “deliberately targeted” civilians in northwest Syria, according to a new report by Amnesty International which has urged the UN to ensure aid can keep reaching a war-torn province in the country.

The Times reports that rebels fired shells on the only working civilian airport in Tripoli, killing four people, one of them a five-year-old girl, after a ceasefire offered by the UN-recognised government of national accord (GNA) was rejected by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). Reuters reports that Turkey on Sunday said it would deem the forces of Libyan General Khalifa Haftar “legitimate targets” if what it termed their attacks on its interests and diplomatic missions in Libya persisted.

The Financial Times reports that 2020 has threatened to slow Mohammed bin Salman’s grand reform plans as the twin shocks of coronavirus and collapsing oil prices force the government to radically reconsider its priorities. The Associated Press reports that Saudi Arabia announced Monday it was tripling taxes on basic goods, raising them to 15%, and cutting spending on major projects by around $26 billion as it grapples with blows from the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices on its economy.

Reuters reports that Yemeni authorities declared Aden, interim seat of the Saudi-backed government, an “infested” city on Monday after the number of coronavirus cases there jumped to 35, with four deaths.

In The Independent, Anne-Marie Tomchak meets Gazan women who have been using their expertise in tech to crowdsource solutions to the pandemic.

In the Associated Press, Sarah El-Deeb writes about the threats to stability posed by Lebanon’s economic crisis, as mounting poverty begins to supersede the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

All Israeli media focus on the further easing of restrictions as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. The cabinet has approved the reopening of parks and outdoor fitness facilities. It also unanimously approved allowing citizens returning from overseas to go into quarantine at home, and not in hotels. An entry ban on nationals from other countries whose homes are not in Israel remains in force. The cabinet also lifted evening restrictions on shops and businesses in Arab-majority areas that were put in place for the month of Ramadan holy after being designated virus hot spots. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri was quoted by Yediot Ahronoth saying the move was enabled by the Arab community’s “exemplary behaviour” during Ramadan, which helped curb the spread of the coronavirus. There have been 16,477 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel, of which 11,430 have recovered and 252 have died. Over the weekend 23 new cases were confirmed and a total of 4,795 people now ill, 74 in serious condition, and 65 of them on ventilators.

Kan Radio News reports this morning that Israeli security forces have demolished the home of Qasem Shibli, a member of the terrorist cell that murdered Rina Shnerb in the attack near Dolev about nine months ago. The demolition took place last night in the village of Kobar, north of Ramallah, and after petitions by the terrorist’s family to the High Court of Justice were denied. Dozens of Palestinians rioted in the course of the demolition and threw stones and firebombs at the IDF soldiers, who responded with crowd control measures.

Yisrael Hayom reports on a new survey conducted by US-based Washington Institute for Near East Policy (TWI) in cooperation with Palestinian pollsters, which showed that only 15 per cent of East Jerusalem residents now prefer Israel citizenship to Palestinian citizenship, as opposed to 52 per cent who said they would prefer to be “Israelis” and not “Palestinians” in 2018. Dr David Pollock from TWI explained that dramatic drop in three ways: “The knife intifada that started in October 2015 and continued about a year and a half, and the tough Israeli response to the events as they experienced them in the nationwide feelings. Second, the tensions regarding Al-Aqsa. Many of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem and also in the West Bank believe that Israel is indeed a threat to Al-Aqsa. The third factor behind the change is the increased activity in East Jerusalem on the part of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, the Northern Faction of the Islamic Movement, Turkey, and other entities. Also, the fact that 150,000 East Jerusalemites currently live on the other side of the security fence and they have less access to Israeli services.”

Haaretz reports that the Finance Ministry has confirmed it will pay $230m to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to help it cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The payment is an advance on the tax revenue Israel collects on the PA’s behalf, and it will be transferred in four monthly instalments. The report further notes that Israel is taking various steps to coordinate with the PA during the pandemic, including training sessions for PA medical staffers on how to protect themselves and treat coronavirus patients, as well as the supply of 1,950 coronavirus test kits and 2,400 swabs from its own stockpiles.

Army Radio reports that Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to open an Israeli embassy in Dubai coinciding with the beginning of Expo 2020. These plans were stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic.