Israel in talks with other countries to offload vaccine surplus
The Guardian’s outgoing Jerusalem correspondent Oliver Holmes talks to predecessor Ian Black about how much – and how little – the job has changed over the years and how the prospects of a Palestinian state has diminished over time.
The BBC publish a video report on the impact of the violence that erupted in Israel’s mixed cities during the Gaza conflict in May. The BBC spoke to two women who live on either side of the divide in Lod, about the situation in their city nearly two months on.
Reuters reports that Israel is in talks with other countries about a deal to unload its surplus of Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines, doses of which are due to expire by the end of the month.
The Times writes that the arrest of a leading businessman and a former MP for smuggling antiquities could lift the lid on the connections between the criminal underworld and the Egyptian elite. Hundreds of items have been seized and 19 arrests have been made in a crackdown on illegal excavations and smuggling.
The Guardian publishes a report about how Palestinians wounded in protests three years ago in Gaza still hope to recover without surgery.
Migrants making the dangerous crossing across the Aegean Sea are finding themselves caught up in tensions between Greece and Turkey, writes Borzou Daragahi in the Independent.
The BBC reports that the UK, Greece, Italy and Israel are among those nations who have answered Cyprus’s appeal to help tackle a huge wildfire, described by officials as the worst in the country’s history. Reuters notes that four people have died so far in the fires.
In the Israeli media, all the papers write about the potential political ramifications of the anticipated vote today to extend the ordinance that prevents Palestinians who have married Arab citizens of Israel from gaining either Israeli citizenship or permanent residency status. Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked has said repeatedly in the past several days that the proposed ordinance will be worded precisely as it was in the past, without any changes, but Meretz and the United Arab List have refused to endorse it. Maariv notes that the opposition parties have decided to wait until the last moment today before announcing how they intend to vote. The Likud has been divided by differences of opinion over how the party ought to vote. Most party members believe that the Likud mustn’t “give the coalition a safety net,” and needs to vote against. However, several Likud MKs, including Avi Dichter and Yuval Steinitz, have argued that the issue at hand is important to Israeli security, and that the party mustn’t vote against extending the ordinance on the grounds of political expediency.
Israel Hayom publishes a commentary that argues the Likud does not have any responsibility to help the government pass the ordinance bill. “Today’s vote is not going to be a one-time event. More will follow. Voting in favour of the bill today will mean granting a safety net to the government from here on out. Every time that Bennett, Shaked and Saar have a problem with the left side of the coalition, they will be able to easily overcome it by relying on the Likud and the right-wing in the opposition, which, time after time, will have to comply in order to save the country from its own government. A smarter option is simply to try to replace the government.”
Yediot Ahronot reports that the coronavirus cabinet will meet tomorrow for the second time and will discuss the options for restrictions, in which the questions isn’t whether they will be reinstated, but how severe they will be. “Among other things, a ban on gatherings of as-yet-undetermined size will be considered. There is also the possibility, as Prime Minister Bennett said, of bringing back the green certificate in one format or another. Restrictions on gatherings of children are also being considered, as is obligatory quarantine of parents of children who were exposed to confirmed cases.”
Kan Radio News reports this morning that according to current data, 292 people tested positive yesterday, accounting for 0.8 per cent of the tests. There are 34 people hospitalized in serious condition. It notes that the obligation to wear masks indoors is not being effectively enforced even though it was imposed more than a week ago. So far, the police have fined only 17 people and the inspectors in the local authorities appear to be in no rush to fine people. In Tel Aviv, only four fines were issued, and none were issued in Jerusalem and Haifa. Haaretz notes that 300,000 Israelis flew abroad in June, double the month before, in spite of the Prime Minister’s request to delay nonessential travel amid spread of delta variant. Yet this number is still far from pre-COVID levels. In June 2019, 1.1 million outgoing passengers flew out from Ben-Gurion International airport.
In Yediot Ahronot by Ben-Dror Yemini argues that despite Israel’s enemies in Lebanon, Iran, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere facing economic bankruptcy and hardship, “Western public opinion is horrified exclusively by the development in just one place in the world — the Gaza Strip.” Yemini adds: “Some people will say, hold on a moment, does the suffering in Somalia or Lebanon justify what Israel is doing in the Gaza Strip? Of course not, and that isn’t the argument that is being made. The argument is that all of those hotspots of suffering have one thing in common with one another: all either are governed by or are suffering from a takeover by jihadists — either Sunni or Shiite. The residents of Lebanon aren’t suffering because of Israel; they are suffering because they are being held hostage by Hezbollah. The residents of the Gaza Strip aren’t suffering because of Israel; they are suffering because they are being held hostage by Hamas. The same is true in Yemen. Because all of those jihadist organisations are part of a worldwide industry of death. They have no interest in prosperity. Their only desire is to impose a benighted and oppressive Islamic caliphate.”