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Media Summary

Israel prepares for release of Gilad Shalit

The main item of Israel related coverage in the UK media today is the preparation in Israel for the release as part of a prisoner exchange of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who is set to be freed tomorrow. The Guardian, Independent, Times, Financial Times, Daily Mail, Metro London, Scotsman, BBC Online and Sky News Online have reports on the impending release. In other items, the Guardian notes that Israel is planning to build 2600 new homes at Givat Hamatos, on the southern edge of Jerusalem. The Daily Telegraph, Sun and Daily Mail note claims that Adam Werrity, associate of the former British Defence Secretary Liam Fox, was in contact with Israeli officials. The Independent has pieces on continued violence in Syria and, together with the Scotsman and Reuters, a meeting of Arab foreign ministers, which condemned the violence. The Times and Daily Telegraph note a statement by Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei that Iran might scrap the post of directly elected president. The Independent notes that Iran continues to deny any involvement in an alleged plot to murder the Saudi ambassador to the US. Reuters notes that Iran has demanded access to an Iranian arrested in the US on suspicion of involvement in the plot. The Glasgow Herald speaks to an Egyptian Christian who describes the period of President Mubarak’s rule as a ‘golden age’ for Egypt’s Christians. The paper also has a piece on the Saudi-Iranian ‘Cold War.’ Sky News Online reports that the UN has warned of full-blown civil war in Syria.

Over the weekend, the imminent planned release of Gilad Shalit and of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners was the main item of Israel-related coverage. The Observer, Sky News Online, Independent, Reuters and BBC Online had pieces on the upcoming exchange. The Guardian on Saturday published a letter from the mother of a girl killed in a terrorist attack in Israel. The Daily Telegraph noted that a monument to slain Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv has been defaced in a protest against the exchange. The Observer, Independent on Sunday, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Times ran articles on the recent resignation of British Defence Secretary Liam Fox. The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, Financial Times, Sunday Times and Reuters had pieces on the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US. The Evening Standard on Saturday noted that smugglers are taking large arsenals of weapons out of Libya in a bid to sell them to Hamas. The Times noted an incursion by Syrian forces into Lebanon.

In the Israeli media, all papers focus on the imminent release of Gilad Shalit. The print editions of all papers lead with this story. Haaretz notes the Arab League discussion regarding Syria’s continued membership of the organisation. Ynetnews, Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom report on petitions to the High Court seeking to delay the implementation of the deal. The Jerusalem Post has a piece noting that Israeli policy toward Gaza will not be affected by the deal. Maariv reports that the release of Palestinian prisoners is due to start once Shalit crosses the border into Israel.