Israel sees low risk of conflict with Hezbollah
The main item of Israel related coverage in the UK media today is the renewed political crisis in Lebanon. In other items, the Guardian notes that Israeli firms participating in the construction of the new West Bank Palestinian city of Rawabi have been asked to sign a clause that they are not using materials made in settlements. The Independent, Daily Telegraph and the Scotsman note a call by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan for Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to be sacked. The Financial Times notes a call by experts for the Middle East to address its water woes, which names the Palestinian Authority as one of the bodies making promising efforts in this regard. The paper also runs an article analysing recent unrest in Tunisia, Algeria and Iran. The Times reports on a dispute in South Africa after a petition was launched claiming that Archbishop Desmond Tutu is antisemitic. The Jewish Chronicle quotes an Iranian dissident who describes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as ‘worse than Goebbels.’ The paper also notes criticisms of Jewish Book Week in the UK for including a panel with two Israeli journalists who are harshly critical of Israeli policy. The paper also notes the relaunch of Labour Friends of Israel as a membership organisation. Jewish News notes calls in the UK to ban a Palestinian tourism advert which it has been claimed fails to acknowledge the existence of Israel. The Economist has a piece criticising the demolition of the Shepherd’s Hotel in Jerusalem. The magazine has additional pieces on the current situation in Iran, the possible implications of Republican control of the US House of Representatives on US foreign policy, and a letter on business in Israel. BBC Online, meanwhile, has a piece asking whether today’s Middle East leaders are ‘tough enough.’ The New Statesman runs a letter strongly critical of Israeli policy toward Gaza. The Times notes that gas discovered off the coast of Israel may be shipped to Europe via Cyprus.
In the Israeli media, all news websites are reporting a grenade attack on the offices of the Hezbollah aligned Free Patriotic Movement in Lebanon. Haaretz has an additional piece on the removal of scaffolding close to the Western Wall in Jerusalem which is being seen by Muslim religious authorities as violating the ‘status quo’ in the area. The paper also notes a letter by a group of law lecturers against the proposed Knesset probe of Israeli NGOs’ funding. The Jerusalem Post notes a US State Department statement on the situation in Lebanon, and, together with Ynetnews, has an additional piece reporting that the Gaza Hamas leadership has ordered its security forces to prevent rocket and mortar attacks on Israel. Ynetnews runs a piece on claims that a senior Hamas official involved in money laundering has been arrested in the UAE. Maariv notes a report by Uzi Rubin, a veteran Israeli missile expert, who concludes that in the event of a new war, Hamas rockets will succeed in hitting targets in Tel Aviv.