Media Summary

Israeli Supreme Court to decide today on Sheikh Jarrah eviction case

The BBC and the Guardian report on the hearing today at the Israeli Supreme Court over the fate of Palestinians facing eviction in East Jerusalem in a case which has become the focus of international attention. The long-awaited hearing concerns four of more than 70 families appealing against an order to leave their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. Lower courts have ruled the land where they have lived for decades historically belongs to Jewish owners. The issue fuelled tensions leading to the Israeli-Gaza conflict in May.

The Financial Times, BBC and Independent report that the UK and US believe Iran was behind a tanker attack that killed two people, and have vowed to respond, calling it a violation of international law. Iran has conceded nothing in response. The Telegraph publishes an editorial view, saying: “The temptation for the rest of the world is to see this as a regional dispute involving Israel and Sunni Arab states on the one hand and Iran’s Shia regime and its supporters like Hezbollah on the other. Yesterday’s condemnation of the attacks by Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, is the least to be expected after the death of a British citizen. A Royal Navy deployment should be considered.”

The Times writes that the wife of a British citizen who has been held in an Iranian jail for four years pleaded with Boris Johnson yesterday to show he “genuinely cares” about securing her husband’s release. The family of Anoosheh Ashoori, 67, a retired engineer, say it has been “hell” since he was arrested on a visit to Iran and later convicted of spying for Israel, which he denies.

Reuters reports that Israel’s cabinet unanimously approved this morning a state budget for 2021-2022, more than three years after the government last ratified a fiscal spending package, the finance ministry and the prime minister’s office said. The budget deficit is projected at 6.8 per cent of gross domestic product in 2021 and 3.9 per cent in 2022, after hitting 11.6 per cent in 2020.

On the 70 year anniversary of the 1951 UN refugee convention, which established the rights of refugees to seek sanctuary and the obligations of states to protect them, the Guardian writes how much of Europe is choosing to commemorate the anniversary by ripping up some of the convention’s core principles

The Telegraph takes a look at why the Palestinian Authority (PA) intensified a crackdown on protesters over death of activist in custody last month. “The attack by police, which eyewitnesses said was unprovoked, is the latest case of the PA deploying heavy-handed tactics as it suppresses Palestinians’ anger over the death of an activist in police custody and the cancellation of long-awaited elections.”

The Financial Times writes that President-elect Raisi has vowed to restore ‘trust’ with a disillusioned Iranian public. Raisi will be sworn in this week as water shortages add to hardship of inflation and sanctions.

The Times reports that a climate emergency is unfolding in Turkey as floods engulf villages in the east of the country and forest fires continue to rage in the west. Floods in Van province, next to the Iranian border, have brought down buildings and swept away cars. On the Mediterranean coast, more than 100 forest fires since Wednesday has left eight people dead and thousands displaced, with tourists evacuated from Bodrum yesterday and scores of Turks losing their homes.

The US has abandoned its duty to protect democracy and human rights in Afghanistan, leaving its people to face a “bloody, brutal civil war,” General David Petraeus, the former US commander in the country, has told The Times. As the Taliban lay siege to cities that British, American and other coalition troops died defending during 20 years of fighting, the architect of counter-insurgency warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq has warned about the dangers of an Islamist takeover. Meanwhile, the Independent reports that the city at the centre of Britain’s long mission in Afghanistan is in danger of falling to the Taliban as Islamist fighters target key urban centres after capturing swathes of the countryside.

All the Israeli media report that the cabinet has approved the state budget for the first time since late 2018. After marathon overnight talks, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the budget this morning, saying: “After three years of stagnation, Israel is back to work. I ask members of the government to understand the magnitude of the moment. After years of neglect, this morning we have brought in the most daring, most competitive budget, the most helpful to the weaker sections [of society], and the most concerned about the future of our children.” The budget includes a £445m increase in funding for health care from the Finance Ministry, a £1.5bn increase in the defence budget for “rearmament and strengthening the Israel Defense Forces,” and a gradual raising of the retirement age for women to 65 over the course of 11 years. The 2021-2022 budget ($134bn for 2021, $124bn for 2022) still faces significant hurdles in the Knesset before a November deadline for passage.

Maariv reports that 40,000 Israelis over the age of 60 received a booster shot yesterday against COVID-19, and that more than 200,000 have made appointments to get theirs in the days ahead. According to the paper, Prime Minister Bennett wants to have 1.5 million Israelis who are eligible, to receive their shot within ten days and has spoken with the CEOs of the four HMOs and asked them to accelerate the pace of the vaccination campaign. Kan Radio News notes that Health Ministry officials said that they believed that a real drop in the number of people who are hospitalised in serious condition would be achieved only if at least one million people were to get a third vaccine dose. Experts believe that people who receive a third vaccine dose will be between three and six times less likely to suffer from serious illness — if they become infected at all — than people who have received only two doses of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, Yediot Ahronot reports about plans for the Health Ministry to demand that restrictions be imposed on children under the age of 12, none of whom have been vaccinated, as part of the ongoing effort to scale back the infection rate and to keep the number of people hospitalised in serious condition as low as possible. “It is clear to everyone that if we fail to get this story under control we are headed for a lockdown,” said one senior Health Ministry official yesterday following the first day of the drive to administer a third dose of the vaccination. There is a possibility that the lockdown could be imposed during the High Holidays in September, but no specific timetable has been set for imposing the lockdown if and when it is needed.

Israel Hayom writes that the Supreme Court is scheduled to hold a decisive hearing this morning on case between the settler organisation, Nahlat Shimon, and Palestinian families from Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. The court will decide whether to uphold the rulings that were handed down by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court and the District Court, which instructed the Palestinians families to vacate their homes, or to return the case to the Magistrate’s Court for reconsideration, possibly with weighing new evidence.

Haaretz reports that the government approved on Sunday to let 15,000 additional Palestinian construction workers into Israel, in a move that brings the total number of work permits issued for Palestinian construction workers by Israel to 80,000. The increase stems from both a shortage of construction workers and the aim that “employing Palestinian workers in Israel has diplomatic and security benefits”.

All the papers report on the gold medal that was won yesterday by the Israeli gymnast, Artem Dolgopyat, in the Tokyo Olympics. Dolgopyat received congratulatory phone calls from President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Bennett, who briefly suspended the cabinet meeting to offer his thanks and congratulations, saying that Dolgopyat had honoured Israel.