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Media Summary

Israeli woman donates kidney to Gazan boy

The Independent reports on a statement from the European Union urging Lebanon to form a new government quickly, amid one of the worst economic crises the country has faced. A statement from the EU read: “It is now of crucial importance that a credible and accountable government is formed in Lebanon without delay, one that is able to address the severe economic and social crises the country is facing.” A video report from BBC News examines “Lebanon’s descent into darkness,” describing one of the world’s worst economic crises and speaking to families that have been forced to drastically alter their lives due to the dire circumstances.

BBC News examines a report from Human Rights Watch that claims the actions of Israeli forces and Palestinian militant groups during May’s Gaza conflict amounted to war crimes. The report says three Israeli airstrikes that killed 62 civilians had no credible military targets nearby. The report also notes that the 4,300 rockets fired by Palestinian militant factions towards Israel’s population was an indiscriminate attack on civilians.

Jake Wallis Simons writes for The Spectator about “why Israel must win over its Arab population”. He says: “Israeli Arabs have made it to the ballot box four times in the last two years. In June, their efforts produced an Arab minister in the cabinet. Yet the fact remains that much more could be done to allow the greater integration of Israel’s two million Arabs, the majority of whom suffer a far lower quality of life than their Jewish counterparts.”

The Associated Press reports that an Israeli woman has donated her kidney to a three-year-old Palestinian boy from Gaza. The woman, a teacher from northern Israel, told the paper she “was spurred by memories of her late grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, who told her to live meaningfully, and by Jewish tradition, which holds that there’s no higher duty than saving a life”.

Frank Gardner writes for BBC News about how Iran may benefit from the retreat of US troops in Iraq. He argues: “Iran is playing the long game. Its leaders hope that if it keeps up the pressure, both overt and covert, it will eventually make the Middle East a region not worth America’s effort to stay engaged in, militarily. Hence the frequent rocket attacks on US bases and Iran’s support for civil protest calling for US troops to leave. An agreement that sees the end of US combat operations in Iraq will be seen by many in Tehran as a step in the right direction.”

The Associated Press reports that Iran has recorded over 34,900 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a single day record since the start of the pandemic. The previous day the country recorded 31,814 infections, another record that was then broken on Tuesday. The country has recorded 89,479 deaths, the highest among Middle East countries.

Sky News has published classified documents that reveal secret research into how a cyber-attack could be used to sink a cargo ship or blow up a fuel pump at a petrol station. The internal files, allegedly from a secret cyber unit called Shahid Kaveh, which is part of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) cyber command, also include information on satellite communication devices used by the global shipping industry as well as a computer-based system that controls things like lights, heating and ventilation in smart buildings across the world. The papers appear to reveal a particular interest in researching companies and activities in Western countries, including the UK, France and the US.

David Gardner reports for The Financial Times about what the US and the EU can do to save Tunisia’s democracy. He writes: “The US and the EU still have leverage they should use in Tunisia. It would be a disaster to let it slide into the debris of Arab autocracy. The West, especially Europe, needs a thought-out policy to deal with the Middle East, not just a reactive attitude which feels more comfortable dealing with strongmen than weak institutions it should be supporting. Losing Tunisia would be a disaster.”

In an exclusive interview for The Independent UN investigator Agnes Callamard, who listened to the tapes surrounding Saudi Arabia’s execution of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, says the US “appears to be sitting on evidence” regarding the murder.

The Times reports that Abu Dhabi’s royal family have booked two hotels in the French Alps for their staff, while the family themselves will stay in a palace close by. The mayor of the town expressed anger after learning that the best hotels in the town would be completely booked until September.

In the Israeli media, all the papers report that the coalition has succeeded in passing a key piece of legislation anchoring the rotation agreement between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid after a marathon session in the Knesset. The amendment to Israel’s Basic Law on the government cements a power-sharing deal that will see Lapid take over as head of the government in September 2023, serving out the remainder of the government’s 4.5-year term, unless the government collapses before then. The legislation passed second and third readings in the Knesset plenum 61-2, with almost the entire opposition boycotting the vote in protest, following over 15 hours of debate. Meanwhile, Walla reports that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman agreed last night on the defence establishment’s budget within the framework of the budget law that is currently being formulated. The Ministry of Defence’s budget will be NIS 58bn (£12bn) in 2022.

The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) presented President Yitzhak Herzog with a report outlining the strategic threats Israel faces, coupled with a list of recommended courses of action. According to Maariv, the INSS report cautioned that “Iran is amassing the knowledge and experience needed for nuclear weapons. It has crossed lines that it hadn’t crossed before and is taking action to establish itself as a nuclear threshold state and to shorten the amount of time it will need to break out to a nuclear weapon.” Yediot Ahronot’s Ben-Dror Yemini comments on the INSS report and the threat posed by Iran, writing: “Radical countries have their own logic. They invest all they have, even when they don’t have much, to achieve goals that yield them no benefit. That is precisely what Nazi Germany did in the final weeks of World War II: humiliation was closing in, but resources were spent, obsessively and irrationally, on the project to annihilate the Jews. Now it is Iran. The country is rife with troubles … but Iran has not scaled back its massive investment in its death industry, and specifically in the nuclear project.”

Maariv reports on an interview with Defence Minister Benny Gantz on BBC Persian about Iran and the JCPOA nuclear agreement. Minister Gantz said: “It has weaknesses that need to be corrected in order to be tight and bring stability. We need an agreement that is stronger, longer and broader in areas it encompasses.” He added: “The Iranians are very close to nuclear weapons on the subject of enrichment, but not so close on other issues. We know very well about their deception exercises, and their attempts to deceive the world. We are passing this information to allies.”

Israel Hayom writes that a Russian Defence Ministry official has confirmed that his country has acted recently to change the rules of the game in Syria in order to ramp down the number of Israeli attacks in areas controlled by Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Russian official said the decision was made when Israel’s government was changing hands. He said the details and timelines for the strategy had not been part of a formal decision but added that they would be clarified to Israel in two months, at which time Russia would set clear rules for what is allowed and what is prohibited in Syria.

Kan Radio News reports that the government is set to demolish two homes in the settlement Eli. The buildings, which house four families, were built partly on privately-owned land and the Supreme Court ruled that there would be no way to legalise them. The court gave the state three years to comply. Religious Zionism MK Orit and Likud MK Yoav Kisch criticised the move, saying that instead of protecting Jewish homes in the West Bank from demolition the current government has busied itself with legalising unapproved building in the Bedouin sector. Meanwhile, IDF troops in the West Bank shot and killed a Palestinian man who approached them with a metal pole. The soldiers fired warning shots in the air and when the man did not stop they opened fire. The IDF is investigating the incident.

The Jerusalem Post notes that a source close to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said the government does not plan to evict Palestinian residents of Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in light of how heated the matter has become. The Supreme Court has scheduled for Monday a hearing on the eviction of four Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah. However, even if the verdict allows for the eviction of the Palestinian residents, the court is unlikely to order the state to enact it or give a deadline to do so, the source said, adding that the government will take advantage of that to not fuel the flames of conflict in Jerusalem.