Mortar shells fired at western Negev despite ceasefire
A decision by the United Nations to investigate accusations of crimes against humanity in Syria dominates Middle East news coverage today. The events taking place in Libya are also covered by all news outlets. The Daily Telegraph notes that Israel has warned that the chaos in Libya is leading to an increase in arms smuggling to Gaza, whilst the Independent notes that Egypt is not intending to withdraw its ambassador from Israel. The Times reports on the foundation in Istanbul of a united council by Syrian opposition groups, whilst the Financial Times argues that the odds of the Assad regime falling in Syria remain small, despite the apparently imminent fall of Gaddafi in Libya. The Financial Times also reports that London-listed oil and gas company Gulfsands Petroleum has agreed to give a share of profits from its Syrian activities to a company controlled by the first cousin of Syria’s president. Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph notes that Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts of the International Atomic Energy Agency was allowed to tour Iran’s heavy water production plant for the first time last week. The Guardian and BBC Online note that a man has pleaded guilty to the murder of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Iran, and has claimed that he was paid by Israel to carry it out. The Glasgow Herald runs a piece on the Arab Spring. BBC Online also reports that a student in Scotland has been expelled from his university after defacing an Israeli flag that was the property of another student. In other items, the Guardian and the Independent report on a rally to be held in Jerusalem today by controversial US talk show host Glenn Beck, and a counter rally planned by his opponents.
In the Israeli media, all papers focus on events in Libya. The print editions of the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom report on Colonel Gaddafi’s decision to ‘fight to the end.’ Haaretz notes a statement by a Libyan rebel leader that the country needs help, including from Israel, and also reports new evidence suggesting that Egyptian citizens took part in the recent terror attack in Eilat. Ynetnews, the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz note the killing of a local Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza by Israel, and the firing by Palestinian terror groups of mortar shells at the western Negev. Maariv reports that at the weekend, Israeli officials received messages from Egypt that the interim leadership in Cairo would struggle to ignore public anger if Israel intensifies the fighting in Gaza. Israel Hayom quotes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Israel’s role in the fight against radical Islam. The paper also quotes Israeli officials who say that Israel ‘isn’t rushing’ to launch a major operation into Gaza. The Jerusalem Post notes plans for renewed sanctions against the Assad regime in Syria. Haaretz reports on the planned Glenn Beck rally in Jerusalem, and opposition to it.