Media Summary

Palestinian groups in Gaza announce new ‘lull’

The main item of Middle East related coverage in the UK media today is a physical assault, most likely by the Syrian authorities, on Syria’s top cartoonist, who supports the rebellion against the Assad regime. Most papers cover this story. In other items, the Guardian notes concerns that United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state could lead to Palestinian refugees losing their representation at the UN. The paper also runs an article critical of right-wing US radio host Glenn Beck, who visited Israel this week, and has a letter from a representative of the Israel Embassy in London dismissing claims that lack of economic opportunities in Gaza is Israel’s fault. The Independent has a piece describing the interrogation of a Palestinian minor in Israeli custody. The Daily Telegraph runs a piece looking at prospects for further upheaval in the Arab world. The Scotsman and BBC Online note rocket attacks from Gaza and Israel’s response. The Jewish Chronicle reports on the expulsion of a student from St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, after he defaced an Israeli flag that belonged to a fellow student. The paper has an additional piece on a dispute within the British government between the Foreign Office and the Department for International Aid and Development after Development Minister Alan Duncan described Israel’s security barrier as a “land grab” and said that Israel was deliberately taking water away from the Palestinians. The Economist examines the current situation in Sinai and has a piece on how the situation in Syria is leading to tension between Iran and Turkey. Reuters notes that El Salvador (along with China) announced this week its intention of recognising a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood. The Financial Times notes reports of 10 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. The Independent and the Daily Telegraph note a claim by former Secretary of State Dick Cheney that he had favoured the bombing of a Syrian nuclear site but President George W. Bush was opposed. The Guardian has a piece saying the fall of the Assad regime in Syria is now ‘inevitable.’ The Times notes that Turkish officials believe that the Syrian President is nearing the point where he will not be able to maintain his grip on power.

The print editions of Haaretz, Israel Hayom and the Jerusalem Post focus on the situation in the south and the continued rocket fire from Gaza. Haaretz has a headline piece reporting that Defence Minister Ehud Barak did not follow advice to carry out a pre-emptive strike against the Popular Resistance Committees group prior to last week’s terror attack.

In the Israeli media, all papers note the announcement by Islamic Jihad of a new ‘lull’ following yesterday’s rocket attacks. Haaretz has additional items on plans to teach social protest in Israel’s schools, and plans in Egypt for a mass demonstration today calling for expelling the Israeli ambassador to Cairo. The Jerusalem Post notes the conviction of the St. Andrews University student who desecrated an Israeli flag. Ynetnews reports Iran’s intention to sue Russia after Moscow reneged on a deal to sell S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. Israel Hayom notes that Israel is demanding that Egypt permit the replacing of flags removed from the Israeli embassy in Cairo and the ambassador’s residence. The paper also reports on Australia’s decision not to attend the ‘Durban III’ UN anti racism conference because the Australian government has ‘not been convinced that the high-level meeting will avoid unbalanced criticism of Israel and the airing of anti-Semitic views.” Maariv has a series of articles by council heads of southern Israeli towns, who describe the experiences of Israelis under the threat of rocket fire.