PM Netanyahu appoints task force as protests continue
The main item of Israel-related coverage in the UK media today is the massacre of civilians by Syrian forces in the town of Hama yesterday. Most papers have coverage of this latest dramatic development. In other stories, the Guardian, Times and Independent note the ongoing social protests in Israel. The Guardian and BBC Online note that an Irish politician’s presidential campaign is in serious trouble because of a letter he sent supporting an Israeli lover of his who was convicted of the statutory rape of a Palestinian boy.
Over the weekend, events in Syria dominated Middle East related coverage. The Sunday Telegraph, Sky News Online, Independent on Sunday and Reuters noted the entry of Syrian forces into the city of Hama, and the deaths of a number of civilians. The Guardian on Saturday reported on the social protests in Israel. The Independent on Saturday noted the naming of the suspected killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, and reported on the violence in Syria. The Mail on Sunday ran an article on the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Daily Telegraph on Saturday noted continuing unrest in Syria and Egypt. The Guardian on Saturday reported that the month of Ramadan is expected to bring increased violence in Syria. The Times on Saturday had a piece on Israeli views of the ‘Arab Spring,’ and an additional piece looking into the fact that Arab monarchies have so far proved better able to resist change than have republics.
In the Israeli media, the print editions of Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom all focus on the ongoing protests in Israel, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s attempt to respond to the protestors’ demands. Haaretz notes the resignation of Treasury Director-General Haim Shani, apparently over differences with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz. The paper also quotes Syrian President Bashar Assad who claims that his country is the victim of a ‘foreign conspiracy.’ All papers note the massacre in Hama. The Jerusalem Post reports that the Israel Air Force is to purchase a second squadron of F-35 aircraft. All papers notes that Samir Kuntar, the terrorist released by Israel in an exchange after the 2006 Lebanon war, has reportedly been wounded in an explosion in south Beirut. The paper also quotes Egyptian officials who warn of growing anarchy in the Sinai area. All website are reporting a shooting incident in the north between Israeli and Lebanese soldiers.