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Media Summary

Qatar to invest £10bn in UK over next five years

The BBC reports that the UK Government has refuted claims a British official forced forced Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to sign a false confession after she revealed on Monday a UK official was present when she signed the confession. In a statement in the Commons, Foreign Office minister Amanda Milling said the UK official simply passed on the Iranian authorities’ request. “Iran made clear they would not allow her to leave Tehran airport unless Nazanin signed a document,” she said. Her lawyers have accused the UK of “apparent complicity” in the false confession.

The Financial Times writes that Qatar has pledged to invest £10bn in the UK, including in the technology, healthcare, infrastructure and clean energy sectors, as the British government steps up efforts to woo sovereign wealth fund investment from oil-rich Gulf states. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the Gulf state’s foreign minister, told the Financial Times that the funds would be channelled through the Qatar Investment Authority over the next five years.

The Guardian reports the FBI has claimed an ISIS sympathiser living in Ohio plotted to assassinate George W Bush, but confidential informants helped federal agents foil the plan, according to court records. Details of the alleged scheme to kill the former president are laid out in a warrant that the FBI obtained in March to search the accused operative’s mobile phone records, a 43-page document that was only unsealed in recent days.

Reuters says subtle shifts in official US statements suggests Washington believes reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is better than the alternatives despite the advances in Iran’s nuclear programme.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first Gulf state to record a case of monkeypox, reports the BBC. The Czech Republic and Slovenia also reported their first cases on Tuesday, joining 18 other countries to detect the virus outside its usual Africa base. That number is expected to rise further still, but experts say the overall risk to the general population remains low. Outbreaks of the virus have been found in Europe, Australia and America.

In the Israeli media, Yediot Ahronot reports this morning about a new crisis that is brewing on the coalition’s horizon: Defence Minister Benny Gantz’s impending decision on whether and when to evict yeshiva students who have taken up residence illegally in the West Bank settlement outpost Homesh. According to the report, Nir Orbach — and possibly other Yamina MKs as well — consider Homesh to be a red line and have been holding talks with Gantz on the issue. “Anyone who knows Orbach knows that a move like this would definitely lead to him quitting,” one senior coalition member is quoted as saying. Gantz, who is scheduled to present his position on the matter to the High Court of Justice next week, may ultimately opt to state his intention “in principle” to evict the yeshiva students, without committing himself to a specific timetable, thereby averting the new crisis.

All the papers report on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s announcement yesterday that US President Joe Biden had notified him during a call in April the US would not be de-listing the IRGC on the US terror list. Bennett called the decision correct, ethical and justified, whilst Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said it was an “important expression of the United States’ commitment to security and stability in the Middle East in general and to the strategic alliance between the United States and Israel in particular”. The Biden administration was under pressure from Congress not to delist the IRGC, after it passed a non-binding resolution – with the notable support of 16 Democrats – not to do so. The decision is expected to make it difficult to advance nuclear talks with Iran, which have stalled in recent months.

Tensions also appear to be running high within the Likud after embarrassing recordings were leaked from a Likud faction meeting ahead of the vote to fund studies for discharged soldiers. Israel Hayom quotes two Likud MKs who criticise Miri Regev for her controversial statements and accuse her of tarnishing the party’s reputation. The vote on the bill also revealed other fault lines within the religious and right-wing opposition: whereas the Religious Zionist Party and Shas were staunchly opposed to voting in favour of the bill, the Likud ultimately opted to compromise with the coalition, while UTJ is said to have come away feeling “frustrated” by the lack of unity and consideration for its needs.

Meanwhile, Army Radio reports that Blue and White MK and the chairman of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, Michael Biton, has cancelled a committee meeting and said he would not vote with the coalition until further notice because of reforms governing public transportation and agriculture. Biton said: “Beginning next week, more or less immediately, all meetings of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee are cancelled permanently [i.e. until further notice]. There will be no committee meetings, I will not participate in Knesset votes. That’s the first stage; at some stage I may even vote against [the coalition] on certain bills. At this stage I will come only for no-confidence votes.” About 10 days ago MK Biton asked Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli to insert changes to the reforms she is pushing for including lowering train fares and special discounts for university students.

Barak Ravid follows up this morning on a story he ran yesterday in Walla News and on Axios about negotiations that have been pursued by the Biden administration with Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Ravid reports that the “the coming three weeks will be critical in the attempt to reach understandings about [restoring Saudi] sovereignty to the islands of Tiran and Sanafir in the Red Sea and Saudi consent to take steps towards normalising relations with Israel.” Ravid writes, “If the American mediation effort between Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt is successful it would be a major achievement for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid … it certainly might serve to boost public support for the government, including from people on the left and on the right who have been disappointed in the government’s performance in recent months.”

Kan Radio follows coverage in the US about the death of al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla. CNN claimed yesterday that Abu Akleh was intentionally killed by Israeli soldiers. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said it was impossible to say with certainty who shot Abu Akleh without conducting a thorough investigation. Maariv quotes an Israeli official who responded to CNN’s investigative report: “We vehemently condemn the allegation that the IDF shot the journalist deliberately. The investigative report is rife with inaccuracies and questions about the credibility of some of the accounts provided in it. It is impossible to reach an unequivocal conclusion before concluding a thorough investigation. We repeat our call on the Palestinians to cooperate in the framework of a joint investigation, and to provide us with the findings of their investigation (including the bullet). The Palestinians have adamantly refused. Someone with nothing to hide doesn’t refuse to cooperate.”

Meanwhile, Kan Radio reports that Palestinian sources said a 16-year-old boy from Nablus was killed by IDF gunfire during clashes over the entry of Jews to Joseph’s Tomb. Earlier in the evening, near the town of Hawara, an Israeli man and his two children were wounded by stones thrown at their car. The father and infant were listed in moderate condition following the attack; a four-year-old girl was lightly wounded in the attack as well. The man is the son of Religious Zionist Party MK Orit Struck.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, more than 21,000 Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian individuals eligible for the Israeli Law of Return have entered Israel and most of them are already Israeli citizens. 10,019 of the immigrants are from Ukraine, 9,777 are from Russia and 455 came from Belarus.