Media Summary

Saudi Crown Prince visits Jordan and Turkey

The BBC reports on that the UK foreign secretary is working hard to secure the release of a British-Egyptian activist who is on hunger strike in prison in Egypt. Liz Truss told MPs she intended to raise Alaa Abdel Fattah’s case when her Egyptian counterpart visited the UK later this summer. His family welcomed the comments but said his hunger strike was in its 81st day and that time was “running out”.

The Financial Times reports on the latest political developments inside Israel, writing that the collapse of the ruling coalition means country’s longest-serving prime minister has a shot at return to power.

The Guardian and BBC reports that a disinformation watchdog claims security vulnerability in the fitness app Strava allowed suspicious figures to identify and track security personnel working at secretive bases in Israel. FakeReporter found that by uploading fake running “segments” a user could learn the identities and past routes of others active in the area, even if they had the strongest privacy settings. Information about 100 individuals who exercised at six bases was viewable. The Israeli military said it was “aware of the evolving threats in cyberspace”.

The Independent follows the Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to Turkey as the Kingdom aims to put to rest murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Roger Boyes argues in The Times that the West appears ready to forgive the Khashoggi killing for the sake of gaining an energy war ally. He writes: “There are two fundamentally hostile autocracies, China and Russia, that are trying to rewrite the rule books. By all means lecture the others, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, about their human rights abuses, their casual cruelties. But for all their shiftiness, they remain necessary components of a stressed western security system, Turkey as NATO’s self-willed ally, Saudi Arabia as an essential part of the retort to the energy war launched by Putin.”

The Guardian publishes several pictures from inside the Israeli army’s mock Gaza. Zeelim army base in southern Israel is known officially as the Urban Warfare Training Centre. But to some soldiers, it is known as Mini Gaza, simulating a Palestinian urban area with 500 buildings and narrow alleyways adorned with murals and posters honouring slain fighters.

The UK is seeking a significant increase in trade with the six Gulf Cooperation Council states as it launches talks to secure a deal that skirts the contentious issue of human rights, says the Financial Times. International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the prospective agreement would target a £1.6bn annual boost to the UK economy, from increased exports of manufactured goods and agricultural produce to financial and digital services.

In the Israeli media, all the papers report that Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday about the upcoming visit by President Joe Biden to Israel. The visit aims to reinforce the president’s connection to Israel, strengthen the Jewish state’s security, and improve regional ties. Lapid also briefed Blinken on his upcoming trip to Turkey tomorrow, which is expected to go ahead, despite the political developments. Lapid also spoke about the joint Israel – Tukey anti-terror measures currently underway to prevent Iranian agents from targeting Israeli tourists in the country. Secretary of State Blinken also spoke yesterday with Prime Minister Bennett. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, “The two discussed the Iranian issue. Prime Minister Bennett emphasised that he shares the Secretary of State’s expectation to continue cooperating on the issue. Prime Minister Bennett thanked the Secretary of State for his partnership and friendship shown in their work together.”

Israel Hayom and Haaretz cover a CNN report claiming Israel has ramped up its covert attacks in Iran and is largely leaving the United States out of the loop. US sources have said that Israel rarely informs the US of its operations beforehand and expressed concern that although the possibility of a conventional war breaking out between Iran and Israel is unlikely, chances for a miscalculation to spiral out of control are higher than usual.  They quote Jonathan Panikoff, former deputy national intelligence officer for the Near East at the National Intelligence Council, “The more the Israelis push – especially if the Iranians decide JCPOA is dead – the more the Iranians are going to push back.” Officials are also concerned about what appeared to be the Iranian government beginning to link the recent attacks attributed to Israel to the survival of its regime.

Ynet reports that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Beirut yesterday, he is scheduled to meet with members of the Lebanese government and with the leaders of Palestinian factions. There was no advanced information released about a meeting with Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah. In addition, Hamas has decided to restore ties with President Assad of Syria. Ten years after it broke ties due to attacks against Sunni Muslims, Hamas leaders had publicly endorsed the revolt aimed at overthrowing Assad. Despite both Assad and Hamas receiving support from Iran. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will make an official visit to Iran today.

Haaretz reports that Iran claims to have arrested a network of three Mossad-linked agents that were planning to assassinate scientists involved in the country’s nuclear programme.  The report is based on Arab and Iranian media from earlier this week, that apparently, the three were arrested in April in Iran’s south eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. Iran intends to put them on trial, Iranian state news agency  quoted a judiciary official  saying, “The three were planning to assassinate our nuclear scientists according to intelligence assessments.”

Yediot Ahronot leads on the General Strike declared today in schools and kindergartens across the country. The strike is being led by the Teachers Union head, Yaffa Ben-David, and is focused on pressuring Finance Minister Lieberman to increase teacher’s salaries.

Maariv questions whether the appointment of the next IDF Chief of Staff will be delayed because of the political instability. According to the Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, following the dissolution of the government, the appointment of senior positions, including Chief of Staff should be avoided by a transitional government. Unless however, there is an essential need for immediate staffing of the position on a regular basis, and no other reasonable and appropriate solution can be found in the circumstances. Defence Minister Gantz who is keen to still make an appointment, is quoted saying, “the process is an orderly, stable, very deep process designed to ensure continuity in the most complex organisation that exists in the State of Israel … I intend as much as possible to advance the process.” Leader of the Opposition Netanyahu has called to halt the process. According to Ynet, the Attorney General told the defence minister he cannot name the new IDF Chief of Staff before elections are held and that all senior appointments must be made by the next government.

Kan Radio reports that the police are looking for  an Israeli man who allegedly stabbed a Palestinian man to death last night in the Salfit area near Ariel. The dead man is Ali Hassan, aged 27. According to Palestinian reports, a violent altercation broke out there when settlers toured the area ahead of plans to establish an outpost. The settlers said that the Palestinians attacked them with stones and clubs.