Media Summary

Sky News, Reuters, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Mirror, The Times and The Financial Times all report that fourteen more Israeli hostages have been released by Hamas after being held for almost seven weeks.


Sky News, Reuters, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Mirror, The Times and The Financial Times all report that fourteen more Israeli hostages have been released by Hamas after being held for almost seven weeks. The Guardian reports that Noam and Alma Or, two young hostages who were held hostage by Hamas, were unaware that their mother had been murdered on October 7th. The Financial Times and The Telegraph both add that Qatar has said that Hamas needs to locate dozens more hostages, as the whereabouts of many remain unknown.

Sky News reports on released Palestinian prisoners, saying: “Israel says the minors being released as part of the four-day truce are terrorists – but Palestinians say many are youths, held without sentence for what other countries would regard as civil disorder offences.”

The Guardian and The Telegraph both report that the Israeli government has accused Ireland’s taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, of legitimising terror and losing his moral compass by saying a freed Irish-Israeli hostage had been “lost” as opposed to kidnapped.
The Independent, Reuters and The Guardian all report that tech billionaire Elon Musk is expected to meet with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, president Isaac Herzog and families of hostages taken by the terror group Hamas on Monday as he continues his damage control efforts and tries to convince Twitter’s fleeing advertisers that his platform does not harbour antisemitism. Mr Herzog announced the plans for the meeting on Sunday, Reuters reported; although Israeli media had previously suggested the two men would meet. He is also expected to meet Mr Netanyahu. Mr Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter, has largely ceased offering responses to the news media, and had not immediately confirmed it publicly. The BBC adds a report questioning how social media algorithms, including TikTok and X, are shaping perceptions of the war.

Sky News reports on yesterday’s March Against Antisemitism in London, approximating 60,000 attendees. Actor Eddie Marsan – who isn’t Jewish but has previously spoken of antisemitic abuse he has received for playing a Jewish character – was among the crowd. He said: “There’s going to be moderate people on pro-Palestinian marches and there’s going to be moderate people here and what I’m here to do is to encourage moderate people to stand up and have a voice and to take on the extremists at any side… That’s what we need – we need more moderate people standing up.” Eva Wiseman writes a column in The Guardian on how ‘the awful horror of the Hamas-Israel war is creating deep divisions close to home’.

In The Telegraph, Jake Wallis-Simons writes on Israel’s longer plans for war: “The logical conclusion is that Israel must destroy both Hezbollah and Iran. It probably has the military might to do so. But pressure from the international community and activists within the Jewish state itself are conspiring to prevent the country from acting in its best interests.”

The Guardian and Sky News both report that a US warship rescued an Israeli-linked tanker that had been attacked by “armed individuals” in the Gulf of Aden, the US military has said, in the latest such incident to underscore the heightened risk to shipping in the region. The USS Mason responded to a distress call by the Central Park tanker in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday and demanded the ship’s release, US Central Command said.

The Financial Times reports on why a secure Palestinian state is best for the long-term safety of Israel: One horror does not justify another. Yet each side looks only at its own side of the tragedy, at what happened yesterday or what is happening today. But there will be a tomorrow that neither side is yet able to envisage. Israelis believe they need to eliminate Hamas to guarantee their security. Palestinians prioritise ending Gaza’s humanitarian catastrophe and settler provocations. Despite these challenges, we must keep the possibility for peace open.”

The BBC reports that eight Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank in the past 24 hours, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The most serious incident was an Israeli raid overnight in the city of Jenin, in which five were killed. The Israeli army said it was mounting a raid to capture a Palestinian who was suspected of involvement in an ambush that killed two Israelis in August. Palestinian factions have called for a strike in Jenin to mourn those killed.

The Spectator reports on the pause in fighting, saying that the next stage of war will be “even deadlier”.

According to Yediot Ahronot, “the hostages were forced to sleep on benches and were underfed, but were not subjected either to violence or physical abuse.” This is based on first-person accounts and the social media post of hostages’ relatives. “There were some days when there wasn’t any food, and sometimes you had to wait an hour and a half to two from the moment you asked to use the restroom until you were allowed to,” said Merav Raviv, whose relatives Ohad Munder, his mother Keren and his grandmother Ruti, were freed from captivity.” The report also says that some hostages were able to listen to Hebrew language radio, and that some heard from it that their relatives had died in the Hamas attack.

Israel Hayom’s Yoav Limor claims that while “Qatar has taken most of the credit for itself for the agreements that have been reached to date, Egypt played a far larger role than reported. Egypt has extensive influence in the Gaza Strip, despite the regime’s rivalry with the Muslim Brotherhood—a movement Hamas is affiliated with—and the Egyptians have wielded that influence to try to hammer out agreements that might allow for the current deal to be extended.”

Haaretz’s Anshel Pfeffer suggests that Hamas leader Sinwar’s plan for October 7th was for hostages to be soldiers, not civilians. “He wanted dead Jewish babies and mothers. Having to take care of dozens of them within Gaza doesn’t seem to have been part of his original plan. Not everything went according to plan, though, and that included his own men kidnapping children, mothers and grandmothers as spoils of war, rather than simply murdering them and mutilating their bodies.”

Yediot Ahronot reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu has held one-on-one meetings with a number of Likud MKs in a bid to firm up his support. “It sounds like he’s thinking about elections that will be held immediately after the war,” one of the MKs told the paper. Asked if they thought Netanyahu might resign, the MK said, “that isn’t at all an option. Not even a bulldozer can dislodge him.”

Yediot Ahronot reports on government wranglings concerning the state budget. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has so far agreed to repurpose only 70 percent of the coalition funds that had not yet been disbursed to underwrite the costs of the war, keeping a billion shekels to be used as coalition funds. Smotrich said in an interview that the war would be fully funded and that the 30 percent he intended to keep for other purposes was “small change”. Benny Gantz, whose National Unity party joined the government after October 7th, has written to Netanyahu threatening to vote against the new budget unless Smotrich was prevented and the funds made available for the war. “At this time, all of Israeli society must get under the stretcher, the entire public knows this, and the Israeli government should also do this,” he wrote. “We are facing huge economic and social challenges and a deficit that is likely to increase and affect the economy. At present, all available money must go to the war’s needs, and them alone.”

In other economic news, Israel Hayom notes that Israeli economic growth forecasts have been revised from 3 percent to 2 percent, in the light of the ongoing war. The shekel has rebounded since October 7th, and is now at pre-war levels.

Haaretz writes on Arab media reactions to October 7th, and says that “most leading media outlets in the Arab world have ignored the attacks on Israeli civilians. They haven’t reported on Hamas’ atrocities and haven’t mentioned the 240 or so hostages that were taken.” Historian Gershon Baskin, who also works on coexistence projects between Israelis and Palestinians, told the paper that “what we’re seeing isn’t what the Arab world is seeing; the media there doesn’t mention the massacre. I contacted an Egyptian journalist with a proposal to interview families of the hostages and massacre victims, but she said this was forbidden. This was an order from her newspaper: Don’t interview Israelis. Baskin said that though Arab reporters’ access to international media meant they knew the truth about October 7th,  “they don’t tell the truth about that, because the Arab street is naturally opposed to Israel. The Palestinian topic is burning, so they side with the Palestinians.”

I24 News reports that Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has summoned the Irish Ambassador to protest Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s public reaction to the release of 9-year-old Israeli-Irish hostage Emily Hand. Varadkar had tweeted, “an innocent child who was lost has now been found and returned, and we breathe a massive sigh of relief.” Cohen accused him of “trying to legitimise and normalise terror.”

Ynet features yesterday’s London protest against antisemitism in the UK, attended by some 50,000 people, including Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and former prime minister Boris Johnson. Johnson told reporters, “It’s very sad that this march has to take place at all. What we’re all doing here is showing solidarity with Jewish people, and that is necessary.”