Media Summary

The BBC reports on yesterday’s terror attack in Maale Adumim, in which an Israeli man was killed and several others wounded. The attackers fired automatic weapons at vehicles waiting at a checkpoint on a highway outside Maale Adumim.


The BBC reports on yesterday’s terror attack in Maale Adumim, in which an Israeli man was killed and several others wounded. The attackers fired automatic weapons at vehicles waiting at a checkpoint on a highway outside Maale Adumim.

The BBC also reports that when Israeli special forces rescued two of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas, there was relief for their families and a boost for national morale. But the rescue on 12 February has left angry feelings in Gaza, where more than 70 people were reported killed on the night.

Reuters reports that foreign ministers at the G20 group of nations meeting in Brazil were nearly unanimous in their support for a two-state solution as the only path to peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Brazilian minister hosting the event said on Thursday. “There was virtual unanimity in the two-state solution as the only solution to the conflict,” Brazil’s foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, said at the close of the two-day meeting.

Andrew England in The Financial Times reports that a senior US official is in the Middle East pushing for a deal to halt the war in Gaza and secure the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. “This time it is White House adviser Brett McGurk, who arrives in Israel on Thursday… Last week, it was CIA director Bill Burns. McGurk’s trip signals the Biden administration’s desperation to get a deal over the line.”

The Telegraph reports that Israel is looking for Palestinians to run “humanitarian pockets” in Gaza where Hamas is no longer present, as part of a test run for the territory’s post-war future. “We’re looking for the right people to step up to the plate. But it is clear that this will take time, as no one will come forward if they think Hamas will put a bullet in their head”.

The BBC reports that The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel says it has gathered evidence Hamas gunmen “systematically and intentionally” committed sexual crimes during the 7 October attacks. A report by the umbrella organisation describes “identical patterns” of sexual violence at multiple locations.  These allegedly included violent rapes of women conducted “collectively” or “in front of an audience”.

The Guardian reports that UN experts say they have seen “credible allegations” that Palestinian women and girls have been subjected to sexual assaults, including rape, while in Israeli detention, and are calling for a full investigation.

The Guardian further reports that the UK government will consider suspending arms export licences to Israel if Benjamin Netanyahu goes ahead with a potentially devastating ground offensive on the Palestinian city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

The Guardian also reports that the organisers of the Eurovision song contest have said they are “scrutinising” the lyrics of Israel’s entry after it was claimed it makes reference to the Hamas attacks on 7 October. The lyrics from Israel’s entry, October Rain, sung by Eden Golan, were leaked to the media. According to Israel Hayom, lines in the song include, “There’s no air left to breathe”, and “They were all good children, each one of them”. The song also refers to “flowers”, which the newspaper reported is a military code for war fatalities.

The BBCThe GuardianThe Telegraph and Sky News all report that staff at a private company working with the Home Office have been suspended after a birth certificate was returned with the word “Israel” scribbled out. The baby’s birth certificate was sent off as part of a passport application.

Richard Kemp writes for The Telegraph arguing that western leaders have started to forget why the war in Gaza began.

The Telegraph and The Times both report that MPs have raised complaints that “from the river to the sea” was projected onto Parliament while police “stood by and watched”.

The Times publishes a leading article on Wednesday’s scenes in the UK Parliament, saying that “point-scoring during a debate showed MPs at their cynical worst. But more worrying still was an apparent willingness by politicians to surrender to extremists”.

The Economist publishes on the growing issue of ultra-orthodox communities in Israel not serving in the IDF.

The Economist also reports on the damage suffered by Gaza’s health system and the wider impact it will have on the health of the local population.

All the Israeli media features further information on yesterday’s terror attack in Maale Adumim. There was one fatality, later confirmed as 26-year-old Matan Elmaliach. Ten others were injured, including a pregnant woman in her early 20s. Haaretz quotes a senior security official saying: “Based on the amount of weapons seized from the terrorists, this incident could have ended in a much larger number of casualties.” Police also estimate the attack was planned for some time. “Commenting on the attack, the heads of councils of the West Bank settlements said that traffic congestion at the checkpoints in general, and at the Al-Zaim checkpoint in particular, are a security risk and called for a solution, emphasising West Bank roads where both Israeli and Palestinian vehicles travel.”

Kan Radio features Finance Minister Smtorich’s announcement of construction of more than 2,000 housing units in Maale Adumim and hundreds of housing units in the settlements of Kedar and Efrat in the Etzion bloc. Smotrich said the plan was a ‘fitting Zionist response’ to the Maale Adumim attack. Haaretz says the number is more likely over 3,000: 2,350 units in Maale Adumim, 300 in Keidar and 694 in Efrat. Haaretz also speculates that “should Israel go through with the settlement announcement, it will likely trigger significant outrage from US officials both in public and behind the scenes, as Washington has attempted to maintain regional calm in the weeks before Ramadan. The announcement is further likely to harm US efforts to push toward Israel-Saudi normalisation…”

Israel Hayom’s Ariel Kahana also focusses on issues related to settlers, specifically the US and UK’s recent sanctioning of individuals they accuse of inciting or conducting violence against Palestinians. “… It turns out,” he says, “that only one of the four is known to the law enforcement authorities in Israel as having problematic conduct… of the three Israelis punished by Britain, not a single one is known to the authorities.”

Kan Radio reports US Secretary of Defence Austin speaking last night with Defence Minister Gallant. They discussed the IDF’s operations in Khan Yunis and the need to present a credible plan to protect the civilians before an Israeli offensive in Rafah. A Pentagon statement confirmed Austin also broached the need to coordination with the humanitarian aid agencies.

Yediot Ahronot’s Sima Kadmon focusses on Wednesday’s declaratory resolution in the Knesset rejecting any attempts at unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. “From the wording of the resolution and Netanyahu’s speech in English, too,” she writes, “it was possible to discern that the possibility of a Palestinian state is not at all off the agenda. Netanyahu is simply trying to tell the world not to do it unilaterally. Let us and the Palestinians do it together. There’s just one problem: Netanyahu has been selling this idea to the world for 20 years, and there is no one, including Netanyahu himself, who believes he and the Palestinians can agree on anything.”

Maariv says it has obtained a “secret document” showing that at least eight UNRWA workers were arrested by IDF troops in battles in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA directors have asked Israeli officials for information on the suspects’ captivity and for evidence of their involvement in terrorism, to which Israel has not yet responded. “Earlier this week, the security establishment gave the security cabinet and other government officials an updated report indicating that of the 12,000 UNRWA workers in Gaza, about 440 were active in Hamas’ military wing, in other words, they were terrorists who fought Israel. About another 2,000 are registered Hamas operatives, but not members of the military wing. Another approximately 7,000 UNRWA workers have a first-degree relative who is a Hamas terrorist. All in all, of the approximately 12,000 workers, close to 9,500 are connected to Hamas.”

In Haaretz, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pens a fierce article attacking Ministers Ben Gvir and Smotrich. “The ultimate aim of this gang,” he says is “‘purging’ the West Bank of its Palestinian inhabitants, cleansing the Temple Mount of its Muslim worshippers and annexing the territories to the state of Israel. The way to achieve this goal is blood-soaked. Israeli blood, in the state and in the territories it has been controlling for 57 years now, as well as Jewish blood in places elsewhere in the world. As well as a lot of Palestinian blood, of course, in the territories, in Jerusalem and if there is no alternative – also among Arab citizens of Israel.” Olmert also touches on the war in Gaza, saying that “continuing the military action now will drag Israel into Rafah… Such a move will palpably and immediately endanger the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. There is no doubt that Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and also the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia are all hoping for Hamas to crash and collapse. However, Egypt knows there is a considerable chance that continuation of Israeli military activity will stir the Muslim Brotherhood out of its dormancy.” Finally, Olmert condemns likely restrictions on Muslim attendance on the Temple Mount during Ramadan. This decision is “deserving of special condemnation in light of the recent manifestations by Israeli Arab citizens of responsibility and solidarity with the distress their country is experiencing,” he writes. “Instead of respecting the Arab community’s solidarity, Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir are antagonising it and inciting against it.”

Israel Hayom’s Ariel Kahana worries that “there is only one person representing Israel in the most important capital in the world [Washington DC] at the moment, and that is Minister Ron Dermer… That’s how it happened that in many significant processes, Israel’s voice is not heard. For example, several weeks ago the Americans held a summit with representatives from the Arab countries, where the sides drew up the principles for the day after in Gaza. Israel wasn’t there. It can’t work this way. The message that Israel is not on the stage is coming from many directions in the American capital. Dermer may be wise and capable, but he isn’t a replacement for the State of Israel’s institutions.”