Media Summary

The BBC, Sky News, The Financial Times, ITV News, The Independent, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and Reuters all report that British and US forces launched an attack on Houthi targets in Yemen after the Iranian-backed group defied a warning to stop targeting ships in the Red Sea.


The BBCSky NewsThe Financial TimesITV NewsThe IndependentThe GuardianThe TelegraphThe Times and Reuters all report that British and US forces launched an attack on Houthi targets in Yemen after the Iranian-backed group defied a warning to stop targeting ships in the Red Sea. SABA, a Yemeni press agency, reported the attacks took place in the capital, Sana’a, and the governorates of Sa’dah, Hodeidah, Taiz, and Dhamar. A Houthi official said the strikes killed at least five people and wounded six, adding they won’t go “unanswered”. The US said the strikes had been carried out by warship-launched Tomahawk missiles, alongside fighter jets and a submarine. Sky News further reports that Iran has condemned US and British military attacks on Yemen, calling them “a clear violation of the country’s sovereignty”. Saudi Arabia has called for restraint to avoid an escalation of the crisis in the Middle East, and Russia has requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council.  The GuardianThe Independent and The BBC publish historical explainers of who the Houthis are. The Daily Mail reports that anti-war protests demanding US stop its attack in Yemen break out in NYC’s Times Square.

The Telegraph reports that the Iranian navy have seized an oil tanker off Oman in a retaliatory move against the United States that raised fears for shipping in the Middle East. Five masked gunmen in black military uniforms boarded the tanker, St Nikolas, early on Thursday, the UK Marine Trade Operations organisation said.

The BBC, The Financial TimesSky NewsReutersand The Independent report on our main story – the ongoing ICJ case. Israel’s plan to “destroy” Gaza comes from “the highest level of state”, claims South African lawyers as it presented its case accusing Israel of genocide. The Guardian publishes an editorial, saying the case needed to be heard. The Independent reports Pennsylvania senator John Fetterman suggested that South Africa “ought to sit this one out” adding that it is “appalling” South Africa had brought the case, which began at The Hague on Thursday, “given the history there.” The Economist looks at the case and asks, ‘just how bad is it in Gaza?’.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron has written for The Guardian, saying that Israel must let more aid into Gaza and while “these steps may seem technical, at odds with the scale of the human tragedy unfolding in Gaza, our focus must be practical solutions that save lives, not empty slogans that make no difference on the ground. Such solutions exist. The time to act is now.” Diplomatic Editor Patrick Wintour responded to this, also in The Guardian

The BBC and The Guardian both report that more than 1,400 Finnish artists have joined Icelandic musicians in demanding that Israel be banned from this year’s Eurovision song contest over alleged war crimes in Gaza. If Israel is not excluded from the competition, which will be held in the Swedish city of Malmö in May, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) should boycott the contest and refuse to send a Finnish entry, they say.

The Times publishes a video they filmed in Hamas’s tunnel network inside Khan Yunis, where the IDF continue to look for traces of hostages.

The Spectator publishes a piece by Isabel Hartman who asks whether the Conservative Party’s support for Israel has stated to wane. “The language in the government and parliament over Israel has changed a lot this week. Ministers are no longer mounting the full throttle defence of Israel or offering regular reminders to the Commons of what happened on 7 October. Lord Cameron’s evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday was just one example of that: the Foreign Secretary said that ‘of course’ he was ‘worried that Israel has taken action that might be in breach of international law’.”

The Economist publishes a piece on Hamas’s tunnel network, saying: “At the start of the conflict Israel estimated that it stretched to hundreds of kilometres. Today security officials concede that this is probably an underestimate… The IDF calculates that it has yet to destroy even half the tunnels.”

The Economist also publishes an article saying that under a real peace deal, Gaza is perfectly located to be an international crossroads and landing aid on the beach in Gaza would be ideal if not for Israel’s wanting to check all aid that enters.

The Guardian publishes an article by Deborah Lipstadt and Michèle Taylor on the international community’s response to Hamas’s sexual violence on October 7, arguing that: “some groups initially hesitated, or posted and then retracted the information, citing the need for further evidence in a situation where obtaining such documentation is inherently challenging. This reaction is in stark contrast to the global gender-based violence movement’s typical emphasis on the importance of listening to and believing survivors’ accounts”.

The Guardian also reports that: “two videos from the West Bank showing Israeli troops shooting a 17-year-old boy and security forces repeatedly running over the body of a man they had shot have added to concerns about the Israeli military’s rules of engagement.”

The Guardian also reports that Alicia Kearns, the Conservative chair of the foreign affairs select committee, told the Guardian that the so-called BDS bill undermined free speech, went against international law, and risked leaving the UK isolated on the global stage. While the bill passed by 282 votes to 235, eight Conservative MPs voted against the legislation.

The Daily Mail reports that Jeremy Corbyn was seen in the United Nations’ top court this morning as the former Labour leader joined a South African delegation accusing Israel of perpetrating genocide in Gaza. 

The Daily Mail also reports on Celtic winger Liel Abada, who was signed just weeks before the October 7 attacks and has faced antisemitic and anti-Zionist attacks from fans.

The BBC reports that the International Ice Hockey Federation has barred Israel from competing in its world championship events. In a statement on Wednesday, the IIF said the decision was made for the “safety and security of all participants”. There was no mention of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the statement.

ITV reports on escalating tensions on the northern border with Lebanon, exploring whether it could lead to war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Haaretz  features a column by UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron, who rejects demands for a ceasefire before the removal of Hamas but calls for humanitarian pauses and the greater flow of aid into Gaza. “We and our partners are committed to being as creative as possible in getting lifesaving assistance to those in need,” he writes. “But the fact is the need is too great for direct delivery via air and sea to make a significant difference in the short term. What matters is simpler: more aid delivered by land, more quickly and more effectively. Last week, a little over 100 trucks were entering Gaza each day via the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings. The figure is creeping toward 200 daily. But even this is nowhere near enough – the number should be close to 500… Take crossing points,” he continues. “With extended opening hours and capacity at the Nitzana screening facility and Kerem Shalom checkpoint, much more aid could enter Gaza. Opening Kerem Shalom in December helped – opening it seven days a week would help even more. Opening more routes for aid to come in and be loaded onto trucks would also be transformative. Ashdod Port in Israel is much closer to Gaza than Port Said in Egypt. The facilities for mass delivery are there now, ready to be used. The new land corridor from Jordan into Gaza – run by the World Food Programme, with British backing – has made a first delivery of 750 tons of food aid. Both these options could deliver enormous quantities of aid, especially if the Erez crossing at the north end of Gaza were open. Greater consistency of the goods allowed in is vital. More rational and transparent explanations of what is restricted by Israel and why will allow governments, aid organisations and the private sector to scale up aid considerably.”

Haaretz reports that Qatar is close to finalising a deal with Hamas to transfer prescription medicine to Israeli hostages currently being held in Gaza. “Earlier this week, relatives of some of the hostages held in Gaza meet with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani,” it says. “Daniel Lifshitz, the grandson of hostage Oded Lifshitz, said the families brought up the medicine issue during their meeting with al-Thani… An Israeli official tells Haaretz that Israel has agreed in principle to allow more medicine to enter Gaza, both for the hostages and local Palestinians.”

In Yediot Ahronot¸ Sima Kadmon assesses Israel’s war aims. “Israel probably won’t accomplish the objectives it set at the start of the war,” she writes. “You have to be naïve—or a Bibi-ist—to believe that Israel will bring down Hamas and bring all the hostages home. The first objective created unrealistic expectations from the outset, and we must hope we haven’t missed our chance to accomplish the second. We’ve gone from being promised that Hamas will collapse within months to within a year, and now some are talking about within a decade, which is tantamount to saying it won’t happen. No matter how much of Gaza we destroy, if Hamas is still there to rule it, then Hamas wins.” Kadmon’s colleague Nahum Barnea writes similarly, saying “the Israeli side is starting to accept the limited results of the war… on the 100th day after the debacle and the destruction, there is no avoiding a sober look at the situation. Some readers refuse to accept this description of reality, and that is their prerogative. I think that the top IDF brass understands the situation very well. The question is how Netanyahu and his ministers will bridge the gap between the irresponsible expectations that they created with the tough decisions that they face. Do not envy them.”

Haaretz reports that the IDF has killed two commanders of Hamas’ elite Nukhba unit in central and southern Gaza. Their deaths came in separate incidents, as troops killed 20 terrorists in the Maghazi refugee camp in the centre of the Gaza Strip yesterday, while the Air Force struck a Hamas military building in Khan Yunis, killing seven Hamas terrorists. In the north, the paper reports that the IDF said it identified at least a dozen launches from Lebanon, with three intercepted. Israeli forces attacked Hezbollah military targets, responding to rocket launches with artillery fire, the IDF said. According to reports in Lebanon, Israel attacked a medical centre in the village of Hanine in southern Lebanon, killing two people. The paper also quotes Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati saying his country wants “peace and stability” through “international diplomacy,” stressing that “a cease-fire in Gaza and ending the Israeli aggression towards Lebanon must be the priority” as well as ending “recurring violations” of Lebanese sovereignty.

Kan Radio reports a clash between Defence Minister Gallant and National Security Minister Ben Gvir during Wednesday’s security cabinet meeting. Ben Gvir demanded that the IDF occupy Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, to which Gallant responded by asking Ben Gvir if he had ever even been to Rafah. Ben Gvir retorted that no-one in the Likud would vote for Gallant again. Another clash occurred, between ministers Amsalem and Gantz.

Channel 12 features news that the Defence Ministry and the IDF have demanded approximately 20 billion Shekels (over four years) more than the Finance Ministry has allocated them in the budget. At a meeting on Wednesday in the Prime Minister’s Bureau, Finance Minister Smotrich demanded clarification on the army’s conduct in Gaza, to which Gallant responded that he never criticized Smotrich’s performance of the Finance brief, despite having studied economics and business. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that the government will form a public committee for multiannual planning of the security establishment’s budget.

Yediot Ahronot’s Nadav Eyal, reporting from ICJ hearing in The Hague, relates an encounter with former UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, attending the court as a guest of the South Africans. “When it was time for me to ask my questions,” Eyal says of Corbyn, “his patience was as short and as extreme as his opinions. I reminded him of his infamous statement about Hamas, whom he called ‘my friends.’ Blair also met with them at the time, Corbyn whined, and stopped the interview and turned to go… when I asked about Hamas, because the war is against Hamas, he once again blew up and said that the war was killing thousands of Palestinians. I asked whether Hamas had any responsibility for the war. Corbyn turned and left.”

Israel Hayom includes new polling, showing that nearly two thirds of Israelis support holding early elections. The poll’s prospective Knesset shows the National Unity Party on 31 seats, to the Likud’s 21. Overall, the poll puts the current government on 52 seats and the opposition on 59 – short of an overall majority. Hadash-Ta’al and the United Arab List are slated to receive nine seats combined. Netanyahu trails Benny Gantz 28 percent to 21 on who would make the best prime minister, with former PM Naftali Bennett close behind Netanyahu on 20 percent.