Media Summary

The BBC , The Financial Times and The Independent report that US President Joe Biden says he hopes to have a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza by Monday.


The BBC The Financial Times and The Independent report that US President Joe Biden says he hopes to have a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza by Monday. His comments come amid reports of some progress in indirect negotiations involving Israeli and Hamas officials. The Guardian and Channel 4 report that both Israel and Hamas have both downplayed this hope and Sky News repeats this claim, with a Hamas spokesman saying it is “wishful thinking”.

The Financial Times publishes on how jailed Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti has become the “ultimate bargaining chip”.

Sky News publishes an opinion piece by Special Correspondent Alex Crawford saying that a group of journalists has written to both the Israeli and Egyptian governments asking for access to Gaza, “so the war can be reported on fully”.

The Guardian reports that UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Michael Fakhri has accused Israel of deliberately starving Gazans.

The Telegraph reports that Hezbollah said it had launched a volley of rockets at an Israeli aerial surveillance base in response to deadly Israeli attacks on east Lebanon. Hezbollah said it targeted the “Meron air control base… with a large salvo of rockets from several launchers” on Tuesday, in response to the Baalbek strikes.

The Telegraph publishes an Israeli who says “no-one here believes a two-state solution could ever work” as readers discuss possible outcomes of the conflict.

Sky News reports on clashes between the police and ultra-Orthodox communities during protests over whether the latter’s exemption from serving in the IDF should be amended or end.

The Financial Times reports that Israel plans to raise about $60bn in debt this year, freeze government hiring and increase taxes as it almost doubles its defence spending to support its war in Gaza, according to a senior finance official.

The Guardian also reports that a uniformed US airman who burned himself to death in protest over the US’s role in Israel’s military strikes in Gaza was an anarchist who grew up in a strict religious sect with links to a school in Canada that “controlled, intimidated and humiliated” students, it was reported on Tuesday.

The BBC reports that the Home Office should consider making UK protest organisers give a longer notice period to allow the police to better prepare, MPs have said. The Home Affairs select committee is calling on the government to give the police more support, as marches continue over the Israel-Gaza war. The Times reports that the home secretary has told pro-Palestinian demonstrators to stop their regular Gaza protests because they have “made their point” and are putting a “huge pressure” on policing.

The BBC also reports that an Israel-Gaza peace mural painted on a street in east London has been defaced 16 days after it was unveiled.

The Telegraph also reports that Sir Michael Ellis, former attorney general, has claimed that The BBC is “institutionally antisemitic” and its reporting of the Israel-Hamas war has contributed to attacks on British Jews.

Kan Radio reports that two Israeli soldiers were died in fighting in the northern Gaza Strip yesterday. Maj. Yiftah Shahar, 25, and Cpt. Itay Seif, 24, were killed, and seven others seriously wounded, by a bomb. Army Radio reports that IDF troops and the IAF attacked eight major targets last night in the northern Gaza Strip. Tunnel shafts and other buildings that had been used by terrorists as points of departure for terror attacks inside the Gaza Strip were also attacked.

Ynet quotes IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari’s remarks yesterday on the prospect of an Israeli operation in Rafah, Hamas’s last Gazan stronghold. “‘The goal of the war is to ensure that October 7 will never happen again, ever,’ said the IDF spokesperson. ‘We will finish in Rafah,’ he added regarding the fighting in the Gaza Strip. ‘Rafah is crucial; there are hostages in that area.’ Regarding the military operation in Rafah, Hagari stated that there are two important conditions for the operation. The first condition is ‘to maintain Egypt’s influence on the Gaza Strip,’ he said. ‘We have spoken with Egypt and ensured that both of our countries have the same agenda and will maintain a good relationship.’ The second condition, according to Hagari, is related to the immense population density in the southern part of the strip, where masses of Gazans fled during the war. ‘There are 1.4 million people there, and it is impossible to conduct an operation with 1.4 million people. We need to ensure the people are moved to a safe place that will be facilitated with food and good medical conditions. When these conditions are met, we can proceed with the operation.’”

Following President Biden’s public hope that a deal between Hamas and Israel over a ceasefire was imminent, Israel Hayom quotes Israeli officials saying Biden’s predictions are exaggerated. The official speaks of “measured progress” made in indirect talks with Hamas, but the paper says that “large gaps remain between the sides over major issues, including the identity of individual terrorists to be released from Israeli prisons, whether and to what degree the deal will include Israeli withdrawal and whether the IDF will desist from intelligence-gathering operations, as it did in the course of the previous ceasefire.” Israel Hayom also cites Prime Minister Netanyahu saying that “today in the United States, the Harvard CAPS-Harris poll was published, showing that 82 percent of the American public supports Israel. In other words, four out of five citizens in the United States support Israel and not Hamas. This gives us additional strength to continue the campaign until total victory.”

Yediot Ahronot’s Ronen Bergman says, regarding the hostage negotiations, that over the last three months, “a large number of diversions and heart-felt wishes, if not downright fantasies [that were presented by Israeli officials], crashed up against the bedrock of reality, as did several distortions if not downright lies that were told to the public and which were reported by this journalist repeatedly. A special place will have to be reserved in the full investigation into the war for the information warfare tactics and spins that were churned out by Israeli political and security officials and were used against the Israeli public, and the way in which some journalists served as their mouthpieces.” In a stinging characterisation of the prime minister, Bergman writes that “well-informed people about the comings and goings in Netanyahu’s inner circle believe that he is doing everything he can to scuttle a deal and is trying to shape public opinion with all the means he has at his disposal so that even if a deal that the negotiators from the security establishment believe to be reasonable is put on the table, he can reject it. One of the well-informed people swore on his life that if news of that gets leaked, Netanyahu will cast all of them as losers who aren’t prepared to fight Hamas until total victory.”

In the wake of the resignation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, Haaretz’s Zvi Bar’el writes that “it remains unclear whether the new cabinet will be able to meet the criteria set by the American administration, so that it will be able to present the Palestinian government as an acceptable party to administer the West Bank and Gaza, win the administration’s support, benefit from economic aid, and, most of all, a government that the U.S. will be able to impose on Israel. Conversely, the Hamas leadership, which in December still strongly objected to the establishment of a technocratic government – as it would mean giving up its civilian power in Gaza – announced last Friday that it had reached understandings with the other Palestinian factions on the establishment of a technocratic government.”

Kan Radio reports that initial indications from yesterday’s municipal elections show that the incumbent mayors of three of Israel’s largest cities are poised to retain their posts. Jerusalem’s Moshe Lion, Tel Aviv’s Ron Huldai, and Beer Sheva’s Ruvik Danilovitz look set for victories, though Haifa mayor Einat Kalish-Rotem will depart, having won less than five percent of the vote. A run-off election will be held between two other contenders: former mayor Yona Yahav and David Etzioni.

Haaretz’s Anshel Pfeffer cautions against reading future national trends into the municipal elections. “They are rarely a sign of where the political winds are blowing,” he says. “In many places, incumbents and popular challengers don’t even run as representatives of the national parties, and the political clashes are over local matters… If anything,” Pfeffer continues, “the local elections of 2024 are even less definitive of the national mood than usual. Just five months ago, many local groups, which had sprung up as part of the massive protests against the coalition’s judicial coup attempt, were planning to harness their organisation and momentum for making gains for the liberal community in the local elections. Then came October 7, and that momentum dissipated and many of the aspiring local candidates found themselves subsumed in the war effort.”

Ynet reports that a suspected Iranian cyber group has been running a campaign of espionage and attacks targeting the defence and aviation sectors in Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and likely also India, Turkey and Albania. This is according to the Google-owned cybersecurity firm Mandiant. “The cyber attacks involve content directly linked to the war in Gaza, including impersonating the Bring Them Home Now forum calling for the return of Israeli hostages held by Hamas.”

Channel 12 reports that Defence Minister Gallant has extended by three months the administrative detention of of Ariel Danino, a settler from Kumi Ori who was arrested at the outbreak of the war. The decision follows the Shin Bet receiving information that Danino was fuelling terrorist activity from his cell