Media Summary

The Sun’s front page leads with: ‘THEY STOLE HER VOICE: Emily’s too afraid to speak after Hamas threats… she was a happy, noisy kid & now she whispers because she’s terrified’. 


The Sun’s front page leads with: ‘THEY STOLE HER VOICE: Emily’s too afraid to speak after Hamas threats… she was a happy, noisy kid & now she whispers because she’s terrified’. The Telegraph, The Mirror, Sky News, and The Independent all also report on Emily Hand, the nine-year-old Irish Israeli girl taken by Hamas who was traumatised by her experience in captivity.

The BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times, Sky News and The Telegraph all report that Israel says another group of hostages are now back in Israeli territory, having been released from Gaza yesterday evening. Ten of them are Israeli citizens and two are Thai nationals. A total of 81 hostages held in Gaza have now been released during a truce between Israel and Hamas. 61 of them are Israeli, and nearly all of them are women and children. Sky NewsThe Times and The Mirror report that Shiri Bibas and her children, four-year-old Ariel and 10-month-old Kfir are yet to be released and there has been no word of them. Their family has been told they might have been passed on by Hamas to another group in Gaza. Sky News reports that hostages released by Hamas have been describing their time in captivity, with one saying conditions were “suffocating”, with shortages of food. In some of the first accounts to emerge amid the release of more than 50 hostages over the past few days, people have spoken about what life was like after their kidnap on 7 October. Ruthy Munder, 78, said she spent the entirety of her time with her daughter, Keren, and grandson, Ohad Munder-Zichri, who celebrated his ninth birthday in captivity. The Guardian reports that US and Israeli spy chiefs have flown to Qatar for talks on how to extend the current truce in Gaza in exchange for the release of more hostages by Hamas. The discussions of the CIA director, William Burns, and the head of the Mossad, David Barnea, with the Qatari leadership, are expected to focus on persuading Hamas to begin releasing the men among the remaining hostages. The BBC reports that thirty Palestinian prisoners were released by Israel on Tuesday night as part of the truce deal with Hamas. They include “15 minors and 15 women”, a spokesman for Qatar’s foreign ministry said. The Guardian adds that another 50 Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails have been put forward as candidates for release after the hostage swap and ceasefire deal with Hamas in the Gaza Strip was extended for another two days – including the high-profile activist Ahed Tamimi. The Economist publishes a fuller profile of who the Palestinians in Israeli prisons are. Sky NewsThe Times and The Independent all report that Hamas and Israel have accused each other of breaking the truce agreement which has led to the release of dozens of Israelis and Palestinians. “As a result of the enemy violating the terms of the truce today, there has been a field clash today and our mujahedeen dealt with the violation. We are committed to the truce as long as the enemy is,” Hamas military spokesperson Abu Obaida said, according to Gazan state TV. The Times publishes a joint piece by an Israeli and a Palestinian, saying: “we have grown up on opposite sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the occupied West Bank and the south of Israel. People assume we have no choice but to be enemies, embroiled in a conflict in which there can never be winners, only further division, tragedy and extremism. But, along with most ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, we do not have the luxury of giving up and letting extremists dictate our future.”The Times also publishes a leading article saying that “the release of more people is welcome. But Hamas is a malign terrorist organisation that deserves no political or moral credit for the present truce”.The Times also reports that the Israeli government held a stormy meeting on Monday night on the first draft of its war budget amid accusations that billions of shekels were being directed towards West Bank settlements and religious institutions instead of the war effort. Bezalel Smotrich, the finance minister, proposed adding 30.5 billion shekels (£6.5 billion) to the budget for 2023 to pay for the extra expenditure caused by the war in Gaza and the relief efforts for Israeli communities impacted by the fighting. However, Smotrich, a hard-right MP who lives in a West Bank settlement himself, refused to remove from the budget more than 4.8 billion shekels (£1 billion) which have been earmarked for settlements in the West Bank and for religious institutions that are affiliated with the parties in Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition: Religious Zionism, Jewish Power, United Torah Judaism and Shas. Netanyahu has backed the budget, with the extra money coming from budget cuts, borrowing and Israel’s currency reserves.

The Guardian reports that Israel’s military and intelligence officials were given a highly detailed warning that Hamas was actively training to take over kibbutzim on the Gaza border and overrun military posts with the aim of inflicting substantial fatalities, according to reports in the Israeli media. The claim made by Israel’s Channel 12 on Monday evening was based on leaked emails from the Israeli military’s 8200 cyber-intelligence unit discussing the warnings. Those emails revealed that a senior officer who reviewed the intelligence considered the danger of a massive surprise attack by Hamas across the Gaza border to be “an imaginary scenario”. The BBC publishes an explainer piece looking at who Hamas are, what the IDF’s military goals are in Gaza and a background profile leading up to the war. The BBC also publishes drone footage, showing how Gazans ventured out in Khan Younis to find basic necessities like fuel, but faced long waits due to supply shortages. The United Nations is also using a pause in fighting to get desperately needed aid into Gaza, however it’s only a fraction of what’s needed, according to humanitarian agencies. The truce between Israel and Hamas has entered its fifth day, after a 48-hour extension was agreed on Monday.

The Financial Times reports that although a relative minnow in the oil and gas industry, Energean “has been providing at times up to 60 per cent of all of Israel’s gas demand” from Karish since the October 7 massacre of about 1,200 Israelis by Hamas, the company’s founder and chief executive Mathios Rigas said. “We had to produce to keep the lights on in Israel . . . ‘just keep the gas flowing’ was the message, so we went to maximum capacity.” The responsibility was thrust upon Energean after the Israeli government ordered a temporary shutdown of the Chevron-operated Tamar gasfield, which normally meets about 70 per cent of the country’s energy needs.

The BBC, The Daily MailThe Times and The Guardian report that Israel’s president has told Elon Musk he has “an important role” in preventing antisemitism, which both he and his social media platform X have been accused of promoting. Addressing the entrepreneur, Isaac Herzog said social media “including some you lead – harbor so much of the age-old disease of antisemitism”. On Monday Mr Musk visited a kibbutz Hamas targeted in its deadly attack. He toured the Kfar Aza with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Telegraph reports that British officials rejected a proposal that Roman Abramovich’s £2.3bn Chelsea sale fund ‘should go to Israel’ instead of Ukraine, amid conflicting accounts of whether Abramovich or Israel tabled the sudden change.

The Telegraph also reports that Jewish students at St Andrews have accused a rector of “fostering hate” over a claim that Israel was committing genocide. A message from Stella Maris that also called for a ceasefire was “divisive and harmful”, the student group has said.

The Sun reports that The BBC has been criticised for making Guz Khan host of Have I Got News For You after the comedian accused Israel of “genocide”. The stand-up comic was named as guest presenter of BBC One’s Friday panel show, having been outspoken on the Israel-Hamas war. The Daily Mail reports that Gigi Hadid has backtracked on claims Israel is “raping and torturing” Palestinians as she admits she failed to “fact check” inflammatory post – amid mounting pressure on modeling agencies to cut ties with her.

All the Israeli media includes powerful and harrowing stories from released hostages and their families. Kan Radio features apparent discrepancies in their treatment while in captivity. While some have said they were not subject to violence, others have revealed a different experience. Relatives of 12-year-old Eitan Yahalomi, freed on Monday, said he was beaten after he was kidnapped and forced to watch video footage of atrocities Hamas committed on October 7th. His grandmother Esther that since his release Eitan was “very reserved. I believe it’s going to take him time. We have a lot of work to do with him to restore him to a condition in which he can speak.”

Ynet reports Eitan’s aunt saying, “Hamas-ISIS terrorists made him watch the horrors they committed. The entire video from October 7. Every time a child cried, they threatened him with a gun. Civilians there beat him. He’s 12 years old. Maybe it’s naive but I thought he would be treated well there but they’re monsters.”

Ynet also quotes Thomas Hand, the father of 9-year-old Israeli-Irish Emily Hand, recounting the moment they were reunited. “The door opened and she ran to me, it was beautiful, just as I imagined it,” he said. “I hugged her tightly, and only after she took a step back did I look at her face and noticed that it was chiselled, like mine. Before the captivity, Emily’s face was that of a young girl.” Hand continued: “When she spoke to me she only whispered, I didn’t hear what she was saying, so I put my ear very close to her mouth to hear, and she said: ‘I thought you were kidnapped.’ She didn’t know what happened that morning, she thought that everyone was either murdered or kidnapped. She had no idea… I asked her how long she thought she had been in captivity and she answered ‘a year’… We had to tell her about her mother, Narkis, who was murdered. Her eyes welled up and she took a sharp breath. It was very difficult… Last night she cried until her face was red, she couldn’t stop. She didn’t want any comfort, I guess she forgot how to comfort herself. She got under the covers, covered herself and cried quietly. She is a very determined, very strong girl, I knew her spirit would get her through this.”

Ynet further details the case of Noam Or, 16, and his sister Alma, 13, released on Saturday. Neither had known that their mother, Yonat, had been murdered by Hamas on October 7th, and discovered the tragic news only on their release. “When they first crossed the border and reunited with their grandmother and older brother, the first news that they had to confront was the fact that their mum is no longer alive,” their uncle told reporters. “That was a terribly emotional and traumatic moment for them.” Their father, Dror, remains a hostage in the Gaza Strip.

Israel Hayom focusses on the “suffocating” conditions endured by recently released 78-year-old Ruti Munder. Munder was held alongside her daughter Keren, and grandson, Ohad Munder-Zichri. Her husband, Avraham, 78, was taken hostage too and remains in Gaza. Her son was killed in the attack. The paper also quotes Mirit Regev, whose 21-year-old daughter, Maya, was freed Sunday. The family has been encouraged by medical staff to “return the power” to Maya because asking her permission to do things like leave the room. Regev’s son Itai remains in captivity in Gaza. Itai Pessach, director of the Children’s Hospital at Sheba Medical Centre, where many of the released children have been treated, said that staff had heard “very difficult and complex stories from their time in Hamas captivity,” and that “we understand that despite the fact that they might seem physically improving, there’s a very, very long way to go before they are healed.”

In Yediot Ahronot, Nadav Eyal assesses the Israeli attitude to reports that Qatar and Egypt are looking to broker an end to the war. “As of yesterday afternoon,”, he writes, “no clear Hamas proposal had been put on the table for an ‘all for all’ [i.e. all Israeli hostages for all Palestinian prisoners] and to end the war. In any event, not a single member of the war cabinet is prepared to accept a proposal of that kind. The consensus, which spans from Binyamin Netanyahu to Gadi Eisenkot, is that the war mustn’t end with Hamas chalking up the huge achievement of freeing a large number of Palestinian prisoners while the threat to Israel remains intact, deterrence hasn’t been restored and Yahya Sinwar remains in power in Gaza. A retired military official put it this way: ‘Anyone who agrees to pull the [IDF’s] divisions out of Gaza in the current situation will find one of them advancing directly on Jerusalem.’ That isn’t a threat about a putsch, heaven forbid; rather, it is meant to illustrate the reigning sentiment among the reservists and the career officers, as well as among the absolute majority of the Israeli public.”

In Haaretz, Anshel Pfeffer asks “what will happen on Wednesday night, after the sixth tranche of hostages is released, when it starts dangling more names? Even if 20 more are released, some children and mothers will almost certainly remain in captivity in Gaza, as will many fathers. Are they alive? Hamas will continue to toy with the hostages, their families and the entire Israeli public. What if there is only a partial list? Not the 10 per day previously agreed upon, but just one or two? Can Israel deny their release?” “Hamas,” Pfeffer continues, “still retains some military capabilities in the northern Gaza Strip and has used the truce to rehabilitate some of what was destroyed in the seven weeks of war that preceded it. It has been badly damaged, but at this point still has the ability to reassert its control of Gaza and rebuild much of its military capacity. To prevent this, the Israel Defense Forces is poised to resume its ground offensive. But doing so will mean Israel acknowledging that the door for releasing more hostages has closed for now. This is just the first of the dilemmas now facing Israel. The second dilemma is when and how to expand the ground campaign to the southern Gaza Strip. Hamas’ senior leadership – including its leader in Gaza and the man behind the October 7 massacre, Yahya Sinwar – are assumed to have fled south, most likely to Khan Yunis, taking many of the hostages with them.”