Media Summary

Trump to sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps

The Times reports that the US administration is preparing to impose severe sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as the Iranian state cracks down on protesters. The Guardian and the Financial Times report that the Supreme Leader of Iran has blamed the country’s enemies for ongoing nationwide unrest.

The Guardian, BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, The Times and the Daily Mail report on US President Donald Trump’s threat to cut funding for the Palestinian Authority unless it joins peace talks. The President’s comments came after the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told journalists that the US would cut funds to  UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, unless the Palestinian Authority went back to the negotiating table.

The Guardian, Independent, BBC News Online and Yahoo UK News Online report on the Israeli government’s decision to issue a notice to thousands of African migrants to leave the country or face imprisonment. The migrants will be given up to $3,500 (£2,600) for leaving within the next 90 days. They will be given the option of going to their home country or third countries. If they do not leave, the Israeli authorities have threatened that they will imprison them from April. The order exempts children, elderly people, and victims of slavery and human trafficking.

The Independent and the Guardian both have published opinion articles dealing with the detention of Ahed Tamimi. The Independent article makes the call for compassion for Tamini, who as a child  grew up in an area of conflict, while the Guardian opinion column labels Tamimi as ‘the latest child victim of Israel’s occupation’. BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme debated Tamini’s case with Israeli Minister Michael Oren and a representative from B’Tselem

The Daily Mail reports that India is to buy 131 surface-to-air missiles from Israel in a $70m deal ahead of a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

All the Israeli media prominently report the latest development in the investigation of former coalition chairman David Bitan.  The papers report that Moshe Yosef, whom the police believe served as Bitan’s moneyman in his alleged corruption schemes, agreed yesterday to give a detailed account of his actions on Bitan’s behalf to detectives. Bitan is expected to be questioned again by the police tomorrow.

Maariv and Yediot Ahronot both report that Interior Minister Deri from Shas admitted trying to summon MK Yehudah Glick to the Knesset to participate in the vote on the minimarket bill while the latter was sitting shiva (the Jewish ritual of seven days of mourning) for his wife Yafa, who was buried on Monday.  In the end the vote was postponed until next week.

According to Channel 10 News US Vice President Mike Pence is now expected to visit Israel on January 21.  He will be in Israel for 24 hours and will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog. Pence will also address the Knesset.  He is not expected either to visit the Palestinian Authority or to meet with Palestinian officials during his visit due to the Palestinians’ refusal to meet with him.

Haaretz notes that Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke yesterday on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and wished her a happy new year. They also discussed regional issues.

Maariv reports Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot’s speech yesterday at the annual conference in memory of former chief of staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak.   Eisenkot spoke about the increase in missile fire from Gaza and is quoted saying, “I hear calls from the outside, which I consider to be irresponsible, to respond immediately, with maximum force, to rockets that hit. I think that this is the wrong thing to do at the moment.” “Deterrence is not built in a day and is not eroded in a day. It can’t be examined every morning in the newspaper, but must be seen through the perspective of time.”  Haaretz reveals that Egypt has communicated to both Hamas and Israel that it is concerned over the possibility of an escalation in violence in Gaza.  They are particularly worried how this could affect Palestinian reconciliation efforts.  Israeli officials received messages emphasising the “importance of all sides exercising maximal care and patience in response to rocket fire” while Hamas were told to “make every effort to prevent rocket fire by extremist factions.”

Haaretz and Yediot Ahronot report that India has officially cancelled a half billion dollar anti-tank missile deal with the Israeli company Rafael.  According to the Hindustan Times, India agreed to another deal to buy navy missiles from the same company in a $70m deal.  Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to visit India in two weeks.

Kan Radio News report that several Arab students at Tel Aviv University tried last night to interrupt a lecture being given by an Egyptian sociologist and human rights activist, Saad Eddin Ibrahim. He came to Israel to attend a conference of the Dayan Center on the political upheavals in Egypt. The demonstrators accused him of promoting normalisation with Israel, called him a traitor, said that he should be ashamed and then left the hall.