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Media Summary

UAE sends coronavirus supplies to Palestinians

The Independent reports that the UAE flew a plane loaded with humanitarian supplies to Israel, the first flight by a commercial airline to the country, in a move which prompted an angry response by Iran.

The Daily Mail reports that more than 1,000 Israeli websites were hit by a coordinated cyber attack on Thursday, with the home pages replaced by images of the country’s commercial capital Tel Aviv in flames.

The Associated Press reports that the Egyptian government has arrested at least 10 journalists since the coronavirus was detected in the country, a local human rights group said, accusing authorities of seizing on the pandemic to accelerate a long-running campaign against dissent.

The Associated Press reports that Muslims worldwide will celebrate one of their biggest holidays under the long shadow of the coronavirus, with millions confined to their homes and others gripped by economic concerns during what is usually a festive time of shopping and celebration.

The Times and BBC News report that the Venezuelan military has pledged to send aircraft and ships to escort five sanction-defying Iranian tankers that are crossing the Atlantic to deliver fuel to the country.

The Times reports that Turkey and Russia have backed calls for a ceasefire in Libya amid warnings that the conflict was escalating out of control as a Moscow-backed warlord threatened “the largest air war” in the country’s history. The Financial Times reports that UN experts are investigating the suspected deployment of at least eight Russian-made fighter jets to Libya in support of renegade general Khalifa Haftar, diplomats and people briefed on the matter said.

The Times reports that an Iranian fraudster dubbed the “sultan of cars” has been sentenced to death along with his wife after being found guilty of manipulating the country’s automobile market.

BBC News, Reuters and the Associated Press report that the family of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said on Friday that they have forgiven those who murdered their father, his son Salah wrote in a tweet.

In The Spectator, Seth Frantzman argues that Libya is now the Middle East’s “most important proxy war”, asserting the conflict looks symbolic of the proxy and drone-based regional wars to come in the future.

In the Associated Press, Sarah El-Deeb assesses the cases being made to prosecute IS figures for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide for their campaigns against the Yazidi communities of Iraq.

In The Guardian, Martin Chulov writes that in Lebanon “there is nothing to celebrate” as its financial crisis impacts the country’s Eid celebrations, wherein soaring prices have left basic goods outside the reach of more than half of country’s population.

All the Israeli media preview the trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that begins on Sunday afternoon. Yediot Ahronot notes“There is no question that Netanyahu’s dramatic trial is adding fuel to the political bonfire. The prime minister and his close associates are waging a public and media campaign over the very legitimacy of the indictment. In contrast, Blue and White has decided to stand by (Attorney General) Mandelblit’s side and to support him. In an effort to lower the flames, Netanyahu and Gantz met last night for two hours to prepare for the first cabinet meeting next week, a few hours before the charges will be read into the record.” The papers explain that because of coronavirus, the judges have limited the number of people who can attend to the defendants and to one representative each of their defence counsel, in order to comply with Health Ministry instructions. The session will be broadcast on closed-circuit TV to representatives of the defence teams and to the media who will watch from two other halls.

All the media report that the Palestinian Authority (PA) informed Israel last night that it was stopping the security coordination on all levels, in protest of Israel’s annexation plan. The Palestinians decided to cancel the hotline that serves for exchanges of information in emergency situations. Also cancelled will be the meetings between security officials at the level of brigade commanders, as well as lower-level meetings. Palestinian officials informed Israel that the PA security services would no longer protect Israelis who enter Area A in error. Haaretz reports that the PA has also notified the Central Intelligence Agency it is halting security coordination with Israel and the United States. In addition, Palestinian security forces began withdrawing Thursday evening from Area B of the West Bank, after being posted there in coordination with Israel to enforce coronavirus restrictions among the territory’s Palestinian population. Israel Hayom reports the response from deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri, who welcomed the move and threatened that “we are on the verge of a new intifada. … Washington and Tel Aviv are taking advantage of the current situation to take control of the West Bank. We are sparing no effort to prevent this annexation.”

Haaretz reports that Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the PA would not accept coronavirus aid sent by the United Arab Emirates, which arrived in a special plane that landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday. Shtayyeh said that the arrival of this plane had not been coordinated with the Palestinians, including the Palestinian ambassador in the Emirates, and that the PA knew nothing about this plane. The shipment will instead go to Gaza, which now faces fears of a renewed coronavirus outbreak after 29 new cases were diagnosed on Thursday in Palestinians returning to the Strip through the Erez and Rafah crossings.

Kan Radio News highlights Jerusalem Day, marking the reunification of the city in 1967. Data provided by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research show that Jerusalem is the largest Jewish city in Israel, with nearly 570,000 Jewish residents. It is also the city with the largest Arab population, with about 350,000 Arab residents. The data also indicate that there has been a downward trend in the number of people leaving the city. The number of students in the national-religious education system in Jerusalem—31,700—has surpassed the number of students in the state education system—30,800—for the first time. One quarter of Jerusalem’s population consists of Haredim. Thirty-seven percent of the residents are non-Haredi Jews, thirty-eight percent are Arabs.