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Media Summary

UK seeking Security Council condemnation of Syria

The main item of Middle East-related coverage in the UK media today is the escalating violence in Syria, as the Assad regime attempts to suppress anti-government protests. Several papers note a US policy shift toward pressure on Syria. The Daily Mail notes that the UK is also taking part in preparations for sanctions against Syria. The Times notes dissent from within the ranks of the Syrian Army. The Independent runs a piece comparing the Arab Spring to the events of 1848 and subsequent events in Europe. BBC Online asks who the leaders of the Syrian uprising are. The Times, BBC Online, Sun and Guardian report on Iranian claims of a new computer virus targeting their nuclear programme. The Guardian has an additional article on a Palestinian theatre group. The Independent has a letter describing Israel as the ‘least of all evils’ in the Middle East, given the latest events in a number of Arab states.

Over the Easter weekend, coverage continued to focus on the latest events in Syria. In other stories, several news sources on Saturday ran articles on the killing of an Israeli by Palestinian policemen in the Nablus area. The Guardian on Monday had a piece contending that the status quo between Israelis and Palestinians is not sustainable. The Observer ran a piece criticising the imprisoning of a pro-Israel blogger in Egypt. The paper also ran a piece by a Palestinian doctor whose daughters were killed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The Guardian on Saturday interviewed a British comedian who has published a book about walking the length of the Security Barrier in Israel and the West Bank. BBC Online noted that Egypt’s new foreign minister has promised shifts in the country’s foreign policy.

In the Israeli media today, all papers note the latest events in Syria, and indications of possible US sanctions against the regime. Haaretz has an additional piece on the presence of Palestinian prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Several papers note a new Pew poll suggesting that more than half of Egyptians support the annulling of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. The Jerusalem Post notes remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemning the killing of an Israeli man near Nablus, apparently by a Palestinian policeman. The Jerusalem Post also reports on US contact with the PA in an attempt to prevent a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence in September. Ynetnews quotes from a Newsweek interview with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in which he blames President Barack Obama for leading him on over the issue of a complete settlement freeze. Ynetnews also quotes PA official Yasser Abed Rabbo who calls for serious negotiations if a unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence is to be avoided. Maariv quotes a Syrian blogger who describes scenes of carnage in the country.