Zaghari-Ratcliffe to face more charges
The BBC and Telegraph report that British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been in prison in Iran since 2016, has been told she has to face another trial. The charity worker is nearing the end of her five-year sentence for spying charges, which she has always denied. Iranian state media said she was brought before a revolutionary court in the country’s capital Tehran on Tuesday morning. The UK Foreign Office said the new charge, which has not been made public, was “indefensible and unacceptable”.
The Telegraph and Reuters report that the Trump administration will announce today it is withdrawing additional troops from Iraq, as President Donald Trump tries to make good on his campaign promise to disentangle the country from “endless wars”. A senior administration official discussed the draw-down with reporters aboard Air Force One on Tuesday night, on condition of anonymity. There are more than 5,000 American troops in Iraq. In July, the top US general for the Middle East said he believed the US will keep a smaller but enduring presence in the country.
The Financial Times focus on the US Treasury imposing sanctions on two former Lebanese ministers for helping Hezbollah, which Washington considers a terrorist organisation. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Ali Hassan Khalil and Yusuf Fenianos “directed political and economic favours to Hezbollah, including ensuring Hezbollah-owned companies won government contracts worth millions of dollars and moving money from government ministries to Hezbollah-associated institutions”.
The Financial Times reports on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s relationship with Hamas. Last month Israel strongly objected to Erdogan hosting two Hamas leaders in Istanbul, chiding him for his “outreach to the terrorist organisation”. The report notes that the relationship works politically for Erdogan, who has increasingly melded foreign policy with domestic considerations, and strives to cast himself at home as a champion of Muslims across the world.
The Guardian reports on the UN releasing new figures of war crimes committed against children during conflict in 2019 as it makes a new international day, the International Day to Protect Education from Attack. The UN Secretary General said: “This day highlights the often hidden – but crucially important – violation of children’s rights in conflict: the right to an education.” In 2019, more than 25,000 grave violations were committed against children, according to the UN. This includes killing, maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abduction, and the denial of humanitarian access. Two-thirds of violations were carried out by non-state actors or “rebel groups”.
All the Israeli media report on the first night of lockdowns imposed on 40 towns and neighbourhoods in an attempt to reduce the rate of coronavirus infection. The residents of those areas were forbidden to stray more than 500 meters from their homes between 7:00 in the evening and 5:00 this morning. Traffic in most of the affected areas was light, and most residents obeyed to the restrictions. A wedding that was attended by roughly 350 guests in Ilut, which is near Nazareth, was dispersed by the police. In Bnei Brak, which ranks second after Jerusalem in terms of the number of people currently infected with COVID-19, police set up roadblocks at all the entrances to the city, while hundreds more police officers were deployed at various positions within the city and otherwise patrolled the streets. Even as local residents complied with the curfew, many said they were unhappy with the decision to impose one.
Kan Radio News reports this morning that top Health Ministry officials have placed themselves under quarantine after one member of Professor Ronni Gamzu team tested positive for COVID-19. In addition to Professor Gamzu, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Deputy Health Minister MK Yoav Kisch, Health Ministry Director General Professor Hezi Levy and several other top Health Ministry officials placed themselves in quarantine. The coronavirus cabinet will be convened tomorrow to discuss the option of imposing either a nationwide lockdown or very severe restriction on public movement during the upcoming Jewish holidays. The National Security Council is expected to recommend a full-scale lockdown, similar to the lockdown that was imposed on Passover eve. Alternatively, Professor Gamzu would prefer to make do with severe restrictions on public movement and gatherings. Haaretz reports that Cabinet members believe Netanyahu is aiming for a full-scale lockdown, but only after he returns from the US to attend the singing of the normalisation agreement with the UAE on 15 September.
Army Radio reports on the latest coronavirus statistics. A record 44,000 tests were administered yesterday, yielding 3,496 positive results. 458 people are hospitalized in serious condition, and 1,040 people have died of coronavirus.
In Yediot Ahronot Ben-Dror Yemini questions the timing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s televised apology last night to the family of Yaqub Abu al-Qiyan, who was killed by incident some four years ago in which the police initially described him as a terrorist. “Until yesterday, in spite of the fact that the conclusions of the investigation have been reported in the media, no official representative had seen fit to apologize to the family. Matters remained unclear. When does the picture become far more unequivocal? Only when it’s linked to the never-ending battle between the law enforcement agencies and Netanyahu,” writes Yemini. The case appeared in the news on Monday after Channel 12 News reported that former Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich undermined the findings from the Police Internal Investigations Department’s investigation and was backed by the State Attorney’s Office.
Kan Radio News reports that the cabinet met last night for the first time in a month. The cabinet discussed how to divide up the supplementary NIS 11 billion that was allocated to the ministries when the Knesset passed legislation to delay the budget deadline in late August. However, the cabinet’s vote on the division of the funds was postponed from last night to today after the cabinet ministers from the Likud and Blue and White found themselves unable to reach an agreement.
Israel Hayom looks at who’s competing in the upcoming Hamas elections and its potential ramifications for Israel and the region. The report says the election is being held as a power struggle plays out between Iran, Turkey, and Qatar.