With so much drama in the Gaza Strip over the weekend, it’s kinda hard for the press to keep up. But, somehow, someway, the media wraps up the to-and-fro on Sunday.
Rounding up two days of rockets and airstrikes, Haaretz reports at least eight Israeli hits on the Palestinian enclave, including one that killed two operatives from the Salah al-Din Brigades; it says 11 rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, one of which hit a paint factory in the town of Sderot. It details the firefighters’ battle to control the blaze, which caused light injuries to three factory workers.
One of the factory workers injured in the rocket attack told Yedioth Ahronoth that a gigantic fireball surged “200 meters from the burning factory into Sderot.” The paper employs a clever headline to describe the blaze, “Color red,” which is also the Hebrew term for the rocket alert sirens that sounded throughout the weekend. The paper dramatizes the incident, which destroyed the factory but caused no loss of life — all four factory employees on site were safely rescued — writing “it’s terrifying to think what may have happened had the rocket hit the factory during the middle of a workday.”
The paper runs stills from security camera footage in the Gaza Strip which caught Friday’s Israeli airstrike that killed two Palestinians traveling in a car on the coastal road in the Shati refugee camp. Yedioth Ahronoth describes how the video footage shows the car pass a pedestrian, then a matter of seconds later it goes up in flames from a “precision strike,” as the headline calls it.
Israel Hayom kicks up the drama on its front page, screaming “Escalation in the south” alongside photos of firefighters lit with a demonic red glow and the wreckage of the Palestinian car destroyed in the Israeli airstrike. The paper quotes a senior Israeli official calling the Gaza Strip “a powder keg. It can explode at any time.”
It reports that tensions reached their apogee on Saturday night when a rocket scored a direct hit on the highly flammable paint factory. Contrary to Haaretz, Israel Hayom tallies up 13 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the weekend.
In case the fireworks in the south distracted you from the ongoing manhunt for the missing Israeli teens, Israel Hayom mentions that the IDF has searched over 2,000 homes in Hebron for the three without success. The Israeli military arrested 18 Palestinians on Friday night and Saturday as part of its operation in the southern West Bank.
Yedioth Ahronoth reports that activists in Tel Aviv will be holding a rally in Rabin Square Sunday calling for the return of the missing teens. The paper reports that the participants will engage in an evening of song and prayer on the teens’ behalf. Their mothers will speak on stage at the event, and an array of Israeli musicians, including Miri Mesika, Kobi Aflalo, David D’Or, Lior Narkis, Kobi Oz, Dudu Fischer, Svika Pick and Rami Kleinstein, will perform.
Israel’s ongoing settlement enterprise has garnered warnings from five European Union states, who cautioned their citizens against conducting business with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, Haaretz reports. According to the paper, Italy and Spain published the warning Friday, joining similar warnings made by France, Great Britain and Germany. Because they don’t recognize Israeli settlements as legal under international law, Rome and Madrid said there are economic and legal risks for individuals and companies that engage in business activity over the Green Line.
Israel Hayom reports that Spanish and French diplomats said last week that this was not the end of the matter, and that other EU countries would follow suit and publish similar warnings to their citizens. The paper notes that Israeli officials didn’t comment on the matter.
On the issue of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the radical Sunni group controlling a large swath of Iraq and Syria and marching on Baghdad, Israel Hayom and Yedioth Ahronoth’s commentators have divergent views.
Boaz Bismuth writes a familiar trope in Israel Hayom that Israel has little to fear from ISIL, but it has plenty to be concerned about regarding Iran. He says a British diplomat’s remarks that ISIL is more dangerous than a nuclear Iran are dangerous for Israel.
“Suddenly Sunni terror is more dangerous than a Shia atomic bomb,” Bismuth writes. “Suddenly, in order to fight Sunni terror, Iran turned into a state sought after and even considered by Washington as a stabilizing factor.”
“Israel needs to be cautious of precisely this change in trend,” he says. “The West may still let the Iranian cat guard the cream.”
Alex Fishman writes in Yedioth Ahronoth, however, that ISIL “is a dangerous group, [and] that its potential threat to the whole region is enormous.” He says that Israel’s line of defense against the Sunni terror group starts on the Iraq-Jordan border, and that Israel will likely aid the Hashemite kingdom if necessary.