Gruesome photos of the latest Syrian massacre were mostly kept to the inside pages of today’s Israeli newspapers but the front-pages headlines were enough to convey the horror.
Maariv’s headline paraphrases US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, ”It is time for Bashar Assad to leave Syria.” Israel Hayom takes a similar tone in its headline, “The world is shocked by Assad: time for him to go.” Haaretz displays a picture of three children who were killed in the massacre alongside its headline, “More than 100 killed in a massacre in Hama, Assad keeps inspectors away by shooting [at them].” Yedioth Ahronoth simply writes, “The world is shocked.”
The papers all have similar coverage covering the details of the latest massacre, but the papers disagree on how many were killed. Maariv is on the low end with 80 and Haaretz lists over 100. Both Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv provide a list of massacres in Syria that occurred in the past months.
Yedioth Ahronoth has a translated op-ed piece on page two by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel who recommends charging Assad at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. “No honorable person would come to his defense. No nation would offer him shelter. No statute of limitations would apply to his case,” he says.
Maariv features an op-ed piece from Rodan Zaid, a member of the Syrian opposition, begging for international assistance. Zaid describes Syrian forces burning bodies to cover up massacres and the futility of the Syrian people, who are completely alone. “I spoke to my family across Syria and they are very worried, why won’t the Americans and the West help us. Even a small step like closing Syrian airspace would help.”
Israel Hayom brought in Professor Eyal Zisser who titles his piece, “Now this is also a civil war.” Zisser writes that this massacre will now wake up the Syrian middle class who now realize that Assad is not the solution but the problem. The professor warns that the ethnic divisions could now ignite and turn Syria into a prolonged conflict. But the professor does not think it will end well either, “A war in Syria does not seem to have an end. In the meantime, it will continue to bleed and kill its own people.”
Haaretz’s coverage of the massacre is a bit more in depth and includes information about the Syrian army opening fire on UN observers to keep them from investigating the massacre.
Haaretz also includes an opinion piece by Zvi Bar’el who argues that the pressure should not be on the West to act but rather more pressure should be applied to Russia. “With Russia’s position, the military option against Assad will never be established.”
Orders of the court
Two court orders were issued Thursday regarding very controversial issues. Israel Hayom reports on page five about a court decision to approve deportation for refugees from South Sudan and the deportation could begin as early as next week. Interior Minister Eli Yishai wrote a piece for Israel Hayom in which he states, “I am very happy with the court’s decision. It is a good step, in the right direction, but still a very small step.” Yishai then proceeds to say that he wants to create a detention center to hold the refugees and those who want to stay could remain there. Yishai hopes that this first step will prompt other refugees to think twice about remaining in Israel.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak had plenty to say about people involved in the Harpaz Affair, including Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. The Justice Ministry supported Barak – sort of. Haaretz reports that a spokesperson for the Justice Ministry said Barak’s statements came at various stages in the investigation and were, “falsifications, distortions and not something we wish to comment on.”
Barak’s statements reportedly included attacks on Weinstein’s professional capability to conduct an investigation. This article is situated above a brief article reporting that the Supreme Court issued a gag order on the publication of the evidence in the Harpaz Affair. Investigators sought the order to prevent more leaks in the case, which they claim are harming their ability to investigate.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a Russian missile?
A UFO scare in Israel made the papers today as hundreds of residents saw what appeared to be a falling star, or a missile, and called emergency services last night. One eyewitness told Yedioth Ahronoth, “I’ve never seen anything like it. I thought it was a helicopter crashing or a meteor.” According to the paper, the object was a Russian ICBM test that crossed over the Middle East.
President Shimon Peres will be visiting the United States this week and will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. According to Israel Hayom, the Peres will bring gifts for the American first family, including a collection of historic documents from the establishment of the State of Israel for the president, and a necklace for the First Lady. The ceremony will take place on Wednesday and will be attended by over 140 guests from the American and Israeli governments.