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Israeli press review: Palestinians strike against violence and policing in Israel

Elsewhere, Netanyahu's lawyers think they've cracked Case 4,000 and Lieberman wades into government negotiations
A woman walks past closed shops during a general strike in East Jerusalem in 2009 (AFP)

Palestinian citizens of Israel on strike

A general strike organised by Palestinian citizens of Israel has been joined not only by workers and shopkeepers in the “Triangle” area around Nazareth in the north of Israel, but also in the southern Naqab desert region, Hussein al-Abra of Panorama reports.

Thursday’s protest is aimed at the violence in Palestinian society, among family members and against women in particular, as well as the prevalence of gun ownership.

The demonstration targets the Israeli police forces’ lack of enforcement in Arab areas, and is also critical of Palestinian society itself.

Panorama reported schools opening with empty classes and showed pictures of closed shopping centres from the southern Palestinian cities and villages.

The right wing Arutz Sheva reported that the newly elected Palestinian members of the Knesset will not take part in the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday because of their participation in the strike, which was called by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel.

Focus on Case 4,000

Only one of the three corruption cases faced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was discussed on the first day of a hearing with the attorney-general, Haaretz newspaper reported.

Netanyahu’s lawyers presented their arguments to the representatives of the justice ministry for 11 hours on Wednesday.

The discussion revolved solely around the case known as “Case 4,000”, which deals with the allegations that Netanyahu exchanged favours with billionaire Shaul Elovitch, easing regulation on Elovitch’s telecoms empire in exchange for favourable coverage in media he owns.

Netanyahu’s lawyers told the press that they presented new information in the hearing, which they claimed disproves the arguments in the allegations against the prime minister.

The case has been under investigation since 2016. In February Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblitt decided that charges should be pressed against Netanyahu pending the hearing.

Lieberman offers ultimatum

Ana Rieva Bersky of Maariv reports that a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and chairman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party Avigdor Lieberman ended at an impasse after less than an hour.

On Wednesday, Lieberman announced that he had given the two largest parties - Likud and Blue and White - until the Yom Kippur holiday on 8 October to sign up to a unity government.

If they fail to do so, he will make his own offer to the two parties in an effort to prevent a third round of elections.

Netanyahu, however, tried and failed to convince Lieberman to join his right-wing government and thereby avoid a unity government.

Domestic trumps foreign when it comes to Iran

Amos Harel, the chief editor of Haaretz, has published an analysis piece attempting to understand the sudden shift in the anti-Iran alliance made up of the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

In the last few days, the Israeli press has expressed surprise about the attempts by US President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to start tentative talks with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

Journalists such as Uri Goldbert of Local Call consider any detente with Iran to be a direct blow to Netanyahu’s foreign policy.

Harel argues that the allies have slackened their aggression against Iran as a result of the domestic political problems Trump, Netanyahu and Mohammed bin Salman are all facing.

As Trump is facing a possible impeachment process, and the Saudi crown prince faces criticism over a failure to achieve victory in Yemen, Netanyahu is focused on his criminal investigation rather than on foreign policy.