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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR NEA STAFF

SECDEF WASHDC FOR USDP/ASD-PA/ASD-ISA
HQ USAF FOR XOXX
DA WASHDC FOR SASA
JOINT STAFF WASHDC FOR PA
CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL FOR POLAD/USIA ADVISOR
COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE FOR PAO/POLAD
COMSIXTHFLT FOR 019

JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION


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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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1. 40th Anniversary of the Six-Day War

2. Mideast

-------------------------
Key stories in the media:
-------------------------

Israel Radio quoted Palestinian sources as saying that PM Ehud
Olmert will meet on Thursday in Jericho with PA Chairman (President)
Mahmoud Abbas. Israel Radio reported that the PA government has
demanded that the calm with Israel be restored -- also in the West
Bank. The radio said that on Monday the Palestinian government
rejected Abbas's request that a truce in the West Bank be postponed
by one month.

Ha'aretz quoted a GOI source as saying on Monday that resuming
negotiations with Syria is not on the agenda for a scheduled meeting
between Olmert and President Bush in Washington in two weeks.
Rather, the two are expected to discuss the diplomatic process with
the Palestinians, the Arab Peace Initiative and ways of preventing
Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Ha'aretz noted that some of
Olmert's advisors are concerned that an initiative to renew peace
talks with Syria might undermine Israel's relations with the US.
However, the newspaper said that IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
strongly supports renewed talks with Syria, with the goal of
distancing Damascus from its alliance with Iran and contributing to
a new regional order in which Syria would forge closer relations
with moderate Arab states. The Jerusalem Post reported that Defense
Minister Peretz told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense
Committee on Monday that, while the Syrian calls for negotiations
must be carefully examined, the IDF cannot afford to lower its
defense along Israel's northern border. This morning Israel Radio
quoted Syrian MP Muhammad Habash as saying on Al Jazeera-TV that
Israel is planning to start a war with Syria in the summer.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Transportation Minister Shaul
Mofaz, who is in charge of the strategic dialogue with the US, told
the newspaper on Monday that there is a 50 percent chance that
sanctions will convince Tehran to halt its military nuclear program.
Mofaz is due to leave today for Washington for talks on the issue
with senior US officials.

All media marked and commented on the anniversary of the outbreak of
the Six-Day War 40 years ago today. Akiva Eldar of Ha'aretz
recounted that David Kimche, then an IDF Intelligence officer who
would later become director-general of the Foreign Ministry, and Dan
Bavli, who was a reserve officer, handed the GOI a document
proposing a two-state solution, but that the state chose to ignore
it. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that this week small left-wing
groups plan to disrupt life in Israel and harm the IDF to mark the
40th anniversary of the war. The Jerusalem Post reported that
historian Michael Oren told the newspaper on Monday that those who
call the Six-Day War a disaster or a Pyrrhic victory are grossly
mistaken, because they overlook the fact that Israel was not
destroyed. In the interview, Oren said that his research of
documents in Arab countries has revealed clearly that the Arabs had
planned to destroy Israel. The Jerusalem Post noted that, although
this seems obvious to persons sympathetic to Israel who hold to the
traditional story of the Arabs' responsibility for the outbreak of
war, the intervening decades have seen the promulgation of a myth
that Israel was not really in danger.

Ha'aretz reported that, on July 16, 2006, four days after the Second
Lebanon War started, Israel's National Security Council recommended
that the Israeli offensive against Hizbullah be wrapped up as
quickly as possible, as most of the possible objectives had already
been met. In retrospect, however, Ha'aretz noted that it is evident
that no serious discussion was ever held over recommendations to
shorten the war. Ha'aretz also reported that on Monday the head of
the research division of Military Intelligence, Brig. Gen. Yossi
Baidatz, told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
that Hizbullah was rebuilding its forces south of the Litani River
in Lebanon, despite the presence of international peacekeepers in
the area. Baidatz's remarks apparently contradict comments made by
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at a speech to the Knesset last week, in
which he said that "the situation in southern Lebanon has changed
completely" since the summer 2006 war.

Ha'aretz reported that on Monday Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann
ordered Justice Ministry officials to draft a new version of a law
that exempts the state from compensating Palestinians for damage
caused in the course of non-combat activities in the territories.
If such a law passes, it will mark the first time the Knesset has
reenacted legislation that was overturned by the High Court of
Justice. The court overturned the original law, known as the
Intifada Law, in December 2006, four years after its enactment.
Friedmann has asked that the government-sponsored legislation be
ready within the next two weeks, even if its passage will also
require a change in the Basic Law. For the new Intifada law to
survive judicial review, the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom
will likely need to be amended -- also for the first time. On the
other hand, Ha'aretz wrote that Friedmann might prefer to revise the
Basic Law on the Judiciary to explicitly state that the High Court
has no authority to rule on the constitutionality of the new law.
It is unclear whether the Knesset has the authority to pass a
previously overturned law without changing the wording, or whether
it must adhere to the guidelines set by the court. It is also
uncertain if the High Court would automatically overturn the
legislation if it passed without any changes.

Ha'aretz reported that on Monday, speaking to his supporters,
Knesset Member Ami Ayalon, who is running neck and neck with former
PM Ehud Barak to become head of the Labor Party, left open the
possibility that Labor will stay in the government if he is elected
party leader. He was quoted as saying that the decision would be
made by the party's institutions. Ha'aretz said that the outgoing
Labor Chairman, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who is backing Ayalon,
hopes to stay in the government. Ha'aretz wrote that Peretz wants
a cabinet post that will involve him in socioeconomic issues.

Ha'aretz reported that on Monday Shas Party Chairman Eli Yishai told
Vice PM Shimon Peres that the party will support his bid for the
presidency, having gotten the nod to do so from its spiritual
leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Yishai reportedly told Peres that Yosef
would instruct all 12 of the ultra-Orthodox party's Knesset members
to vote for him in the presidential balloting. Yediot, which filed
a similar story, found that in a first round of voting among the
Knesset members, former Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin would garner
49 votes, Vice PM Shimon Peres 48, and Labor MK Colette Avital 23.
According to Yediot, Peres would win in a second round with 66 votes
vs. 54 to Rivlin.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Monday an alliance of Jerusalem
Arab organizations launched an international campaign to create an
independent municipality for Arab residents of East Jerusalem.

Leading media commented on a limited military operation and arrests
by the IDF in the Gaza Strip. This morning Israel Radio quoted
Palestinian sources as saying that IDF troops wounded Palestinian
youths in the West Bank.

Ha'aretz reported that the Shin Bet will tell a Knesset committee
today that it has halved its reliance on the special detention
authority it was granted last year. According to the order, which
functions as a temporary law, the Shin Bet is allowed to hold
detainees for four days before they receive a hearing. The order in
question is a temporary provision designed to allow the Shin Bet to
detain Gaza citizens even after the disengagement from the Gaza
Strip in 2005 and the subsequent abolition of military rule there by
the IDF.

Ha'aretz reported that an internal report by the IDF's Civil
Administration in the territories found that at least 25 percent of
the structures built by Israelis in the West Bank's Area C (full
Israeli control) were constructed on private Arab-owned land.
According to the report, only 0.5 percent of the illegal structures
were constructed on land registered to Jewish owners. The data also
indicate that Israel is practicing a discriminatory policy: It is
more lenient on illegal construction by Jews than by Palestinians.
Although the Jewish population in the area is four times larger than
the Arab population, the authorities have demolished three times as
many Palestinian-controlled structures as Jewish-controlled
structures. Ha'aretz also reported that the report found that the
Civil Administration had finished mapping only nine illegal outposts
in the West Bank, containing 131 structures, by mid-2006.

Leading media reported that the IDF and police will provide security
for a Peace Now rally today in Hebron, near the center of the Jewish
community there, to protest 40 years of settlements.

The Jerusalem Post reported that, in a debate among Democratic Party
US presidential candidates on Sunday, New Mexico Governor and former
US Permanent Representative to the UN Bill Richardson backtracked on
his earlier suggestion that former Secretary of State James Baker
would be his Middle East envoy and instead suggested former
President Bill Clinton

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Monday the Justice Ministry
charged that Amnesty International's report on the treatment of
Palestinians in the West Bank was "immoral" and "inaccurate."

The Jerusalem Post reported that former IDF Intelligence head Maj.
Gen. (Res.) Aharon Zeevi-Farkash called on Monday, during a
conference at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel
Aviv, for the establishment of an international "intelligence pool"
to combat Al-Qaida. He was quoted as saying that countries like the
US and the UK need to start to "view their Muslim populations
differently" and as a potential threat.

The Jerusalem Post reported that expanding the powers of the
European monitors at the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and
Egypt was among the topics discussed when senior EU and Israeli
officials met in Jerusalem on Monday for the annual EU-Israel
Association meeting.

Ha'aretz reported that Egypt will host representatives of the major
Palestinian factions later this month for talks in a cease-fire
agreement that Egyptian officials are busy preparing.

Ha'aretz quoted Acting Israel Tax Authority Director General Yehuda
Nasradishi as saying on Monday that compensation for direct damage
from the fighting around communities surrounding the Gaza Strip --
which he estimated at 826 million shekels (approx. USD 203.5
million) would be paid only on the basis of claims filed, and not
automatically, as was the case for damages from the Second Lebanon
War. Nasradishi was quoted as saying that 626 claims have been
filed for damages sustained around Gaza.

Ha'aretz reported on a drama series on Iranian state TV that carries
the message that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a "European
problem" and that Israeli Jews should therefore return to their
original homelands on that continent.

Yediot reported that the police have recommended that Finance
Minister Abraham Hirchson be indicted for theft and embezzlement.
Leading media reported that the police have recommended the Shula
Zaken, PM Olmert's former chief of staff, be indicted in an alleged
bribery affair.

Maariv prominently commented on a possible resumption of the Cold
War, this time between the US and Russia.

Ha'aretz reported that the American hedge fund Cerberus-Gabriel is
resuming its bid to obtain a permit from the Bank of Israel to
control Bank Leumi, Israel's second-largest bank.

Ha'aretz presented the results of Tel Aviv University's Peace Index
poll conducted among Israeli Jews on May 28-30:
-Only 37 percent are currently convinced by PM Olmert's claim that
there is no immediate and total way to stop the Qassam fire; 53.5
percent think he is mistaken. Indeed, 46 percent ascribe the
leadership's decision not to launch a military operation in Gaza to
the conclusions of the Winograd Commission's interim report (vs. 39
percent who do not believe this is the reason).
- A large minority -- 42 percent -- favors reoccupying Gaza and
staying there to make sure the fire is not resumed, while 48 percent
oppose such a move. Sixty-three percent (vs. 28 percent), however,
support a limited ground operation after which IDF forces would
withdraw. The public is almost evenly divided between 47 percent
who support holding direct negotiations with Hamas on stopping the
rocket fire on Sderot, and 48 percent who oppose such negotiations.
- Among those who generally support negotiations, 63 percent also
favor direct contacts with Hamas on the rocket fire and only 33
percent are opposed to such talks. But among those who generally
oppose contacts with the Palestinian Authority, only 18 percent
favor negotiating with Hamas, compared with a majority of 56 percent
who are opposed.
- In any case, an overwhelming majority -- 76 percent -- of the
Jewish public believe that Israel should not respond positively to
Hamas's offer about ceasing IDF arrests of and strikes on its
members in the West Bank in return for promises to stop the Qassam
fire.

The Jerusalem Post presented a poll released on Monday by James
Zogby's Arab American Institute in conjunction with Americans For
Peace Now, which shows strong support for a two-state solution among
both American Arabs and Jews, and for a presidential candidate who
would play an active role in the peace process if elected.

----------------------------------------
1. 40th Anniversary of the Six-Day War:
----------------------------------------

Summary:
--------

Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Just like the name of the unforgettable
[Israeli] book ... from 1967 -- 'Sorry We Won ' -- Israel in June
2007 looks like a country that is ashamed of everything that
happened here 40 years ago. But had it happened differently, we
would not be here today."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "It is
not the lack of a Palestinian state that perpetuates the war, but
the war, and the rejection of Israeli sovereignty at its heart, that
perpetuates the lack of a Palestinian state."

Historian and columnist Tom Segev wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Those [Israelis belonging to] the 1967
generation did not appreciate the damage caused by the occupation --
among other things, to the fundamental ideological and moral values
that gave birth to the country, and to its democratic fabric. This
was the major failure of that generation."

Palestinian affairs correspondent and far-left Palestinian
sympathizer Amira Hass wrote in Ha'aretz: "Starting in 1991, Israel
has been creating two kinds of expanses between the Mediterranean
and the Jordan: a superior, open, developed and improved space for
the Jews, and a shattered space tainted by intentional
de-development for the Palestinians.... No wonder there is nostalgia
for the occupation that existed before 1991!"

Dr. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator of the Palestine
Liberation Organization, wrote in Ha'aretz: "If Israel fails to
accept [the Arab League's] generous offer, we could lose the last
chance for peace based on the two-state solution and might instead
face a long bloody conflict."


Block Quotes:
-------------

I. "Had Things Happened Differently, We Wouldn't Be Here"

Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/5): "The [Six-Day] War was preceded by
days of existential fear. The public in Israel was exposed to
Nazi-like Arab propaganda, which threatened to kill, to annihilate,
to destroy and to throw the Jews into the sea.... Forty years after
the Six-Day War, Israel under the Olmert government is defeated in
the public diplomacy battle, defeated in the politics of history and
is incapable of eliciting even the most minimal air of national
uplifting. Just like the name of the unforgettable [Israeli] book
... from 1967 -- 'Sorry We Won ' -- Israel in June 2007 looks like a
country that is ashamed of everything that happened here 40 years
ago. But had it happened differently, we would not be here today."

II. "The War That Didn't End"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (6/5):
"Over the past 40 years, [the Six-Day War] victory has been
transformed in international and even, to a large extent, in Israeli
eyes into a burden and a mark of Cain. The besieged Israel of June
4, 1967 has, for some, become the besieger of the Palestinians. A
nation, once threatened, is seen as an occupier. This
transformation has contributed to and been exacerbated by an
internal rift within our society, as symbolized by the poles of
Peace Now and the settler movement. Both of these movements are now
badly battered: the first destroyed by the wave of Palestinian
suicide bombings that were the response to the Israeli offer of a
Palestinian state, the second devastated both by war and peace
agreements that convinced the public that the Palestinian population
cannot be absorbed without destroying our society and democracy....
It is not the lack of a Palestinian state that perpetuates the war,
but the war, and the rejection of Israeli sovereignty at its heart,
that perpetuates the lack of a Palestinian state. Until this
fundamental truth is absorbed and becomes the basis of international
policy, the 1967 war, like all those before and after, will not be
fully resolved."

III. "What Was Forgotten That Morning"

Historian and columnist Tom Segev wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (6/5): "It cannot be said with certainty that
had all Israelis agreed to withdraw from all the territories, all
the Arabs would have agreed to make peace. But those of the 1967
generation did not appreciate the damage caused by the occupation --
among other things, to the fundamental ideological and moral values
that gave birth to the country, and to its democratic fabric. This
was the major failure of that generation. More and more Israelis
say today that they do not believe in peace. Many among them are
young.... The challenge they face is merely to manage the conflict
in a better way than their parents did, so that life will be more
tolerable. In view of the circumstances they are inheriting from
their parents, that is no small task."

IV. "In Praise of the Occupation"

Palestinian affairs correspondent and far-left Palestinian
sympathizer Amira Hass wrote in Ha'aretz (6/5): "The occupations
brought about by the 1967 war accomplished one great thing: They
reunited the majority of the Palestinian people within the
boundaries of their homeland. For the first time in 19 years it was
once again possible for Palestinians to live and experience
together, as a group, the expanse between the Mediterranean Sea and
the Jordan River.... [However,] starting in 1991, Israel has been
creating two kinds of expanses between the Mediterranean and the
Jordan: a superior, open, developed and improved space for the Jews,
and a shattered space tainted by intentional de-development for the
Palestinians.... No wonder there is nostalgia for the occupation
that existed before 1991!"

V. "An Offer That Cannot Be Refused"

Dr. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator of the Palestine
Liberation Organization, wrote in Ha'aretz (6/5): "Like all the
nations of the world, we refuse to live under occupation or any
other system that denies us our full civil and political rights. If
Israel fails to accept [the Arab League's] generous offer, we could
lose the last chance for peace based on the two-state solution and
might instead face a long bloody conflict that will result in many
victims on both sides -- something Israel can prevent if it begins
to face the current realities of the new Middle East. In the life
of every nation, there comes a time to face difficult and historic
choices. Based on past experience, with a critical eye to the
future and our commitment to future generations, the Arab world is
choosing the path of peace, compromise and negotiation by extending
its hand to you, the Israeli people. In order that we might see
peace in our generation and secure a peaceful future for our
children, let us together shape a new reality of peace in the Middle
East."

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "In contrast
[to Woodrow Wilson,] Bush never completely matched his visionary
rhetoric to his actual policies."

Block Quotes:
-------------

"Echoes of 1919"

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (6/5): "While
[the late US President Woodrow] Wilson's vision was unrealistic, he
has to be credited for his unstinting devotion to it. In contrast,
Bush never completely matched his visionary rhetoric to his actual
policies. And today, increasingly abandoned by his supporters and
undermined by his own advisers who reject his vision and insist on
returning to fantasyland, Bush has apparently abandoned his own
doctrine of war and peace.... While upholding Islam as a religion of
peace, the administration courted Islamic preachers of war.... As
for the Palestinians, Bush has opted to ignore Fatah's involvement
in terrorism, its jihadist indoctrination of Palestinian society and
its strategic collaboration with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah,
Iran, and Syria. By upholding Fatah, Bush blocked all possibility
that an alternative, liberal and democratic Palestinian leadership
could emerge. The same pattern has held in Egypt.... As Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proclaims that the countdown to the
next Holocaust has begun while actively waging war against the US
and its allies on all available fronts, the catastrophe that will
follow an American relapse into isolationism and appeasement is
undeniable."

JONES

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