Search

 

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0006
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1912/01 1731114
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221114Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1882
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEADWD/DA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 2359
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9079
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2379
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3170
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2381
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0297
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3121
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 9994
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0466
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7062
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4478
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9388
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3563
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5507
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7200
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001912

SIPDIS

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

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

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

1. Mideast

2. Iran

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

Leading media (banner in Yediot) quoted PM Ehud Olmert as saying at
a fundraising event in Haifa on Thursday that his meeting with PA
President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday will create a "new beginning"
between Israel and the Palestinians. "I am going to meet with
President [Hosni] Mubarak of Egypt, King Abdullah of Jordan and
President Abu Mazen [Abbas] of the Palestinian Authority this coming
Monday to jointly work on a platform that may lead into a new
beginning between us and the Palestinians," the PM was quoted as
saying. "We will have the support and the involvement of the United
States of America, whose leader George W. Bush, wants to realize
while still in office, the dream of a Palestinian state alongside
the state of Israel in peace and security," Olmert added. Leading
media reported that during the upcoming meeting Israel will propose
a "package of gestures" for the Palestinians, such as releasing USD
600 million in tax revenues that Israel collected on the PA's
behalf, providing PA forces with modern weapons, and the removal of
checkpoints in the West Bank. The media quoted GOI officials as
saying that more concessions will be offered, but that a prisoner
release is not on the agenda. Yediot reported that Olmert suggested
that a senior Saudi official take part in the Sharm el-Sheikh
summit. The Jerusalem Post wrote that efforts are underway to get
the Saudis to join future meetings.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that a "senior White House official"
told the newspaper after the meeting between Olmert and President
Bush that Israel's restraint weakens the US. The official was
quoted as saying that the Israeli failures in Lebanon and the Gaza
Strip are perceived as an American failure and that Olmert is a very
weak prime minister.

Ha'aretz reported that despite open backing by UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon's office of the new Palestinian emergency government, a
Security Council bid to support Abbas and isolate Hamas has been
thwarted. A US initiative for a Security Council declaration of
confidence in the emergency government was blocked by objections
from four council members -- Russia, South Africa, Indonesia, and
Qatar -- on Wednesday. Ha'aretz quoted UN sources in New York as
saying that these countries' governments object to the anti-Hamas
policy and to American and European efforts to isolate the group as
a terror organization. The South African Ambassador argued that the
international community, especially the US, Israel and the Quartet,
are to blame for the situation in the Gaza Strip. The Indonesian
Ambassador complained that the Security Council was devoting time
and energy to discussions of Lebanon but ignoring the Palestinian
problem. The Palestinian observer to the UN also objected to a
declaration of support for the emergency government. The observer
argued that such a declaration would constitute intervention in the
PA's internal affairs.

The Jerusalem Post reported that fearing a humanitarian crisis, the
Defense Ministry is considering parachuting food into the Gaza
Strip, or sending in tanks and troops to take over the Palestinian
side of the Karni cargo crossing to oversee supplies. Leading media
reported that on Thursday Israel evacuated about 60 Palestinian
residents but that half of them refused to enter Israel and insisted
on returning to Gaza. Media reported that on Thursday ten
truckloads of basic foodstuffs, provided by King Abdullah II of
Jordan, entered the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Major media reported that on Thursday the PLO's Central Council
called for disarming all armed militias in the PA, including Hamas's
Executive Force and Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Yediot
reported that Abbas intends to declare Hamas a terrorist
organization.

Ha'aretz quoted former Palestinian FM Mahmoud Zahar (Hamas) as
saying in an interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel: "We will
establish an Islamic state only after we have a Palestinian state.
At present we want to establish an Islamic society." Maariv
reported on the presence of Iranian military experts in the Gaza
Strip.

Major media reported that in Washington on Thursday Likud Chairman
Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters that the Jordanian-Palestinian
Badr Brigade should help maintain order in the West Bank. Ha'aretz
also quoted Netanyahu as sayng and that Egypt should act to prevent
arms smuggling along its border with Gaza. Speaking on Israel Radio
this morning, former FM Silvan Shalom (Likud) blasted the idea of
bringing the Badr Brigade to the West Bank, saying that the force
might turn against Israel. Maariv, The Jerusalem Post, and Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe printed pictures of Netanyahu with Sen. Hillary
Rodham Clinton.

In its lead story, Ha'aretz reported that on Thursday Syrian Vice
President Farouk Shara downplayed prospects of peace with Israel,
saying that crucial American support was lacking. In the first
official Syrian comments on the matter, Shara said in Damascus: "We
are not optimistic. The US President does not want peace between
Israel and Syria."

Israel Radio and other media reported that the US Congress has taken
USD 200 million off the assistance to Egypt because that country has
allowed weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip. The radio also
reported that Congress has taken financial measures against Hamas.

Saying that the IAF is boosting its offensive "long-range"
exercises, Maariv reported on increasing contacts between Israel and
the US regarding possible attacks against Iran. The Jerusalem Post
also reported on growing IAF-USAF cooperation. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe
reported that on Wednesday Russian FM Sergey Lavrov met with Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran. The newspaper and The
Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday US Congress members
passed, 411 to 2, a non-binding resolution calling on the US
Security Council to put Ahmadinejad on trial for infringing the UN
Genocide Treaty.

Maariv cited Arab media as saying that Syrian President Bashar
Assad, who fears that Israel might endanger his regime, plans to
smuggle his personal fortune out of Syria.

The Jerusalem Post reported that three experts told the US Congress
on Wednesday that a historic window of opportunity to put Hizbullah
on the EU terror list has opened following the French elections.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Mumtaz Dughmush, the head of the
Gaza clan that has been holding BBC correspondent Alan Johnston for
the past 100 days, is refusing to release the journalist for fear
that Hamas will kill him and most of his clan members.

Maariv reported that through the Greek Orthodox Church -- a
significant landowner in Israel -- Jordanian Prince Ghazi, a cousin
of the late King Hussein, is trying to take over thousands of dunams
(one dunam equals approximately 0.25 acres) of precious real estate
in Israel, including land on which the Knesset building was
erected.
Ha'aretz (English Ed.) reported that "Obsession: Radical Islam's War
Against the West," a documentary produced in Israel and screened
widely throughout the US, is stirring furious debate over its
depiction of Muslims. The film is gaining a quick following among
conservative Americans, Evangelicals, and Jews. Vice President Dick
Cheney is said to have seen the film and though it has not
technically been released yet, segments have been screened several
times on Fox News and shown on nearly 200 university campuses.
However, the newspaper said that critics of the film dismiss it as
"fear-mongering" propaganda aimed at bashing Muslims and inciting
bigotry and hate.

Ha'aretz quoted a source in the IDF's Civil Administration as saying
that residents of the West Bank settlement outpost of Adei Ad
uprooted 300 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers about a
week ago. Ha'aretz cited claims by the settlers' regional council
that the orchard had been worked by Jews for years.

Ha'aretz and Yediot quoted close associates of Olmert as saying that
Interior Minister Roni Bar-On is likely to replace Abraham Hirchson
as finance minister.

Ha'aretz reported that Russian tycoon Vyacheslav Moshe Kantor, an
associate of President Vladimir Putin, is the leading candidate for
president of the European Jewish Congress in next week's elections
in Brussels. Kantor is supported by a number of European Jewish
community leaders, but a few have warned against electing a close
ally of the Russian government. Ha'aretz cited the fear of some
Israeli officials that as president of the umbrella organization,
Kantor could undermine Israel's efforts to prevent Iran from
developing nuclear weapons. Ha'aretz quoted Kantor as saying that
his close links to the Kremlin are good for the Jews and might prove
helpful on the Iranian issue.

Ha'aretz published a series of appreciative obituaries of its senior
defense commentator Zeev Schiff, who passed away this week. Israeli
president-elect Shimon Peres, former US ambassador to Israel Martin
Indyk, Executive Director of the Washington Institute Robert
Satloff, and former ambassador to the US Itamar Rabinovich, are
among the writers.

Yediot reported that Israelis who convicted of drunk driving or
similar offenses are likely to be refused a US visa. The newspaper
quoted Israeli lawyers as saying that the US has access to Israeli
criminal records so that lying when applying for a visa is useless.
Yediot quoted sources at Israel Police headquarters as saying that
in certain cases the US and Israel exchange information about their
citizens.

Globes reported that the leading US healthcare company Boston
Scientific is purchasing the Israeli medical equipment firm Rimon
Medical for USD 80 million.

Ha'aretz, Yediot, and Maariv cited the results of a poll published
on Thursday by the independent Palestinian Center for Policy and
Survey Research. Some 75 percent of Palestinians favor new
elections. The poll, conducted during and after last week's Hamas
takeover of Gaza, found that 49 percent back Abbas for president and
42 percent favor former PM Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. But if
imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti were to run, he would win
59 percent to Haniyeh's 35 percent. Some 59 percent said that Hamas
and Fatah are equally to blame for the factional fighting in Gaza,
while 70 percent said the chances of getting a Palestinian state in
the next five years are slim.

------------
1. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner and diplomatic correspondent
Aluf Benn wrote from Washington in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz: "In conversations within the US and Israel this week, we
heard doubts that go beyond questions of timing to those of
substance: Is the idea of an independent Palestinian state still
valid?"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea and diplomatic correspondent Shimon
Shiffer wrote from Washington in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot: "On the Palestinian issue, Olmert has become the
salesman for the new Abu Mazen."

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "Since Abbas is the moderate, he must be
supported, and Bush's expectation is that Israel will do everything
it can to support him as well."

Michael Freund, who was an assistant to former prime minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, wrote in The Jerusalem Post: "We should never
have left [the Gaza Strip] in the first place, and the time has now
come to return."

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

I. "A Moment of Clarity"

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner and diplomatic correspondent
Aluf Benn wrote from Washington in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (6/22): "During the Bush-Olmert meeting, the Americans
described their thorough examination of the Palestinian constitution
to determine whether it allows for the removal of the Hamas
government and its replacement by the Fatah emergency government.
To the Israelis, who are dismissive of the fine points of
Palestinian law, it seemed strange: 'The Americans are going too far
in judging our conflict in their own terms,' an Olmert aide said.
Washington wants to demonstrate consistency and loyalty to
principles, however. Its decision to extend wholehearted support to
the emergency government does not make life easier for the State
Department's public relations people. If they talk about democracy,
they will be reminded that they did everything possible to
neutralize the Hamas victory in the elections. If they speak of
peace, they will be accused of colluding with the Israelis to
dictate the nature of the Palestinian leadership. When they try to
convince the Arabs of the honesty of their intentions, the Americans
proceed cautiously: How can they explain their position to the Arabs
without harming Israel?.... Bush and Olmert conducted the most
effective propaganda show possible under the present circumstances.
Olmert looked as though he wanted a Palestinian state even more than
the Palestinians themselves do, and Bush appeared to believe in the
two-state vision even more than the Israelis and the Palestinians.
But in conversations within the US and Israel this week, we heard
doubts that go beyond questions of timing to those of substance: Is
the idea of an independent Palestinian state still valid?"

II. "Fellow Sufferers"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea and diplomatic correspondent Shimon
Shiffer wrote from Washington in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (6/22): "On the Palestinian issue, Olmert has become
the salesman for the new Abu Mazen. 'I hope that the shock of the
atrocities in Gaza shook him up,' he said to Bush. 'Perhaps he has
broken free of his previously held illusions that it is possible to
work with a government that includes Hamas. The fact is that the
decisions that he has made in the past few days were not made
beforehand.' Olmert could have said to the Americans: I told you

so, I warned you about Hamas. My hands are clean. Instead of
bemoaning the reality, he preferred to present it as an opportunity.
Bush seized the idea of the opportunity with both hands. Like
Olmert, he felt that he has to market a vision to his public, to
demonstrate control. The chances that something will come of this
are not high, but in the meantime, it is best to concentrate on the
chances. For Bush, the crisis in the Palestinian Authority fits
into a larger worldview, which in the eyes of most Israelis, and not
just the Israelis, is groundless. The avalanche in Gaza was part of
a global struggle of sons of light against sons of darkness. Fatah,
like Israel, represents democracy. Hamas is the opposite of Fatah:
It represents benighted Islamic fanaticism. The US has an absolute
commitment to defend democracy everywhere. It is embracing Abu
Mazen not for utilitarian reasons, but on the basis of a profound
moral awareness. It could even be said that OlmertQs marketing ploy
succeeded too well. He knows that Abu Mazen is a feeble support.
Tomorrow or the day after he may join forces with Hamas again or
disappear, he and his men, as they disappeared in Gaza. 'Reality is
what will determine matters,' said Olmert to his American
interlocutors, 'not dreams.'"

III. "Fumbled in Mid-Pass"

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (6/22): "It was planned to have been much
different, Ehud Olmert's third trip to the US as prime minister....
This visit was designed to shift the focus in Israel from Olmert's
political problems to his role as statesman. It was intended to be
an important step along the route toward the embattled premier's
overall rehabilitation. But then Hamas intervened, and the focus of
Olmert's talks this week in the US shifted from boosting Olmert to
bolstering Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. As much as
the US is comfortable with Olmert and the current configuration of
the Israeli government, the survivability of Abbas and the success
of the 'moderate Palestinian camp' is even more important to Bush's
overall policy in the Middle East. And this explains why Olmert,
though in the spotlight in Washington, was actually only a
supporting player.... It is critically important for the US right
now that Abbas not be tackled by the extremists, and this is
important not simply within the context of US strategy throughout
the Middle East.... Bush has little choice at this point but to
support Abbas. The US must demonstrate to others in the Arab world
now that in times of need it does not abandon its allies.... Since
Abbas is the moderate, he must be supported, and Bush's expectation
is that Israel will do everything it can to support him as well."
IV. "Take Back Gaza Now"

Michael Freund, who was an assistant to former prime minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, wrote in The Jerusalem Post (6/22): "As
important as diplomacy is, it pales in comparison with protecting
the lives of innocent Jewish men, women, and children. When it
comes to safeguarding the welfare of its citizens, Israel has no
choice but to put aside all other considerations and to act to
defend itself. For no matter does, or does not do, the blame is
inevitably hurled our way. So we might as well do what we must, and
proudly raise the blue and white flag once again over the sand dunes
of Gaza. We should never have left in the first place, and the time
has now come to return. Like it or not, the choice between Israel
or Hamas ruling the area really doesn't leave us with much choice at
all. So Gaza, here we come!"


---------
2. Iran:
---------

Summary:
--------


Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "The Persian Gulf is brimming with American aircraft
carriers. The Israel Air Force runs 'long-range' training
flights."

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

"Positive News on the Iranian Front"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (6/22): "Israeli sources knowledgeable of the contacts with
the United States say: 'Everything we suggested them in the Iranian
affair has been accepted, including timetables. There are no
disagreements at all between us and them on this issue.' The news
is good regarding stiffer economic sanctions being imposed on Tehran
and information flowing back and forth between Tel Aviv and
Washington -- including explicit names of banks active in
transferring funds from Iran.... The main problem is the small
amount of information about Iran's secret nuclear program.... The
Persian Gulf is brimming with American aircraft carriers. The
Israel Air Force runs 'long-range' training flights. Those are
long-range offensive flights that include refueling in mid-air.
They are meant to prevent any trouble or to practice an attack --
whatever happens."

CRETZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>