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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0008
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2050/01 1841029
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031029Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2079
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 2409
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9121
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2443
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3212
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2430
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0366
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3168
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0041
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0513
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7104
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4520
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9436
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3606
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5549
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7297
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002050

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

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

Mideast

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

Israeli media covered Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to
the US. Ha'aretz reported that Presidents Bush and Putin announced
following their meeting on Monday that they "stand together" on the
Iranian nuclear question, however they did not elaborate further.
Ha'aretz noted that the Bush administration and US intelligence
services believe that this round of Security Council discussions on
economic sanctions against Iran will determine whether this strategy
is likely to succeed. Other media said that Putin's visit to Bush's
Kennebunkport retreat brought few achievements.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel has relayed messages to
Morocco's King Mohamed VI in recent week urging him to travel to
Ramallah and meet PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas to boost
Abbas's standing. The Jerusalem Post also cited Jerusalem's
assessment that the Egyptian and Jordanian FMs, who in May announced
their intention to come to Israel as representatives of the Arab
League Initiative, were unlikely to come until the situation in the
is resolved.

Ha'aretz reported that the US Senate version of the Foreign Aid
legislation for 2008 includes an amendment that would prevent Israel
from purchasing cluster bombs with US military aid. The daily also
reported that Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the head of the
Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and
Related Programs, was trying to downgrade American aid to Israel.
Leahy ultimately failed when other members of the committee told him
the changes he introduced were unacceptable.

Ha'aretz Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner reported that the US
is rethinking the two-state solution. According to Ha'aretz, some
senior administration officials have begun to ask what would happen
if the current strategy does not work. The newspaper reported that
"mainstream groups," including many senior Fatah members, are
weighing the Jordanian option for solving the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. Ha'aretz reported that a Palestinian source close to
Abbas told the newspaper that he was not "frightened" by these
ideas, however, "this is a sensitive matter. Of course, it is
difficult to address it publicly." Ha'aretz quoted Jordan's King
Abdullah II as saying during in an interview on Sunday that Jordan
rejects the "formula of confederation and federation and we believe
that proposing this issue at this specific point in time is a
conspiracy against both Palestine and Jordan."

The Jerusalem Post quoted Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh as
saying on Monday that IDF projects vital to counter Iran are being
held up by lack of funding.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted Olmert as saying on Monday that it is
worthwhile to "increase the margins of risk" in exchange for the
diplomatic achievements that Israel will gain in moving forward with
negotiations with the PA. Olmert was talking before the Knesset's
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

Ha'aretz reported that on Wednesday thousands of Palestinians left
stranded on the Egyptian side of the border will be allowed to cross
through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Ha'aretz quoted a senior
Palestinian security source as saying that Hamas has set up a
dormant infrastructure of its "executive force" and that Fatah is
now working to dismantle this organization. Major media reported
that Hamas planned to take over east Jerusalem. The media reported
that the Shin Bet recently arrested nine senior Hamas activists who
started organizing young men in the city for military action.
Maariv said that eight of the apprehended youths carry Israeli ID
cards and that the Hamas ministers who were arrested last year are
also involved.

Leading media reported that on Monday in Jenin IDF troops killed
Muhammad al-Hija, one of the heads of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades, who was thought to be the deputy to Zacharia Zubeidi.

Ha'aretz reported that a day after assuming his position as Defense
Minister, Ehud Barak ordered the dismantling of structures, mobile
homes, and shipping containers erected in the West Bank without
permits.

Israeli media (lead story in Yediot) once again reported that the
committee implementing recommendations from the Winograd Commission
is primarily focusing on bolstering the National Security Council in
the Prime Minister's Office. Israel Radio also reported that the
committee headed by former IDF chief of staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak,
calls for strengthening the "diplomatic-security cabinet" and the
Foreign Ministry's role in decision-making. The radio reported that
PM Ehud Olmert put his senior aide Yoram Turbowicz in charge of
implementing Lipkin-Shahak's recommendations. Major media reported
that on Monday Acting President of Israel Dalia Itzik invited
Hizbullah to begin negotiations with Israel on a 'fair exchange' for
the release of the two soldiers kidnapped last summer. She also
called on Hizbullah to show Israel some sign of life from the two
kidnapped IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. Itzik
criticized Olmert for not forming a national unity government during
the Second Lebanon War. Itzik was speaking at the official state
ceremony marking the first anniversary of the war, at Jerusalem's
Mount Herzl National Cemetery. The media reported that members of
the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee from both sides
of the political spectrum, as well as members of bereaved families,
criticized Olmert for not participating in the memorial
ceremonies.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel has abandoned plans to build
a major new bridge to the Mughrabi Gate adjacent to Jerusalem's
Western Wall.

Major media expects Olmert to appoint Haim Ramon as minister in the
Prime Minister's Office and Vice PM today. Maariv reported on bad
blood between Ramon and Roni Bar-On, the Interior and newly
appointed finance minister.

Ha'aretz reported that Palestinian national poet and writer Mahmoud
Darwish is expected to take part in a literary event in Haifa on
July 15, for the first time since leaving Israel 35 yeas ago.
Ha'aretz reported that Iman Ouda, the Secretary of the Hadash Party,
told the newspaper on Monday that the Defense Ministry has permitted
Darwish to attend the event.

All media reported that on Monday the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court
sentenced nuclear whistleblower Mordecai Vanunu to six months
imprisonment. Vanunu was convicted of violating terms of his parole
-- by meeting journalists without approval -- no less than 14
times.

Leading media reported that Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu
intends to convene his party's Central Committee next week to set
the date for the Likud leadership elections -- most likely in
August. Yediot quoted senior Likud members as saying that Netanyahu
wants to prevent his rivals -- principally former FM Silvan Shalom
-- from having time to organize their campaigns. Moshe Feiglin, the
head of far-right wing of Likud, is also expected to compete.
Maariv reported that three months ago the US military in Iraq
arrested Ali Musa Dakdouk, the former head of Hizbullah's
operations. US authorities only announced his capture on Monday.
Major media cited the US claim that Iran is using Hizbullah as
"proxy" to organize insurgents in Iraq.

Major media reported that the body of Thomas K. Mooney, the US
Defense Attach in Cyprus, was found 50 km west of Nicosia on
Monday.

Ha'aretz quoted Dr. Richard Herman, Chancellor of the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as saying at a meeting with Education
Minister Yuli Tamir on Monday that the main obstacle to student
exchanges is the State Department's travel advisory against visiting
Israel. Herman proposed that the members of the delegation from
American universities visiting Israel, approach the State Department
with a request to re-examine its recommendations. Ha'aretz also
quoted Laurie Wexler, Executive Director of the American Jewish
Committee's (AJC) Project Interchange, as saying that the visit will
encourage encounters between scholars and allow people in leadership
positions to pass on information and to learn first-hand about
Israel and its complexities.

All media reported that on Monday at least nine people -- most of
them Spanish tourists -- were killed in a car bomb attack in Yemen.

Leading media quoted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as saying on
Monday that Ashraf Mawan, who fell from his apartment window in
London last week, was an Egyptian patriot and not a spy, and
contrary to reports published in Israel, he did not warn Israel with
of the Egyptian-Syrian offensive that started the Yom Kippur War.
The media reported that Sherif al-Filali, an Egyptian engineer
convicted in 2002 of spying for Israel, has died in a Cairo jail of
a possible heart attack.

Ha'aretz presented the results of Tel Aviv University's Peace Index
poll conducted among Israelis on June 26-27:
-Seventy percent of the Israeli Jewish public presently support a
peace agreement with the Palestinians based on the "two states for
two peoples" formula (26.5 percent oppose it and the rest do not
know). However, as for the question of whether or not it is
possible to reach an agreement in the near future, 39 percent
replied that it is possible and 55 percent that it is not
- About half the public thinks that the Abbas government will be
unable to prevent a Hamas takeover of the West Bank even if it
receives assistance from Israel and other countries (43 percent of
people think it will be able to prevent it and the rest do not
know). Despite and perhaps because of this, 54 percent support
providing assistance to the Abbas government (compared to 41 percent
who oppose it and 5 percent who do not know). The overwhelming
majority (67 percent), however, would condition such assistance on
the Abbas government fulfilling the Israeli government's prior
demands such as recognizing Israel and putting a stop to terrorism.
Only 22.5 percent support assistance without conditions, 4 percent
oppose it under any conditions, and the rest do not know.

--------
Mideast:
--------

Summary:
--------

Defense and foreign affairs columnist Amir Oren wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Damaging Gazan infrastructure,
in accordance with the suggestion of hot-tempered Israelis, would be
a gift to Hamas and to Iran."

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "Friends of
Israel in Congress, the Bush administration, and the US policy
community would be happy to work with Israel to counteract
[Secretary] Rice's failed policies. Unfortunately, Israeli leaders
capable of appreciating and acting on this fact are nowhere to be
found in the Olmert government."

Berlin correspondent Eldad Beck wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "It is now too late to change UNIFIL's
mandate. The facts, which have already been established on the
ground, cannot be uprooted without starting a military clash with
Hizbullah -- a clash that no one is prepared to pay the price for."

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

I. "Gaza Still Linked to Israel"

Defense and foreign affairs columnist Amir Oren wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (7/3): "The [Israel-Gaza] border
fence symbolizes separation, but not total disconnection. Israel and
Gaza are like two parents who continue together to raise their
children -- the Palestinians -- after their divorce. The illusion
that it is possible to direct Gaza westward, toward Egypt, has
dissipated. The only unlimited resource in Egypt is poverty. The
Gazan economy is still linked to that of Israel.... Israel is not
being charitable to the Gaza residents. It is being good to itself;
the ethical and the realistic correspond. Behind Hamas, as behind
Hizbullah, stands Iran, in a military, ideological and financial
campaign/war. In the currency war, the rial against the shekel,
leaving the Gazan playing field to Iran will lead to a lethal
implementation of Realpolitik. Damaging Gazan infrastructure, in
accordance with the suggestion of hot-tempered Israelis, would be a
gift to Hamas and to Iran. As opposed to the day-to-day security
threats, the big, long-term risk must be considered: If the Iranian
regime is not replaced, Tehran will be here."

II. "Olmert's International Coalitions"

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (7/3): "The US
is presently considering a plan that would allow Iran to continue to
enrich uranium without facing effective international sanctions as a
result. The tragedy of this situation is that a coalition could be
brought together that would be capable of meeting both the
Palestinian and Iranian threats to Israel and global security.
Friends of Israel in Congress, the Bush administration, and the US
policy community would be happy to work with Israel to counteract
[Secretary] Rice's failed policies. Unfortunately, Israeli leaders
capable of appreciating and acting on this fact are nowhere to be
found in the Olmert government."

III. "A Toothless UNIFIL"

Berlin correspondent Eldad Beck wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (7/3): "The 'strengthened' UNIFIL can
point to two achievements: The presence of UNIFIL prevented --
apparently and for the time being -- the collapse of the shaky
Siniora government despite the series of political assassinations of
its supporters, and relative quiet has been maintained along the
border between Israel and Lebanon since it arrived.... UNIFIL troops
[might later] find themselves stuck between the Israeli rock and the
Lebanese hard place. Military experts in Berlin have already begun
to sketch response scenarios to such a possibility, in keeping with
past UN experience. One option is the 'Rwanda scenario': The calls
by the commander of the UN forces in the country to be given backup
forces to prevent genocide were not heeded, and when the massacres
spiraled out of control, UN forces stood idly by and watched the
turn of events without moving, since their mandate did not permit
them to intervene. There is the 'Croatia scenario': In the course
of the civil war that caused Yugoslavia to crumble, the Serb
minority in Croatia began to organize to ethnically cleanse its
territory. The UN sent large numbers of troops in helicopters to
the scene. The Serbs were deterred and capitulated. And there is,
of course, the 'abandon everything scenario': In light of the danger
of renewed war, the UN troops will simply pack up and return home.
Waiting for the clash is very frustrating, but the international
community is responsible for creating this trap. It is now too late
to change UNIFIL's mandate. The facts, which have already been
established on the ground, cannot be uprooted without starting a
military clash with Hizbullah -- a clash that no one is prepared to
pay the price for."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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