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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2081/01 1871017
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061017Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2135
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 2423
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9134
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2468
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3228
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2443
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0387
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3181
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0054
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0526
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7117
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4535
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9449
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3619
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5562
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7341
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RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002081

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:
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Mideast

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

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio quoted State Department Spokesman Sean
McCormack as saying on Thursday that the US has not changed its view
of Hamas, despite the group's role in winning the release in Gaza of
BBC reporter Alan Johnston. Ha'aretz further quoted McCormack as
saying that he does not think that "the world views Hamas any
differently as a result of this."

Israel Radio and Ha'aretz's Web site reported that Hamas has
authorized members of its military wing held in Israeli jails to
conduct negotiations with Israel for the release of captive IDF
soldier Gilad Shalit. The report was based on comments made by
Hamas Parliament Member Ayman Dararma in an article published today
in the Dubai newspaper Al-Khaleej. Dararma reportedly told
Al-Khaleej that the jailed Hamas leaders would determine the
criteria for which Hamas prisoners they will demand to be released
in a prisoner swap. He said the leaders have already met several
times with Israeli officials. However, Israel Radio reported that
the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, told
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Web site that only Cairo was authorized
to negotiate a deal and that no other negotiations were taking
place. The radio also cited Dararma's denial of Al-Khaleej's
report.

Israel Radio reported that the IDF ended its latest incursion into
the central Gaza Strip. Media quoted the IDF as saying that the
operation was aimed at clearing out Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror
infrastructure from the border area. Two IDF soldiers were
moderately wounded -- and according to Palestinian sources, 11
Palestinians -- including six Hamas activists -- were killed and
another 26 wounded. Ha'aretz reported that Imad Ghanem, a cameraman
for Hamas's Al Aqsa television network, was seriously wounded while
documenting the clashes. Though the origin of the gunfire cannot be
confirmed, it seems that IDF soldiers fired repeatedly at him. Al
Jazeera-TV cameras documented the incident. Ha'aretz quoted medical
sources in Gaza as saying that both his legs were amputated and he
is in critical condition. Ha'aretz quoted an IDF source as saying

on Thursday that Ghanem had been in the first line of fire and was
not wearing a vest indicating that he was a member of the press. The
source added that the man was probably not a card-carrying reporter,
but rather shooting footage for use in Hamas propaganda.

Ha'aretz cited a Peace Now report as saying that only nine percent
of the area earmarked for settlements has been built upon, and that
only 12 percent is being used at all. The report cites figures
provided by the IDF's Civil Administration in the territories.
Despite their huge unused land reserves, 90 percent of the
settlements exceed their boundaries, and about one-third of the
territory they do use lies outside their jurisdiction, the report
added. The newspaper noted Peace Now's charge that the findings
attest to the government's ongoing cooperation with the settlement
expansion.


Maariv reported that the Labor Party and Likud agree to hold Knesset
elections in March 2008 or in May at the latest. Ha'aretz published
the results of a Dialog poll: 42 percent prefer Netanyahu as prime
minister, compared to 34 percent who prefer Barak. PM Olmert
trailed behind, with 9 percent support. The poll gave Labor 25
Knesset seats if elections were held today -- six more than it has
at present. Likud, headed by Netanyahu, would be the largest party,
with 31 seats, up from its present 12. Kadima placed third on the
list, with 11 seats --- 18 fewer than it has now.

The Jerusalem Post reported that undeterred by Hamas's takeover of
Gaza, Israel and the British group BG are set to press ahead with a
USD 4 billion project to drill for natural gas off the Gaza coast.

Ha'aretz cited a report released on Thursday by the immigrant aid
organization Nefesh B'Nefesh that a 33-year high in immigration from
the US and Canada is expected in 2007, with some 3,500 Americans and
Canadians expected to move to Israel this year

In its coverage of the Fourth of July reception held at the US
Ambassador to Israel's residence on Tuesday, Ha'aretz (English Ed.)
printed a picture of Ambassador and Mrs. Jones, Acting President of
Israel Dalia Itzik, and PM Ehud Olmert. The newspaper quoted Olmert
as saying: "There is no country other than our own that we love
more, that we value more, or that we feel closer to than the US."
Itzik thanked the US for its "deep friendship and enduring
support."

Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh was quoted as saying in an
interview with Ha'aretz that an annual increase of 500 million
shekels (around USD 120 million) for each of the next four years
would solve the fundamental problems associated with the Iranian
threat, and that this is within Olmert's reach. In an interview
with The Jerusalem Post, Sneh was quoted as saying that Iran is the
driving force behind global terror. Ha'aretz cited the belief of
IDF Intelligence that relations with Syria are explosive, but that
war can be avoided. According to the daily, Military Intelligence
also believes that Hizbullah is presently uncomfortable confronting
Israel, and that Iran has not yet reached the threshold of nuclear
capability. Yediot reported that the holes in Israel's civil
defense apparent during the Second Lebanon War have not been fixed
and that civilians and infrastructures are likely to be hit by
missiles in future conflicts. Leading media reported that Pensioner
Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan told the Winograd Commission that the
GOI did not declare a state of emergency during last year's Lebanon
War so as not to harm its global financial status, Eitan slammed
the IDF for "failing to deliver" in Lebanon.

Italian PM Romano Prodi was quoted as saying in an interview with
Maariv ahead of his visit to Israel on Sunday that Iran is about to
decide its role in the world. Prodi advocated a tough dialogue with
Iran and called on Israel to make good on the prisoner swap with the
Palestinians and talks with Syria.

Yediot cited the IDF's concern that Hamas might put IAF planes at
risk, as the arsenal it seized from Fatah includes anti-aircraft
rockets.

Israel Radio reported that on Thursday the foreign ministers of the
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) -- which groups Bahrain, Kuwait,
Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- called for
the situation in the Gaza Strip to return to how it was before the
Islamist movement Hamas seized control last month. Still, the radio
reported that the council called for "respect for the Palestinian
national legitimacy, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, and respect for the
Palestinian Authority's legitimate institutions ... including the
elected Palestinian Legislative Council," where Hamas has a
majority. Israel Radio also said that the chief diplomats of the
GCC called on Iraq's neighbors to refrain from meddling in the
internal affairs of the war-torn country, in an apparent reference
to Iran.

Leading media reported that Israeli security sources oppose reducing
by one third the jail term of Nahum Manbar, because releasing him
would harm the struggle against Iran's nuclear ambitions. In 1998,
Manbar, an Israeli businessman, was sentenced to 16 years in prison
for doing business with Tehran.

Maariv reported that Israeli soldiers are putting pictures of the
bodies of dead terrorists online, even though their commanders have
not given permission to make the photos public.

The Jerusalem Post (banner) and Maariv reported that the Israel
Union for Environmental Defense (Adam Teva V'din) warned on Thursday
that Israel could lose its seaports, see its entire coastline
flooded, and suffer irreparable damage if global warning is allowed
to continue unchecked.

Yediot reported that former Soviet spy Marcus Klingberg revealed in
his memoirs that he had recruited a senior Israeli scientist and
Israel Prize winner.

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

Summary:
--------

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in Ha'aretz: "Israeli
warnings of the danger that Islamic extremists would do to Syria
what they are now doing to Iraq makes no impression on the
President. To Bush, death provides the only release from the axis
of evil."

National Union-National Religious Party Knesset Member Arieh Eldad
wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv: "The 'Jordanian option' is
popping up..... Jordan is Palestine."

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

I. "Syria Needs a Shrink"

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in Ha'aretz (7/6): "The US
refusal to promote a peace agreement between Israel and Syria, in
the name of democratization -- which in light of its successes in
Iraq one might assume had disappeared altogether -- is viewed by
Israeli diplomats as a relatively small problem. The big problem is
George W. Bush's obsession with bringing down the regime in
Damascus. In talks with senior US officials it became clear that
they haven't the vaguest idea of what would take its place. Israeli
warnings of the danger that Islamic extremists would do to Syria
what they are now doing to Iraq makes no impression on the
President. To Bush, death provides the only release from the axis
of evil."

II. "Jordan Is Palestine"

National Union-National Religious Party Knesset Member Arieh Eldad
wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv (7/6): "Little by little,
almost surreptitiously, voices are starting to be heard. For years
our brains have been washed with the motto 'Two states for two
peoples'.... The trend has suddenly reversed itself. Most Israelis
know once again what they knew in the past: They [the Palestinians]
do not want an independent state alongside Israel. They want to
push us out. Voices are slowly being heard overseas too -- in the
United States: in key research institutes, not only those associated
with the conservative Right, and in senior administration circles.
The White House still murmurs President Bush's vision and continues
to call for strengthening the scarecrow Abu Mazen. Olmert and his
corrupt, failed court still follow their steps, but new plans are
being devised behind their backs towards the day when that vision
dies away -- when there is a new president, when Israel gets a prime
minister. It comes as no surprise to the Palestinians, too, that
that the vision was a delusion. This is why the 'Jordanian option'
is popping up..... Jordan is Palestine. Millions of refugees from
the camps of Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank], Lebanon, Syria,
and even from Jordan itself can be resettled there.... A voluntary
transfer is possible and highly moral -- certainly more than the
bloodshed bearing the signature of those deluding themselves that
Greater Israel can be divided and a Palestinian state be established
west of the Jordan River."

JONES

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