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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2221/01 2011010
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201010Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2377
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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9206
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2553
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RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0484
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0129
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002221

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

3. Iraq

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

The media continued to report on the release of 255 Palestinian
prisoners this morning. The released prisoners signed a pledge not
to return to terrorism and they will be welcomed back in Ramallah
with a feast.

Jordanian FM Abdelelah Al-Khatib was quoted as saying on Thursday,
in an interview with Ha'aretz, that there will be no peace in the
region unless the Palestinian problem is solved.

The Jerusalem Post and other major media reported that on Thursday a
high-ranking IDF officer called for a large-scale military operation
to be mounted within a "limited window of opportunity" that might
close in less than a year. He claimed that Hamas has jumped light
years ahead militarily since Israel's disengagement from Gaza. The
officer was quoted as saying that Hamas now had 13,000 armed men,
had dramatically increased weapons smuggling, and was working to
obtain Katyusha rocket capability. The officer was quoted as saying
that the Egyptians, Americans, and Europeans could not be counted on
to stop Hamas, as Israel would have to do the "final job." Ha'aretz
noted: "However ominous the Hamas threat may be, it has nowhere near
the capability of Hizbullah or Syria.

The Arabic-language Assennara revealed that envoys from Israel,
Saudi Arabia, and the PA will hold talks today and on Saturday in
London in an effort to restore the trust between the Saudi King and
Mahmoud Abbas and assess the situation following Hamas's takeover of
Gaza. In addition, the Israeli envoy will affirm Israel's
willingness to withdraw from West Bank cities, remove most of the
checkpoints, and transfer large areas to the Palestinian Authority
forces.

Leading media quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying
in Damascus on Thursday that this summer will be "hot" and will
bring defeat for the "region's enemies."

Maariv quoted a member of the Winograd Commission as saying that the
commission will present no personal recommendations regarding PM
Ehud Olmert.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Thursday Hamas leaders condemned
Chairman Abbas's decision to hold parliamentary and presidential
electrons and that that they decided to foil the vote. The
Jerusalem Post cited claims by Hamas that Abbas and Israel are
planning to kill its leaders. The General Secretary of the
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Nayef Hawatmeh,
was quoted as saying in an interview with the Arabic-language Kull
al-Arab that he will return home when the Olmert government stops
playing around and allows his return without conditions. As leaders
we have to be inside our land and stand with our people in order to
fight for our rights, Hawatmeh added. He was further quoted as
saying that there is no other way forward for Abbas and Hamas but to
return to the path of unity and implement the National
Reconciliation DocumentQs clauses.

Leading media quoted the Quartet's Mideast envoy, former British PM
Tony Blair, as saying on Thursday that he was optimistic momentum
could be regained in talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Jerusalem Post quoted GOI officials as saying on Thursday that
Israel has no intention at this time to transfer responsibility for
Palestinian cities in the West Bank to the PA.

Maariv reported that "Israel and the PA are close to reaching a
historic economic agreement": Israel will purchase natural gas from
the British company BG, which will drill in Palestinian territory;
the Israel Navy will protect the gas facilities; and Tony Blair can
be the "godfather" of the deal.

Ha'aretz cited an AP wire report that on Thursday Israeli President
Shimon Peres called on Syria to open direct peace talks with Israel.
Israel Radio quoted the London-based Al-Hayat as saying that Syria
has asked Denmark to mediate between it and Israel. Most senior
officials in the [Israeli] defense establishment believe that the
Unites States will not strike Iran during George Bush's term --
everybody, that is, except Olmert."

Ha'aretz quoted sources in Jerusalem as saying that senior Egyptian
officials visiting Washington have failed to convince Congress to
change course on its intention to freeze USD 200 million in aid.
The freeze is partially due to Egypt's inaction against weapons
smuggling across the Egypt-Gaza Strip border.

The media reported that several Qassam rockets landed in and around
Sderot on Thursday and today. Maariv reported that last week
Palestinians almost lynched an Israeli intelligence officer in the
Nablus refugee camp of Balata.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Defense Ministry will launch
its most advanced spy satellite in September aboard an Indian
rocket. The Israel Aerospace Industries-made satellite is capable
of transmitting tiny images in all weather conditions.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli-Arab advocacy center,
Mossawa, on Thursday pointed to the large gap between the number of
bomb shelters in the Arab and Jewish sectors. The Jewish areas have
more.

Maariv reported that on Thursday the settler-sponsored Council for
Higher Education in Judea and Samaria decided to turn Ariel College
into a university. Maariv reported that the GOI refuses to fund the
change, and that Peace Now complained that the proposed move will
strengthen the occupation. Maariv noted that all Israeli
educational institutions in the West Bank are under IDF
responsibility.

Maariv (Jacky Hoogie) present five different scenarios ("The Black
Hole") after a possible US withdrawal from Iraq. The Jerusalem Post
interviewed Israeli and American public figures -- "critics and
fans" of President Bush -- who said that the reason for delivering
his speech on the Middle East this week is "Iraq," in a word.

Ha'aretz reported that settlers who were evacuated from Gush Katif
in 2005 are building a monument to the settlements destroyed during
disengagement.

Yediot reported that that the heads of the Moroccan Jewish community
are promoting the idea of Yad Vashem granting the late Moroccan king
Mohamed V (the grandfather of reigning King Mohamed VI) the title of
Righteous Among the Nations, in recognition of his saving Moroccan
Jews during the Holocaust. The newspaper said that this initiative,
which was welcomed by President Peres, will have far-reaching
diplomatic repercussions on Israel-Morocco ties. Yediot quoted
sources in Yad Vashem are saying that the institution is not
influenced by diplomatic or political considerations, but only by

historical and legal ones.

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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn and Washington correspondent
Shmuel Rosner wrote in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The
President, who refuses to specify a time for the conclusion of the
mission in Iraq, also declines to set a deadline in the secondary,
Palestinian, arena."

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "In the
waning days of the Bush administration, and perhaps of the Olmert
government, the American and Israeli publics need to find ways to
make it clear that they demand good leaders, not good politicians."

Liat Collins, Editor of The International Jerusalem Post, wrote in
the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "Bush and Peres
actually shared several themes, both calling for the development of
the Negev and Galilee instead of the settlements."


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

I. "One Solution to Two Problems"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn and Washington correspondent
Shmuel Rosner wrote in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(7/20): "The President made clear to the senior officials in his
administration that he views Olmert as a partner and ally, and won't
let anyone stir up trouble between them. In the disagreement
between Olmert and Rice, when the Secretary of State proposed
conducting negotiations over a 'shelf agreement' to end the
conflict, as opposed to the Prime Minister's position -- Bush backed
Olmert and not his close friend Condi. His speech this week was
meant to reinforce her standing. Bush indicated that she would lead
the process, but that she did not have a mandate to press Israel too
hard. The demands Bush presented to Israel were mild, almost
imperceptible, compared to the challenge he gave the
Palestinians.... The President, who refuses to specify a time for
the conclusion of the mission in Iraq, also declines to set a
deadline in the secondary, Palestinian, arena. He prefers a process
that lasts years, if necessary, to shortcuts. The example of his
predecessor is ever-present in his mind.... Bush has no intention of
ending up like Bill Clinton, who discovered to his great misfortune
at Camp David that the parties were not yet ready for an accord, and
that the Palestinians still had no leadership or institutions with
which to hold a serious dialogue or whose word could be counted on.
To Bush's mind, Clinton's Camp David is not a model; it's a warning
sign."

II. "Bush, the Talented Politician"

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (7/20): "Bush
told the Palestinians that this is a 'moment of choice' for them.
It is time for them to decide if they are for terror or peace. But
then, he said the same thing five years ago. Since then, at every
decision point, the Palestinians chose terror.... Israel's assigned
role in this diplomatic farce is the patsy. Due to the exigencies
of democratic politics, and in the absence of leadership on either
side, over the past few years, US-Israel relations have taken on a
sado-masochistic quality. To endear himself with the State
Department and Europe, Bush has chosen to insist that Israel
endanger itself. To survive in office, Olmert, like Ariel Sharon
before him, has agreed to endanger Israel in order to secure the
support of the Left in his governing coalition, and the State
Prosecutor's Office. The one conclusion that cries out from all of
this is that in the waning days of the Bush administration, and
perhaps of the Olmert government, the American and Israeli publics
need to find ways to make it clear that they demand good leaders,
not good politicians."

III. "Two Presidents, One Vision"

Liat Collins, Editor of The International Jerusalem Post, wrote in
the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (7/20): "To describe
the Bush address as groundbreaking would be as unreasonable as
portraying Shimon Peres's presidential inauguration speech as
sensational. Both have a vision. Both want to see peace in the
Middle East. Both would like that peace to be attributed to them in
the history books, rather than a failed war in Iraq in the case of
the former and a failed peace created in Oslo in the case of the
latter. I dutifully listened to Bush's plan for an international

parley in September (for this you interrupted my summer viewing
pleasure?), the call to stop settlement expansion, and the plea to
the Palestinians to choose between moderates (Mahmoud Abbas) and
extremists (Hamas). Peres at the beginning of the week had made
similar comments proving at the outset of his term in office that he
could be the 'president of all' by angering settlers one day and the
Left the next.... Bush and Peres actually shared several themes,
both calling for the development of the Negev and Galilee instead of
the settlements."

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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of the
popular, pluralist Maariv: "Most senior officials in the [Israeli]
defense establishment believe that the Unites States will not strike
Iran during George Bush's term -- everybody, that is, except
Olmert."


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

"A Lame Duck Can Also Hit"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of the
popular, pluralist Maariv (7/20): "Economic sanctions bother [Iran]
much more than the West can imagine.... The only question that
remains open is who will win the race between the ignominy of
economic sanctions imposed by the world and the crazy Iranian effort
to obtain a bomb. Everyone talks of an American strike, but no one
knows what will really happen. Most senior officials in the
[Israeli] defense establishment believe that the Unites States will
not strike Iran during George Bush's term -- everybody, except
Olmert."

---------
3. Iraq:
---------

Summary:
--------

Former Soviet dissident and former Likud Knesset Member and minister
Natan Sharansky wrote in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "A
precipitous withdrawal of US forces could lead to a bloodbath that
would make the current carnage pale by comparison."

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

"Bracing For a Bigger Bloodbath"

Former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky and former Likud Knesset
Member and minister wrote in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(7/20): "As the hideous violence in Iraq continues, it has become
increasingly common to hear people argue that the world was better
off with Saddam Hussein in power and that Iraqis were better off
under his fist.... The truth is that in totalitarian regimes, there
are no human rights. Period. For most people, life under
totalitarianism is slavery, with no possibility of escape. That is
why, despite the carnage in Iraq, Iraqis are consistently less
pessimistic about the present and more optimistic about the future
of their country than Americans are.... No one can know for sure
whether President Bush's 'surge' of US troops in Iraq will succeed.
But those who believe that human rights should play a central role
in international affairs should be doing everything in their power
to maximize its chances. For one of the consequences of failure
could well be catastrophe. A precipitous withdrawal of US forces
could lead to a bloodbath that would make the current carnage pale
by comparison.... Many who supported the withdrawal [from Vietnam]
in the name of human rights did not foresee the calamity that
followed, which included genocide in Cambodia, tens of thousands
slaughtered in Vietnam by the North Vietnamese, and the tragedy of
hundreds of thousands of 'boat people.' My hope is that as US
leaders decide their course, they will make the human rights
dimension a central part of any decision. The consequences of not
doing so might prove catastrophic to Iraqis, to regional peace and,
ultimately, to US security."

CRETZ

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