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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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P 060957Z AUG 07
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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
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PARIS ALSO FOR POL
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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:
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Please note: Op Eds only August 6, 2007

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Mideast:
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Summary:
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Palestinian affairs correspondent Danny Rubinstein wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "In other words, all the current
political activity is liable to turn out to be nothing but bunk.
Ultimately, the opinion of many Palestinians will turn out to be
right: If Hamas isn't in the game, there is no game."

Defense commentator Amos Gilboa wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "Therefore at the end of the day Israel cannot rely on Saudi
Arabia to help with making arrangements with the Palestinians,
certainly not on the strategic regional level."

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "In the past few days Jerusalem was busy
lowering expectations, and Olmert's bureau said the leaders were not
seeking to formulate an 'agreement of principles,' but rather
'agreed-on principles' -- which is the same thing, but less
frightening. The bureau cautioned diplomatic correspondents not to
get their hopes up."

Contributor Yoram Meital, a specialist in Middle East affairs at
Ben-Gurion University, wrote in the mass circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot: "The weakest point in the latest moves lies in the
assumption that a political agreement on the future of the West Bank
can be promoted with Abu Mazen and the Fayad government irrespective
of what is happening in the Gaza Strip [under Hamas].... However,
the national and political approach shared by the Palestinian
public, including all of its factions, rules out such a
separation."

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: " The question
of when the Winograd Committee's report on the Second Lebanon War
will be published has become a question of how relevant the report
will be.... [It] must be published either in another few months - or
not at all. Otherwise, it will mainly be useful for history
lessons."

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

I. "If Hamas isn't in the Game"

Palestinian affairs correspondent Danny Rubinstein wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (08/06): "The Olmert government
in Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, headed by
Mahmoud Abbas, are in the midst of renewed political activity,
encouraged by intensive American efforts.... Although there still
are many problems in the field ... there certainly has been
progress.... However, there is no doubt that Hamas is more capable
of sabotaging Abbas' policy than it is of ruling. As long as the
Hamas leadership has a hope of holding on in Gaza and of influence
in the West Bank, there will be relative quiet. But when Hamas
loses hope and it becomes clear that Abbas is far from achieving the
minimum that the Palestinians are demanding, then the terrorism and
violence almost certainly will be renewed. In other words, all the
current political activity is liable to turn out to be nothing but
bunk. Ultimately, the opinion of many Palestinians will turn out to
be right: If Hamas isn't in the game, there is no game."

II. "More Islamic than Western"

Defense commentator Amos Gilboa wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (08/06): "If there is a prominent line in Israeli foreign
policy since the Second Lebanon War, it is the special role assigned
to Saudi Arabia in the Palestinian issue in particular, and in the
'moderate' Arab arena in general.... The Saudi influence should not
be discounted, and it would be foolish not to understand that a
country with one quarter of the proven oil reserves in the world,
which is the leading oil exporter in the world, has what to say in
the Arab world, and not only there. But it is necessary to
understand the limitations and weaknesses of Saudi Arabia, and its
problem with Israel.... Saudi Arabia may be a 'moderate' country, by
being pro-American, but no more than this. It is an Islamic Sunni
state of the extremist variety ... which still upholds the laws of
Islam.... Saudi Arabia will be the last to recognize Israel as the
state of the Jewish people.... Needless to say, Saudi Arabia
constitutes the largest human reserve of extremist Islamic
terrorism.... Saudi Arabia has never been a leading country in the
Arab world.... It will always prefer to embrace Iran than to clash
with it, and will certainly not do so with the Jews!....Therefore at
the end of the day Israel cannot rely on Saudi Arabia to help with
making arrangements with the Palestinians, certainly not on the
strategic regional level."

III. "Don't get hopes up"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (08/05): "Seven years after the failed Camp
David summit, and six and a half years after negotiations ended with
the Taba talks, Israel has started talking with the Palestinians on
a peace agreement again.... U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
gave the parties their homework during her visit last week: to reach
an agreed-on diplomatic formula by November's Washington summit and
to continue confidence-building gestures.... In the past few days
Jerusalem was busy lowering expectations, and Olmert's bureau said
the leaders were not seeking to formulate an 'agreement of
principles,' but rather 'agreed-on principles' -- which is the same
thing, but less frightening. The bureau cautioned diplomatic
correspondents not to get their hopes up. Nevertheless, Rice heard
a different tune this week in Jerusalem and Ramallah. Olmert agreed
to a proposal raised a year ago by Rice and Livni to talk to Abbas
and Palestinian moderates.... And Salam Fayad's appointment as prime
minister has given Washington hope that something has changed for
the better among the Palestinians. Experience teaches that the real
bargaining will begin only in the days and hours running up to the
summit, when Olmert and Abbas are already on their way to
Washington."

IV. "Not Without Gaza"

Contributor Yoram Meital, a specialist in Middle East affairs at
Ben-Gurion University, wrote in the mass circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot(08/06): "The meeting scheduled today between Ehud
Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas will be added to the wave of diplomatic
efforts to promote the peace process between Israel and the
Palestinians. State leaders from the West, from Israel and from
Arab states link these efforts to the 'window of opportunity' that
opened up after the violent takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas....
The weakest point in the latest moves lies in the assumption that a
political agreement on the future of the West Bank can be promotQ
with Abu Mazen and the Fayad government irrespective of what is
happening in the Gaza Strip [under Hamas].... Can the West Bank
really be divided from the Gaza Strip? Should a political agreement
be promoted with a Palestinian leadership that commands limited
public support, while blatantly disregarding Hamas, which rode to
victory on popular support in the last election? There is no
doubt that over the years, a different reality has developed in the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, the national and political
approach shared by the Palestinian public, including all of its
factions, rules out such a separation. The chances are also slim
that gestures and channeling funds to the residents of the West Bank
and 'drying up' the Gazans will lead to a change of consciousness,
in which the Palestinians will settle for a 'mini-state' in part of
the West Bank, which will be led by non-elected governments."

V. "Will Winograd be Relevant?"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (08/06): "The
question of when the Winograd Committee's report on the Second
Lebanon War will be published has become a question of how relevant
the report will be.... The current government has no interest in
prompt publication of the final Winograd report.... We must not
forget the purpose for which the committee was established. It is
not conducting a criminal investigation, which has rigid rules, nor
is it probing allegations that could lead to criminal charges, since
itQranted immunity to everyone who appeared before it. The
committee's report is supposed to provide an understanding of what
happened and to enable conclusions to be drawn. A committee of this
type cannot be turned into a commission of inquiry halfway
through.... The attempt to impose obligations on the committee that
exist neither in the law nor in its letter of appointment is liable
to make its conclusions irrelevant. The final report must be
published either in another few months - or not at all. Otherwise,
it will mainly be useful for history lessons."
JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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