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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2417/01 2210438
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090438Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2671
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 2559
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9273
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2629
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3362
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2591
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0566
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3323
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0196
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0661
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7256
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4678
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9591
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3755
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5698
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7592
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002417

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. US Defense Aid

-------------------------
Key Stories in the Media:
-------------------------

The Bush administration will not be able to increase military aid to
Israel next year by USD 0.5 billion due to expenditures on the war
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel had already prepared its budget plan
based on the assumption that it would receive the increase and as a
result there will be a shortfall of USD 600 million. Under Secretary
of State Nick Burns postponed his visit that was due to begin on
Wednesday after the Israelis learned he would not agree to the aid
increase request. [source: Yediot].

Israeli Ambassador to the US, Salai Meridor, denied Yediot's report
in an interview with Israel Radio and stressed that the American
administration had decided to increase defense aid to Israel from
the 2009 budget. [source: Israel Radio].

Reportedly Defense Minister Barak believes that prior to agreeing to
further withdrawals from the West Bank, Israel should speed up the
development of hi-tech defenses against rocket fire [source:
Ha'artez].

The P.A. has asked Israel to allow in large shipments of weapons,
ammunition and armored vehicles. Israel has not yet responded as it
has some reservations. According to P.A. officials they need the
weapons to protect the Fatah regime in the West Bank [source:
Ha'aretz].

LTG Keith Dayton, the American security coordinator in the region,
is developing a new security plan for the Palestinian security
forces. Among Dayton's recommendations to Secretary of State Rice,
is to significantly upgrade the training of Fatah-affiliated forces
in the West Bank [source: Ha'aretz].

Israeli President Peres expects the US and Europe to support his
plan for a permanent agreement with the P.A. which is based on a
Palestinian State with a territorial area equivalent to 100% the

size of the West Bank [the plan was outlined in Ha'aretz on
Tuesday]. Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi ruled out the idea of trading
West Bank settlements for Arab communities within Israel [source:
Ha'aretz]. President Peres was quoted as denying that he has
proposed such a plan [source: Israel Radio].

Hamas and Fatah officials were quoted as saying that they are
holding secret talks in an attempt to reconcile. According to these
sources a few Arab countries are involved in the mediation efforts.
Hamas PM Haniyah was quoted as saying that he is willing to step
down to pave the way for the resumption of talks between the two
parties [source: The Jerusalem Post].

Members of Israel's security cabinet met Wednesday morning in what
was described as a "very sensitive" meeting to discuss the situation
on Israel's northern front. The cabinet has been meeting with
increasing frequency to oversee the preparation of the home front in
case of a violent confrontation with Syria [source: Ha'aretz
website].

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "Without a
substantive change in the situation in the territories, Hamas'
takeover of the Gaza Strip is liable to turn out to be the first
step in a takeover of the entire territories by Islamic fanatics.
These enemies have created a rare common incentive for Israel, the
Arab League, and the Quartet -- headed by the United States -- to
strengthen the circle of Middle East moderates.... If this
opportunity is missed, it is liable to be one miss too many."

Former top political advisor and head of Prime Minister Sharon's,
bureau Dov Weissglas, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot: "Skipping to negotiations on the final status
arrangement in the current situation means ignoring the conditional
stages of the road map and giving up Israel's most important
diplomatic achievement in recent years. The road map constitutes
recognition by a majority in the international community that Israel
has a right not to agree to a Palestinian state as long as it does
not have a guarantee that this state will prevent terrorism"
Veteran op-ed writer Eytan Haber wrote in the lead editorial in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Ahahronot: "That's it. Ten Years
were wasted. Pity on all the dead, but that's what happens when one
chooses George Bush to be president."

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

I. "Don't Miss the Opportunity"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (08/08):
"Neither Israel nor the Zionist movement has any more important or
more urgent interest than ending the occupation of the territories.
There is a stable majority among the public and in the government
and Knesset that prefers a two-state solution based on the 1967
borders, along with territorial exchanges.... Moreover, time is not
on the side of pragmatic forces in the Middle East. Israel's failed
war in Lebanon, and the failure of American policy in Iraq, have
raised the status of Shi'ite fanatics like Hassan Nasrallah, who
receive support from Iran.... Without a substantive change in the
situation in the territories, Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip is
liable to turn out to be the first step in a takeover of the entire
territories by Islamic fanatics. These enemies have created a rare
common incentive for Israel, the Arab League, and the Quartet --
headed by the United States -- to strengthen the circle of Middle
East moderates.... If this opportunity is missed, it is liable to be
one miss too many."

II. "Don't Give Up on the Road Map"

Former top political advisor and head of Prime Minister Sharon's,
bureau Dov Weissglas, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (08/08): "Once the Israeli government decided to
accept the road map (subject to certain reservations), Israel agreed
to the establishment of a Palestinian state under the conditions of
the road map. The dispute does not, therefore, pertain to the
establishment of the Palestinian state as such, but rather to the
conditions of its establishment. In recent weeks, a change has been
noticed in the Palestinians moving from a regime of gangs to a
proper administration; but everything that has been does not
approach the full implementation of the first stage of the road map.
Skipping to negotiations on the final status arrangement in the
current situation means ignoring the conditional stages of the road
map and giving up Israel's most important diplomatic achievement in
recent years. The road map constitutes recognition by a majority in
the international community that Israel has a right not to agree to
a Palestinian state as long as it does not have a guarantee that
this state will prevent terrorism. This cannot be given up."

III. "Graduation Party"

Veteran op-ed writer Eytan Haber wrote in the lead editorial of the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Ahahronot (08/08): "In a month or
two people in Washington and around the world will stop 'counting'
George Bush as the President of the US.... Towards the end, the
president is preparing a graduation party. He will bring -- most
probably in November -- to Washington leaders from the Middle East
and try to concoct some sort of an agreement that would present him
in history as a 'peace advocator.'.... Too late. This man had nine
years that were wasted in a series of unsuccessful decisions.... and
he left behind him disasters, which have no solution in sight and a
depressed nation.... That's it. Ten Years were wasted. Pity on all
the dead, but that's what happens when one chooses George Bush to be
president."

------------------
2. US Defense Aid:
------------------

Summary:
--------

Senior Defense commentator Alex Fishman wrote in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Ahahronot: "USD 500 million less in the defense
budget for next year means that half of the army's plans for
building its might will either be postponed or canceled. No two
ways about it."

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

"Dramatic Damage to the IDF"

Senior Defense commentator Alex Fishman wrote in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Ahahronot (08/08): "USD 500 million less in the
defense budget for next year means that half of the army's plans for
building its might will either be postponed or canceled. No two
ways about it. From the IDF's standpoint, the US administration's
decision to spread the grant decided upon by the president, in an
amount of USD 6 billion, over ten years in unequal portions,
dramatically damages the IDF's plan for building up its strength....
The army had already taken into account the USD 500 million that

were supposed to be channeled into its budget starting from next
year.... At present, the security establishment is still hoping that
the decree will be changed in talks that will be held in the coming
days, that the Americans will change their minds, and it will be
possible to reach an arrangement with them at least on the size of
the grant promised for the next two years."
JONES

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