Search

 

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2454/01 2251043
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131043Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2732
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 2571
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9285
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2649
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3374
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2609
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0579
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3336
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0208
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0676
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7268
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4693
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9603
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3767
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5711
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7625
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002454

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. Iraq

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

The Jerusalem Post cited official Israeli assessments according to
which Syria does not believe PM Ehud Olmert's public statements of
reassurance that Israel has no intention of attacking Syria, and
that the latter is genuinely concerned about an Israeli preemptive
attack. On Sunday Yediot reported that a few days ago Israeli
sources heard from Syrian and Lebanese sources at a secret meeting
in the presence of European and American representatives that Syrian
President Bashar Assad has been persuaded to drag Israel into a war
of attrition. Yediot quoted a senior IDF official as saying that
Syria's anti-aircraft rocket deployment is the "densest in the
world." On Sunday Ha'aretz quoted a GOI source in Jerusalem as
saying on Saturday that Syria is still not a satellite of Iran and
that it can be extricated from an Iranian bear-hug."

The Jerusalem Post quoted PA officials in Ramallah as saying on
Sunday that PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas plans to hold
legislative and presidential elections -- both in the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip -- within six months. On Sunday The Jerusalem Post
reported that a group of Palestinian businessmen and academics
disillusioned with Fatah and Hamas, has decided to establish a new
political party to run in the next PA election. The Jerusalem
Post quoted a member of the group as saying that they want to "set
up a Palestinian version of the Israeli Kadima Party, which
attracted voters from both Likud and Labor."

Israel Radio quoted the British House of Commons' Foreign Affairs
Committee as saying that refusing to speak to Hamas is
counterproductive and that efforts should be made to form a new
unity Palestinian government. The radio also reported that the
committee advocated engaging Hizbullah.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that the Palestinian police
recently resumed law-enforcement activities in Area B of the West
Bank, where the IDF is responsible for security. On Sunday Maariv
reported that on Saturday Hamas announced that for the first time it
was forming a naval arm.

Maariv and other media reported on a new proposal by President
Shimon Peres in which Israel would free all Palestinian prisoners in
stages over five years instead of conceding land.

Citing Reuters, Ha'aretz quoted Tom Lantos, the Chairman of the
House Foreign Affairs Committee, as saying in Jerusalem on Sunday
that he saw little chance of a real breakthrough on a Palestinian
state, either at a US-sponsored conference this year or before the
end of President Bush's term. The Jerusalem Post reported that
Lantos warned that the premature removal of West Bank checkpoints
would lead to violence as long as the PA lacked the capability to
secure the area.

Leading media reported that film from a closed-circuit police camera
that captured Friday's shoot-out in the Old City of Jerusalem
between an Israeli Arab and two security officers counters the
family's claim that the slain assailant was innocent. Ha'aretz
noted that the film was incomplete.

Ha'aretz cited a special report submitted to the Winograd
Commission, which recommends that the Foreign Ministry should be
reorganized to allow it to have more of an impact on the
decision-making processes involved in forging Israel's foreign
policy. The report was compiled by the Re'ut Institute, a
nonpartisan research organization, after a series of interviews with
past and present Foreign Ministry and defense officials. The report
concluded: "The Foreign Ministry does not have the skill, authority
or minimum requirements to deal with matters of national security."

Leading media reported that on Sunday the cabinet approved the
proposed 2008 state budget, at some 312 billion shekels (around USD
72.7 billion) the largest in the nation's history. Twenty-one
ministers voted in favor, and five ministers, including
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and the four Shas ministers
voted against, as expected.

Ha'aretz's Zvi Bar'el reported from Sulaimaniya, northern Iraq, that
the Kurds are "building an island of calm in Iraq's inferno."

On Sunday leading media reported that New York authorities took
extra counterterrorism precautions over the weekend in response to
what they said was an unsubstantiated radiological threat to the
city reported by the Israeli Web site, DEBKAfile (www.debka.com).

Over the weekend major media quoted the late Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat's physician as saying that Arafat's blood contained
HIV, but that poison killed him.

Ha'aretz reported that on Sunday American billionaire Sheldon
Adelson pledged USD 60 million for the Taglit-birthright israel
project, which sponsors trips to Israel for Jewish youths who have
never visited the country. Ha'aretz said that 20 Congressmen from
the US Republican party accompanied Adelson during his trip to
Israel. Adelson reportedly tries to spread "hawkish" views to
congressional delegations. In an unrelated story, The Jerusalem
Post reported that during his presidential campaign, former
Republican Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is drawing inspiration
from his visit to Yad Vashem.

Ha'aretz quoted the British weekly The Sunday Telegraph as saying on
Sunday that Hizbullah is purchasing large plots of land from
Christians and Druze in southern Lebanon to improve its military
capabilities in preparation for another war with Israel.

Ha'aretz reported that sources in Israel told the newspaper that
Jordan is considering dropping its plans for the Dead Sea canal
because of cost considerations.

Major media quoted Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu as saying over
the weekend that a low turnout in his party's primary this week
might increase the strength of extremist contender Moshe Feiglin.

Ha'aretz reported that Japanese FM Taro Aso, who will start a visit
to the region today, is expected to declare renewed aid to the PA.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the FMs of Israel, the PA, Jordan,
and Japan are scheduled to meet on Wednesday in Jericho to launch a
joint economic project called the "corridor for peace and
security."

The Jerusalem Post quoted a GOI official as saying on Sunday that
Israel will not take up with Egypt its tactic of stopping refugees
along the border, despite growing calls from human right
organizations that cite the Egyptians' "brutal tactics."

The Jerusalem Post reported that Prof. Mark Pepys, a leading British
academic and member of the University and College Union (UCU) warned
over the weekend that the UCU's call for an academic boycott of
Israel could seriously damage working relationships between UK and
US universities and colleges.

Maariv cited Israel research stating that the education of Israeli
students in the US costs Israel USD 2 billion.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on September 9, the American rock
group Arrested Development, along with The Black Eyed Peas and The
Commitments, will perform in Jerusalem in a concert dubbed
"Jerusalem Rocks!"

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "[Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert] must restrain the Defense Minister and remind
him that the overall and supreme responsibility for Israel's peace
and security policy is in the hands of the government he heads."

Political commentator Shalom Yerushalmi wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: "[Defense Minister Ehud] Barak is right. It will
take years, in which a real and well-grounded process will be
demanded here."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Hamas
is plainly playing for time and judging that Abbas cannot survive
long in office."

Shalom Dichter, joint general manager of Sikkuy, the Association for
the Advancement of Civic Equality in Israel, wrote in Maariv: "Every
attempt to use the Arab citizens of Israel in exchanges of citizens,
territories or both, assumes from the start that these citizens are
not wanted by the state."

Intelligence affairs reporter Ronen Bergman wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Israel needs ... an
agent today more than ever, who will give not only technical
information on troop sizes, weapons acquisitions and upgrading
capabilities, but who is able to decipher the leaderQs intentions."


Block Quotes:
-------------
I. "Restrain the Defense Minister"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (8/12): "The
more talks accelerate between Israel and the Palestinians ahead of
the international conference and the formulation of new diplomatic
plans, the more reports crop up of objections by Labor Party
Chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to changing the
'no-partner' policy. In a statement to party members and the media
Friday, Barak quickly denied reports that he had considered the
meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas 'air, or if you will, atmosphere.' He also
denied saying that the talks before the renewal of negotiations for
a final-status agreement were nothing but "fantasies" and that he
objected to withdrawing from territory before Israel had the means
to intercept various types of missiles.... Barak's actions and
failures since joining the government confirm the reports by senior
journalists of his devotion to the policy that states the
Palestinian side is unable to deal with those who do not want peace
and/or are not interested in a two-state solution. This assumption
has spawned a security policy that emphasizes security needs and
ignores civilian ones.... Barak dictates his outlook on the most
critical issue in Israel as if he is at the top of the pyramid. If
Olmert sees Abbas as a partner and seriously intends to strengthen
the Abbas camp by renewing negotiations on a permanent-status
solution, he must restrain the Defense Minister and remind him that
the overall and supreme responsibility for Israel's peace and
security policy is in the hands of the government he heads."

II. "Barak's Sense"

Political commentator Shalom Yerushalmi wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (8/13): "After the problematic disengagement
process, which aroused a great deal of doubt, there is no one who
can carry out a real historical move, if at all. Barak knows what
happened to him when he made the most generous proposal to date to
the Palestinians, and following this received an Intifada and was
forced to step down from power. Olmert, of course, is not the
person who can demolish settlements and raise a Palestinian flag on
the Temple Mount (in keeping to President [Shimon PeresQs] plan, as
reported). With single-digit percentages of support, he can barely
evacuate a trailer or an antenna. The problem is also the partner.
After disengagement, most of the public will find it difficult to
give up even isolated settlements without receiving anything real in
return. Barak is right. It will take years, in which a real and
well-grounded process will be demanded here, including a convincing
Palestinian renunciation of the right of return, and not promises on
paper.... The problem is also within the army, where pockets of
[right-leaning] rebelliousness are revealed time and time again."

III. "Donors Beware"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (8/12):
"It emerged late last week that 3,500 Hamas 'security-force'
salaries had been paid by the Fatah-led Salam Fayyad government in
Ramallah. At first this was passed off as computer error, corrected
only after 1,000 of the beneficiaries had managed to withdraw the
money from their bank accounts in Gaza. Now 'investigations' are
reported in progress. The latest version is that a higher-up in the
PA Finance Ministry may have been bought off by Hamas and remitted
the funds without authorization.... Indeed, persistent buzz exists
about a possible rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas.... Hamas is
plainly playing for time and judging that Abbas cannot survive long
in office.... It becomes immaterial whether Fatah couldn't or
wouldn't live up to its undertakings. The end result is what
counts. Money is fungible. If the Hamas leadership is freed from
paying wages to its underlings, it can spend its money on its
favorite nefarious causes. The direct consequence of this
particular episode is that PA benefactors -- the US, EU and Israel
included -- have indirectly helped finance Hamas terrorism. Donors
beware."


IV. "A Nightmare Called Peace"

Shalom Dichter, joint general manager of Sikkuy, the Association for
the Advancement of Civic Equality in Israel, wrote in Maariv (8/12):
"In light of the resumption of talks between Israel and the
Palestinian Authority, we have heard the news that the President of
Israel has a new political plan (which the Prime Minister repudiates
for the present). Under the headline 'Return of 95 to 100 Percent
of the West Bank,' it turns out that the possibility of revoking the
citizenship of the inhabitants of the Arab communities along the
Green Line by transferring them to the Palestinian Authority has
once again been raised. This is not an official part of the new
document but rather an 'oral tradition' from President Peres's
advisers, but the voice is the chilling voice of [far-Right cabinet
minister Avigdor] Lieberman. Every attempt to use the Arab citizens
of Israel in exchanges of citizens, territories or both, assumes
from the start that these citizens are not wanted by the state."

V. "What Is Going On Inside Bashar's Head"
Intelligence affairs reporter Ronen Bergman wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (8/13): "For years,
[during Hafez Assad's rule], Israel's intelligence community
operated, or at least thought it was operating, through the Mossad,
a high-placed agent in the heart of the Syrian establishment.....
Israel needs such an agent today more than ever, who will give not
only technical information on troop sizes, weapons acquisitions and
upgrading capabilities, but who is able to decipher the leaderQs
intentions. This, of course, is without disregarding the main
lesson of the Yom Kippur War, according to which even if we are
certain that there is full and reliable information about the
leader's intentions, we should pay it no heed as soon as the enemy
army has sufficient troops and readiness to go to war. The current
state of affairs in the Syrian army is not similar to its deployment
prior to the Yom Kippur War -- far from it. If what the Syrian army
has been undergoing in recent months can be considered as
preparations for war, then the IDFQs buildup of strength in the last
decade, which is 20 times as large as that of the Syrians, can
certainly be considered the same. There is no debate that the
Syrian army is undergoing a fundamental change. The question is
what the nature of this change is, and where Bashar Assad is
headed."

---------
2. Iraq:
---------

Summary:
--------

Shlomo Avineri, Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and
former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Israel must be interested in
the United States withdrawing from the battle right now, when its
standing has not suffered any more damage than it already has."

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in Ha'aretz from
Sulaimaniya, Northern Iraq: "After four years of American presence
in Iraq, the amicable dialogue between the U.S. and the Iraqi Kurds
is growing increasingly discordant."

Block Quotes:
-------------
I. "Superfluous Israeli Advice"

Shlomo Avineri, Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and
former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/13): "The neo-conservatives in
Washington have learned nothing from the lessons of the past 15
years in Eastern Europe. In a combination of arrogance and
ignorance they believed that Saddam's fall would herald the rise of
a democracy by its own accord, of course with the help of American
spears. What they did not take into account is the fact that the
sudden introduction of democratic procedures into a society that
lacks the most basic infrastructures will inevitably lead to chaos.
What the ideologues in Washington forgot is that even if democracy
is a recipe for stability, the processes of democratization can in
fact lead to prolonged instability.... Israel must be extremely
cautious about being seen as the spearhead of an attempt to find a
solution through bullying.... Israel must be interested in the
United States withdrawing from the battle right now, when its
standing has not suffered any more damage than it already has:
America's global status is without a doubt one of the foundations of
Israel's strategic power. It will not be built up by Israeli advice
that will not change the American position and will only exacerbate
the hostility to Israel in the Arab countries and in Western public
opinion. Even if right now it is difficult for Israel to progress
toward peace with the Palestinians, it must not come across as the
driving force behind Washington's bullying obduracy that is unaware
that it has reached the end of the road in Iraq."

II. "Washington Has Forgotten Them"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in Ha'aretz from
Sulaimaniya, Northern Iraq (8/13): "It began as a natural alliance,
a political love affair. But after four years of American presence
in Iraq, the amicable dialogue between the U.S. and the Iraqi Kurds
is growing increasingly discordant. Beyond the culture gap, Iraqi
Kurdistan is beginning to feel betrayed by its American allies....
The latest example of this was seen in the words of US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rica. Referring to the rights of the Iraqi Kurds,
Rice said that the Kurds' best security guarantee comes not from the
United States, but from the Iraqi constitution.... The Kurds dream
of seceding, but this is unlikely to happen. Any sign of Kurdish
independence triggers a Turkish, Iranian, and Syrian backlash.
Tehran, Istanbul, and Damascus are afraid of an Iraqi precedent that
would agitate their domestic Kurdish communities. And so,
Washington is striving to make Kurdistan dependent on the Iraqi
government and neighboring countries by withholding assistance for a
separate Kurdish industrial infrastructure. The assumption is that
the Kurds will accept this and not revolt."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Rights Office On Syria: The “Monstrous Annihilation” Of Eastern Ghouta

Since the Syrian Government and their allies escalated their offensive against opposition-held Eastern Ghouta on 4 February, there have been more than 1,200 civilian casualties, including at least 346 killed and 878 injured, mostly in airstrikes hitting residential areas... Ninety-two of these civilian deaths allegedly occurred in just one 13-hour period on Monday. More>>

ALSO:

Cyclone Gita: 70% Of Tonga Population Affected

The full scale of destruction is beginning to emerge from Tonga in the aftermath of the severe tropical cyclone Gita. Around 50,000 people, or almost 70% of the country’s population, have been affected, a third of whom are children. More>>

ALSO:


Gita: Samoas Clean Up After Being Swamped By Cyclone

Apia in the wake of Gita Photo: Rudy Bartley The clean up is continuing in the two Samoas after Tropical Cyclone Gita hit on Saturday morning. More>>

ALSO:

Grand Coalition : Germany's two main political parties set to govern under Angela Merkel.

The liberal-conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) negotiated through the night in a marathon final push to nail down an agreement. More>>


80 Passengers: Kiribati Ferry Disaster

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working with the Government of Kiribati to support children, families and communities affected by the recent Butiraoi ferry disaster. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike. Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures. More

ALSO: