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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2465/01 2261025
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141025Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2755
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
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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 2580
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9294
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2658
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3383
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2618
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0591
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3346
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0217
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0685
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7277
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4702
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9612
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3776
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5720
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7642
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RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002465

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

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION


--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

1. Mideast

2. Iran

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

Yediot and The Jerusalem Post reported that on Monday in Washington
Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik met with Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice. Yediot reported that Itzik thanked the Secretary for her
efforts to release the abducted IDF soldiers. Itzik asked Rice to
continue those efforts. The Jerusalem Post wrote that the two also
discussed the US aid package for Israel, the threat of a nuclear
Iran, and the peace process with the Palestinians.

Leading media quoted Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri as saying on
Monday that Hamas is willing to hold frank talks with the
international community as suggested by Italian PM Romano Prodi.
Israel, in turn, expressed concern over Prodi's statements. Media
quoted FM Tzipi Livni as saying that dialogue with terrorist
organizations will "pull the rug out from under the feet of
moderates" and block any chance of reaching a real agreement with
the Palestinians. The head of the Italian government pointed out on
Sunday that in order to achieve a peaceful solution to the Middle
East conflict, dialogue with all parties involved was necessary,
including Hamas and Syria.

Ha'aretz reported that Israeli intelligence may be able to decipher
Syrian President Bashar Assad's intent towards a possible war. A
senior defense source told Ha'aretz on Monday that "as far as we can
assess, Assad does not really want war with us. He is concerned
about a scenario that will drag us and them [Syria] to war, either
through mutual escalation on the Golan Heights, or through growing
tensions between the United States and Iran." The source was
further quoted as saying: "We do not know what will happen in the
end, but after the performance of the IDF in the Second Lebanon War,
we are obligated to prepare in a much better way." Defense Minister
Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi have discussed the
issue in a special ministerial committee on the northern front. PM
Ehud Olmert has also been kept abreast of developments. Ha'aretz
noted that it is presumed Syria will not attack because it is
contrary to its interests, but that analysts are unable to discount
the possibility that war will break out, despite both sides'
reluctance to engage in a conflict, if tension between the two sides
continues. Yediot reported that Syrian intelligence chief Assaf
Shawkat is behind efforts to drag the IDF into a war with Syria.

Leading Israeli electronic media quoted Palestinian sources as
saying that a Hamas activist was killed and five to seven others
wounded in an IAF missile attack in Gaza. Israel Radio later
reported that four Palestinians were killed in the attack. The
radio reported that IDF forces, including tanks and the IAF, are
operating ion the southern Gaza Strip area of Khan Yunis. Ha'aretz
and The Jerusalem Post reported that on Monday IDF sources captured
four Palestinians who infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip, close
to the Kissufim border crossing. Leading media quoted the police as
saying on Monday that Israeli security officials have arrested five
Arab residents of east Jerusalem in connection with a spring
shooting attack on security personnel on the outskirts of the city.

Major media reported that in Jerusalem on Monday, in what The
Jerusalem Post noted could be the "dawn of a new era of cooperation
between Israelis and Palestinians," officials from both sides held a
public ceremony to sign what an extension of the mandate for the
Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).

Major media quoted visiting Japanese FM Taro Aso as saying on Monday
during a joint press conference with President Shimon Peres,
regarding a Japan-sponsored project in the Jordan Valley: "I hope
steps can be implemented one by one and that the project and that
the project will bring peace and prosperity to the region. This is
a vital issue not just for Israel and the Palestinians, but also for
Japan. Peres thanked Aso for Japan's efforts toward peace.

Israel Radio reported that the Israeli defense establishment denied
reports that Israel has allowed armed Palestinians to operate in the
West Bank's Israeli-controlled "Area B." The radio reported that
the IDF is allowing Palestinian policemen to intervene in neighbor
disputes in "Area B."

All media reported that on Sunday, in an announcement to the
Palestinian news agency Maan, an unknown Israeli Arab organization
calling itself the "Galilee Freedom [or Liberation] Brigades"
claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jerusalem's Old
City last Friday -- in retribution for the death of an Arab Israeli
gunman from the Galilee whom security forces killed three years ago.
Ha'aretz quoted knowledgeable sources as sayng that the claim was
not credible.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the British government has blocked
almost one third of British military exports to Israel this year,
citing possible threats to regional stability and fears that the
equipment might facilitate human rights violations. According to
official figures, the value of UK military sales arms to Israel
declined by one third last year, and has fallen by 75 percent since
2005.

Analyzing Interior Ministry figures for 2006, Ha'aretz found that
the settler population is growing twice as fast as the rest of the
country every year, and the ultra-Orthodox community is responsible
for approximately half this growth. During the last year, the
settler population has grown by 5.45 percent, from 260,932 to
275,156. Without the ultra-Orthodox community the West Bank
settlements' growth is 3.7 percent. The growth rate in the
ultra-Orthodox Beitar Ilit and Modi'in Ilit is higher than most
places in Israel.

Yediot reported that on Monday the Winograd Commission hinted that
it will recommend that action be taken against PM Olmert and senior
IDF officers over their role in the Second Lebanon War.

All media reported on today's Likud primary, in which the party's
Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu, far-Right activist Moshe Feiglin, and
World Likud Chairman Danny Danon are vying for party leadership.
Ha'aretz said that if Feiglin wins 30 percent of the vote, Likud's
image would suffer, helping the rival Kadima and Labor parties.

Leading media reported that Suha, the widow of the late PA chairman
[president] Yasser Arafat, has been stripped of her Tunisian
citizenship and asked to leave the country along with her
12-year-old daughter, Zahwa. Media cited Suha Arafat's relationship
and possible marriage with Bilhassan Tarabulsi, the brother-in-law
of Tunisian President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, as the probable
reason for the move.

Leading media reported that the Israeli Arab Ka'adan family has
started building a home in Katzir, a communal settlement in northern
Israel. The Ka'adans had tried to set up house there since the
1990s and won a landmark 2000 High Court ruling in which they gained
approval.

All media reported that on Monday right-wing Bar-Ilan University
Professor Hillel Weiss apologized for cursing an IDF officer during
the eviction of settlers from two properties in Hebron last week,
but that he later said that his apology had been coerced.

Ha'aretz quoted the GOI's Central Bureau of Statistics as saying
this week that Israel's trade deficit soared to USD 4.9 billion in
the first seven months of 2007.

Ha'aretz reported that on Monday Finance Ministry Accountant General
Yaron Zelekha announced an unprecedented, three-month campaign, in
which employees of the state and government ministries are being
called on to report stolen intellectual property such as patents,
copyrights, commercial secrets and investigations. According to the
announcement, no legal steps will be taken for the duration of the
campaign.

Maariv reported that US authorities may ask the Israeli online
gambling company 888 to return profits it made in the US. The
newspaper reported that the firm harvested over USD 100 million
during the years that preceded US legislation against Internet
gambling.

All media reported that eight workers of the Makhteshim Chemical
Works plant in Ramat Hovav near Beersheva were injured on Monday
after inhaling insecticide following an explosion at the facility.
The media highlighted the possibility that a major environmental
disaster might have occurred.

Leading media reported on the resignation of Karl Rove, Deputy Chief
of Staff to President Bush.

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

Summary:
--------

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "It is self-evident that [Ehud] Barak knows
that the contempt he is showing toward contacts with Abu Mazen does
not help strengthen his position."

Former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "In order for Abu Mazen
to keep the upper hand, more than 'building institutions' is
needed."

Former Ambassador to the US, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and
former Minister of Defense Moshe Arens wrote in Ha'aretz: "The peace
process can take off only after Palestinian terrorism has been
decisively defeated."

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

I. "Is It a Diplomatic Horizon or a Fata Morgana?"

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/14): "[Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice
was one of those who convinced President George W. Bush to skip the
first stage of the Roadmap, which states that the Palestinian
Authority is required to destroy the infrastructures of terror. At
present, the upcoming international conference is not connected to
security clauses.... In order to ensure that the international
conference that bears the name of her boss does not end in failure,
Rice is trying very hard to bring both sides to the table with an
agreed-upon paper. In her view, Barak's remarks that talk of a
final-status agreement is misleading could prove self-fulfilling.
The Americans know that when it comes to gaining the support of the
Palestinian population, the Israeli defense minister has more of an
impact than the prime minister. It is self-evident that Barak knows
that the contempt he is showing toward contacts with Abu Mazen does
not help strengthen his position."

II. "Good Intentions Are Not Enough"

Former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (8/14): "Bush's
initiative is a last-ditch effort to save the United States' status
in the region. The US finds itself on the defensive on all fronts.
Ironically, the call for an international conference is also a call
for waging war against Hamas, which won democratic elections and to
sign a peace treaty with Fatah, which lost those elections.
Nonetheless, Bush's initiative is not worthless.... Bush almost
reached former President Clinton's peace plan when he declared that
the 'borders of the past, the realities of the present, and with
agreed changes' will determine the solution. Like Secretary of
State Rice, he warned Israel with exceptional bluntness that its
future does not depend on the 'continuation of the West Bank's
occupation.... [But] the moment the US defined the recognition of
Israel as the entrance ticket to the conference, it created an
obstacle preventing Saudi Arabia's participation.... Without the
Saudis, Bush's summit will be no more than a private party for
Israel and the Palestinians.... [The American initiative] quite
matches the Israeli perception, but the Palestinian militias have
repeatedly shown that they are not prepared to give up the armed
struggle before they see the establishment of the Palestinian state
along the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. Bush's
initiative is a fundamental strategic trap based on driving a wedge
between Abu Mazen's 'moderates' and Hamas's 'extremists. Still, in
order for Abu Mazen to keep the upper hand, more than 'building
institutions' is needed. Only a comprehensive peace treaty, which
will answer the core national aspirations of the Palestinians, will
give him the legitimacy he needs in order to confront the
radicals."

III. "Castles in the Air"

Former Ambassador to the US, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and
former Minister of Defense Moshe Arens wrote in Ha'aretz (8/14):
"'Creating' a partner for peace is something unprecedented in the
history of international relations, and this Israeli-American
venture will surely be studied in the academic world for years to
come. But it is hard to believe that anyone really believes that
the air so laboriously being pumped into the balloon will not sooner
or later escape and leave the balloon flat. This is not the first
time that Israeli governments have tried their hand at manipulating
internal Arab politics. The record is pretty bleak. It seems to be
a self-defeating exercise.... Sooner or later it will become clear
to all that there can be no escape from reality. The peace process
can take off only after Palestinian terrorism has been decisively
defeated."

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

Summary:
--------

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "While it is
possible that Ahmadinejad's economic mismanagement may at the end of
the day capsize his regime by bankrupting the country, there is no
reason to believe that this will occur before Iran acquires nuclear
weapons."

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

"Bankrupting Iran Is Not Enough"

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (8/14):
"Unfortunately, the probability that in the foreseeable future
Iran's economic problems will cause the regime to moderate its
policies or bring regime opponents to power in Iran's parliament is
not high.... While it is possible that Ahmadinejad's economic
mismanagement may at the end of the day capsize his regime by
bankrupting the country, there is no reason to believe that this
will occur before Iran acquires nuclear weapons.... it is clear that
while Iran's economic failure is a positive development which should
be capitalized and built upon, it alone is no indication that Iran's
threat to global security is weakening. To prevent Iran from
acquiring nuclear weapons and threatening the world in the long run,
the promotion of its economic failure must be accompanied by
military policies aimed at destroying its nuclear facilities, and
political policies aimed at ensuring that Iran's next regime will be
better than the current one."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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