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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2539/01 2330947
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 210947Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2864
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 2620
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9326
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2695
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3418
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2650
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0634
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3382
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0252
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0717
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7309
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4740
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9649
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3814
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5752
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7704
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002539

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

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

1. Mideast

2. Muslims in European Society

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

Israel Radio reported that a week ago President Shimon Peres met in
his office with Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad and that he is willing
to meet with PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel Radio quoted the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi as saying that
Chairman Abbas is trying to convince Israel to let exiled
organization heads in Syria return to the Palestinian territories,
in order to keep Damascus from using them to interfere with
Palestinian affairs.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the first preparatory meeting
leading to the 2009 UN World Conference against Racism will take
place at the UN offices in Geneva next week and be chaired by Libya,
and that the UN watchdog UN Watch already dubs it a "second Durban."
The 2002 conference in Durban, South Africa, was a theater for
powerful anti-Israel rhetoric.

All media reported that on Monday an IAF missile hit a truck in
Bureij, in the central Gaza Strip, killing six Hamas gunmen who had
launched mortar shells at Israel. Israel Radio quoted Palestinian
sources as saying that Naser Mabrouk, a PFLP militant, was killed in
a clash with the IDF in Nablus.

Major media quoted European Union officials as saying on Monday that
the EU has stopped paying for shipments to Gaza's main power plant
over concerns that Hamas might tax electricity to fund its
government. Leading media reported that Egypt subsequently
announced that it will continue to supply electricity to the Gaza
Strip.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli defense establishment
is fiercely opposed to a UN initiative to redraw Israel's border
with Lebanon and ultimately revoke Israeli sovereignty over the
Sheba Farms. The newspaper reported that a UN cartographer sent by
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to visit the Sheba
Farms in the coming weeks.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Monday Fatah legislator Muhammad
Dahlan returned to Ramallah after spending six weeks abroad for
medical treatment, sparking speculation about his future plans. The
newspaper quoted some Fatah activists as saying that he would openly
challenge the leadership of PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli diplomatic officials have
made clear in recent days that Israel continues to express its
displeasure with Moscow over arms sales to Syria. The Jerusalem
Post reported that Israeli officials see Russian economic and
strategic interests behind such sales. Maariv quoted the official
Syrian newspaper Tishrin as saying on Monday that Israel has
bellicose intentions. Tishrin wrote that US military aid to Israel
is evidence of the latter's shortage of weapons.

The Jerusalem Post and other media reported that a survey by the
American journal Foreign Policy showing that 15 of 108 foreign
policy leaders in the US believe that Israel does not serve US
national security interests has raised eyebrows in Jerusalem. The
Jerusalem Post says that the survey precedes the publication in
early September of a book by two US professors slamming the
US-Israel alliance. The Jerusalem Post also reported that the
British daily The Financial Times released a poll that showed the
Israel was no longer viewed in large parts of Europe, or in the US,
as a threat to global security.

Ha'aretz quoted Rani Loewenstein, a senior Israeli official, as
saying that the Palestinian government needs to establish an
alternative social security net in the West Bank in order to beat
Hamas at its own game and win elections. Ha'aretz wrote that
Loewenstein's plan was recently handed over to senior Palestinian
officials during a closed conference at the Washington Institute for
Near East Policy. According to the newspaper, Loewenstein is
considered one of the closest Israeli officials to Palestinian PM
Salam Fayyad and Israel's main liaison with the Palestinians on
economic and financial affairs over the last five years.

Leading media quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying on Monday
that the IDF needs to be bigger and more technologically advanced to
deal properly with future threats.

Ha'aretz reported that Israeli military sources told the newspaper
on Monday that the army does not intend to renew its contract with
some 170 security guards in West Bank settlements.

Maariv reported that most Sudanese refugees who have arrived in
Israel are Christians who do not come from the Darfur province.
They were persecuted because of their religion.

Leading media quoted Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer as
saying on Monday that the sub-prime mortgage crisis does not affect
the Israeli economy.

The Jerusalem Post reported that an Israeli team of six doctors and
nurses left on Monday night to assist earthquake victims in Peru.
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Knesset Member Prof. Shlomo
Breznitz (Kadima) has launched a volunteers project called
"Backpackers in India," involving public and private Israeli
organizations. Former Knesset Member Etti Livni, who is active in
the project, was quoted as saying: "The project could be a means of
creating links between Israeli and Indian youth for the sake of
peace and society. It will also be held to show the other face of
Israel and Israelis in India.

Maariv reported that Lisa Damast (phon.), a former assistant to Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, will immigrate to Israel today.

In its lead story, Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that over 25,000
Israelis working in high-tech -- out of 60,000 -- have left for the
US over the past seven years.

IDF Radio and other media reported that senior Israel National
Police officer Asher Ben-Artzi was placed on involuntary leave. He
is suspected of having helped criminal elements receive visas to the
US.

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

Summary:
--------

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "[Israel] has entered an era of
poor leadership with respect to its quality, its motivation, and its
ability to put an end to the occupation."

Palestinian affairs correspondent Danny Rubinstein wrote in
Ha'aretz: "Hamas and the PA will come to an arrangement. Israel's
adamant opposition to any compromise and its threats against Abu
Mazen should he make concessions to Hamas will not succeed in
preventing this."

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

I. "August's Hot Air Balloons"

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/21): "The initiative to sum up
the principles of [an] agreement [with Mahmoud Abbas] within two or
three months lacks a foundation and has no basis in reality. As
compared to Menachem Begin, who evacuated all of Sinai, and to Ariel
Sharon, who evacuated 23 Jewish settlements in the territories,
Olmert has barely evacuated two families from Hebron -- at most.
His coalition partner, Labor Party Chairman and Defense Minister
Ehud Barak, holds that we do not have a partner for a permanent
status agreement and need at least five years to get the Israel
Defense Forces back on its feet. The country has entered an era of
poor leadership with respect to its quality, its motivation, and its
ability to put an end to the occupation. 'When little people cast a
big shadow, it is a sign that the sun is setting,' goes the ancient
Chinese proverb. Fact: August is already on its way out, without
peace, without war, with two or three Qassam rockets and many hot
air balloons afloat."

II. "The Palestinian Wrestling Match"

Palestinian affairs correspondent Danny Rubinstein wrote in Ha'aretz
(8/21): "The Hamas regime in Gaza will survive. Abu Mazen's PA in
the West Bank will continue to boycott it, and it will also continue
to conduct negotiations with Israel over an agreement on principles,
which might well be achieved in the coming weeks. But this will
obviously be a virtual agreement, because the road to implementation
is still long, and without Hamas, such an agreement is in any case
of little value. Neither side is capable of defeating the other,
and therefore, they will have no alternative but to negotiate and
arrive at an agreement sooner or later. The Palestinian public in
both Gaza and the West Bank wants national unity, as do many parts
of the Arab world and the international community. Therefore, the
pressure in this direction on leaders in both Gaza and the West Bank
will increase, until in the end, Hamas and the PA will come to an
arrangement. Israel's adamant opposition to any compromise and its
threats against Abu Mazen should he make concessions to Hamas will
not succeed in preventing this."

--------------------------------
2. Muslims in European Society:
--------------------------------

Summary:
--------

Columnist Zali Yafe wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe: "The West will pay dearly for not facing with the
fact that the most common first name among English babies is
'Muhammad.'"

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

"Nothing Suspicious in the West"

Columnist Zali Yafe wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe (8/21): "Regrettably, many people believe that the
Israeli-Arab conflict is the source of the [current] danger and that
of the new terror taking hold of the world. Of course this is a
very convenient 'assumption,' which will lead nowhere.... The West
will pay dearly for not understanding that Israel is the only
country that truly fights terror. The West will pay dearly for not
facing with the fact that the most common first name among English
babies is 'Muhammad.' It will pay dearly for not doing anything
ahead of 2043, when France will have a Muslim majority.... If the
West does not wake up it will be late. There is a time for
conciliation and a time for having second thoughts. Conciliating a
body whose real purpose is to destroy the other has not succeeded in
the past, and will not succeed in the future with organizations like
Hizbullah and Al-Qaida because the idea contradicts religious
fundamentalist beliefs."

JONES

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