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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2558/01 2351014
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231014Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2904
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 2635
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9338
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2710
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3430
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2665
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0651
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3395
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0267
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0733
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7321
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4755
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9664
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3826
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5767
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7728
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002558

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:
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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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The Jerusalem Post quoted President Shimon Peres as saying on
Wednesday that PM Olmert is "holding serious discussions" with PA
Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to put together an
agreement of principles before a regional meeting to be held in
November. Peres' comments came during a meeting with outgoing UN
Middle East envoy Michael Williams.

Ha'aretz reported that Israel has proposed that safe passage for the
Palestinians from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip be included in an
exchange of territory with the Palestinians in the framework of the
agreement of principles now being formulated ahead of the upcoming
regional meeting. According to Ha'aretz, the Palestinians will
receive control of the route, but Israel will maintain sovereignty
and it will only begin to operate after the PA, under its present
leadership, reasserts control over the Gaza Strip. Ha'aretz cited
Jerusalem's belief that the move will help Chairman Abbas and PM
Salam Fayyad garner public support in Gaza, which will see the Hamas
government as an obstacle to renewing communication with the West
Bank. Ha'aretz quoted a senior official involved in talks with the
Palestinians as saying that the agreement of principles will not set
out the details of the land to be transferred to the Palestinians in
exchange for Israel's settlement blocs, but will reflect as wide as
possible a consensus on the core issues. The details will be
hammered out in negotiations after the summit. It is believed that
for the Palestinians, safe passage is worth more than its nominal
territory, and therefore this will be a central component in a
territorial package.

Ha'aretz reported that Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, the US security
coordinator for the PA, is checking whether Israel is upholding its
agreement to stop pursuing Fatah militants in the West Bank.
Ha'aretz quoted a senior Western diplomat that officers from
Dayton's team have been meeting with Palestinian security officials
in several West Bank cities. "This is part of the activity to help
the Palestinian security forces institute law and order," the source
was quoted as saying.

Israel Radio reported that three IDF soldiers were lightly wounded
by Palestinian gunfire in a Nablus refugee camp. Ha'aretz and Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe cited an announcement published on Wednesday by
Abbas's office that the GOI is responsible for the escalation in the
Gaza Strip. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that on Wednesday
Palestinians shelled the Sufa Crossing in the southern Gaza Strip,
which stores goods vital to residents of Gaza. The Jerusalem Post
and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
are threatening to launch hundreds of rockets against Israeli
targets.

Yediot reported that over the coming months Israel will purchase
advanced Patriot PAC-3 anti-aircraft missiles, which can provide
protection against Syrian missiles. Yediot also reported that on
Wednesday Iran announced that it possesses a new operational bomb
named "Kassad" (phon.).

The Jerusalem Post reported that Democratic presidential candidates
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama harshly criticized President
Bush for authorizing a USD 20-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia
without any proof of genuine cooperation. The two Senators, as well
as Republican candidate John McCain, wrote their comments on The
Jerusalem Post's blog. McCain urged an increase in civilian
assistance while cutting back military aid to Middle East nations
such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Major media reported that, in a precedent-setting ruling, the Hadera
Magistrate's Court has ordered an IDF officer and the Defense
Ministry to pay 500,000 shekels (around USD 120,000) to a
Palestinian family after the officer killed their 16-year-old son.
The officer, Captain Tzvi Koretzky, who was convicted of negligent
homicide by a military court, shot and killed Mohammed Zayid of the
West Bank village of Nazlat Zeid.

The Jerusalem Post quoted one of PM Ehud Olmert's allies in Kadima
as saying that a group of at least 10 Kadima Knesset members is
seriously considering breaking from Kadima before the final Winograd
Report comes out, in order to maximize their political futures.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that the IDF did not intervene when
dozens of left-wing activists and Palestinians burned vineyards
during a demonstration in the western Binyamin area of the West
Bank, between the settlements of Neria and Nahliel, close to
Modi'in. Ha'aretz also reported on the incident. Ha'aretz reported
that fire broke out 28 times in 18 months on a small piece of West
Bank land owned by a Palestinian family, which accuses residents of
the Beitar Illit settlement of harassment.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namik
Tan is set to end his vacation two weeks early to return to Israel
and register Turkey's concerns about the Anti-Defamation League's
(ADL) statement that Turkish actions toward the Armenians from
1915-1918 were "tantamount to genocide." The Jerusalem Post also
reported that the ADL has stopped short of supporting a resolution
currently before Congress that calls on the Bush administration to
give the "genocide" formal recognition.

Yediot reported that Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann intends to
restrict the number of petitioners to the High Court of Justice.
Leading media quoted former High Court judge Dalia Dorner as saying
on Wednesday that the government is trying to take over the judicial
branch by means of a constitutional coup. Dorner was referring to
Friedmann's reforms taken as a whole. The media reported that
politicians from across the political spectrum and other former
judges also criticized Friedmann's moves.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday dozens of Sudanese
refugees, alongside Israeli activists, protested their deportation
outside the Prime Minister's Office.

Ha'aretz reported that PM Olmert has committed himself to involving
women in all diplomatic negotiations that Israel will conduct in the
future.

Ha'aretz quoted Dr. Joel Mergui, the president of the umbrella
organization of the Jewish community in Paris, as saying that his
community is threatened by mass emigration to Israel.

Maariv reported that Israeli investors and Arab sheikhs, notably
from the UAE, are competing for real estate in the former Soviet
republic of Georgia.

Ha'aretz reported that the late Israeli politician Moshe Sharett,
who was PM during the 1950s, revealed in his diaries that in January
1955, then defense minister Pinhas Lavon proposed a "horrific" plan
for a military operation in the Gaza Strip and ordered then IDF
chief of staff Moshe Dayan to employ "certain means" in the
demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria. According to Sharett,
Lavon "plotted atrocities that were averted thanks to the outrage of
chiefs of staff."
All media (banner in Globes) reported that the Israeli economy grew
by 6.6 percent in the fist half of 2007 and that unemployment sank
to 7.6 percent during that period. The US dollar has declined 4
percent against the shekel in the last three weeks, reaching a rate
of 4.17 shekels on Wednesday.

Yediot reported that American entertainer Madonna will arrive in
Israel for the Jewish New Year with 3,000 students of the Kabbalah
Center from all over the world, including Demi Moore, Ashton
Kutcher, fashion guru Donna Karen, and possibly Bruce Willis.

--------
Mideast:
--------

Summary:
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Columnist and former Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Sarid wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Perhaps it would be best to lay
aside the calming-yet-alarming announcements and instead make a more
serious effort to talk with Syria."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "This is
a time when UN and European claims to be honest brokers and even
friends of Israel will be put to the test. It is not possible to
press for peace and to sponsor and participate in the fomenting of
hate."

Veteran print and electronic journalist Yaakov Ahimeir wrote in the
popular, pluralist Maariv: "Why give such a huge sum to a state that
only represents, in the view of distinguished researchers, a
'strategic burden'?"

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

I. "Barak: A Voice From the Past"

Columnist and former Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Sarid wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/23): "The Defense Minister,
preparing for the next war, is still mouthing the concepts of
previous conflicts. He speaks of 'clear and unequivocal victory'
and 'deterrence, warning and decisive action.' Barak has not yet
grasped why we didn't win 'unequivocally' in the first Lebanon war,
before the cutbacks, and if we did, why we fled. And why we didn't
win the second Lebanon war despite our decisive military supremacy;
and why we didn't win even in Gaza, which is continuing to fire
Qassam rockets at us. Or why the Americans are not triumphing in
Iraq and Afghanistan, as they didn't triumph in Vietnam and as the
Russians failed in Afghanistan and Chechnya. When has any country
won a war by clear, decisive action lately, anyway? Are we to be
forced to conclude that Barak is a man whose time has passed? I
have a suggestion that could reduce the gigantic expenses: Perhaps
it would be best to lay aside the calming-yet-alarming announcements
and instead make a more serious effort to talk with Syria. Perhaps,
after all, it is possible to make peace with it and bring peace upon
us and the whole region. That could save us a great deal of money,
hundreds of billions, not to mention a lot of blood."

II. "Stop Durban II"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (8/23):
"You might ... be surprised were you to discover that ... a
conference [to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians] was
being sponsored not by a virulently anti-Israel organization, but by
such august bodies as the United Nations and the European
Parliament. Yet there is no other conclusion that can be drawn
simply by glancing at the agenda of the "United Nations
International Conference of Civil Society in Support of
Israeli-Palestinian Peace," which is to be held next Thursday at the
European Parliament in Brussels.... If anti-Israel groups want to
hold a conference completely excluding an Israeli point of view,
there is nothing stopping them. But what are the UN Secretary
General's office and the European Parliament doing there? How does
such a conference 'promote peace'? Actually, there will be Israelis
there. As Hillel Neuer of UN Watch puts it: 'The conference will
showcase Arab presenters who justify suicide bombings and accuse
Israel of being vile, racist and illegitimate, and for balance it
will also feature Israeli presenters who justify suicide bombings
and accuse Israel of being vile, racist and illegitimate.' We know
what this looks like because it has happened before. The infamous
2001 Durban conference 'against racism' restored the 'Zionism is
racism' canard a decade after that resolution was repealed by the UN
General Assembly, and openly excluded anti-Semitism from the hatreds
it was ostensibly meant to combat.... Next week, the UN is holding a
planning meeting in Geneva for a 2009 follow-on conference to
Durban. Given the groups behind this meeting, we can expect it will
be more of the same.... This is a time when UN and European claims
to be honest brokers and even friends of Israel will be put to the
test. It is not possible to press for peace and to sponsor and
participate in the fomenting of hate. It is not enough to


retroactively express 'regret' at outcomes that were foregone
conclusions. The time to stop Durban II is now. "

III. "When Israel Turns Into a Burden"

Veteran print and electronic journalist Yaakov Ahimeir wrote in the
popular, pluralist Maariv (8/23): "The presidential candidates, most
of whom are green in foreign policy, will have to present their
opinions about harsh allegations against the pro-Israeli lobby.
Even if they don't publicly express their disapproval, in the middle
of a race that is gathering heat and the media-covered political
debates are enough to turn the issue of whether Israel is an asset
or a burden into a key issue. It would only be normal for some
taxpayers to ask themselves whether it is worth it for the US
Treasury to approve USD 30 billion in military aid to Israel in the
coming decade, in the spirit of the memorandum of understanding that
was recently signed in Jerusalem. Why give such a huge sum to a
state that only represents, in the view of distinguished
researchers, a 'strategic burden'?"

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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