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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2592/01 2390956
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270956Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2964
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 2649
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9354
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2725
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3445
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2680
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0666
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3410
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0282
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0748
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7335
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4769
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9679
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3840
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5782
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7755
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002592

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:
--------------------------------

Mideast

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

Leading media reported that PM Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman
[President] Mahmoud Abbas are scheduled to meet in Jerusalem on
Tuesday as part of their push toward an "agreement of principles"
ahead of the regional meeting organized under US auspices for
November.

Ha'aretz (banner) and other media reported that on Sunday "Y.," the
deputy chief of the Shin Bet, told government ministers that the
military headquarters of Hamas in Damascus has ordered militants in
the West Bank to carry out a major attack inside Israel. Leading
media cited a denial by the spokesman of Hamas leader Ismail
Haniyeh, but also quoted Hamas leaders as saying that the
organization intends to use any means to achieve its aims. Over the
weekend, the media reported that the IDF shot and killed four
terrorists including two who managed to cross the barrier and enter
Israel. On Sunday six unarmed Palestinian youths succeeded in
infiltrating Israel.

The Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz cited a new report by Peace Now that
at least six roads or parts of roads are currently being paved in
the West Bank for the benefit of settlers at a cost of at least 315
million shekels (around USD 75.4 million). The Jerusalem Post
reported that settlers may offer to relocate Migron, the West Bank's
largest unauthorized outpost, ahead of a court hearing on a plan to
evacuate several of the unrecognized communities.

Maariv quoted the US Department of Defense as saying that as part of
an arms deal reached between Israel and the US, Israel will receive
USD 650 million worth of missiles. The newspaper also quoted the
DOD as saying that Egypt is acquiring 125 Abrams tanks at a cost of
USD 847 million.

On Sunday Maariv cited the belief of Israeli security officials that
if free elections were to be held in the West Bank, it is very
likely that Hamas would defeat Fatah.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel and the US plan to maintain
a low profile this week in Geneva at the UN pre-planning meeting for
a 2009 anti-racism conference that is seen as a follow-up to the one
held in Durban in 2001, which "turned into an Israel-bashing fest."

The Jerusalem Post reported that neither Israel nor the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee are putting together a proactive
campaign to combat the new Stephen Walt-John Mearsheimer book
slamming the Israel lobby for allegedly hijacking US foreign
policy.

Yediot reported on and printed pictures of the atomic bunker beneath
the Judean Hills west of Jerusalem which will serve Israel's
leadership. In the past media published reports about the
installation. On Sunday Maariv reported that Israeli security
officials are examining the possibility of using the Carmel tunnels
in Haifa to build enormous shelters deep inside the mountain. The
Haifa project is expected to be completed in three years.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namik
Tan told the newspaper on Sunday that Turkey expects Israel to
"deliver" American Jewish organizations and ensure that the US
Congress does not pass a resolution characterizing as genocide the
massacre of Armenians during World War I. On Sunday Ha'aretz
reported that President Shimon Peres assured Turkish PM Recep Tayyip
Erdogan last week that Israel has not changed its position on the
killing of Armenians during World War I.

Maariv reported that IAF commander Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedy has
recruited ultra-Orthodox men as air force technicians and that he
plans to train ultra-Orthodox as pilots. On Sunday Maariv reported
that the relative number of cadets who wear knitted skullcaps (i.e.
modern Orthodox) in the last IDF officer training class was
approximately 40 percent.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Sunday Yisrael Beiteinu party
leader Avigdor Lieberman rejected calls in Likud for the two parties
to run on a joint list in the next general elections. Lieberman was
quoted as saying that the obstacles to such an agreement were not
personal but ideological.

Israel Radio reported that the government is organizing a temporary
shelter for 1,000 Sudanese refugees at the Ketsiot site in the
Negev.

On Friday Channel 2-TV broadcast the videotaped testimony of a
platoon commander in custody after being charged with grievous
bodily harm -- wounding an unarmed Palestinian -- during an
operation in Dahariyeh, south of Hebron. The commander said that he
got into trouble because of his desire to carry out his mission.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that on Sunday Israel allowed 75
Palestinians out of Gaza to resume lives abroad.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe cited the London-based Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat as
saying that a group of Israeli Arabs is mediating between Hamas and
Fatah. The Jerusalem Post quoted a senior IDF officer as saying on
Sunday that PA security forces in Bethlehem have begun cracking down
on Hamas elements in anticipation of an unprecedented flow of
tourists into the city.

The Jerusalem Post printed a Jewish Telegraphic Agency wire report
that Sen. Barack Obama has told a group of Jewish communal lay
leaders that he is receiving advice on Middle East issues from
former US envoy to the Middle East, Dennis Ross.

Over the weekend leading media reported that on Friday in Lebanon,
former Knesset member Azmi Bishara, accused by Israel of spying for
Hizbullah during its war with Israel last summer, praised the
organization, saying that it is now stronger than ever.

On Sunday Yediot reported that major leaders from Egypt's business
community, including officials from the Ministry of Industry and
Trade in Cairo, are threatening to stop visiting Israel because of a
series of incidents at Ben-Gurion Airport that delayed their entry
into and exit from the country.

Major media printed a paid ad by oligarch Arkady Gaidamak that
"every day that [PM Olmert] remains in power, the people of Israel
continue to live in peril."

Major media reported that today Israel will send firefighters to
Greece.

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "Every day the
outposts remain in place is another day in which every member of the
government is abusing his office."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "The
EU's intervention represented a perfect opportunity for Israel to
better explain to the international community what is at stake when
Hamas abuses the world's ongoing efforts to help the Palestinians."

The Jerusalem Post editorialized: "UNIFIL can only keep the peace as
long as ... deceptive tranquility serves Hizbullah's interests."

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

I. "Outposts and Peace Don't Mix"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (8/27): "Aside
from the legal problem, the expansion of the settlements,
particularly the outposts, clearly contradicts the Prime Minister's
talks of peace. What significance could there possibly be to
negotiations with the Palestinians on an agreement of principles for
ending the occupation if the government is at once holding
negotiations with the settlers on legalizing outposts in the very
heart of the West Bank? Barak, who also heads the Labor Party, has
repeatedly declared that he learned the requisite lessons from his
mistakes during his previous term as prime minister and defense
minister. But his forgiving attitude toward Israeli lawbreakers in
the territories show he is determined to repeat this grave error.
Nevertheless, overall responsibility for the failure to implement
the decision to evacuate the outposts rests with Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert and the government as a whole. Every day the outposts remain
in place is another day in which every member of the government is
abusing his office."

II. "The EU Precedent"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (8/26):
"For several days last week many thousands of Gaza residents had to
make do without electricity. Had Israel switched off the power --
most of which is generated by Israel -- it is safe to assume that
the international community would have been incensed.... The fact
that the lights had just then gone out in Gaza was automatically
ascribed to the closure of the Nahal Oz [crossing into Israel]. The
Hamas-led Gaza regime rushed to make the link.... Yet even as many
observers bought into the Israel-to-blame line, Nahal Oz was
reopened, but the Gaza blackout persisted. It emerged that the
European Union was responsible. EU donors, who foot the bill for
Gaza's fuel purchases, accused Hamas of siphoning off the GGC's
[Gaza Generating Company] income to finance extraneous activities --
the nature of which it is, unfortunately, not difficult to
deduce.... If this brief episode showed anything -- apart from the
knee-jerk alacrity to blame Israel for all Palestinian ills -- it is
that Hamas is as corrupt as it has accurately and resonantly accused
Fatah of being.... The EU's intervention represented a perfect
opportunity for Israel to better explain to the international
community what is at stake when Hamas abuses the world's ongoing
efforts to help the Palestinians. Sooner or later, if the rocket
attacks continue and the terror networks flourish, Israel will be
left with no choice but to apply such and other penalties to prevent
Hamas in Gaza from biting the Israeli hand that helps feed it.
Israel would do well to prepare the ground for such moves by drawing
world attention to the EU's extraordinary measure, and to the
cynical governance by Hamas that prompted it."

III. "Deceptive Calm"

The Jerusalem Post editorialized (8/27): "For better or worse,
barring another explosion of conflict, UNIFIL will continue to
feature on our northern frontier for at least the next year. Its
mandate has just been unanimously extended by the UN Security
Council. The resolution extending that mandate hailed UNIFIL for
establishing a 'new strategic environment' along the Lebanese border
with Israel. But comments from Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dan
Gillerman, underlined how far from satisfactory this environment
continues to be: Israel's two kidnapped reservists have yet to be
returned, weapons are continuing to pour into the Hizbullah armory
and Hizbullah gunmen are still deployed in southern Lebanon, albeit
less overtly than in the years before last summer's Second Lebanon
War. The extension of the mandate does nothing to grapple with
those worrying realities. What it does do is perpetuate a dangerous
status quo.... An expansion of UNIFIL authority could have countered
some of these disturbing realities. But the international community
has no desire to crack down on the rampant gunrunning from Syria.
The 30 countries participating in UNIFIL do not wish to put their
men at greater risk. The bottom line is that UNIFIL can only keep
the peace as long as such deceptive tranquility serves Hizbullah's
interests. The UN presence in southern Lebanon, unfortunately, is
merely marking time to the next showdown."

JONES

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