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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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P 281015Z SEP 07
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RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 2786
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9483
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2886
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3585
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2820
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0835
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3549
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0414
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0885
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7464
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4911
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9819
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002870

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. Iran

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

Israel Radio reported that FM Tzipi Livni may meet PA Chairman
[President] Mahmoud Abbas in New York. The radio reported that in
her speech to the UN General Assembly, Livni is expected to cite the
West Bank as the model for the future Palestinian state and to call
for a world alliance of democratic countries, in which Hamas would
not have a place.

All Israeli media reported that Hamas warned on Thursday that Israel
will pay a heavy price for its attacks in the Gaza Strip, which have
killed at least 12 Palestinians over the last two days. A spokesman
for the organization threatened to call on all Palestinian groups to
undertake all means of defense, which hints at the resumption of
suicide bombings. The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that
Chairman Abbas called for the cessation of the "massacre" of
Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Maariv quoted Yasser Abed Rabbo,
head of the PLO's Executive Committee, as saying that the PA is
considering bringing the issue to the UN Security Council. The IDF
operations began on Wednesday following several hours of mortars and
Qassam rockets being launched at the border area and the western
Negev. Hamas claimed responsibility for firing 54 mortars against
Israeli targets -- primarily the crossings into Gaza. At least 10
Qassam rockets were fired against towns in Israel. The Jerusalem
Post reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that Israel
was getting closer to launching a large-scale military operation.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the IDF praised the PA for
thwarting the production of Qassam rockets near Bethlehem.

Leading media reported that the bureaus of Syrian FM Walid Mualem
and FM Livni denied a report published in the Israeli Arab newspaper
Assennara that the two met in New York. Yediot reported that its
reporter Ron Ben-Yishai spent Yom Kippur in the Great Synagogue of
Damascus. Yediot said that dozens of media outlets in the Arab
world reported on Ron Ben-Yishai's visit to Syria. All media
reported that for the second time in less than a week, IAF fighter
jets were scrambled to the northern border on Thursday after radar
systems picked up Syrian helicopters making their way towards
Israel.

The Jerusalem Post quoted senior Israeli diplomatic sources as
saying on Thursday that Israel has no intention of stopping work on
the security barrier to lure Saudi Arabia to the US-sponsored
meeting on the Middle East later this year. The sources were
responding to remarks made by Saudi FM Saudi al-Faisal. An Israeli
source was quoted as saying that he is encouraged by positive
remarks made by al-Faisal.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the US sharply dismissed Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's assertion on Tuesday that the
"nuclear issue is now closed" and that it spent a week gathering
support for a new round of Security Council sanctions.

Major media reported that on Wednesday during a debate among
Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
defended Israel's alleged air strike in Syria, saying that it was
justified by intelligence reports which indicated that North Korea
was helping Damascus build a nuclear facility.

In Ha'aretz, Middle East commentator Noah Pollack described his trip
to Beirut. He wrote that despite the political turbulence and the
bitterness of last year's war, Israel and Lebanon have more in
common than meets the eye.

Yediot reported that Western countries have refused to help Israel
obtain technologies to build a civilian nuclear reactor.

The Jerusalem Post reported that over 240 members of the (British)
University and College Union have signed a petition calling for a
vote over the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

Yediot reported that the IAF has fired a commander who was involved
in setting up a "private" bank in an Arrow base two years ago.
Another commander will be promoted.

Major media reported that compared with 2006, Israel has shown
improvement in decreasing level of corruption, according to the
annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) from Transparency
International (TI). The same statistics sow that over recent years
there has been an overall increase in corruption.

All media reported on the deaths of former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of

Israel Avraham Shapiro, 96, who led the struggle for Greater Israel,
and of Yisrael Segal, a respected journalist and writer. He was 63.
Veteran pollster Hanoch Smith died on Thursday at the age of 85.

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

Summary:
--------

Palestinian affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The events in the Gaza Strip
over the past two days, in which 12 Palestinians were killed amid
dozens of Qassam rocket and mortar attacks, suggests that the logic
driving the policies of Israel and Hamas are diametrically
opposed."

Palestinian affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote in Ha'aretz:
"Israel's conditioning of Barghouti's release on an exchange for
Shalit is actually liable to result in Hamas holding him for a long
time."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"Responses [by the Palestinian Authority] cast enormous doubt on the
Olmert government's premise that [prisoner] releases are mandated
and justified by straightforward cost-benefit computations."


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

I. "Gaza Strip Logic"

Palestinian affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (9/28): "The events in the Gaza
Strip over the past two days, in which 12 Palestinians were killed
amid dozens of Qassam rocket and mortar attacks, suggests that the
logic driving the policies of Israel and Hamas are diametrically
opposed.... As such, a paradox has emerged in which the Israeli
government, the US, and Fatah believe that by exerting greater
pressure on the Gaza Strip's residents, the people will overthrow
... Hamas ... while the Islamic group is doing its best to shut down
the crossing -- perhaps assuming that if the civilians suffer more,
they will side with Hamas.... How is shooting at the crossings
expected to contribute to lifting the siege? Only Hamas seems to
know the answer. Perhaps it is meant to be a message to Israel that
the organization is not afraid of a direct confrontation with the
IDF and that only a cease-fire agreement with Hamas -- an offer
Israel rejected recently -- will end the attacks. However, it is
doubtful whether all Hamas factions support this approach."

II. "Is Barghouti the Answer?"

Palestinian affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote in Ha'aretz
(9/28): "The Rais [Mahmoud Abbas] coordinated practically every
significant move with [Marwan] Barghouti. But according to several
people close to Abu Mazen, if Barghouti is released and negotiations
with Israel produce significant understandings on a permanent-status
accord, only Barghouti would be capable and eager enough to
undermine Abu Mazen's leadership. These Abu Mazen associates do not
forget how in July 2000, on the eve of the current Intifada,
Barghouti posed the strongest opposition to Yasser Arafat within
Fatah.... According to ... Barghouti loyalists, the only one who
enjoys broad public support today and would be capable of
implementing a peace accord with Israeli is Barghouti. They are
right. There is no other potential heir on the horizon.... National
Infrastructure Minister [Binyamin Ben-Eliezer] said Israel should
condition Barghouti's release on the release of Gilad Shalit, who is
being held by Hamas. But it appears Ben-Eliezer failed to note that
Hamas fears Barghouti's release. Israel's conditioning of
Barghouti's release on an exchange for Shalit is actually liable to
result in Hamas holding him for a long time."

III. "Risky Gesture"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (9/28):
"Israel is set to free 87 more duly convicted terrorists next week.
They will join 255 other terrorists who were let loose last
month.... The rationale underlying these unilateral 'gestures' of
goodwill' is that the release of terrorists not affiliated to Hamas
bolsters the position of Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction.... The
PA has not concertedly cracked down on terror, despite abundant
promises.... There's no PA gratitude to Israel for these releases.
Indeed each Israeli goodwill measure is greeted with outright ill
will and fiery rhetoric about how insufficient the concession is.
Such responses cast enormous doubt on the Olmert government's
premise that the releases are mandated and justified by
straightforward cost-benefit computations. Furthermore, of course,
each additional release further erodes what remains of the already
diminished Israeli deterrence.... Rather than a credible calculated
risk, this could well turn out to be an unwarranted and dangerous
gamble."

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "The events
at the UN General Assembly justify Sarkozy's recent declaration that
the Iranian nuclear plan is the most urgent international problem."

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

"Know Your Enemy"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (9/28):
"[Ahmadinejad] is a foe who rejects all efforts at compromise
between Israel and moderate Palestinians and Arab states, and who
tries to tip in his favor the regional balance of power by
exploiting the American entanglement in Iraq. Against Ahmadinejad's
statements comes the clear voice of France' new President, Nicolas
Sarkozy, whose election is emerging as a significant event in
international affairs in general and in Middle East policy in
particular. In his first appearance before the UN General Assembly,
Sarkozy declared that allowing Iran to attain nuclear weapons would
be an 'unacceptable risk to stability in the region and the world.'
US President George W. Bush chose to avoid confronting Ahmadinejad,
but criticized the UN's hypocritical attitude toward Israel. The
events at the UN General Assembly justify Sarkozy's recent
declaration that the Iranian nuclear plan is the most urgent
international problem."

JONES

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