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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2908/01 2781251
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051251Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3523
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 2813
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9507
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2911
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3609
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2844
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0866
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3574
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0438
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0909
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7488
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4935
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9843
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3994
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5939
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 8078
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002908

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

Israel Radio quoted David Wurmser, an associate of Vice President
Dick Cheney, as saying that contrary to media reports, Cheney did
not consider pushing Israel into a military operation in Iran in
order to justify an American attack on Iran. The Jerusalem Post
devoted the key article of its weekly magazine to the prospects of
nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

All media reported that during their meeting in Jerusalem on
Wednesday, PM Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas
decided that formal negotiations on core issues such as borders,
Jerusalem, settlements and refugees would only commence after the
Maryland gathering. Yediot quoted a senior Israeli political source
as saying that Israelis and Palestinians "have decided to make love
like hedgehogs: slowly and cautiously" (i.e. lowering expectations
ahead the international meeting). Leading media reported that the
joint statement to be formulated ahead of the regional meeting next
month may include references to the core issues of the final-status
agreement. However, such references would be non-committal, and the
statement will deal only with issues that enjoy clear agreement.
Ha'aretz quoted Israeli sources as saying that the meeting has been
set for November 26. Ha'aretz quoted sources in Jerusalem as
saying that the joint statement will be "significant enough but
general enough to avoid a blow-up and a crisis." The sources were
also quoted as sayng: "The parties understood there was no point to
pledging that the statement would include agreement on core issues,
but that if there were issues on which agreement could be reached,
they would be included in the statement." Maariv reported that the
PA is threatening to boycott the Annapolis meeting if Israel refuses
to discuss the core issues.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Hamas officials told the newspaper
on Thursday that Fatah has resorted to "insurgency" tactics in Gaza
after failing to organize a popular uprising. The officials told
the newspaper that Fatah militiamen were behind a series of bombings
that targeted Hamas members and institutions over the past few
weeks. Leading media reported that Hamas and Fatah have engaged in
secret talks under the auspices of Egypt. Some media said that the

SIPDIS
purpose of those contacts is the establishment of a national unity
government. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Israeli sources
reiterated their view that Israel would suspend contact with any
Palestinian government negotiating with Hamas.

Yediot reported that over the past few days an upgrade to the Google
Earth software has resulted in clear images of Israel's most
sensitive sites.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
plans to shuttle between Jerusalem and Ramallah starting next week
in an effort to narrow the gaps ahead of the conference.

The media reported that on Wednesday two Palestinians were killed in
separate IDF strikes in the Gaza Strip. Three Palestinians were
injured in the attacks. This morning Israel Radio reported that the
IDF killed an armed terrorist in the central Gaza Strip.

Ha'aretz reported that Israel has offered to help rebuild and
renovate the Justice, Finance and Health ministries in the PA, and
to train Palestinian judges and lawyers. The plan was unveiled at a
gathering of donor nations in New York two weeks ago, and will
include help from Israel.

Ha'aretz cited the US weekly Aviation Week & Space Technology as
writing last week that Israel successfully disrupted Syria's aerial
and anti-aircraft defenses using highly advanced technology in its
strike on Syria last month. Aviation Week said that Israel employed
special technology to blind Syrian radars, to ensure the striking
planes were not detected as they flew over Syrian territory.
According to the weekly, officials in Iran -- which operates the
same aerial defense systems -- are concerned by the failure of the
Russian-made radar.

Yediot reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on
the Hizbullah leadership to organize protest marches along the
border with Israel to mark Yawm Al-Quds (Jerusalem Day) today.

Ha'aretz reported that diplomats involved with the work of the UN
delegation to Israel told the newspaper this week that the
delegation is severely understaffed and it is unable to properly
maintain its influence in the immediate region. According to the
sources, most of the UN activity in Israel and the PA is coordinated
with New York.
Major media reported that IAF planes were dispatched in the
direction of suspected targets in the vicinity of Eilat, which
turned out to be US helicopters whose flight had not been
coordinated with Israel.

Ha'aretz reported that a committee headed by a reserve major general
will examine the alternative proposed by the Haifa municipality to a
military port in the city, according to an agreement reached between
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav and the Defense Ministry.

Ha'aretz reported that its correspondent Akiva Eldar has won the
annual Eliav-Sartawi award for Middle Eastern journalism, awarded by
Search for Common Ground, an international conflict resolution
organization. Eldar received the prize jointly with Salameh Nematt,
a Jordanian journalist, for their "Reaching Across the Divide"
series, which features correspondence between the two on Middle
Eastern issues. "Reaching Across the Divide" is comprised of 10
separate articles, five by Eldar and five by Nematt. The series was
published in Ha'aretz, the Palestinian paper Al-Quds and The
Baltimore Sun.

Maariv reported that the US administration has decided to cooperate
with Israel on the matter of Israelis illegally employed in the US.
According to new arrangements, local police in the US would be able
to arrest and deport illegal residents. Maariv also reported that
he Department of State has officially announced the start of the
2009 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery (a.k.a. the Green Card
Lottery).

Tzvi Chalamish, Israel's Finance Ministry's lead representative in
the US, was quoted as saying in an interview with The Jerusalem Post
that long-distance relationships between US-based companies and
Israel can work.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli pharmaceutical company
Teva may benefit for the Food and Drug Administration's plan to
upgrade its generic drug program.

Ha'aretz reported that most of the US public budget allocated to
security in non-profit organizations goes to Jewish organizations.
The Jerusalem Post printed a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report that
the USG budgets USD 19 million to protect Jewish NGOs.

Ha'aretz led with a report that the GOI has formulated a
multi-faceted plan to fight trafficking in women. Under the plan,
it will work to prevent foreign women from being sold into
prostitution in Israel, reduce prostitution here, and keep Israeli
women from being sent abroad to work in the sex industry.

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "The changes
in the region and the Palestinian leadership's weakness make it even
more difficult to reach a viable agreement. It is clear that the
Annapolis meeting will require much more creativity and daring than
the previous session at Camp David."

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner and diplomatic correspondent
Aluf Benn wrote from Washington in Ha'aretz: "The moral and
historical foundation of Rice's thought explain her devotion to
pushing forward the diplomatic process between Israel and the
Palestinians, despite the deep surrounding skepticism.... But her
increased interest does not convince the veterans of the diplomatic
process."

Security and intelligence affairs commentator Amit Cohen wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv: "The Palestinian threat [not to
attend the Annapolis meeting] constitutes a gamble with the prestige
of the US administration, which needs a successful peace
conference."

Deputy Managing Editor of the conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick wrote in The
Jerusalem Post and the nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe:
"All negotiations should be postponed until after the summit, and
the summit should be delayed for weeks, then months, then years.
Otherwise, in the name of 'promoting peace,' Rice and her Israeli
underlings will foment a new war."

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

I. "From Camp David to Annapolis"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (10/5): "The
negotiations in the fall of 2007 are being held in a very different
political and strategic environment from those of the previous
round. First ... every agreement between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
and Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will be compared to Clinton's
plan, to see who conceded and who gained. Second, building the
separation fence fixated in the consciousness of most Israelis the
final border with the West Bank.... Third, the Gaza Strip's status
has changed entirely.... Fourth, the increased strength of Iran and
its allies has changed for the worse the regional balance of
power.... For Israel, this is a blessing and a curse.... Fifth,
America is no longer as powerful as it was in the Middle East....
Sixth and most important, in Arafat's era the question was whether
he really wanted an agreement, but there was no doubt that he was
capable of carrying it out. The situation with Abbas and Salam
Fayyad is reversed: They mean well, but their power to implement is
limited. Any agreement with them would be theoretical, at least
until they 'gain more power' and accept security responsibility.
All this indicates that Olmert and Abbas's mission is much harder
than that of their predecessors Barak and Arafat. Only the final,
most serious issues remain open. There is no time left to waste on
empty rhetoric. The changes in the region and the Palestinian
leadership's weakness make it even more difficult to reach a viable
agreement. It is clear that the Annapolis meeting will require much
more creativity and daring than the previous session at Camp
David."


II. "Condoleezza's Show"

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner and diplomatic correspondent
Aluf Benn wrote from Washington in Ha'aretz (10/5): "Rice views the
end of the Israeli occupation of the territories and the
establishment of a Palestinian state as the modern revival of the
struggle for civil rights in America.... She views Abu Mazen and
Fayyad as the heirs of Martin Luther King -- leaders striving to
equality and freedom through dialogue and persuasion, not through
bombs and guns. The moral and historical foundation of Rice's
thought explain her devotion to pushing forward the diplomatic
process between Israel and the Palestinians, despite the deep
surrounding skepticism.... But her increased interest does not
convince the veterans of the diplomatic process.... They believe she
accompanies the process from above ... and is not well-versed in the
details.... [In their view] Rice has no 'peace team'.... Her
assistant in near eastern affairs, David Welch, is her envoy to the
region, but he is responsible over a huge geographical area and
cannot devote all his time to 'Israel-Palestine.'"

III. "Abu Mazen's Gamble"

Security and intelligence affairs commentator Amit Cohen wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv (10/5): "The gaps between the two
sides, say the Palestinians, will lead to the failure of the
conference. They cast the responsibility on Israel, they direct
their threats to Washington, but the great loser from the whole
story will be Abu Mazen. For the Palestinian Authority, the worst
option is to go to the conference and return empty-handed.... The
second option, which Abu Mazen is now brandishing like a sword, is
simply not to show up. This way, he will be able to gain, perhaps,
five minutes of grace in the face of Hamas's criticism....
Therefore, it should be taken into account that the Palestinian
threat constitutes a gamble with the prestige of the US
administration, which needs a successful peace conference. Senior
sources in the Palestinian Authority point out that in the last
meeting between Abu Mazen and President Bush, the latter said that
failure is out of the question. President Bush intends to impose
his full weight in order to ensure the success of the conference.
This, in any case, is what the Palestinians are gambling on. If the
Americans believe that Abu Mazen is not coming, they may pressure
Olmert to draft a broader document than he wishes. In the meantime,
despite the threats, the joint teams will continue to try to draw up
a joint document for the conference. But it is difficult to see how
this task can succeed without US pressure. The core issues -- which
Israel is not willing to deal with at all, according to the
Palestinians -- are still far from resolution. Abu Mazen, for some
reason, believes that by the end of November it will be possible to
discuss these landmines, and even present a solution for them in
principle. If this expectation is a precondition for the
participation of the Palestinians in the Annapolis conference, it is
difficult to believe that it will indeed take place. On the other
hand, it could be understood from the statements of the Palestinian
information minister last night that the summit would be attended by
more countries than the World Cup. In this situation, the
Palestinians may believe that the summit can be held even without
them."

IV. "Rice's Rabbit Hole"

Deputy Managing Editor of the conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick wrote in The
Jerusalem Post and the nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe
(10/5): "It is manifestly clear that by succumbing to Rice's
obsession with summitry, the Olmert government is playing with fire.
It is committing Israel to negotiating positions that deny the
country the ability to demand that the Palestinians come to terms
with the Jewish state and live at peace with it. And it is
rendering strategically suicidal seven-year-old offers the starting
point of all negotiations for years to come. On Wednesday, the
State Department announced that Rice's conference is being postponed
until the end of November to give the parties sufficient time to
'prepare the groundwork' to somehow ensure the summit's success.
Also Wednesday, Olmert and Abbas reportedly agreed that the
conference would be nothing more than the starting point for future
negotiations. It can only be hoped that these approaches will be
combined. All negotiations should be postponed until after the
summit, and the summit should be delayed for weeks, then months,
then years. Otherwise, in the name of 'promoting peace,' Rice and
her Israeli underlings will foment a new war."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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