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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0018
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2933/01 2831018
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101018Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3569
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 2826
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9520
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2928
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3625
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2857
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0881
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3589
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0451
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0922
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7501
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4948
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9856
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4007
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5952
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 8097
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002933

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

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Key stories in the media:
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Maariv reported that on Tuesday in Cairo Egypt's President Hosni
Mubarak and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman told Industry, Trade,
and Labor Minister and Shas leader Eli Yishai that abducted IDF
solider Gilad Shalit feels well and "has even gained weight."
Mubarak was quoted as saying that only Egypt can help bring Shalit
back home.

Ha'aretz reported that the gap between Israeli and Palestinian
positions regarding the document to be presented at the Annapolis
meeting has created an atmosphere of despondency among Palestinian
negotiators. Ha'aretz reported that the appointment of former
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) to lead the
Palestinian team is viewed by Israel as an attempt to undermine the
talks. The Palestinians view his appointment as proof that PA
Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas is taking the talks seriously.
The paper stated that the Palestinians are looking for a clear
document which specifically addresses borders, Jerusalem and
refugees whereas the Israeli side is looking for something
non-specific which would represent a starting point for
negotiations.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a "parade" of diplomats, including
Quartet envoy Tony Blair and Assistant Secretary of State for Near
Eastern Affairs David Welch, are visiting the region to help Israel
and the PA draft a joint declaration to be endorsed at Annapolis.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
is scheduled to arrive from Moscow. The daily quoted diplomatic
officials as saying that it is not yet clear how many days she will
remain, and what other countries she will visit while in the region.
The officials were quoted as saying that there were no immediate
plans for a trilateral meeting between her, Pm Ehud Olmert, and
Abbas. They were also quoted as saying that there was no guarantee
that, as many expect, she would announce a date and venue for the
international meeting. The Jerusalem Post also reported that
Olmert told visiting Turkish FM Ali Babacan at a meeting they held
on Monday that the US-sponsored conference was to focus on the
Palestinian, not the Syrian, track. The Jerusalem Post reported
that Babacan told the newspaper on Tuesday that the Arab peace plan,
which calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan, is on the
table at the November meeting.

All media reported that on Tuesday police interrogated PM Olmert for
five hours in his Jerusalem residence over the Bank Leumi affair.
All media cited remarks made on Tuesday on Israel Radio by
Attorney-General Yaron Zelekha that Olmert and then-finance minister
Abraham Hirchson offered plum jobs to him and to Treasury legal
adviser Yamima Mazuz, ostensibly to win them over to Olmert's side
in the Bank Leumi affair.

The Jerusalem Post reported that several leading experts connected
to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in
December 1988 told the newspaper that the conviction of Libyan
intelligence officer Abdelsbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi for the
terrorist attack will be overturned in an appeals process. The
newspaper said that the spotlight might again fall on Iran and the
PFLP-General Command.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Olmert is scheduled to travel to
Paris and London on October 21-23 for his first meetings with French
President Nicolas Sarkozy and British PM Gordon Brown since they
took over their respective offices earlier this year. This will be
Olmert's first trip abroad since meeting with President Bush in
June.

Leading media reported that Germany is expected to release Kazem
Darabi, an Iranian convicted of murder in the case of the 1992
killings of an Iranian dissident and his interpreter in Berlin's
Mykonos restaurant. He was supposed to be released in the second
stage of the 2004 prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizbullah,
which never took place. The media reported that Darabi is thought
to have information on the fate of Israeli MIA Ron Arad. Media
reported that Arad's family will travel to Germany next week to try
to convince the German authorities not to release Darabi.

Leading media quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying on
Tuesday before the Knesset's State Control Committee that in a few
years Israel will be protected from 90 percent of missile and rocket
fire.

The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio quoted Abdullah Nimr Darwish,
the founder of the southern branch of Israel's Islamic Movement, as
saying on Tuesday night at an Iftar dinner hosted by President
Shimon Peres: "The Israeli flag will fly in the capitals of 57 Arab
[and Muslim] states -- something that the fathers of Zionism did not
dare to dream of." The Jerusalem Post reported that Ambassador
Richard Jones held an Iftar dinner on the same day.

Yediot quoted Israeli sources as saying that US pressure is delaying
the launching of Techstar, an advanced Israeli spy satellite, from
India.

The Jerusalem Post reported that more than half a million Israelis
have signed a petition -- organized by the OneVoice movement --
calling on the Israeli and Palestinian governments to reach a peace
agreement within the next year based on a two-state solution and an
Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines.

Ha'aretz reported that the Foreign Ministry is organizing a meeting
of Israeli ambassadors and consuls in the US, Canada, and the UN to
coordinate their policies with respect to Iran.

Leading media reported that on Tuesday NATO signed a cooperation
agreement with Egypt.

Ha'aretz quoted visiting Turkish FM Ali Babacan as saying on Tuesday
that if the US Congress recognizes the World War I massacre of
Armenians as genocide, this might cause serious damage to Turkey's
relations with the Jewish people and Israel.

Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday Maj. Gen. Eli Marom took over the
command of the Israel Navy from David Ben Ba'ashat.

Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday in Amman three Israeli doctors
treated40 Iraqi children -- whose ages ranged from a few months to
14 years old -- suffering from heart disease in a rare instance of
cooperation. The doctors were quoted as saying that they hoped
their actions will improve relations between the two Mideast nations
and ease tensions between Israel and the rest of the Arab world.
The heart program is sponsored by Save a Child's Heart (SACH), a
humanitarian organization founded in Israel in 1996.

The Jerusalem Post quoted the Gisha Center, and Israeli advocacy
group, as saying that Saed Hasan, a Palestinian high tech executive
from Ramallah, has been denied permission to enter Israel to attend
an executive MBA program run by Northwestern University

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

Summary:
--------

Defense commentator Amir Oren wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz: "The conclusion to be drawn from an analysis of the words
of Bush, [Admiral Michael] Mullen, and others in the American
leadership is that Israeli policy will be persuasive only if it is
based on a compromise -- far-reaching and involving a significant
withdrawal -- with moderate forces in the region."

Conservative columnist Yosef Harif wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "There still is no certainty that the Palestinians will
agree to participate in the meeting if they do not get what they
want."

Ha'aretz editorialized: "The Winograd Commission's partial report,
which was published about six months ago, should have been enough to
bring about the Prime Minister's resignation."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "The
Winograd Commission needs to have its final say, and soon."

Eliezer Yaari, the Director-General of the New Israel Fund, wrote in
Ha'aretz: "Israeli society must ... learn to be satisfied with the
desire to return to parts of the Land of Israel, with the attachment
alone, without any intention of turning it into the political right
to return."

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

I. "Islam Is the Enemy"

Defense commentator Amir Oren wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (10/10): "Bush is not ignoring internal politics, the
voices of a minority that can be influential in close races,
especially if it is canvassed. But in foreign affairs and defense,
Islam is not just one topic among many, it is the main topic.
Toward the end of his presidency, Bush is confronting one active
enemy with many faces: extremist Islam. Sunni or Shi'ite, Iranian or
Iraqi, Lebanese or Palestinian, everyone who is plotting against the
Americans belongs to one extremist wing or another of the Islamic
religion.... While Russia and China are considered competitors and
in the future perhaps rivals again -- but not enemies -- eliminating
North Korea from active membership in the 'axis of evil' will grant
the Middle East almost exclusive attention in Washington. In
essence, the division of the world according to Bush into good guys
versus bad guys is worded as 'moderate Muslims versus extremist
Muslims,' with the former group needing assistance to keep the
latter in check.... The conclusion to be drawn from an analysis of
the words of Bush, [Admiral Michael] Mullen, and others in the
American leadership is that Israeli policy will be persuasive only
if it is based on a compromise -- far-reaching and involving a
significant withdrawal -- with moderate forces in the region.
Extremists who oppose such a compromise should be presented in their
religious rather than national context: confrontation with the
ayatollahs, Hezbollah and Hamas, not with Iranians, Lebanese and
Palestinians. A refusal to give in to the former, who are trying to
destroy Israel, will be accepted with understanding."

II. "Hardships on the Way to the Conference"

Conservative columnist Yosef Harif wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (10/10): "US Secretary if State Condoleezza Rice is returning
to the region as she apparently fears that the holding of the
international summit planned for the end of November is still
uncertain. Besides the fact that there currently are few countries
that have guaranteed their participation, it turns out that the
Palestinians are putting up demands that are hardly acceptable to
Israel.... In light of Olmert's eagerness to take part in the
international meeting, Rice will apparently not find it hard to
reach an understanding with the Israeli side, but there still is no
certainty that the Palestinians will agree to participate in the
meeting if they do not get what they want."

III. "No One but Olmert"

Ha'aretz editorialized (10/10): "The Winograd Commission's partial
report, which was published about six months ago, should have been
enough to bring about the Prime Minister's resignation: In
unequivocal terms, the commission declared that he failed in every
aspect of the Second Lebanon War's conduct, and that he bears full
responsibility for this. But in Israel's political culture, in
which refusing to take responsibility has become the norm, these
clear, harsh statements were insufficient to cause Ehud Olmert to
resign.... The Winograd Commission will give the public an
authoritative account of the Second Lebanon War: It has heard the
testimony and scrutinized the documents, and to this day, no one has
cast doubts on its integrity and skill. Granted, the panel promised
the court that it would enable anyone liable to be harmed by its
final report to plead his case before it and examine the evidence.
Nevertheless, we must hope that it will find a way to avoid either
submitting a superficial and pointless report, on one hand, or being
dragged into the cross-examination of witnesses, on the other. As
for the question of responsibility -- that was already settled in
the interim report."

IV. "Time to Report"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (10/10):
"While pledging to implement the recommendations [of the Winograd
Commission's] interim report, Olmert has hitherto ignored the
conclusion implicit on many of its pages, a conclusion recognized
and essentially endorsed by his foreign minister when she told him
that it required his resignation. It remains to be seen if as harsh
or still harsher a final report -- even if devoid of a direct call
for him to vacate his office -- would trigger the political
maelstrom he avoided at the interim stage. Conventional wisdom is
that Olmert would be willing and politically able to discount
anything less than an unequivocal recommendation to quit.... If the
Winograd Report only comes out when further events -- and possibly
further grievous mistakes by the government -- overtake and
overshadow its subject matter, then its conclusions may be rendered
irrelevant and the lessons it would have subsequent governments
internalize may be offered too late. The Winograd Commission needs
to have its final say, and soon."

V. "The Right of the Link"

Eliezer Yaari, the Director-General of the New Israel Fund, wrote in
Ha'aretz (10/10): "It should be recalled that from the outset
Zionism conceded the political right to all parts of the Land of
Israel, and tried to achieve international political recognition of
the Jewish homeland in the Land of Israel, within any possible
physical border. At the same time, the national institutions of the
Jewish people never conceded their attachment to parts of the Land
of Israel that did not receive political recognition. This view --
a bond that does not translate into a full right to the territory --
was shared by national-religious Zionism, as opposed to the secular
Revisionist camp, which did not give up the distinction between an
attachment and a right..... Justice will be achieved when both sides
undergo this process in which they concede the political right
without losing the bond. Israeli society must also learn to be
satisfied with the desire to return to parts of the Land of Israel,
with the attachment alone, without any intention of turning it into
the political right to return.... One of the reasons why the left
and center, which have given up on the attachment to the land
(despite hollow declarations about 'Jerusalem the city that was
reunified') are having difficulty dealing with the Palestinian side
is due to this absence of a bond. For this purpose there is no
difference between Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Yossi Beilin, Avigdor
Lieberman, or Zehava Gal-On."

JONES

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