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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #3067/01 2961008
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231008Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3792
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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
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COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE FOR PAO/POLAD
COMSIXTHFLT FOR 019

JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
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PARIS ALSO FOR POL
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION


--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

1. Mideast

2. Iran

3. Global War on Terror

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

All media reported on PM Ehud Olmert's meeting with French President
Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace on Monday. The Jerusalem Post
banners: "PM Feels Fresh Breeze from the Elysee." A Yediot headline
reads: "Israel Has a Friend in the Elysee." Media reported that the
two leaders agreed to cooperate in efforts to contain Iran's nuclear
program. Ha'aretz quoted PM Olmert as telling reporters after his
meeting with Sarkozy: "We need to prevent Iranian businessmen from
doing business, until the class that controls the Iranian economy
does something against the regime." The media reported the leaders
agreed that Palestinian refugees should be resettled in a
Palestinian state, not in Israel. Sarkozy expressed strong support
for Israel, describing its establishment as a "miracle" and the
"most significant event of the 20th century."

Ha'aretz and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that PM Olmert has
informed Attorney General Menachem Mazuz that he intends to present
the anticipated joint statement at the Annapolis meeting to the
Knesset for approval.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Sallai Meridor, Israel's Ambassador to the
US, as saying on Monday at an American Jewish Committee luncheon
that Israel should always be prepared "to preempt , to deter, to
defeat if we can" when speaking about threats facing the country.
Chief among those threats was Iran, Meridor was quoted as saying.
He called for a unified international as well as a domestic American
front to counter Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Jerusalem Post noted
that Meridor's comments appeared to put Israel at odds with
America's approach to UN Security Council sanctions. The Jerusalem
Post reported that on Monday FM Tzipi Livni told visiting Russian
Deputy FM Alexander Saltanov and Moscow's envoy to the Quartet,
Sergei Yakovlev, that there was a need for additional sanctions on
Iran. Visiting Georgian FM Gela Bezhuashvili was quoted as saying
in an interview with The Jerusalem Post that the international
community must deal with Russia from a position of unity and
strength, and not try to appease it. Ha'aretz reported that
Bezhuashvili told the newspaper that his country is interested in a
strategic partnership with Israel.

Israel Radio reported that two Islamic Jihad militants were killed
in a clash with IDF troops in Jenin. An IDF officer was lightly
wounded during the incident. Leading media reported that a
Palestinian security prisoner was killed on Monday during a riot in
the Ketziot prison.

Ha'aretz reported that the Israeli government and defense
establishment are becoming increasingly concerned over the closer
ties that Egypt and Hamas government are forging in the Gaza Strip
and over Egypt's turning a blind eye to continued smuggling from
Sinai to the Gaza Strip. The newspaper reported that an Israeli
government and defense delegation to Cairo recently protested
Egypt's allowing gunmen to enter the Strip from its territory.

Ha'aretz's Web site reported that Finance Minister Roni Bar-On met
Monday in Washington with World Bank President Robert Zoellick and
urged him not to cooperate in any manner with Hamas and economic
projects in the Gaza Strip. "We must strengthen moderates through
economic cooperation, but there is no room to include Hamas in this
framework," said Bar-On, who added that Israel would like to
contribute to the development of job opportunities and proper living
conditions in the West Bank in order to demonstrate to Palestinians
that terror does not pay. The Finance Minister also urged Zoellick
to strengthen Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora economically and
help prevent arms shipments from Syria to Lebanese territory.

Leading media reported that on Monday Defense Minister Ehud Barak
decided to appoint Maj. Gen. Benny Ganz, who spearheaded Israel's
withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, as military attache in Washington.
The Jerusalem Post said that he could be called upon by the
Americans to provide advice should the US decide to withdraw its
military forces from Iraq.

Major media reported that on Monday five Qassam rockets and four
mortar shells were launched from Gaza into Israel. More rockets
landed in Israel this morning.

The Jerusalem Post quoted IDF Col. Nir Press, the head of the Gaza
Coordination Liaison Administration, as saying on Monday that Hamas
is unnecessarily endangering Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by
generating phony humanitarian crises.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that the PA has released dozens of
Hamas militants from West Bank jails.

The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that on Monday
the Knesset's State Control Committee decided to require State
Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to publish a special report
regarding the Waqf's digging on the Temple Mount.

Ha'aretz (Akiva Eldar) reported that the 46-sq-km demilitarized zone
between Israel and Jordan could become a serious bone of contention
when Israelis and Palestinians begin territorial swaps.

Maariv reported that two Republican Congress members -- Pete
Hoekstra (Michigan) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida) -- who know
the details of Israel's raid in Syria demand that President Bush
reveal them to the entire Congress.

Yediot quoted senior officials at the Prime Minister's Office as
saying recently that Israel is not cooperating with Kurds in
northern Iraq. The newspaper noted that over the past few months
senior Turkish government and intelligence officials have raised
such a concern.

All media highlighted the contents of a videocassette released by
the police, which shows the initial interrogation of Yitzhak Rabin's
assassin Yigal Amir. The media publish many commentaries on the
murder and its implications for Israeli society, including the
notion that public attention may be focusing more on Amir than on
Rabin. The official anniversary of the assassination will be
commemorated tonight and on Wednesday.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Evangelical Christians in the US
have brought dozens of Iranian Jews to Israel in recent months,
offering cash incentives and claiming that Iran's tiny Jewish
community is in grave danger.

The Jerusalem Post cited AP that on Monday a Dallas judge declared a
mistrial for four former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for
Relief and Development, a US-based Muslim charity accused of funding
terrorism. A fifth defendant, foundation chairman Muhammad
El-Mezain, was acquitted of most charges.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a group of Indonesian journalists
just made a "ground-breaking" visit to Israel.

Leading media reported on an interfaith meeting taking place this
week in Naples. Pope Benedict XVI and Yona Metzger, Israel's
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, were among the participants.

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

Summary:
--------

Columnists Gilad Katz and Haggai Huberman wrote in the nationalist,
Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe: "[Olmert] has no idea how he will
come out of the Annapolis meeting -- diplomatically, from a security
point of view, or politically."

Military correspondent Amos Harel and Palestinian affairs
correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote on page one of the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The growing cooperation between Hamas and
Cairo reflects a worrying trend: Egypt, by commission or omission,
is becoming one of the Islamic organization's strategic partners."


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

I. "Preparing for the Talks, Fearing a Failure"

Columnists Gilad Katz and Haggai Huberman wrote in the nationalist,
Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe (10/23): "Olmert is trying to walk in
the rain without getting wet.... He is trying to win over [coalition
party leaders Eli] Yishai and [Avigdor] Lieberman.... As past
experience proves and as may people fear, Olmert knows how he will
enter the conference, but he has no idea how he will come out of the
Annapolis meeting -- diplomatically, from a security point of view,
or politically. On the other side, some people are waiting for
Olmert. The more Israel is prepared for concessions, the more the
Palestinians are radicalizing their positions, which they view as
non-negotiable."

II. "Egypt's Warming - and Enabling - Cooperation with Hamas"

Military correspondent Amos Harel and Palestinian affairs
correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote on page one of the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/23): "Is Egypt happy when Israel
bleeds?.... The growing cooperation between Hamas and Cairo reflects
a worrying trend: Egypt, by commission or omission, is becoming one
of the Islamic organization's strategic partners. Hamas owes the
Egyptian security services, for turning a blind eye to the arms
smuggling and helping Hamas build up its forces. Until recently,
Egypt has insisted that it was trying to stop the smuggling, albeit
unsuccessfully. But its decision to allow 85 Hamas operatives into
the strip a few weeks ago, along with talk about bringing wounded
Hamas members for treatment in Egypt, cannot be similarly explained
away.... Possible explanations for Cairo's behavior include its need
to reduce unrest among the Bedouin population of the Sinai, and to
blunt criticism of President Hosni Mubarak's 'pro-Israel' policy by
the Muslim Brotherhood. But perhaps the most likely explanation is
an internal Egyptian disagreement over what course to follow.
Israeli sources say there is a clear dispute between Egyptian
Intelligence -- headed by General Omar Suleiman -- which favors a
conciliatory policy toward Hamas; and the Foreign Ministry, which
wants to take a hard line against the Islamic organization.
Currently, Suleiman and his people appear to be setting the tone.
Israeli officials do not rule out the possibility that this reflects
a struggle over who will succeed Mubarak. Washington and Ramallah
are also very upset over Cairo's behavior -- the US and the PA have
been shocked by the zigzags in Egypt's policy toward Hamas.
Washington has been openly critical, and in closed forums, PA
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has also lambasted Egypt's double
standards."

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

Summary:
--------

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Resolving a crisis that
threatens the world is beyond our ability. Israel would do well to
leave the use of force to the big guys."

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


"Leave It to the Big Guys"

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/23): "The Israeli ethos of
not relying on foreign troops to defend this country is all fine and
well, but there's no need to be stupid about it. Israel should not
be racing ahead of the pack with its threats on Iran. Even if
Ahmadinejad is baiting Israel, Iran is the world's problem.... It's
pretty funny when you think about it: Israel single-handedly
stopping Iran.... A botched operation is worse than doing nothing.
The 'Nasrallah model' could repeat itself, with Ahmadinejad
transformed into an Islamic hero. The whole region could go up in
flames as Tel Aviv is bombarded, and Hamas, aided and abetted by the
Iranians, grabs the reins in the territories.... With all due
respect to the ethos that the defense of Israel must not rely on
outside forces, the Olmert administration does not have the
leadership skills, political credibility or public backing for a
military entanglement in Iran. Resolving a crisis that threatens
the world is beyond our ability. Israel would do well to leave the
use of force to the big guys."

-------------------------
3. Global War on Terror:
-------------------------

Summary:
--------

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "The
jihadists who seek to dominate the world in the name of Allah are
not merely involved in violent activities."

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

"Shari'a-Friendly Investments"

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (10/23):
"Perhaps the greatest problem with the term 'war on terror' is that
it confuses the public and those charged with prosecuting the war on
all levels about the nature of the enemy we face. The jihadists who
seek to dominate the world in the name of Allah are not merely
involved in violent activities. Organizations like Hamas,
Hizbullah, and al-Qaida devote the majority of their efforts to
spreading the message of jihad by proselytizing fellow Muslims
through propaganda, education, and welfare activities and for their
larger political goals. Essential to the aims of jihadists is the
Muslim sacrament of zakat. Zakat, one of the pillars of Islam,
requires Muslims to donate 2.5 percent of their incomes to
charity..... [New York financial institutions] should carefully
consider the likely moral and criminal implications of enabling
Shari'a advisors associated with radical Islamic theologians and a
foreign body on record for supporting terror, anti-Americanism and
anti-Semitism to determine both the composition of their investments
and the utilization of 2.5 percent of the revenues stemming from
those investments."

JONES

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