Search

 

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #3314/01 3241125
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201125Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4243
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 3026
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9704
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3182
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3809
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3053
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1136
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3777
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0643
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1110
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7685
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5138
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0058
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4199
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6138
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 8439
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 003314

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

Mideast

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

At midday today, the electronic media broadcast live comments by PM
Ehud Olmert and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after their meeting
in Sharm el-Sheikh. Both leaders wished for success at Annapolis.
Ha'aretz reported that PM Olmert was expected to tell Mubarak that
Egypt must stop weapons smuggling to Gaza. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe
reported that Egypt demands a greater involvement in the diplomatic
process ahead of Annapolis.

Leading media reported that negotiating teams, led by FM Tzipi Livni
and Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala), continued their talks until late last
night. Ha'aretz reported that the two sides managed to bridge a
number of differences and agreed that the Annapolis declaration will
concentrate on the process and not on the core issues. Ha'aretz
quoted an official source in Jerusalem as saying: "There is optimism
compared with recent days, and there is a good chance of reaching a
mutually agreed upon text of the declaration in coming days." The
media reported that Livni and Vice PM Haim Ramon voiced
disagreements at a special cabinet session on Annapolis, as Ramon
questioned Livni's willingness to make concessions, and Livni
criticized Ramon's readiness to raise expectations for Annapolis,
which may lead to violence.

The media reported that PM Olmert and PA Chairman [President]
Mahmoud Abbas met on Monday in Jerusalem. Maariv reported that
Olmert and Abbas have agreed on a diplomatic draft ahead of
Annapolis. Ha'aretz reported that Olmert and Abbas discussed the
day after Annapolis, and agreed that follow-up talks would be
intensive. On Monday Olmert told the cabinet that an agreement
should be reached within a year. Ha'aretz quoted Palestinian
sources as saying that that no breakthroughs or significant advances
were made at the Olmert-Abbas meeting. The Jerusalem Post and other
media reported that the PA has set conditions for participating in
Annapolis, which include an end to settlement construction, the
dismantling of outposts, the removal of IDF checkpoints, and the
reopening of closed PLO institutions in East Jerusalem. The
Jerusalem Post quoted a PA official in Ramallah as saying that two
PA envoys, Yasser Abed Rabbo and Akram Haniyeh, have been dispatched
to Washington to relay the new demands to U.S. officials.

Ha'aretz reported that at Monday's cabinet meeting PM Olmert
announced that Israel will not build any new settlements in the
territories, will stop expropriating land, and will dismantle
illegal outposts, all according to the state's commitments in the
first stage of the Roadmap. However, Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem
Post quoted Olmert as saying: "We have no intention of strangling
the existing settlements." Yediot attributed this sentence to
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who referred to the residents of the
blocs of settlements. Yediot also quoted Barak as saying that he
appreciates settlers residing in unauthorized outposts.

The Jerusalem Post quoted "senior diplomatic sources" as saying on
Monday that Syria would take part in Annapolis after being assured
that "Syrian issues" will be addressed in some fashion at the
meeting. Ha'aretz and Maariv reported that on Monday Syrian
President Bashar Assad warned against the negative consequences of
Annapolis.

Leading media quoted IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi as saying on
Monday that he objects to freeing 16 Fatah members from the Gaza
Strip ahead of Annapolis. Media reported that Transportation
Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet: "A wholesale release of
prisoners is a mistake. In reality, where Gilad Shalit is in the
hands of Hamas, all the releases until now have not helped Israel at
all." Ha'aretz quoted PA Minister for Prisoners Affairs Ashraf
al-Ajrami as saying on Monday that Israel's decision to release 441
Palestinian prisoners was a public relations move.

Leading media reported that on Monday Quartet envoy Tony Blair
unveiled a series of projects aimed at strengthening PA institutions
and the Palestinian economy. He earmarked four projects for
immediate implementation; the "Peace Valley" project in Jericho,
which involves establishing a joint Palestinian-Israeli-Jordanian
agricultural and industrial park with Japanese funding; the repair
of a sewage system in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip; the
"Ankara Forum" plan for building industrial locations in the West
Bank; and a plan to boost tourism to Bethlehem. Ha'aretz and The
Jerusalem Post said that Blair also has several ideas in mind for
the medium term.

Major media reported that a settler was killed last night in the
northern West Bank in an apparent drive-by shooting. A splinter of
Fatah's military branch claimed responsibility for the attack.

Israel Radio reported that the settler leadership blamed the Olmert
government for the violent event. The media reported that IDF
forces killed two of three terrorists who tried to infiltrate the
community of Netiv Haasara, north of the Gaza Strip.

Ha'aretz reported that the Industry, Trade, and Employment Ministry
intends to dismantle Elad, the NGO whose primary aim is to make
Jerusalem Jewish. Ha'aretz reported that Elad refuses to disclose
the identity of the five bodies that have contributed USD 7 million
to the association. Elad had bought Palestinian properties in the
area of the village of Silwan.

Leading media reported that on Monday State Comptroller Micha
Lindenstrauss presented Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik with his report
in which he claims that Olmert, when he was Industry and Trade
Minister, granted 7.6 million shekels [in 2004, a US dollar was
worth over 4 shekels] in business-related aid to Likud activist
Rahamim Ben-Shoshan.

Leading media quoted West Bank settlers as saying that there has
been a recent spate of Palestinian vandalism on property belonging
to Jewish farmers.

Israel Radio reported on the founding of a new right-wing party --
Hatikva (The Hope).

The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that on Monday in Tel
Aviv Ambassador Richard Jones attended a joint session of the
Knesset's Committee for Foreign Workers and of the Knesset's
Committee on the Status of Women's Subcommittee on the Trafficking
in Women with the findings of the State Department's 2007 annual
Trafficking in Persons report, which was published in June. The
Jerusalem Post quoted Jones as saying: "Israel has made significant
progress in combating trafficking into the country but there are
still many steps that can and should be taken to improve the
situation." The media quoted the Ambassador as saying that
trafficking in persons was a serious threat to Israel's national
security. Israel Radio cited Meretz Knesset Member Zahava Gal-On's
concurrence with him. Gal-On is the Chairperson of the Knesset's
subcommittee. In an unrelated development, Ha'aretz quoted Meretz
sources as saying that Gal-On will try to wrestle Meretz
chairmanship from Yossi Beilin at the party's primaries.

The Jerusalem Post lengthily described increasing hardships for
Jewish students from Europe to get an H-1B work visa for the U.S.
Ha'aretz ran a feature on Israeli architect Michael Arad -- the son
of Moshe Arad, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and Mexico --,
who won the competition to design the memorial to the victims of
September 11, 2001, in Manhattan. Ha'aretz said that Arad became
caught up in an imbroglio of politicians, architects, public
officials, and interest groups.

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

Summary:
--------

Prominent liberal author Amos Oz wrote on page one of the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "We need to go to
Annapolis and to continue from Annapolis onward with the recognition
that the two peoples already know more or less what the final
agreement is going to look like."

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote on page one of the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Each side wants the declaration
to be formulated in a way that will make it easier to persuade
Washington, and the rest of the world, of the other's culpability."

Former Ambassador to the U.S., former Minister of Foreign Affairs,
and former Minister of Defense Moshe Arens wrote in Ha'aretz:
"Whereas the Annapolis process is in no way injurious to the
Palestinian case, it weakens Israel's position when and if we
finally sit down with some real, and not virtual, Palestinian
representatives to negotiate."

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post:" Assad has a price for his attendance
[at Annapolis] and for moving away from Iran, a price that -- sooner
or later -- Israel will be asked to pay."

Defense commentator Amir Oren wrote in Ha'aretz: " Just as Anwar
Sadat leveraged the Yom Kippur War to achieve peace with Jerusalem
(and Washington), the General Staff believes that this is an
opportune time to leverage the IDF's power to achieve peace with
Bashar Assad."

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized: "To
say the least, it is irresponsible to engage in a diplomatic process
that will affect Israel for decades from a position of haste and
weakness."


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

I. "Time Is on the Extremists' Side"

Prominent liberal author Amos Oz wrote on page one of the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/20): "The extremists
on each side await failure and pray for an impasse. Time is on
neither the Israeli nor the PalestiniansQ side; rather, it is only
on the extremistsQ side. The burden of progress lies principally on
the shoulders of the Israeli government and Israeli public opinion,
since Israel is the one that is holding the Palestinian territories
and not the other way around.... Abu Mazen is weak only as long as
we weaken him by not giving him any tangible achievement. What will
happen if the current negotiations fail? The two-state solution is
liable to collapse irrevocably in the event of such a failure, and
we will be forced to choose between two historic catastrophes: a
joint state (that is nearing an Arab majority) between the Jordan
River and the Mediterranean Sea -- or an Israeli apartheid regime
that will continue forcibly to oppress the occupied Palestinians,
who will continue to resist the occupation forcibly. We need to go
to Annapolis and to continue from Annapolis onward with the
recognition that the two peoples already know more or less what the
final agreement is going to look like: Palestine within the 1967
borders, alongside of Israel, with mutual border revisions, without
the return of refugees to Israel and with two capitals in Jerusalem.
Everyone knows that -- even the opponents on both sides already
know that: The patient -- the Israeli-Palestinian patient -- is
almost ready for surgery. Will the doctors be able to muster enough
courage?"

II. "Blaming the Other Guy"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote on page one of the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (11/20): "Why all the fuss about
the wording of a declaration that will never be implemented? Very
simple: Each side is preparing for the day after Annapolis, by
seeking to ensure that the inevitable breakdown is blamed on the
other. The Palestinians will claim that Israel is still building in
the settlements; Israel will claim that the PA is not fighting
terror.... Thus each side wants the declaration to be formulated in
a way that will make it easier to persuade Washington, and the rest
of the world, of the other's culpability. But despite the
difficulties, a declaration probably will be formulated before next
week's summit -- if only because U.S. President George W. Bush and
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will decide any disputes that

SIPDIS
have not been resolved by then. Both sides warned, via the media,
of a crisis this week, and Israel, as always, pulled out the
shopworn threat of 'switching to the Syrian track' -- a tactic it
used even during the original Oslo talks. But, again as always, it
seems that a joint declaration will ultimately emerge. The only
problem will be how to implement it."

III. "Syria Becomes the Annapolis Prize"

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (11/20): "Bush cannot afford to be seen
now as someone who cannot even succeed in bringing two parties
heavily dependent on the U.S. to a U.S.-sponsored meeting. That
would be a slap in the face, and another sign of U.S. weakness in
the region. And this is where Syria comes in. While there is no
love lost in Washington for Syrian President Bashar Assad, Syria's
presence at the meeting is something that in a matter of months has
gone from something that the U.S. indicated it would tolerate, to
something that the U.S. now wants badly.... The U.S. wants to see
Syria at Annapolis because it will be proof that it may very well
be possible to peel Syria out of Iran's orbit and into the arm
embrace of the 'normative' Arab direction.... Assad has a price for
his attendance and for moving away from Iran, a price that -- sooner
or later -- Israel will be asked to pay."

IV. "Waiting for Annapolis"

Former Ambassador to the U.S., former Minister of Foreign Affairs,
and former Minister of Defense Moshe Arens wrote in Ha'aretz
(11/20): "Here comes Annapolis. Now the line is that nothing should
be done that might disturb the atmosphere in the period leading up
to the Annapolis summit. Isn't this far more important than the
peace of mind of the citizens of Sderot? Mahmoud Abbas is clearly
not capable of implementing any agreement. We know it. He knows
it. And Condoleezza Rice knows it. To the stupid claim that there
is no harm in trying, the answer is that whereas the Annapolis
process is in no way injurious to the Palestinian case, it weakens
Israel's position when and if we finally sit down with some real,
and not virtual, Palestinian representatives to negotiate.
Everything will have already been conceded, and another lame excuse
will have been added to the list explaining why the government is
not fulfilling its duty to protect the citizens of the western
Negev."

V. "This Time, the IDF Favors Syria"

Defense commentator Amir Oren wrote in Ha'aretz (11/20): "Ehud
Olmert is superfluous at Annapolis. And not only superfluous, but
detrimental.... But with or without Olmert, Israel cannot improve
either its security or its diplomatic situation by storming the
Palestinian front. All the alternatives are bad, from tolerating
the ongoing Qassam rocket attacks and the strengthening of Hamas to
attacking built-up areas of Gaza.... It is not only the Egyptians
who are to blame for the sieve that their border with Gaza has
become. The Americans share the blame, as they have not exerted
their full force to solve the problem. After all, it does not really
affect them.... After 60 years of fighting, the IDF's top brass does
not delude itself that military successes are an end in themselves.
Without diplomatic follow-up -- 'leverage' is the fashionable term
-- military operations, regardless of whether they succeed or fail,
will continue forever. Just as Anwar Sadat leveraged the Yom Kippur
War to achieve peace with Jerusalem (and Washington), the General
Staff believes that this is an opportune time to leverage the IDF's
power to achieve peace with Bashar Assad."

VI. "A Position of Weakness"

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized
(11/20): "Comments by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister at
Monday's cabinet meeting that Israel is going to Annapolis knowing
that 'time is not playing in Israel's favor' is like entering a bid
and saying that you will buy at any price. To say the least, it is
irresponsible to engage in the diplomatic process that will affect
Israel for decades from a position of haste and weakness.... Were it
not for [Israel's] commitments [to the United States], we would not
have had dozens of 'unauthorized' outposts: Their illegality is a
direct result of the Israeli governments' will to comply with those
commitments, thus playing the very unrespectable game of building
while turning a blind eye."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Swing States: Gordon Campbell On Why The US Needs MMP

After the bizarre events this week in Helsinki, the world will be hoping and praying that the US midterm elections in November can put a restraining brake on the presidency of Donald Trump. This may happen, but there’s a highly undemocratic reason why such hopes may be frustrated. More>>

ALSO:

putin, trump scalpGordon Campbell: On The White House Romance With Russia

Tough on Europe over trade, at the G-7. Tough on Europe over defence, at NATO. And utterly smitten as usual by Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On This Week’s NATO Debacle

For someone routinely cast as a clown presiding over an administration in chaos, Donald Trump has been very consistent about his agenda, and remarkably successful in achieving it, in the short term at least. More>>

ALSO:

NZ Law Society: Rule Of Law Threatened In Nauru

“The recently enacted Administration of Justice Act 2018 is another clear sign of the deterioration of civil rights in Nauru,” the Law Society’s Rule of Law Committee convenor Austin Forbes QC says. More>>

ALSO:

'Fixing' Family Separation: Executive Order Imprisons Families Indefinitely

Amnesty: President Trump signed an executive order today mandating for children to stay with their parents in detention while their asylum claims are processed. More>>

ALSO: