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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #3367/01 3311246
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271246Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4331
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 3059
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9730
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3217
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3836
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3083
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1172
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3807
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0669
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1138
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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
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PARIS ALSO FOR POL
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION


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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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Annapolis Conference

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Key Stories in the Media:
-------------------------

Ha'aretz banners: "Bush is Pressing to Immediately Open Negotiations
on a Permanent Agreement" and Yediot Aharonot reported in its
headline that US President George Bush will say in his speech on
Tuesday that an agreement on a Palestinian state will be achieved by
the end of his term. Ha'aretz reported that President Bush wants to
officially open the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations for a permanent
agreement at the Annapolis conference. The newspaper notes that
despite Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's statement that "negotiations
will be held in Jerusalem", it is highly probable that Israel will
grant President Bush's wish. All media reported that President Bush
and PM Olmert met on Monday in what was described by PM Olmert in a
briefing to his diplomatic correspondents as an "excellent meeting."
PM Olmert also said that he has expectations that "normalization
with the Arab world would begin soon." Yediot reported that
President Bush will not present new ideas in his opening speech on
Tuesday. The newspaper quotes Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud
al-Faisal as saying that the US has promised that it will do what
ever it can in order to achieve peace.

All media reported that President Bush also met with Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday. The Jerusalem Post quoted White
House spokeswoman Dana Perino as saying that "there will be only one
Palestinian state," meaning that the Palestinians need to deal with
the situation in Gaza.

According to Maariv, late Monday night President Bush intervened and
started to pressure PA President Abbas to sign the joint
declaration. Ha'aretz cited estimates by Israeli sources that the
sides would eventually reach an agreement.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe headlined the Syrian angle of the Annapolis
conference. On its front page it reported that the Syrians believe
that razing the Golan issue at the conference is would be a
diplomatic achievement. The newspaper also emphasized PM Olmert's
statement in a briefing to correspondents that if conditions are
ripe Israel will hold negotiations with Syria.

Maariv reported that a continuous conference to Annapolis is
expected to take place in three months, maybe in Moscow.

All media reported that all of the resistance parties in Gaza
gathered on Monday and sent a message to PA Chairman Abbas that he
has no mandate to make concessions on behalf of the Palestinian
people.

All media reported that 10,000 right-wing activists demonstrated
Monday night in Jerusalem against PM Olmert, settlement evacuations,
and dividing Jerusalem.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe published a poll that was conducted by the
Palestinian Center for Public Opinion. It questioned 1,200
Palestinians from Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
According to the poll, 72.5% of Palestinian are opposed to Israeli
sovereignty over the Western Wall in any peace agreement. Only 18.7%
would support such an arrangement.

All media reported that four Palestinian gunmen were killed on
Monday by the IDF while attempting to initiate terrorist activities
against Israel.

Yediot published a letter written by Israeli reservists calling on
PM Olmert not to give weapons to the Palestinians.

Maariv reported that after seven years the US Six Fleet is returning
to Israeli sea ports. The newspaper noted that since October 2000
security concerns had kept the fleet's vessels from anchoring in
Israeli ports.

---------------------
Annapolis Conference:
---------------------

Summary:
--------

Senior columnist Yoel Marcus wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz: "All credit for this remarkable gathering goes to Bush.
It's his baby. But the opportunity is all ours -- an opportunity
that we dare not pass up."

Senior columnists Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Under the cloak of
cynicism, there is a desire for stability and people who are tired
of paying the price of the non-solution. The three people in
Annapolis symbolize something that is greater than each of them and
of the three of them together. Even if Annapolis does not lead to
an agreement, it constitutes an important milestone on the thorny
Middle East road."

Senior economic editor Sever Plocker wrote in Yediot Aharonot:
"People say that the Annapolis conference is only going to be a
'momentum conference,' that will jump start the peace process as the
Madrid conference did. The thing is that the Madrid conference
didn't jump start anything; it was a waste of time.... Still, we
ought not to be pessimistic.... It could very well be that what
common sense failed to do in the past will now be done by their
[Arab states] worries about their money, and that these countries
will now help to establish peace."

Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu wrote
in Yediot Aharonot: "Signing a permanent status agreement today with
the weak Abu Mazen is like building a multi-story building without
foundations. Sooner or later this building will collapse on us."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"President Bush should, as the centerpiece of his speech, call on
the Arab governments gathered today in Annapolis to lead by example
if they truly believe in peace. Conferences do not change history,
but clarity from the leader of the free world can."

Senior diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: "In summary: don't hold your breath. Peace isn't
going to be the result of this story. Not with these leaders."

The Ultra-Orthodox Yated Ne'eman editorialized: "Annapolis, like
other conferences, is intended to pressure Israel to give to the
Palestinians without getting anything in return."

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

I. "Bush's baby - and ours"

Senior columnist Yoel Marcus wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (11/27): "We have never had a president like George W.
Bush, and chances are we will never have another. If we reach an
agreement, we are not only clinching a deal with Mahmoud Abbas, but
with the whole of the moderate Arab world.... It is doubtful that
America's next president will be as friendly and supportive as Bush,
who can be trusted not to pressure us on issues that compromise
Israel's security and survival. So whatever can be achieved we must
try to achieve now, while Bush is still at the helm. We are not
going to be able to fool all of the people all of the time.... At
the moment, the fact that part of the Arab world has cut itself off
from Hamas in Gaza is an impressive preliminary achievement.
Olmert's administration is facing its most important challenge yet.
Now that Syria has joined, the Annapolis summit is forging a new
regional map, with the sons of light pitted against the sons of
darkness. All credit for this remarkable gathering goes to Bush.
It's his baby. But the opportunity is all ours -- an opportunity
that we dare not pass up."

II. "All Beginnings are Hard"

Senior columnists Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/27): "Three people
will walk today under the cloudy skies of Annapolis: an American
president who lost his world in Iraq, a Palestinian statesman who
lost half his country to Hamas and holds onto the other half mainly
thanks to the IDF, and an Israeli leader facing skeptical public
opinion, weary of ceremonies. Nonetheless, Annapolis is important.
Under the cloak of cynicism, there is a desire for stability and
people who are tired of paying the price of the non-solution. The
three people in Annapolis symbolize something that is greater than
each of them and of the three of them together. Even if Annapolis
does not lead to an agreement, it constitutes an important milestone
on the thorny Middle East road."

III. "Conferences Without Results"

Senior economic editor Sever Plocker wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/27): "Israel secured agreements with
Arab states only when it negotiated with each one separately....
Peace conferences that are attended by numerous representatives have
never promoted anything.... People say that the Annapolis conference
is only going to be a 'momentum conference,' that will jump start
the peace process as the Madrid conference did. The thing is that
the Madrid conference didn't jump start anything; it was a waste of
time.... Still, we ought not to be pessimistic. In the past 60
years the Arab oil states have never had so strong, so immediate, so
existential an interest in preventing the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict from flaring up as they do now. They need quiet in order
to protect their astronomical wealth and to enjoy it and its fruits.
It could very well be that what common sense failed to do in the
past will now be done by their worries about their money, and that
these countries will now help to establish peace."

IV. "True Peace or Imaginary Peace"

Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu wrote
in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/27): "The
yearning for peace must not cause us not to distinguish between true
peace and imaginary peace. The first fundamental condition for a
true peace is the existence of a true partner that is able and
willing to lead its people to peace.... Signing a permanent status
agreement today with the weak Abu Mazen is like building a
multi-story building without foundations. Sooner or later this
building will collapse on us. It can be otherwise. A responsible
government must conduct negotiations assertively, with determination
and with pride. It must promote, in a practical manner, economic
development for the Palestinians who want peace, and at the same
time, encourage them to build stable governmental and legal
institutions. A responsible government would maintain security,
would insist on reciprocity and distinguish properly between true
peace and an imaginary peace."

V. "Bush's Clarity"
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (11/27):
"The question now is how Bush can, in the current context, carry his
original vision [the Road Map] forward. His speech today, before
Israeli and Palestinian leaders and about 20 Arab foreign ministers
at Annapolis, is a major opportunity to carry on where his June 2002
speech left off.... Even in 2002, it was clear based on the
spectacular collapse and aftermath of the 2000 Camp David summit
that the Palestinians could not lead toward peace while the Arab
states lagged behind. Now the Palestinian leadership is
considerably weaker and more divided then it was then, and is even
greater need of real leadership from the Arab states.... President
Bush should, as the centerpiece of his speech, call on the Arab
governments gathered today in Annapolis to lead by example if they
truly believe in peace. Conferences do not change history, but
clarity from the leader of the free world can."
VI. "The Moment of Truth has Arrived"
Senior diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (11/27): "Ehud Olmert's speech at Annapolis is
supposed to be in his mother tongue, which is our mother tongue.
Hebrew.... Olmert's real audience is a Hebrew-speaking audience. It
isn't peace that he's gone to make in Annapolis but a peace spin.
He is going to address the Israeli electorate, he is going to
deliver a good and convincing speech, he is going to create the

semblance of an historic moment that is rife with optimism, and will
aim for Jerusalem. That is where his audience is seated, mainly one
of them whose name is Eliyahu Winograd. It is to that audience that
Olmert will be speaking today, much more than to Bush, Abu Mazen or
the Arab League.... Right wing activists demonstrated in Jerusalem
on Monday and said that Olmert had no mandate to concede parts of
the Land of Israel; in Gaza Hamas activists gathered and declared
that Abu Mazen had no mandate to concede parts of Palestine. George
Bush's mandate is due to expire at the end of next year. In
summary: don't hold your breath. Peace isn't going to be the result
of this story. Not with these leaders."

VII. "Conference of Peace or Conference of War"

The Ultra-Orthodox Yated Ne'eman editorialized (11/27): "The
atmosphere before Annapolis is not optimistic. The commentators are
united in their belief that the chances for success are slim....
Annapolis, like other conferences, is intended to pressure Israel to
give to the Palestinians without getting anything in return. And
Olmert, as Ehud Barak was with Clinton, is going there to serve as a
rubber stamp to concessions that would only increase [Israel's]
security risk."
MORENO

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