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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #3411/01 3341125
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301125Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4401
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 3081
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9752
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3239
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3858
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3105
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1194
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3829
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0691
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1160
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7733
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5192
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0111
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4247
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6186
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 8513
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 003411

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:
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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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Maariv reported that Syria has been urging Israel, through Russia,
to hold talks in Moscow. The newspaper cited The Washington Post as
saying on Thursday that the U.S. and Russia have agreed to a
follow-up peace conference in early 2008 that would include Syria on
the agenda. The newspaper added that President Bush warned Israel
not to surprise the U.S. Maariv reported that Russian President
Vladimir Putin insists that he is the only person who can influence
Syrian President Bashar Assad. For its part, Ha'aretz quoted U.S.
National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley as saying that it is
difficult to see how Syria can fit into the renewed peace process.
Hadley as said that Israel would be the one to decide whether to
negotiate with Syria, but that Syria must first make fundamental
changes in policy. Maariv said that U.S. and Israeli officials
were satisfied with Syrian Deputy FM Faisal Mekdad's speech at
Annapolis. Maariv reported that according to "incontrovertible"
official Israeli land ownership records, in the 1930s French Baron
Edmond de Rothschild bought 59,000 dunams (approximately 15,000
acres) of land in Syria -- 6.000 dunams of which are in the
Israeli-occupied Golan. At the time of the establishment of Israel,
the land was handed over to the Jewish National Fund.

All media reported that on Thursday police recommended that PM Ehud
Olmert not be tried over his role in the privatization of Bank
Leumi, citing a lack of evidence.

Ha'aretz reported that Attorney Talia Sasson, the author of a highly
influential government report on illegal outposts in the West Bank,
has warned the government against approving a new Justice Ministry
proposal that would allow state funding for outposts. In her letter
to the Ministerial Committee on Unauthorized Outposts -- a panel
which was formed to implement her report on the subject -- Sasson
says the proposal would constitute a "clear and immediate violation
of the Prime Minister's prior commitments to the President of the
U.S." Ha'aretz added that the measure, which would also allow the
construction of previously approved projects, is expected to pass
and be supported by Kadima members on the panel, including FM Livni
and Vice Premier Ramon. The newspaper also reported that right-wing
activists are planning to establish three new outposts over the next
several days. They also intend to return to and rebuild previously
evacuated outposts. The first activity is scheduled for December
12. The activists plan to establish outposts near Kochav Hashahar,
Jerusalem and Beit El.

PM Olmert was quoted as saying in an interview with Yediot that he
has not agreed yet to any concessions. He also defended U.S.
arbitration as defined in the Roadmap. Israel Radio reported that
the UN Security Council has endorsed the Annapolis conference in
principle. The radio quoted Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Danny
Gillerman, as saying that it is not certain whether the U.S.
consulted Israel on this issue, as it usually does. On another
matter, The Jerusalem Post reported that on Thursday Gillerman urged
Hamas to stop "eternalizing the past": Hamas officials have called
for the UN to rescind the partition plan that was adopted on
November 29, 1947.

The Jerusalem Post reported that defense officials are unhappy with
the appointment of Gen. (ret) James Jones as the new special envoy
to coordinate security between Israel and the Palestinians. The
newspaper quoted a senior defense official involved in talks with
the Palestinians as saying that Jones was likely to spend most of
his time pressuring Israel to make concessions. "Another envoy is
not what is needed now," the official was quoted as saying: "Both
sides know what needs to be done, the problem is that due to
everything else that is going on - including Hamas's control over
Gaza and the current coalition in Israel -- things are stuck."

Leading electronic media reported that today the High Court of
Justice ordered the state to delay its reduction of power supplies
to the Gaza Strip by at least two weeks, pending a full presentation
detailing the proposed operation. Maariv quoted Likud Chairman
Binyamin Netanyahu as saying on Thursday that PM Olmert will launch
a military operation in Gaza to escape from the Winograd
conclusions. The Jerusalem Post quoted a senior Fatah official in
Gaza City as saying on Thursday that Fatah will fight alongside
Hamas if and when the IDF launches a military operation in Gaza.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Usama bin Ladin as saying in an audiotape
aired on Al Jazeera-TV on Thursday that Israeli "aggression" against
Palestinians partially prompted Al-Qaida's 9/11 attacks.

Yediot reported that Hizbullah has the ability to target the entire
territory of Israel with recently delivered Fateh-220 Iranian-made
missiles.

The media reported that Netanyahu and former FM Silvan Shalom
reconciled on Thursday.

Yediot reported that the IAF has decided not to ground its old F15
planes, despite the fact that the USAF decided to do so for the
second time this month.

Yediot and The Jerusalem Post reported that recently declassified
Nixon papers from 1969 reveal that then National Security Advisor
Henry Kissinger wrote President Nixon that Israel stole
nuclear-related secrets from the U.S.

The Jerusalem Post reported that U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp.
has entered into a cooperative training project with Israel expected
to provide some 250,000 Israel women, youth, and disabled people
with a springboard to a career in science and technology-related
industries.

Maariv reported that oligarch Arkady Gaidamak might build a new
compound for the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv. Maariv said that the
move is meant to strengthen Gaidamak's status in the Kremlin.

Yediot reported that on Sunday the cabinet will endorse the national
plan to fight trafficking in persons.

Ha'aretz published the results of a poll conducted by Dialog on
November 28:
The Annapolis conference was ...
A failure: 42%; Neither success, nor failure: 24%; A success: 17%;
Undecided: 17%.
Did the summit increase chances for a permanent status agreement
with the Palestinians by the end of 2008?
No: 62%; Yes: 24%; Undecided: 14%.
If it is possible to arrive at a permanent status agreement on the
basis of two states for two peoples, which includes all "core
issues," will you support it?
Yes: 53%; Prefer not to: 38%; Undecided: 9%.
On the assumption that 2008 will be the crucial year concerning
Iran's nuclear issue, who would you trust to deal with the problem?
Olmert: 8%; Defense Minister Ehud Barak: 20%; FM Tzipi Livni: 6%;
Binyamin Netanyahu: 31%; Avigdor Lieberman: 13% Undecided: 22%.
What should Barak do when the final Winograd Report is published, in
light of his past commitments?
Resign from the government and act to bring about early elections:
40%; Remain in the government, since circumstances have changed:
24%; Call for replacing Olmert: 17%; Undecided: 19%.
"Were elections held today, for whom would you vote for?"
(Results in Knesset seats -- in brackets, 2006 elections results.)
Likud 30 (12); Labor Party 23 (19); Kadima 15 (29); Yisrael Beiteinu
11 (11); Shas 9 (12); National Union-National Religious Party 6 (7);
United Torah Judaism 6 (7); Meretz 4 (6); Arkady Gaidamak's Social
Justice 4 (0); Arab parties 10 (10).

A Yediot poll sees Kadima gaining seats at Labor's expense.

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Mideast:
--------

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn and Washington correspondent
Shmuel Rosner wrote from Annapolis in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz: "President George W. Bush and Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice have chalked up an impressive achievement as their
terms near an end.... This week's festivities probably strengthened
[Bush's] idealistic side."

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "An overall one-year schedule for a comprehensive solution
is unfeasible and totally ridiculous. What will happen if it turns
out that it is impossible to accomplish this task?"

Op-Ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in Maariv: "It is worthwhile
to listen to [the Israeli Right's] fears.... [But] rejecting a
two-state solution leads to a single-state alternative. It will be
neither a binational nor a democratic state. It will be another
Arab one."

Ha'aretz editorialized: "Annapolis will not lead Israel to any
solution with the Palestinians unless Israel stops cheating and
learns to restrain its expansion eastward."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "The
time to find out whether the Arab world is ready for a state beside
Israel rather than in its stead is now, not at the end of the
process."

Former ambassador to Egypt and Sweden, contributor Zvi Mazel wrote
in the nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe: "[Annapolis]
undoubtedly was an American success.... The question is whether the
[joint] declaration is realistic."

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

I. "When All Is Said and Done"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn and Washington correspondent
Shmuel Rosner wrote from Annapolis in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (11/30): "President George W. Bush and Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice have chalked up an impressive achievement as their
terms near an end.... The speeches [at Annapolis] were positive and
expressed hope, without going overboard. Will this result in a
final-status agreement? After all the past disappointments, nobody
is willing to bet on that..... There is Bush the 'idealist' and Bush
the 'realist,' as one of his acquaintances put it. Sometimes one
prevails, sometimes the other. Most of the time they simply
coexist. Sometimes Bush believes that he will succeed in bringing
the Palestinians to water and make them drink, too. At other
moments he views the Middle East with cruel sobriety and assumes
that he will leave the Palestinian problem to the next president.
This week's festivities probably strengthened his idealistic side.
The Annapolis conference placed Olmert at the center of the
international stage for the first time. As he sees it, all the
attending leaders and foreign ministers came to listen to him and
Abu Mazen."

II. "Signs of Oil"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (11/30):"Olmert was not lying when he delivered his lofty
speech and talked about painful compromises, the Palestinians'
suffering, and the need for peace. When he reached the part where
he declared that 'now is the time' and 'we are willing,' he was
ignoring the genuine reality. The trouble is that this drama is
dangerous, that it creates illusions, and could crash [Annapolis']
participants. An overall one-year schedule for a comprehensive
solution is unfeasible and totally ridiculous. What will happen if
it turns out that it is impossible to accomplish this task? In the
meantime, America will enter the election period, the Palestinians
will again despair, and the ceiling will fall yet another time?
What will this do to Abu Mazen, to the two-sate idea, to the axis of
the moderates, to Israel's status, and to the region?"
III. "The Rejectionist Front"

Op-Ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in Maariv (11/30): "The
[Israeli] Right fears that the Annapolis show, and especially what
is expected to follow, will lead to a Palestinian state. It is
worthwhile to listen to those fears: A Palestinian state will turn
into a Hamas one, an extension of Iran and Hizbullah, and lead to a
permanent threat of shells and Katyusha rockets on Israel's
population centers and Ben-Gurion Airport.... But it is not the
Right that created Arab rejection of the Partition plan; the Right
is not responsible for the three 'noes' at Khartoum in 1967; the
Right did not cause Arafat to say 'no' to the Clinton outline. We
have had too many illusions since Oslo, too many times have we found
out that our goodwill meets a totally different resolve on the other
side. But there is one problem: rejecting a two-state solution
leads to a single-state alternative. It will be neither a
binational nor a democratic state. It will be another Arab one."

IV. "A Halt, not a Suspension"

Ha'aretz editorialized (11/30): "When Ehud Olmert warns that the
world could impose a 'South African solution' on Israel if two
states are not created, side by side, he is tacitly admitting that
expansion of the settlements is making Israel look increasingly like
an apartheid regime. The agreement to withdraw, or to make 'painful
concessions,' as it is sanctimoniously called, is therefore less
painful than any other alternative. The only question is whether
another Yitzhak Rabin can be found, who is capable of really
halting, not just suspending, the construction of settlements, to
leave the Palestinians some territory in which to establish
Palestine.... In April 2004 the government promised the Americans
that there would be no more construction 'beyond the outside line'
of each settlement. That outside line has never been set.
Annapolis will not lead Israel to any solution with the Palestinians
unless Israel stops cheating and learns to restrain its expansion
eastward."

V. "Partition at 60"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (11/30):
"The juxtaposition of the anniversary of the passage of the UN
General Assembly's partition plan and this week's Annapolis
conference is a telling one. The Arab world marks November 29,
1947, as a day of 'catastrophe.' Sixty years later, the challenge
for peacemakers remains what it was then: obtaining Arab acceptance
for partition.... What the run-up to Annapolis, and the glaring
omission of the words 'Jewish state' from the joint statement sadly
underlined, however, is that [the] Arab 'recognition' [of Israel]
has always come with a huge asterisk attached to it. The Arab
position has been, in essence, 'We recognize you, but we have every
right to make demands that entirely negate that recognition'....
Without real mutual recognition, two states will only bring more
war, not peace. The time to find out whether the Arab world is
ready for a state beside Israel rather than in its stead is now, not
at the end of the process."

VI. "A Gesture to the United States, No More""

Former ambassador to Egypt and Sweden, contributor Zvi Mazel wrote
in the nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe (11/30):
"[Annapolis] undoubtedly was an American success, which showed that
despite the grave problems faced by the Bush administration, the
U.S. is still capable of leading the international community. It
looks as if the many participants came mostly because of the U.S.
invitation.... Some said that the size of the conference was fit for
the signing of a peace treaty, not for its launching.... The
question is whether the [joint] declaration is realistic. We must
especially ask this given the sorry state of the Palestinian
Authority, which is not only unable to restrain terrorist
organizations after losing Gaza but also in which powerful political
and public forces representing a broad segment of Palestinian
society are unwilling to negotiate."

JONES

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