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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #3429/01 3371351
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031351Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4427
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 3091
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9759
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3249
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3865
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3112
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1206
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3837
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0698
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1168
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7740
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5199
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0118
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4254
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6193
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 8528
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 003429

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

1. Mideast

2. Russian Parliamentary Elections

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

Major media (banners in Ha'aretz and the Jerusalem Post) reported
that on Sunday Labor Party Chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak
proposed at the weekly cabinet meeting compensation for settlers
living east of the separation barrier if they voluntarily leave
their homes. Ha'aretz quoted officials in Barak's office as saying
that the move was the beginning of a long process. Sources in the
Prime Minister's Office, however, were quoted as saying that there
is no plan to discuss the proposal in the near future. Also citing
the proposed plan, Maariv quoted the Yesha Council of Jewish
Settlements in the Territories as saying that it will not sell its
loyalty to the Land of Israel in exchange for money.

Ha'aretz reported that on Sunday the cabinet approved the statement
read by President Bush at the Annapolis conference. While the Shas
ministers voted against the statement, Yisrael Beiteinu leader
Avigdor Lieberman left before the vote was taken. The Jerusalem
Post reported that PM Ehud Olmert and FM Tzipi Livni told the
cabinet that there was no Israeli commitment to a timetable. On
Sunday Ha'aretz reported that the U.S. has withdrawn a UN Security
Council draft resolution endorsing the Israeli-Palestinian Annapolis
joint declaration following Israeli objections. The move came just
a few hours before the Security Council was to vote on the
resolution. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for Palestine to the
UN, also objected to the U.S. resolution, on the grounds that some
of its articles did not fully express the PA's position. Over the
weekend the media reported that during his visit to Arab countries,
PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas took pride in the achievements
that were made in the course of the Annapolis conference, but that
he continued to reject Israel's "red lines," including its demand to
be recognized as a Jewish state.

Major media reported that Israel released 429 Palestinian prisoners
today. Major media reported that the Knesset's Interior Committee
visited jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. Media quoted him as
saying that most of the released prisoners would have been freed in
a matter of months. Media reported that Barghouti told Knesset
Member Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) that the end of the
conflict is at hand, and that a courageous leader is needed to sign
an agreement. Barghouti reportedly added that if a permanent-status
agreement is reached, the Gazans, too, will accept a solution of two
states for two peoples. Yediot quoted former Labor Party leader
Amir Peretz, who also visited Barghouti in prison, as saying that
Israel should talk to Hamas and release Barghouti.

Leading media reported that the IDF has arrested two Palestinians
for the murder of settler Ido Zoldan ten days ago in the West Bank.
Israel Radio reported that a third Palestinian was arrested by PA
forces. All three are members of the Palestinian security forces.
The media also reported that a dozen of Palestinians were killed in
clashes with the IDF over the weekend. Major media reported that 20
mortar shells have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip in the
last 24 hours. Leading media reported that the defense
establishment is considering the installation of underground sensors
along the Gaza border fence to thwart the increasing number of
attempts by Palestinian terrorists to infiltrate into Israel. On
Sunday Yediot reported that Israel has stepped up its use of
technological and special intelligence means at its sea and airports
as well as at the land border crossings to expose any attempt to
smuggle radioactive substances into Israel.

On Sunday The Jerusalem Post reported that the U.S. has not publicly
clarified its position on construction in major settlement blocs
despite promises to monitor and judge the legitimacy of such
activity following last week's Annapolis conference.

Leading media reported that on Friday the High Court of Justice
ruled that cutbacks in fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip can continue,
but electricity cuts must be delayed.

On Sunday Maariv quoted a senior associate of PM Olmert as saying
that he is not expected to approve a wide-scale military operation
in Gaza until after the publication of the final Winograd Commission
report. Today Maariv reported that an internal paper written by
Foreign Ministry officials concludes that Israeli restrictions along
with the fighting by moderate forces in the PA, is having a
detrimental effect on the Hamas government. According to the
Foreign Ministry paper, "As time passes and with sustained pressure
on Gaza, it may be assumed that the Hamas leadership will begin to
realize that a new division of governmental powers is necessary."
The paper includes a comprehensive analysis of the damage to the
Palestinian economy in the wake of IsraelQs restrictions, and
according to the bottom line, if the sanctions continue, this will
lead to HamasQs descent from power in favor of Fatah.

Ha'aretz reported that on Sunday Israel approved the departure from
Gaza of 199 Palestinians residing, working, or studying in Arab
countries.

Maariv cited the admission of senior GOI sources that Russia's
efforts facilitated Deputy Syrian FM Faisal Mekdad's participation
in Annapolis Maariv reported that in the next few weeks Israel and
the U.S. will discuss with Russia the follow-up to Annapolis, which
is expected to be a conference in Moscow. Maariv reported that
whereas Moscow is interested in holding a separate session dealing
with Israel-Syrian issues, Jerusalem prefers a broader "regional
peace in the Middle East" context. Labor MK Danny Yatom told Israel
Radio on Saturday that Israel should drop its preconditions and
immediately resume peace with Syria.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Sunday PM Olmert and FM Livni
met with visiting South Korean FM Son Ming-soon. Livni was quoted
as saying that the "international community is concentrating efforts
to sever commercial and financial relations with Iran, to increase
pressure on that country, and we must not allow Iran to evade these
significant actions by presenting Asia alternatives. When Europe
takes action against Iran, Iran turns to Asia. It is extremely
important for Asian countries to avoid the creation of alternative
relations with Iran, especially at this crucial point." The
newspaper said that Olmert stressed the importance of economic
sanctions against Iran but did not raise the North Korean-Syrian
connection. The Jerusalem Post reported that the Foreign Ministry
issued a statement alluding to North Korea's nuclear program and the
proliferation of elements of that program in countries in the Middle
East. On Sunday Ha'aretz cited a new study stating that Israel and
the U.S. should begin an intensive dialogue on ways to deal with
Iran's nuclear plans and should study ways to attack Iran's nuclear
facilities. Chuck Freilich, a former deputy head of the U.S.
National Security Council, authored the report, "Speaking about the
Unspeakable."

On Sunday Maariv reported on the standing security preparedness of
embassies located in Tel Aviv, in particular the American Embassy.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Sunday allies of Labor leader
Ehud Barak presented a plan to the party's house committee according
to which every Labor Party chairman would be guaranteed four years
in office.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Elbit System Ltd., Israel's biggest
nongovernmental defense company, as saying it won a contract to
supply the U.S. Navy with fuel tanks for planes. The company was
quoted as saying that the initial contract is valued at $2.4
million, and that the total value is estimated at approximately $60
million.

Maariv reported that his week India will test-fire an antimissile
defense system or long-range tracking radar (LRTR) whose command and
control network was made in Israel.

Leading media reported that Meretz MK Haim Oron is expected to
compete for his party's leadership. Avshalom Vilan is the only
Meretz MK who will not run in the party's primary in March.


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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Now, the Defense Minister also has something
to offer to the peace camp."

Columnist and former IDF Intelligence chief Shlomo Gazit wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv: "It is inconceivable that an Israeli
government adopt and implement a total building freeze in the
settlements so long as there is neither agreement nor any guarantee
that one will be achieved."

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in
International Affairs Center, columnist Barry Rubin, wrote in the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "The important thing is
for the Bush administration not to believe its own propaganda."
Maj. Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland, former director of Israel's National
Security Council, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "Israel and this hostile entity [the Hamas government in
the Gaza Strip] can regulate their relations."

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

I. "Barak Coos Like Dove"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (12/3): "Defense Minister Ehud Barak came back
from the Annapolis conference and discovered that Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert had taken his place as the head of Israel's peace camp
while he was busy expressing his doubts and reservations about the
renewal of talks with the Palestinians.... But Barak knows how to
learn quickly, and during Sunday's cabinet meeting he announced his
support for the 'evacuation-compensation' package for those settlers
who willingly leave their homes in the West Bank, and seek new lives
inside the Green Line.... This is not a new idea, and Barak's
leading supporters on the diplomatic front were actually his
political rivals: Haim Ramon, Amir Peretz and Ami Ayalon. The
responses he enjoyed were positive, and they also came from the
senior ranks of the U.S. administration. Barak's albeit belated
decision favors a very logical political reality: If the state would
like to signal its intention to pack up the settlements, but is
concerned about a possible clash with the right involving force,
this is a way of mitigating the problem by paying compensation to
all those who are willing to leave of their own accord.... Now, the
Defense Minister also has something to offer to the peace camp."

II. "Annapolis Has a Chance"

Columnist and former IDF Intelligence chief Shlomo Gazit wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv (12/3): "Every day that passes without
an agreement is a day on which new facts are created in a settlement
or an outpost. It is a day in which another nail is hammered into
the coffin of the two-state idea. On the other hand, it is
inconceivable that an Israeli government adopt and implement a total
building freeze in the settlements so long as there is neither
agreement nor any guarantee that one will be achieved. The solution
which I offer is to embark on secret negotiations and to reach
agreement on permanent borders. And from that moment on, the
Israeli government will enforce a strict policy according to which
construction will be permitted only in territory west of the agreed
border. On the other side the freeze will be absolute, all the
outposts will be removed, the location of the separation fence will
be adjusted (if this be necessary), and a generous law will be
enacted for the compensation of every settler who finds himself on
the wrong side of the new line and wishes to leave."

III. "Annapolis: One Cheer, One Yawn, One Cynical Shrug"

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in
International Affairs Center, columnist Barry Rubin, wrote in the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (12/3): "Peace Brokers
believe their effectiveness requires a dishonesty that ensures their
own failure. They pretend intransigence, terrorism, and incitement
comes from both parties.... Israel can talk about all the
concessions it would make if it really had a sincere, determined
partner ready to reciprocate, knowing that this scenario will not
happen. The important thing is for the Bush administration not to
believe its own propaganda. If it makes this mistake, and tries to
pressure Israel and appease the Arab side into a negotiated
settlement -- which will not materialize in the end -- that would
make things worse. But I don't think that is going to happen to any
considerable extent either. What is needed might best be called
constructive cynicism."

IV. "Talk to Hamas"

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland, former director of Israel's National
Security Council, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (12/2): "Israel and this hostile entity [the Hamas
government in the Gaza Strip] can regulate their relations. This
regulation will involve a mutual end to hostilities, supervision
over Philadelphi Road and a prisoner exchange. As long as those
understandings are honored, Israel will lift the economic siege from
Gaza. The chances of reaching such a regulation of relations
depends on the alternative that Hamas sees. If Hamas, as a
political entity, fails to stop the rocket fire at Israel, it will
then be correct to use full force against its 'state.' This will
include a complete cut of the supply of electricity, fuel and gas,
the destruction of government institutions, the targeted killing of
leaders and so forth. When Hamas sees that it has two alternatives:
de facto recognition of its government in tandem with lifted
military and economic pressure, as opposed to an alternative of
destroyed infrastructure, attacks on the leadership and a real
economic crisis, it is safe to assume that it will make the 'right'
decision. The Gaza Strip is, de facto, more of a state than
anything else. It is not occupied territory, it is not territory
under international auspices and it is not part of another state.
We ought to capitalize on this situation..... The continued pursuit
of current Israeli policy will lead sooner or later to a large-scale
military operation to conquer Gaza. It is better to create
effective deterrence than to launch an operation of that sort.
Effective deterrence can be obtained only if you have a counterpart
who bears responsibility and has what to lose. And what about the
legitimacy of Hamas's rule in Gaza? That is an internal Palestinian
affair, and we mustn't meddle."

------------------------------------
2. Russian Parliamentary Elections:
------------------------------------

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "You
cannot be both inside and outside, benefiting from membership in the
West while aiding the West's sworn enemies."

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

"Membership Carries Responsibilities"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/3):
"The results of Sunday's parliamentary voting in Russia were hardly
surprising, because rigged elections are never surprising.... It is
no coincidence that the steady loss of freedom in Russia has also
been accompanied by an increasingly anti-Western foreign policy....
Russia's official stance ... is to block tough economic sanctions
and strongly oppose military action, while providing Iran with
nuclear fuel and air defenses. Though Putin claims to be opposed to
letting Iran obtain the bomb, it is hard to see how he could be more
central to ensuring precisely such an outcome.... If Putin does not
obviously to be in the West's most elite club [the G-8] from either
a GOP or democratic perspective, and is actively opposing the West's
premier security interests, why should Russia be included?.... The
idea that including Russia in the West's political-economic system
would accelerate positive reform seems to have been premature. The
West needs to send a clear message to Russia: We want you to be part
of us, but you cannot be both inside and outside, benefiting from
membership in the West while aiding the West's sworn enemies:
'Membership has its privileges,' as the American Express slogan
goes, but it also has responsibilities."

MORENO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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