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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #3461/01 3401140
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061140Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4484
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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9780
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3272
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3886
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3133
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1232
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3863
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0719
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1189
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7761
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6214
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 8557
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 003461

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

1. NIE Report on Iran

2. Mideast

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

Ha'aretz (Hebrew Ed.) led with a comment made on Wednesday to the
press by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei that the National
Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report "vindicated" Tehran. Yediot
reported that IDF Intelligence and the Mossad will review their own
assessments following the differing conclusions in the NIE. Yediot
reported that on Friday FM Livni and Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice will meet with representatives from NATO countries and ask them
not to give up sanctions against Iran. Ha'aretz quoted President
Shimon Peres as saying on Wednesday that the world should not be
quiet.

Israel Radio reported that PM Ehud Olmert, FM Tzipi Livni, and
Defense Minister Ehud Barak will convene today to prepare for the
peace negotiations that start in nine days. Among the issues on the
agenda is the Palestinian demand for full rights to water in their
territory. The Jerusalem Post quoted Livni as saying during a visit
to Slovenia on Tuesday that international involvement in the
bilateral track is undesirable. In a different article, The
Jerusalem Post quoted Palestinian Authority officials as threaten to
boycott negotiations if the IDF invades Gaza.

Speaking on IDF Radio on Wednesday, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi
Ashkenazi said that the army is prepared for a large-scale operation
in Gaza. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted Defense Minister Barak as
saying during a visit to troops in Gaza that Israel will act only as
a last resort. Speaking on IDF Radio on Wednesday, IDF Chief of
Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said that the army is prepared for a
large-scale operation in Gaza. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted Defense
Minister Barak as saying during a visit to troops in Gaza that
Israel will act only as a last resort.

Major media reported that on Wednesday undercover IDF troops
mistakenly shot and killed a Palestinian policeman in Bethlehem.
Three Hamas militants were killed by IDF fire in the Gaza Strip.
The media reported that several Qassam rockets were fired at
Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Tuesday Hebron settlers
petitioned the High Court of Justice to stop the army from evicting
settlers who squatted in a building on the road between Kiryat Arba
and the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Ha'aretz and Yediot cited the fear of settlers that the IDF wants to
gather all the weapons held by security officers in the
settlements.

Major media reported that on Wednesday undercover IDF troops
mistakenly shot and killed a Palestinian policeman in Bethlehem.
Three Hamas militants were killed by IDF fire in the Gaza Strip.
The media reported that several Qassam rockets were fired at
Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Tuesday Hebron settlers
petitioned the High Court of Justice to stop the army from evicting
settlers who squatted in a building on the road between Kiryat Arba
and the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Ha'aretz and Yediot cited the fear of settlers that the IDF wants to
gather all the weapons held by security officers in the
settlements.

The lead story in Ha'aretz (English Ed.) is on Internal Security
Minister Avi Dichter's cancellation of a trip to the UK over fears
that he may be arrested for his role in the assassination of Salah
Shehadeh, the head of Hamas's military wing, in July 2002.

Maariv reported that the Israeli-Arab leaders have rejected the
government's call to take part in the celebrations of Israel's 60th
anniversary.

Under the headline, "The Russians Are Returning to the
Mediterranean," Maariv reported on the presence of Russian warships
250 km from Israel's coast.

Leading media reported that Israeli archeologists have uncovered a
monumental Second Temple structure opposite the Temple Mount that
was likely Queen Helena's palace (dating from the 1st century CE).

Leading media reported that on Wednesday El Al announced plans to
buy four Boeing planes and start a code-sharing program with
American Airlines in an effort to cash in on the increase in
Israeli tourism to the U.S. and vice-versa..

-----------------------
1. NIE Report on Iran:
-----------------------

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "While Iran
continues threatening to annihilate Israel, what American
intelligence thinks about Iran's nuclear capability is
irrelevant.... Israel is the only country that cannot let its guard
down."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Through
a politically tainted effort to sow unwarranted complacency, the
agencies charged with advancing America's security and interests
have delivered a terrible blow to their own mandates."

Dr. Avner Cohen, author of "Israel and the Bomb," and a senior
research fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, wrote in
Ha'aretz: "If the American intelligence community seeks to provide
the public with an understanding of Iran's nuclear program, this
report proved flimsy."

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized: "The
State Department and the CIA prefer to adopt a conciliatory,
submissive policy vis-a-vis the Ayatollahs. An authentic public,
citizen groundswell could revive the Bush-Cheney spirit."

The ultra-Orthodox Hamodi'a editorialized: "As long as it enriches
uranium, Iran remains under suspicion that it will use it for
military purposes."

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

I. "The World's Nudnik"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (12/6): "While
Iran continues threatening to annihilate Israel, what American
intelligence thinks about Iran's nuclear capability is irrelevant.
It is not fantasy or paranoia when we hear regular, concrete threats
from Tehran. The threats may be just a familiar background hum in
the world's ears, but it is Israel's duty to persuade the world to
listen.... Israel may now seem like the world's nudnik, now that
American intelligence has sounded the all clear. But Israel is the
only country that cannot let its guard down.... There is no
information allowing us to judge Iran's intentions, but there is
cumulative information that Iran has been enriching uranium to make
nuclear weapons at various secret sites and has both the
manufacturing capability and scientific expertise to produce nuclear
arms at any time. The American intelligence report neither
increases nor reduces the fear. It cannot justify a policy change
or a calming down. The report establishes that if Iran wants to
produce a bomb it can do so, and if it doesn't want to, it won't.
This evaluation may have a restraining effect in internal American
politics. But in Israeli politics it should cause the opposite
reaction because any weakness in the American approach, which is
bound to affect Europe, endangers Israel."

II. "A Political Reversal"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/6):
"Either Iran is 'determined' to develop nukes, as the ... US
intelligence community said 11 months ago, or it has 'halted' its
weapons program.... Actually, there is nothing in January's dire
intelligence assessment that could not have been repeated in the
current NIE. The choice not to do so seems a political one,
designed to take the US military option off the table.... [The NIE
report] even argues that sanctions, which were non-existent then,
persuaded Iran to drop its weapons program in 2003. President
George Bush highlighted this aspect and called for redoubling the
sanctions effort. The problem, of course, is that the NIE's rather
incredible efforts to declare Iran's nuclear threat non-existent
could have the collateral effect of taking the wind out of the
international sanctions campaign as well.... The NIE may obscure but
does not change the fact that the Iranian menace will grow, and the
world will become a more dangerous place, until the regime falls or
is forced to back down. Through a politically tainted effort to sow
unwarranted complacency, the agencies charged with advancing
America's security and interests have delivered a terrible blow to
their own mandates. So this, too, will be added to the challenges
that democracies must now overcome. "

III. "Not the Best Intelligence"

Dr. Avner Cohen, author of "Israel and the Bomb," and a senior
research fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, wrote in
Ha'aretz (12/6): "It is understandable that the [NIE] report reveals
nothing directly regarding U.S. intelligence's capability to quickly
pinpoint significant developments and changes in Iran's nuclear
program. But indirectly, it is clear that American capability is
feeble in this critical realm. The report itself provides proof of
this. If one assumes that the American intelligence community
recognized only last summer that some four years ago, Iran suspended
or halted its work on weaponization, it is clear that the United
States' aptitude in the realm of intelligence is suboptimal. If the
American intelligence community seeks to provide the public with an
understanding of Iran's nuclear program, this report proved
flimsy."

IV. "Don't Trust the Americans"

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized (12/6):
"One does not have to be in the CIA ... to decipher the violent
anti-Semitic speeches of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who publicly
calls for genocide and speaks about the destruction of Israel....
But the views of the American leadership are not monolithic.
Whereas Bush and Cheney have sworn not to allow Iran to acquire
capabilities that could bring about a world war, administration
branches such as the State Department and the CIA prefer to adopt a
conciliatory, submissive policy vis-a-vis the Ayatollahs. An
authentic public, citizen groundswell could revive the Bush-Cheney
spirit. Anyway, Israel should muster the courage to face the
Iranian threat alone. Israel can do it."

V. "American Intelligence in Iran"

The ultra-Orthodox Hamodi'a editorialized (12/6): "Not every country
in the world views the U.S. report as soothing material. All the
more, unlike the U.S., a distant country beyond the ocean, European
countries, which are within the range of the Iranian missiles, have
not been placated by the American report. As long as it enriches
uranium, Iran remains under suspicion that it will use it for
military purposes."

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

The ultra-Orthodox Yated Ne'eman editorialized: "The news that U.S.
President George Bush is expected to come to Israel on an official
visit in a few weeks, as part of a broad diplomatic tour of the
region, is considered an additional milestone in Bush's ever growing
involvement in Mideast diplomatic processes."

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

"Bush's Visit"

The ultra-Orthodox Yated Ne'eman editorialized (12/6): "The news
that U.S. President George Bush is expected to come to Israel on an
official visit in a few weeks, as part of a broad diplomatic tour of
the region, is considered an additional milestone in Bush's ever
growing involvement in Mideast diplomatic processes... The stalemate
in the diplomatic process is hampering Israel-U.S. relations. But
this is not a real crisis. It may be assumed that the strong
connection between the two countries, which is based on common
interests, is established enough to withstand fleeting
confrontations and crises."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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