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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION


--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

1. Final Winograd Report

2. Mideast

3. U.S.-Israel Relations

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

All media led with the final Winograd report, which will be made
public this afternoon after 17 months of work. Banners: in Yediot:
"The Moment of Truth"; Maariv: "In the Eye of the Storm"; Ha'aretz:
"Panel [Winograd Commission] Shocked by IDF Performance"; The
Jerusalem Post: "Winograd to Issue Final Report Today; Harsh
Judgment, No Sanctions Expected Regarding Second Lebanon War Errors;
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe: "Storm Climaxing"; and Israel Hayom: "Day of
the Report," which can also be read as: "Judgment Day." Ha'aretz
reported that the press conference announcing the release will be
broadcast live on all the nation's radio and TV stations at 6 p.m.
to ensure the largest possible audience. Yediot quoted a senior
source within the Winograd Commission as saying that the commission
will expand on the deep social processes experienced by Israel over
the past few years, including touching the "national Israeli ethos
itself."

Leading media reported that Finance Minister Roni Bar-On told Kadima
supporters in Tiberias on Tuesday that PM Ehud Olmert is determined
that Winograd report will not lead to new elections. Bar-On was
further quoted as saying that Kadima "is not at the employ" of
Defense Minister and Labor Chairman Ehud Barak. This morning Israel
Radio quoted a senior Palestinian official involved in the
Israeli-Palestinian talks as saying that the peace process needs a
stable government in Israel and the continuation of PM Olmert's
rule.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Egypt has issued an ultimatum to
Hamas to pull back dozens of Gaza gunmen who are reported to have
crossed into Egypt over the past week. Citing security officials in
Ramallah, the paper says that 300-500 gunmen from Hamas and Islamic
Jihad have sought refuge with Bedouin tribes and are refusing to
leave the Sinai. In the past few days, Egypt has detained and
returned over 100 armed Palestinians.

Leading media reported that after more than a week of negotiations
over a UN Security Council presidential statement on the current
Gaza crisis, the effort was abandoned on Tuesday following the
failure to reach a consensus. The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio
reported that the U.S. prevailed over the Arab countries on the
issue. The Jerusalem Post added that other council members also
urged a more balance statement.

Ha'aretz quoted Israeli sources as saying on Tuesday that PM Olmert
is examining the possibility of building a fence along the
Israel-Egypt border. However, the newspaper quoted some officials
as sayng on Tuesday at a meeting with Defense Minister Barak, IDF
Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, and other security officials that
there is no money left in the budget.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio quoted Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General
Naim Qassem as saying on Tuesday that his organization is prepared
to discuss a prisoner swap with Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the organization UN Watch has urged
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour to clarify a
recent endorsement of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, which it
said "contains several provisions that promote classically
anti-Semitic themes."

The Jerusalem Post quoted officials from the Shas party as saying on
Tuesday that PM Olmert pretended to receive a special blessing from
Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in an effort to boost
himself politically on the eve of the publication of the Winograd
report.

The Jerusalem Post quoted sources in the IDF as saying on Tuesday
night that the disturbing allegations of soldiers' abuse of
Palestinian detainees that were first reported on Tuesday on Israel
Radio were already under investigation by the Military Police, and
that the IDF viewed the incident as "extremely serious" and
"extremely unusual."

Leading media reported that on Monday Attorney General Menachem
Mazuz filed an indictment against Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the
Islamic Movement's northern branch, charging him with incitement to
violence and racism in a speech he made last year protesting the
archaeological dig carried out at the Old City's Mugrabi Gate.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) was quoted as saying in an interview with
Ha'aretz that only Republican presidential candidate Sen. John
McCain will ensure that Iran remains without nuclear weapons.

Media reported on the experiences of Israeli high school students
during their participation with Arab youth in a model U.N. exercise
in Qatar. Yediot quoted one of the young Israelis as saying that
youth should be given a chance and they will bring peace. An
Israeli TV station reported that members of the Lebanese delegation
refused to shake hands with the Israelis.

Maariv reported that on Tuesday the English-language Iranian
newspaper Tehran Times reprinted an article by far-left Israeli
academic Ilan Pappe, originally published in the British paper The
Independent, in which Pappe called IDF soldiers "killing machines."

Yediot reported that the Foreign Ministry is considering granting
the title of "cultural ambassador" to well known Israeli artists who
are also famous abroad to improve Israel's image. Among the names
cited: the author Amos Oz and the popular composer Zvika Pik, who
wrote the song Diva performed by Dana International, which won the
Eurovision Song Contest in 1998. He also wrote songs for several
other Eurovision contestants

Ha'aretz quoted John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, who is visiting
Israel, as saying that the American giant is looking for local
technology startups to acquire.

Major media reported that Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai sent a letter to
PM Olmert on Tuesday, asking him for urgent state aid for the
"growing distress, on the verge of becoming a humanitarian crisis,"
of the city's growing African refugee population. There are now
about 2,000 such refugees, 700 of who arrived recently. In Yediot
and Israel Radio, Deputy Tel Aviv Mayor Yael Dayan recounted the
efforts she and others have made for the refugees.

The Jerusalem Post and other media reported that on Monday in Jaffa
the popular American pop star Pink, celebrated the 20th anniversary
of Peace Child Israel, an organization that teaches Jewish-Arab
coexistence.

Leading media reported that on Tuesday the official exchange rate
for the U.S. dollar was set at 3.639 shekels, the dollar's lowest
point against the shekel in 11 years.

--------------------------
1. Final Winograd Report:
--------------------------

Summary:
--------

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "With or without Winograd, no miracle has
happened to us. We have no way of winning the war, neither against
Hizbullah nor against Hamas in Gaza -- not at the prices we are
supposed to pay."

Veteran journalist and anchor Dan Margalit wrote on page one of the
independent Israel Hayom: "[Ehud Olmert] is the archetype of
disrupters of public processes.... Olmert must go."

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of the
popular, pluralist Maariv: "Both of them, Olmert and Barak, are
responsible for the fiasco in Gaza, only a hint of which has reached
the media over the past few days. How intelligence again fell
asleep at the wheel, how once more no one issued a warning, and how
someone decided to lay his heavy hand on the light switch."

Deputy diplomatic correspondent Uri Yablonka wrote in Maariv: "The
international community wishes for one single option, in which the
main protagonist -- Olmert -- survives the Winograd test."


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

I. "No Miracle Happened to Us"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (1/30): "A year and a half have passed
since the war. The IDF carried out its inquiries, drew conclusions,
put the regular and reserve brigades through an intensive series of
training exercises, improved the combatants' equipment and replaced
commanders. Despite this, if Hizbullah should decide one day that
it is tired of being quiet, the situation will not be much
different: A deluge of rockets will land on the Galilee, the Air
Force will do its job by bombing targets deep inside Lebanon....
With or without Winograd, no miracle has happened. We have no way
of winning a war, against Hizbullah or against Hamas in Gaza -- not
at the prices we are supposed to pay.... The immense passions
invested in the media campaign wreaked havoc with the discussion on
the failures of the war. Whoever felt animosity towards Olmert on
other issues saw the entire war through this prism, the prism of
their hatred for Olmert. That is a shame. The committee members
went to such trouble to draw up their report, and in the end it will
be examined not by its content, but as a reality TV program. The
tribal council will convene for a dismissal meeting: Who will
survive; who will be granted immunity; and who will be banished --
temporarily -- to the isle of the dead."

II. QOlmert Blinked During the War and Disrupted the
Investigation"

Veteran journalist and anchor Dan Margalit wrote on page one of the
independent Israel Hayom (1/30): "[Ehud Olmert] is the archetype of
disrupters of public processes. [One example of this is] his
refusal to resign after the embarrassing failure, like in any
democracy.... I will be proud of one word in all my articles since
the war: 'blinking.' Olmert blinked; the commanders saw this; the
war squeaked; and the peace efforts crumbled. UN [Security Council]
Resolution 1701 is a total bluff because Hizbullah is trickling into
southern [Lebanon] and the Syrian-Lebanese border is a conduit for
missiles from Iran to Hassan Nasrallah.... Olmert must go."


III. "Moment of Truth"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of the
popular, pluralist Maariv (1/30): "What will Olmert do [after
hearing the conclusions of the Winograd Commission]? In truth, he
has already done it all. This evening he will convene the Kadima
faction for a demonstration of unity and support which was
orchestrated beforehand. He has already relayed all the messages:
Tzipi [Livni], if she makes a peep, will be out like a missile. No
resignation, no ultimatum, no election date, no nothing. Let's see
what you do to me. This is the facade. Inside, the tension is
great and the hustle and bustle around the Prime Minister on Tuesday
reached new heights. There is no stone that Olmert has left
unturned in an attempt to prevent it from being thrown at him over
the weekend.... If it weren't so sad, it could have been funny.
Because both of them, Olmert and Barak, are responsible for the
fiasco in Gaza, only a hint of which has reached the media over the
past few days. How intelligence again fell asleep at the wheel, how
once more no one issued a warning, and how someone decided to lay
his heavy hand on the light switch.... But in the meantime, we have
Winograd."

IV. "Concerned About Annapolis"

Deputy diplomatic correspondent Uri Yablonka wrote in Maariv (1/30):
"The chances that moderates in the Palestinian Authority will
prevail over the extremists in the PA are minimal, even according to
the most optimistic scenario, Therefore, the international
community wishes for one single option, in which the main
protagonist -- Olmert -- survives the Winograd test.... As far as
the international community is concerned, the rational alternative
to the Olmert government would be its agreed-upon replacement by the
current Knesset. This is also the swiftest solution -- and that
could guarantee to the world that Kadima or Labor would lead the
next government.... The most popular alternative to the present
regime is the Likud Party under Netanyahu. What would then happen
to the Annapolis declarations?"

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

Summary:
--------

Far-left Palestinian affairs correspondent Amira Hass wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The breach of the wall is a
clear manifestation of the conception and temperament of a popular
resistance among the Palestinian people, which for various reasons,
were dormant in recent years."

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

"Finally, a Popular Uprising"

Far-left Palestinian affairs correspondent Amira Hass wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (1/30): "The fall of the Rafah
wall was a fitting combination of planning and the precise reading
of the social and political map by the Hamas government, mixed with
a mass response to the dictates of the overlord, Israel.... The
leadership and public of Gaza, as two elements of the occupied
people, were partners in the courageous and necessary step of
breaking the Israeli rules of the game. The breach of the wall is a
clear manifestation of the conception and temperament of a popular
resistance among the Palestinian people, which for various reasons,
were dormant in recent years.... [Furthermore,] the longer the delay
in direct talks between the two leaderships [in Ramallah and Gaza]
over practical ways of lifting the siege of Gaza, the greater the
concern that indeed, as Hamas officials argue, the Ramallah
government listens to the United States and to Israel -- but not to
the will of its own people."

--------------------------
3. U.S.-Israel Relations:
--------------------------

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "Racist
attacks against a black American candidate could cause Israel and
American Jews a great deal of damage."

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

"Obama and the Jewish Question"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (1/30): "The
U.S. elections are important to Israel because of the two countries'
special relationship and America's support for Israel, whose value
cannot be overstated. There is a major contradiction between this
fact and a smear campaign against a candidate with a Muslim name,
which risks causing many Americans, and especially blacks, to feel
alienated from Israel and Jews. Obama is sensitive to Israel's
security needs.... Racist attacks against a black American candidate
could cause Israel and American Jews a great deal of damage -- not
to mention shame and disgrace. Obama has been forced to defend
himself over things such as nonexistent ties with elements hostile
to Israel, an appearance at an event at which [the late
Palestinian-American intellectual] Edward Said spoke, and praying at
one church rather than another. Great damage has already been
caused because Obama announced that an ugly campaign was being waged
against him in the Jewish community. That alone ought to be enough
at least to make Israel's leaders say something about Jews who
preach against anti-Semitism while employing similar tactics against
other minorities."

MORENO

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