Search

 

Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0078/01 0100425
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 100425Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4924
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 3235
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9895
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3439
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4003
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3261
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1412
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3997
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0844
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1318
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7878
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5350
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0262
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4390
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6334
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 8801
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000078

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: SPECIAL ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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

President Bush to Israel, West Bank, January 9-11, 2008

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

All major media bannered President Bush's arrival in Israel late
this morning to be greeted by President Shimon Peres, PM Ehud
Olmert, and other dignitaries. He will be received at President
Peres's residence in the afternoon. The media reported that his
visit will include Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee.

Yediot Aharonot led with moving welcome greetings in English for the
President (with a Hebrew translation inside the newspaper) by
veteran journalist Eytan Haber, who was a confidant of the late PM
Yitzhak Rabin.

Ha'aretz bannered: "Bush in Israel in Bid to Boost Talks." Like
other dailies, the newspaper reported that the President will also
discuss Iran.

Maariv headlined: "President Bush Arrives Today in Israel
Empty-Handed." The newspaper clarified that the President will
leave Israel with the Winograd Report and promises of a diplomatic
agreement.

The Jerusalem Post's banner: "As Bush Flies In, Crisis Looms over
Settlements." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was quoted as
saying in an interview with the newspaper that the U.S. is
completely opposed to construction in the East Jerusalem
neighborhood of Har Homa. The media reported that a right-wing
rally, organized by the banned group Kach, took place in Har Homa
last night, during which demonstrators trampled pictures of
President Bush, PM Olmert, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The
Jerusalem Post reported that the police arrested far-right activists
responsible for the inciting posters, and that a court released
them, citing freedom of speech. On Wednesday morning police
prevented hundreds of rabbis and supporters from entering the Temple
Mount to demonstrate. In the afternoon another demonstration
included a human chain around the Old City of Jerusalem and a rally
at the Western Wall. Leading media reported that overnight
right-wing activists set up two new settler outposts -- one in Efrat
(Gush Etzion) in the southern West Bank, and the other near
Ramallah.

The media reported that on Tuesday PM Olmert and PA President Abbas
agreed to continue talks on the core issues. The media reported
that although Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman will not
quit the government coalition during the President's visit, he is
maintaining his threat to do so. Lieberman was quoted as saying
that he will receive clarifications from PM Olmert next week.

Ha'aretz reported that the IDF's Civil Administration in the
territories recently instituted a rapid evacuation process for
illegal West Bank outposts.

The Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz (English Ed.) printed various
letters by right-wing groups expressing their views to President
Bush in the form of paid ads.

Major media reported that Hamas has added jailed Fatah/Tanzim leader
Marwan Barghouti to the list of people it wants released in exchange
for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Some media quoted the
London-based Al-Hayat as saying that Israel has agreed to such a
move. Israel Radio and other media cited denials by Israeli
officials.

Leading media reported that Palestinians opened fire on an Israel
Navy ship off the coast of Rafah on Tuesday, causing no injuries or
damage. Sailors returned fire and IAF helicopters launched an air
raid on the sources of the gunfire. Ha'aretz quoted the IDF as
saying it was investigating a Palestinian report that an IAF rocket
hit Egypt, and that the ship was involved in routine efforts to
prevent weapons from being smuggled from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.
Israel Radio reported that this morning four Qassam rockets were
launched from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev. The radio
quoted Palestinian sources as saying that the IDF attacked alleged
Qassam rocket launchers from the air, killing one and wounding six
others.

The Jerusalem Post reported that an Al-Qaida-linked group is
believed to be behind the Katyusha fire at the western Galilee on
Shlomi. The media quoted Israeli military officials as saying that
Israel will not inflame the northern border on the eve of the
President's visit.

Yediot reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is joining
Egypt in the fight against smuggling from Gaza, and that it will
send an officer to Israel in the next few days for coordination
talks with the IDF's Southern Command.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Tuesday the PA rejected the idea
of deploying third-party troops in the West Bank.

The Jerusalem Post reported that President Bush is expediting plans
for an arms deal that would give Saudi Arabia "smart bombs." The
newspaper reported that Israel is seeking a more advanced version of
JDAM technology to maintain its qualitative edge.

Ha'aretz reported that a bill that would require any future
territorial withdrawals to be approved by a referendum suffered a
serious setback on Tuesday, when the Knesset's legal advisor told a
Knesset committee that it was unconstitutional.

Yediot reported that in 2007, purchase requests by Israeli Jews for
homes in the Galilee and the Negev greatly dwindled. The newspaper
wryly commented: "Another step toward a Tel Aviv state."

Maariv reported that CBS-TV has named Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi
Yona Metzger one of the 12 most influential religious leaders in the
world.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe said that the American presidential candidates
are saying that they will remove themselves from Bush's legacy.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Tuesday Israeli spy Jonathan
Pollard expressed outrage at the invitation that Pensioners Affairs
Minister Rafi Eitan received to attend a dinner with President Bush
and PM Olmert on Thursday night. Eitan served as Pollard's handler
when he spied for Israel in the U.S. Despite promises from Eitan to
help him if he were caught, Pollard never received help from him,
and he has been incarcerated in an American prison for some 23
years.

Maariv reported that Saudi Prince Al-Walid Ben-Talal earns revenues
from Israeli cellular phone subscribers who use Arabic music
channels.

------------------------
President Bush to Israel, West Bank, January 9-11, 2008:
------------------------

Summary:
--------

Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the late prime
minister Yitzhak Rabin, addressed President Bush in a page one
editorial of the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "You,
George W. Bush, shall be perpetuated in our history uniquely as one
of the Righteous of the Nations -- those who helped us in times of
distress."

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "Bush's visit
to Israel and Olmert's talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas are meaningless as long as the facts on the ground -- the
outposts that keep expanding -- clearly show just how unserious the
Israeli government's declarations are, and to what extent the U.S.
administration is collaborating with it."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "If Bush
can [tell Europe in 2008 that the success of Annapolis ... (and in
Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and elsewhere) depends on stopping Iran],
his legacy can be saved and the tables turned back toward the side
of a freer and safer world."

Meretz-Yahad Party Chairman Yossi Beilin wrote in Ha'aretz: "A visit
in and of itself will not do the trick. Moving the parties toward
an agreement within the coming year requires the presence of a
permanently based and accessible apparatus that will engage in
hands-on diplomacy."

Liberal columnist Ofer Shelach wrote on page one of the popular,
pluralist Maariv: "[President Bush will] come here and shake hands
and pinch the cheek of a child holding a flag, and then go back home
to cold places with presidential names like the Oval Office, and
leave us behind, to continue bleeding."

The nationalist Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized: "There is
neither American pressure on Israel during this visit -- nor
sensational promises. No stick and no carrot. Thus, it is all the
more difficult to comprehend the fact that, in order to please its
guest, the Olmert government has imposed on the Judea and Samaria
[i.e. West Bank] settlements a cruel freeze."

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

I. "Welcome, Mr. President"

Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the late prime
minister Yitzhak Rabin, addressed President Bush in a page one
editorial of the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (1/9):
"The State of Israel greets you today with gratitude. Two thousand
years of exile and persecution have honed our ability to distinguish
between friend and foe, between well wishers and evil thinkers, and
you, George W. Bush, shall be perpetuated in our history uniquely as
one of the Righteous of the Nations -- those who helped us in times
of distress.... The partnership and friendship of your country are
essential cornerstones on which the State of Israel depends. For
us, America is first among our true friends -- and you, Mr.
President, are first and foremost of them, even if we differ. The
State of Israel thanks you today, and through you we send our
gratitude to the hundreds of millions of citizens of your country,
whose support we cherish. Come in peace, leave in peace, bring us
peace. God bless America."

II. "Bush, Accessory After the Facts"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (1/9): "The
Israelis think they are fooling the world, but they are only fooling
themselves. The outposts are the essence of the Israeli bluff....
The United States is not seriously demanding that the outposts be
taken down -- because if it ever had made such a demand
unequivocally, the outposts would have been eliminated long ago....
Bush's visit to Israel and Olmert's talks with Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas are meaningless as long as the facts on the ground --
the outposts that keep expanding -- clearly show just how unserious
the Israeli government's declarations are, and to what extent the
U.S. administration is collaborating with it."

III. "To Save His Legacy"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (1/9):
"Israelis will welcome U.S. President George Bush today with the
sincere warmth due a great friend of this nation.... At the same
time, this visit is overshadowed by undeniable tinges of sadness,
desperation and even a feeling of betrayal.... The most important
thing Bush can do now is show that he understands [that if the
Iranian bomb keeps moving ahead, the moderates will sputter] by
telling Europe that the success of Annapolis (and in Iraq,
Afghanistan, Lebanon and elsewhere) depends on stopping Iran, with
the goal of convincing Europe to match the sanctions the U.S. has
already imposed. If Bush can do this in 2008, his legacy can be
saved and the tables turned back toward the side of a freer and
safer world. If he cannot, whatever has been painfully accomplished
in recent months -- and indeed in the last seven years -- will

progressively unravel, leaving the next U.S. president to cope with
a deteriorating world."

IV. "President in a Bubble"

Liberal columnist Ofer Shelach wrote on page one of the popular,
pluralist Maariv (1/9): "It is unlikely that George W. Bush knows
it, and itQs unlikely that he would care if he knew: in honor of his
visit, as on every holiday in Israel or when the level of alert goes
up, a closure was imposed on the territories. This has become an
automatic step, a security measure meant to prevent a terror attack
that somebody would no doubt be happy to commit in honor of the
visit of the U.S. President. For this, not even a warning is
necessary. For the average Palestinian, this is another symptom
that no amount of experience will diminish its humiliation and
suffering, of the ongoing occupation, while presidents come and go.
And Bush? He, as said, doesn't even know.... Bush will come, Bush
will go. The spin masters tell us that the visit is meant to help
the survival attempts of his friend Ehud Olmert. If thatQs the case,
itQs a waste of his time. Apparently he hasnQt been told about the
non-existent rating of the Annapolis show.... We too relate to the
American President, known as the 'most powerful man in the world,'
like another passing image in the almost entertaining march of
visitors for a moment, who come here and shake hands and pinch the
cheek of a child holding a flag, and then go back home to cold
places with presidential names like the Oval Office, and leave us
behind, to continue bleeding."

V. "An American Headquarters for Peace"

Meretz-Yahad Party Chairman Yossi Beilin wrote in Ha'aretz (1/9):
"Seven years after taking office, U.S. President George W. Bush is
making his first visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. But
if he does not bring with him a serious plan for concluding a full
peace agreement by the end of his term next year, he might as well
stay home. The urgency cannot be overstated. Bush knows full well
that if a peace agreement is not achieved in 2008, it won't be done
in 2009 and perhaps for a very long time afterward. This is because
of the political timetable in both the Palestinian Authority and the
U.S.... A visit in and of itself will not do the trick. Moving the
parties toward an agreement within the coming year requires the
presence of a permanently based and accessible apparatus that will
engage in hands-on diplomacy, set timetables for achieving the goals
set by Bush and try to ensure that the sides meet them. If Bush
comes to our region with such a concrete agenda, his visit may well
mark a constructive step toward peace. If, on the other hand, all
he intends to do is utter his usual platitudes about the hard work
that needs to be done and the courage he sees in the Israeli and
Palestinian leaderships, he might as well save the American
taxpayers the airfare."

VI. "A Cruel Freeze"

The nationalist Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized (1/9): "America
is first and foremost busy choosing its next president, and the
'vision of President Bush' is very low on its priority list. As far
as Israel is concerned, there is neither American pressure on Israel
during this visit nor sensational promises. No stick and no carrot.
Thus, it is all the more difficult to comprehend the fact that, in
order to please its guest, the Olmert government has imposed on the
Judea and Samaria [i.e. West Bank] settlements a cruel freeze,
unprecedented in the history of the Land of Israel [Israel including
the territories]. During the White Papers period, the British
Mandate did not forbid construction of homes in existing
communities. Under the Turkish occupation, there was no forced
interdiction to build classrooms for children or to move barracks
around."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC