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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4134
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3392
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1555
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4130
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0973
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1447
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8007
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000290

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. Chad

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

All media reported that in response to the Hamas suicide bombing in
Dimona, Israel killed nine Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians in turn fired heavy barrages of rockets at southern
Israel -- including some in the Ashkelon area -- that wounded
several including a 14-year-old girl. Tuesday's rocket barrages
were the heaviest since Hamas breached the border with Egypt two
weeks ago. Leading media reported that some of the rocket fire was
directed at President Shimon Peres, who was scheduled to visit
Sderot in the afternoon. Ha'aretz cited the IDF's belief that
should the escalation continue, a large-scale ground operation in
Gaza will become more likely. Maariv reported that the IDF is
weighing stepping up targeted assassinations.

The Jerusalem Post reported that FM Tzipi Livni is expected to
present her ministry's recommendations to allow Egypt to increase
the number of soldiers and security guards along the border, at a
special meeting scheduled for Wednesday at the Prime Minister's
Office. At the same time, government officials told The Jerusalem
Post that Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, the powerful head of the
Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, remained opposed to
any increase to the 750 troops already there. The officials were
quoted as saying that Gilad believed the Egyptians currently had
enough troops deployed along the border and that what was needed
were not additional troops, but an increase in motivation.

Prof. Yehezkel Dror, one of the members of the Winograd Commission,
hinted in an interview with Maariv that the fact that PM Olmert may
reach peace or that new elections could bring Likud leader Binyamin
Netanyahu to power influenced the commission's conclusions. Dror's
remarks triggered a strong rebuke from Likud members and other
right-wing politicians. Several media quoted Dror as saying on
Tuesday at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya that Israel has
turned abductions of its citizens into a weapon against itself.
Israel Radio later quoted members of the commission as saying that
Dror's remarks only reflected his own views. Leading media reported
that on Tuesday FM Tzipi Livni wrote all employees in her ministry
-- in Israel and abroad -- that the Winograd report "holds a mirror
to Israel's leadership [and] reflects a very harsh picture." Livni
wrote that the ministry is bracing for future events. The Jerusalem
Post reported that a number of Foreign Ministry employees "reacted
with a mixture of cynicism and bemusement" to Livni's letter, which
one ministry official said smacked of self-aggrandizement, in
particular because Livni wanted to amplify her role in the
achievement of UN Resolution 1701.

Ha'aretz reported that an interministerial task force was
established to examine the possibility of stationing an
international force in the Gaza Strip. Among other things, the
panel is analyzing the similarities and differences between Lebanon
and Gaza and assessing the effectiveness of UNIFIL, the
multinational UN force in Lebanon.

Lading media reported that Shas chairman Eli Yishai asked FM Livni
on Tuesday morning to end diplomatic negotiations with the
Palestinians in the wake of Monday's bombing in Dimona.

Yediot reported that Iran has conceived special assembly lines for
weapons intended for Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday the High
Court of Justice will hold a hearing on a petition by Peace Now and
Palestinian landowners demanding that the state dismantle the
illegal outpost of Migron.

In what it called a "U.S. flip-flop," Ha'aretz quoted National
Intelligence Director John "Mike" McConnell as saying on Tuesday
before the Senate Intelligence Committee that it is unclear whether
Tehran has returned to producing nuclear weapons in the past six
months. He warned that Iran "would be technically capable of
producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon" by the end of
next year.

Maariv reported on the results of a poll that shows that the Israeli
government is using to support its position that the Palestinians
are prepared to concede the right of return. The newspaper said
that the poll, by the Arab World Research and Development, conforms
to a great extent to the proposal that was made by Vice PM Haim
Ramon, who has written an Israeli proposal for the final status
arrangement in which only a handful of refugees would be permitted
to resettle inside Israel, and that the others would be permitted
only to return to the territory of the Palestinian state. The
principal findings of this poll, which was reported to the cabinet
ministers by Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin, also shows that there
has been a drop in the overall support for the two-state solution.`

Ha'aretz reported that thousands of right-wing activists, including
hundreds wearing sackcloth as a symbol of mourning, gathered at
Jerusalem's Western Wall on Tuesday for a day of prayer aimed at
keeping Jerusalem unified in the face of proposals to divide the
city. The rally was organized with the approval of three of
Israel's leading rabbis: Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, Shas spiritual
leader Ovadia Yosef, and former Mordechai Eliyahu, who have a wide
following among all sectors of the religious public.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Knesset Member Benny Elon (National
Union-National Religious Party) is proposing the establishment of an
international body in lieu of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
to deal with the resettlement of Palestinians over the next decade.
Elon was quoted as saying that Jordan, not the PA, is the
Palestinians' official representative.


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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "[Ehud
Barak's] remaining in the government while behaving like a
separatist may add to his political power, but will cause
destructive paralysis and damage the government's operations,
politics and the country."

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Now of all times, we need to set our
anger and old scores [with Egypt] aside and sit down for a serious
talk about this affair."
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Israel
knows all too well that the price of reckless prisoner deals is the
loss of many civilian lives, more kidnappings, and more suffering.
A truly responsible and reformed premier cannot overlook such
experience."

Columnist and former justice minister Yosef Lapid wrote in the
popular, pluralist Maariv: "Following the [Second] Lebanon War,
Syria noted that Israel's Achilles' heel is its home front."

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

I. "Either In or Out"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (2/6): "As the
publication of the final [Winograd] report approached, [Ehud] Barak
... continued to broadcast a vague message that presumably lets him
change his mind at any given moment. First he declared that the
report was severe, but he said he had to stay in the government
'because of the challenges that are confronting the country.' Just
one day later he told his party faction that the 'report is severe,
with personal and ethical conclusions that are not simple,' that
Olmert is not immune to criticism and that 'we will decide when to
respond and we will determine a date for elections.' Barak's choice
does no honor to him and shames the Labor Party.... If Barak
believes that Olmert is not worthy of continuing to head the
government, and is interested in replacing him, he must resign and
run at the head of his party in elections. If he has chosen to stay
he is signaling that he has confidence in Olmert. Remaining in the
government while behaving like a separatist may add to his political
power, but will cause destructive paralysis and damage the
government's operations, politics and the country."

II. "A Bone in Both Our Throats"

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (2/6): "Who is angrier? Prime Minister
Olmert and Defense Minister Barak came away from the Gaza border
breach affair embittered not only with Hamas. They are angry (very
much so, but quietly for the time being) with Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak, who was already marked as a collaborator by the
convoys of Gazan pilgrims to Mecca, the arms smuggling and the
penetration of armed terrorists to Sinai... On the other side of the
divide, Mubarak is seething with anger at Israel. His political
senses and the intelligence he had warned him about an impending
catastrophe. Two days before the fence collapsed Mubarak warned
Olmert and Barak that the Gaza cage was on the verge of boiling
over, that the despair therein was liable to cause a meltdown.... We
need to talk. Now of all times, we need to set our anger and old
scores aside and sit down for a serious talk about this affair. We
need to examine along with Egypt the new situation and to create
cooperation -- to think about the present and to plan the future.
The Shin Bet with the Mukhabarat [the Egyptian Intelligence
Service], IDF Intelligence with the Egyptian military intelligence,
the Israeli security establishment with the Egyptian security
establishment, the Israel Police with the Egyptian police. We need
to shy away from the cameras and to sit down until we obtain
results, until trust is established. Egypt and Israel arenQt going
anywhere and Gaza is stuck like a bone in both sidesQ throats. If a
fence is built, then build it with Egypt, not behind its back."

III. "No More 'Crazy Deals'"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (2/6):
"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is understood to have decided in favor
of 'relaxing' the criteria that qualify Palestinian terrorist
convicts to be swapped for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. His
decision is geared to loosen definitions of which convicts have
'blood on their hands,; a category of convicts that it has been
longstanding Israeli policy not to release.... Thus the Olmert
government, though acting for the laudable cause of bringing home a
kidnapped soldier, potentially escalates the risk of more terrorism
to Israel's civilian population (whose defense is the government's
primary obligation), boosts some of Israel's worst enemies, and
simultaneously diminishes the credibility of these enemies'
potentially more moderate political rivals.... The Winograd report
.. approvingly notes American resolve not to negotiate with
terrorists, a 'factor that makes the kidnapping of Americans
unprofitable.' The fact that Olmert seems to be acting in direct
and unequivocal contravention of the conclusions of the very report
he ceremoniously undertook to accept and implement casts heavy
doubts on his credibility and prudence. But he should have known
better even without the report.... Israel knows all too well that
the price of reckless prisoner deals is the loss of many civilian
lives, more kidnappings, and more suffering. A truly responsible
and reformed premier cannot overlook such experience."

IV. "The Next War Will Not Be Like the Previous One"

Columnist and former justice minister Yosef Lapid wrote in the
popular, pluralist Maariv (2/6): "For some reason, Israel is not
worried about the possibility of Syria starting a war. Mossad
Director Meir Dagan warned this week that Syria has doubled its
number of missiles.... Following the [Second] Lebanon War, Syria
noted that Israel's Achilles' heel is its home front.... There are
two reasons why Israel does take this threat seriously. The first
is practical -- Syria cannot afford to start a war with Israel, even
were Hizbullah to support it. There is great logic in this. Assad
knows he could be beaten, even he were able to cause Israel great
harm. The only question is whether Syria would act according to
that logic.... The second reason ... is that the [Israeli]
government has enough trouble as it is."

---------
2. Chad:
---------

Summary:
--------

Ovadia Soffer, former Israeli ambassador to Chad and France, wrote
in the popular, pluralist Maariv: "The war now raging in Chad ...
goes beyond the rebels' attempt to topple Idriss Deby, Chad's
current President. The rebels are openly supported by the Sudanese
regime."

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

"African Plots"

Ovadia Soffer, former Israeli ambassador to Chad and France, wrote
in the popular, pluralist Maariv (2/6): "Chad's importance to Israel
grew after Qadhafi came to power (at the beginning of my tenure in
Chad).... Years later, around the Yom Kippur War, Chad broke its
relations with Israel, followed by most African states; but while
those resumed their relations with Israel in the 80s, Chad has not
done so.... The war now raging in Chad ... goes beyond the rebels'
attempt to topple Idriss Deby, Chad's current President. The rebels
are openly supported by the Sudanese regime, which is attempting to
prevent the European EUROFOR unit from positioning itself along the
Sudanese border.... [Sudan] is taking advantage of the West's
ineptitude. Meanwhile the flow of refugees to Cameroun and other
neighboring countries is increasing. They leave behind hundreds of
bodies and thousands of wounded in Chad and Kenya as well -- where
battles and mutual ethnic killings, as [Sudan] is destabilizing
pro-Western regimes and strengthening global terror and the regimes
supporting it."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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