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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #0460/01 0591106
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P 281106Z FEB 08
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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

1. Mideast

2. Iran

3. U.S.-Israel Relations

4. DPRK

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

All media reported that on Wednesday afternoon a student at the
Sapir College near Sderot was killed by a Qassam rocket and that
Grad-style Katyusha rockets landed in Ashkelon. Israeli strikes in
Gaza killed 13 Palestinians, including three children and a baby,
and media reported that among those killed were five Hamas members
trained abroad for a special mission. The media also played up an
air strike against the Palestinian Interior Ministry near
Palestinian (Hamas) PM Ismail Haniyeh's office in Gaza City.
(Israel Hayom bannered: "IDF Hints: Haniyeh Is Not Immune.")
Ha'aretz quoted a senior defense official as saying that the Israeli
response to the rocket fire on Sderot and Ashkelon is expected to be
particularly harsh, and that Israel does not intend to let Hamas's
decision to escalate go unanswered.

Leading media quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying that the
solution to the Qassam problem will come soon. However, PM Ehud
Olmert was quoted as saying in Tokyo on Thursday morning, that
Israel will not change its overall policy. "What is happening today
happened a week ago, and is likely to happen in the near future," he
was quoted as saying. Olmert added: "We are in a war which
sometimes exacts a high cost, and sometimes does not. We will
continue fighting in order for the danger to the residents of the
south to end. This is a long process, and a painful one, and we
haven't any magic formulas to solve this today. We are suffering
painful blows, but are returning more painful blows." Israel Radio
reported that Olmert told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in
Tokyo that Hamas is pushing Israel to the edge of its patience. The
Jerusalem Post quoted unnamed government sources as speculating that
Barak will take a more aggressive line within the government than
Olmert as he is "looking to prove himself" before the next

election.

Maariv's online service NRG and Israel Radio quoted PA Chairman
[President] Mahmoud Abbas as saying in an interview with the
Jordanian daily A-Dustur that he has not ruled out a future renewal
of the armed struggle against Israel. Abbas was quoted as saying
that he fired the first bullet at Israel back in 1965, that it was
his organization that taught the Arabs the path of "resistance" and
that Hizbullah was taught in Fatah training camps. Abbas said in
the course of the interview that at this stage he is opposed to the
armed option, but added that he does not rule out a return to a
military battle in the future.
.
The Jerusalem Post quoted PM Olmert as saying after talks with
Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda on Wednesday that Israel and Japan will
cooperate in efforts to stop development of nuclear weapons by Iran
and North Korea.

Leading media reported that on Tuesday, during a presidential debate
with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic presidential hopeful
Senator Barack Obama stressed his "stalwart" support for Israel and
his ties to American Jews. Obama stated his belief that Israel's
security was "sacrosanct" and criticized African-American leader
Louis Farrakhan, who had endorsed him, calling his anti-Israel and
anti-Semitic statements "unacceptable and reprehensible."

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Tuesday UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon called suicide bombing an "unacceptable political weapon."
He was quoted as saying that he will speak to the President of the
General Assembly about holding a special session on the issue. Ban
spoke during a private meeting with officials from the Simon
Wiesenthal Center, who urged the UN to designate suicide bombing a
crime against humanity.

Ha'aretz reported that as the UN prepares for a follow-up meeting
next year to its 2001 World Conference against Racism, Canadian
Senator Jerry Grafstein has proposed a counter-conference of human
rights activists to combat anti-Semitism

Yediot reported that over the past year right-wing former strategic
affairs minister Avigdor Lieberman collaborated with former Meretz
leader Yossi Sarid on issues of national security and the Iranian
nuclear threat.

In a paid ad in Ha'aretz (English Ed.), conservative activists,
including former cabinet minister Uzi Landau (Likud), addressed the
people of Israel and Sen. John McCain, saying, 'The jihadist'
Palestinian state the U.S. State Department proposes to wedge
between [Israel and Jordan] would guarantee a quick end to the peace
and visibility of both these American allies. It would, in short
order, become the enshrined capital of radical Islam."

Ha'aretz reported that "Eyes Wide Open," a new documentary film that
follows American Jewish tourists in Israel and explores their
complex and sometimes strained relationship with the Jewish State
debuts tonight at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "The decision
as to whether, how and when to embark on a [military] operation [in
Gaza] will remain in Israel's hands. We must hope that this
decision will be both daring and level-headed."

Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote on page one of the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (2/28): "IsraelQs policy
is unclear, non-aggressive, inconsistent, and the cause of the
ongoing failure on the Gaza front."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "What
the Hamas-inspired murderous rocket fire across the Gaza border
should long since have made plain to all ... is that even territory
cleared of every last vestige of Israeli presence does not sate the
appetite of the Islamists."

Editor-in-Chief Amnon Lord wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe: "Israel has no security policy.... In Sderot and
other communities [aggression] has been going on forever."

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

I. "On the Edge in the South"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (2/28): "The
dozens of rockets that were fired on Wednesday from the Gaza Strip
-- one of which killed Roni Yehiah, a 47-year-old father of four --

have placed the IDF on the threshold of a major raid into the
Palestinian territory. Crossing this threshold is soon liable to be
seen as a necessity that cannot be condemned, but it can still be
prevented. Responsibility for the escalation lies entirely with the
Palestinian side; in other words, the Hamas government.... Although
the situation has worsened, a massive invasion of Gaza is not
unavoidable, if outside forces can be harnessed to decree restraint
on Hamas -- primarily U.S. President George W. Bush and Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak, whose senior emissaries are investing a
great deal of diplomatic effort which has been unsuccessful so far
in cooling the flames. The U.S. Secretary of State and the Egyptian
Intelligence Minister, both of whom are scheduled to arrive in
Israel in the coming days, can and must make it clear to Hamas that
if Israel is pushed into crossing the fence in Gaza should the
efforts fail, the world will be understanding. The decision as to
whether, how and when to embark on an operation will remain in
Israel's hands. We must hope that this decision will be both daring
and level-headed."

II. "The Price of Restraint"

Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote on page one of the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (2/28): " IsraelQs
policy is unclear, non-aggressive, inconsistent, and the cause of
the ongoing failure on the Gaza front. The political echelon does
not want to take over the Gaza Strip, nor is the army eager to
return to wallow in Gaza. Everyone in the top political and
military echelon knows exactly what we shouldn't do, but nobody
wants to take risks -- political or military -- to put out the fire.
So what do we do? They haven't a clue.... It is unthinkable that
after Hamas's attack on Wednesday, the Hamas leadership continues to
be exempt from threats to its life. Hamas's military and political
infrastructure must be dealt with. This can be done even before the
'large-scale ground operation' that nobody in Israel is ready for.
But the political echelon is so scared of a deterioration that won't
take this middle step for fear of giving Hamas a pretext to go
crazy. The problem is that paradoxically, this inaction will in
fact bring about a ground operation sooner. They (Hamas) realize
that Israel's strategy begins and ends with 'controlling the height
of the flames.' Israeli restraint is perceived by them as
hesitancy. When the threats to their lives begin and end with
newspaper headlines, they stop taking the threats seriously. Hamas's
responses to IDF activity will become more impudent and more
aggressive, more Israelis will be killed and maimed, public pressure
will increase, and we will then find ourselves -- because of
distorted policy -- in a war that we don't want at a time not of our
choosing."

III. "Insatiable Extremism"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (2/28):
"It is long past time for the learned diplomats of the UN, and all
too many other international statespeople, to stop excusing the
Islamist supremacists and ignoring their avowed and insatiable
ambitions. This newspaper recognizes that for Israel to remain at
once Jewish in character and democratic, it must relinquish
territory to which it claims a biblical and historic right and
separate from the Palestinians. It looks forward to the day when
the Palestinians will live peacefully, and independently, alongside
Israel. But Sharon's 'disengagement' did not advance that day. And
the failure is that of the Palestinians. A mindset that loathes
Israel more than it seeks its own freedom will not be remade by
Israeli withdrawal or endless international funding and sympathy....
Under Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and now Ehud Olmert, we have sought
somehow to separate from the Palestinians. What the Hamas-inspired
murderous rocket fire across the Gaza border should long since have
made plain to all, however, is that even territory cleared of every
last vestige of Israeli presence does not sate the appetite of the
Islamists -- who, terribly, happen to constitute the parliamentary
leadership freely elected by the Palestinian public, and the
murderous sole rulers of Gaza."

IV. "Academic Cover"

Editor-in-Chief Amnon Lord wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe (2/28): "Israel has no security policy.... The
Israeli military and political leadership adjusts theories and goals
to reality.... How can one explain that Israel is flooded with
institutes and interdisciplinary centers ... and that all are busy
analyzing security and strategic affairs?.... For over a year and a
half, the Israeli leadership keeps repeating the failure of the
Second Lebanon War, which ended after a month and a half. In the
south -- in Sderot and other communities -- this has been going on
forever."

---------
2. Iran:
---------

Summary:
--------
Senior military affairs analyst Reuven Pedatzur wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "If ... by the end of George
Bush's term -- the U.S. President does not order a military
operation against Iran's nuclear sites, it is doubtful whether it
would be possible to prevent Iran from turning into a nuclear state.
Jerusalem must start getting used to this and prepare for a 'new
Middle East.'"


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

"Iran's Great Victory"

Senior military affairs analyst Reuven Pedatzur wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (2/28): "IAEA Director Mohamed
ElBaradei played into the Iranians' hands again. Not only did he
help their president to celebrate in Tehran, he also gave them
another extension on their way to completing their nuclear weapons
development. Once again, as expected, ElBaradei missed the
opportunity to unite the international community around the efforts
to prevent Iran's nuclearization.... Even if Russia and China do not
object, as expected, and the Security Council adopts the [sanctions]
proposal, it is doubtful whether this would unduly upset the
Iranians. The conclusion is that if during the coming year -- by
the end of George Bush's term -- the U.S. President does not order a
military operation against Iran's nuclear sites, it is doubtful
whether it would be possible to prevent Iran from turning into a
nuclear state. Jerusalem must start getting used to this and
prepare for a 'new Middle East.'"

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

Summary:
--------

Liberal columnist Larry Derfner wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "The record on Obama as an anti-Semite
or enemy of Israel is utterly blank.... Depicting him as an
anti-Semite or an enemy of Israel is the stuff of a hate campaign."


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

"Islamophobia, Obamaphobia"

Liberal columnist Larry Derfner wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (2/28): "I support John McCain for
president, and I think Obama is too inexperienced in military and
foreign affairs to be president now. But as far as anyone has been
able to find out, he has never made anything even close to an
anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli remark in his life -- unless you think
that expressing sympathy for Palestinians, and preferring Middle
East diplomacy to Middle East war, is inherently anti-Israeli and
anti-Semitic. There are lots of Jews in America and Israel who do
think this way, and if Obama wins the Democratic nomination as
expected, we are going to be hearing more from them.... The record
on Obama as an anti-Semite or enemy of Israel is utterly blank.
He's not a Muslim, either.... Even in politics there is a red line,
and on the other side of that red line is what's called a hate
campaign. Deliberately drawing attention to Obama's middle name,
Hussein, is the stuff of a hate campaign. Depicting him as an
anti-Semite or an enemy of Israel is the stuff of a hate campaign.
For information on how you can become part of it, contact
Republicans Abroad in Israel."


---------
4. DPRK:
---------

Summary:
--------

Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker opined in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Rather than showing a softening of the
North Korean regime, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's visit to
Pyongyang demonstrated the distortion of thought in America and the
darkening of its values."

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

"Would the Orchestra Have Played in 1938 Berlin?"

Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker opined in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (2/28): "The New York Philharmonic
Orchestra flew this week to the North Korean capital, enchanting for
one evening the ears of its residents -- more exactly, those of the
senior members of the Communist Party, in a superb concert.....
Indeed, this was a historic moment. America's cultural elite opened
its arms to embrace the darkest, most murderous, and most crazed
regime on earth.... I watched the live broadcast of the American
networks; I read the stories from there as they appeared in the U.S.
newspapers, and I shuddered. What happened to the reporters and
broadcasters' natural critical sense? What happened to their
liberal world view?.... Of course the orchestra collaborated with
tyranny.... The visit of the orchestra to Pyongyang resembles those
of 'progressive' Western writers and artists in Stalin's Soviet
Union during the peak of red terror and the great famine. They were
welcomed like kings in Moscow, a city haunted by purges, whose
residents were highly frightened by night visits by NKVD agents.
[The Western visitors] reported on the Soviet citizens' joy of
life.... Rather than showing a softening of the North Korean regime,
the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's visit to Pyongyang
demonstrated the distortion of thought in America and the darkening
of its values."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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