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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0500/01 0641222
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041222Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5659
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 3493
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0143
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3730
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4254
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3510
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1705
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4256
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1095
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1572
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8127
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5603
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0516
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4637
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6589
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9199
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RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000500

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


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

1. Mideast

2. Iran-Iraq Relations

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

The Jerusalem Post reported that the prevalent feeling in Jerusalem
is that despite the recent flare-up in Gaza, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice's discussions in Cairo will focus on securing an
agreement between Egypt, the PA, and Hamas regarding the border
situation. Such an agreement, according to this assessment, would
be used to bring the PA back to the negotiating table. The
Jerusalem Post cited assessments in Israel on the eve of Secretary
Rice's visit that the PA expects her to provide it with a
"face-saving device" that will allow it to return to negotiations.
Israel Radio reported that Rice, en route to the Middle East, called
for the resumption of Israel-PA negotiations. Ha'aretz reported
that PM Ehud Olmert will tell Secretary Rice today that Israel wants
to renew talks with the PA quickly. Maariv reported that Rice's
current trip has turned into a rescue mission of the peace process.
Israel Radio reported that in Cairo, Secretary Rice reiterated
charges that Hamas is responsible for the latest violence, and
demanded that Israel refrain from hurting civilians. Citing news
agencies, Ha'aretz reported that the White House blamed Hamas on
Monday for sparking the recent fighting between Israel and the
Palestinians. Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National
Security Council, was quoted as saying: "The number one thing that
has to happen is that Hamas has got to stop targeting Israeli
citizens with rockets. It must stop."

Ha'aretz quoted a GOI source as saying on Monday that Jerusalem is
disappointed with the latest round of sanctions against Iran passed
late Monday night by the UN Security Council. Israel sees them as
soft, especially with regard to the list of individuals and
institutions on which the sanctions would be imposed. Maariv and
Israel Radio reported that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was
instrumental in getting the resolution passed. Ha'aretz and Israel
Radio quoted FM Tzipi Livni as saying on Monday that the Security
Council's resolution was another essential step expressing the
understanding that the international community must not give up and
stand idly by. Ha'aretz quoted Livni as saying: "Any additional
decision by any country, member or group, adds more weight to create
the mass of sanctions needed to stop Iran." For their part, Yediot
and Israel Radio said that Israel, and in particular the Foreign
Ministry, expressed satisfaction over the resolution.

Ha'aretz quoted legal experts in the government as saying that it is
difficult to decide whether Israel can move Palestinian civilians
from areas in the northern Gaza Strip where rockets are fired
against Israel. They say international law is based on precedents,
and in Israel's case the matter is in many ways unprecedented.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak had requested legal advice from Attorney
General Menachem Mazuz and the military advocate general on the
possibility of moving Palestinian civilians from the
rocket-launching areas. The idea would be to give the Israel
Defense Forces greater room to maneuver and target rocket crews
without endangering civilians. The debate is featured in many
media.

Major media quoted PM Olmert as saying on Monday before the
Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel's
activity in Gaza has not stopped. The media, which said that Hamas
has proclaimed victory, reported that senior Hamas official Mahmoud
Zahar declared on Monday that Israel failed to stop the rockets and
that Gilad Shalit will not be released unless Israel accepts all his
captors' demands. The Jerusalem Post quoted an IDF Intelligence
officer as saying on Monday before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee that Iranian technology and intelligence was used
by Palestinian gunmen in Gaza. Maariv reported on the poor
performance of Israel's public relations during the operation. The
Jerusalem Post featured PR efforts by Avichay Adree, the IDF
Spokesman's Office's lone Arabic speaker.

Citing the German press agency DPA, Ha'aretz quoted Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas as saying on Monday that he was ready to
mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas. Abbas called on Israel
"to accept this initiative." The Jerusalem Post reported that on
Monday Italian FM Massimo D'Alema called on Israel to negotiate with
Hamas.

Major media reported that authorities have acknowledged that a Grad
rocket that hit Ashkelon on Monday barely missed the house of
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter.
Both Yediot and Maariv led with the mental stress suffered by the
residents of Sderot and the surrounding communities. Israel Radio
reported that last night a Qassam rocket caused great damage to a
Sderot house that was vacated on Monday.

The Jerusalem Post cited confidential documents obtained by Vanity
Fair magazine, according to which President Bush is said to have
approved a covert initiative to overthrow the Hamas government
shortly after Hamas won the January 2006 parliamentary elections.

Citing news agencies reports, Ha'aretz quoted the Israeli human
rights group B'Tselem as saying on Monday that more than half of the
Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip in IDF operations in recent
were not involved in the fighting. This statement came after IDF
Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi issued a statement saying that 90
percent of those killed were in fact armed militants

Leading media reported that last night police released a West Bank
settler who shot and killed a Palestinian teen, who had been with a
group that was throwing rocks along a West Bank road. Military
investigators cleared him of inappropriate actions and the police
are likely to follow suit. The media also reported that four
Palestinians were arrested on Monday after they attacked two
Jerusalem municipal inspectors, who had been driving in East
Jerusalem. The inspectors escaped after a minute under assault,
which several media called an attempted lynch.

Israel Radio cited the concern of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
that Hizbullah might reignite the Lebanon-Israel border. The radio
reported that Ban received documents from Israel that Hizbullah is
rearming.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Sunday in London Alan
Rusbridger, the editor of the British daily The Guardian, apologized
for an editorial in his newspaper that compared Israel's 2002
Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin with the 9/11 attack on New
York. Ha'aretz reported that 50 Italian film industry leaders have
signed a petition of in support of Israeli-Arab film director
Muhammad Bakri, who made "Jenin, Jenin," a controversial movie about
Operation Defensive Shield. The film makers warn that the legal
actions in Israel against "Jenin, Jenin" might "turn into a kind of
attack the right to freedom of information and freedom of artistic
expression in Israel."

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Jewish vote could swing today's
Ohio and Texas Democratic primaries.

Maariv reported that on Monday the High Court of Justice ruled that
Laurie Sue Goldman, who is wanted in the U.S. for alleged extortion
and who escaped to Israel seven years ago, will be extradited to the
U.S.

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

Summary:
--------

Senior Editor Nehemia Shtrasler wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Indeed, signing an agreement with Hamas is
risky.... But it also harbors hope."

Liberal columnist Ofer Shelach wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "For almost a decade not only have Israelis fed and provided
for the IDF, but they have also been serving as a defensive shield
for it."

Veteran journalist and anchor Dan Margalit wrote in the independent
Israel Hayom: "Israel has had its share of bitter experience with
forced respites.... No such commitment exists in Gaza."

Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker opined in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "[Ariel] Sharon would not have waited
such a long time with a correct response, nor would he have used the
doctrine of disproportionate, incorrect response as has been used in
Gaza over the past several days."

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

I. "Talk to Hamas"

Senior Editor Nehemia Shtrasler wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (3/4): "People in such a difficult situation
[Gazans] have nothing left but their self-respect..... So there is
no escape but to talk to Hamas. We cannot choose our enemies....
Indeed, signing an agreement with Hamas is risky. An agreement
could weaken Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Israel sees
as a fitting partner. But it also harbors hope. We could make a
cease-fire arrangement consisting of stopping the rocket fire in
exchange for stopping the assassinations. We could agree on a
prisoner exchange and bring Gilad Shalit home.... Once we didn't
want to talk to the PLO and Arafat. Then we humiliated Abbas and
didn't want to give him any achievement during the disengagement.
Now we don't want to talk to Hamas. So the struggle will continue
-- until a catastrophe occurs, on their side or ours. Only then
will the leaders be forced to sit down and talk around the
negotiating table."

II. "Gaza, Like in Lebanon"

Liberal columnist Ofer Shelach wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (3/4): "Israel started an operation to vanquish with military
means an enemy that is not a state and does not have an army....
Everything the enemy needs to do is to shoot the last round and
proclaim victory. This does not mean that it won. There are no
victors in this war. But it makes us feel that it has not lost. No
strategic debates will help in the face of such a reality.... For
almost a decade not only have Israelis fed and provided for the IDF,
but they have also been serving as a defensive shield for it, at the
service of a regime that knows that there is no more legitimacy for
an operation than the killing of civilians. This can be changed if
we remove the curtain of belligerency from our eyes -- for this
there is no need for a commission of investigation."

III. "No Respite"

Veteran journalist and anchor Dan Margalit wrote in the independent
Israel Hayom (3/4): "When [we] have no intention of permitting Hamas
to replenish its troops and to resume its rocket fire at Israel, it
must not be permitted to carry out artificial victory marches in the
Gaza Strip.... Israel has had its share of bitter experience with
forced respites.... No such commitment exists in Gaza. Operation
Luke-Warm Spring has to follow Operation Hot Winter only to be
followed by Operation Blazing Summer and Operation Rainy Autumn
until the Hamas regime in Gaza is destabilized. Stopping the
operations now will create a situation that we are familiar with
from southern Lebanon in the 1990s, when rocket fire and the
counter-operations ended with formulas that never served IsraelQs
interests."

IV. "The Doctrine of Disproportionate Response"

Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker opined in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (3/4): "I do not know whether [Ariel]
Sharon had a strategy prepared in advance for dealing with the
firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip on Israeli communities after
disengagement. One thing I am sure of, both from having known him
and from personal conversations with him: Sharon would not have
waited such a long time with a correct response, nor would he have
used the doctrine of disproportionate, incorrect response as has
been used in Gaza over the past several days.... It is said that
Ariel Sharon went ballistic the first time he was told by
high-ranking officers that 'there is nothing we can do' against
suicide terrorism. Despite his age, or perhaps because of it,
Sharon rejected the conventional, routine, self-evident solutions.
He looked for the sophisticated, the surprising, the creative, and
therefore the efficient. If the prime minister who replaced him had
gotten as angry the first time he was told 'there is nothing we can
do' against the Qassam and Grad rockets from Gaza, we would likely
be in a different situation today."

------------------------
2. Iran-Iraq Relations:
------------------------

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "The
last thing Iraqi leaders -- or other Arab states, for that matter --
want is to be left alone with Iran, particularly an Iran armed with
nuclear weapons."

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

"Two Irans, or Two Iraqs"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (3/4):
"This week's historic visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
to Iraq, reportedly the first of an Iranian president since Iraq's
founding, marks a watershed moment. It symbolizes the choice
between two radically different futures: one of two Irans, the other
of two Iraqs. Ostensibly, the visit is one of friendship, of two
countries establishing new bonds.... The friendliness of this visit,
however, should confuse no one. The last thing Iraqi leaders -- or
other Arab states, for that matter -- want is to be left alone with
Iran, particularly an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. And the last
thing the Iranian regime -- and Iraq's Arab neighbors, for that
matter -- want is for Iraq to become a flourishing and peaceful
democracy. The Iran-Iraq embrace, therefore, is illusory and
unstable. It reflects a very temporary balance of power, fear and
isolation. If the current Iranian regime becomes a nuclear power,
it will work to turn Iraq and other Arab regimes into obedient
satellites, like Syria. This will not be simple in Iraq, despite
the Shi'ite-led government there. The Iraqi people and government
have no interest in Iranian-style clerical rule. Even the Iraqi
Shi'ite clerical leadership is not only against becoming an Iranian
satrap, but against clerical rule in principle. These Iraqi
religious leaders believe that the Iranian revolution is heretical.
A nuclear Iran, in the context of a retreating United States,
however, would have ways of dealing with the dual Iraqi threat of
presenting a democratic model and an alternative center of Shi'ite
leadership.... The U.S. advances are real, but so is their
reversibility if Iran were to go nuclear and the U.S. were to
withdraw."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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