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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0518/01 0661106
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061106Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5711
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
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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 3505
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0155
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3744
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4266
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3524
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1719
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4270
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1107
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1584
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8139
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5615
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0528
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4649
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6601
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9213
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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

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION


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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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The Jerusalem Post and other media reported that on Wednesday, a day
after he met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, PM Ehud
Olmert made clear during a session of the diplomatic-security
cabinet that only quiet in Sderot would bring quiet to Gaza. The
Jerusalem Post said this is a clear indication that the current IDF
operations are not intended to topple Hamas. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe
reported that the cabinet instructed the IDF to bring Qassam fire to
an end, while leading media reported that the cabinet ruled out an
immediate ground operation in Gaza. Yediot quoted Attorney General
Menachem Mazuz as telling the cabinet that bombarding civilians is a
war crime. Vice PM Haim Ramon was reported to have said that the
moment a rocket is launched, Israel will shoot back at the sources
of fire, even if that area is inhabited. Maariv reported that the
Foreign Ministry will hold simulations of a Gaza invasion.

Ha'aretz and other media reported that Israel will begin a
diplomatic push for an agreement with Egypt on securing the
Gaza-Sinai border and countering arms smuggling. Ha'aretz reported
that the diplomatic-security cabinet instructed the foreign and
defense ministries to step up contacts with Egypt on this issue.
Israel Radio cited PA sources as saying that Egypt is working to
achieve a tahdiya (truce). Speaking on the radio this morning, Amos
Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security
Bureau, said that Israel was not negotiating with Hamas through
Egypt. Yediot quoted Noam Shalit, Gilad Shalit's father, as saying
that Israeli officials told him that private negotiations, for
instance through French lawyers, will harm chances of obtaining his
release.

Ha'aretz cited the belief of PM Olmert that negotiations with Syria
should be seriously considered "if this would bring an end to its
involvement in terrorism and extricate it from the axis of evil."
Speaking at a briefing on the situation in the South to the
Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, Olmert
said that the Syrian leadership is aware of his position.
On Wednesday Ha'aretz quoted IDF Intelligence as saying that Iran is
arming Hizbullah with missiles sent via Turkey, in violation of UN
Security Council Resolution 1701.

The Jerusalem Post, Yediot, and Israel Radio reported that President
Bush has appointed career diplomat James Cunningham, currently U.S.
Consul General in Hong Kong, as the next U.S. ambassador to Israel,
pending Congressional approval. Yediot headlined: "U.S. Sends
Psychologist to Israel." Maariv cited the disappointment of GOI
sources in Jerusalem over Cunningham's appointment, quoting them as
saying that this is a weak appointment of a person lacking
diplomatic experience in the Middle East, who will be arriving at a
critical time for Israel. While The Jerusalem Post said that the
possibility that Ambassador Richard Jones will serve as U.S.
ambassador to Russia has not materialized, Maariv reported that he
will apparently serve there.

Ha'aretz quoted FM Tzipi Livni as saying on Wednesday at a joint
conference with Secretary Rice that the Israeli and Palestinian
teams are likely to meet today. Yediot headlined: "Following
American Pressure: Abu Mazen Returns to Negotiations." Maariv also
cited an agreement between Rice and Abbas to this effect. Ha'aretz
quoted Secretary Rice as saying that Hamas was holding the people of
Gaza hostage and was now "trying to make the path to a Palestinian
state hostage to that. And we cannot permit that."

Major media reported that several illegal outposts will be evacuated
in the next few days, under an agreement reached between the
settlers and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Israel Radio reported that this morning an IDF soldier was killed
and three others were wounded from the explosion along the
Israel-Gaza border. Leading media reported that on Wednesday a
Palestinian was killed and an Israeli civilian sustained
moderate-to-serious injuries in a drive-by shooting in the village
of Idna, west of Hebron. Some media reported that the Israeli was a
car dealer about to sell a vehicle to Palestinians.

The Jerusalem Post and other media quoted the High Court of Justice
as saying on Wednesday that it would hand down its decision on a
petition protesting an army order barring Palestinian from driving
on Highway 443 -- in the West Bank, parallel to the main Tel
Aviv-Jerusalem highway -- at a later date. The Jerusalem Post
reported that the court hinted that preventing travel by
Palestinians on the road would prevent attacks on Israel.
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that on Wednesday the House of
Representatives passed a resolution condemning Palestinian rocket
attacks. The Jerusalem Post: reported that on Tuesday the House of
Representatives placed a hold on $150 million in economic assistance
to the PA until the State Department provides further clarification
of how the money will be dispensed and until it has certified that a
dingle treasury account for the funds has been created, among other
requirements.

Maariv ran a feature about the average American's ignorance of world
affairs. A teaser reads: "It is easier to send to war a nation that
does not really know where Israel, Iran, and Iraq are."

Major media reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak has not
renewed the exemption of military service for around 1,000 students
learning in new yeshivas. Maariv reported that the IDF has
acknowledged that the lack of solders is due to exemptions granted
to the ultra-Orthodox. Ha'aretz reported that the first edition of
Yom Hadash, a free daily newspaper for the ultra-Orthodox community,
appeared on Wednesday. Ha'aretz said that the publication reflects
a leadership crisis in the ultra-Orthodox community.

Israel Radio reported that the Jordanian government is drawing up a
law to make it possible to involve Israel in a regional cooperation
start-up in the area of electricity supply, but that the Jordanian
parliament is taking steps to torpedo the initiative.

Leading media reported that National Union MK Effie Eitam told Arab
Knesset members, in the Knesset, on Wednesday that "one day we will
expel you from this house, and from the national home of the Jewish
people."

The Jerusalem Post cited a Gallup poll that found that 71% of
Americans view Israel favorably. Israel was ranked fifth, slightly
higher than India and France.

--------
Mideast:
--------

Summary:
--------

Liberal op-ed writer Yael Paz-Melamed commented in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: "For the foreseeable future, meaning months or
years, no military solution will be found for the Qassam rocket
problem, yet we are not willing to talk about other alternatives."

Veteran journalist and anchor Dan Margalit wrote on page one of the
independent Israel Hayom: "There are indications that Hamas, which
is anxious for a cease-fire, intends to present Israel with a
Greek-style gift: It will cease its fire.... Olmert signaled on
Wednesday that the lessons of the gift presented by the Greeks, in
HomerQs Odyssey, are of no concern to him."

Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot: "Here is an idea, which can be applied in
conjunction with the existing IDF activity: Every time a rocket is
fired at Israeli territory, Israel will respond against the
population -- but never by lethal means."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: " We do
the Palestinians no favors by not demanding it of them, by ignoring
the narrative of war, dismissing it as mere 'rhetoric,' or actually
joining in blaming the failure to change narratives on Israel."

Former IDF spokesman Nachman Shai wrote in The Jerusalem Post:
"After saying time and again that we don't want propaganda, we need
to understand that there is no alternative to putting our positions
forward -- and that's not necessarily 'propaganda.'"

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

I. "The Hot Winter of Illusions"

Liberal op-ed writer Yael Paz-Melamed commented in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (3/6): "The truth is that For the foreseeable
future, meaning months or years, no military solution will be found
for the Qassam rocket problem, yet we are not willing to talk about
other alternatives.... The solution will arrive when Sderot is
cloaked by some kind of defensive system, or when a hudna [truce] is
reached with Hamas for five, ten or twenty years. Until then, the
IDF and the Shin Bet will continue to wrack their brains about what
to do. The IDF will enter and leave the Gaza Strip, arrest wanted
men, assassinate murderers, clean up one area and move on to
another, and the Qassam and Grad rockets will continue to fall and
make the lives of the civilians impossible. Homes and the public
buildings can be fortified, the support system for the 200,000
residents of the region can be made more efficient; but normal life
is impossible.... Anyone who promises something different is
throwing sand in the eyes, and preventing vital decisions being made
by the residents on their future."

II. "A Trojan Horse Named Hudna"

Veteran journalist and anchor Dan Margalit wrote on page one of the
independent Israel Hayom (3/6): "There are indications that Hamas,
which is anxious for a cease-fire, intends to present Israel with a
Greek-style gift: It will cease its fire. An unconditional gift,
which Ehud Olmert already announced on Wednesday that he would
accept, if it should reach him: 'If they do not fire at us from the
Gaza Strip, we will not fire back.' This is precisely what Khaled
Mashal and Ismail Haniyeh have proposed over the past months, and
Israel wisely refused, because it wanted to prevent the
Lebanonization of Gaza. It refused to give Hamas a year or two of
calm to smuggle heavy rockets into the Gaza Strip and place them in
an array that would endanger Israel.... If Olmert means what he
says, then the Palestinians will be able to freely smuggle Grad
rockets, advanced Katyusha and Fajr rockets, and threaten the
coastal communities reaching up to Herzliya, while Israel will watch
from the sidelines. No strikes against metal workshops for
manufacturing Qassam rockets, no targeted killings against terrorist
leaders and no surprise incursions. Quiet means quiet.... In the
absence of a freeze in Hamas's military preparations, the IDF will
continue its war -- with even greater energy, even though at a
certain stage there may be no rocket fire at Israel. However,
Olmert signaled on Wednesday that the lessons of the gift presented
by the Greeks, in HomerQs Odyssey, are of no concern to him."

III. "No Need to Kill"

Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (3/6): "The IDF is capable of wiping out the entire
Gaza Strip, but is barred from doing so since we simply cannot kill
the civilian population.... Here is an idea, which can be applied in
conjunction with the existing IDF activity: Every time a rocket is
fired at Israeli territory, Israel will respond against the
population -- but never by lethal means: Tear gas cannons will fire
tear gas throughout the Gaza Strip, at increasing intervals;
powerful loudspeakers will play terrible noises -- squealing,
sirens, deafening explosions -- first for ten minutes, then for
fifteen minutes, up to periods of hours.... In my assessment, after
ten such days -- sleepless, with eyes burning from tear gas, with
ringing in their ears and red paint -- the residents will bodily
stop those who are firing rockets at Israel. This is what is
special about the idea: The blame cannot be attached to Israel,
since the one that will press the button each time and activate this
series of harassments is Hamas itself, the moment it fires a rocket.
And if there are complaints around the world, well, the Israeli
measures do not kill; these are accepted and known crowd control
measures. Every launch, which is now carried out daily by the
dozens, will cause a ceaseless disturbance and a blow to the
Palestinian side. This way, Hamas will also divert the effect of
the rockets towards its own public."


IV. "Narrative First"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (3/6):
"In case anyone might think that the PA is only remembering past
'glories,' Fatah, the faction that Abbas heads, issued a poster
displaying a map of 'Palestine' that included all of Israel, a
machine gun and a picture of Yasser Arafat. Incitement against
Israel, including the glorification of 'martyrdom,' continues
through Abbas-controlled PA television, and PA educational
institutions, such as schools and camps.... Abbas is not doing
anything near what he could and should be doing. No one is forcing
him to play so wholeheartedly into the Hamas propaganda machine....
What we should have learned by now is that the real peace process is
not a diplomatic one, but one of each side preparing itself for
peace. Israel has effected a sea change in this sphere, in that a
consensus that held that a Palestinian state would necessarily be an
existential threat has been transformed into a consensus that such a
state is a strategic necessity. Such a transformation has barely
begun on the Palestinian side. We do the Palestinians no favors by
not demanding it of them, by ignoring the narrative of war,
dismissing it as mere 'rhetoric,' or actually joining in blaming the
failure to change narratives on Israel."

V. "Hello to Public Diplomacy"

Former IDF spokesman Nachman Shai wrote in The Jerusalem Post (3/6):
"We labor under the misconception that public diplomacy only
involves speaking to the world at large, but that is not the case.
We must also hold a dialogue with the Arabs, particularly with those
alongside whom we live -- the Israeli Arabs, the Palestinians, the
neighboring Arab states and even the more remote Muslim nations. At
present, Israel does not posses communications media -- neither
radio, nor television -- capable of transmitting the pictures and
voices of Israel beyond a short range from our borders. The Foreign
Ministry and the IDF Spokesperson have improved their treatment of
Arab journalists stationed here, but with the lack of appropriate
mass media tools in Israel, the skies above the Middle East are
ruled by Arab satellites, their broadcasts reaching Europe and
beyond. I'm not talking about propaganda. An independent,
commercially funded communications network needs to be set up,
broadly along the lines of Aljazeera-TV or Al-Arabiya-TV, capable of
broadcasting to extensive audiences; and not affiliated with the
Israeli government. However, after saying time and again that we
don't want propaganda, we need to understand that there is no
alternative to putting our positions forward -- and that's not
necessarily 'propaganda.'"

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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