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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0570/01 0721037
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121037Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5798
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 3533
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0183
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3778
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4331
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3552
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1788
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4298
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1172
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1612
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8167
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5643
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0556
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4677
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6629
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9297
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000570

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. Iran

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

Ha'aretz quoted Palestinian sources as saying on Tuesday that
Israel, Egypt, and Hamas are close to a deal to deploy PA President
Mahmoud Abbas's troops at the Gaza crossings. According to the
sources, Israel and Hamas have agreed to an Egyptian proposal to
deploy the PA Presidential Guard at the Karni, Sufa, and Kerem
Shalom crossings (all used for cargo), the Erez crossing (for people
and goods), and at the Rafah crossing to Egypt. Hamas forces will
be positioned nearby and will essentially control the movement of
Palestinian civilians in and out of Gaza. This agreement is in
keeping with the 2005 crossings agreement, between the U.S., Israel,
and the PA, which called for placing the crossings under forces
loyal to Abbas. The Jerusalem Post quoted a senior PA official as
saying on Tuesday that Abbas has agreed to resume peace talks with
Israel without preconditions. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted the
London-based Al-Hayat as saying that Amos Gilad, the head of the
Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, agreed that the IDF
will stop its actions in exchange for the cessation of Qassam rocket
fire and arms smuggling. Maariv quoted members of the
diplomatic-security cabinet as saying that by adopting a policy akin
to a cease-fire, Israel is playing into Hamas's hands.

Ha'aretz and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted U.S. and Western officials
as saying that the U.S. is not satisfied with the pace at which
Israel is moving to implement the Roadmap. Officials were quoted as
saying that Washington also believed the Palestinians needed to do
far more to meet their obligations to boost security and rein in
militants in the West Bank, though U.S. officials have privately
complained to Israel that its frequent raids are undermining these
efforts. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted U.S. Security Coordinator Lt.
Gen. Keith Dayton as saying that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and
Israel's defense establishment had become an obstacle to the PA's
success in instilling order and security in the West Bank cities.

Ha'aretz reported that in a letter to FM Tzipi Livni on Tuesday,

Ahmed Qurei, who heads the Palestinian team in the Israel-PA
negotiations, expressed "shock and dismay" at the settlement
activities. Qurei wrote that the construction in the settlements is
a violation of the Roadmap and of international law. Qurei's letter
to Livni comes after Israel announced that PM Ehud Olmert had
authorized construction of 750 housing units in a Givat Ze'ev
neighborhood, over the Green Line in Jerusalem, as well as reports
of plans to build more housing in East Jerusalem areas. However,
Qurei was also quoted as saying that he supports the upcoming
trilateral meeting with the Americans which will monitor compliance
by Israel and the PA of phase one obligations under the Roadmap.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Shas politicians as saying that
construction of housing projects in several large settlement blocs
will be authorized, while others already have received a green
light. Ha'aretz reported that Shas Chairman and cabinet minister
Eli Yishai told the newspaper on Tuesday that PM Olmert should
immediately unfreeze construction in the Jewish Kidmat Zion
neighborhood within the Arab village of Abu Dis that Israel
considers to be within Jerusalem municipal boundaries. Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe cited similar comments by Yishai.

Last night Israel TV reported that rabbis have approved retaliation
plans by graduates of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva for last week's
terrorist attack. The TV station said that an Arab figure linked
with the Temple Mount was targeted. Israel Radio cited protests and
demands for apology by religious-Zionist notables. Leading media
reported that on Tuesday Tali Fahima, a Jewish Israeli woman who was
closely associated with Jenin's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, visited
the mourners' tent for the terrorist who carried out the killings at
the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva.

Israel Radio cited the State Department's 2007 Country Reports on
Human Rights Practices as saying that Syria is supporting terrorist
organizations that are trying to undermine stability in Lebanon, the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The report also said that Iran
continues to support extremist organizations in Syria, Iraq, and
Lebanon and to call for the destruction of Israel. In the chapter
on Israel, the report said that there has been no real change in the
human rights situation. The report said that in Israel there is
discrimination against non-Jews, traffic in human beings and
discrimination against non-Orthodox Jews.

Major media reported that on Tuesday FM Tzipi Livni spoke by phone
to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, with whom she
discussed the Iranian nuclear threat. Obama also sent his
condolences to the families of the victims of last week's attack on
the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva.

The Jerusalem Post reported that international law expert Prof. Ruth
Lapidot told the Knesset's Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee
on Tuesday that the government was not violating the Basic Law
-Jerusalem - by negotiating with the PA on changes in sovereignty
over various parts of the city. Article 5 of the Basic Law states
that the boundaries of the city are those established on June 28,
1967.

Leading media reported that rockets struck southern Ashkelon on
Tuesday, one hour after PM Olmert's solidarity visit to the city.
Israel Radio reported that this morning IDF troops killed the
commander of Islamic Jihad in Tulkarm.

Yediot reported that over the weekend the Israeli airline Arkia flew
Jordanian troops to Haiti. The Jordanians joined the peace force
stationed on the island.

Israel Radio reported that Martin Luther King III, the son of the
late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has arrived in Israel upon the
invitation of supporters of the Geneva Initiative.

Maariv reported that Israeli Druze have started a struggle to return
to their hands land confiscated by Israel.

Ha'aretz and Yediot extensively reported on the resignation of
CENTCOM Commander Admiral William Fallon over "opposition to war on
Iran."

Major media reported that State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss
secretly left for Addis Ababa to check the status of the Falash Mura

SIPDIS
-- Ethiopians whose Jewish ancestors converted to Christianity.

Leading media reported that on Tuesday Justice Minister Daniel
announced that he was freezing his initiative to keep the High Court
of Justice in check.

Yediot and Maariv reported that Moscow's Central Court ruled on
Wednesday that former IDF Lt. Col. Yair Klein should be extradited
to Colombia. Klein was convicted by judicial authorities in
Colombia for training several members of Colombian paramilitary
groups and the militias of drug traffickers such as Gonzalo
Rodriguez Gacha and Pablo Escobar Gaviria in 1987.
Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that a Knesset caucus to
promote western immigration was formed on Tuesday.

Leading media reported that Mark (a.k.a. Michael) Brenner, an
Israeli citizen, was involved in the prostitution ring that provided
services to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

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

Summary:
--------

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Syria will try its
utmost to fan the flames [at the Arab League Summit]. What should
not be achieved is calm. Otherwise, what would be the talk of the
summit?"

Senior columnist Haggai Huberman wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe: "All previous 'hudnas' and 'tahdiyas' ended
with the resumption of terrorist attacks."

Prominent playwright Yehoshua Sobol, a former liberal who has become
a skeptic of the peace process, wrote in the independent Israel
Hayom: "Before the Palestinians unleash a third Intifada on the
world, thought should be given to the total indifference that it
will engender towards the bitter fate that will befall their people,
just as the legacy of the second Intifada was indifference to the
suffering of Palestinian civilians."

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

I. "Assad's Big Show"

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (3/12): "On one hand, it
is worthwhile for [Bashar] Assad to recycle (for the third time) at
the Damascus Summit the Saudi Peace Plan that offers Israel 'full
Arab peace' in exchange for an 'Israeli withdrawal from all occupied
territories.' What's wrong about that? Syria will be painted as an
untiring peace-lover; Israel might be finally convinced to take
seriously the Syrian channel.... [On the other hand] a miracle
happened to Assad.... In the tradition of the Arab summits, Israel
will once again headline the agenda.... There will be belligerent
declarations and threats, and demands of Abu Mazen that he embrace
Mashal. Syria will try its utmost to fan the flames. What should
not be achieved is calm. Otherwise, what would be the talk of the
summit?"

II. "Cease-Fires as the Basis for a Harsh War"

Senior columnist Haggai Huberman wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe (3/12): "If the [Israeli] government has indeed
agreed to a 'tahdiya' [truce], this would represent a further
resounding failure for the Olmert government, which is unable to
find an effective way to stop the missile fire at the Negev without
surrendering to Hamas's dictates.... All previous 'hudnas' and
'tahdiyas' ended with the resumption of terrorist attacks. Over the
past year and a half, there was no 'hudna' with any Palestinian
body. Therefore there were no terrorist attacks."

III. "Terrorism as a Breeder of Indifference"

Prominent playwright Yehoshua Sobol, a former liberal who has become
a skeptic of the peace process, wrote in the independent Israel
Hayom (3/12): "The English are not a barbaric people.... In the
German blitz, the English experienced a new kind of brutal terrorism
aimed at causing mass murder of civilians and breaking the spirit of
the British nation. But the main achievement of Nazi terrorism was
to make the British more stiff-necked, or -- in the picturesque
language of the British -- to stiffen their upper lip. The
cumulative effect was that the British became indifferent to the
hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths which the RAF left behind
it in its bombing of German cities.... Before the Palestinians
unleash a third Intifada on the world, thought should be given to
the total indifference that it will engender towards the bitter fate
that will befall their people, just as the legacy of the second
Intifada was indifference to the suffering of Palestinian
civilians."

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

Summary:
--------

Veteran journalist and former justice minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid
wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv: "As crazy, blood-thirsty,
and fanatical as they can be, [Israel's enemies] will not sacrifice
everything they hold dear in order to destroy the 'Zionist entity.'


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

"Balance of Terror"

Veteran journalist and former justice minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid
wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv (3/12): "I can't guarantee
that there won't be earthquakes. But, as to the danger that Israel
will be destroyed by its enemies, I can vouch that this will never
happen.... Assad would have been happy to raze Tel Aviv, and
Ahmadinejad threatens to erase Israel from the map. But Assad is
not interested in the destruction of Damascus; neither would
Ahmadinejad risk the disappearance of Tehran. As crazy,
blood-thirsty, and fanatical as they can be, they will not sacrifice
everything they hold dear in order to destroy the 'Zionist entity.'
This is called the 'balance of terror.' It worked in the U.S.-USSR
conflict called the Cold War; it will work in the conflict between
us and our enemies."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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