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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0724/01 0871224
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271224Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6044
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 3608
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0250
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3864
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4411
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3621
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1875
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4367
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1243
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1689
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8237
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5718
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0623
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4747
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6696
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9418
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000724

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. Intellectual Property Rights

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

The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that at a press
conference with the foreign media last night, PM Ehud Olmert hinted
at the prospect of secret talks with Syria. He was quoted as
saying: "I hope that they [the Syrians] are prepared to make peace
with Israel, and I hope that the circumstances will allow us to sit
together. That doesn't mean that when we sit together, you have to
see us." The Jerusalem Post quoted Alon Liel, a former
director-general of the Foreign Ministry who is lobbying the
government to open talks with Syria, as saying that while he did not
know of any direct secret talks taking place now, it was an open
secret that Turkey was passing messages between Damascus and

SIPDIS
Jerusalem.

Israel Hayom (lead story) and Ha'aretz quoted PA Chairman
[President] Mahmoud Abbas as saying as saying on Wednesday that the
talks between chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei and FM Tzipi
Livni are tackling "all the core issues without exception:
Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, borders, and security." "We hope
to achieve a settlement in 2008, there are many obstacles but we
hope they will be removed. We are all pressing to reach a settlement
by the target date," Abbas was quoted as saying. He said settlement
building in and around Jerusalem, and IDF checkpoints and raids were
blocking progress towards achieving a deal by the end of this year.
Ha'aretz reported that Abbas is due to meet with President Bush in
Washington next month to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace
negotiations.

Ha'aretz's Internet site quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as
saying on Wednesday he had agreed to the transfer of new vehicles
and equipment to Abbas's security forces and to ease travel
restrictions for West Bank businesses. Citing fear of militant
infiltrations, however, Barak signaled he would continue to resist
Palestinian and Western demands for mass removals of checkpoints and
roadblocks that restrict travel and trade within the West Bank.
Ha'aretz noted that Israel hopes that the measures, announced ahead
of a weekend visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, will
help blunt complaints it was not doing enough to bolster U.S.-backed
peace talks and Salam Fayyad's "law and order" drive in the West
Bank. Ha'aretz quoted a Palestinian official as saying that Barak
was "forthcoming" on issues like roadblocks and deployment of
Abbas's forces. Media reported that earlier on Wednesday opposition
leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the decision. "The idea that
we will give guns, armored vehicles, and ammunition to the PA as it
exists today -- and these weapons will even protect us -- is not
only mistaken, it is foolish," he said.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli officials as saying on Wednesday
that a new Israel National Police station will be opened next week
in E-1, an area that has been the site of a bitter land dispute
between Israelis and Palestinians.

Maariv cited the defense establishment's current belief that
Hizbullah's new missiles have a 300-km range and that some of them
are able to strike Dimona and its nuclear reactor.

The media reported that on Wednesday 15 to 20 Qassam rockets landed
in the western Negev and that Palestinian snipers targeted Israeli
farmers along the border with Gaza. Two persons were slightly
injured. The media reported that on Wednesday Israeli security
forces arrested a senior Hamas operative from Tulkarm, Omar Jaber,
who reportedly played a key role in organizing the Passover-eve
suicide bombing at Netanya's Park Hotel, six years ago today.

The Jerusalem Post and Maariv reported that the Israel Air Force is
considering delaying delivery of the remaining F16I fighter plans
that Lockheed Martin is supposed to supply, until an investigation
into the discovery of carcinogenic material in one the planes is
completed.

Leading media cited a statement released on Wednesday by
ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi rabbis, according to which harvesting the
organs of a patient who has been declared brain-dead but whose heart
has not stopped is "shedding of blood." The statement came in
response to a law passed by the Knesset earlier this week governing
the determination of brain and respiratory death criteria for
declaring the patient dead. The law is to go into effect within 14
months. The statement was a veiled criticism of the support for the
law of the senior Sephardic authority on Jewish law, Rabbi Ovadia
Yosef. Yosef backed the law based on understandings reached between
representatives of the chief rabbinate and the heath-care system.

Major media reported that environmental activists, including
Environment Minister Gideon Ezra, are sponsoring a voluntary
one-hour blackout of Tel Aviv tonight at 8:00 to demonstrate the
waste of electricity. Similar actions have taken place in large
cities around the world, including Chicago.

Maariv reported that on Wednesday IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
told the diplomatic-security cabinet that the army is short of
"billions of shekels" to confront threats.

Leading media reported that on Wednesday, at a solidarity rally
organized by the student union at Bar-Ilan University, Noam Shalit,
the father of Gilad Shalit, blasted PM Olmert for his hesitance and
failure to decide on the right action to gain his son's release.

Ha'aretz's web site reported that the government recently posted on
YouTube three videos related to the terror attack at Jerusalem's
Mercaz Harav Yeshiva earlier this month. Ha'aretz reported that
while the poster was not identified as having any connection to the
government, the Prime Minister's Office was actually behind the
upload to the popular video file-sharing site. This is the first
time that a government body has used the site in response to a
terror attack. A source close to the latest measure has told
Ha'aretz that Jerusalem will upload videos to YouTube in the event
of any future terror attacks. Leading media reported that on
Wednesday a senior rabbi urged "state-sanctioned revenge" against
Arabs to bolster Israel's deterrence. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the
Chief Rabbi of Safed, suggests hanging from a tree the children of
the terrorist who carried out the attack at the yeshiva. He made
his remarks in an article due to be distributed in synagogues this
Shabbat in the Eretz Yisrael Shelanu ("Our Land of Israel")
newsletter. Ha'aretz reported that Mossawa, the Advocacy Center for
Arab Citizens of Israel, is demanding that Attorney General Menachem
Mazuz censure Eliyahu over these comments and punish him "with the
fullest severity of the law." Members of Meretz's youth wing urged
Mazuz to investigate the rabbi and to prohibit the newsletter's
distribution, while Reform Judaism officials also issued a harsh
condemnation of Eliyahu's statement.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday the UN Human Rights
Council appointed American Jewish law professor Richard A. Falk --
who has compared Israel to the Nazis -- as special investigator on
Israeli actions in the territories for a six-year term.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Khaled Salam, a former adviser to
Yasser Arafat, is planning to invest some $600 million in a tourist
project in Jordan, prompting the PA leadership in Ramallah to launch
an investigation into the sources of the money.

Major media reported that on Wednesday the Knesset decided that a
parliamentary committee will discuss whether to recognize the World
War I-era mass murder of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as
genocide. The government did not oppose the motion. The Knesset's
House Committee will decide whether to hand the issue over to the
Knesset's Education Committee, as Meretz's Haim Oron wants, or to
the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, as requested by Yisrael
Beiteinu's Yosef Shagal. The latter generally holds hearings behind
closed doors. Israel Radio also cited the move. Ha'aretz quoted
the Foreign Ministry as saying that a debate on the Armenian
genocide might harm Israel-Turkey relations.

Maariv reported that on Tuesday a Kazakh court ruled that Israelis
have trained forces to carry out a coup in the country.

Ha'aretz reviewed a new book ("The Man Who Pushed America to War")
that describes the role of Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi in
providing false intelligence about Saddam Hussein's military
capability to the U.S. administration. The book also queries the
contribution of Israeli intelligence to the formation of the U.S.
conception that led to the Iraq War.

Yediot and other media reported that on Monday convicted spy
Jonathan Pollard wrote PM Olmert that Olmert's bureau has stolen
money coming to him and his family. Leading media quoted State
Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss as saying that accusations that his
investigation into the government's treatment of the Pollard affair
will thwart Pollard's release are "surreal." Some media commented
that Olmert is using the affair and its leak to Yediot to ram
Lindenstrauss.

In an interview with Maariv, prominent Israeli director Daniel
Barenboim for the first time criticized the Palestinians' actions.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday Likud Chairman
Benjamin Netanyahu publicly attacked the government for employing a
"passive economic policy" amid the global financial crisis and a
possible slowdown in the economy. Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post
reported that the U.S.-based equity fund York Capital Management is
buying a 4% stake in Bank Hapoalim, the largest Israeli bank, at a
discount of about 4% compared with the opening price on the Tel Aviv
Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.

Ha'aretz reported that a bill calling for the creation of a third
public school system combining Orthodox and secular education passed
a preliminary reading in the Knesset on Wednesday. Such legislation
would mark the first time since the state's founding that a public
educational system has been established.

The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe cited the Jewish
Telegraphic Agency as saying that a Gallup poll among Jewish
Democrats in the U.S. found that Senator Hillary Clinton would take
48% of the Jewish votes, while Senator Barack Obama would receive
43% of the Jewish votes.

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

Summary:
--------

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Bush is now behaving like a responsible
adult, who is no longer looking for major headlines but only to pass
on a policy that is worthy of continuing: in Iraq, in North Korea,
and also in the Israeli-Palestinian corner of the Middle East.
Hopefully, this is the case."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Does
Russia really have an interest in Iran prevailing against the
U.S.?.... If Russia were to take ... an about-face and join the side
of peace, it would do more for peace than a thousand conferences."

Very liberal columnist Meron Benvenisti, deputy mayor of Jerusalem
from 1971 to 1978, wrote in Ha'aretz: "'The environment' does not
know ethnic fences.... But including the Palestinians in the Israeli
environment ostensibly means annexation, or at least recognizing
that the occupation is not temporary; that is how political disputes
become enmeshed in ecological discourse."

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

I. "Drive Slowly"

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (3/27): "Well-positioned persons note that
Clinton passed down to his successor a dysfunctional peace process,
a violent Intifada. The size of the abyss into which the two sides
slid was commensurate to Clinton's ambition to bring an end to the
conflict.... The outgoing president -- in 10 months -- intends to
leave his successor the keys to a car in working order.... If the
talks break down because of Jerusalem or the right or return, or the
agreement of principles, the Roadmap path will also be blocked,
which will be a reenactment of the Clinton mistake. Rice does not
want to see this happen, nor does Bush. Seven years after taking
office, the President is no longer a dangerous, inexperienced
driver. Bush is now behaving like a responsible adult, who is no
longer looking for major headlines but only to pass on a policy that
is worthy of continuing: in Iraq, in North Korea, and also in the
Israeli-Palestinian corner of the Middle East. Hopefully, this is
the case."

II. "Better than a Peace Conference"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (3/27):
"To call the Russian approach to fostering peace in the region
indelicate would probably be an understatement. 'Thuggish' is the
word that comes to mind.... Moscow seems to be reprising the old
Soviet policy of being weapons supplier to rogue states and sticking
its finger in the eye of the West. How this is in the interest of
today's Russia is difficult to imagine. What is clear, however, is
that Israel should have no part of it. Russia is attempting to host
a peace conference while protecting the main source of war: Iran....
This does not mean that Israel should oppose a constructive Russian
role. On the contrary; Israel should make clear that it welcomes
Russian involvement in isolating Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas.
Russia cannot have it both ways.... Does Russia really have an
interest in Iran prevailing against the U.S.? If not, Russia should
truly join, not impede, the international campaign to force Iran to
back down. If Russia were to take such an about-face and join the
side of peace, it would do more for peace than a thousand
conferences."

III. "The Same Air, the Same Water"

Very liberal columnist Meron Benvenisti, deputy mayor of Jerusalem
from 1971 to 1978, wrote in Ha'aretz (3/27): "'The environment' does
not know ethnic fences.... But including the Palestinians in the
Israeli environment ostensibly means annexation, or at least
recognizing that the occupation is not temporary; that is how
political disputes become enmeshed in ecological discourse.... This
system -- called in sanitized language 'the occupation' -- is not a

military occupation, a takeover of lands and a temporary situation
that will end when peace comes, but a permanent situation in which
even those who are struggling to end it are partners in achieving
its latent goal. The goal is for the Palestinians not to
consolidate economic power that will 'steal' environmental resources
from Israelis. That is the real goal of the regime of closures, the
strangulation of physical planning, and especially the prevention of
Palestinians from working in Israel: to ensure that the Palestinians
remain in their backward condition. This will not pry away the
environmental resources, which will remain an internal Israeli
matter. It seems to Israelis that they have the power to maintain
this monopoly on the environment indefinitely, but this is a
dangerous illusion. After all, they do not have the power to stop
Palestinian population growth or even the rise in their living
standards, which will affect the bitter struggle we can expect over
the distribution of environmental resources. Only if these
influences become a part of public discourse will the way we deal
with ecological issues be complete."

---------------------------------
2. Intellectual Property Rights:
---------------------------------

Summary:
--------

Jonathan Band, a copyright lawyer in Washington, D.C., and an
adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center wrote in
the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "The new [Israeli
copyright] legislation contains many improvements, but one in
particular -- the fair use provision -- will ensure that Israel
remains among the world's technology leaders."

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

"Israel Now Has the Right Copyright Law"

Jonathan Band, a copyright lawyer in Washington, D.C., and an
adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center wrote in
the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (3/27): "In November
2007, the Knesset passed a new Copyright Law. The law, which takes
effect in May of this year, replaces a legal framework dating back
to the Mandatory period. The new legislation contains many
improvements, but one in particular -- the fair use provision --
will ensure that Israel remains among the world's technology
leaders.... The Knesset met this challenge by including in the new
law a 'fair use' provision modeled on the fair use doctrine in the
U.S. Copyright Act.... U.S. entertainment interests and their
Israeli affiliates opposed the fair use provision. They in essence
feared that Israeli courts were not sophisticated enough to apply
the fair use doctrine properly. Fortunately, the Economics
Committee had more faith in the Israeli courts, and provided the new
law with the flexibility essential for a vibrant technology
sector."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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