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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0824/01 1001121
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091121Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6237
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 3668
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0307
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3924
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4469
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3679
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1937
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4427
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1300
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1746
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8294
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5775
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0680
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4804
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6753
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9494
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000824

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:
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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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Ha'aretz reported that the U.S. is keen on holding a summit in Sharm
el-Sheikh to coincide with President Bush's visit to Israel next
month for the country's 60th anniversary celebrations. According to
the newspaper, Bush would like to use the event to follow up on the
Annapolis conference and boost efforts to reach an agreement by the
end of the year. Ha'aretz reported that senior political sources in
Jerusalem confirmed this development, which Ha'aretz and The
Jerusalem Post reported was first revealed by Knesset Member Yossi
Beilin at a press conference on Tuesday. Beilin said that President
Hosni Mubarak and Bush would host the summit, and will invite
Jordan's King Abdullah, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel Hayom reported that
Geneva Initiative Director-General made the announcement alongside
Beilin. According to Ha'aretz's Israeli sources, the American
initiative is still in the early planning stages, but has been
raised with Israeli officials. Ha'aretz quoted sources in the Prime
Minister's bureau as saying yesterday that "we have not received any
requests for a summit, but if such a request is made we will
consider it." The Jerusalem Post quoted a U.S. Embassy official as
saying that he saw "no indications whatsoever" that such an event
was being planned.

Leading media quoted the Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Jazeera as
saying that FM Livni will reportedly travel to Qatar in the near
future where she is expected to meet with Syrian officials.
According to the report, which was filed by the newspaper's reporter
in Israel, the meeting will conclude two years of secret meetings
between officials from Israel and Syria, whose purpose was to
evaluate the chance of a peace agreement.. The report also said
that Livni would raise the issue of Gilad Shalit. This morning
Israel Radio cited a Foreign Ministry denial of FM Livni's trip to
Qatar.

Ha'aretz reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke by
telephone yesterday with Abbas and was briefed on his Monday meeting
with Olmert. Abbas will visit Washington in 10 days time and meet


President Bush. Ha'aretz reported that the above mentioned summit
proposal will be a central topic on his agenda. Ha'aretz reported
that the Israeli and PA negotiating teams, headed by FM Tzipi Livni
and Ahmed Qurei, met in Jerusalem yesterday.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Syrian Deputy FM Faisal Mekdad as saying
yesterday in an interview with the Syrian government-controlled
daily Al-Thawra that Syria would be prepared for all possible
scenarios as soon as the "language of understanding" with Israel
over the peace process ended.

Electronic media reported that an IDF soldier was killed and two
others moderately wounded by Palestinian gunfire in southern Gaza
last night. Media quoted Palestinian sources as saying that a
Palestinian was killed and two others wounded.

All media, except the ultra-Orthodox papers, highlighted former
Israel president Moshe Katsav's last-minute renouncement of a plea
bargain on multiple counts of sexual misconduct. In a much
criticized move, prosecutors had let Katsav plead down the original
rape charges to lesser sexual offenses that would have allowed him
to avoid jail time. The media quoted Katsav as saying that he
intends to face the charges in court and will fight to clear his
name. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz responded by saying that the
ramifications of this decision are clear and indicated that a new
indictment including the original rape charges will be brought. The
trial will be the first for an Israeli head of state, past or
present.

Israel Hayom quoted Hamas's spokesmen as saying yesterday that a
flare-up with Egypt was close because Hamas has not succeeded in
reopening the Rafah crossing.

Ha'aretz reported that Olmert visited the Hebron area yesterday and
met with IDF commanders. The PM stressed that "preserving security
in the West Bank is very important in order to create an atmosphere
that will support the diplomatic process." Olmert toured areas
where the IDF had removed some of the 60 roadblocks and dirt
obstacles that had been set up in the West Bank, and said that the
"matter of easing the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank is
important because only this way will they be able to sense change on
the ground, and that there is a chance that the peace process will
succeed and that there is a reason to reject the extremists."

All media quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying
yesterday that his country will operate 6,000 centrifuges to enrich
uranium. Leading media quoted Olmert spokesman Mark Regev as saying
that the world must stop Iran's aggressive nuclear development. The
Jerusalem Post cited AP as saying that Moshe Kantor, the head of the
European Jewish Congress, urged European countries yesterday to
cease doing business with Iran entriely, saying that current EU
sanctions are 'Not sufficient at all."

Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, who is in charge of the home front, was quoted
as saying yesterday on Israel Broadcasting Authority-affiliated
Channel 33-TV that the Israeli public is ready to deal with the
threats facing it. Media quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as
saying that the home front's preparedness will lead to victory.
Leading media reported that National Guard staff in U.S. Homeland
Security watched the exercise in Upper Nazareth, which involved
simulating a rescue effort from a collapsed building. Ha'aretz
quoted Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, as
saying that he is interested in bilateral cooperation in the field
of homeland security. Media reported that an LBC-TV team from
Lebanon also watched the Upper Nazareth drill and broadcast it
live.

The Jerusalem Post reported that President Shimon Peres expressed
optimism yesterday about economic solutions for the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- which he staunchly believes will
ease the way for political solutions -- during a meeting with
ambassadors of EU member countries. The Jerusalem Post quoted UN
Middle East envoy Robert Serry as saying yesterday that
international aid donors are looking to breathe fresh life into the
gasping Palestinian economy when they meet with PA and GOI
representatives in London next month

The Jerusalem Post reported that Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit
(Kadima) told hundreds of Peace Now members gathered in Tel Aviv
last night to mark the group's 30th anniversary that Israel should
open immediate negotiations with the Arab League on the basis of the
2002 Saudi initiative.

Yediot and other media reported that former Northern Command OC Gen.
Udi Adam, who was forced to resign from that position during the
Second Lebanon War, will be the next Director-General of the Negev
Nuclear Research Center in Dimona.

Israel Hayom cited the fear of Israel's Water Authority that the
water crisis will worsen to the point of a dearth of drinking water
in Israel by September.


Leading media reported that Israeli historian Prof. Saul
Friedlander, 75, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General
Non-Fiction for "The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the
Jews, 1939-1945."

Ha'aretz reported that MKs Eliahu Gabbay (National Union - National
Religious Party) and Shai Hermesh (Kadima) are sponsoring a bill
proposal that would ban state funding of films that "could harm the
foundations of Israel's existence." Hermesh named a series of
movies -- among which "Machssomim" (Roadblocks) (2003), "Paradise
Now" (2005), and "Lemon Tree" (2008) -- that were partially financed
by Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL), which
harvests minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizers and
chemicals, has won a one-year contract to supply 1.1 million tons of
potash to its Indian customers for $700 million. The order
represents a $355 per ton increase from previous agreements. ICL
said last Sunday it would expand its potash and phosphate output
this year following rising demand for farm products, as China and
India lead growing global food consumption.

Leading media reported that American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson
has resumed negotiations to purchase Maariv. Adelson is the founder
and owner of Israel Hayom.

Yediot reported that famed American filmmaker Woody Allen will
attend the 6th International Red Sea Film Festival in Eilat next
month.

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

Summary:
--------

Tel Aviv University Professor of Economics Ariel Rubinstein, a
signer of the 1978 'Officers' Letter' that gave birth to Peace Now,
wrote in an editorial of the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "It seems to me that Peace Now has overstated the cost of
war and the benefits of peace, and underestimated the principled
stance of rejecting the rule over another people."

The ultra-Orthodox Yated Ne'eman editorialized: "When a 'cold war'
situation exists between states, any apprehension may light the fire
of war, however unintentional."

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

I. "Peace Now Turns 30"

Tel Aviv University Professor of Economics Ariel Rubinstein, a
signer of the 1978 'Officers' Letter' that gave birth to Peace Now,
wrote in an editorial of the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (4/9): "Peace Now's focus on the occupation and the
settlements has been no political whim, but the expression of the
view that the Jewish people per se identifies with the occupied and
the sufferers, and despises the occupiers and the oppressors. To
us, dominating another people is 'not kosher.' This stance makes me
recognize the failure of Peace Now. We have not convinced the
public that the topics close to our hearts are as important as the
settlements ... are engraved in the hearts of the students of the
Mercaz Harav Yeshiva and the settlers from Kedumim. A part of
Israeli society views us as a band of hedonists and defeatists, not
as an ideological group. It seems to me that Peace Now has
overstated the cost of war and the benefits of peace, and
underestimated the principled stance of rejecting the rule over
another people."

II. "Sounds of War"

The ultra-Orthodox Yated Ne'eman editorialized (4/9): "Even though
everybody knew that this was only an 'exercise,' the sirens that
were sounded on Tuesday all over Israel instinctively caused anxiety
for a few seconds.... When a 'cold war' situation exists between
states, any apprehension may light the fire of war, however
unintentional. The other side reads the headlines, hears the
voices, harbors suspicions, and speculates. Thus its apprehension
is growing. After it has 'cooked in its own juices,' sometimes
without any real justification, it considers waging a 'preventive
war' in order to 'act ahead' of the other side, which in reality was
not looking for war.... Let us not forget that the Middle East can
be likened to sitting on a powder keg. We must pray to the Creator
that there is no violence in this Land."

JONES

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