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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0835/01 1021004
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111004Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6264
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 3681
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0320
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3941
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4482
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3692
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1952
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4442
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1315
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1759
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8307
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5788
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0695
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4817
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6766
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9511
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000835

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

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

Ha'aretz reported that PM Olmert has called on IDF commanders in the
West Bank to understand that the roadblocks are causing suffering to
the Palestinians, whose needs should be taken into consideration to
avoid a worsening of relations. Olmert made these comments during a
closed-door meeting with the brigade commanders of Central Command.
Ha'aretz reported that more than half of the roadblocks Israel
committed to lifting as part of measures meant to ease restrictions
on Palestinians in the West Bank are temporary obstacles that the
state had promised the High Court a month ago to remove.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the GOI and politicians sent mixed
messages yesterday regarding plans by former U.S. President Jimmy
Carter to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in Damascus next
week. On the one hand, senior Israeli diplomatic officials in
Jerusalem said they were "outraged" at Carter's decision. PM Olmert
and FM Tzipi Livni have declined to meet with him when he visits
Israel, citing "scheduling conflicts," while sources close to Likud
chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said he was refusing to see Carter
because of the Mashal meting. But President Shimon Peres, Defense
Minister Ehud Barak, Shas chairman Eli Yishai and Yisrael Beiteinu
leader Avigdor Lieberman have all agreed to see Carter. Israel
Radio quoted State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack as saying
that the U.S. would assist Carter in Damascus, but not to meet with
Mashal. The radio reported that all three U.S. presidential
candidates expressed reservations about such a meeting.

The media quoted PM Ehud Olmert as saying yesterday at a
pre-Passover toast for Kadima activists that Hamas would be held
accountable for every infiltration, shooting, and rocket attack in
the South, no matter which terrorist organization actually carries
it out. While Olmert said he believed an agreement could be reached
with PA President Mahmoud Abbas this year, he was quoted as saying
that due to the situation in the PA and Hamas's control of Gaza, no
deal could be implemented any time soon.

All media reported that two Palestinians have been arrested only
days before they planned to poison diners at a Ramat Gan restaurant
at which they worked. Under interrogation, the pair admitted being
recruited by an Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades cell that received funding
and instructions from Hizbullah.

Israel Radio quoted Palestinian sources as saying that two Hamas
activists were killed in an IAF raid in Gaza. The radio reported on
a land incursion by the IDF in the Strip.

Maariv reported that Histadrut Labor Federation Chairman Ofer Eini
and Israeli Manufacturers Association President Shraga Brosh are
mediating between Olmert and Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak in
order to unite the two parties and form a bloc that could counter
Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud in the next elections. The media
reported on persisting tensions between Olmert and Barak.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted former CIA Director Porter Goss as
saying at a congress of Evangelical Christians in Jerusalem that
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is capable of anything. Goss
was quoted as saying that it will take generations to fix the harm
done by Islam to young people.

Yediot reported that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack
Obama has started a Hebrew-language blog and that he intends to
visit Israel. The Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying in an
interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he is in the
"common sense camp" on Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Yediot (Alex Fishman) reported that Israel is preparing a list of
"gifts" that it wishes to receive from President Bush, such as
weapons systems and compensation for the Saudi arms deal. Maariv
(Ben Caspit) filed a similar story.

Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli and Palestinian
sources as sayng that Hamas seizes half the fuel Israel sends to the
Gaza Strip and uses it in part for its military wing's vehicles.

The Jerusalem Post reported that officials announced yesterday that
Defense Minister Barak will ask the government to increase the quota
of Palestinian workers allowed into Israel from the West Bank.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported on a "momentum of Palestinian
development" in the West Bank

The Jerusalem Post cited a report by the Intelligence and Terrorism,
Information Center as saying that Hamas has 20,000 armed men. The
think tank's report shows a formidable military force in Gaza that
uses Hizbullah as its role mode. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe cited the
report that Hamas has set up a suicide-bombe unit in case the IDF
invades Gaza. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that the Palestinian
Parliament is launching a law to prosecute "Israeli war criminals."

Yediot reported that on Thursday the Security Chief for the defense
establishment ("Malmab") ordered all employees of the IDF, the Shin
Bet, to refrain from publishing what can be construed as classified
information on the popular Internet social networking site
Facebook.

Ha'aretz reported that a legislating process banning sale of Jewish
National Fund land to Arabs might resume.

Ha'aretz reported that the head of the Turkish Parliament has
requested the intervention of Olmert's bureau to annul a Knesset
committee debate on the recognition of the Armenian genocide during
World War I.

Wal-Mart Chairman Rob Walton was quoted as saying in an interview
with Globes that the growth potential in the U.S. is low, whereas
the opportunities lie in Asia.

Ha'aretz (English Edition) reported that U.S. philanthropist Anne
Heyman, who heads the Heyman-Merrin foundation in New York, has
applied the Israeli youth village model to help Rwandan orphans.

Ha'aretz reported that IBM is buying the Israeli start-up FilesX for
an estimated $70-80 million, though the sides have refused to
disclose the price.

Ha'aretz printed the results of a Dialog poll conducted on April 9:

Were elections held today, for whom would you vote?
(Results in Knesset seats -- in brackets, results of a February poll
and 2006 elections results. Possible discrepancy in current Knesset
configuration.) Likud: 29 (35, 12); Labor Party: 18 (17, 19);
Kadima: 15 (14, 29); Yisrael Beiteinu 12 (12, 11); Shas: 10 (9, 12);
Meretz: 7 (6, 5); United Torah Judaism: 6 (7, 6); National
Union-National Religious Party: 6 (4, 9); Arab parties: 10 (10, 10);
Social Justice (under Arkady Gaidamak) 4 (3.,0); Pensioners Party: 0
(3,7).
What worries you the most these days?
Iran's nuclear program: 34%, the economic situation: 22%; the
security tension in the North: all of the above equally: 14%; none
of the above: 4%; 4% were undecided.

Next month, Israel will celebrate 60 years of independence. Will
the state exist 60 years from now?
Yes: 77%; no: 11%; 4% were undecided.

The Jerusalem Post published the results of a poll conducted among
Israeli Arabs on April 2-6 by Keevon Research, Strategy and
Communications: They favor Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Clinton as
the Democratic candidate for U.S. president by a margin pf 37% to
26%. Thirty-seven percent were undecided. The results contrasted
with the opinions of Jewish Israelis, who prefer Clinton to Obama,
61%-12%, according to a poll taken by the same company two weeks
ago.


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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "Every
released Hamas prisoner is a risk, but when we weigh the risk
against other values of the state, it seems to be a risk Israel
should take."

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

"Free Gilad Shalit"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (4/11): "This
summer, two years will have passed since Gilad Shalit was abducted
and, as far as we know, negotiations for his release have yielded no
results. As time goes by, it has become clear that Hamas cannot be
deterred or brought to heel by power cuts, closed crossings,
international boycotts, kidnapped parliamentarians nor fierce
military action. The more casualties and prisoners Hamas suffers,
the stronger it gets. It is also continuing to arm itself. One may
assume that every prisoner Israel releases in the Shalit deal would
add to Hamas' prestige and strength. Hence Israel's difficulty in
deciding on the release.... Every released Hamas prisoner is a risk,
but when we weigh the risk against other values of the state, it
seems to be a risk Israel should take.... A 20-year-old prisoner
cannot carry on his back the deterrence of a state that is armed to
its teeth, and if he disappears or is killed, abandoning him could
harm morale in a manner whose effect on deterrence is hard to
measure.... The assumption that Shalit would not be executed is not
an evaluation but a risk. If anyone understood the goals of Hamas
in the war against Israel, we could assess Shalit's chances of
survival. But since we are dealing with incoherent terrorism, it
would be prudent to take the worst-case scenario into
consideration."

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

Summary:
--------

Liberal columnist Ofer Shelach wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "Before he leaves the White House, George W. Bush, a failed
president who leaves a war of deception and an economic crisis as
his legacy decides to change everything in one go, strikes Iran's
nuclear installations and redeems Israel and the world."


Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "As Iran
progress forward with its grand strategy for regional hegemony, the
West dithers, and so assists it. No wonder Ahmadinejad is always
smiling."

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

I. "This Would Fit the Bush Administration"

Liberal columnist Ofer Shelach wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (4/11): "In the United States an open debate is bursting. The
call it the 'October surprise': a pre-election dramatic move....
There can only be one October 2008 surprise: before he leaves the
White House, George W. Bush, a failed president who leaves a war of
deception and an economic crisis as his legacy decides to change
everything in one go, strikes Iran's nuclear installations and
redeems Israel and the world.... Such an operation is not conducted
in a fog of secret, which would be followed by keeping mum in front
of the cameras. In the mean time there is a debate in the U.S., and
in Israel one doesn't need particularly sharp ears to hear the winds
of war."

II. "Ahmadinejad's Smile"

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (4/11):
"Through its proxy strategy, Iran has taken control of Syria, has
paralyzed and is increasingly calling the shots in Lebanon, and has
effective control over Gaza, from which it can attack Israel and
Egypt at will. And of course, it is the primary sponsor of the
insurgency in Iraq. Led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the Sunni Arab
states are well aware of Iran's proxy strategy for attaining
regional dominance, and they are not pleased. The partial boycott
of the Arab Summit in Damascus last month was the Sunni Arab states'
way of showing their displeasure with Iran's domination of Syria and
Lebanon.... In the absence of a strategy of confronting Iran either
directly or through its proxies, the only coherent course that
remains is one of containment. But this option is raft with danger.
With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement this week
that Iran is introducing 3,000 upgraded centrifuges to its Natanz
nuclear installation, it is clear that international sanctions have
had no impact on Iran's quest for nuclear weapons. It is also clear
that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it will be impossible to
confront its proxies, who will operate under Iran' nuclear umbrella.
So as Iran progress forward with its grand strategy for regional
hegemony, the West dithers, and so assists it. No wonder
Ahmadinejad is always smiling."

JONES

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