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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0868/01 1061137
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151137Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6316
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 3687
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0326
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3951
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4488
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3701
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1959
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4448
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1321
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1765
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8313
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5794
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSYQIYADH PRIORITY 0704
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4823
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6772
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9528
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000868

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
COMSOCQR 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

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

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was quoted as saying in an
interview with Ha'aretz on Sunday that peace cannot be achieved
without talking to all the relevant people and that he intends to
check Hamas leader Khaled Mashal's willingness to accept the Arab
League peace initiative. Ha'aretz reported that Carter visited
Sderot and Ashkelon. Carter called on the U.S. to start a direct
dialogue with Iran. The media quoted Carter as saying that Syria
must be brought into the peace process. Ha'aretz quoted U.S.
sources as saying on Monday the Shin Bet declined to assist Carter
during his visit and reported that the sources described the snub as
an "unprecedented" breach between the Shin Bet and the U.S. Secret
Service.

The Jerusalem Post reported that there is growing pessimism in the
Israeli defense establishment concerning the fate of the two IDF
reservists, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped by
Hizbullah in July 2006. The conclusion was reached after analysis
of recent comments made by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The
paper also carried speculation printed in the Lebanese paper
an-Nahar that Israel is no longer pursuing a prisoner swap since it
is convinced the pair are no longer alive.

Leading media reported that yesterday Qatar's prime minister, Hamad
bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani, urged FM Tzipi Livni to end Israel's
"crippling blockade of Gaza out of respect for the difficult
humanitarian situation" and to accelerate negotiations on a
final-status arrangement. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin
Khalifa al-Thani, hosted Livni for lunch at his palace after holding
a formal meeting also attended by his PM, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem.
Omani Foreign Minister Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdulla and Turkish
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also attended the lunch. Livni
told the emir that Israel was interested in enlisting the Arab
world, and especially the Gulf states, to help the Palestinian
Authority advance in the peace process. Media reported that Syria,
Iran, and Lebanon condemned Livni's visit to Qatar.

In her speech at the Doha Forum, FM Livni declared that Gaza
militant groups' ongoing conflict with Israel is frustrating
Palestinian ambitions for statehood. Livni also called on Arab
states not to view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the cause of
extremism. Moments after delivering her address, Livni traded barbs
over the nature of Israeli democracy with MK Ahmed Tibi, who
attended the conference. In a question and answer session following
the speech, Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) asked for an opportunity
to respond to Livni's comments, and told her, "Israel is an
apartheid state. How can you speak about democracy when you speak
about a Jewish state?"

Ha'aretz reported that the U.S. administration intends to give the
Senate Intelligence Committee an account of the nuclear ties between
North Korea and Syria for the first time on April 22. However,
Ha'aretz reported that senior IDF officers have warned that the
release of any information containing details of the IAF strike in
Syria last September could increase tension between Israel and
Syria. The Jerusalem Post reported that the public status of the
hearing is still undecided.

Leading media reported on strongly worded travel advisory issued by
the Counter-Terrorism Bureau to Israeli citizens to stay out of the
Sinai.

Maariv reported that the 20 residents of the unauthorized settler
outpost Mevo Horon Tzafon (Mevo Horon North) were quietly removed.
The newspaper reported that in exchange the government allowed the
Yesha Council of Settlements in the Territories to expand
construction in other settlements.

Major media reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided
yesterday to renew the supply of diesel gas to Gaza for the
Palestinian power plant there starting Wednesday.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer was quoted as saying in an
interview with The Jerusalem Post that maintaining prolonged and
significant growth of the Israeli economy is critical to Israel's
physical well-being and security.

Ha'aretz highlighted the conciliatory message that President Shimon
Peres gave the Poles during his visit to the extermination camp of
Treblinka.
Yediot quoted Silvio Berlusconi, the frontrunner in the Italian
legislative elections, as saying yesterday that his first visit
abroad as PM would to Israel.

Leading media reported that Moshe Rosenfeld, one of Israel's best
known journalists and a former editor of Maariv, passed away ion
Monday, aged 93.

Major media reported that the Qatar-based Aljazeera-TV has agreed to
discuss its coverage of the Israeli-Arab conflict with Israel.

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "In terms of
results, at the end of the day, [Jimmy] Carter beats out any of
those who ostracize him. For the peace agreement with Egypt, he
deserves the respect reserved for royalty for the rest of his
life."

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of the
popular, pluralist Maariv: "The outpost that was evacuated yesterday
is the first swallow that heralds the arrival of the king [i.e.
President Bush]. This was no actual step, this is no change in
policy."

Eshkol Nevo, a young author and grandson of the late prime minister
Levi Eshkol, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "Might [negotiations with Syria] not bring durable quiet
along Israel's entire northern border and change the entire balance
of forces in the Middle East?"

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

I. "Our Debt to Jimmy Carter"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (4/15): "The
government of Israel is boycotting Jimmy Carter, the 39th President
of the United States, during his visit here this week.... The
boycott will not be remembered as a glorious moment in this
government's history. Jimmy Carter has dedicated his life to
humanitarian missions, to peace, to promoting democratic elections,
and to better understanding between enemies throughout the world....
But Israelis have not liked him since he wrote the book 'Palestine:
Peace not Apartheid' Israel is not ready for such comparisons, even
though the situation begs it.... In the peace agreement with Egypt,
30 years ago, Israel agreed to 'full autonomy' for the occupied
territories, not to settle there. These promises have been
forgotten by Israel, but Carter remembers. Whether Carter's
approach to conflict resolution is considered by the Israeli
government as appropriate or defeatist, no one can take away from
the former U.S. president his international standing, nor the fact
that he brought Israel and Egypt to a signed peace that has since
held. Carter's method, which says that it is necessary to talk with
every one, has still not proven to be any less successful than the
method that calls for boycotts and air strikes. In terms of
results, at the end of the day, Carter beats out any of those who
ostracize him. For the peace agreement with Egypt, he deserves the
respect reserved for royalty for the rest of his life."

II. "The Swallow that Heralds the Arrival of the King"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of the
popular, pluralist Maariv (4/15): "There is no reason to be amazed
by the quiet evacuation of [the settler outposts] 'Mevo Horon North'
or QMevo Horon SouthQ yesterday. What does this evacuation mean?
Nothing. Mainly the imminent arrival of George Bush. The outpost
that was evacuated yesterday is the first swallow that heralds the
arrival of the king. This was no actual step, this is no change in
policy, this was not and will not be a courageous decision that will
implement the recommendations of the Talia Sasson committee, the
committee that Ariel Sharon established and which pointed out all
the failures of Israeli governments over the last few decades....
The settlers will continue to play cat and mouse with the state,
there will be many more 'arrangements' for 'voluntary evacuation' or
'pretend evacuation' or 'evacuation against Talia Sasson' but
nothing real will happen. For this to happen, we need a leadership
that will decide if we are here or there, and then carry it out.
There is no such thing in Israel and there never will be."

III. "Weaning Ourselves of the Palestinians"

Eshkol Nevo, a young author and grandson of the late prime minister
Levi Eshkol, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot(4/15): "For over 15 years most of Israel's diplomatic
efforts have been directed at one goal: achieving an agreement to
divide the land with the representatives of the Palestinians
people.... Only one thing has been missing during all those years:
peace.... Israel has been signaling its willingness to reach a
solution of peace to its border conflict with Israel.... The Syrians
are no friends of the Jews... [However] we may not be holding
negotiations with Syria because we are addicted to the Palestinians?
Is it possible that we have become accustomed to the convenience of
hiccupping negotiations that do not demand any price from us....
Might [negotiations with Syria] not bring lasting peace salong
Israel's entire northern border and change the entire balance of
forces in the Middle East?"

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

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Those
gathering this week in Shanghai should not delude themselves into
believing that the rapacious Islamist regime in Tehran does not also
threaten everything they hold dear."

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

"The Mullah Minuet"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (4/15):
"It was a small news item, easily unnoticed, part of a protracted
series of deceptions: 'Monday's scheduled meeting in Vienna between
Iranian nuclear negotiator Gholamreza Aghazadeh and the UN's nuclear
watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei has been postponed.' One step back in
the minuet. Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that
it would 'propose a package of solutions' aimed at 'convergence'
with international proposals offering Iran nuclear technology in
return for ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons. One step forward
-- ostensibly.... No one in Shanghai will suggest an international
ban on weapons sales to Iran. There will be no talk of any air or
sea embargo. Still, the great powers will probably express
'disquiet' over the installation of hundreds, if not thousands, more
centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.... There are
too many sticks and not enough carrots, some of the diplomats in
Shanghai will claim. But Iran has time and again rejected generous
international offers of nuclear fuel and technology in return for
abandoning its bomb.... Those gathering this week in Shanghai should
not delude themselves into believing that the rapacious Islamist
regime in Tehran does not also threaten everything they hold dear.
Iran already has all of Israel well within its missile range, and
still it extends its delivery capabilities."

JONES

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