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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0881/01 1071400
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161400Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6343
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 3693
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0332
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3957
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4494
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3707
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1971
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4454
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1327
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1771
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8319
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5800
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0710
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RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000881

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. Iran


2. Mideast

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

Israel Radio reported that three IDF soldiers were killed in a Hamas
ambush in Gaza and four others were injured. The radio quoted
Palestinian sources as saying that four Hamas activists were
killed.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel will renew the supply of
industrial diesel fuel to Gaza's sole power plant, but will not
resume gasoline transfers. Defense officials claim that Hamas has
been hoarding gas for its own uses instead of distributing it to the
public. The officials also added that despite the shortages, the
fuel tanks into which Israeli transfers gas are full, so even if
Israel would want to resume the supply, it would not be able to.

All media reported that yesterday the Arrow anti-missile missile
system successfully simulated the interception of a rocket designed
to mimic the Iranian Shihab missile. In the test, the Green Pine
Radar -- an integral part of the Arrow system -- tracked a new
missile made by Rafael called the Blue Sparrow which splits into
multiple warheads making it difficult to intercept. Israel is
planning another test in about six months in which an actual Arrow
missile will be launched to intercept the Blue Sparrow. Major media
quote defense officials as saying yesterday that the U.S. has agreed
to let Israel connect to its worldwide radar system that can provide
an early warning of any ballistic missile launched at Israel from
around the world.

Leading media reported that threats of a possible terrorist attack
during the Passover holiday are growing in the Sinai, where Egyptian
forces are hunting terror cells. The Jerusalem Post quoted senior
Israeli officials as saying that the defense establishment's
preparation for a possible Hizbullah attack in response to the
February assassination of senior Hizbullah leader Imad Mughniyah
would be at its highest over the holiday.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe cited the defense establishment's discontent
with FM Tzipi Livni, who discussed Gilad Shalit's release during her
visit to Qatar. The daily reported that the defense establishment
wants the issue exclusively dealt with by PM Ehud Olmert's special
envoy Ofer Dekel.

Israel Radio cited the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram as sayng that over
the past few days there has been a flurry of activity by Egypt to
mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas. Maariv reported that the
defense establishment is increasingly discussing the possibility
that a Hamas politician could be elected PA president.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday PA officials urged
visiting former U.S. President Jimmy Carter not to meet with Hamas
leader Khaled Mashal later this week.

Maariv quoted a defense source as saying that the government will
remove Migron and other settler outposts.

Yediot reported on a two-week-long visit to Iran by its envoy Eldad
Back.

Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post reported on the establishment of a
new Jewish-American lobby that could provide an alternative to
AIPAC. Ha'aretz said the group will push a "clearly dovish
agenda."

Maariv and Israel Radio reported that Palestinian Authority Chairman
Mahmoud Abbas has awarded the "Jerusalem Medal," the PA's highest
decoration to two female terrorists detained in Israel -- Ahlam
Tamimi, who led a suicide bomber to Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria in
August 2001, and Amna Muna, who caused the death of a young Israeli
after meeting him on the internet. The radio reported that the
award will be presented in Abbas's name on Thursday.

Maariv reported that Hizbullah recently set up special units for
Christian, Druze, and Sunnis. The newspaper reported that former
South Lebanon Army fighters, who were allies of Israel, will be
incorporated into Hizbullah's forces. Maariv said that in this way
the Shi'ite group intends to quietly take over Lebanon.

Maariv quoted Likud Chairman MK Benjamin Netanyahu as saying
yesterday at Bar-Ilan University that the 9/11 attacks changed U.S.
public opinion in Israel's favor.


Saying that the "world food price crisis is moving toward Israel,"
Ha'aretz reported on a 9% annual rise in food prices in the country.
Ha'aretz quoted Prof. Uri Shani, the Director of Israel's Water
Authority, as saying that water desalination is the answer to
Israel's new water crisis.

Maariv reported that yesterday President Bush signed a declaration
in honor of "Education and Cooperation Day" in the presence of
Rabbis of the Hassidic movement Chabad.

The Jerusalem Post presented the results of Tel Aviv University's
Peace Index poll conducted on March 31 and April 1: Fifty-five
percent of Israeli Jews regard the West Bank as "liberated land
while only 32% see it as "occupied."

---------
1. Iran:
---------

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "Bush may not
be the world's police officer, but in the absence of any other cop
on the horizon, he can be expected to make good on his promise to
prevent Iran from acquiring the ability to destroy Israel."


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

"Iran Is Playing with Fire"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (4/16): "Tehran
is now waiting for the U.S. presidential and congressional
elections. The obvious conclusion is that the threat of an American
military operation, which in previous years seemed quite close --
and the fear of which led to the presumed suspension of the warhead
program -- has nearly disappeared. If that is the Iranian
presumption, it entails a risky gamble.... Killing Americans in
Iraq, damaging the ability of the government in Baghdad to impose
security and to enable an American withdrawal, the threat to the
Iraqi economy, interference in Lebanon through the military
connection with Hizbullah, encouraging Palestinian terror, and last
but definitely not least, the nuclear challenge to Israel and the
assumption that Israel is liable to execute a preemptive strike
against Iran and thereby drag the region into a new war --- all of
these are a reason for America to act. U.S. ground forces are
already stretched to their limits, but its air forces and its
missiles would suffice for an operation against Iran. Iran is
playing with fire that could burn the Middle East. Bush may not be
the world's police officer, but in the absence of any other cop on
the horizon, he can be expected to make good on his promise to
prevent Iran from acquiring the ability to destroy Israel."

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "The worry is that after [Jimmy] Carter
meets [Khaled] Mashal, others who would like to meet him will ask,
'If Carter can, why can't we?'"

Giora Eiland, the former head of Israel's National Security Council,
wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "[Given
the unlikely success of the Palestinian track, we must] try to think
of other solutions. One of these is a return to the Jordanian
option."

Arab affairs correspondent Jacky Hoogie wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: "[There] is a rare convergence of interests
between Damascus and Jerusalem. Each of them is keeping silent, so
as not to force Assad to be shamed publicly and forced into an act
of revenge."

Arab affairs correspondent Jacky Hoogie wrote in Maariv: "The day
[may] not [be] far when Hizbullah will turn into a multi-ethnic
organization under Shi'ite control, and will effectively realize its
plan of conquering the hearts of the Lebanese people by peaceful
means.... This vision is not immediate, and it may take time before
it materializes, but it is not imaginary."

Matti Golan, former editor-in chief of Ha'aretz and business daily
Globes, maintained in Globes: "[Israeli Arab politicians are
hinting]: 'Israeli citizenship and membership in the Knesset are our
most efficient weapon against the Jewish State of Israel -- they are
our Qassam rockets.'"

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

I. "Why Israel Snubbed Carter"

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (4/16): "The [Israeli] government is
concerned that [Jimmy] Carter, by meeting the Hamas leader in
Damascus, will send a trend. Israel has been pleasantly surprised
that the boycott of Hamas and its leaders by the U.S. and EU -- has
held. The worry is that after Carter meets [Khaled] Mashal, others
who would like to meet him will ask, 'If Carter can, why can't
we?'"

II. "Back to the Jordanian Option"

Giora Eiland, the former head of Israel's National Security Council,
wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/16):
"[Given the unlikely success of the Palestinian track, we must] try
to think of other solutions. One of these is a return to the
Jordanian option. The Jordanians would not admit it publicly, but a
Palestinian state in the West Bank is the worst solution for them.
They too know that within a short time, this state would be ruled by
Hamas. As soon as Jordan -- in which there is a Palestinian
majority and a strong Muslim Brotherhood opposition -- has a common
border with the Hamas state, the Hashemite regime will be at
immediate risk. Other options are regional solutions, in which both
Egypt and Jordan would contribute to the Palestinian state in the
territorial realm. Contrary to conventional wisdom, according to
which there is no chance of this, it can be demonstrated that the
great beneficiaries of such an arrangement could actually be Egypt
and Jordan. What is clear is that continuing to conduct
negotiations that cannot lead to any positive outcome is a waste of
time in the best case, and could lead to a third Intifada in the
worst case."

III. "Conspiracy of Silence"

Arab affairs correspondent Jacky Hoogie wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (4/16): "Two whole months have passed since unknown
figures assassinated Imad Mughniyah, commander of Hizbullah's jihad
wing, on Syrian soil. Everyone is waiting for a Syrian response, or
at least the results of the investigation. But Damascus remains
silent.... One could expect a country whose sovereignty was crudely
violated to respond in some way. This is true for any country, and
particularly for the proud Syrian regime, which [also suffered] the
mysterious strike by IAF jets on September 6. In both cases, the
Syrians preferred to keep a low profile, to restrain their response
and direct feeble accusations at Israel. The reason is Bashar
Assad's dilemma. If he accuses someone, he will have to react. And
if he reacts, he could suffer another blow, particularly if Israel
is the party in question.... Official Jerusalem kept quiet in both
cases, despite the fact that the Americans blabbed, for their own
reasons, after the strike in September.... The Americans have their
own interest [because of] the suspicion that North Korea was
involved.... In its care to maintain silence, Israel is assisting
Assad to enable Arab public opinion to forget both affairs. The
result is a rare convergence of interests between Damascus and
Jerusalem. Each of them is keeping silent, so as not to force Assad
to be shamed publicly and forced into an act of revenge. In the
meantime, we can certainly send him a bouquet of flowers."

IV. "Hizbullah's Vision"

Arab affairs correspondent Jacky Hoogie wrote in Maariv (4/16): "If
this is not information aimed at psychological warfare, and
Hizbullah has indeed recruited young Sunnis, Christians, and Druze,
then it is an interesting development. If it should become stronger
and branch out into other realms, the day is not far when Hizbullah
will turn into a multi-ethnic organization under Shi'ite control,
and will effectively realize its plan of conquering the hearts of
the Lebanese people by peaceful means.... The gaps dividing
Hizbullah and large sectors of [Lebanese] society are still very
great, but it is no secret that many Christians admire Nasrallah for
his strength and moral character, particularly after surviving the
war in the summer of 2006.... One imminent test is already just
around the corner. It is the Lebanese parliamentary elections,
which are due to be held in exactly one year.... Hizbullah hopes to
make use of its improved image in the general public to further its
standing in the legislature and advance into the government, all in
a legitimate manner. From there, Nasrallah and his men will aspire
to change the constitution and give the Shi'ites a greater slice of
government to properly express their share of the population. This
vision is not immediate, and it may take time before it
materializes, but it is not imaginary."

V. "Tibi's Qassam Rockets"

Matti Golan, former editor-in chief of Ha'aretz and business daily
Globes, maintained in Globes (4/16): "My goal, [hints Israeli-Arab

Knesset Member Ahmed] Tibi -- in fact, that of most Israeli Arabs,
is not the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel,
but a Palestinian state only, without Israel. Israel doesn't
necessarily have to be wiped off the map, though this isn't a bad
option and even a preferable one. One can simply undermine Israel,
increase [Arab] birthrate, and take over Israel by democratic means,
and then turn it into a state that we, the Arabs, are used to: a
state of all its citizens, ruled by a dictatorship of the Arab
portion of its citizens. Thus ... I, Tibi, and my friends, do not
accept the idea that Arab villages be placed under Palestinian
sovereignty, because Israeli citizenship and membership in the
Knesset are our most efficient weapon against the Jewish State of
Israel -- they are our Qassam rockets."

JONES

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