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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0887/01 1381158
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171158Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6355
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 3700
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0339
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3964
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4501
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3714
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1978
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4461
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1334
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1778
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8326
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5807
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0717
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4836
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6785
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9541
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000887

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. Italy: Parliamentary Elections

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

All media reported on the killing of three IDF soldiers and the
wounding of three others in a Hamas ambush yesterday. Major media
characterized what was the most intense day of fighting in Gaza in
over a month to the "Lebanese quagmire" before 2000. The media
reported that IDF forces subsequently killed 20 Palestinians.
Ha'aretz and other media reported that Palestinian fatalities
included at least 10 civilians, five children, and a Reuters
cameraman. Israel Radio reported that Hamas instructed its military
wing to respond to Israel's action in every possible way, but that
talks to achieve a truce are still continuing in Egypt. Israel
Radio reported that Palestinians later launched rockets at Israel.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel is considering a large-scale
incursion into Gaza soon after President Bush's visit. Ha'aretz
quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying at a Labor rally
yesterday that the plight of Gazans is a concern, but secondary to
the security of Israeli civilians nearby. In a side story, Ha'aretz
reported that the state had earlier issued a demolition order for
the home of a Bedouin soldier Manhash al-Bayat, who was among the
three IDF soldiers killed.

Leading media reported that NSA Hadley has begun preparations for
next month's visit by President Bush with a 24-hour stopover in
Jerusalem to discuss the negotiations with the Palestinians and the
sanctions against Iran. Hadley met with PM Olmert on Tuesday, and
with FM Tzipi Livni on Wednesday. The Jerusalem Post quoted a
statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, according to which Hadley
and Livni discussed the diplomatic process with an emphasis on
Israel's security arrangements in any future agreement. The
Jerusalem Post reported that Hadley and Livni also discussed the
necessity of "continued international action" to increase sanctions
on Iran. Livni, according to her office, briefed Hadley on her trip
earlier this week to Qatar. Ha'aretz reported that Likud Chairman
MK Benjamin Netanyahu told Hadley yesterday that President Bush
should proclaim that Israel's borders are "defensible."

Leading media reported that senior Hamas leaders Mahmoud Zahar and
Said Siam traveled to Cairo yesterday for talks with former U.S.
President Jimmy Carter and Egyptian officials on the latest
developments in Gaza. The Jerusalem Post quoted Hamas spokesman
Ayman Taha as saying that Zahar and Siam would brief Carter on the
"suffering of the Palestinians as a result of the Israeli-imposed
siege of Gaza." The Jerusalem Post quoted sources close to Hamas as
saying that the talks would focus on Egypt's efforts to release
Gilad Shalit. However, the sources told The Jerusalem Post that
they were unaware of any progress on the Shalit case. The Jerusalem
Post reported that Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner told Carter on
Wednesday that Olmert did not mean to insult him. Leading media
quoted Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman as saying that he
told Carter: "Meeting a terrorist like Khaled Mashal only encourages
and increases terrorism."

All three major Hebrew-language dailies included pre-Passover
interviews with PM Olmert (full transcripts in tomorrow's
newspapers). He told Ha'aretz and Maariv that "Iran will not go
nuclear." In the interview with Yediot, Olmert admitted that Israel
and Syria are exchanging messages and said that "Israelis are not
being threatened by a nuclear Syria." Israel Radio quoted Syrian
President Bashar Assad as sayQ that his country is prepared to go
to war with Israel -- but not in the near future.

Israel Radio reported that yesterday, in a phone conversation with
PA President Mahmoud Abbas who is currently in Moscow to discuss
possible Middle East peace talks, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik
sharply criticized Abbas's granting of awards to two female
Palestinian terrorists detained in Israel. The radio quoted Abbas
as saying that the PA has rescinded its decision. The Jerusalem
Post reported that Livni pointed out to National Security Advisor
Stephen Hadley on Wednesday the message it sends about the PA's
willingness to fight terror.

Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post quoted Polish President Lech
Kaczynski as sayng at a meeting with President Peres yesterday that
his country will take a firm stance on Iran.

Ha'aretz reported that Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has decided
to suspend proceedings against the Jerusalem Waqf, in the wake of a
complaint lodged by some 150 people. The complainants accused the
Waqf of causing repeated damage to the antiquities on the Temple
Mount, and to the nation's heritage.
The Jerusalem Post quoted sources to Olmert as saying yesterday that
he will make a series of political appointments in an effort to
strengthen his coalition as soon as Passover is over (in the middle
of next week).

Yediot reported that real estate "sharks" in Tehran might pull down
synagogues and construct high-rise buildings in their stead. The
newspaper said that his is not anti-Semitism, but greed. Yediot
quoted Menashe Amir, who is in charge of Israel Radio's
Persian-language broadcasts, as saying that is painful to watch the
destruction of the Jewish heritage in Iran.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the private, New York-based Nefesh
B'Nefesh organization will likely be closely integrated into Jewish
Agency immigration operations. The two groups sparred for two years
over the sharing of funds and publicity, and severed ties last year.
Maariv reported that veteran Ethiopian immigrants are opposed to
the immigration of Falash Mura to Israel, who the old-timers say are
Christians who only pretend to be Jews. The Falash Mura are
Ethiopians whose Jewish ancestors converted to Christianity.

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "An Israeli
show of seriousness about a two-state solution might speed up the
[normalization] process. We are likely to discover that peace with
the Gulf states will be the warm kind."

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in Ha'aretz: "The
choice of those who still continue to insist on the need to listen
to [Jimmy] Carter is based on lies -- it is possible to ignore him,
protest his manipulative tricks, and still continue to work for true
peace between Israel and the Arabs. There is no contradiction."

Senior columnist Moshe Ishon wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe: "During his last days in the White House
President Bush may grasp the understandings between Olmert and Abu
Mazen in a way contradicting Israel's interests."

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

I. "The Gulf Is not Persian"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (4/17): "If
Oman took a one-millimeter step toward Israel this week, Qatar,
which extended its hospitality to Livni, advanced a respectable few
meters. The Foreign Minister, too, believes that Qatar went almost
all the way.... Qatar and Oman are prominent recent examples, but
other Gulf states, too, seem to have undergone a certain change
where Israel is concerned.... The need to resolve the Palestinian
issue does concern the regimes of the Gulf, but they are no less
preoccupied with regional stability, economic growth, the
international stock markets and investment and development
possibilities. There is another factor at play here, regional
realignment away from old, obsolete camps and the common fear of a
radical Shiite axis led by Iran, which, once armed with nuclear
weapons, could render the wealth of the Gulf nations irrelevant.
Livni's visit to Qatar and her meetings with Gulf state leaders were
not unprecedented. Nevertheless, a broader and more overt bridge
has now been established between Israel and these countries, and
there is now a greater possibility of deep, sincere and serious
dialogue, held directly and without requiring Israel to ingratiate
itself in exchange for a handshake or a joint photo. There is still
a long road to normalization, and the basic distrust of Israel's
intentions will not disappear tomorrow or even a year from now.
However, an Israeli show of seriousness about a two-state solution
might speed up the process. We are likely to discover that peace
with the Gulf states will be the warm kind."

II. "Just Say No to Carter"

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in Ha'aretz (4/17):
"The honor due [Jimmy] Carter for his help in reaching the peace
treaty between Israel and Egypt is written in the history books, but
he did not come to the Middle East this week for honor, but to work.
And his work, for years, has had one goal: undermining the status
of Israel, thwarting its policies and ridiculing its hopes. That is
why Israel acted correctly in having him meet with only the
ceremonial echelon -- President Shimon Peres -- and avoided having
him meet with those who are supposed to be doing the work: Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.... Carter,
once the exaggerated attention is stripped away, is nothing but a
nuisance -- a painful reminder of the electorate's failure. His
views do not represent the American public, his actions are not
viewed favorably by the administrations that followed him --
Democrats and Republicans alike -- and his righteous trouble-making
is just a guise for continued hostility to Israel, which he views as
partially responsible for ending his presidential career after only
a single term. In any case, the choice of those who still continue
to insist on the need to listen to Carter is based on lies -- it is
possible to ignore him, protest his manipulative tricks, and still
continue to work for true peace between Israel and the Arabs. There
is no contradiction."

III. "A Confidential Meeting"

Senior columnist Moshe Ishon wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe (4/17): "According to media reports, the Prime
Minister relies on the position of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni,
according to which Jerusalem will be divided into two capitals -- an
Israeli one and a Palestinian one. The debate is about the Temple
Mount and the Western Wall. Israel demands that the Temple Mount
remain in its hands, or in an international autonomous authority in
which Israelis and Palestinians will have equal rights in this holy
place, while the Western Wall would remain under exclusive Israeli
control. There is another debate on control of holy places in the
Old City.... It seems that the [latest] brief encounter between
Olmert and Abu Mazen was neither timely nor appropriate. Not only
did it not contribute to progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace
process. It could present controversial issues to the international
scene in a distorted fashion. During his last days in the White
House President Bush may grasp the understandings between Olmert and
Abu Mazen in a way contradicting Israel's interests."

-----------------------------------
2. Italy: Parliamentary Elections:
-----------------------------------

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "This
week's dramatic elections in Italy promise to redraw that country's
political map and to change its relations with Israel -- both to
propitious effect."

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

"Congratulazioni, Signor Berlusconi"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (4/17):
"This week's dramatic elections in Italy promise to redraw that
country's political map and to change its relations with Israel --
both to propitious effect.... In once again casting their lot with
Berlusconi, with all of his faults, Italians have expressed the hope
that the realignment over which he now presides may redress Italy's
chronic political instability and volatility.... The main cause for
optimism in Jerusalem is Berlusconi's long-standing warmth for
Israel. The new Italian Right, led by his Forza Italia, has to a
large extent legitimized pro-Israel positions in Italy. His last
administration, it will be recalled, spearheaded the campaign to
force the European Union to list Hamas as a terror organization. 'I
feel the suffering of the people in Israel personally, he told
Yediot Aharonot last month.... Israel's political relationship with
this critical European ally needs to be deepened, and the time for
that deepening is now. We hope and believe that Italy under its new
leadership will give firmer backing in international fora to Israel,
that Rome will play a role in building warmer relations between
Israel and the European Union generally, and that we can henceforth
more concertedly grapple with our common threats and challenges."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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