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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0912/01 1121034
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211034Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6400
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 3712
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0351
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3984
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4516
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3726
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1998
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4473
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1346
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1790
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8338
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5819
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0729
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4848
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6797
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9562
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000912

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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The weekend's major event was the Hamas strike on the Kerem Shalom
crossing on Saturday. Media characterized it as a "hit and grab"
aimed at capturing and killing soldiers that was only thwarted by
the quick instincts of a Bedouin IDF commander. The attack, which
left three Hamas gunmen dead and 13 IDF soldiers injured, involved
an armored personnel carrier that Israel had given to Yasser
Arafat's forces. Israeli forces killed an additional seven
Palestinians in subsequent air strikes. As a result of the recent
Hamas targeting of the Gaza crossing, the media reports that Israeli
has closed all of the crossings to reevaluate security arrangements.
The Jerusalem Post quoted defense officials as saying yesterday
that Israel did not plan to alter an earlier decision to permit the
PA in the West Bank to receive 25 APCs from Russia.

Major media quoted Syrian President Bashar Assad as saying yesterday
during a meeting with Ba'ath Party officials that he has exchanged
messages with Israel through a third party to explore the
possibility of resuming peace talks. Assad was quoted as saying:
"Israel knows well what is accepted and not accepted by Syria."
"Syria rejects secret [direct] talks or contacts with Israel...
Anything Syria does in this regard will be announced to the public,"
Assad added. Leading media reported that Assad raised the
possibility of armed conflict with Israel. Speaking on Israel Radio
this morning, former Meretz head and former cabinet minister Yossi
Sarid called on Israel to ignore President Bush's directive and
engage in direct talks with Syria.

Leading media reported that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has
proposed a truce between Israel and Hamas. Media cited a report in
the Hamas newspaper Falastin, published in Gaza, that Carter
proposed that Hamas unilaterally stop rocket fire on Israel and
release Gilad Shalit in exchange for no more targeted assassinations
of its leaders and the release of 400 prisoners. Ha'aretz reported
that Hamas rejected Shas cabinet minister Eli Yishai's offer of
talks. Israel Radio quoted Carter as saying this morning in
Jerusalem that he could bring a letter from Shalit to his parents.
Electronic media quoted Carter as saying that Hamas is prepared to
accept Israel's right to "live as a neighbor next door in peace."
Electronic media quoted Carter as saying that Hamas won't undermine
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's efforts to reach a peace deal
with Israel. He said Hamas is ready to accept a Palestinian state
the West Bank and Gaza.

Speaking on Israel Radio, MK Tzachi Hanegbi, Chairman of the
Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that it was
not possible for Israel to negotiate with Hamas amidst attacks like
the one on Saturday.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday the IDF decided to
investigate the death of Fadel Shana'a, the Reuters cameraman killed
in Gaza by Israeli tank fire on Wednesday. The Jerusalem Post
quoted the IDF as saying that its investigation would be reviewed by
the Military Advocate-General.

The Jerusalem Post reported that determined to help alleviate the
country's water crisis, the Jewish National Fund is launching a "311
Days for Israel" campaign that aims to raise $2 million during the
month of May to build more reservoirs.

The Jerusalem Post cited a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report that the
Solomon Project, a Washington-based organization, has brought a
group of influential liberal American bloggers to Israel to educate
the "news media." The Jerusalem Post reported that the UK's
University and College Union will again consider a boycott of
Israeli academic institutions.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Florida-based Lawrence Dermer, one
of America's most successful songwriters and producers, is working
on a new CD, "Israel@60."

All media, except the ultra-Orthodox dailies, reported that theater
persona Nissan Nativ passed away in Tel Aviv yesterday at 86. Nativ
was named winner of the 2008 Israel Prize earlier this year. Nativ
was the founder of a renowned acting school, which held classes both
in Tel Aviv and a Jerusalem

Maariv reported that Haifa's Arabs are refurbishing the tomb of Izz
Al-Din Al-Qassam (d. 1935), the spiritual father of Hamas's military
wing.

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

Summary:
--------

Editor-in-Chief Amos Regev wrote on page one of the independent
Israel Hayom: "Israel must now remove the constraints it placed on
itself.... The target should be the elimination of Hamas as a
fighting force."

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Hamas is becoming a strategic
player among Arab countries, and is influencing Israel-Egypt ties."

Defense commentator Amir Oren wrote in Ha'aretz: "Former U.S.
President Jimmy Carter's mission to see Damascus-based Hamas leader
Khaled Mashal is placed in a particularly ludicrous light when,
farther down in the organization, Hamas operatives set out to take
more Israeli soldiers hostage."

Military correspondent Yaakov Katz wrote on page one of the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "After Bush leaves and the
last of [Israeli Independence Day's] fireworks are lit, Israel's
hands will be untied. It will also already be the middle of the
summer, which is a prime time for war."

Zalman Shoval, a senior Likud member and former ambassador to the
U.S., wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The
body that effectively guarantees the continuation of Syria's status
in Lebanon is Hizbullah, which obeys Iran. How conceivable is it
to see President Assad take the risk of losing such leverage?"

Ha'aretz editorialized: "The art of concealment serves the ruling
authorities well by hinting that great things are being done
clandestinely, and therefore the public must allow the government to
continue along the same road."

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

I. "A 'Restricted Conflict' Only Restricts Israel"

Editor-in-Chief Amos Regev wrote on page one of the independent
Israel Hayom (4/21): "Hamas's Saturday offensive, on Passover eve,
should light a bright red light among Israel's political and
military decision-makers. For years politicians and senior military
assumed that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a 'restricted
conflict', that is to say an asymmetrical conflict, in which the
Israeli side -- a strong sovereign state with a large army -- deals
with guerrilla and terror organizations in an asymmetrical conflict.
The strong side places constraints on its use of force, because
this isn't an all-out war. This is how the United States conducted
its 'limited conflicts,' all of which failed.... Israel must now
remove the constraints it placed on itself. The IDF must be given
the goal of eliminating Hamas and to materialize that goal in the
only way befitting the strong side: an all-powerful ground offensive
... that will kill the greatest possible number of terrorists and
destroy the entire arsenal of rockets and explosives . The target
should be the elimination of Hamas as a fighting force. Later,
mediators could succeed in transferring the area to some
international body: the UN, NATO, the Arab League, or Egypt. Israel
should not agree to the 'Lebanonization' of Gaza, because it would
be followed by the West Bank's 'Lebanonization.'"

II. "One Stage or Many?"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (4/21): "[Hamas leaders] Khaled
Mashal, who is based in Damascus, and Mahmoud al-Zahar, in Gaza,
want a comprehensive deal to show a sorely needed political
achievement. However, the Prime Minister in, Ismail Haniyeh of
Hamas, believes the issue of the crossings can be solved separately.
His aides say that he will agree to a cease-fire independent of the
other demands, as long as it is bilateral. Hamas is becoming a
strategic player among Arab countries, and is influencing
Israel-Egypt ties. This is because Cairo wants a quick solution to
the crossings so that its border with Gaza is not breached again.
If this were to happen, it would make Egypt responsible for the
Palestinians in the Strip. But the crossings will not open without
Hamas consent."

III. "An Important Success"

Defense commentator Amir Oren wrote in Ha'aretz (4/21): "Former U.S.
President Jimmy Carter's mission to see Damascus-based Hamas leader
Khaled Mashal is placed in a particularly ludicrous light when,
farther down in the organization, Hamas operatives set out to take
more Israeli soldiers hostage. Carter's mission harmed his
preferred presidential candidate, Democrat Barack Obama. A few
hours after the attack, Republican candidate John McCain lashed out
at Obama for refusing to criticize Carter's meeting with Hamas,
while Hamas operative Ahmed Yousef made headlines with the
statement, "We like Mr. Obama and hope he wins the elections."
Meanwhile, even President George W. Bush seems no longer to believe
his own declarations about an Israeli-Palestinian agreement this
year. General William Fraser, who was appointed to oversee the
implementation of the Roadmap after Annapolis, toured the region for
a while, was insulted by Defense Minister Ehud Barak's cold
shoulder, and left to seek results elsewhere."

IV. "Waiting for a Hot Summer in Gaza"

Military correspondent Yaakov Katz wrote on page one of the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (4/21): "The assessment in
the defense establishment is that attacks against the crossings as
well as along the border fence -- like the one last week in which
three ... soldiers were killed - will continue and possibly escalate
in the coming weeks. Despite this assessment and calls within the
IDF to move from a 'defensive mode' of repelling Hamas from the
border to an 'offensive mode' -- a widespread invasion into Gaza --
defense officials admitted over the weekend that the chances of a
large operation were slim to none for at least two months. This is
mainly due to May's scheduled visit by U.S. President George W.
Bush. There are also the nationwide 60th anniversary celebrations.
After Bush leaves and the last of the fireworks are lit, Israel's
hands will be untied. It will also already be the middle of the
summer, which is a prime time for a war. "


V. "So, Run to Damascus"

Zalman Shoval, a senior Likud member and former ambassador to the
U.S., wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot
(4/21): "Further to the desire of some Israelis to view [Syria's
President Bashar Assad] as a fleeing counterbalance to the
Palestinian track, there is wishful thinking that if we reach a
peace agreement with Damascus, the latter would at once disengage
itself from Tehran. This theory isn't borne out by reality --
among other things because Iran acts for the minority,
Shi'ite-related, Alawite regime as an insurance policy against the
threat of the Sunni majority. Furthermore, the body that
effectively guarantees the continuation of Syria's status in Lebanon
is Hizbullah, which obeys Iran. How conceivable is it to see
President Assad take the risk of losing such leverage?"

VI. "Hollow Interviews"

Ha'aretz editorialized (4/21): "The series of holiday interviews
given by the Prime Minister were meager in information and plentiful
in promises, which in the meantime are without foundation. Iran will
not have a nuclear bomb, Ehud Olmert intends to win the next
elections, and a peace agreement with Mahmoud Abbas will be attained
within a year. The new method of government introduced by Ehud
Olmert, under the inspiration of Ariel Sharon, is one in which more
goes on than meets the eye. The Prime Minister feels no obligation
of public accountability, does not give interviews but delivers
speeches instead, and reports to the Knesset so minimally as to
offend its honor. The art of concealment serves the ruling
authorities well by hinting that great things are being done
clandestinely, and therefore the public must allow the government to
continue along the same road."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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