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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1326/01 1721001
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201001Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7227
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 4014
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0650
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4314
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4821
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4032
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2327
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4782
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1649
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2096
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8638
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6125
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1029
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5148
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7105
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9953
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001326

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:
--------------------------------

Mideast

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

The media reported that the truce continues to hold in and around
the Gaza Strip. Ha'aretz quoted military sources as saying
yesterday that if the cease-fire holds, the army will begin to
redeploy some of its troops to other sectors or for training. At
the moment, the troops are still on high alert. The Jerusalem Post
quoted Hamas officials as saying yesterday that although the
cease-fire does not include the West Bank at this stage, they have
instructed their supporters there to act as if it does. Israel
Radio reported that Egypt has announced that the complete opening of
the Gaza crossings will take place only after the prisoner swap
between Hamas and Israel is completed. The lead stories of Yediot
and Maariv are composed of interviews with the families of the three
Israeli abductees. Electronic media reported that Defense Minister
Ehud Barak has met with those families today.

Leading media reported that PM Ehud Olmert is expected to leave for
Egypt on Tuesday for discussions with President Hosni Mubarak on the
truce, the prevention of arms smuggling to Gaza and explore
accelerating talks for the release of Gilad Shalit. Yediot reported
that in an interview with the Australian newspaper The Sydney
Morning Herald yesterday, Olmert said that the truce was Hamas's
last chance to prevent an Israeli military operation in Gaza.
Israel Radio quoted Olmert as saying in an interview with BBC Arabic
Television that Israel is prepared to make dramatic concessions but
that the Palestinians will also need to give ground. On a different
topic, Olmert said he would be willing to make compromises in order
to reach a peace agreement with Syria, but there were "several
issues" that needed to be resolved before such an agreement would
materialize. Ha'aretz quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying
in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde that only the
U.S. can help the Israeli-Syrian talks, adding that he believed that
the U.S. would get involved.

Israel Radio cited The New York Times as saying that Israel carried
out a major military exercise earlier this month that American
officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing
attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. U.S. officials were quoted as
saying that over 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in
the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean
and over Greece during the first week of June.

The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio cited ABC News as saying that
U.S. and Canadian intelligence agencies warned yesterday that
Hizbullah attacks on Jewish targets around the world -- in
particular the Israeli Embassy in Ottawa and synagogues in Toronto
-- could be imminent. ABC News quoted intelligence officials as
saying that Hizbullah had activated sleeper cells in Canada, and
that top terror operatives had left Lebanon -- to the U.S., Canada
and Africa. According to the officials, Hizbullah wishes to avenge
the assassination of arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyah in February, for
which the Shi'ite group holds Israel accountable. Israel has
repeatedly denied the allegation.

Leading media reported that a clash between settlers and police in
the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar ended with 19 injuries yesterday
after police came to tear down a mobile home built without a permit.
Maariv reported that a yeshiva student from Yitzhar built an
improvised Qassam rocket and fired it at an Arab village. Yediot
reported that right-wing groups and settlers plan to blocks dozens
of intersections in the northern West Bank to prevent attempts by
the police and Civil Administration in the territories to pull down
illegal buildings.

Ha'aretz reported that Likud leaders have warned Shas that the party
will not be part of any future Likud government if it supports an
alternative administration headed by Kadima.

Ha'aretz reported that Jordan prevented an Israeli delegation from
crossing the Allenby Bridge on Sunday to attend an economic
cooperation conference with Jordanian and Palestinian colleagues.
What had been planned as a tripartite gathering to discuss economic
issues concerning the Dead Sea became a bilateral,
Jordanian-Palestinian parley only. A would-be Israeli
conference-goer was quoted as saying that the assumption is that the
action was a sign from Jordan that it is not willing to cooperate
with Israel on strategic projects at this stage.

Ha'aretz reported that over the past few weeks Israel has been
trying to thwart a $400 million arms deal between the U.S. and
Lebanon. The daily quoted Israel diplomatic sources as saying that
the weapons would eventually reach hostile bodies. Ha'aretz
reported that the issue has sparked disagreements between the U.S.
and Israel.

Ha'aretz reported that foreign investors engaged heavily in
speculation in Israel's currency market in May, selling $870 million
worth of dollars in net terms.

Yediot presented the results of a Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute)
poll:

Do you favor or oppose the "tahdiya" agreement with Hamas?
Favor: 56%; oppose: 39%: 5% are undecided.
Do you believe that the truce with Hamas will hold?
No: 64%; tend not to believe: 15%; tend to believe: 15%; yes: 5%; 1%
are undecided.
Should the truce agreement with Hamas have been made contingent upon
Gilad ShalitQs release?
Yes: 78%; no: 15%; 7% are undecided.
As long as it is not known whether [Hizbullah abductees] Goldwasser
and Regev are alive, do you favor an agreement in which [Lebanese
terrorist Samir] Kuntar will be released?
Favor: 65%; oppose: 27%; 8% are undecided.

--------
Mideast:
--------

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "The Israeli
government's reasons for preventing the Shalit deal don't hold
water, and it would do well to set aside the futile arguments it is
clinging to. Gilad Shalit must come home. He is the national
asset, not the Palestinian prisoners."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Israeli
decision-makers have purchased temporary calm for the battered
communities bordering Gaza. The fear, underlined by bitter
experience, is that it comes at the cost of a devastating storm
brewing over the horizon."

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

I. "Free Gilad Shalit"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (6/20):
"Israel, having preferred, justifiably, to try out the cease-fire
with Hamas rather than embark on a military operation, is now
attempting to bite off more than it can chew. It is linking the
cease-fire and opening the Rafah crossing to Gilad Shalit's release
-- two for the price of one, as though it were a special offer in a
supermarket chain. This approach may be suitable for gamblers, who
are willing to pay the price of a failed negotiation, but not for a
state that has learned a bitter lesson in POW exchanges -- a state
that knows the price of a POW, dead or alive; a state that knows
that the public does not forget the prisoners. In spite of this,
during the two years since Shalit -- whom every Israeli family has

come to regard as its own son -- was taken prisoner, the government
has offered a variety of excuses, forgetting the heart of the
matter. A state's prestige is not measured only by its military
ability to deal with a terror organization or enemy state, and its
might is not measured merely by its deterrent ability. It leans on
the public's confidence in its fairness, its ability to act
compassionately and its willingness to pay a high price, as its
citizens are required to. The Israeli government's reasons for
preventing the Shalit deal don't hold water, and it would do well to
set aside the futile arguments it is clinging to. Gilad Shalit must
come home. He is the national asset, not the Palestinian
prisoners."

II. "The Brewing Storm"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (6/20):
"We may be witnessing the establishment of a nascent Palestinian
state uncompromisingly committed to the destruction of Israel. With
Gaza in its grip, the Islamists will turn their full attention to
the West Bank. Hamas can now more easily send its gunmen for
specialized training abroad, while foreign 'experts' will find it
easier to infiltrate into the Strip. Even if the Egyptians, using
newly arrived American tunnel-detection equipment and limited but
better-trained forces, make a strenuous effort to intercept the flow
of arms -- and Cairo insists it is now genuinely committed to this
goal -- chances are that anti-aircraft and anti-armor missiles,
long-range rockets and sophisticated explosives will find their way
into the Strip. Finally, this cease-fire accelerates Hamas's
ascendancy among Palestinians, and more broadly throughout the Arab
world, even as the relative moderates associated with Mahmoud Abbas
look ever-more impotent. Yet so long as it ostensibly adheres to
the cease-fire, there will be those in the international community
who will push for engaging Hamas 'moderates.' Israeli
decision-makers have purchased temporary calm for the battered
communities bordering Gaza. The fear, underlined by bitter
experience, is that it comes at the cost of a devastating storm
brewing over the horizon."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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