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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1370/01 1781023
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261023Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7290
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 4040
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0674
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4338
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4845
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4056
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2352
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4806
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1673
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2120
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8662
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6149
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1059
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5172
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7129
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9982
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001370

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

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

All media reported that yesterday PM Ehud Olmert "embarrassed" the
Labor Party when he announced from the Knesset podium that he
intends to run for reelection as Kadima chairman despite the deal
reached overnight Tuesday in which Labor gave up its effort to
initiate an early election. Maariv reported that Vice PM Haim
Ramon, until now a staunch Olmert supporter, is quietly forging an
alliance with FM Tzipi Livni. The Jerusalem Post reported that Shas
is said to be the key to the government's survival.

Ha'aretz reported that Israel and Hizbullah have a written agreement
on a prisoner exchange that the cabinet will deliberate on Sunday
and possibly approve. If approved, Israel will sign the deal that
will then be taken to Beirut by the German mediators for Hizbullah's
signature. The media reported that politicians and rabbis are
fighting about a possible declaration that the two Hizbullah
abductees are dead. The Jerusalem Post quoted Miki Goldwasser, the
mother of captive reservist Ehud Goldwasser, as saying that Defense
Minister Ehud Barak personally called last night to tell her that
the IDF could not honor her request to halt the process of
determining whether her son should be considered KIA. The media
reported that yesterday IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Ashkenazi also
rejected a request by Olmert to halt the KIA process.

Ha'aretz reported that today Israel will present Egyptian mediators
in Cairo with new formulas that it hopes will result in progress in
the case of Gilad Shalit. Israel Radio reported that yesterday
Israel agreed to free prisoners "with blood on their hands,"
provided they do not return to the Palestinian territories. The
radio reported that Egypt turned down this condition.

All media reported that yesterday the families of MIA Ron Arad and
of the two IDF soldiers kidnapped to Lebanon attended a rally in
Mitzpeh Hilah, Shalit's Galilee community, marking two years since
the day he was captured by Hamas. The media quoted Ron Arad's
brother Chen as saying at the event: "Dear Shalit family, don't let
them sacrifice Gilad."

The Jerusalem Post quoted defense officials as saying yesterday that
they planned to open the crossings between Gaza and Israel on Friday
if there were no more violations of the cease-fire. Israel Radio
reported that Islamic Jihad promised that it would better coordinate
its moves with Hamas.

Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday the Quartet decided to promote the
convening of a peace conference in Moscow in the next few months.
Ha'aretz quoted an Israeli diplomatic source as saying that the
conference will take place in November and might produce a joint
announcement for the future of the negotiations in 2009 or even the
signature of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

The Jerusalem Post cited AP quoting an Egyptian security official as
saying yesterday that border guards discovered seven underground
smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border.

The Jerusalem Post cited AP quoting Olli Heinonen, a senior IAEA
inspector, as saying yesterday that an initial probe of U.S.
allegations that a Syrian site hit by Israeli warplanes was a
secretly built nuclear reactor is inconclusive and that further
checks are necessary.

Ha'aretz reported that in the past six weeks there has been a marked
drop in stone-throwing aimed at Israeli vehicles traveling on roads
near the West Bank town of Qalqilya. The newspaper quoted a
Palestinian liaison officer as saying that Palestinian police forces
warned pupils that throwing stones at cars will be met by a harsh
response. The paper reported that dozens of dirt barriers in the
area have lately been removed to ease the Palestinians' daily
lives.

Leading media reported that yesterday Finance Minister Roni Bar-On
agreed to cancel a controversial plan to tax savings in
advanced-training funds, bowing to pressure from the Histadrut Labor
Federation and economic organizations that had threatened a general
strike in the public sector.

The media reported that the Chords Bridge at the entrance to
Jerusalem designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was
inaugurated yesterday in a controversial ceremony attended by 20,000
people.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a contingent of about 300 Messianic
Jews from the U.S. will protest this weekend in Jerusalem against
what they call Israel's discriminatory immigration policy against
Jews who believe that Jesus is the messiah.

Ha'aretz quoted associates of Olmert as saying yesterday that Morris
Talansky's July cross-examination will not create a sensation.

Yediot reported that yesterday at an international conference in
Berlin, former deputy Iranian FM Mohammad-Javad Larijani delivered
an "anti-Semitic," hate-filled speech calling for the cancellation
of the "Zionist project." The daily wrote that the meeting was
sponsored and funded by the German government.

Yediot presented the results of a Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute) poll
among registered Kadima voters:

If Talansky's cross-examination shows that the suspicions against
Olmert are less severe, how will you vote [in the party primaries]?
Olmert: 30%; Tzipi Livni: 26%; Shaul Mofaz: 19%: Avi Dichter: 9%;
Meir Sheetrit: 6%; 10% were undecided.

If Olmert does not compete [in the Kadima primaries], who will you
vote for?
Tzipi Livni: 40%; Shaul Mofaz: 30%: Avi Dichter: 12%; Meir Sheetrit:
9%; 9% were undecided.

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

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "When
Palestinian leaders find the courage to finally reconcile their
people to the Jewish nature of the State of Israel; when they lead
the way in replacing Palestinian victimization with a sense of
self-reliance -- only then will the self-determination that
Palestinians seek and Israelis can live with be realized."

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz: "It would make some sense if in return for strategic,
moral and political folly in the North and South we would at least
receive [the IDF abductees] Shalit, Regev and Goldwasser alive and
well. But to sow the seeds of the next kidnappings -- and at an
exorbitant price -- is intolerable folly and loss of wisdom."

Political and parties columnist Sima Kadmon wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "If the Prime
Minister's defense attorneys should succeed in undermining
TalanskyQs testimony, Olmert can certainly think about running for
another term in KadimaQs leadership."

Ha'aretz editorialized: "If Talansky's testimony caused a collective
sense of shame, and if in its wake Olmert's leadership became
untenable -- then, perhaps, this indicates a change in direction."

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

I. "The Palestinian Track"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (6/26):
"It may be true, as Secretary Rice said at a conference in Berlin on
Tuesday, that Palestinians seeking to build transparent institutions
'cannot succeed without the international community's support.'
But, ultimately, they must themselves bring about the conditions for
statehood. [Also], given that the rejectionist impulse has
consistently prevailed, it is especially urgent for Palestinian
leaders -- President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, or
others yet to emerge -- to prepare their people not only for the
transition to statehood, but also to abandon the intransigence that
has served them so poorly; to ready them for realistic concessions.
To this end, Palestinians must, in any accord, recognize the
sovereign rights of Israel as a Jewish state. Yet no preparatory
effort has been made in the Palestinian street, which still views
Israel as 'illegitimate.' If an agreement is to be viable, it must
enjoy the support not merely of official negotiators but of a
substantial majority of citizens on both sides. Abbas, who has
insisted time and again that the 'right of return' remains
non-negotiable, gives little sign of encouragement on this score.
When Palestinian leaders find the courage to finally reconcile their
people to the Jewish nature of the State of Israel; when they lead
the way in replacing Palestinian victimization with a sense of
self-reliance -- only then will the self-determination that
Palestinians seek and Israelis can live with be realized."

II. "When a Nation Loses its Wisdom"

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (6/26): "One of the main reasons why Ehud Olmert embarked
on the Second Lebanon War was to prove to Hizbullah and the other
terror organizations that the era of Israel's acceptance of the
kidnapping of soldiers and civilians, and payment of an unacceptable
price for their return, was over. He also wanted to restore
Israel's power of deterrence, and to prove that there is no truth to
the famous statement by Hassan Nasrallah to the effect that Israel's
tolerance for suffering is like a spider web, or that its end,
according to the prophecy of Palestinian intellectuals, will be like
that of the Crusaders, due to imminent polarization and
demonstrations of weakness. The IDF and civil society did not pass
the test of determination and did not give the political echelon --
first in Lebanon and later vis-a-vis Hamas -- the achievement that
would have made it possible to prove to the enemy that Israeli
society is in fact strong in body and soul, and that their attacks
are no more than insect bites that the Israelis will easily
withstand. Even worse: The outcome of the war, both on the
battlefield and on the home front, only strengthened the enemy's
basic assumptions.... It would make some sense if in return for
strategic, moral and political folly in the North and South we would
at least receive [the IDF abductees] Shalit, Regev and Goldwasser
alive and well. But to sow the seeds of the next kidnappings -- and
at an exorbitant price -- is intolerable folly and loss of wisdom."

III. "It Is Too Early to Write Him Off"

Political and parties columnist Sima Kadmon wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/26): "The most
interesting figure [in the political poll among registered Kadima
voters published today in this paper] appears in the question: What
would happen if, after the cross-examination, it were to turn out
that the allegations against Olmert were not as severe as they now
appear? How would the registered members of Kadima then vote in a
party primary in which Olmert also ran? It looks like the
registered members of Kadima are only waiting for such a
possibility. In that case, if the Prime Minister's defense
attorneys should succeed in undermining TalanskyQs testimony, Olmert
can certainly think about running for another term in KadimaQs
leadership. Thirty percent of all the registered members promise
him their votes. Livni will then have to give up the position that
now seems so close, and remain with 26 percent of the vote. And
Mofaz? He drops to only 19 percent. One wonders whether, when
Barak forced Kadima to hold a party primary, he took into account
that this could be the result."

IV. "Talansky's Contribution"
Ha'aretz editorialized (6/26): "There is no telling what will happen
after Olmert leaves: whether a stable government will be
established, and whether the candidate elected by Kadima will be
able to form the same coalition and run the country. Ultimately,
however, a solution has been reached, one that does not involve a
compromise on what really matters. Labor and Kadima have agreed
that the Prime Minister, who is suspected of serious bribery
offenses, will be replaced within three months. This may be the
beginning of a new era in Israel's attitude toward corruption among
public officials.... Olmert did not invent the corruption, but it is
his misfortune to be prime minister just when it was decided to stop
treating such phenomena as a decree of fate. The law has always
been clear and sharp on the matter, but the atmosphere was more
forgiving toward the hedonism of the powerful. The public came to
believe that all politicians were corrupt to some degree, until it
seemed that replacing one prime minister with another was of no
consequence, since the latter would presumably also be caught doing
wrong. If Talansky's testimony caused a collective sense of shame,
and if in its wake Olmert's leadership became untenable -- then,
perhaps, this indicates a change in direction."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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