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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1403/01 1831004
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011004Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7337
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
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RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 4057
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0691
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4359
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4862
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4076
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2373
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4826
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1690
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2137
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8679
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6167
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1076
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5189
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7146
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0005
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RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001403

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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Ha'aretz quoted sources in PM Ehud Olmert's bureau as saying
yesterday that Olmert would like to speed up the negotiations to
free Gilad Shalit. Olmert has instructed all those involved to do
what is necessary so that the talks can progress as soon as Hamas
gives Israel a new list of prisoners it wants released. Ha'aretz
quoted security and political sources as adding that after Israel
releases those prisoners involved in the deal, others may also be
freed as a gesture of goodwill toward PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Yediot reported that the cabinet is likely to approve the release of
"non-dangerous" prisoners in the Gilad Shalit swap -- in a shift
from the "blood on their hands" criteria. The Jerusalem Post
reported that fears mounted in Israel yesterday that Hamas would
toughen its stance in response to the cabinet's decision to approve
the prisoner-swap deal with Hizbullah.

Media reported that Israel and Syria will hold their third round of
indirect negotiations in Istanbul today. Ha'aretz quoted a senior
GOI official as saying yesterday that senior Syrian officials claim
that "they will not agree to hold direct talks until they receive a
firm guarantee of deep American involvement in the talks." Ha'aretz
reported that last week Israeli officials met with Arab and European
diplomats who had been updated on the details of the negotiations by
the Syrian government. According to information passed in last
week's discussions, Syria feels that all the previous rounds of
talks dealt mostly with technical issues and the framework of the
negotiations -- not the heart of the issues. The foreign diplomats
emphasized that "there is a feeling that the Syrians are delaying
until the new U.S. administration takes office." The Jerusalem Post
quoted diplomatic officials as saying yesterday that a meeting
between Olmert and Syrian President Bashar Assad in late July is
unlikely.

Leading media reported that yesterday the Knesset approved the
referendum law, which mandates a national referendum or a two-thirds
Knesset majority prior to any withdrawal from territory under
Israeli control. The law was approved in its first reading by a
majority of 65 MKs to 18 and is meant to prevent withdrawal from the
Golan. The media reported that yesterday the Knesset passed the
final stages of a law aimed at preventing those visiting Qenemy
statesQ (Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia) from running
for the Knesset.

Israel Radio reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak has
instructed that the Gaza crossings not be opened today, following
the firing of a Qassam rocket at Israel yesterday. Leading media
reported that Egypt will open the Rafah crossing today for
humanitarian reasons -- without Israel's consent. The Jerusalem
Post quoted EU defense official Lt. Gen. Pietro Pistolese as saying
that this was only a temporary move, and did not represent the
reopening of the crossing.

Ha'aretz reported that Israel has informed Hamas it will fire
"warning shots" at Palestinians who enter an area west of the Gaza
Strip border fence, extending for several hundred meters. Egyptian
officials told Hamas of the new procedure, which is expected to
raise tensions between the two sides. Ha'aretz reported that more
extremist groups than Hamas are consolidating in Gaza.

Major media reported that Ofer Dekel, the Israeli official
responsible for negotiating for the release of Shalit, as well as
the two IDF soldiers held by Hizbullah, is expected to travel to
Germany this week in order to conclude the final arrangements for
the prisoner swap with the Lebanese Shi'ite group. Maariv reported
that yesterday the families of 12 Iranian Jews who disappeared
during attempts to immigrate to Israel between 1994 and 1997
petitioned the High Court of Justice against the deal.

The media reported on a visit to Israel by Adm. Michael Mullen, the
chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, to discuss Iran and
other regional issues. Electronic media quoted ABC News that cited
the belief of senior defense officials in Washington that Israel may
attack Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of the year. A top
Pentagon official was quoted in the report as saying there is an
"increasing likelihood" that Israel will carry out an attack,
leaving Washington concerned that Iran would strike both the United
States and Israel in retaliation.

The media reported that Shmuel Levi, a former campaign manager for
Labor Chair Ehud Barak, met with police investigators yesterday to
give them what he describes as incriminating evidence against the
politician, which pertains to donations Barak received for his 1999
campaign for the premiership. Maariv quoted a source conversant
with the so-called "affair of the nonprofit associations," which was
investigated years ago, as saying that the timing of Levy's actions
is strange. Israel Radio noted that Levy is an associate of Tal
Zilberstein, a senior PR consultant who defected from Barak's camp
to Olmert's and threatened Barak a few weeks ago.

Ha'aretz reported that the Jewish Agency presented the Prime
Minister's Office with a report a few days ago showing that all the
Falash Mura -- Ethiopians whose Jewish ancestors converted to
Christianity -- deemed eligible for immigration in 1999 have either
arrived in Israel or have been declared ineligible by the Interior
Ministry. About 2,000 people on the 1999 list were never checked
for eligibility because no request was made to bring them to
Israel.

Leading media quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Jerusalem as
saying that the ministry had no knowledge of the case of the Iranian
man who was sentenced to death by a Tehran court on charges of
spying for Israel.

Major media quoted visiting Massachusetts Democratic Senator John
Kerry as saying that Barack Obama is a "100% supporter of Israel,"
and that if elected, he will bring new spirit to peacemaking
efforts.

The media reported that yesterday Labor MK Danny Yatom, a former
Mossad director, announced his resignation from the Knesset, saying
that he started losing his trust in Olmert during the Second Lebanon
War. He will be replaced by Russian immigrant activist Leon
Litinsky.

Yediot reported that Israeli and Syrian human rights groups
cooperated to free a Russian woman who was forced to engage in
prostitution in Syria.

Ha'aretz reported that its journalist Yossi Melman received an award
from the (American) Investigative Reporters and Editors association
(IRE), for his report on a Palestinian-Jordanian who was held
illegally by American, Israeli, and Jordanian security services.

Leading media reported that Israeli authorities are alert to minor
tremors in southern Lebanon, which might presage an earthquake in
northern Israel. The Jerusalem Post cited a report published by the
NGO B'Tselem that Palestinians living in the northern West Bank
drink one-third of the per capita water consumption recommended by
the World Health Organization (WHO).

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

Summary:
--------

Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker opined in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "What bogs us down are the cobwebs of
lies that we tell ourselves, led first and foremost by our own
government."

Gershon Baskin, Co-Director of the Israel/Palestine Center for
Research and Information, wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post: "The fulfillment of Palestinian national aspirations
is what will enable the ultimate fulfillment of Jewish national
aspirations."

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in The Jerusalem Post: "From the earliest stages of Israel's
war with Hizbullah two years ago, [Tzipi] Livni preached
defeatism.... The nation can scarcely afford to be led by another
weak-kneed sheep."

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

I. "The Lies We Tell Ourselves"

Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker opined in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (7/1): "What bogs us down are the cobwebs
of lies that we tell ourselves, led first and foremost by our own
government.... The brambles of self-deception have become
particularly thick lately. We elevated our willingness to carry out
an exchange deal ... to a level of ethical loftiness, of exemplary
behavior that reflects the fact that we are the Chosen People, a
community with a degree of social solidarity that is second to none
in the world. But anyone who knows anything about the long history
of exchange deals involving POWs, kidnapping victims, and bodies
knows that the saintly self-image that we've force-fed ourselves in
order to prepare the emotional ground for this deal is completely
baseless. Anyone who says that we, the Israelis, are different from
all other nations by virtue of the fact that we are a 'single
family,' a 'single tribe,' and so forth, ought to look objectively
at the celebrations that are being prepared for Samir Kuntar in
Lebanon. He ought to look and grit his teeth. We lied to ourselves
when we said, 'We won't capitulate and we won't reward terrorism.'
We knew, after all, that we would reward it.... Hizbullah started
the Second Lebanon War and it was defeated in it. Despite that,
Israel has been acting ever since the end of the war as if it had
been defeated. Our geopolitical situation in the north and the
south has worsened dramatically under the reign of the Olmert
government. Hizbullah has greatly increased its
political-governmental influence over Lebanon, and the Hamas regime
in Gaza won Israeli legitimacy. Two developments which, in the long
run might or might not turn zealots into statesmen, but which
utterly contradict the government's stated goals. To topple Hamas
was, evidently, just another mendacious decision by our
government."

II. "The Mirror Image of Zionism Is Palestinian Nationalism"

Gershon Baskin, Co-Director of the Israel/Palestine Center for
Research and Information (IPCRI), wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (7/1): "Peacemaking is by definition
taking risks. Those risks must be assessed on the basis of
interests and threat perceptions. The greatest risk to the
continuation of the Zionist enterprise today is the possibility that
we may not be able to separate ourselves from the occupation of the
Palestinian people. There is a timeline on the viability and the
feasibility of creating a Palestinian state next to Israel. The
future of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel has never before
been so inextricably linked to the aspirations of the Palestinian
people. The fulfillment of Palestinian national aspirations is what
will enable the ultimate fulfillment of Jewish national aspirations.
Our security is their security, their security is ours. Time is
running out for both of us, but there is still sufficient time to
reach an agreement that will save both national movements from
mutual destruction."

III. "Livni the Leader, or Livni the Lamb?"

Deputy Managing Editor and right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick
wrote in The Jerusalem Post (7/1): "On Sunday, [Foreign Minister
Tzipi] Livni dutifully followed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in voting
to approve the terrorists-for-dead-hostages deal with Hizbullah.
Despite the government's best efforts to put a brave face on the
decision, the deal with Hizbullah is arguably the most humiliating
step ever taken by a government of Israel.... From the earliest
stages of Israel's war with Hizbullah two years ago, Livni preached
defeatism.... Over the past three years, Livni has introduced and
implemented a new doctrine for Israeli foreign policy. Its central
theme is Jewish powerlessness. Livni has expressed this basic
guiding notion in every major foreign policy address she has given
since late 2005.... Livni is not the first empty shell to be
proclaimed by Israel's media as the next great white hope. Others,
such as former IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. (ret.) Amnon
Lipkin-Shahak and former Labor party leader Amram Mitzna, have also
enjoyed that distinction. After years of media build-up, both men
were quickly exposed as followers [i.e. not leaders] once they were
actually challenged to lead. It can only be hoped that Livni will
be similarly challenged and so exposed before she is propelled to
Israel's top spot. The nation can scarcely afford to be led by
another weak-kneed sheep."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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