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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1442/01 1891123
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071123Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7393
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 4081
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0710
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4383
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4881
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4095
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2394
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4847
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1709
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2156
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8698
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6186
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1095
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5208
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7165
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0026
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001442

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. Iran

2. Mideast

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

Major media reported that preparations for the prisoner swap with
Hizbullah continue. The radio also reported today that the family
of policeman Eliyahu Shahar, a victim of Samir Kuntar, will petition
the High Court of Justice against KuntarQs release. Maariv quoted a
senior Israeli diplomatic official as saying that the HizbullahQs
pending report on the fate of MIA Ron Arad will not harm the deal.
Yesterday Maariv reported that PA officials were angry at Israel for
giving in to Hizbullah.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli diplomatic and defense officials
as saying on Sunday that the recent spate of leaks and reports from
Washington about whether Israel will, or should, take military
action against Iran, and what that would mean for the U.S., is a
reflection of deep divisions on the matter inside the Bush
administration. The officials were quoted as saying that the two
sides of the argument, the "hawkish camp," led by Vice President
Cheney, and the "dovish camp," led by Defense Secretary Robert
Gates, are leaking assessments about Israeli intent to further their
own agendas, and in this regard using Israel as a "pawn" in their
own political battles. The newspaper quoted an Israeli diplomatic
official as saying that as the debate rages in Washington, it was
clear that Israel would be unable to take military action without a
green light from the U.S. On Friday The Jerusalem Post quoted GOI
officials as saying that this week's warnings from President Bush
and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
against an IDF strike on Iran are a sign that Washington is
concerned that Jerusalem may indeed attack Iran.

Ha'aretz reported that the IDF will soon be stepping up its campaign
against Hamas's civilian infrastructure in the West Bank, shutting
down a large number of Hamas-affiliated charities, confiscating
their property, and searching computers and documents that detail
their activity. The IDF has been carrying out similar raids in the
Hebron, Qalqilya, and Ramallah areas since the beginning of the
year, but the campaign will now be expanded to additional parts of
the West Bank, in the wake of approval from Israel's legal
authorities.

Yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel warned on Saturday
that any delay by Hamas on contacts over a prisoner swap involving
Gilad Shalit's s release may torpedo the Egyptian-mediated Gaza
truce agreement reached last month.

The media reported that yesterday, for the first time since the
start of the truce, a Palestinian sniper fired from the Gaza Strip
at civilians inside Israeli territory (near Kibbutz Nahal Oz).

Ha'aretz reported that the Israel Police fraud squad is
investigating the authenticity of some of the documents involving
the sale of lands in Migron, an outpost outside Ramallah inhabited
by Jewish settlers.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday police arrested two
settlers who were allegedly involved in beating a Palestinians they
had tied to a utility pole near the outpost of Assa'al in south
Hebron in an incident that was caught on camera by activists.

Ha'aretz cited the belief expressed by officials that a state
comptroller's investigation into the use of wiretaps, will take
seven to nine months. All media reported that the cabinet voted for
this comprehensive probe of the police and the prosecution's
handling of wiretaps, which will include an investigation of
"complaints raised on this matter in recent years," as an
alternative to Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann's proposal to set
up a governmental inquiry committee on misconduct in the 2006 trial
of minister Haim Ramon -- specifically, with respect to the failure
to give him transcripts of wiretaps related to his sexual offenses
case, or even to inform him of the wiretaps' existence. Israel
Hayom banners that the "Justice Minister got a lesson in the rule of
law."

Maariv reported that Israel-Jordan relations might be impaired if
following the freeing of Kuntar, Jordan released four of its
nationals who killed two Israeli soldiers Yehuda Lipshitz and
Pinchas Levy 18 years ago. Israel repatriated the Jordanians to
their country a year ago, on condition they serve 18 months in
Jordanian jail. On Friday The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli
officials dismissed as "nonsense" an Iranian diplomat's accusation
on Thursday that Israel is secretly imprisoning four Iranians --
three diplomats and their driver -- who disappeared in Lebanon in
1982. Their fate was supposed to be discussed ahead of the swap.

Yesterday Yediot reported that Barack Obama is slated to come to
Israel in another two weeks as part of a regional tour.

On Friday Ha'aretz quoted President Shimon Peres as saying that he
believes that there is no chance of an agreement between Israel and
the Palestinians. He made the statement last Saturday at a dinner
with the Jordanian and French ambassadors in Defense Minister Ehud
Barak's Tel Aviv apartment.

Over the weekend some media reported that Israelis contributed to
the release of Franco-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt. Ha'aretz
and other media reported that she compared her "impeccable" rescue
operation to Israeli commando operations.

As the government prepares to seal the homes of the families of two
Arab residents of East Jerusalem who carried out the last two terror
attacks in the city, The Jerusalem Post quoted officials as saying
yesterday that the Jerusalem Municipality continues to plan new
construction for Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, including in
the very neighborhood the bulldozer attacker came from.

All media reported that yesterday the customs authorities at Haifa
Port seized 104 kilograms of pure cocaine, worth $15 million, on
board a Colombian ship.


---------
1. Iran:
---------

Summary:
--------

Columnist Calev Ben-David wrote on page one of the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "If Israel has to act alone to protect
itself it will do so -- but only because once again, the world has
left it alone."

Very liberal columnist Kobi Niv wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "Absurdly, the only thing that apparently can prevent
Israel's expected suicidal running amok ... actually is a nuclear
weapon in Iran's hands."

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

"Disquiet on the 'Third Front' between the U.S. and Israel"

Columnist Calev Ben-David wrote on page one of the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (7/7): "The complications [resulting from
Saddam's downfall] are now abundantly clear in the face-off over the
Iranian nuclear threat, to the extent of it possibly limiting an
Israeli response to a potential existential threat.... Yet the
premise that Washington has -- or even wants -- straight-up veto
power over the Israeli response to the Iranian threat, or that
Jerusalem would cede it, is a gross simplification of a more complex
reality, both past and present.... The route of diplomatic efforts
and economic sanctions against Tehran will play itself out in the
coming year, resulting in either success or failure. At the end of
that day, though, a day that increasingly cannot be too long in
coming, if Israel has to act alone to protect itself it will do so
-- but only because once again, the world has left it alone."

II. "In Favor of the Iranian Bomb"

Very liberal columnist Kobi Niv wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (7/7): "Absurdly, the only thing that apparently can prevent
Israel's expected suicidal running amok (This month? This year?)
actually is a nuclear weapon in Iran's hands. Thus, we would be
sitting quietly and doing nothing to burn ourselves as a wick
destroying the world by fire. Let us say this to those who fear an
Iranian bomb: Contrary to Israel, Iran is a rational state, which
will do nothing to harm itself, so that its possessing that weapon
would not only deter a certain country in the region from going
berserk and destroying its environment and life."

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Perhaps [the razing of terrorists' East
Jerusalem homes] will help us understand that an accord in the West
Bank, without a solution in Jerusalem, is a dangerous illusion."
Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in Ha'aretz:
"Syria is hoping to pave its way out of the American 'axis of evil,'
while emphasizing to the Arab states that it is a central player,
still capable of fulfilling a role that countries like Egypt and
Saudi Arabia have so far found difficult to play."

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

I. "A Binational Reality"

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (7/7): "How nice that this time, too, the
terrorist was a 'lone wolf, a drug addict or just a nut case. Just
so long as Jerusalemite murderers are not acting on behalf of
terrorist groups. 'Wild weeds' can grow in any garden. We also
once had a strange doctor who carried out a massacre in a mosque;
his family erected a glorious tombstone in honor of the 'saint'....
The murderer at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva and the terrorist with the
bulldozer did not represent an organization. Worse still: They
reflect the mood of thousands of residents in Israel's capital....
Many years ago, a U.S. diplomat who served in Jerusalem said the
following about the Arabs of the city: 'You will not be able to
break them or buy them.' Razing two homes in Jerusalem will destroy
yet another superficial division between Palestinians and
Palestinians. Perhaps this will help us understand that an accord
in the West Bank, without a solution in Jerusalem, is a dangerous
illusion."

II. "Assad Pushing for Palestinian Unity"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in Ha'aretz
(7/7): "'When we come to Syria we are coming to our second country,'
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Syrian President Bashar
Assad flatteringly when the two met in Damascus on Sunday. This
'homecoming' was initiated by Assad, who recently stepped up his
involvement in the Palestinian arena -- at Egypt's expense....
Assad, who is scheduled to participate early next week in the
Euro-Mediterranean conference in Paris, would like to arrive with
two successes under his belt. The first is the forming of a new
Lebanese government; the second is the beginning of a Palestinian
national reconciliation. With two such achievements, in addition to
the start of talks with Israel, Syria is hoping to pave its way out
of the American 'axis of evil,' while emphasizing to the Arab states
that it is a central player, still capable of fulfilling a role that
countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have so far found difficult to
play. Palestinian reconciliation has become a central element in
the media dialogue between Hamas and Fatah.... If the sort of
reconciliation that Syria is putting forth does emerge, and an
interim unity government is established, Israel may be faced with an
old dilemma: Should it recognize such a government and establish a
working relationship with it -- or adopt, anew, the policy of
boycotting such a government, and thus bring the talks with Mahmoud
Abbas to a standstill?"

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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