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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1470/01 1911000
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091000Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7443
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 4101
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0722
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4404
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4893
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4107
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2408
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4863
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1721
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2168
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8710
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6198
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1107
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5220
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7177
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0041
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001470

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. Mideast

2. U.S.-Israel Relations

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

All media (lead stories in The Jerusalem Post and Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe) reported that yesterday the Water Authority unveiled
an emergency plan to combat the "worst water crisis in the nation's
history." The Jerusalem Post reported that top experts accused the
government of resorting to short-term measures rather than adopting
a long-term strategy.

Leading media reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have
started military maneuvers (according to Yediot and The Jerusalem
Post: following an American military exercise). Ha'aretz and other
media said that the Guards warned that Israel and the U.S. fleet in
the Persian Gulf would be key targets should Iran be attacked.
Israel Radio quoted the Arabic-language Iranian Al Alam-TV as saying
that Iran has successfully test-launched a 2,000-km-range Shihab-3
missile capable of carrying a one-ton charge.

The media reported on the upcoming prisoner swap with Hizbullah.
The media reported that the High Court of Justice rejected a
petition by the family of a victim of the Lebanese terrorist Samir
Kuntar, thus endorsing the latter's release. Ha'aretz reported that
the IDF's top military chaplain has stopped the process of declaring
the two Hizbullah abductees KIA, since the signature of the
agreement with Hizbullah has removed the relevance from the process.
The diplomatic-security cabinet will meet Wednesday to discuss the
situation on the northern border, with an emphasis on Hizbullah's
regained strength in south Lebanon. Defense officials will brief
the ministers on Hizbullah's military activities and the situation
on the Syrian front, while the Foreign Ministry will provide a
briefing on efforts to improve UNIFIL's performance. Ha'aretz and
Israel Radio reported that in a phone conversation yesterday,
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told French FM Bernard Kouchner that
"Israel won't accept ... the arms transfer from Syria to Hizbullah.
Yediot banners a comment by Tami Arad, the wife of MIA Ron Arad,
that she is still waiting for Hizbullah's answer about her husband's
fate.

Ha'aretz reported that PM Olmert and FM Tzipi Livni are set to leave
Saturday night for Paris to take part in the inauguration of the
Mediterranean Union, an initiative of French President Nicolas
Sarkozy. The newspaper reported that a proposal is to establish a
highway linking all the countries along the Mediterranean. Ha'aretz
quoted GOI officials as saying that the intent was for the highway
to begin in Egypt and continue through North Africa. Only later
would it be extended to Israel. However, Ha'aretz reported that due
to opposition by countries in the region to cooperation with Israel
on this matter, it can be assumed that the project as now envisioned
will not be initiated in the near future.

The Jerusalem Post and other media reported that Olmert told
visiting Italian FM that Israel is willing to talk about the Sheba
Farms directly with Lebanon.

Major media reported on new developments in the Morris Talansky
corruption case. Maariv reported that PM Ehud Olmert admitted to
his interrogators that he received envelopes with cash from
Talansky, but that they only contained hundreds of dollars.
Ha'aretz reported that Sharon Tzur, a former Likud activist who was
considered close to PM Ehud Olmert, is one of the key people
summoned to give a deposition to the Israel Police in the
investigation it is conducting in the U.S. in the Talansky affair.
Tzur founded and runs Media Watch International, an organization
that seeks to promote pro-Israel views in the American media.
American Jewish businessman Ronald Lauder is one of the
organization's major donors. Ha'aretz reported that another person
from whom police are soliciting testimony in the U.S. is political
consultant Zev Furst. Police want to know whether any of the money
that Talansky gave Olmert found its way to Furst.

Media reported that three mortar shells were fired yesterday into
the Negev. The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday the IDF
stepped up its crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank. Leading media
reported that yesterday IDF troops inadvertently shot dead an
Egyptian army officer along the border.

Ha'aretz, Maariv, The Jerusalem Post, and Israel Radio reported that
today the human rights organization Yesh Din will present data
according to which only 10 percent of the instances in which
Palestinians accused settlers of attacking them ended up in
indictments being filed against the suspects. The group examined
205 different cases of alleged assaults by settlers that were
reported over the years. Ha'aretz reported that Amona, the West
Bank settler outpost that saw nine houses destroyed by court order
because they were built on privately owned Palestinian land, has
effectively annexed land for a road in an area (Area B) where Israel
is not allowed to build.

Over the past few days the media reported that former state
president Moshe Katsav, who was suspended from office over alleged
sexual harassment and other charges, is demanding perks and looking
into investments abroad. The mainstream media disapproves of
benefits for Katsav.

In its coverage of the Fourth of July reception, The Jerusalem Post
noted that Ambassador Richard Jones ordered the flag to be flown at
half mast in deference to the long and close U.S.-Israeli
relationship -- as a sign of respect to the victims of terrorism and
their grieving families. The daily also quoted President Shimon
Peres referring to the U.S. as the "pilot in the worldQs cockpit.
The Jerusalem Post reported that PM Olmert focused not only on
America's friendship and support of Israel, but that of Jones
himself. The newspaper also mentioned the presence of former
Ambassador Dan Kurtzer and his wife Sheila at the ceremony.

The Jerusalem Post reported that in his first public address
yesterday, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public
Affairs James Glassman said that the U.S. should not change its
Middle East policies even though they hurt the country's image in
the region.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe and Israel Radio reported that Kadima MK Otniel
Schneller, a former settler leader, called on the state to outlaw
Anarchists against the Fence, a group fighting the West Bank
separation barrier.

The Jerusalem Post reported on the visit to Israel of American
astronaut Leland D. Melvin, who is in the country to attend a tennis
tournament in memory of Israeli astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon.

Ha'aretz reported that while the official name of the parliamentary
alignment created yesterday is the Legislative Caucus to Preserve
the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, "it could more correctly
be termed the demographic caucus, or perhaps the caucus for the
prevention of the proliferation of Arabs." The daily reported that
the pressure group was founded by MK Eliahu Gabbay (National Union -
National Religious Party). Maariv reported that the Land of Israel
Foundation (sic) is buying agricultural plots in the Galilee from
Israeli Arabs and reselling them to Jews.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that prominent, veteran Arab affairs
TV commentator Ehud Yaari is joining the Shalem Center
(conservative-leaning but accommodating a wide range of political
views), where he will explore new ways to resolve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He will continue to work for Channel
2-TV.

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "One cannot
expect the Palestinian Authority to deal with those who attack Jews
when Jewish violence against Palestinians is tolerated."

Yossi Alpher, Co-Editor of the bitterlemons.org family of
Israeli-Palestinian Internet publications and former director of the
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, wrote in
the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "There are benefits to
Bush's lame-duck status, but there are also limits.... A more
intelligent and concentrated U.S. approach to the Middle East on the
part of the next administration would be welcome -- the sooner the
better."

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

I. "Too Easy on Settler Crime"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (7/9): "In the
early days of Israeli occupation in the territories, Jewish settler
leaders promised a life of 'coexistence' with the Palestinian
population, and they even employed Palestinian laborers in
construction and service jobs. In recent years, as radical elements
in the settlements and out posts have proliferated and become more
powerful, the coexistence approach often seems to make way for a
violent struggle that aims to deprive the Palestinians of their
land.... In the last four weeks, the media have reported a series of
grave incidents, most of them in the Hebron Hills area.... Most
offenses against Palestinians are not reported at all because in
many cases the victims do not bother to call the police or file a
complaint against the attackers. This is in part because cases are
usually closed, for various reasons; even those that are heard by a
court usually and in acquittal or a light sentence.... As long as
there is no political agreement on the fate of the occupied
territories, the State of Israel is responsible for the welfare of
the Palestinian population there. Just as the Defense Ministry
allocates forces and funds to protect the settlers, the Internal
Security [Police] Ministry must give the police the resources they
need to protect law-abiding Palestinian citizens. The
law-enforcement agencies, including the prosecution and the courts,
must treat Jewish criminal behavior as severely as they do
Palestinian crimes. One cannot expect the Palestinian Authority to
deal with those who attack Jews when Jewish violence against
Palestinians is tolerated."

II. "We Should Count our Blessings"

Yossi Alpher, Co-Editor of the bitterlemons.org family of
Israeli-Palestinian Internet publications and former director of the
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, wrote in
the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (7/9): "Better a
lame-duck President George W. Bush in 2008 than the president who
confronted us for the previous seven years. After all, now that
Bush is taking fewer initiatives and casting a smaller shadow over
our conflicts, it is just possible that less damage will occur and
that our leaders will free to take independent and welcome
initiatives.... This brings us to contacts with Hamas, Israeli PM
Ehud Olmert feels free to negotiate ceasefire and economic deals as
well as a prisoner exchange with the Hamas leadership without
risking Bush's condemnation or veto.... Olmert enjoys that
flexibility with regard to Syria, too. A year ago he would not have
dared go public with the Israel-Syria proximity talks held in Turkey
lest he violate U.S. policy rules.... The same things could still
happen with regard to Hamas. The Bush administration could at a
critical juncture deny Olmert or Abbas the support they need to
follow through on their current contacts with the Islamic movement.
In other words, there are benefits to Bush's lame-duck status, but
there are also limits.... A more intelligent and concentrated U.S.
approach to the Middle East on the part of the next administration
would be welcome -- the sooner the better."

--------------------------
2. U.S.-Israel Relations:
--------------------------

Summary:
--------

The ultra-Orthodox Hamodi'a editorialized: "Israel's citizens are
not keen on this government, whose actions and inaction are viewed
by the public as the result of a struggle for survival. But Israel
will continue to live through this period in its relations with the
U.S."

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

"A Piquant Trip"

The ultra-Orthodox Hamodi'a editorialized (7/8): "The upcoming visit
to the U.S. of Defense Minister Ehud Barak for meetings with the
leaders of the defense establishment in the host country points to
the nearing send of the present Presidential term... The government
of Israel enters an unusual period as regards the concretization of
the special friendship with the current U.S. administration --
exhausting positive bilateral relations vs. less positive demands by
the Israel-friendly administration. Israel's citizens are not keen
on this government, whose actions and inaction are viewed by the
public as the result of a struggle for survival. But Israel will
continue to live through this period in its relations with the
U.S."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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