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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #1503/01 1931022
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P 111022Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7490
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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0733
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4421
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4904
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4118
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2419
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4875
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1732
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2179
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8721
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001503

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


3. U.S. Presidential Elections

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

All media highlighted the renewed questioning by the police of PM
Ehud Olmert today about the hundreds of thousands of dollars he
allegedly received over 15 years from Jewish-American millionaire
Morris Talansky. Ha'aretz quoted a police source as saying
yesterday that the allegations are extremely serious and that an
ordinary citizen would have been arrested by now had such
accusations been leveled. Olmert's associates accused the police of
turning the case into a "personal campaign" against the Prime
Minister, suggesting that Olmert would not be treated fairly during
the interview. Media quoted cabinet ministers from Kadima --
including Vice PM Haim Ramon, considered a confidant of Olmert -- as
saying that the winner of September's party primaries will
immediately begin putting together a new government. Olmert had
hoped to create a situation that would preclude the formation of an
alternative government as long as he is still prime minister.

The media reported that the prisoner exchange with Hizbullah is set
to take place Wednesday or Thursday, at the Rosh Hanikra
Israel-Lebanon border crossing. Yediot reported that in addition to
receiving from Hizbullah a report about the fate of MIA Ron Arad,
Israel will also get letters he wrote.

Ha'aretz cited the belief of senior defense officials that Israel
should resume diplomatic pressure to halt Syrian weapon transfers to
Hizbullah. Leading media quoted Dense Minister Ehud Barak as saying
that Hizbullah's missiles cover most of Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that during his upcoming visit to the
U.S., Defense Minister Ehud Barak will tell President Bush that time
is running out on thwarting Iran. Ha'aretz quoted sources in
Jerusalem as saying this week that official representatives of an
Arab country have hinted in meetings with Israeli officials that
they would not oppose an Israeli military operation against Iran.
According to the sources, the representatives of the Arab country
said they are worried by Iran's growing influence in the region,
primarily among Shi'ite communities in Arab states. Defense
Minister Barak hinted yesterday that Israel would be willing to
attack Iran when he said that "Israel is the strongest country in
the region and has proved in the past that it is not deterred from
activity when there is concern that its vital interests could be
harmed." Leading media quoted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
as saying that that the U.S. will stand by Israel as it faces the
Iranian threat.

Major media featured the CAEW spy plane, which could be used in an
Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, which became
operational in February and was put on display yesterday. The CAEW
is Israel's most sophisticated airborne early warning and control
aircraft. Maariv reported that Russia will sell Syria missiles
because it has not yet received Israel's agreement to hold a Mideast
conference in Moscow.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad as saying that
Israel is "humiliating" the Palestinians by raiding Hamas-owned
businesses.

The Jerusalem Post reported that "U.S. visa officials" drove to the
Gaza border yesterday to meet with three Fulbright scholars from the
territory.

Ha'aretz and other media reported that yesterday militants in Gaza
fired Qassam rockets at the western Negev, hours after IDF troops
shot to death a Palestinian militant along the Israel-Gaza border.
Israel Radio reported that an IDF officer was moderately wounded and
an Israeli civilian was lightly wounded in a shooting incident near
Qalqilya when a Palestinian terrorist fired upon an Israeli car near
the village of Der Iskiya. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that
current Hamas instructor Fares Al-Hashi was trained in the U.S. by
the CIA at the time he served in the PA's Force 17.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli Rabbi David Rosen aims to
improve Muslim-Jewish ties at next week's Saudi-sponsored interfaith
conference in Madrid.

Yediot presented the results of a Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute) poll
conducted among registered Kadima members:
Q: If the Kadima party primary were held today, for whom would you
vote? (The number in parenthesis refers to a previous poll on June
26:
Ehud Olmert: 18% (22%); Tzipi Livni: 37% (31%); Shaul Mofaz: 22%;
Avi Dichter: 10%; Meir Sheetrit: 9%.
Q: If Olmert doesnQt run in the party primary, for whom will you
vote?
Tzipi Livni: 41%; Shaul Mofaz: 30%; Avi Dichter: 12%; Meir Sheetrit:
12%
Q: If Olmert succeeds in significantly refuting the suspicions
against him in the Talansky affair, for whom will you vote?
Ehud Olmert: 30%; Tzipi Livni: 29%; Shaul Mofaz:21%; Avi Dichter:
8%; Meir Sheetrit: 8%
Q: Is it right that Olmert run in the party primary?
Yes: 38%; No: 57%
Q: Should Olmert resign as prime minister and vacate his position to
whoever is elected in the party primary?
Yes: 79%; No: 17%

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

Summary:
--------

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "It is unlikely that Israel has the
ability to attack Iran. It is unlikely that Iran has the ability to
retaliate."

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

"Transition Government"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (7/11): "Israel and Iran exchange war
threats, with a little help from all sorts of American spokespeople.
It is unlikely that Israel has the ability to attack Iran. It is
unlikely that Iran has the ability to retaliate. Judging by
Olmert's, Barak's. and Livni's political conduct, none of them is
preparing an Israeli military strike on Iran. After all, the three
of them know that a military strike would turn the Middle East
upside down, put off the primary, cancel the prisoner exchange deal,
and generate a security and economic earthquake. In that case,
they're not interested. In the first Gulf War, Saddam's Scuds hit a
few places in Israel. The defense minister at the time, Moshe
Arens, demanded action. Arens thought that those who are attacked
should respond. He did not ask if the IDF had the actual ability to
paralyze the sources of fire. Maybe the time has come for this
question to be asked in reference to an Israeli strike on Iran."

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "It would be
appropriate for Olmert to take a long vacation starting now, until a
decision is made on an indictment."

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

"Who Will Run the Country?"


The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (9/11): "A line
can be drawn between Olmert's response to the Winograd Commission
examining the conduct of the Second Lebanon War and his behavior in
the criminal cases under investigation. Both two years ago and now,
he does not feel he owes the public an explanation. At the same
time, he dismisses all criticism as persecution.... The Kadima
primary will be held in late September. Whether or not Olmert
competes, that is too long to wait to replace the prime minister.
The Labor Party has decided that if a different chairman is not
elected to lead Kadima in September it will push for a new general
election. All of that might be convenient for politicians, but it
will not satisfy anyone who cares about good government. It would
be appropriate for Olmert to take a long vacation starting now,
until a decision is made on an indictment. It is logical to assume
that someone facing criminal charges, who is being questioned and
cross-examined week after week, who will almost certainly be called
to a hearing and asked to present a defense, needs a great deal of
time to attend to these things without being bothered by affairs of
state."

--------------------------------
3. U.S. Presidential Elections:

--------------------------------

Summary:
--------

Columnist Ari Shavit wrote from Aspen, Colorado, in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The real problem is not Iraq. The problem
is [the economic condition] of America."

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

"The End of the American Century"

Columnist Ari Shavit wrote from Aspen, Colorado, in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (7/11): "The real problem is not Iraq. The
problem is America. The problem is that 80 percent of Americans
believe that their country is on the wrong track, and 75 percent do
not believe that the economic situation next summer will be better
than it is now.... The problem is that the budget deficit is out of
control, the national debt is irreparable and the dollar is
worthless. Something about the way the Americans do things is not
working. Something is not as it used to be."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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