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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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P 121405Z AUG 08
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RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5045
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4248
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2589
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5008
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1872
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001763

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

3. Mideast

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

Ha'aretz reported that PM Ehud Olmert has presented Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas with a detailed proposal for an agreement in
principle on borders, refugees, and security arrangements between
Israel and a future Palestinian state. The centerpiece of Olmert's
proposal is the suggested permanent border, which would be based on
an Israeli withdrawal from most of the West Bank. In return for the
land retained by Israel in the West Bank, the Palestinians would
receive alternative land in the Negev, adjacent to the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinians would also enjoy free passage between Gaza and the
West Bank without any security checks. Under Olmert's offer, Israel
would keep 7 percent of the West Bank, while the Palestinians would
receive territory equivalent to 5.5 percent of West Bank. Israel
views the passage between Gaza and the West Bank as compensating for
this difference: Though it would officially remain in Israeli hands,
it would connect the two halves of the Palestinian state. The land
to be annexed to Israel would include the large settlement blocs,
and the border would be similar to the present route of the
separation fence. Israel would keep Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion,
the settlements surrounding Jerusalem and some land in the northern
West Bank adjacent to Israel. In the second stage, once the
Palestinians complete a series of internal reforms and are capable
of carrying out the entire agreement, Israel would remove any
settlers remaining east of the new border.

Almost all media continued to lead with the fighting in Georgia.
The media cited President Bush's statement yesterday. The Jerusalem
Post reported that Russian charge d'affaires Anatoly Yurkov told the
newspaper yesterday that Russia very much appreciates the "balance"
approach that Israel has demonstrated during the current conflict.
FM Tzipi Livni told the leading Internet news site Ynet yesterday
that Israel was maintaining its friendly ties with Georgia, and also
shared with Russia a "common way of looking at things." This
morning Israel Radio reported that an El Al plane left Ben-Gurion
Airport to bring back Israelis stranded in Tbilisi. The media also
reported on the suffering of the Jews of Georgia.

Leading media cited a Defense Ministry announcement yesterday that
Israel's border crossings with Gaza will be shut today in response
to a rocket attack on southern Israel from Gaza. The rocket landed
next to a Sderot kindergarten.

Ha'aretz reported that a Palestinian who refused to vacate his
apartment in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah was
imprisoned for three weeks. The Nahalat Shimon organization is
active "judaizing" property in the area. Maariv reported that ten
days ago, west of Bethlehem, soldiers arrested a Palestinian, cuffed
him, and left him on the side of the road. The force's commander
was suspended for 21 days.

Yesterday, in an interview with Ynet, Defense Minister Ehud Barak
disparaged FM Tzipi Livni for criticizing Barak for interfering in
Kadima party affairs. Ha'aretz reported that Minister Shaul Mofaz
is drawing a "surprising" level of support in Kadima.

Israel Radio quoted Deputy Hamas Chairman Mousa Abu Marzuk as saying
in an interview with the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi that Hamas
has recently received a new Israeli offer to discuss the release of
Gilda Shalit through Qatari mediation. Abu Marzuk indicated that
Hamas will only accept understandings already reached though the
Egyptian mediator and that it will not budge from its positions.
Ha'aretz reported that yesterday senior Hamas sources confirmed that
the group is not prepared to resume talks to release Shalit as long
as Israeli does not entirely lift the siege on Gaza and does not
revoke all constraints on Israel-Gaza trade. Ha'aretz cited the
London-based Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat as saying that Egypt and Hamas are
deeply divided regarding the Shalit affair: Hamas reportedly accuses
Egypt of foot-dragging.

Leading media reported that Cabinet Secretary Oded Yehezkel was
questioned under caution for eight hours yesterday on suspicion of
fraud and breach of trust. The police interrogation focused on his
alleged role in affairs related to Olmert during his tenure as
minister of industry, trade, and labor.

Ha'aretz reported that the Civil Administration has "offered" to
move two Bedouin villages eastward -- from Israel to the West Bank.

The Jerusalem Post cited Israel's concern that Russia would sell
more advanced weaponry to Syria during President Bashar Assad's
visit to Moscow next week.

Major media reported that Hadash MK Dov Henin has announced his
candidacy for Tel Aviv mayorship, becoming incumbent Mayor Ron
Huldai's main contender.

Yediot reported that the Jerusalem Municipality is considering
extending the route of the light railway under construction to the
Old City's Dung Gate, close to the Western Wall. The newspaper also
reported that the route could include a 600-meter-long tunnel under
Mt. Zion.

Yediot reported that the Immigration Authority is recommending that
the government make use of thousands of dogs along the Egyptian
border to prevent illegal immigrant infiltration.

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

Summary:
--------

Former Ambassador to the U.S., former Minister of Foreign Affairs,
and former Minister of Defense Moshe Arens wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Tehran must be saying, we don't need a
nuclear bomb to wipe Israel off the map ... Hizbullah and Hamas
rockets will do the job much more cheaply."

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

"No Peripheral Vision"

Former Ambassador to the U.S., former Minister of Foreign Affairs,
and former Minister of Defense Moshe Arens wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/12): "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not as stupid
as he looks. His almost daily bombastic threats against Israel,
accompanied by his insistence that Iran has every right to continue
enriching uranium -- the raw material for a nuclear bomb -- has
succeeded in totally focusing most Israeli leaders on the Iranian
threat, to the disregard of more immediate threats that are under
our very nose. For some years now, most Israeli politicians have
become like horses with blinders: They can only look straight ahead.
They seem to have lost their peripheral vision. In the meantime,
Hizbullah and Hamas are doing Iran's work. In the north and the
south they continue to erode Israel's deterrent capability. Tehran

must be saying, we don't need a nuclear bomb to wipe Israel off the
map -- so long as we keep Israel hypnotized by the Iranian nuclear
threat, Hizbullah and Hamas rockets will do the job much more
cheaply.... Mofaz, like Olmert and Barak, is hypnotized by
Ahmadinejad. All he can talk about is the nuclear threat from
Iran.... And Tzipi Livni? She has only one thing in her head:
establishing a Palestinian state, which she seems to think is the
solution to all of Israel's problems. These politicians better take
the blinkers off and take a good look in all directions. Danger may
be lurking in what are to them unexpected places."

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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Gaza has no raw materials, but it does have
the most valuable resource of the 21st century: a young, energetic
population with free time -- just like Taiwan after the Chinese
civil war."

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

"The Taiwan of the Middle East"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/12): "Gaza has no raw materials, but it
does have the most valuable resource of the 21st century: a young,
energetic population with free time -- just like Taiwan after the
Chinese civil war. It is both necessary and possible to teach Gaza
residents to test and develop software at competitive prices.
High-tech exports require no physical shipping.... This idea was
presented to the World Bank's representative, but he dismissed it
scornfully. 'That's good for the long term.' That was a mistake.
The long term is a collection of short terms. What is not begun now
will never materialize in the future. The U.S. administration and
the World Bank wasted time finalizing the Agreement on Movement and
Access with Israel, which, predictably, was promptly violated. Gaza
remained with neither agriculture nor high-tech -- just shortages.
The good news is that it is not too late. If Hamas quells the
internal violence, enforces the truce with Israel and internalizes
its responsibilities toward Gaza's residents, it can build a new
economy in Gaza. But it should not waste time on agriculture; it
should train unemployed Palestinians for modern jobs and gradually
wean Gaza from its dependence on Israel for transit. This will not
end the conflict or eliminate terror. But if the distress were
eased, if Gaza residents were employed, and if the storm brewing
under the surface were calmed, that would be a huge achievement.
And should Gaza flourish, that would also give hope to Palestinians
in the West Bank. Delusional? Absurd? Look at Taiwan."

MORENO

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