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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1770/01 2261030
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131030Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7965
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 4261
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0868
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4597
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5050
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4253
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2594
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5013
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1877
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0089
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8864
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6344
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1261
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5366
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7324
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0265
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001770

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. Iran

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

Ha'aretz reported that the U.S. administration has rejected an
Israeli request for military equipment and support that would
improve Israel's ability to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
According to the newspaper, the Americans viewed the request, which
was transmitted (and rejected) at the highest level, as a sign that
Israel is in the advanced stages of preparations to attack Iran.
They therefore warned Israel against attacking, saying such a strike
would undermine American interests. They also demanded that Israel
give them prior notice if it decided to strike Iran. As
compensation for the requests it rejected, Washington offered to
improve Israel's defenses against surface-to-surface missiles.
Israel responded by saying it reserves the right to take whatever
action it deems necessary if diplomatic efforts to halt Iran's
nuclearization fail. Ha'aretz cited a report published last week by
the Washington-based Institute for Science and International
Security (ISIS) that military strikes are unlikely to destroy Iran's
centrifuge program for enriching uranium.

Leading media reported that yesterday PA President Mahmoud Abbas
rejected PM Ehud Olmert's proposal for a peace agreement in
principle under which Israel would withdraw from 93% of the West
Bank and provide free passage to and from Gaza. A detailed draft of
Olmert's proposal was made pubic yesterday in Ha'aretz. Media
quoted Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, as saying that the
Israeli proposal is Qnot acceptable" because it does not envision a
Palestinian state with geographical continuity and Jerusalem as its
capital, in contravention of international and Arab resolutions.
Abu Rudeineh said that the offer shows the Israeli side's "lack of
seriousness." Ha'aretz reported that a spokesman for Olmert, Mark
Regev, declined to comment on the content of the negotiations, but
told the German press agency DPA that "important progress" had been
made on various issues including borders. Ha'aretz quoted Likud
party whip Gideon Sa'ar as saying about Olmert's proposal that
Kadima, which ran in the elections as a centrist party, is advancing
the worldview of the Zionist left. Ha'aretz said that about 70,000
settlers in 74 settlements would have to leave their homes according
to the agreement, many of whom are likely to resist fiercely.

Major media reported that yesterday Defense Minister Ehud Barak told
IDF soldiers on the Golan that Israel is closely monitoring
Hizbullah's attempts at rearming. Media quoted Barak as saying that
the arms flow to Hizbullah could upset the balance between the IDF
and the Shi'ite organization, and that "it is no a coincidence that
we are holding a large-scale intensive exercise here."

All media highlighted the fighting in Georgia, and the cessation
thereof, as announced yesterday by Russian President Dmitry
Medvedev. The media mentioned that Yediot reporter Tzadok Yehezkeli
was seriously wounded while reporting from Gori.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Defense Minister as saying during a Labor
Party conference in Dimona yesterday that Israel will have to make
"difficult decisions" and that it will pay a "difficult price" to
secure Gilad Shalit's release.

The media reported that yesterday Finance Minister Roni Bar-On
presented the government with the choice of cutting either defense
or welfare in the 2009 budget proposal. Bar-On suggested he favored
curtailing defense expenditures. Yediot and other media reported
that the Shas and Pensioners parties threaten to quit the government
coalition over possible cuts in the budget.

The media reported that yesterday Internal Security Minister Avi
Dichter started his Kadima primary campaign and criticized
frontrunners FM Tzipi Livni and Transportation Minister Shaul
Mofaz.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the University of Southern
California's Annenberg School for Communication and the Getty
Foundation announced this week that Jerusalem Post deputy managing
editor David Brinn has been chosen to participate in their 7th
annual Arts Journalism Fellowship.

Maariv reported that yesterday old-time country-style singer Arik
Sinai declared his candidacy for Tel Aviv mayorship.

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

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "Even if is
too late now to reach an agreement, Olmert's successors would do
well to learn from his experience and advance the peace process as
soon as they take office -- not when they are about to leave it."

Washington correspondent Natasha Mozgovia wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Following the bombing in Syria and the Iraq
war, the Kremlin interprets statements by senior Americans regarding
proper rules of conduct on the international scene as pure
hypocrisy."

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

I. "Painful Historic Miss"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (8/13): "At the
dusk of his term, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is offering Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas a 'shelf agreement' on borders, refugees,
and security arrangements.... Olmert's proposal is commendable as a
basis for negotiations, even if the details are unacceptable to the
Palestinians, who seek a much smaller land swap. The problem is
that like [Ehud] Barak, Olmert has reached the critical moment too
late in his term, after losing his political and public support and
deciding to resign. Ostensibly he can now make decisions without
regard for the domestic scene, but this is an illusion.... In
foreign affairs, any delay is negative and waiting only increases
the likelihood that the negotiations will fail. Too much time was
wasted before the formula for renewing the negotiations was found
and a framework for the talks agreed upon. Even if it its too late
now to reach an agreement, Olmert's successors would do well to
learn from his experience and advance the peace process as soon as
they take office -- not when they are about to leave it."

II. "Russia Seeking a Renewed Status"

Washington correspondent Natasha Mozgovia wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/13): "Georgia is licking its wounds, but
make no mistake: When the Kremlin looks at the Georgian President,
who has become overly independent, it sees Washington behind him....
The U.S. President warned the Russians on Monday ... that Russia's
conduct was unacceptable in the 21st century. Following the bombing
in Syria and the Iraq war, the Kremlin interprets statements by


senior Americans regarding proper rules of conduct on the
international scene as pure hypocrisy."

III. "Stupor"

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized (8/13):
"All important democracies, including Israel, seem to be suffering
from weakness and even stupor.... [In] Israel ... the trend of the
political system is to delve with itself and what excites a limited
number of media and extreme organizations."

---------
2. Iran:
---------

Summary:
--------

Columnist Michael Freund, who was an assistant to former prime
minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post: "An atomic Iran, Putin realizes, would further
expose the powerlessness of the West, as well as heighten its sense
of vulnerability."

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

"From Tbilisi to Tehran"

Columnist Michael Freund, who was an assistant to former prime
minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (8/13): "If Putin sees that the West is a paper tiger
and allows Georgia to be trampled, then he likely will not hesitate
to block additional Western efforts to strip Iran of its nuclear
ambitions. An atomic Iran, Putin realizes, would further expose the
powerlessness of the West, as well as heighten its sense of
vulnerability. Consequently he may be tempted to defy the West yet
again, on an issue even closer to its heart, and in an effort to
push the envelope. The Ayatollahs know this all too well, and will
be encouraged to continue their mad drive for atomic power,
confident in the knowledge that they have little to fear. It is
therefore essential that strong and immediate measures be taken to
punish Russia for its Georgian adventure and strip it of any
illusions it may have about a lack of Western resolve.... Moscow
must be made to pay a heavy economic, political and diplomatic price
for its actions, lest it persist in causing still greater harm."

MORENO

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