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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1806/01 2281122
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151122Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8012
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
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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 4271
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0878
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4609
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5062
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4265
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2606
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5025
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1889
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0101
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8874
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6354
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1273
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5376
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7336
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0283
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RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001806

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. Georgia

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

Israel Radio quoted UNIFIL Force Commander Maj. Gen. Claudio
Graziano as saying that Israel violated UN Security Council
Resolution 1701 in at least three areas: overflights of Lebanon; the
conflicts outside of Ghajar, which straddles the Israeli- Lebanese
border; and through the issue of cluster bombs. Graziano said that
Hizbullah's weapons smuggling did not constitute a violation, since
the State of Lebanon has not formally complained about it. Leading
media quoted Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah as saying
yesterday evening, in a speech marking two years since the end of
the Second Lebanon War, that Israel's defense minister and army
chief's "failures" in the past meant they did not scare his Lebanese
militant organization today. He was also quoted as saying that
Israel exported failed generals to train the Georgian army,
referring to Brig. Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch, who resigned his command
after the Second Lebanon War. Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post
quoted Syrian FM Walid Muallem as saying that his country will not
define a border at the Sheba Farms before they are liberated. The
Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli diplomatic officials that Syria's
announcement on the Sheba Farms is an obvious attempt to keep the
issue alive and give Hizbullah a continued justification for its
existence.

The Jerusalem Post and other major media reported that yesterday the
state informed the High Court of Justice that the leaders of the
settlement movement in the West Bank will choose a new site for the
unauthorized outpost of Migron of Migron within 30 days and build
permanent housing there for the Migron settlers. Leading media
reported that some key Religious Zionist leaders support the
relocation of the unauthorized outpost of Migron. Speaking on
Israel Radio this morning Talia Sasson, who published a report in
March 2005 on unauthorized outposts, said that she cannot support
anything involving Migron, which she said was built on Palestinian
land. The Jerusalem Post commented that in order to legalize
outposts, the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements in the Territories
has shifted the language from "evacuation," with all the implied
visions of IDF soldiers forcibly pulling families away from their
homes, to a "voluntary removal," to "moving" the outposts, and
finally to "legalized construction."

Ha'aretz reported that police, soldiers and military officers prefer
to "turn the other cheek" instead of handling incidents in which
settlers attack Palestinians in the West Bank. In a meeting held by
West Bank precinct operations officer Ronen Yefet last week,
participants -- including a Shin Bet representative and senior
police and army officers -- reported a recent increase in the number
of violent incidents involving settlers. In the first half of
2008, particularly in the Samaria (northern West Bank) and Binyamin
(north of Jerusalem) districts, there has been an increase in
"disturbances of the peace" -- the term used for harm caused by
Israeli citizens to Palestinians and their property, as well as harm
to Israeli security forces. Data presented in the meeting indicated
that there were 429 such incidents in the first half of this year,
compared with 587 incidents in all of 2006 and 551 in 2007."

All major media reported that yesterday Morris Talansky announced
that he will not return to Israel for the August 31 continuation of
a corruption probe into PM Ehud Olmert. Media quoted Olmert's
associates as saying that this is evidence of the TalanskyQs
unreliability. Leading media quoted Talansky's U.S. lawyers,
Bradley D. Simon and Neal M. Sher, as saying that Talansky's choice
stems from their client's desire not to incriminate himself in a
grand jury investigation being conducted against him in a New York
court. Ha'aretz quoted one of Talansky's Israeli attorneys,
Yehoshua Reznik, as saying that it was State Prosecutor Moshe
Lador's duty to defend Talansky from the legal proceedings against
him in the U.S. He said that the prosecution must make it clear to
the Americans that Talansky was promised that no harm would befall
him if he testified in Israel.

Maariv quoted sources associated with the negotiations to release
Gilad Shalit as saying that Egyptian intelligence head Omar Suleiman
is determined to conclude the deal within three months. However,
Maariv reported that Hamas is toughening its stand and is looking
for a new mediator. The Jerusalem Post quoted a Hamas official in
Gaza as saying that the Egyptian government has informed Hamas that
it will not reopen the Rafah border crossing until the movement
releases Shalit. Yediot reported that Israel is to release 200
Palestinian prisoners, including two with "blood on their hands," as
a good will gesture to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The government
is expected to approve the decision at Sunday's cabinet meeting.


Ha'aretz cited the Prie Minister's Office's denial yesterday of a
Ha'aetz report that Olmert has proposed to Abbas that Irael will
take in 20,000 Palestinian refugees.
The Jerusalem Post reported that hours before deprting for Turkey
yesterday, in an interview withTurkey's NTV-TV and CNN Turk
channels, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a "vicious"
verbal attack against Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported that
Israeli diplomatic officials, who relayed their disappointment to
Ankara last week at the invitation extended to Ahmadinejad, said
that Israel's Ambassador to Turkey, Gabi Levy, would again raise the
issue with Ankara in light of Ahmadinejad's latest comments.

The Jerusalem Post reported that former Israeli ambassador to
Washington Danny Ayalon told the daily yesterday that former
Egyptian ambassador Muhammad Bassiouny took part in espionage
activities against Israel during his 18-year-term. Ayalon was
quoted as saying that Bassiouny overstepped the bounds of the normal
information-gathering carried out by all ambassadors, and strayed
into spying.

Yediot cited new statistics released yesterday by the GOI's Central
Bureau of Statistics that show that in 2006, 22,400 people emigrated
from Israel -- more than the number of new immigrants who came to
Israel that year.

The Jerusalem Post reported that researchers from the Weizmann
Institute, the University of Maryland, and NASA have created the
first analytical model to assess soot's effect on the climate.

The Jerusalem Post cited the results of a Smith Research Poll among
registered Kadima members: 48% said they would support Livni, 38%
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, 10% Internal Security Minister
Avi Dichter, and 5% Interior Minster Meir Sheetrit.

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

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Israel
needs to define, finally, the boundaries of the Jewish state in the
context of its vision for a viable two-state solution -- and to
place the onus for failing to achieve 'two states for two peoples'
squarely where it belongs on 100 years of Palestinian
intransigence."

University of Haifa Law Professor Emmanuel Gross wrote in the
popular, pluralist Maariv: "Talansky's failure to arrive in Israel
to complete his cross-examination may detract from the weight of his
testimony, but this does not invalidate the proceedings to this
point."

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized: "Livni
has demonstrated helplessness regarding Israel's status. She has
neither the proper personal nor intellectual qualifications to shift
the current."

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

I. "Boundaries for Israel"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (8/15):
"Beyond the intriguing question of why the story of [Olmert's
comprehensive offer to the Palestinians] was leaked by the Israeli
side, what impresses is how faithfully and unwaveringly [Palestinian
spokesmen] Erekat and Abu Rudeineh adhere to the Palestinian line.
They demand an Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 boundaries;
territorial contiguity; the 'right of return'; Jerusalem as their
capital and the removal of all Jewish communities beyond the 1949
Armistice Lines. By contrast, to this day Israel has yet to
officially declare which territories it insists on retaining in any
deal with the Palestinians. This black hole in Israeli diplomacy
explains why international public opinion believed, wrongly, that
Israel should be, and even would be, prepared to withdraw to the
1967 'borders' assuming the details can be worked out. It will be
an uphill battle to disabuse the world of the notion that Israel can
safely return to the indefensible 1949 Armistice Lines -- and to
make a clear and unequivocal case for the borders the Jewish state
can live with.... That's why Israel needs to define, finally, the
boundaries of the Jewish state in the context of its vision for a
viable two-state solution -- and to place the onus for failing to
achieve 'two states for two peoples' squarely where it belongs on
100 years of Palestinian intransigence."

II. "Small Chance of Deal with the Americans"

University of Haifa Law Professor Emmanuel Gross wrote in the
popular, pluralist Maariv (8/15): "Morris Talansky's dramatic
announcement that at the present stage, he does not intend to return
to Israel at the end of the month to complete his cross-examination
by Ehud Olmert's attorneys, raises a number of legal questions,
first and foremost: How does this affect the preliminary testimony?
Will it now be impossible to use the parts of the preliminary
testimony that have already been given? The answer that the Israeli
law gives is simple: The ability to use the testimony of a person
who has been questioned in a preliminary examination is not
contingent on the fact that the suspect or defendant has been given
an opportunity to be cross-examined.... In summary, Talansky's
failure to arrive in Israel to complete his cross-examination may
detract from the weight of his testimony, but this does not
invalidate the proceedings to this point. Moreover, those who
criticized the state attorney for hurrying to request a preliminary
testimony for fear that the witness would not show up, now
understand the state attorney's concern and the justification for
the decision."

III. "Too Meek for the Role"

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized (8/15):
"Barak is focusing on one of Livni's failures..... He does not count
her other biggest ones in Israeli foreign policy: Israel's
deportment on the Iranian issue; the sole preoccupation with nightly
negotiations with Abu Ala on the Palestinian issue; and Israel's
diminishing status in the world, as some circles begin to question
the legitimacy of Israel's existence as a state.... Livni has
demonstrated helplessness regarding Israel's status. She has
neither the proper personal nor intellectual qualifications to shift
the current."

------------
2. Georgia:
------------

Summary:
--------

Dr. Brenda Shaffer, a lecturer on Central Asia and the Caucasus
region at the University of Haifa, wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/15): "Unless the U.S. makes a significant
move soon, it (and Israel) will lose credibility among numerous
states in the post-Soviet region and beyond."

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

"It's a Short Way from Tbilisi to Jerusalem"

Dr. Brenda Shaffer, a lecturer on Central Asia and the Caucasus
region at the University of Haifa, wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/15): "Unless the U.S. makes a significant
move soon, it (and Israel) will lose credibility among numerous
states in the post-Soviet region and beyond.... Israel could -- and
still can do more -- for its ally Georgia, even without affecting
its relations with Moscow. Georgia needs massive humanitarian aid,
airborne medical teams and declarations by President Shimon Peres.
Israel is always demanding that Europe 'do the right thing' -- give
up large economic deals in the Middle East and expose itself to
terror and the Iranian threat, in order to prevent harming Israel's
security. By sitting on the fence when Georgia is under attack,
Israel is undermining the legitimacy of these requests. To
Jerusalem's credit it must be said that at the beginning of the
crisis it (together with the Conference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organizations) declared recognition of Georgia's
right to preserve its territorial integrity, this implies the
separatist areas South Ossetia and Abkhazia as well"

MORENO

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