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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1814/01 2311016
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181016Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8025
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 4277
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0884
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4615
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5068
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4271
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2613
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5032
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1895
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0107
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8880
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6360
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1279
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5382
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7343
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0290
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001814

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

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

Yesterday Maariv listed security arrangements that Israel has
drafted for any future final status arrangement with the
Palestinians. The Israelis would like to submit this list and to
have it endorsed by the outgoing Bush administration in such a way
so that the next U.S. president would be obliged by that
endorsement. According to the report, both John McCain and Barack
Obama told PM Ehud Olmert that they would be happy to accept such an
arrangement since it would leave them with one less problem to
address. According to the newspaper, not all the security
arrangements that Israel supposedly intends to demand are deemed
acceptable by the Palestinians. Maariv elaborates on the general
structure of the inchoate final status agreement that Olmert and PA
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas are working on. There remain differences
between the two sides over borders, the number of Palestinian
refugees who will be permitted to relocate to Israel and, of course,
Jerusalem. According to Maariv, President Bush is considering
drafting a presidential bridging proposal between the Palestinian
and Israeli positions that he could leave as his legacy for the next
administration. Maariv reported that Bush has not yet decided
whether to draft such a proposal, which is what Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice would like him to do. Maariv's Ben Caspit comments
that pro-Israel lobby groups in the U.S. were likely to oppose such
a course of presidential action. Yesterday Makor Rishon-Hatzofe
quoted senior PA official Yasser Abed Rabbo as saying that Olmert
has agreed to joint Jewish-Islamic control of Jerusalem's holy
sites.

Most media led with Iran's test-launching of a satellite (a spy or
mock satellite, depending on the media) yesterday. Experts were
quoted as saying that the system could be used to launch other
devices. Israel Radio quoted White House Deputy Press Secretary
Gordon Johndroe as saying that the launch is troubling because the
technology could be diverted to ballistic missiles -- a claim also
made by Israeli defense experts and politicians. Maariv reported
that although the launch did not impress the Israeli defense
establishment, the latter has determined that Iranian threats
against Israel have acquired a "super-status." Media cited Iran's
announcement that Iranian planes were now able to fly for 3,000 km
without refueling.

The media reported that the government, at its weekly session
yesterday, decided to release around 200 Palestinian prisoners as a
gesture to the PA. Shin Bet, Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, and
other right-wing politicians criticized the move, while Hamas
responded that this is an "attempt to strengthen the Palestinians'
internal divisions."

Yesterday The Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom quoted a spokesman of
the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv as saying yesterday that the U.S. is
concerned about the activities of Iranian terror forces in Iraq,
Lebanon, Afghanistan, and the Balkans. The information reportedly
held by the U.S. says that Iran, through Hizbullah, trains Iraqi
insurgents to strike U.S. and Iraqi government forces. The U.S.
report says that the Qods (Jerusalem) force is the Iranian regime's
primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists and
Islamic militant groups abroad.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israel Navy has been ordered to
turn back two boats carrying activists who are attempting to "break
the siege of Gaza."

Ha'aretz reported that Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman
reportedly told Khaled Mashal, the Hamas political bureau head in
Damascus, a few days ago that Hamas must stop obstructing progress
in the deal to release Shalit, and uphold its end of the
Egyptian-brokered truce with Israel. Yesterday Makor Rishon-Hatzofe
reported that Hamas officials denied reports of a demand to transfer
the issue of the Shalit case to European officials, and refute the
reports issuing from Israel that they have raised the price for the
Israeli soldier

Yesterday Israel Radio and other media reported that DM Barak met on
Saturday in Tel Aviv with Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad, and promised
him that Israel will continue to work toward lifting restrictions
for the Palestinians. Barak said that Israel would expand the Jenin
experiment to include other cities, in which the PA will strengthen
its security mechanisms, but that responsibility for security would
be in the hands of the IDF.

Yesterday, based on a story published on Saturday in the periodical
Defense News, Ha'aretz reported that the U.S. and Israel have agreed
on the deployment of high-powered, early-warning missile radars in
the Negev desert, to be manned by U.S. military personnel. The
radars, known as X-Band, will be linked to a U.S. satellite-based
alert network. A spokesman for the Pentagon's Missile Defense
Agency (MDA) was quoted as saying that the new system could double
or even triple the missiles' range of identification, which would be
particularly useful should Iran launch an attack on Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday far-right groups vowed to
block a recent compromise deal supported by the Yesha Council of
Jewish Settlements in the Territories, whereby the unauthorized
Migron outpost will be relocated to new construction in an
authorized settlement nearby.

Yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported that an independent monitoring
group in Lebanon -- the International-Lebanese Committee for UN
Security Council Resolution 1559 -- has disputed a claim made by
Maj. Gen. Claudio Graziano, the commander of UNIFIL, that Hizbullah
has honored UN Security Council, and that it called the UN forces
"hostages of Hizbullah." The daily reported that on Friday Dan
Carmon, acting head of the Israeli delegation to the UN, reprimanded
Graziano during a personal meeting for ignoring Hizbullah
violations.

All media reported that yesterday an estimated 5,000 Ethiopian
Israelis demonstrated outside the Prime Minister's Office in
Jerusalem to protest against the government's decision to end
immigration from Ethiopia as 8,700 Falash Mura -- Ethiopians whose
Jewish ancestors converted to Christianity -- remain in rundown
camps in northern Ethiopia.

Major media reported that yesterday at the cabinet meeting, Olmert
lashed out at Defense Minister Ehud Barak, accusing him of blocking
any meaningful discussion on military matters. Channel 10-TV
reported that Barak's wife, Nili Priel, has offered business
encounters with public opinion leaders. Priel denied that Barak was
connected with her business.

Leading media reported that a Qassam rocket fired from central Gaza
landed yesterday in an open area in the western Negev. Since the
start of the cease=fire between Israel and Hamas on June 19, over 20
Qassam rockets have been fired and some 20 mortar rounds. Ha'aretz
reported that the Defense Ministry intends to open the Kerem Shalom
crossing this week. Ha'aretz reported that there are no school
supplies in Gaza.


Yesterday IDF Radio reported that the Civil Administration in the
territories has issued approval for a "U.S. agency" to resurface
eight roads in Judea and Samaria, under full Israeli sovereignty.
The cost of the work is estimated at USD 36 million.

Yesterday Israel Hayom quoted informed sources in the police as
saying that the Israeli authorities took into account from the
outset the possibility that the U.S. tax authorities might launch an
investigation into possible wrongdoing by Talansky and that as a
result he would refuse to return to Israel for cross-examination.

The Jerusalem Post reported that although Egypt is still considered
the leading mediator between Hamas and Fatah, reports indicate that
Yemen, Jordan, and Qatar have also joined the efforts.

Channel 10-TV reported that FM Tzipi Livni has helped chief
Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei obtain an Israeli ID card for his
daughter. Ha'aretz cited a denial by Qurei associates that she
received the document.

Ha'aretz reported that yesterday a small group of students from Tel
Avi University hosted a mock regional peace summit based on the Arab
Peace Initiative. Ha'aretz quoted one of the organizers, Omer
Pines, as saying that the army allowed in only three of the five
invited Palestinian students.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Harvard University has agreed to
digitize the Israel Broadcasting Authority archives.

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

Summary:
--------

Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote on page one of the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "It will no longer be
possible to halt this enormous Iranian project by bombing one
installation or another.... Only heavy international pressure can,
perhaps, divert it from its course."

Yoav Limor, the military correspondent of Israel TV, wrote on page
one of the independent Israel Hayom: "Iran wants to make it clear
to [the decision-makers in the West] that this train can no longer
be halted: it is determined to join the small space club.... And if
everything goes according to Khamenei or Ahmadinejad's plan, by then
Iran should already also be a nuclear superpower, a power that will
try to change the order in the Middle East."

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

I. "An Attack Will No Longer Help"

Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote on page one of the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (8/18): "It's not
specifically the new toy Iranian satellite that worries IsraelQs
security experts. What is a lot more troubling is that this 'space
show' revealed another piece of the enormous puzzle that composes
the strategic threat that is being built against us.... The novelty
is in the fact that the Iranians don't stop for a moment the
construction of the strategic threat. If international pressure
leads to a temporary halt in one sphere, for example, the
development of a nuclear warhead -- as the Americans claim -- then
they invest, at an accelerated pace, in other spheres. In
satellites, for example, which is a completely legitimate sphere, or
in a less legitimate sphere -- uranium enrichment. After all, in
the end, all these spheres will converge into one. But the Western
world -- stuck in a sort of repression or insane denial -- doesn't
really believe that this will happen. It will no longer be possible
to halt this enormous Iranian project by bombing one installation or
another. In Baghdad, in the early 1980s, there was one reactor that
Iraq received from France. The moment it was destroyed, the project
was destroyed. In this case, there is a monster that is being built
right in front of our eyes and the eyes of the world. Only heavy
international pressure can, perhaps, divert it from its course."

II. "They Want to Be a Superpower"

Yoav Limor, the military correspondent of Israel TV, wrote on page
one of the independent Israel Hayom (8/18): "Iran again made it
clear yesterday where it's headed: to being a leading regional
superpower, one that cannot be ignored, a power that has the atom
bomb and that goes into space, against its most hated enemy --
Israel. The path to realizing these aspirations is long, but let
there be no confusion. Iran is following a clear path, with
determination and force, and ultimately, it will also reach its
goal. Three years ago it launched the first satellite of its own
making, but then the launcher was Russian; yesterday before dawn it
took another step forward, and carried out the first all-Iranian
launch.... Since Israel is already threatened by the Shihab
[missile], this message is mainly intended for the decision-makers
in the West, those who are about to decide on the matter of
intensifying the sanctions on Tehran. Iran wants to make it clear
to them that this train can no longer be halted: it is determined to
join the small space club, and it has an orderly space program that
corresponds to its intentions, a plan that when it is completed --
in about 2015 -- it will launch into space the first Iranian
espionage satellite. And if everything goes according to Khamenei
or Ahmadinejad's plan, by then Iran should already also be a nuclear
superpower, a power that will try to change the order in the Middle
East. That is the real (double) challenge that yesterday's launch
poses to the world, which, in the meantime, continues to ignore all
the Iranian writing on the wall."

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "Israel's
relationship with the Palestinian Authority and its leaders is very
fragile.... Releasing the prisoners is a bearable price."

Ha'aretz editorialized: "[The unauthorized outpost of] Migron is no
more legal or illegal than [the veteran settlement of] Ofra, located
beside it."

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

I. "A Bearable Price"


The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (8/18): "The
[upcoming] prisoners' release is meant to buttress the shaky reign
of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian
public, in Gaza and especially in the West Bank, is weighing the
accomplishments and failures of Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister
Salam Fayyad and comparing them to those of Hamas since it forcibly
took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007. So far, however, Abbas has
not managed to demonstrate to his people that his way, which favors
compromise with Israel, has led to better results than Hamas'
violence in Gaza (and Hizbullah's violence along the northern
border). Abbas will not be able to bring his people significant
Israeli concessions on borders, the refugees or Jerusalem by the end
of Olmert's time in office. The horizon of a diplomatic solution
may not be growing more distant, but it certainly continues to be
out of reach.
Commuting the sentences of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons is a
tangible asset that Israel can give to Abbas.... Israel's
relationship with the Palestinian Authority and its leaders is very
fragile. Every effort should be made to avoid slipping into another
round of violence and to ensure that Abbas and Fayyad do not lose
all remaining control over the radical elements on their side. For
this purpose, releasing the prisoners is a bearable price."

II. "Ofra First"

Ha'aretz editorialized (8/17): "At present we are witnessing the
final days of yet another government that failed to promote a
political solution. Moving a few homes from Migron does not absolve
it from its historic miss. Another government that held peace talks
is gasping its final breaths. The next government that takes its
place will find itself faced with more settlers on the same patch of
land that is slated for partition, whether they reside in Migron or
in another settlement. Migron is no more legal or illegal than
Ofra, located beside it.... Circumstances in the West Bank are
conspiring to create one state with greater rights for Jews.
Partition is becoming impossible to implement. This is the future
toward which the Israeli public -- both right and left -- is
marching while it obsesses over a caravan in Migron."

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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