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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1844/01 2341025
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211025Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8068
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 4293
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0900
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4633
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5084
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4289
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2634
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5051
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1911
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0126
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8896
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6376
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1295
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5398
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7359
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0310
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RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001844

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. Islamic Extremism

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

The Jerusalem Post reported that in an atmosphere of heightened
tensions, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called PM Ehud Olmert
yesterday to affirm the ties between the two countries. According
to Olmert's office the two leaders also talked about regional and
bilateral moves. The conversation came after Syrian President
Bashar Assad arrived in Russia yesterday for a two-day visit during
which he is seeking to purchase weapons. Leading media cited
Assad's hope that Israel's help to Georgia will work to his
advantage. Various media reported that Assad told the Russian
newspaper Kommersant that he will consider stationing Russian
missiles in his country, and that Russia's conflict with Georgia, in
which Moscow says Georgia used Israeli-supplied equipment,
underlined the need for Russia and Syria to tighten their defense
cooperation. Maariv reported that Olmert told Medvedev that
supplying advanced Russian-made weapons to Syria would upset the
balance of power in the Middle East. Maariv quoted Medvedev as
saying how important it was to Russia that Israel agree to
participate in the peace conference about the Middle East, an event
that Russia plans to hold in Moscow this coming November. The
Jerusalem Post reported that Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik announced
yesterday that she plans to send a group of MKs to examine the
situation on the ground in Georgia.

All media reported that new intelligence on Hizbullah's intentions
to abduct Israelis abroad prompted the government's counterterrorism
unit last week to issue a special warning to travelers, who were
advised to take unusual precautions.

Ha'aretz cited a poll according to which Kadima is getting stronger
(with FM Tzipi Livni at the helm) and Labor is free-falling (see
below).

Channel 10-TV reported last night that the U.S. turned down a
request by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to buy Boeing 767 aircraft,

which can be used for mid-air refueling, amid fears that the sale
would appear to support an Israeli strike on Iran.

Ha'aretz quoted Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit, a contender for
Kadima's leadership, as saying yesterday that Israel must not attack
Iran, but only defend itself if attacked. Ha'aretz reported that PM
Ehud Olmert has reportedly said in private conversations that
Sheetrit is his preferred choice to lead Kadima and the government.

Citing AP, Ha'aretz quoted the UN as saying yesterday that the
Quartet plans to meet in late September to discuss progress between
Israel and the Palestinians toward a peace agreement.

Ha'aretz quoted a diplomatic source as saying that UNIFIL Force
Commander Maj. Gen. Claudio Graziano complained last week that DM
Barak refuses to meet with him to discuss the situation along the
Lebanese border and the implementation of UN Security Council
Resolution 1701.

Yediot and other media reported on new developments in the business
dealings of DM Barak and his wife, Nili Preil. Preil closed her
consulting firm, Tauris, yesterday after Channel 10-TV alleged that
the company helped an American businessman exploit the Minister's
connections for commercial purposes.

All media reported that Israeli Shahar Zubari won an Olympic bronze
medal in the RS-X class windsurfing competition in Qingdao yesterday
-- Israel's first medal in the Games.

Ha'aretz published the results of a Dialog poll conducted on
Tuesday:

How many seats would each party take today?
Likud (under Netanyahu): 30; Kadima (Mofaz): 30; Labor (Barak): 13.
Kadima (under Livni): 28; Likud (under Netanyahu): 28; Labor
(Barak): 12.

A Ha'aretz/Dialog poll among Kadima voters found that Livni has a
good chance of securing the Kadima primaries in the first round on
September 17 by securing the required 40 percent of the vote.

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

Summary:
--------

Far-left columnist Meron Benvenisti, deputy mayor of Jerusalem from
1971 to 1978, wrote in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The
binational option is viewed by most Israelis as spelling the
destruction of their state, and by most Palestinians as the end of
their national liberation movement."

Correspondent Yaakov Lapin wrote on page one of the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "Sending an aircraft carrier to Syria
has more to do with Russia's paranoid fear of a NATO stranglehold on
Moscow that Israel's help, [Ra'anan] Gissin, [a strategic analyst
and Ariel Sharon's former spokesman] said."

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

I. "Moot Argument"

Far-left columnist Meron Benvenisti, deputy mayor of Jerusalem from
1971 to 1978, wrote in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(8/21): "The binational option is viewed by most Israelis as
spelling the destruction of their state, and by most Palestinians as
the end of their national liberation movement.... This explosive
status quo survives due to the combination of several factors:
fragmentation of the Palestinian community and incitement of the
remaining fragments against each other; enlistment of the Jewish
community into support for the occupation regime ... success of the
propaganda campaign known as 'negotiations with the Palestinians,'
which convinces many that the status quo is temporary ... the
silencing of all criticism as an expression of hatred and
anti-Semitism; and psychological repugnance toward the conclusion
that the status quo is durable and will not be easily changed. It's
not nice to admit, and it is a sad forecast, but without accepting
this conclusion and learning our lesson from it, change will not be
possible."

II. "Israel Arms Sales Won't Push Russia into Enemy Hands"

Correspondent Yaakov Lapin wrote on page one of the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (8/21): "Sending an aircraft carrier to
Syria has more to do with Russia's paranoid fear of a NATO
stranglehold on Moscow that Israel's help, [Ra'anan] Gissin, [a
strategic analyst and Ariel Sharon's former spokesman] said. The
message to the West is simple; move in on our turf and incorporate
Russia's satellite states into NATO, and Moscow will move in on an
area sensitive to the West. Gissin pointed out that Russia had
supplied Syria with weapons before becoming upset at Israel's
military aid to Georgia. If the arms sales to Damascus were driven
by economic motivation before, now they are driven by strategic
considerations, too."

----------------------
2. Islamic Extremism:
----------------------

Summary:
--------

Israeli Ambassador to Senegal Gideon Bachar wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: "As we fight against extremist organizations such
as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah, it is important for us to
remember that these organizations are outcasts in the eyes of a
great majority of Muslims around the world too."

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

"They're Not All Bin Ladin and Nasrallah"

Israeli Ambassador to Senegal Gideon Bachar wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (8/21): "Since the terror attack on the World Trade
Center, there is a growing sense among certain circles in Israel and
in the West that Islam is a perilous enemy that must be combated.
In the media and the cinema, only violent acts by radical Muslim
groups are emphasized. The truth is different: The great majority
of the 1.2 billion Muslims around the world struggle for a
livelihood, food, education and health. Politics and
inter-religious battles do not concern them. And they also want
cooperation and peace with Israel and with the Western world -- and
not a battle against them. More than half of the 57 member states
in the Organization of the Islamic Conference maintain diplomatic
ties with Israel.... The conclusion is that we must beware of
adopting a categorical approach, which views Islam as an integral
whole that is hostile towards Israel and the Jewish people. As we
fight against extremist organizations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad,
and Hizbullah, it is important for us to remember that these
organizations are outcasts in the eyes of a great majority of
Muslims around the world too. Alongside the legitimate battle for
IsraelQs security, we must focus on building bridges to the Muslim
world. The more such contacts exist, the smaller the strength of
such extremists as Iran, al-Qaida and Hamas will be. Moreover,
Israel also has a supreme interest in keeping the rivalry between
Muslims and Christians from turning into a clash of civilizations,
from which Israel can only stand to lose. The international
community should isolate extremist states, such as Iran and Syria,
and terror organizations -- whether these are Christian entities,
Muslim entities or others."

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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