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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #1933/01 2390523
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P 260523Z AUG 08
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RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5100
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4305
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2651
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1927
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RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8912
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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

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank, August 25-26, 2008

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

Leading media reported on the arrival of Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice in Israel yesterday. The Jerusalem Post reported
that Rice indicated that she had abandoned hope of getting the
Israelis and Palestinians to produce a document before the
mid-September UN General Assembly that would codify points of
agreement. Israel Radio reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak
clarified to her that he is not ruling out any option to prevent
Iran from going nuclear. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe cited the belief of
GOI officials that, contrary to other members of the U.S.
administration, Secretary Rice has not yet despaired of reaching a
framework agreement before the end of President Bush's term.

Ha'aretz, The Jerusalem Post, and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe highlighted a
statement by Barack Obama yesterday that the world must increase
pressure on Iran over its nuclear program before Israel feels it has
its "back on the wall."

Leading media reported that DM Barak will go to Egypt this morning
for a working visit with an agenda that will include the
Egyptian-mediated talks with Hamas on a prisoner exchange for Gilad
Shalit. Barak will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak,
Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi, and Intelligence Minister Omar
Suleiman. Other topics of discussion will include the truce with
Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the battle against arms smuggling into
Gaza. Deputy DM Matan Vilnai, who will accompany Barak to Egypt,
told Ha'aretz that Israel ascribes great importance to its ties with
Egypt and to Cairo's efforts to keep the Gaza border quiet.
However, he acknowledged that no real progress has been made on a
deal for Shalit. The Jerusalem Post reported that senior Israeli
security officials told the newspaper that while Egyptian efforts to
stop weapon smuggling into Gaza have increased in recent weeks,
Hamas is still continuing the illegal operations at a rapid pace.

Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post cited Peace Now's claim in its
semi-annual report that more than 2,600 housing units are under
construction in West Bank settlement. The report also addresses

construction over the Green Line within Jerusalem's municipal
boundaries, as East Jerusalem saw an increase in tenders for
construction of housing units to 46 this year, from 38 during
January-May 2007. Ha'aretz quoted Peace Now Director Yariv
Oppenheimer as saying: "Israel is erasing the Green Line through
intensive construction intended to create territorial continuity
between settlement blocs and isolated settlements in the heart of
the West Bank, with this construction approaching Palestinian cities
such as Bethlehem and Ramallah."

Ha'aretz cited a report submitted to UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon yesterday by a task force he appointed to study the issue,
according to which Lebanon's eastern border with Syria is wide open
to smugglers. The report harshly criticizes both Lebanon and Syria,
saying there has been no improvement over the past year despite
promises by both countries to study the issue.

All media reported that yesterday the IAF moved its transport and
refueling aircraft to a new base in the Negev.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the former head of the
International Section of the State Attorney's Office, Irit Kahn,
told the newspaper yesterday that it was unlikely that U.S.
prosecutors would grant immunity to Morris Talansky.

Ha'aretz reported that seven Palestinians from the Shuafat refugee
camp in northeastern Jerusalem were arrested two weeks ago on
suspicion of operating a Palestinian police unit in the city.

Ha'aretz wrote that defense chiefs lost their war over the budget.
However, Globes believes that the crucial battle for the budget will
be fought in the Knesset.

Leading media reported that yesterday Bank of Israel Governor
Stanley Fischer announced the increase of the bank's benchmark rate
by 25 basis points, to 4.25%. The move widens the interest-rate gap
between Israel and the U.S. federal funds rate to 2.25%.

Ha'aretz reported that the Ofer family firm Israel Corporation had a
brilliant second quarter, thanks to Israel Chemicals. Israel
Corporation's net soared by 319% year over year in the second
quarter, to $268 million.

Ha'aretz reported that yesterday Yoram Elal, an Israeli who has been
living in Brazil for the past two years and is believed to be one of
the key figures in the Abergil crime organization, denied having
either joined the FBI's witness protection program or testified
against alleged Israeli kingpin Yitzhak Abergil.

------------------------
Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank, August 25-26, 2008:
------------------------

Summary:
--------

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The Prime Minister learned from Ariel Sharon
the shortest way to neutralize the State Department."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (8/26):
"[Mahmoud] Abbas could have used a Ramallah ceremony welcoming the
[released Palestinian prisoners] to talk about reconciliation....
[At least] it is sobering to remind ourselves that Abbas reflects
the most moderate of Palestinian opinion."

Yoav Shurek wrote in the editorial of the nationalist, Orthodox
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe: "At such a time, when the Prime Minster lacks
any public credit for making decisions, all diplomatic processes
must clearly be stopped -- in a sign of respect for issues under
debate and the voter's future decisions."

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in Ha'aretz:
"Kadima members will be voting like a herd on September 17, without
comprehending the nuances and without really knowing who would make
a better party chairman or candidate for prime minister."

Prominent lawyer Shlomo Cohen wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Self-control in the face of Iranian
nuclearization may place the region in a new frame of 'MAD-style'
self-restraint."

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

I. Caution: There Is No Partner II""

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/26): "In the last two weeks, when it was
discovered that the plan to produce an instant [principles of a
final status] document was not proceeding as planned, there has been
growing concern among the Palestinians that Olmert has decided to
repeat Ehud Barak's Camp David move and roll the blame onto them, in
something that could be called 'There Is No Partner II.'
Publication of the Olmert outline on the front page of Ha'aretz two
weeks ago intensified this concern.... The U.S. Secretary of State,
Condoleezza Rice, arrived yesterday in Jerusalem in an attempt,
perhaps a last one, to bridge between Olmert's desire to release a
memorandum of understanding and Abu Mazen's concern that bypassing
such a central issue as Jerusalem will be perceived by his rivals as
consent to delaying the discussion until an unknown date. Olmert
has already managed to repel a proposal from Rice to note in
parentheses, next to the sections on topics about which there are no
understandings, the positions of the two parties. The Prime
Minister learned from Ariel Sharon the shortest way to neutralize
the State Department. One phone call to the office of Vice
President Dick Cheney and the matter is closed. If this method does
not pan out, then President George W. Bush will also follow in the
footsteps of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, who blamed the 2000
version of failure on Yasser Arafat, and attribute blame for the
failure of the 2008 model onto Abu Mazen. 'There Is No Partner I'
was the signal for the second Intifada. It is no wonder that in the
territories they are talking about a third Intifada."

II. ""'Unparalleled Cruelty'"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (8/26):
"[Mahmoud] Abbas could have used a Ramallah ceremony welcoming the
[released Palestinian prisoners] to talk about reconciliation; to
say that the sooner the 60-year-plus war against the Zionist
enterprise was halted and a two-state solution accepted by the
Arabs, the sooner many more prisoners would be released. He could
have mentioned Shalit, if only on humanitarian grounds. Instead
Abbas told the crowd: 'We will not rest until [all] the prisoners
are freed and the jails are empty," specifically citing Marwan
Barghouti, serving five consecutive life terms for murder; Ahmed
Saadat, imprisoned for the assassination of cabinet minister Rehavam
Zeevi; and Aziz Duaik, a Hamas politician taken into custody in
response to Shalit's abduction. It is sobering to remind ourselves
that Abbas reflects the most moderate of Palestinian opinion."

III. "Galloping to 'Diplomatic Achievements"

Yoav Shurek wrote in the editorial of the nationalist, Orthodox
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe (8/26): "Since the collapse of the Oslo
process, Israel's leaders have been infected with the folly of swift
decisions.... Ehud Olmert, the political dead horse, insists on
advancing the 'shelf agreement' with the Palestinians and the
negotiations with Syria, as if nobody after would be capable of
dealing with these crucial issues. The working assumption behind
all this is that time works at Israel's expense.... Today it is
difficult to imagine Israel without security guards, without fear,
and without the rebelliousness of the Israeli Arabs -- but this is
how it was during the great rush to the 'diplomatic achievement.'
At such a time, when the Prime Minster lacks any public credit for
making decisions, all diplomatic processes must clearly be stopped
-- in a sign of respect for issues under debate and the voter's
future decisions."

IV. "Polls Apart"

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in Ha'aretz
(8/26): "Kadima voters have no idea what the [primary] contest is
about..... In the end, Kadima members will be voting like a herd on
September 17, without comprehending the nuances and without really
knowing who would make a better party chairman or candidate for
prime minister. The surveys, instead of providing a picture of the
situation, have become a weapon. Netanyahu, for instance, made it
clear that he will not join a national unity government. Why?
Because the surveys show that doing so could lose him his position
as head of the opposition, with the Likud's measly 12 seats.... So
the question becomes: Is it good for the country, or is it good for
Bibi's ego? Ehud Barak's problem, according to the surveys, is that
people have faith in him as defense minister, but not as prime
minister. His aides claim that the surveys do not reflect reality
but create it. In fact, they remind us that Barak is not an easy
person to love, and that his arrogance and inability to get along
with others has put a damper on his comeback."

V. "Living with the Bomb"

Prominent lawyer Shlomo Cohen wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (8/26): "The short history of weapons of
mass destruction teaches one that exclusive possession of those
brought about its use, while mutuality brought about calm....
Self-control in the face of Iranian nuclearization may place the
region in a new frame of 'MAD-style' self-restraint. Such a
development would also increase the importance of conventional
military capabilities in which Israel possesses a considerable edge
over all other factors in the region."

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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