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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0978
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4724
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5161
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4373
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2731
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5133
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1994
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0216
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8974
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6454
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1378
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5476
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002072

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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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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Kadima leadership candidate Shaul Mofaz was quoted as saying in an
interview with Maariv that if he were elected PM, he would resume
targeted assassinations against Hamas. The Jerusalem Post reported
that FM Tzipi wrote in a letter to 70,000 Kadima members that she
will work to sign a final-status agreement with the PA if she wins
next Wednesday's Kadima primary. In a parallel interview to Mofaz's
with Maariv, Livni said that all options are open regarding a
response to Iran. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted chief Palestinian
negotiator Ahmed Qurei as saying that Livni's stances are good for
the Palestinians but that it would be better for the Palestinians'
sake not to talk about them. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe also reported
that a "senior Palestinian official" told the London-based Al-Hayat
that the Palestinians are satisfied with "new ideas" presented by
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Israel Radio quoted Syrian FM Walid Muallem as saying in an
interview with Aljazeera-TV that Damascus has agreed with Paris that
France will sponsor the Israeli-Syrian talks, together with Turkey
and Russia. Muallem was quoted as saying that the U.S. is not yet
prepared to place the negotiations under its auspices.

Ha'aretz reported that Russian-born businessman Arkady Gaidamak is
expected to give up on plans to run for mayor of Jerusalem after
former Shas chairman Aryeh Deri announced on Tuesday he is running
for the same post. Even though Gaidamak has not made a final
decision, his advisers are quoted as saying that Deri's candidacy
would seriously harm Gaidamak's chances in both the ultra-Orthodox
and non-religious communities.
Leading media reported that the OECD's annual education report
ranked Israel near the bottom of 57 "Westernized" countries. The
Education Minister suggested that the latest curriculum reform
package, "New Horizon," would lead to an improvement.

Ha'aretz and other media reported that Israel's security agencies
warned former officers of the IDF and other agencies not to travel
to Muslim states because Hizbullah might try to kidnap them in order
to avenge the death of Imad Mughniyah. Reserve IDF officers who do
business in these countries have also received such warnings.
Yediot reported that sources in the GOI's counterterrorism unit are
weighing a prohibition on Israelis crossing the border to Sinai.

The Jerusalem Post reported that new immigrants and returning
Israelis will no longer have to declare all their earnings and
assets abroad, following the Knesset's approval on Tuesday of
legislation repealing a 2003 tax regulation. The move could have
far reaching implications for increasing immigration from Western
countries and enticing former citizens to return to Israel. The
Jerusalem Post quoted former deputy DM Ephraim Sneh as saying
yesterday at a national security conference in Tel Aviv that Iran's
success in obtaining a nuclear capability will deter Jews from
immigrating to Israel, cause many Israelis to leave, and will be the
end of the "Zionist dream. The Jerusalem Post reported that at the
conference, former Mossad director Ephraim Halevy slammed Israeli
political leaders for calling Iran's nuclear threat "existential."

The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that today PM Ehud
Olmert is scheduled to meet with DM Ehud Barak and FM Livni for what
have been characterized as "security discussions" that are expected
to focus on Iran and the prospect that it will soon open its first
nuclear facility. The Jerusalem Post quoted sources in the Prime
Minister's Office as saying that it would be a mistake to read too
much into the meeting. The Jerusalem Post also reported on the
arrival of U.S. General James Jones.

Ha'aretz reported that as part of a deal to release Gilad Shalit,
Israel is expected to free the 40 Hamas Palestinian parliament
members held in Israeli prisons,. However, if Israel takes this step
before the end of 2009, it is expected to bring Mahmoud Abbas's term
as Palestinian president to an early de jure end, though not
necessarily in practice. The legislators' release means that Hamas
will once again have a majority (74 out of 132) in the Palestinian
Legislative Council. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted Arab sources as
saying that Abbas is interested in extending his term through 2010.

The Jerusalem Post cited a recent Defense Ministry report according
to which jailed Fatah/Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti if unlikely to
succeed in uniting the split Palestinian factions if he is released
in a prisoner swap for Shalit.

Ha'aretz quoted President Shimon Peres as saying yesterday at an
Iftar dinner that the difference between the Israeli and Palestinian
negotiating positions on the final borders of a Palestinian state is
less than five percent. The Jerusalem Post quoted Abdullah Nimr
Darwish, the leader of the southern branch of Israel's Islamic
Movement, as saying at the dinner that the "Palestinians have
nothing left to offer Israel." Peres was also quoted as saying that
Israel must not limit the birthrate of its Arab or Jewish citizens.
Maariv reported that yesterday heads of local councils in northern
Israel warned that the Jewish majority in the Galilee would be lost
in 15 years.

The Jerusalem Post reported that settlers in the West Bank regions
of Samaria (north) and Benjamin (north of Jerusalem) are making
preparations to form new citizens' committees to prevent any move to
evacuate Jews.

Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan was quoted as saying
yesterday in an interview with Ha'aretz that if Israeli officers are
kidnapped, Israel should respond in kind to fight for the country's
existence. He said that his threat to kidnap Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not a slip of the tongue.

Ha'aretz's web site cited a Reuters report that Iran demanded
yesterday a "resolute and clear response" from the United Nations to
what it called dangerous threats against it by Israel, and said
Tehran would not hesitate to respond to any attack. A letter from
Iran's UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazai-Torshizi to UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described comments by two Israeli
ministers as "vicious threats ... in blatant violation of the most
fundamental principles of international law." The Jerusalem Post
reported that, in response to a report on a web site that stated
that Croatia has sold an advanced missile system to Iran, Israeli
intelligence said it could not confirm the story but noted that
Zagreb did obtain S-300 anti-aircraft weapons after the fall of the
Soviet Union.

Ha'aretz reported that a leaked Foreign Ministry memo urges
"bureaucrats" in Israeli embassies to report on any "inappropriate
behavior" by diplomats abroad.

In The Jerusalem Post, Lenny Ben David, a former Israeli DCM in
Washington, says that new evidence reveals the "incredible aid that
the late U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson lent the Jews."

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Mideast:
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Summary:
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The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "Not only will
a referendum not legitimize a possible peace agreement: It might
damage the little legitimacy the political system still has."

Block Quotes:
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"A Bad Law for Democracy"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (9/10): "A
referendum is not part of the political culture in Israel, and never
has been. The public was not asked its opinion before Israel
annexed Jerusalem or he Golan Heights. It was not asked what it
thought about an exemption from the draft for yeshiva students, or
about the New Horizon education reform. Therefore, it may be said
with certainty that those promoting the referendum law are not doing
so out of faith in direct democracy. Their goal is to cause the
peace process to fail. Among the groups supporting the referendum
are those on the right who are unwilling to accept any democratic
decision on giving up territory, not even the authority of the
people. How ironic: Even the ultra-Orthodox parties, which are
unwilling to allow their public to elect its representatives, are
willing to give the people the authority to decide on withdrawal and
peace. Those who support taking away authority from the Knesset are
the same groups that cry out every time the High Court impinges on
the parliament's authority. Not only will a referendum not
legitimize a possible peace agreement: It might damage the little
legitimacy the political system still has."

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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