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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1041
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4793
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5225
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4437
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2798
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5198
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2061
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0286
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002204

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:
-------------------------

Major media reported that yesterday President Shimon Peres told the
UN General Assembly that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's
speech on Tuesday constituted the "darkest anti-Semitic libel," akin
to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Israel Radio quoted Peres
as saying that the U.S. will have no choice but to curb Iran in
order to save the entire world. The Jerusalem Post reported that
objections from Moscow, angered by Washington's criticism of its
invasion of Georgia, have forced the cancellation of high-level
talks on Iran that were scheduled for today on the sidelines of the
UN General Assembly, endangering a fourth round of sanctions against
Iran. The newspaper quoted a senior American diplomat as saying
yesterday that "there clearly is spillover of the difficulties
created by the Georgia crisis, difficulties with Russian behavior
that we have to work through." The Jerusalem Post quoted Israel's
Ambassador to the UN as saying that she felt that Russia's move
spelled the end of sanctions.

Ha'aretz reported that Defense Minister and Labor Party Chairman
Ehud Barak will demand from prime minister-designate Tzipi Livni
that he conduct the negotiations with Syria if she forms a
government. Yediot reported that Livni is expected to continue
reserved negotiations with Syria. Ha'aretz quoted Labor sources as
saying that Barak will demand to be fully involved in all aspects of
the talks with the Palestinians.

Maariv detailed a package deal that Egypt is proposing: the
establishment of a Palestinian unity government; the opening of the
Rafah crossing and the lifting of the siege on Gaza; the
continuation of the lull and the prevention of fire into Israel; the
dispatch to Gaza of a force composed of troops from several Arab
states. Maariv reported that Egypt has already started contacts
with Palestinian factions to implement the deal. Maariv also
reported that Israel has agreed to release 80 more Palestinian
prisoners "with blood on their hands" in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

Electronic media reported that last night a pipe bomb was placed
next to the Jerusalem home of liberal historian Prof. Zeev
Sternhell, a recipient of the Israel Prize in political science,
injuring him slightly. The media quoted the police as saying that
far-Right militants are suspected. Tracts offering great amounts of
money to kill Peace Now members were found near Sternhell's house.

Leading media reported that three East Jerusalem residents believed
to have belonged to a terror cell have been indicted for killing two
security forces members in Jerusalem. Ha'aretz reported that
yesterday the IDF arrested four Palestinians who allegedly tried to
run over a soldier at a roadblock just north of Ramallah. The
Jerusalem Post reported that in the face of a growing terror threat
originating in East Jerusalem, Shin Bet has recommended legislative
changes to permit financial sanctions on the families of terrorists
as well as the indictment of suspects caught in the early stages of
planning attacks.

Maariv reported that PM Ehud Olmert has ordered the establishment of
a "Global Jihad forum" whose purpose will be to better cope with
terror threats emanating from around the world.

Ha'aretz's Internet edition reported that B'Tselem, a left-wing
human rights organization based in Israel, has sent two official
staffers to Washington and New York for the first time.

Ha'aretz quoted McCain adviser Max Boot as saying that the peace
process that was resumed at Annapolis was a "mistake" and that there
are 30 conflicts in the world that demand more urgent attention than
the Israeli-Palestinian one. The newspaper quoted another McCain
adviser, Richard Williamson, as saying that McCain does not intend
to dictate Israel's behavior, but that the hope is that as a friend,
Israel will listen to the U.S. Ha'aretz quoted Democratic
vice-presidential candidate Senator Joseph Biden as saying that
Obama rejects the argument that a direct discussion with adversaries
is a sign of weakness, and that it is the opposite.

Yediot reported that in New York, Iranian President Ahmadinejad
invited its correspondent, Yaniv Halili, to visit his father's house
in Mashhad.

All media reported that El Al flight 324 from Paris to Tel Aviv was
escorted to Israel by air force fighter planes before its 8 p.m.
landing last night due to suspicions that a bomb had been placed
onboard. It proved to be a false alarm.

Yediot reported that an Israeli court has ruled that the state
should compensate seven Iraqis who infiltrated into Israel in the
early nineties to the tune of 2.7 million shekels (around $
789,000). The court deemed their detention too long.

Ha'aretz quoted Police Commissioner David Cohen as saying:
"Government corruption is the greatest strategic threat to Israel"

Major media cited data published yesterday by in the annual report
of the GOI's Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS): On the eve of the
Jewish New Year, Israel's population stands at 7,337,000 people,
including 5,542,000 Jewish Israelis (75.5 percent) and 1,477,000
Israeli Arabs (20.1 percent). The figures also include another
318,000 Israelis listed under the category of "others," in which
some 200,000 foreign workers were counted. The report states that
the population grew by 1.8 percent over the past year. The report
also says that Israel's population is relatively young compared to
other Western nations. The report also reveals a substantial gap in
the life expectancy of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe also reported that the CBS predicts a 4.5% growth in
the Israeli economy in 2008.

Ha'aretz reported that Hollywood producers, East Coast property
barons, and a Swiss banker were among Livni's main supporters in her
race to lead the Kadima Party. Shaul Mofaz found support among the
wealthy business barons of the Iranian-American Jewish community,
according to the campaign contributions lists that the two handed
over to the State Comptroller.

Yediot reported that the IDF is making use of the social networking
site Facebook to ensnare young female draft dodgers.

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "The next
[Israeli] government must adhere to [Tzipi Livni's] balanced
approach. It must explain to the public that Israel does not face a
holocaust and that it can defend itself and deter its enemies. The
next government must support a diplomatic effort led by the United
States to change Iran's threatening policy."

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

"A Reply to Ahmadinejad"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (9/25): "Israel
is justifiably concerned about the naivete with which Ahmadinejad
was received by the American media, as well as the world's growing
tendency to view him as a legitimate leader and cease efforts to
stop the Iranian nuclear program.... The chance that the United
States or Israel will try to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities looks
slim at the moment.... Since a direct Israeli rapprochement with
Iran is impossible because of the regime's hostility to Israel's
very existence, the best chance of calming the atmosphere and
reducing the threat lies in starting negotiations between the United
States and Iran. The two U.S. presidential candidates support this
approach, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, with the understanding
that it is the only route not yet tried and is likely to help
moderate Iranian policy.... Prime minister-designate Tzipi Livni
presented a balanced approach to the Iranian threat in interviews
before the Kadima primary. Livni does not accept the statement that
Israel 'will not be able to live' with a nuclear Iran; she says
Israel will live and must deal with the challenges it faces. In her
response to Ahmadinejad's speech yesterday, Livni demanded that Iran
not be allowed to join the UN Security Council, but she was not
carried away into making belligerent threats. Livni believes that
Israel must not stand at the head of Iran's opponents, releasing the
international community from the need to stop that country's nuclear
program. The next government must adhere to the balanced approach.
It must explain to the public that Israel does not face a holocaust
and that it can defend itself and deter its enemies. The next
government must support a diplomatic effort led by the United States
to change Iran's threatening policy."

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

Summary:
--------
Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot: "In the heat of the leadership vacuum we are
facing, and in the shallowness of our senior figures: Is anyone
preparing for the Palestinian disintegration, which will of course
affect us?"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "If [the Republic of Ireland] had stuck to
the approach of 'everything or nothing' of Arafat and Abbas, it
would have remained under British occupation until now."

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

I. "Nearing another Intifada?"

Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (9/25): "The Israeli government's desire to reach a
diplomatic solution with Abbas until the end of the year is not
feasible. Abu Mazen will become radical in his statements and his
actions in the coming months. It is no accident that he went to
visit Samir Kuntar in Lebanon, and is once again declaring the
return of the refugees. To keep from being accused of capitulation
to Israel, he will become more extreme in his criticism and
goals.... We have reached the absurd situation where it all depends
now on Abu Mazen in person. The artificial support of the harmful
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for Abu Mazen has made him into
a main axis: If he stays, there will ostensibly be a diplomatic
solution, and if he goes, everything will collapse along with him.
How absurd! This status, which grants Abbas great weight and
importance, also reflects great weakness. How can we reach an
agreement with him, when he does not represent a large part of his
own PA? How can we reach an agreement with him when his future
presidency is not democratic? He has effectively dissolved the
parliament, he has formed an unlawful government with the necessary
authorization of parliament, and now, perhaps, he will extend his
term. And what if another Palestinian president, a Hamas figures,
serves along with him? Finally, Hamas's prevention of the elections
will bring an end to the Palestinian dreams of unity, and will make
it clear that this is a division into two peoples, with two
different fates. The Palestinian vision now covers four states: in
Gaza, Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank], Jordan, and Israel.
Not bad for people who do not have even one state. The only way out
of the Palestinian distress might be a new kind of Intifada, or
other military activity against Israel, which could reunite the
Palestinian forces. Tzipi Livni's term as prime minister, if she is
elected, will encourage them to act this way -- they will view
Israel as having become weaker. Are we ready for this? In the heat
of the leadership vacuum we are facing, and in the shallowness of
our senior figures: Is anyone preparing for the Palestinian
disintegration, which will of course affect us?"

II. "Better Occupation than a Partial Peace"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (9/25): "The Palestinians are using as their
model the end of British colonial rule in India, Asia and Africa:
full independence and a complete withdrawal of the foreign presence.
But that is not the only model for ending an occupation. In
Ireland a religious and nationalistic dispute has been going on for
hundreds of years. After the Irish revolt during World War I, the
British offered to end their rule of the neighboring island. The
agreement, reached finally in 1921, promised the Irish approximately
what Olmert is offering Abbas today. The British kept their
'settlement blocs' in Northern Ireland, and Irish sovereignty in the
south remained under the auspices of the empire based in London.
The British fleet continued to control Irish ports.... If [the
Republic of Ireland] had stuck to the approach of 'everything or
nothing' of Arafat and Abbas, it would have remained under British
occupation until now."

CUNNINGHAM

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