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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2271/01 2801249
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061249Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8690
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC 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 4467
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1074
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4833
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5265
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4477
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2846
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5238
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2099
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0324
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9069
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6556
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1480
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5571
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7543
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0399
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0569
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002271

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. Iran

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

All media reported that yesterday the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange fell
to its lowest level since September 2006. The blue-chip TA-25 index
lost 6.3 percent to fall below 800 for the first time in two years,
while the broader TA-100 lost 7 percent. The Real Estate-15 plunged
11 percent, completing a loss of more than two-thirds of its value
since the start of the year. As for corporate bonds, the blue chip
TelBond-20 fell 4.3 percent, while the broader TelBond-40 recorded
an almost unprecedented one-day loss of 7.5 percent. HaQaretz
reported that the global economic crisis has thrown a new monkey
wrench into the ongoing coalition negotiations, with Labor Party
Chairman Ehud Barak demanding government intervention to shore up
the financial markets but Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni, the prime
minister-designate, rejecting the idea.

Yesterday French FM Bernard Kouchner was quoted as saying in an
interview with HaQaretz on Friday that Iran knows that Israel will
attack it before the Iranian bomb is ready.

The media reported that FM Tzipi Livni told her French counterpart
Bernard Kouchner that she opposes the agreement in principle that
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has offered PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
"I do not believe in far-reaching proposals and an attempt to
expedite matters, especially in light of the political situation,"
Livni was quoted as saying. Leading media quoted her as saying:
QIsrael wants to arrive at peace with all her neighbors: The
Palestinians, Syria, Lebanon, and the Arab nations.

The media reported that an interview with GOC Northern Command Maj.
Gen. Eisenkot in Yediot which was scorned by Hizbullah leader Sheikh
Hassan Nasrallah as well as articles by two other senior IDF
officers indicate that the army is likely to resume strengthening
its capability for maneuvers, represented by the Armored and
Infantry Corps, at the expense of its firepower, particularly that
of the Air Force.

Yesterday Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Mahmoud Abbas will
visit Damascus in October and meet with Syrian President Bashar
Assad. The newspaper quoted PA negotiator Saeb Erekat as saying
that Abbas and Assad would Qcoordinate positions on all of the
issues on the agenda.

HaQaretz reported that Palestinian sources told the newspaper
recently that Palestinian security forces thwarted an attempted
suicide bombing within the Green Line. The sources were quoted as
saying that the security service in the West Bank arrested two
senior wanted members of Hamas's military wing in Hebron, who were
found in possession of weapons and an explosives belt. The
suspects, who were arrested three weeks ago, were also in possession
of a great deal of cash, which they were thought to be planning to
use to carry out the attack. One of the suspects is Wail al-Bitar,
one of the heads of Izz al-Din al-Qassam in the area. Neither of
the Hamas operatives resisted arrest. Both are said to be part of a
Hamas network that planned and carried out a suicide bombing in
Dimona in February that killed an Israeli woman and seriously
wounded her husband.

Maariv and The Jerusalem Post reported that in a move that could set
a precedent, Palestinians on whose land the illegal outpost of
Migron was built are demanding 1.5 million shekels (around $433,000)
in compensation. Yesterday Maariv reported that 400 new
trailer-homes have been added to communities beyond the Green Line.

The Jerusalem Post cited Kadima claims of progress in the government
coalition talks, while the Labor Party says there is no progress.

The media reported that yesterday the cabinet voted to transfer
QSergeyQs CourtyardQ in JerusalemQs Russian Compound to Russian
government. PM Ehud Olmert will inform Russian President Dmitry
Medvedev and PM Vladimir Putin of the decision when he arrives in
Moscow today. Some media reported that Olmert will ask in exchange
that Russia refrain from selling missiles to Syria. A number of
groups protested the move, including the right-wing Legal Forum for
the Land of Israel,

Maariv reported that Benjamin Gibli, who headed IDF Intelligence at
the time of the so-called Lavon Affair -- the scandal over a failed
Israeli covert operation in Egypt in which Israeli military
intelligence planted bombs in Egyptian, American, and British-owned
targets in the summer of 1954 Q told two of his biographers that
then IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan "gave the order" for the
operation.

The media reported that the U.S. will ask Canada to extradite
Israeli computer hacker Ehud Tenenbaum, better known as the
QAnalyzer,Q so that he can be indicted as one of the masterminds of
a worldwide ring of hackers that allegedly stole millions of
dollars. Ten years ago, Tenenbaum became famous for hacking into
the Pentagon's computers.

Yesterday HaQaretz reported that as a son is preparing to enlist in
the IDF, his Palestinian father was refused entry to Israel.

Leading media reported that the Jewish Council for Education and
Research, a Jewish political action committee that supports Barack
Obama's bid for the presidency, has "recruited" former senior
Israeli defense officials to the campaign by collating flattering
statements about the Democratic Senator from seven such officials
into a new advertisement that will begin running today. However, it
seems that some participants, including Maj. Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan
and former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy, were unaware they were
aiding an Obama campaign ad. Media reported that a spokeswoman for
Obama told Globes yesterday that the Senator has promised not to cut
foreign aid to Israel if he is elected president in November. Media
reported that the Republican Jewish Coalition has released its own
clip featuring Jewish American comedian Jackie Mason.

HaQaretz reported that a recent report by the State Comptroller
found that Israel has defense systems for short-range rockets, and
asked why they are not put to use.

HaQaretz quoted Lockheed Martin as saying that the cost of each F-35
stealth fighter that the IAF will buy is $78 million.

Yesterday the media reported that on Saturday Israel accused North
Korea of providing WMD to six countries in the Middle East that
ignore arms-control commitments.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday a Palestinian was caught
with two pipe bombs at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus.

The Jerusalem Post cited an AP report quoting a UN spokeswoman as
saying that IDF soldiers have detained a Lebanese citizen near the
Israeli border.

The Jerusalem Post and HaQaretz cited wire reports that a UN nuclear
conference of 145 nations has indirectly criticized Israel for
refusing to put its atomic program under international oversight.

Yesterday HaQaretz reported on serious flaws in the maintenance by a
private contractor of the IAFQs Skyhawk attack planes.

Leading media reported that the trial of tycoon Arkady Gaidamak
starts today in Paris on charges of illegal arms trafficking, fraud,
money laundering, fraudulent receipt, and tax evasion. The
indictment also states that Gaidamak and his former partner Pierre
Falcone gave perks to senior members of the French government to
promote their business deals. The charges allege that mainly from
1993 to 1995, Falcone and Gaidamak used various intermediaries and
sold weapons and ammunition worth $790 million from Russia and
Slovakia to Angola, during that country's civil war.

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

Summary:
--------

Veteran journalist and television anchor Yaron London wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: QI am referring to a
situation where Arab citizens complain of being punished because of
their leaders, but are more afraid of their leaders than they are of
us. A situation should be brought about where the fear we cast
upon them is greater.

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

"TheyQre All Nasrallah"

Veteran journalist and television anchor Yaron London wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/6): QThe QDahiya
strategyQ is a term that can be expected to take root in the
security discourse. Dahiya is the ShiQite quarter of Beirut, which
was turned into a heap of rubble by our pilots in the Second Lebanon
War. OC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, in an interview
to Yediot Aharonot published this past Friday, said clear things,
which can be summed up as follows: In the next clash with Hizbullah,
we will not bother to hunt down tens of thousands of rocket
launchers and will not spill the blood of our soldiers in an attempt
to take control of nature reserves; instead, we will destroy Lebanon
and not be deterred by the protests of the Qworld.Q We will
demolish the 160 ShiQite villages that have become bases of the
ShiQite army and will not spare the infrastructure of the state,
which is effectively controlled by Hizbullah. This strategy is not
a threat blurted out by a hotheaded officer, it is an approved plan.
Until now, the Dahiya strategy has not been adopted because Israel
has tried to adhere to the distinction between Qbad LebaneseQ and
Qgood LebaneseQ. The Dahiya strategy is the regular way of thinking
of most of the Arabs. As far as they are concerned, QZionistsQ are
criminals, but QZionistsQ are all Jews who are citizens of Israel
and also Jews who do not support Zionism at all. Only Arab
propagandists who have been educated in the West distinguish between
the QZionist governmentQ and the Jewish people, Qwith which we have
no historical conflict, and with which we have lived in harmony for
centuries.Q I do not propose to adopt the ArabsQ way of thinking,
but only the conclusions that arise from a permanent situation where
states and political organizations that purport to be representative
disclaim responsibility for those whom they supposedly represent. I
am referring to a situation where Arab citizens complain of being
punished because of their leaders, but are more afraid of their
leaders than they are of us. A situation should be brought about
where the fear we cast upon them is greater.

---------
2. Iran:
---------

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: QLivni's test
will not be her ability to order the Israel Air Force to attack, but
the discretion she demonstrates in the face of the Iranian threat
and the calls for the use of force against it.

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
QCapitulation to Moscow in [the] matter [of returning Russian
property in Jerusalem], apart from being unlikely to purchase
Russian goodwill on the critical Iranian issue, could well open up a
Pandora's Box of other territorial demands.

Defense commentator Amir Oren wrote in Ha'aretz: QThe nuclear
deterrence attributed to Israel is not completely superfluous -- it
dissuaded Saddam from using chemical and biological weapons in 1991
-- but if embraced without earnestly and continuously striving for
peace, that deterrence is a costly illusion.

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

I. "Aggression DoesnQt Prove Suitability"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (10/6): QOver
the past few weeks, politicians and the media have increasingly been
discussing the possibility that Israel will attack Iran's nuclear
facilities, against the backdrop of the apparent failure of
diplomatic efforts and sanctions aimed at halting Iran's nuclear
plans. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told HaQaretz that
Israel is already preparing such an attack and will hit Iran before
the latter acquires a nuclear bomb. "Israel has always said that it
will not wait for the bomb to be ready," Kouchner said. "I think
that they [the Iranians] know. Everybody knows." Kouchner is no
exception. Columnists and analysts in Israel have been challenging
prime-minister designate Tzipi Livni over the past few weeks with
the question of whether she will be courageous and determined enough
to make "crucial decisions" about Iran -- a transparent euphemism
meant to refer to a decision about military action.... Decisions
about Iran must be made with the maximum discretion possible, and
only on the basis of the strategic situation assessment, the gist of
which is: Is Israel capable of thwarting or disrupting, for an
extended period, the Iranian nuclear plan on its own? And is the
expected price of such an operation - rocket attacks on the home
front, terror attacks, and a long cycle of violence -- worth the
risk, even if Israel wins a tactical victory? Considerations of
prestige, public popularity, or ratings should not play a role in
such a crucial decision. Livni's test will not be her ability to
order the Israel Air Force to attack, but the discretion she
demonstrates in the face of the Iranian threat and the calls for the
use of force against it.

II. QSergeyQs Courtyard

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (10/6):
QEhud Olmert is off to Moscow today in what may well be his last
overseas visit as prime minister. He will arrive at the Kremlin
bearing a valuable gift -- or more accurately, a concession -- one
the Russians have been adamantly demanding as their due. Olmert
will turn over to the Russians nine acres, known as Sergey's
Courtyard, inside the Russian Compound in the heart of downtown
Jerusalem. There is no reason the Jewish state should regard
Sergey's Courtyard as sacrosanct and turn it into what could
possibly amount to a de facto extraterritorial Russian toehold in
our capital. And capitulation to Moscow in this matter, apart from
being unlikely to purchase Russian goodwill on the critical Iranian
issue, could well open up a Pandora's Box of other territorial
demands. Those who oppose the gesture are now expected to turn to
the High Court of Justice to try and stop it. They will argue, in
part, that such a significant concession should not be made by a
premier who has already tendered his resignation. Regardless of
Olmert's caretaker status, our view is that the premier has failed
to make a compelling case that handing over Sergey's Courtyard is in
Israel's interest.

III. "Nuclear Deterrence, with a Grain of Salt"

Defense commentator Amir Oren wrote in Ha'aretz (10/6): QEvery known
nuclear site in the world can be pinpointed with precision and
targeted for demolition. The international literature is full of
guesses about Israeli nuclear sites. The Iranians, Syrians, and
fundamentalist Islamic organizations are liable to believe that
barrages of missiles and rockets on these sites will damage Israel's
strategic alignment, or will at least disrupt or paralyze it,
without giving Israel a reason to use other, well-hidden means
against them from that same alignment. The sad conclusion, on the
35th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, is not that the nuclear
deterrence attributed to Israel is completely superfluous -- it
dissuaded Saddam from using chemical and biological weapons in 1991
-- but that if embraced without earnestly and continuously striving
for peace, that deterrence is a costly illusion.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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