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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2360/01 2941052
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201052Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8828
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
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 4505
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1112
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4879
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5303
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4520
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2892
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5282
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2139
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0364
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9107
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6596
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1518
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5609
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7584
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0437
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0632
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002360

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

Please note: There will be no Tel Aviv Media Reaction report on
Tuesday, October 21, 2008, due to the Simchat Torah holiday.

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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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The media continued to report on PM-designate Tzipi LivniQs arduous
coalition-forming efforts. HaQaretz reported that yesterday Shas
spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef instructed party chairman Eli
Yishai not to compromise on child allowance payments, as Kadima and
Shas party negotiators ended their latest coalition talks Sunday
evening without reaching an agreement. Shas is insisting on
allowances for "family payments" in 2009, at a cost of more than a
billion shekels (around $267.45 million). Yediot quoted Livni
associates as saying that Livni plans to establish a government next
week, even without Shas.

Maariv reported that outgoing PM Ehud Olmert is pushing to reach an
agreement with Syria before he leaves office. On Sunday HaQaretz
reported that Jerusalem sources denied over the weekend any
knowledge of a U.S. proposal to Syria, to the effect that Israel
would pull of the Golan if Syria severs its ties with Iran, as
reported in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida on Friday.

On Sunday HaQaretz quoted a senior GOI source as saying that Israel
expects the U.S. to initiate direct talks with Tehran if Senator
Barack Obama is elected president, in which case a critical Israeli
interest would be to condition any talks between the West and Iran
on IranQs halting uranium enrichment.

Over the weekend leading media reported on increased tension between
Israeli/Jewish notables and the Vatican around the proposed
beatification of the late Pope Pius XII, who reigned during the
Holocaust, and who many believe did not do enough to combat it.

HaQaretz reported that the Foreign Ministry is examining an
initiative aimed at reaching a long-term non-belligerence pact with
Lebanon to prevent renewed fighting along the northern border.
Given the close relationship with Livni of officials who
participated in the discussion of the issue two weeks ago, the
evaluation's recommendations are likely could be influential should
she succeed in forming a government. Eran Etzion, the head of the
Foreign Ministry's political planning section, was quoted as saying
that a full peace agreement with Lebanon can only come in the wake
of a similar deal with Syria. Still, he said, Israel can try to
advance on a separate political track with Lebanon, the end result
of which could be a long-term non-belligerence pact. The agreement
would be signed by both governments, and its focus would be a
reciprocal agreement on the route of the border between the two
countries. The deal would include a solution to the dispute over
the Sheba Farms border area and the divided village of Ghajar, as
well as a number of small border adjustments demanded by Lebanon.
The recommendation would provide for a coordination apparatus
between the IDF and the Lebanese army, as well as the United Nations
Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) over border patrols and other
monitoring activities. Israel would be expected to ask Lebanon to
significantly reduce Hizbullah's weapons stores and extend the
Lebanese army's authority across the entire country, with a special
emphasis on the area south of the Litani River. In return, an
agreement would have to be reached regarding Israeli overflights of
Lebanon. On Sunday The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel welcomed
a call from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for Hizbullah to be
dismantled.

Israel Radio reported that yesterday Republican presidential
candidate Sen. John McCain reiterated his wish to move the U.S.
Embassy to Jerusalem as soon as he is elected. The radio said that
McCainQs comment is likely meant to appeal to the Jewish
electorate.

Yediot reported that graffiti in Tel Aviv threatened the life of
Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer. Police believe that
the banned extreme-right group Kach is behind the threats.

On Sunday HaQaretz reported that President Bush announced a decision
over the weekend to extend the U.S. Visa Waiver Program to seven
more countries; Israel was not one of them.

Leading media reported that about 3,000 people rallied yesterday at
the Kerem Shalom crossing, blocking goods from entering Gaza as they
called for Gilad Shalit's return. After Defense Minister Ehud Barak
said on IDF Radio yesterday that the protest could lead Hamas to
raise its price for Shalit, his Labor colleague, Minister Ami
Ayalon, responded that such action could also lead the militant
group to soften its position.

Citing AP, HaQaretz quoted DM Barak as saying yesterday that Israeli
leaders are seriously considering a dormant Saudi plan offering a
comprehensive peace between Israel and the Arab world in exchange
for lands captured during the 1967 war. Barak said it may be time
to pursue an overall peace deal for the region, since individual
negotiations with Syria and the Palestinians have made little
progress. HaQaretz reported that yesterday Turki al-Faisal, the
former Saudi intelligence director and a member of the royal family,
presented a new proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace at a
conference in Britain. Arab, Palestinian, and Israeli political
figures attended the conference, organized by the Oxford Research
Group, which seeks to promote the Saudi Peace Initiative of 2002.
Al-Faisal, who heads the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic
Studies, expressed the kingdom's support for a comprehensive peace
and the rights of the Palestinian people. On Sunday Maariv reported
that on Friday President Shimon Peres told Rabbi Ovadia Yosef QItQs
a mistake to conduct separate negotiations with the Syrians and
separate negotiations with the Palestinians. Israel needs to stop
holding separate negotiations and to go for a regional peace
agreement with the Arab states and the Arab League.

Over the weekend the media reported that on Saturday, settlers from
the Jewish community in Hebron clashed with Palestinian farmers who
came to harvest an olive grove near the Tel Rumeida neighborhood.
Three left-wing activists were arrested following the incident for
allegedly violating an order that declared the Tel Rumeida area a
closed military zone.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Zohair Hamdan, the mukhtar (mayor) of the
East Jerusalem village of Sur Bahr, who last month canceled plans to
run for mayor of Jerusalem, as saying on Sunday that he intends to
endorse the candidacy of secular Jewish Nir Barkat, and that he
could bring thousands of East Jerusalem Arab voters with him.

HaQaretz reported that Yediot refrained from publishing over the
weekend the whole story of an Arab who was executed during the War
of Independence. HaQaretz said that members of the Israeli defense
establishment were among those who warned that such publication
would set the Arab world ablaze.

HaQaretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that former Israeli
ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon announced yesterday that he
would resign from his post as co-chairman of the pro-immigration
group Nefesh B'Nefesh at the end of this year, in order "to pursue
an independent political career opportunity."

HaQaretz reported that a list compiled by Newsweek of 11 prominent
women leaders from around the world includes Knesset Speaker Dalia
Itzik.

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Mideast:
--------

Summary:
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Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: QThe demand by Shas Chairman Eli Yishai ...
to receive a public promise from Livni ... that she Qdoes not intend
to bring up the subject of Jerusalem in negotiations with the
Palestinians,Q is not even worth negotiating.

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: QIt is
essential that those who campaign for Shalit's freedom hone their
message, directing it at Hamas and not at Israel.

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

I. "We Must Not Give in on Jerusalem"

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/20): QThe demand by Shas Chairman Eli
Yishai, as he told the media, to receive a public promise from
Livni, preferably signed, that she Qdoes not intend to bring up the
subject of Jerusalem in negotiations with the Palestinians,Q is not
even worth negotiating. Livni -- and Yishai himself -- are still
members of a government that less than a year ago gave its blessing
to the joint declaration read by U.S. President George W. Bush at
the Annapolis conference, which proclaimed there that QIn
furtherance of the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living
side by side in peace and security, we agree to immediately launch
good-faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace
treaty, resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues,
without exception, as specified in previous agreements....Q Yishai
is asking Livni to mislead the Israeli public as well.... Livni can
adopt Ehud Olmert's manipulative methods; she can promise Yishai
that Jerusalem will not be on the negotiating table and conduct the
negotiations under the table. But she was not elected in order to
carry on the Olmert legacy.

II. "The Wrong Target"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (10/20):
QThe biggest mistake the Free Gilad Shalit movement could make would
be to continue directing its energies against the government. Our
democratic society has responsibilities that go beyond the welfare
of a single Israeli hostage. We cannot allow either emotional
blackmail -- no matter how understandable its source -- or media
frenzy amid a political leadership vacuum to stampede the country
into a bad bargain. The demonstrations could play a positive role
if they called attention to the fact that the terrorists on Hamas's
ransom list are allowed visitors, while Shalit is denied all contact
with the outside world. Any appearance of further weakness and
indecisiveness on the part of the Israeli leadership will magnify
the enemy's incentive to carry out more abductions. So it is
essential that those who campaign for Shalit's freedom hone their
message, directing it at Hamas and not at Israel.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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