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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2368/01 2961043
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221043Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8844
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 4510
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1117
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4889
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5313
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4530
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2903
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5293
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2149
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0374
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9112
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6601
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1528
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5614
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7589
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0442
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0644
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002368

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


3. U.S.-Israel Relations

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

HaQaretz reported that a senior Islamic Republic official told
foreign diplomats two weeks ago in London that senior Tehran
officials are recommending a preemptive strike against Israel to
prevent an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear reactors. The official,
Dr. Seyed G. Safavi, said that recent threats by Israeli authorities
have strengthened this position, but that as of yet, a preemptive
strike has not been integrated into Iranian policy. HaQaretz quoted
an Israeli political official as saying that senior Jerusalem
officials were shown Safavi's remarks, which are considered highly
sensitive. The source said that the briefing in London dealt with a
number of issues, primarily a potential Israeli attack on an Iranian
reactor. Yediot quoted Iranian intelligence sources as saying that
Iran has captured spy doves near nuclear installations.

Leading media reported that President Shimon Peres will leave
Thursday for an official visit to Egypt, the first such visit by an
Israeli president in several years. The Jerusalem Post quoted
diplomatic sources in Jerusalem as saying that the meeting is
possible because of the current leadership vacuum in Jerusalem.
Media reported that Peres is expected to present his Egyptian
counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, with his proposal for reforming how
Israel and its Arabs neighbors negotiate peace agreements. Under
the proposal, which is currently being formulated by the offices of
the president, FM Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak,
Israel would negotiate with representatives of all Arab countries in
accordance with the 2002 Saudi peace initiative.

Leading media reported that Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and
other Kadima parliamentarians refuse to enter a narrow-based
government with PM-designate Tzipi Livni that would include Meretz
but not Shas. Maariv quoted Livni associates as saying that Shas
and Netanyahu have agreed on the issue of child allowances.

Major media reported that Gaza militants fired a Qassam rocket into
the western Negev last night, the first in over a month. Following
the strike, DM Ehud Barak announced a closure of the border
crossings between Israel and Gaza.

HaQaretz reported that this week Egyptian security officials
attributed the dramatic rise in the discovery of tunnels along the
Egypt-Gaza border to U.S.-supplied equipment. Israeli officials
also praised Egypt's heightened efforts against the tunnels, dug by
Gaza-based militants to smuggle weapons and other contraband.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Turkish FM Ali Babacan as saying on Monday
that he hoped that the next Israeli government would continue the
Turkish-mediated indirect talks with Syria.

HaQaretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that Nir Barkat, the
leading non-Orthodox candidate for mayor of Jerusalem, backs the
establishment of a controversial new Jewish neighborhood near the
village of Anata, at the foot of the French Hill neighborhood.

HaQaretz reported that Deputy DM Matan Vilnai wants to significantly
increase the number of restraining orders and arrests against
right-wing activists suspected of attacking IDF soldiers and
Palestinians in the West Bank. The Jerusalem Post reported that PA
President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of not protecting Palestinian
farmers against settler attacks during the ongoing olive harvest,
but that DM Barak said on Monday that his troops are doing their
best. Media reported that seven young Jews were arrested on
suspicion of torching Arab apartments in southern Tel AvivQs Hatikva
Quarter. The victims had operated with Israeli authorities.

Israel Radio quoted the international Arabic newspaper Ash-Sharq
Al-Awsat as saying that A/S David Welch said that the U.S. will not
change its Syria policy.

Yediot and other media reported that the OECD ranked Israel first
among Western nations in the poverty and economic inequality survey
it published yesterday. An increasing number of media predicted
that Israeli workers face a wave of job losses.

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

Summary:
--------

Military correspondent Amos Harel wrote on page one of the
independent, left-leaning HaQaretz: QThe problem with [Iranian]
statements on a preemptive attack on Israel, and even more so with
the reports of the Iranian air force exercise, is that they are not
based on any proven capability.

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote on page one of Ha'aretz:
QIf Livni forms a government and if Obama is elected, the most
important issue that will come up in their meeting will be
protecting Israel's deterrence, and preventing its being sacrificed
to a deal with the Iranians or a global disarmament initiative.

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

I. "War of Words"

Military correspondent Amos Harel wrote on page one of the
independent, left-leaning HaQaretz (10/22): QThe announcements of
Ayatollah Seyed G. Safavi look to be another stage in the Iranian
attempt to create a balance of fear and deterrence with Israel....
Teheran is interested in warning Jerusalem that as far as it is
concerned, all options are open.... The problem with Safawi's
statements on a preemptive attack on Israel, and even more so with
the reports of the Iranian air force exercise, is that they are not
based on any proven capability. A cautious estimate would be that
the damage Iran could cause to Israel today is very limited.... It's
hard to imagine what good such an attack would do for Iran in the
near future. After all, this would be the best way to guarantee an
Israeli counter-attack, as well as firm international intervention
to halt the Iranian nuclear program, a program that constitutes such
an important goal of the Iranian government.

II. "Getting Used to the Inevitable"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote on page one of Ha'aretz
(10/19): QThe Foreign Ministry document, the details of which are
reported by HaQaretz on Sunday [October 19], translates into
official language what strategic experts have been saying for a long
time: Israel will not attack Iran's nuclear facilities and must get
used to the reality of the United States' dialogue with Tehran,
considering the expected changeover of government in Washington.
Israel should keep an eye on its interests in the event of a
possible U.S-Iranian dialogue, rather than live with the mistaken
illusion it can unilaterally put a stop to Iranian nuclear plans....
If Livni forms a government and if Obama is elected, the most
important issue that will come up in their meeting will be
protecting Israel's deterrence, and preventing its being sacrificed
to a deal with the Iranians or a global disarmament initiative.

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

Summary:
--------

Dr. Ali el-Samman, chairman of the [interfaith committee of the]
Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Egypt, who was an adviser to
the late president Anwar Sadat, wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: QWe should have the courage to give Livni
an opportunity and a timeout, so that we can examine her intentions
and her actions in real time.

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

"Give Livni a Chance"

Dr. Ali el-Samman, chairman of the [interfaith committee of the]
Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Egypt, who was an adviser to
the late president Anwar Sadat, wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/22):QEach time a new candidate for
prime minister appears in Israel, the leaders of the Arab world
regard with suspicion his worldview, his intentions and his chances
of success in forming a government. Against this backdrop, I now
propose to change the rules of the game regarding the next prime
minister in Israel: We should have the courage to give Livni an
opportunity and a timeout, so that we can examine her intentions and
her actions in real time. As soon as Livni presented her candidacy,
we pounced on her with a cruel offensive focusing on her past as a
Mossad agent. I remind you: Three previous Mossad directors
published books and articles that actually raise positive proposals
for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I imagine that the
nature of the work in an intelligence agency contributes to the
ability to distinguish between the attainable and the impossible.
The second criticism that is leveled against Livni on our side is
based on her past statements, which portray her as a rejectionist of
some of the Palestinian demands. I contend that most senior
politicians in Israel act and conduct their affairs under pressure
not to demonstrate too positive a stance towards the Palestinians.
The situation can only change when this politician becomes prime
minister. As in the case of Olmert: Try to compare his statements
when he assumed his post to the positions that he presents today. I
would like the Arab side to give Livni an opportunity, as an
initiative of trust. Give her a chance, it wonQt cost the Arab
leaders a high political price. If Livni disappoints us, we can
always withdraw the initiative of trust. I listened to Livni when
she appeared at the economic conference in Davos two years ago. I
listened not only to the content of her statements, but also to the
tone in which they were said, in order to test her credibility. I
had the feeling that on a personal level I was willing to trust her,
even if her words reflected the political game. The time has come
for us to examine in depth the situation in Israel. We must
analyze, not show suspicion in advance -- not prejudge Livni. We
should make a small opening in our picture of Israel, so that it is
not only painted in black and gloomy colors.Q [Note: The article is
being published simultaneously by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.]

--------------------------
3. U.S.-Israel Relations:
--------------------------

Summary:
--------

Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the late Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin, editorialized in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: QWe have a problem: American JewryQs link
to Israel is no longer what it used to be.... Therefore, prepare for
the coming of Obama -Q or rather donQt.

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

"Prepare for the Coming of Obama"
Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the late Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin, editorialized in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/22): QTo tell the truth, Obama will
not let Israel sleep. There will soon be a president who has
nothing to do with Judaism, Jews, or Israel. His notions about what
is happening in the Middle East are slim -Q now, he must solve a
world economic crisis before he drinks tea with Tzipi Livni and
coffee with Abu Mazen.... We are talking about the Qpresent
momentQ. We have some lightweight problems that need resolving,
such as a nuclear Iran, Islamic terror, Hamas, Syria, and the
economy. For generations, legends about the power of the QJewish
lobbyQ in Washington, AIPAC, and its friends have been scattered
here -Q those are now being tested. We have a problem: American
JewryQs link to Israel is no longer what it used to be....
Therefore, prepare for the coming of Obama -Q or rather, donQt.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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