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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #2468/01 3101126
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P 051126Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5374
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RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2976
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002468

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. U.S. Elections

2. Middle East

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

All media covered the last day of the U.S. electoral campaign. The
printed media predicted that Sen. Barack Obama would clinch the
presidency. This morning the electronic media reported that Obama
had won the race. Israel Radio reported that President Shimon Peres
called to congratulate him. The radio quoted FM and Kadima
chairwoman Tzipi Livni as saying that Israel and the U.S. share many
interests, and that the relationship between the two countries will
not harmed. Rev. Jesse Jackson told Maariv that the Jews share
ObamaQs success.

HaQaretz (English Ed.) led with IsraelQs worry about what the
outcome of America's presidential election may portend for
Washington's policy on Iran. On most Israel-related issues,
Jerusalem foresees no dramatic changes in U.S. policy, regardless of
who is elected. On Iran, however, it is worried that Democratic
candidate Barack Obama will take a significantly softer line than
the outgoing administration has. During his campaign, Obama
repeatedly said that if elected, he would begin a dialogue with the
Iranian regime. According to HaQaretz, Israel is also worried that
President Bush will use his final two months in office to open an
interests section in Tehran -- a move his administration has been
discussing for months. Over the last few weeks, Israel has sent
high-level messages to Washington in which it expressed its
objections to the proposal to open an interests section. However,
HaQaretz quoted a senior Israeli government source as saying that
Jerusalem still has no definite information about the plan.
HaQaretz and the leading Internet news service Ynet reported that FM
Tzipi Livni has warned whoever is elected U.S. President against
increased international pressure on Israel, saying the country would
not take "shortcuts" in the peace process with the Palestinians.
"The world must support the process that is being conducted and not
expect Israel to carry out shortcuts which would hurt its ability to
safeguard its needs," Livni was quoted as saying ahead of a visit by
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and of Sunday's meeting of
international peace mediators in Egypt. HaQaretz and other media
cited a statement made by LivniQs office as saying that she met
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch to
prepare for the Rice visit and a meeting of the Quartet. Leaving
today for a five-day trip to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and
Egypt, Rice is due to hold talks with Israeli officials in Jerusalem
tomorrow and with Palestinian officials in Ramallah on Friday. The
Jerusalem Post quoted diplomatic officials as saying yesterday that
Secretary Rice will likely present the next U.S. administration with
her own parameters for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The media reported that IDF Special Forces entered Gaza last night
to blow up a tunnel dug by Hamas terrorists for the purpose of
kidnapping Israeli soldiers. Five Hamas militants were reportedly
killed and three IDF soldiers moderately injured. Electronic media
reported that Palestinians fired rockets on Israel, up to Ashkelon.

HaQaretz reported that Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh promised
former Irish president Mary Robinson, while she was visiting Gaza,
that Hamas will pass Gilad Shalit's family a letter from the
kidnapped soldier, in response to the letter they sent their son a
few months ago.

Yesterday Israel Radio reported that Hamas officials voiced
skepticism that the U.S. presidential election would result in a
change in U.S. policy in the Middle East and towards the group. The
radio quoted a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhum, as saying that
the choice between McCain and Obama is Qawful.

Yediot reported that President Shimon Peres will speak after Saudi
King Abdullah at the interreligious conference to take place in New
York.

The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that PM Ehud
Olmert and DM Ehud Barak have agreed to permanently move the
residents of the unauthorized outpost of Migron to a permanent
settlement -- Adam. The Jerusalem Post quoted Rabbi YaQacov Yosef,
the eldest son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, as
saying yesterday during a visit to the unauthorized Federman Farm
outpost on the outskirts of Kiryat Arba that those who destroyed
Jewish homes will be barred from the world to come.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday the PA told Arab
residents of East Jerusalem not to vote in next weekQs municipal
elections and that those who defied the boycott order would face
punishment. Maariv reported that Nir Barkat, the leading contender
in the race for Jerusalem mayor, intends to dig a tunnel for a
railway line under Mount Zion, which would endanger holy Christian
sites. Media reported on the municipalityQs project a few months
ago.

The Jerusalem Post cited a new report released on Monday by the
human rights organization Yesh Din that says that even though police
reject the overwhelming majority of complaints by Palestinians
against Jews, the state prosecution does not fulfill its obligation
to oversee the police investigations or seriously investigate
appeals against their decisions.

Leading media reported that on Monday Hizbullah official Nawaf
Moussawi rejected the UN-demarcated Blue Line between Lebanon and
Israel and laid claim to seven villages in northern Israel and
Qmillions of square metersQ that it says belongs to Lebanon.

Maariv reported that Jordan has rejected the Israeli plan for
cooperation on the Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal project. A senior
diplomatic source told MaarivQs business reporter that the
Jordanians made it clear that they intend to pursue an independent
project and are currently examining the possibility of digging a
canal on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea. To that end, they
contracted an American company to carry out the necessary tests.
The Jordanian position came as a surprise to Israel and to officials
in President Shimon PeresQs office.

HaQaretz quoted a new Human Rights Watch report, which says that
Georgia used defective Israeli-made cluster bombs during its war
with Russia, which detonated in populated areas and killed Georgian
civilians.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Labor, Likud, and Meretz agreed on
Monday to vote against KadimaQs 2009 draft state budget.

HaQaretz reported that former president Moshe Katsav and his family
co-own land with the Gavrieli brothers, who have long been suspected
of criminal ties.

-------------------
1. U.S. Elections:
-------------------
Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: QYesterday,
the U.S. once again justified its title as leader of the free world:
It concluded a campaign that is a worthy model for emulation.

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: QQObamaniaQ was born in
Damascus a moment before the Black candidate with a promising Muslim
name (Hussein) entered the race.

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn QadvisedQ the winner of the
presidential elections in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz:
QThe chances of obtaining an agreement [on the Palestinian track]
are slim.... The Syrian track is less complicated than the
Palestinian mess.

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

I. "Democracy at its Best"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (11/5): QThe
election took place in the shadow of a deep economic and social
crisis, an army that has been unable to extricate itself from
battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a worrying erosion of
America's influence in the world. The grim mood brought millions of
citizens to the polls who in the past had waived their right to have
an impact. Whites and blacks, Jews and Muslims, all decided to give
their votes to a candidate who is young, black and lacking in
governmental experience. Old people and young people, including
residents of QRepublican statesQ par excellence, enlisted en masse
to bring about change -- one could even say, a revolution -- in the
White House and in Congress. American democracy mobilized to rescue
the U.S. from the serial disappointments of President George W.
Bush's eight years in office. We must hope that over the next four
years, both major parties and both houses of Congress will help the
new president rehabilitate the status of a superpower that remains
unrivaled in its influence over the peace and welfare of all
humanity, regardless of race, sex or religion. Yesterday, the U.S.
once again justified its title as leader of the free world: It
concluded a campaign that is a worthy model for emulation.

II. "The Arabs Are Looking Froward to Obama"

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/5): QQObamaniaQ was
born in Damascus a moment before the Black candidate with a
promising Muslim name (Hussein) entered the race. Bashar Assad
viewed Obama as a QmiracleQ who might save him from the
International Court of Justice (for the Hariri assassination), grant
him a status and involvement in Lebanon, widely open for him the
gates of the White House, stop attacks by the U.S. and Israeli
armies on designated targets in his country, and bring him economic
assistance that is much more urgent to him than receiving the Golan
Heights.... What is almost certain is that at least one country in
the Arab world will gain from ObamaQs victory: the royal House of
Saud will become a key player.... Saudi Arabia, the power of which
will increase, will be invited to mediate, fund, influence, enlist
votes, and lead the fresh president by the hand.... [Editorialists
in the Arab world] are suggesting that Obama nurture the leaders of
the moderate nations, not intervene, and mostly erase the eight
violent years of a president who drove an armored car that kept
colliding with the Arab world Q- intentionally, arrogantly, and
without apologizing.

III. "Advice for the Winner"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn QadvisedQ the winner of the
presidential elections in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(11/5): QBush's Middle East problem was not a lack of ideas. He was
convinced that a Palestinian state was in AmericaQs interest, and
his rhetoric went beyond that of his predecessors in terms of his
commitment to the two-state solution. But he had trouble backing up
his ideas with action, and most of his initiatives soon evaporated
in the face of Israeli and Palestinian determination to continue
fighting. Condoleezza Rice succeeded in convening the Annapolis
conference, in somehow preserving the Palestinian Authority as a
partner for negotiations, and in extracting an offer from Ehud
Olmert to leave all the territories solely because she nagged both
Israelis and Palestinians. Therefore, do not let the sides wear you
down with excuses. Wear them down, with polite insistence.... The
chances of obtaining an agreement are slim. Good intentions and
Q100 percent effortQ will not be enough to solve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.... The Syrian track is less
complicated than the Palestinian mess.... The problem with the
Syrian track is that the status quo is convenient for both sides:
Israel wants to stay in the Golan, and Syria fears domestic change.
Only active American leadership, to move the process forward and
support it through security arrangements and economic aid, can break
this stalemate.

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

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: QThose
determined to wage war on a different plane -- imbued by the
delusion that they are the last of the Jews -- must be socially,
politically, and religiously isolated first and foremost by
supporters of the settlement enterprise.

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

"13 Years Unhealed"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (11/5):
QThirteen years after the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak
Rabin, both the Left and the Right have embraced a single corrosive
motto: QNever forget, never forgive.Q If they persist, our Zionist
enterprise is at risk. The Left appropriated Rabin's memory,
distanced it from the nation as a whole, and exploited it for
partisan ends. Rabin's murder was held over the heads of everyone
who opposed Oslo. The Right closed its mind to the possibility
that, maybe, just maybe, even if unintentionally, its leaders said
things that contributed to the atmosphere which set the stage for
the killing. Time has not healed our nationQs wounds. Instead,
we've spent the past 13 years locked into Qnever forget, never
forgiveQ.... Let no one on the Right wince when security officials
warn that an atmosphere is being created that makes another
political murder possible. No matter how passionately Israelis
disagree, no matter how high the stakes, we absolutely must contend
with one another exclusively within the political arena. Those
determined to wage war on a different plane -- imbued by the
delusion that they are the last of the Jews -- must be socially,
politically, and religiously isolated first and foremost by
supporters of the settlement enterprise.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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