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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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P 051136Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002500

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
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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

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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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Israel Hayom reported that FM and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni told
Quartet representatives in Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday that the
clauses of an Israeli-Palestinian accord have been drafted and that
the maps are being worked on. Leading media quoted Livni as saying
that Israel has achieved what it wanted. HaQaretz quoted Livni as
saying that she is convinced that she has not repeated the mistakes
of Camp David in 2000. The Jerusalem Post reported that, calling
the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations Qirreversible,Q the
Quartet said that it would allow the bilateral talks to continue
without international intervention.

HaQaretz reported that central figures on the Israeli left,
including former Labor party ministers, writers, spiritual leaders
and academics are expected in the coming days to announce their
support of Meretz in February's national elections. Some of them
will even join the party and contend in the upcoming primary.
Meretz Chairman Haim Oron has held meetings in recent weeks with
dozens of prominent figures to strengthen the party, which took 12
Knesset seats in the 1992 election but was reduced to five by the
2006 vote. Among those who met with Oron and are expected to back
Meretz are former Labor Party ministers Shlomo Ben-Ami and Uzi
Baram, and former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg. All three have left
political life in favor of writing or private business. Novelists
Amos Oz and David Grossman are also expected to support the party,
as well as attorney Tzali Reshef, a Peace Now founder who served
briefly as former PM Ehud Barak's chief of staff and ran for a
Knesset seat with Labor. Gilad Sher, who headed Barak's team in
negotiations with the PA between 1999 and 2001, is also likely to
join the party ranks. Maariv reported that Vice PM Haim Ramon,
Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, and popular anchor/author Yair
Lapid had considered forming a new party.

The Jerusalem Post quoted a U.S. official as saying that senior U.S.
and European officials met in Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday with several
Arab leaders who are worried about the international community
negotiating an agreement with Iran that would give the Islamic
Republic more power in the Middle East. The U.S. official took part
in the talks. The Jerusalem Post quoted a spokesman for FM Tzipi
Livni as saying that Israel was involved in the meeting, but not
directly. The Israeli spokesman was quoted as saying that there is
concern in the international community about what will happen with
Iran under the new U.S. administration and that diplomats were
worried that the U.S. might establish an interests section in
Tehran.

HaQaretz reported that political activists in Gaza were surprised to
hear Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh make a statement hinting that Hamas
agrees to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967
borders. Yesterday Israel Hayom quoted HamasQs Khaled Mashal and
Zahar as saying over the weekend that they hope that ObamaQs
election will turn over a new leaf between the organization and the
new administration in the U.S. However, they said, they do not
expect the boycott to be lifted anytime soon because of IsraelQs
influence over the U.S. But one of ObamaQs advisers commented,
saying, QObama will talk with Hamas only on condition that it
recognize IsraelQs right to exist and respect the existence of

previous agreements.

Leading media reported that the closing of GazaQs crossing by Israel
may have caused a blackout in the Strip. Maariv quoted DM Ehud
Barak as saying yesterday at the cabinet meeting that Israel should
prepare for the cessation of the lull. The Jerusalem Post reported
that Barak called on the government to examine ways of approving IDF
action against residential areas in Gaza from which rockets are
being fired at Israel. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted senior Hamas
official Mahmoud Zahar as saying that the truce with Israel will not
last for long. The media reported that 13 Qassam rockets were fired
at the Negev over the weekend.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a QdramaticQ Muslim representation
is expected at Monday's "Special Event Promoting Tolerance
Throughout the European Continent" at the European Parliament in
Brussels. Representatives of Libya, Qatar, the United Arab
Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Morocco, Turkey and
Malaysia, among others, are to attend an event publicized as part of
the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (Crystal
Night, the Reich-wide series of anti-Jewish pogroms). The event is
organized jointly by the European Jewish Congress and the presidency
of the European Parliament. It is the first event of this scope in
Europe to include such significant Muslim participation. The
Jerusalem Post quoted World Jewish Congress Vice President Maram
Stern as saying that the Muslim world representatives almost
certainly had "clearance from home, so this is a great success."

Major media reported on a scuffle between Armenian and Greek
Orthodox clergy in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher yesterday.

Major media reported that yesterday, in a speech before the Syrian
Parliament and Arab notables, Syrian President Bashar Assad
expressed his doubts about IsraelQs desire for peace.

All media reported that, a decade after he left Likud to found the
short-lived Center Party with the goal of ousting Likud chair
Benjamin Netanyahu from power, Dan Meridor announced yesterday that
he was rejoining his former party and rival. Yediot reported that
Netanyahu banned former National Religious Party leader Effie Eitam
from running in the general elections as part of Likud.

The Jerusalem Post quoted the spokesman for Jerusalem mayoral
candidate Arkady Gaidamak asQaying that he would stop all illegal
demolitions of illegal Arab homes in East as mayor.

The Jerusalem Post quoted an Israeli official involved in handling
the issue of the Gaza siege-breaking boats as saying that Israel
will not give the boats extra public relations.

Leading media reported that a border policeman was sentenced to one
year in jail yesterday for accidentally shooting and killing a
Palestinian in Jaffa in 2006.

HaQaretz reported that India is negotiating a $1.5 billion deal to
buy four intelligence and early warning planes from Israel.

Leading media reported that Holocaust survivor Rabbi Yisrael Meir
Lau, currently Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and formerly Chief
Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, has been appointed Chairman of the Yad
Vashem Council.

--------
Mideast:
--------

Summary:
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Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote
in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: QThe problem is not
[ObamaQs] lack of ability, but the quality of his partners.

HaQaretz editorialized: QIsrael must ... turn an attentive ear to
the statements coming out of Gaza, and reexamine its policy.

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in Ha'aretz: QObama ...
has no domestic political reason to run from the Israeli-Arab
conflict.

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in
International Affairs Center, columnist Barry Rubin, wrote in the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: Q[Mr. President-elect,]
right now you don't understand why Bill Clinton and George Bush
couldn't solve a little thing like the Arab-Israeli conflict, defuse
the massive hatred of America in the Middle East, end terrorism or
turn radical Islamism into an ideology of peace. Don't worry. You
will.

Dov Weisglass, who was former prime minister Ariel Sharon's top
diplomatic advisor, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: QIt is worth remembering and recalling the good that
President Bush spilled on Israel.


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

I. "Obama WonQt Fix It"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote
in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (11/9): QThere has never
been a U.S. president whose first days in office have not given rise
to immediate, incontrovertible confidence in his ability to end the
Arab-Israeli conflict. There has never been a U.S. president who
has not come to realize, shortly after taking office, that the
problem is not his lack of ability, but the quality of his
partners.... Obama is charming, but he's not a magician. He needs,
first of all, a wise and determined Israeli government so he can
offer it America's talents and capabilities. He -- that is, we --
need this kind of leadership, the kind that doesn't read the
American pressure gauge each morning but puts forth a plan of
action. In Washington the president will change, but the mirror on
the wall is in the same place, and it is turned toward Jerusalem.

II. "Listen to Hamas"

HaQaretz editorialized (11/10): Q[In an interview with HaQaretz,]
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the ousted prime minister of the
Palestinian Authority, described the Qterritories of 1967Q as the
territory of the Palestinian state Qat this timeQ..... Haniyeh's
comments are imbued with special significance against the backdrop
of recent events in the Gaza Strip and the exchanges of fire that
put the current lull at risk, along with the presidential election
results in the United States and Khaled Mashal's statements that
Hamas is willing to negotiate with the new American government....
Israeli recognition of any Palestinian government that is
established is liable to lay a practical and stable foundation for
cooperation, and perhaps even for deeper confidence that will
advance the political process. Israel must therefore turn an
attentive ear to the statements coming out of Gaza, and reexamine
its policy.

III. "DonQt Be Afraid of the Jews"

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in Ha'aretz (11/10):
QObama has nothing to fear from the right-wing Jewish lobby (not to
mention the Christian right).... Obama therefore has no domestic
political reason to run from the Israeli-Arab conflict or to erase
the declaration he made during his visit to Amman in July. The man
who galloped to the White House on the horse of QchangeQ pledged a
change in the administration's involvement in the peace process. He
said that Qmy goal is to make sure that we work, starting from the
minute I'm sworn into office, to try to find some breakthroughs.
The meaning of Qbreakthrough,Q according to his statements at the
beginning of his campaign in the lion's den of AIPAC's Chicago
chapter, is a real and continuous effort, no longer countless trips
for photo-ops. This chip will be cashed in.

IV. "A Letter to the President-Elect"

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in
International Affairs Center, columnist Barry Rubin, wrote in the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (11/10): QGood luck. We
hope you succeed. But please bear in mind some important points.
In the Middle East, it is not so useful to think yourself popular
and show yourself to be friendly. You have to inspire fear in your
enemies and confidence in your friends. And if you don't inspire
fear in your enemies -- if you're too nice to them - - then you will
indeed foment fear among your friends. Not everyone thinks the
same way. When you talk of Qempathy,Q America's enemies hear the
word Qfear.Q When you speak of change, they, too, want change.
Unfortunately the change they want means wiping other states off the
map, creating radical Islamist dictatorships and kicking the United
States out of the region. This is no misunderstanding: it's a
conflict.... Westerners are eager to resolve conflicts;
revolutionaries want to use conflicts. You think grievances can be
resolved; their grievances are insatiable. Make a concession, they
ignore it and demand another. Withdraw from a territory, they
occupy it and turn it into a base for the next advance. Explain
that you feel their pain, and they add to your pain. This is what
it is like to deal with extremists and ideologues. Right now you
don't understand why Bill Clinton and George Bush couldn't solve a
little thing like the Arab-Israeli conflict, defuse the massive
hatred of America in the Middle East, end terrorism or turn radical
Islamism into an ideology of peace. Don't worry. You will.

V. QRemember BushQs Good Deeds

Dov Weisglass, who was former prime minister Ariel Sharon's top
diplomatic advisor, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (11/10): QAmong other things, Barak ObamaQs victory was
achieved because of the disappointment and anger that many Americans
felt towards the Bush administration. The joy of triumph swept the
American street. All this is the AmericansQ business. A totally
different issue is the Israeli QsharingQ of that glee. It is worth
remembering and recalling the good that President Bush spilled on
Israel. Bush has an aversion to any form of terror. He rejected
any attempt to QexplainQ it. This is the origin of his unreserved
support for IsraelQs fight against Palestinian terrorism, which many
states viewed as an Qinbuilt responseQ to the Israeli occupation.
Without BushQs loving support, Israel would have found it extremely
difficult to implement its tough military policy Q which looked bad
but was actually vital to the war on terror.... Israelis who believe
in a forced agreement have good resaon to see him go -Q they, those
with a short memory, and those who lack gratitude.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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