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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2509/01 3171201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121201Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9102
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 4601
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1208
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4988
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5403
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4624
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 3015
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5389
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2239
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0464
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9199
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6688
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1622
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5701
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7676
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0529
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0774
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002509

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

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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The media published the results of the municipal elections: Secular
candidate Nir Barkat was elected mayor of Jerusalem (52% to 43% for
the ultra-Orthodox Meir Porush). Arkady Gaidamak garnered only 3.6%
of the votes. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai won over his Hadash rival
Dov Henin (51% to 34%). Yael Dayan retained a seat on Tel AvivQs
City Council (on HuldaiQs list). Kadima candidate Yona Yahav
remains Mayor of Haifa. Outgoing Beersheva mayor Yaacov Turner lost
to his former deputy Rubik Danilowitz.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday PM Olmert struggled
behind close doors to assert his authority after his diplomatic
platform was rejected by both FM Tzipi Livni and PA President
Mahmoud Abbas. HaQaretz reported that yesterday associates of PM
Ehud Olmert attacked Livni for her agreement to make concessions on
Jerusalem. Livni had criticized Olmert over his conciliatory
remarks at the commemoration ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin in Jerusalem
on Sunday. Yediot reported that Olmert associates accused Livni of
playing a double game with Syria. Maariv reported that Olmert
associates dispute the fact that Livni initiated the Annapolis
conference.

Leading media reported that yesterday, during a visit to an army
base, PM Olmert said that renewed conflict with Hamas is a matter of
Qwhen, not if.Q The Jerusalem Post reported that President-elect
Barack ObamaQs office flatly denied a Hamas officialQs claim
yesterday that advisers to Obama met with representatives from the
terrorist organization while on a visit to the region.

Yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported that, during a telephone
conversation she held on Monday with Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
FM Livni urged the U.S. to stand firm against IranQs nuclear program
and extremists in the region.

Yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported that Olmert decided on Monday
that a QminimalQ amount of fuel will be allowed to enter Gaza on
Tuesday. The Defense Ministry was quoted as saying that the
decision was in response to Quartet envoy Tony Blair.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa was quoted as saying in an
interview conducted over the weekend with HaQaretz that after an
Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories within the
framework of an overall peace agreement, foreign forces could be
stationed there for a specific period.

Major media reported that Labor Party Knesset members Ami Ayalon and
Ophir Paz-Pines have held talks with Meretz and are apparently
thinking about running for Knesset with Meretz in FebruaryQs
national elections.

The Jerusalem Post cited Likud leader Benjamin NetanyahuQs concern
over the possibility that far-Right activist Moshe Feiglin could win
a realistic seat on the partyQs Knesset candidates list.

Leading media reported that yesterday Bank of Israel Governor
Stanley Fischer announced an unscheduled rate cut to the lowest
level in Israeli history. With almost immediate effect --
specifically, from Friday, November 14 -- the central bank overnight
lending rate will drop by half a percent to 3%.

Yediot reported that about a week ago Olmert decided to allow the
immigration to Israel of 150 to 200 Bnei Menashe from India,
Qdescendants of one of the Ten Tribes of Israel.

HaQaretz reported that security sources told the newspaper in recent
days that Israeli businesswoman Yardena Ovadia is operating as a
mediator in arms sales to Equatorial Guinea for sums of up to $100
million.

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

Summary:
--------

Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker wrote in an editorial in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: QObama will be a
distinctly pro-Israel president. This is evidenced by his sweeping
Zionist speech at the AIPAC conference.
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: QInstead
of lecturing Israelis, [Olmert] could more constructively spend the
remainder of his administration demanding that the Palestinians meet
Israel half-way and enable his successor to proceed toward an
agreement that would give Palestinians independence and Israel
abiding security.

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: QNetanyahu believes that his knowledge of
America and his understanding of Obama's political needs will enable
him to win over Obama. But first Netanyahu will have to convince
the Israeli public that his proposals are genuine.

Former Meretz leader Dr. Yossi Beilin wrote in the independent
Israel Hayom: QIf the prime minister's post was held by a man who
adopted the political solution that the peace camp has believed in
for many years, if that prime minister had close to 70 supporters in
the Knesset, why didn't he act on the opportunity at hand?

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

I. "Not Exactly What You Thought"

Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker wrote in an editorial in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/12): QThe joy over
Obama's election in certain circles in Israel completely ignores his
socio-economic views and focuses on his skin, on his slogans
(QchangeQ), and on the presumed foreign policy he is expected to
adopt, which will be Qcompletely differentQ from that of Bush.
Obama-ists in Israel paint an image of Obama based on their own
views: as an economic conservative, a foreign policy dove. And what
if Obama, as president, is the opposite?... In regard to the
Israeli-Arab conflict, Obama will be a distinctly pro-Israel
president. This is evidenced by his sweeping Zionist speech at the
AIPAC conference. Even Bush never made such resounding statements
that concurred with the Zionist idea. And just wait until Obama the
president appoints as his secretary of the treasury Prof. Larry
Summers, another avowed Zionist.

II. "Olmert as Oracle"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (11/12):
QEhud Olmert spoke so earnestly in favor of an Israeli withdrawal
Qwith minor correctionsQ to the 1949 armistice lines, at the state
memorial ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin on Monday, that the audience
could be forgiven for forgetting that he was elected to implement a
significant West Bank pullback -- and failed.... Yet, bizarrely,
Olmert spoke as if he was the leader of the opposition, not the
sitting prime minister.... He would lash out against settler
extremists, as if he wasn't the ultimate law enforcement authority
in the land?.... Yet the most egregious aspect of Olmert's speech
was how he managed to inoculate the Palestinians from their
peacemaking responsibilities. On Tuesday, the fourth anniversary of
Yasser Arafat's death, PLO chairman and PA president Abbas urged the
Palestinian polity to QcherishQ the path of the QshahidsQ --
Arafat, Abu Jihad (Khalil al-Wazir), George Habash, and Hamas
founder Ahmed Yassin. Abbas then urged Palestinians to pursue
Arafat's Qpeace of the braveQ -- whatever that means post-second
Intifada. In his final weeks, as a caretaker prime minister, it is
too late now for Olmert to do much more than talk. But instead of
lecturing Israelis, he could more constructively spend the remainder
of his administration demanding that the Palestinians meet Israel
half-way and enable his successor to proceed toward an agreement
that would give Palestinians independence and Israel abiding
security.

III. "Give Him a Chance, Netanyahu Will Say"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (11/12): QIf Benjamin Netanyahu is elected
prime minister, he will try to convince Barack Obama that the time
has come to change direction in the Middle East. Netanyahu will
play to Obama's psychology, to his self-image as a winner: His two
immediate predecessors attempted to solve the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict and ended their presidencies as losers.... Give my ideas a
chance, Netanyahu will tell Obama, and maybe you'll be a winner....
Netanyahu is aware of the expectations that his relationship with
Obama will be poor and friction-prone, like his relations with
Clinton a decade ago. He believes that circumstances have changed,
and that there was chemistry between him and Obama at their two
meetings. That won't be enough. Netanyahu will have a problem with
the settlers, especially if the settlers' violence toward the
Palestinians escalates, leading to harsh international criticism of
Israel. Or in the event the Obama administration insists on
evacuating West Bank outposts, and the Netanyahu government is
dependent upon the support of the right.... Netanyahu believes that
his knowledge of America and his understanding of Obama's political
needs will enable him to win over Obama. But first Netanyahu will
have to convince the Israeli public that his proposals are genuine,
and not merely an attempt to wrap his rigid rejection of territorial
withdrawals and the evacuation of settlements in pretty but
meaningless talk.

IV. "Talks Like Me -Q and Annoys Me"

Former Meretz leader Dr. Yossi Beilin wrote in the independent
Israel Hayom (11/11): QThe statements made by Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert during the Knesset session in honor of the 13th anniversary
of the Rabin assassination about the error of the intention to
control all of the Land of Israel are not new -- but the venue at
which they were made and the prominence that they received confer a
special importance to the statements. From now on, no one will be
able to ignore this. I am not dismissive of Olmert's speeches: They
had an educational aspect to them, and it seems to me that that is
liable to be his principal legacy. By so doing he is following in
the footsteps of premiers who came from Likud ranks before him....
But it is precisely the fact that Olmert speaks as I do, but instead
of promoting the peace process and instead of reaching agreements
with Abu Mazen, launched a failed war in Lebanon and had [Avigdor]
Lieberman join his government, that is particularly annoying to me.
If the prime minister's post was held by a man who adopted the
political solution that the peace camp has believed in for many
years, if that prime minister had close to 70 supporters in the
Knesset, why didn't he act on the opportunity at hand? What did
Israel gain from the warm relations between him and Abu Mazen? Only
the taste of another missed opportunity.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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