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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2623/01 3301110
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251110Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9308
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 4655
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1260
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 5055
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5457
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4678
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 3087
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5449
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2297
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0522
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9251
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6740
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1679
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5753
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7734
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0582
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0854
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002623

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. Mideast

2. Iran

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

Yediot reported that yesterday in Washington PM Ehud Olmert asked
the U.S. administration to speed up the diplomatic process with the
Palestinians. He was quoted as saying that President-elect Barack
Obama will not have time for the Middle East. The Jerusalem Post
reported that, at a working breakfast with Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley,
Olmert stressed the importance of shunning Hamas until it meets the
QuartetQs demand of renouncing violence and recognizing Israel.

HaQaretz quoted DM Ehud Barak as saying yesterday before the Knesset
plenum that Hizbullah had tripled its rocket strength since the 2006
war in Lebanon and that it now possesses 42,000 rockets, some of
which are capable of striking Ashkelon, Yerucham, and Dimona. Barak
blasted critics who had called for a massive offensive in Gaza,
saying that Israel would not become hostage to a lone Qassam rocket.
He was quoted as saying: QA Gaza operation will not hasten the
return of Gilad Shalit.


HaQaretz reported that Israel has agreed to release 220 of the 350
prisoners convicted of serious crimes whose freedom Hamas is
demanding in exchange for Shalit. This represents a significant
moderation of IsraelQs position, as it had previously agreed to
release only 150 of these prisoners. Nevertheless, the gap between
the parties remains wide.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel will deploy close to 1,000
policemen in Bethlehem in the run-up to the Christmas season.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday the state acknowledged
that residents of the illegal outpost of Migron will be able to stay
there for years.
All media reported that Samir Kuntar, the Lebanese terrorist
released by Israel earlier this year, spoke across the Golan border
with Syria yesterday and promised that President Bashar Assad would
Qsoon wave the Syrian flag over the Golan.

Leading media reported that yesterday Tehran claimed to have
uncovered an Israeli spy ring responsible for collecting information
about its nuclear facilities.

HaQaretz reported that Shas is launching a campaign to seek
compensation for Jewish refugees who came to Israel from Arab
states. The campaign, part of the ultra-Orthodox party's election
platform, counters Palestinian demands for the right of return of
their refugees.

HaQaretz reported that Hamas correspondence intercepted by the PA
and obtained by the newspaper reveals a deep divide between the
organization's leadership abroad, its West Bank leadership, and the
Gaza leadership. The leadership abroad says it does not want "to
control Gaza completely while losing the West Bank."

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Sunday the PLOQs Central Council
declared PA President Mahmoud Abbas Qpresident of the State of the
Palestine,Q in response to HamasQs opposition to the extension of
his term in office beyond January 9. The title had been previously
held by Yasser Arafat.

Leading media reported that, just two weeks after the establishment
of the new right wing party, Habayit Hayehudi (the QJewish Home"), a
crisis is looming over the decision of its public council not to
hold a primary vote to elect its list of Knesset candidates.

Leading media reported that yesterday Iraqi MP Mithal Al-Alusi won a
legal fight in order not to be punished for his visits to Israel.

HaQaretz reported that yesterday government agencies released a
series of downbeat economic statistics showing that the crisis is
spreading from the financial sector to the rest of the economy. All
media reported that yesterday the Bank of Israel cut its discount
rate by 0.5% to 2.5%.

Maariv cited the results of a poll taken among Israelis on the issue
of the Golan. One third of respondents believe that IDF solders
should refuse orders to evacuate the Golan and 58% are opposed to a
withdrawal from the area even in exchange for full peace.

Maariv and The Jerusalem Post cited the results of a poll presented
at the Sderot Society Conference, which show that 72% of Israelis
believe that the regime in the country is corrupt.

------------
1. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: QIdeas
[pertaining to an Arab-Israeli agreement] deserve to receive the
official stamp of approval of the Obama administration and to be, in
practice, submitted to the voters in both communities so that those
who prefer the hard right parties here, and Hamas there, know in
advance that they are choosing confrontation with Obama's America.

Columnist and former IDF Intelligence chief Shlomo Gazit wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv: QIn our deliberations on the way to
the polling stations, the peace issue must be a decisive
consideration in our choice among the candidates. A clear answer to
the challenge given by the Arab peace initiative ad is immeasurably
more important than the list of new stars that will adorn the list
of Knesset candidates.

Conservative columnist Amos Carmel wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: QLarge letters at the top of the ad
[placed in Israeli papers by the PLO] promise us Qdiplomatic and
normal relationsQ in return for an Qend to the occupation.Q The
small print shows that the price is a lot higher. Not in acceding
to the fluttering of the dove's wings of peace, but in bringing in a
Trojan horse.

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

I. "ObamaQs Opportunity"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (11/25):
QImmediacy, priority and the personal involvement of the [incoming]
president are no less important than the components of [his] plan
[for an Arab-Israeli agreement], one version of which was made
public last weekend by two old U.S. foreign affairs and security
hands who are advising Obama, partly behind the scenes -- Brent
Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski. There's nothing wrong with a
peace based upon ensuring Israel's security within the 1967 borders,
with agreed-upon changes to the border and exchanges of territory
that will leave within Israel those settlement blocs whose
evacuation would be too expensive and too painful; a demilitarized
Palestinian state whose capital is East Jerusalem; and the
retraction of the demand for resettlement of the refugees within
Israel. It is campaign season in Israel as well as in the
Palestinian Authority. These ideas deserve to receive the official
stamp of approval of the Obama administration and to be, in
practice, submitted to the voters in both communities so that those
who prefer the hard right parties here, and Hamas there, know in
advance that they are choosing confrontation with Obama's America.

II. So, Yes or No to Peace?"

Columnist and former IDF Intelligence chief Shlomo Gazit wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv (11/25): QA few days ago we could not
help but see huge ads in all the major newspapers with a full Hebrew
translation of the Arab peace initiative. The Arab world is also
aware of the upcoming elections here, and the publication was meant
to challenge the political establishment in Israel.... The Arab and
Muslim world, the new administration in Washington and, above all,
we, the voters in Israel, expect a clear answer from Tzipi Livni,
from Benjamin Netanyahu, and from Ehud Barak. Don't evade the
matter. Give us a clear answer. Is Israel genuinely striving for
peace with our neighbors? And if the answer is affirmative -- what
is their plan? In our deliberations on the way to the polling
stations, the peace issue must be a decisive consideration in our
choice among the candidates. A clear answer to the challenge given
by the Arab peace initiative ad is immeasurably more important than
the list of new stars that will adorn the list of Knesset
candidates.

III. "The Trojan Initiative"

Conservative columnist Amos Carmel wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/25): QThe flag-bedecked ads that the
PLO published last week in the Israeli press provide the reader with
an important service.... The summarizing announcement of the Beirut
summit (on March 28, 2002) in which the declaration was written that
takes up the center of the ... ad, the writers were quick to assign
Israel with Qfull legal responsibility for the existence of the
problem of the Palestinian refugeesQ and to stress their Qabsolute
opposition to all the plans and attempts to settle them outside of
their homes.Q What else do we need to understand what is being said
here? Large letters at the top of the ad promise us Qdiplomatic and
normal relationsQ in return for an Qend to the occupation.Q The
small print shows that the price is a lot higher. Not in acceding
to the fluttering of the dove's wings of peace, but in bringing in a
Trojan horse. Indeed, a historic turning point.

---------
2. Iran:
---------

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: QThe
[British] Foreign Secretary's overly nuanced and highly conservative
message could easily lead the mullahs to conclude that there is no
credible downside to their building a bomb.

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

"MilibandQs QStark ChoiceQ"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (11/25):
QBritish Foreign Secretary David Miliband told a think-tank audience
in Abu Dhabi yesterday that the Qprospect of a nuclear-armed Iran
poses the most immediate threat to the stabilityQ of the region....
Unfortunately, in trying to convince the Arabs to get tougher with
Iran, Miliband actually gave them every reason not to: QThe pressure
we are applying to Iran, the sanctions we have supported in both the
EU and the UN, are not an attempt at regime change,Q he said. QNor
are they a precursor to military action. We are 100% committed to a
diplomatic resolution of this disputeQ.... The Foreign Secretary's
overly nuanced and highly conservative message could easily lead the
mullahs to conclude that there is no credible downside to their
building a bomb: Existing sanctions are insufficiently draconian to
deter; the pace by which they could conceivably be strengthened is
pathetically out of whack with Iranian nuclear advances; the regime
is under no threat; and the military option is off the table.

MORENO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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