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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2677/01 3380535
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030535Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9392
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 4679
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1283
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 5080
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5482
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4703
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 3115
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5474
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2322
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0547
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9274
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6763
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1704
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5776
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7757
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0605
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0895
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002677

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. Global War on Terror

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

All media reported on the return of the remains of the Israeli
victims of MumbaiQs terror attacks. The Jerusalem Post reported
that yesterday senior Foreign Ministry officials lashed out at the
Zaka rescue and recovery organization, charging that the group was
causing considerable damage to Indo-Israeli ties by "meddling" in
Mumbai. The officials were quoted as saying that public criticism
of Indian commandos could have serious diplomatic repercussions.

All media reported that today the Labor Party will hold its primary
under the shadow of polls predicting that it will lose as many as
half its seats in the upcoming Knesset elections. The media report
that the spots of Deputy DM Matan Vlinai, Education Minister Yuli
Tamir, National Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, former
DM Amir Peretz, and Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Prof. Avishay
Braverman are uncertain.

HaQaretz quoted a senior Israeli diplomatic source as saying this
week that President-elect Barack Obama is considering the
appointment of Daniel Kurtzer, former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and
Israel, to become his administration's presidential envoy to the
Middle East. HaQaretz said that President-elect Barack Obama's
decision to appoint a special envoy reporting to him directly,
rather than to the Secretary of State, indicates that the
president-elect attaches special importance to the regional peace
process. Reportedly, several of Obama's advisers recommended the
appointment. According to the daily, the special envoy job could
infringe on the prestige of Hillary Clinton, who was appointed
secretary of state on Monday. On the other hand, it could ease any
apparent conflict because of Bill Clinton's close ties with the Gulf
States. The Jerusalem Post said that, in announcing ClintonQs
nomination, Obama named the Iranian threat and the effort to make
peace between Israelis and Palestinians as two of the top three
issues facing the incoming secretary of state. The Jerusalem Post
reported that IsraelQs UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev welcomed
ObamaQs nomination of Susan Rice to be U.S. envoy to the UN.

Leading media reported that yesterday right-wing activists stepped
up operations to resist an operation by security forces aimed at
evicting them from the QHouse of ContentionQ in Hebron.

Major media reported that yesterday Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu
threatened to withhold ministerial appointments from any party
Knesset member who supports far-Right activist Moshe Feiglin
attempts to gain a spot on Likud's Knesset list. "Placing Feiglin
on Likud's Knesset list would harm Likud's strength. Feiglin is not
Likud. He is extreme right," Netanyahu was quoted as saying.

Electronic media reported on a high security alert at the entrances
to Tel Aviv this morning.

HaQaretz reported that PM Ehud Olmert's attorneys are weighing how
to respond to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz's offer to hold a
hearing for Olmert prior to charges being filed against him in the
Rishon Tours double-billing affair. Leading media reported that
Olmert refuses to heed KadimaQs call to resign, saying that his
decisions re professional.
Leading media reported that yesterday Fatah operative Muhammed Abu
Driyah died of his wounds sustained while resisting arrest. The
leading Internet news service Ynet quoted Palestinians as saying
that he had been granted clemency by Israel as part of amnesty
agreement, but Israel asserts he had returned to terrorism
Leading media reported that yesterday the Jerusalem District Court
sentenced Ahad Alma, one of the masterminds behind the assassination
of minister Rehavam Zeevi, to life in prison.

The Jerusalem Post cited an internal Defense Ministry document,
according to which unprecedented military coordination and a sincere
effort by the PA to crack down on Hamas has led to a unique economic
surge in the West Bank over the past year.

Visiting Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg was quoted as
saying in an interview with HaQaretz yesterday: "I understand why
Israel is saying that all the options [against Iran] are on the
table, but I do think that any armed action or any war would be
really a catastrophe." while on a 30-hour visit to Israel and the
Palestinian territories. The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu
assured Schwarzenberg yesterday that he would continue diplomatic
negotiations with the PA if he wins the elections in February and
that those negotiations would take place alongside what he has
called efforts to achieve Qeconomic peace.

Israel Radio reported that HaQaretz reporter Amira Hass was expelled
from Gaza because she would not accept protection offered by the
Hamas authorities. HaQaretz reported that she was detained by
Israeli police last night for having entered Gaza without a permit.

The Jerusalem Post told the story of a Qready-made peace plan
dropped in 1982 by President Reagan on the late PM Menachem Begin.

HaQaretz reported that yesterday a rabbi, a priest, and an imam met
along the shores of the Lake of Galilee to pray for rain.

Yediot reported that on Friday Orly Avior, a female US citizen and
resident of Netanya, will fly to Afghanistan for prolonged reserve
duty in the U.S. Army.

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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote on page one of the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: QThat ObamaQs team
represents continuity is, from IsraelQs vantage point, a strong
positive.

Palestinian sociologist Mohammed Naim Farhat, who teaches at
Bethlehem University, wrote in the independent, left-leaning
HaQaretz: QFrom time to time we hear Israelis describe Palestinians
as champions at missing opportunities. Someone should warn the
Israelis so they do not become the champion of lost opportunities.

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

I. "Jerusalem Mostly Pleased with Obama Choices"

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote on page one of the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (12/2): QObamaQs campaign
theme of change did not resonate well in Jerusalem, if only because
Israel was happy with the status quo with Washington. That ObamaQs
team represents continuity is, from IsraelQs vantage point, a strong
positive. While Jerusalem did not always see eye-to-eye with
[former Middle East security envoy and newly appointed national
security advisor Gen. (ret.) James Jones) over the last year ,
particularly with regard to his apparent support for international
forces, perhaps from NATO, in the West Bank, there was a sense that
he definitely understood and was sympathetic to the countryQs
security needs and concerns. Regarding Clinton, one senior
diplomatic source said there was relief at her choice because it is
always easier dealing with a known quantity, rather than an unknown
one.

II. "What Israel HasnQt Tried"

Palestinian sociologist Mohammed Naim Farhat, who teaches at
Bethlehem University, wrote in the independent, left-leaning
HaQaretz (12/2): QIsrael, strong on the one hand but anxious on the
other, needs a new perspective to define the problems and means for
solving them; a perspective based on humility and an understanding
of the wise use of force. This new perspective must recognize the
other and the rights of the other as a whole; to look for a real
partner instead of dismissing that partner or trying to destroy,
humiliate, change or determine the characteristics of that partner.
As for the Palestinians, they must reevaluate their worldview, which
has proven an utter failure in solving the conflict. The French
literary critic Roland Barthes said that only things that seem
obvious can be shocking. To this category belong the repeated
failures of strong Israel. The Palestinians are also failing, in
their own way. Violence is the only thing winning in this play,
whose subject is the conflict between two peoples. And Israel is
responsible for the violence. Anyone who does not see in an
agreement a supreme interest from Israel's point of view, and a very
essential interest from the Palestinian point of view, and does not
work to bring it about, transforms the obvious into a deep
historical swamp. From time to time we hear Israelis describe
Palestinians as champions at missing opportunities. Someone should
warn the Israelis so they do not become the champion of lost
opportunities.

-------------------------
2. Global War on Terror:
-------------------------

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: QBy
factoring in the Sunni-Shi'ite divide even when we think about
Pakistan and Mumbai, we register a phenomenon that threatens
destabilization from India to Egypt.

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized:
QStrategic consensus and true international coordination are needed
in this battle.

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

I. "Thinking Beyond Mumbai"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/2):
QWe know well that Muslim extremists are at war with other
civilizations. We know too that there is a struggle between
Islamists and moderates for the soul of Islam. What we often fail to
remember, however, is yet another overlapping with Islam -- between
the Sunni and ShiQite worlds.... All of this highlights a fact that
should become increasingly relevant to the foreign policy planning
of the incoming Obama administration, as well as to the next Israeli
government: The line between jihad within Islam and jihad against
non-Muslims is becoming more and more blurred.... True, the
Sunni-Shi'ite rivalry is but one layer in the exceptionally complex
and at times indecipherable matrix of Islamic politics. It is also
true that it can occasionally be overcome, as when Persian Shi'ite
Iran supports Arab Sunni Hamas because both share a radical agenda.
But ever since Ayatollah Khomeini's 1979 revolution in Iran, Sunni
establishments from Cairo to Baghdad to Amman, fearing a rising
Shi'ite tide, got their backs up.... By factoring in the
Sunni-Shi'ite divide even when we think about Pakistan and Mumbai,
we register a phenomenon that threatens destabilization from India
to Egypt.

II. "International Cooperation Needed to Stamp Out Terror"

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized (12/2):
QIt doesnQt matter whether [terrorist] operations are conducted by
the Mujahedeen of southern India or Lashkar a-Taybeh or Al-Qaida
together with Pakistani intelligence.... This is a technical matter.
The ideology is the same ideology that is behind terror in Israel
and in the PA, in London, Manhattan, and Madrid, in Lebanon, Iraq,
and Iran. The democratic world must start calling things by their
name.... Above all, strategic consensus and true international
coordination are needed in this battle, so that we no longer hear on
the Israeli radios the spokesmen of Hamas and other spokesmen saying
through the Israeli announcer that we have lost the war against
terror.

MORENO

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