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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2720/01 3401151
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P 051151Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9461
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RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 4695
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1299
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 5109
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5503
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4724
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 3146
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5496
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2338
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0563
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9290
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6779
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1725
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5792
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7774
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0621
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0935
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002720

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. Hebron Violence

2. Obama Administration

3. Global Economy

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

All media reported that the IDF and police are preparing for a wave
of violence by extremist West Bank settlers against Palestinians
after yesterdayQs evacuation of 200 settlers from Hebron's QHouse of
Contention.Q Settlers erupted in violence yesterday in protest of
the eviction. Settlers torched fields, olive groves, and yards in a
wadi (dell) between Hebron and the settlement of Kiryat Arba. They
also opened fire on Palestinians, wounding three. Settlers hurled
stones at Palestinian vehicles on a number of roads in the areas of
Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron. In Bitin, north of Ramallah, settlers
broke into a home and vandalized Palestinian property, and in
several other West Bank villages, anti-Muslim graffiti was sprayed
on mosque walls. Protests spread to major Israeli highways and
communities. The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that the
PLOQs Executive Committee demanded that Israel evacuate the Hebron
settlers immediately.

Leading media reported Minister Isaac Herzog and Knesset members
Ophir Pines-Paz, Avishay Braverman, and Shelly Yacimovich took the
top four spots in Labor's primaries after Chairman Ehud Barak, whose
position is secured. The polling stations reported 58% voter
turnout. HaQaretz and Yediot reported that Likud Chairman Benjamin
Netanyahu has drawn up a list of preferred candidate for the party
primaries, which will take place on Thursday, with MK Yuli Edelstein
as No. 1.

All media reported that State Prosecutor Moshe Lador told PM Ehud
Olmert's attorneys yesterday that the state would close the
investigation into the 2005 privatization of Bank Leumi, in which
Olmert was suspected of wrongdoing while serving as finance
minister.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator
for the Middle East Peace Process, as saying that a new Israeli
government and the U.S. administration must continue the Annapolis
peace process.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Turkish sources as saying yesterday that
Israel and Syria may hold a fifth round of indirect talks before the
general election on February 10. The newspaper also reported that
the Syrian ambassador to Egypt has left Cairo in what some observers
note is an indication of tension in Syrian-Egyptian relations.

Leading media reported that, in a clear sign of EgyptQs increasing
frustration with the Hamas leadership, Mustafa el-Fiqi, a top
Egyptian parliamentarian, warned this week that his country would
not allow Hamas to establish an Islamic state in Gaza.

Leading media reported that yesterday the public council of the new
right-wing party Habayit Hayehudi (the Jewish Home) decided that the
three MKs who had applied for candidacy on the partyQs list will not
be on it. Maariv reported that a poll commissioned by Orthodox and
ultra-Orthodox found that a new political grouping that would
potential merge Shas, United Torah Judaism, and the Jewish Home
could be expected to garner 30 Knesset seats and become the largest
party in the Knesset. Maariv reported that Orthodox millionaires in
the U.S. are funding this initiative.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was quoted as saying
yesterday in an interview with Yediot that he views Hizbullah as a
purely terrorist organization.

Rashid Khalidi, the Columbia University Professor of Modern Arab
Studies, was quoted as saying in an interview with HaQaretz that he
does not think that President-elected Barack Obama can make a
fundamental change in U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict.

HaQaretz (English Ed.) reported that last week a new right-wing
Evangelical organization pledged to help fund the military academy
in Dalyat al-Carmel, following a first official visit by a Christian
Zionist delegation to the Israeli Druze city last month. The
project, if completed, would be the first such contribution by
Evangelicals to the Druze community. Prominent Druze figures
praised the nascent relationship, but anti-conscription activists
argue that in courting donors, the Druze leadership needs to divert
charity to more pressing needs.

--------------------
1. Hebron Violence:
--------------------

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: QEvery
law-abiding citizen must say loudly and clearly: I am sick and tired
of these self-declared messiahs.... This is the time for the rule of
law to exercise its full power against its destroyers.

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of the
popular, pluralist Maariv: QThe incited, deranged youth, which
understands that a majority of the Israeli public has accepted the
fact that at some point we will have to part from territories in
Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank], and has decided to prevent
this at all costs. So here it is: If we want to survive here, we
will have to stop them, at all costs.

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote on page one of the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: QThe continuation will
not be in this house, but elsewhere, and it will be harsh and cruel.
Arabs will attack Jews. Jews will attack Arabs. Jews will attack
Jews. The hatred is great, and too many elements have an interest
in fueling it.

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: QThe
contemptible behavior of settler radicals does not negate [the Jews
historical] right [to Hebron].

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

I. "Mayhem in Hebron"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (12/5): QThe
evacuation of the House of Contention in Hebron yesterday brought a
cautious measure of optimism that, in spite of everything, the
government has decided to enforce the rule of law and not surrender
to lawbreakers and their Yesha Council settler lobbyists. But the
evacuation is only one step in the necessary campaign against the
settlers, whose opposition threatens to spread throughout the
territories.... The feigned innocence of some of the settler leaders
and their distinction between the thugs and the Qhilltop youthQ are
no more than a rhetorical sleight of hand. The failed negotiations
between the QresponsibleQ leadership and the Defense Minister prove
that the difference between the leadership and the thugs is
semantic. In view of these events, every law-abiding citizen must
say loudly and clearly: I am sick and tired of these self-declared
messiahs.... The Israeli cabinet, which examines every act and
statement in the light of electoral repercussions, is not permitted
to let the IDF and the law become a mockery. The IDF must stop the
hooliganism and violence from spilling over onto the Palestinian
street, which yesterday appeared to be the main victim in the
struggle between the troops and the settlers. The settler thugs
must know that what they call the Qprice tagQ -- a euphemism used to
intimidate the defense forces -- is a double-edged sword. This is
the time for the rule of law to exercise its full power against its
destroyers.

II. "After Them the Deluge"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of the
popular, pluralist Maariv (12/5): QThe evacuation of the disputed
house was done with perfection.... Contrary to disengagement, it was
not determination and sensitivity, just determination. The general
feeling in the [security] establishment is that Qwe cannot put up
with them any longerQ -- that it cannot continue this way, that this
errant organ needs to be chopped off. The rebels, let's call them
that here, treat the State of Israel as a hostile entity. They were
evacuated? They will exact a price. They will open fire at
Palestinians, lay siege to houses, block roads, set fire to whatever
is flammable, in the hope that everything will blow up. Yesterday,
at long last, the security establishment removed the gloves....
Contrary to disengagement, contrary to [the evacuation of the
unauthorized outpost of] Amona, this time a dramatic escalation was
noted. No longer an orderly, serious, sane settler leadership.
There is no longer such a thing. Now we are talking about the hard
core. The incited, deranged youth, which understands that a
majority of the Israeli public has accepted the fact that at some
point we will have to part from territories in Judea and Samaria
[i.e. the West Bank], and has decided to prevent this at all costs.
So here it is: If we want to survive here, we will have to stop
them, at all costs.

III. "Battle for the Home"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote on page one of the
E
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (12/5): QThe
continuation will not be in this house, but elsewhere, and it will
be harsh and cruel. Arabs will attack Jews. Jews will attack
Arabs. Jews will attack Jews. The hatred is great, and too many
elements have an interest in fueling it.... The events of the past
few days, after the High Court of Justice gave its ruling, made the
evacuation necessary. Those who opened a front against the Arab
population and smeared the walls in the Jaabari neighborhood of
Hebron with slogans such as "Mohammed the pig," should have
understood that the affair of the house could lead to a dangerous
escalation between Arabs and Jews, perhaps even to a renewed wave of
terror attacks from religious motives. This is not a game. We are
left with these young men and women, the youth of the house, the
hilltop youth, a group that accepts no authority, neither the
authority of people within the settler community nor the authority
of their parents. QWe are no longer the most extreme elements in
the State of Israel,Q radical right winger Itamar Ben Gvir said to
me in Hebron on Wednesday. QThe state has earned this honestly.
Even if one disagrees with his analysis, it is difficult to dispute
his conclusion. There is a problem here. It will take more than a
squad of Border Police or patrolmen to evacuate it.

IV. "Playing with Fire"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/5):
QTo their credit, the leaders of the Likud, Israel Beiteinu, Kadima
and Labor had united in calling on Hebron's Jewish residents not to
employ physical or verbal violence. Let history record that no
other Knesset party joined in this proclamation. There's an
irreconcilable disconnect between those who would engage in or
rationalize settler violence and mainstream Israel; between those
who have disengaged from our- - admittedly imperfect -- Zionist
enterprise, its army and polity, and the majority who want the rule
of law upheld even when, to borrow from Dickens, the Qlaw is an
ass.Q Our overriding opposition is to anarchy and mob rule.
Citizens are obligated to respect lawful decisions, such as those of
the Supreme Court, even when they vehemently disagree with them.
Let's not, meanwhile, lose sight of two other fundamentals. First,
the vast majority of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria [i.e. the
West Bank] are law-abiding patriots. Secondly, in any and all
circumstances, Jews must be guaranteed access to the Cave of the
Patriarchs. The contemptible behavior of settler radicals does not
negate this right. For long before Christianity and Islam came on
the scene, Hebron was already a cornerstone of Jewish
civilization.

-------------------------
2. Obama Administration:
-------------------------

Summary:
--------

Columnist Ron Maiberg wrote from Maine in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: QFollowing an acerbic campaign and a harsh rivalry between
them, America will be ruled by the Democratic PartyQs dream team,
Obama-[Hillary] Clinton.

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

"This Is the Way to Announce Change"

Columnist Ron Maiberg wrote from Maine in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (12/5): QWith all due honor to Vice President-elect Joe
Biden, who certainly plans to become more that an ordinary
vice-president, the Secretary of StateQs rule is the second most
important after the president. This means that, following an
acerbic campaign and a harsh rivalry between them, America will be
ruled by the Democratic PartyQs dream team, Obama-[Hillary] Clinton.
This will not be done through the impotent technique of a president
and his vice-president, but though the powerful combination of a
president and the secretary of state.

-------------------
3. Global Economy:
-------------------

Summary:
--------

Senior editor and business correspondent Nehemia Strassler wrote in
the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: QThe United States can
perhaps continue to carry out a mistaken economic policy. We must
not follow in its footsteps. We cannot gamble. We must not copy
the Americans' lack of responsibility.

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

"Even Uncle Sam Can Make a Mistake"

Senior editor and business correspondent Nehemia Strassler wrote in
the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (12/5): QAs Obama promises
more expenditures and the central-bank governor promises more
liquidity, the economy takes another step back and the recession
deepens further. This is because the United States is fighting its
previous war. It is using old-fashioned tools. It has not even
learned the lesson from the prolonged Japanese recession that
started in the 1990s and has continued to this day. The notion that
you have to increase government spending and lower interest rates to
encourage economic activity is based on the Keynesian model
developed 75 years ago, a naive model suited to the closed world of
those days of low international trade and negligible movement of
capital. It is not suited to today's open world. In the Keynesian
model, for example, no attention is paid to the size of the public
debt. But when America's public debt reaches 80 percent of gross
domestic product, as it does today, this changes the entire economic
reality and has a strong influence on the public's behavior.... The
United States can perhaps continue to carry out a mistaken economic
policy. We must not follow in its footsteps. We cannot gamble. We
must not copy the Americans' lack of responsibility.

MORENO

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