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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2741/01 3431414
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P 081414Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9499
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RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 5122
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5515
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4736
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 3158
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5508
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2350
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0575
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002741

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
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: SPECIAL ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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Hebron Violence

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Hebron Violence:
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Summary:
--------

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz: QThe Yesha Council [of Jewish Settlements in the
Territories] must come to its senses.... It must stand up to these
bullies and prevent them, by force if necessary, from harming their
neighbors, the security forces, and indirectly, every person with a
conscience and sense of justice.

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.

Conservative Op-Ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: QInstead of becoming the answer, the right-wing
youngsters] became a problem.

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


I. QRestoring YeshaQs Just Cause

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (12/4): QInstead of trying to draft public opinion against
the forced evacuation of the house -- there are quite good reasons
from both a legal and public point of view -- the rioters did
everything to unite the public against them; a public that is
demanding the immediate evacuation of the building. Not only did
they bring slander on the house, these reckless people damaged the
legitimacy of the Jewish presence in Hebron, Kiryat Arba, and to a
certain extent even the settlement movement in Judea and Samaria
[i.e. the West Bank]. The effect will be that some people will cast
aspersions on the entire political right, which is now preparing for
the elections.... The thugs going wild in Hebron, injuring people
and property, are not a protective wall for settlements, as they and
their defenders claim. On the contrary, they cause it to stink and
weaken it. That is why some people are afraid there are provocateurs
among them. The Yesha Council [of Jewish Settlements in the
Territories] must come to its senses. It does not have time to wait
until the long arm of the law plucks its chestnuts out of the fire.
It must stand up to these bullies and prevent them, by force if
necessary, from harming their neighbors, the security forces, and
indirectly, every person with a conscience and sense of justice. In
this way, by uprooting those rising up to destroy the Yesha
settlement movement, its honor, morality, justness of its cause and
drive will be restored.

II. "Mayhem in Hebron"

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.

III. "A Paper Tiger"

Conservative Op-Ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (12/8): QAfter years of telling us frightening
tales, they persuaded us that the situation was irreversible. After
disengagement and [the evacuation of the outpost of] Amona, so many
feared, there was no chance of another evacuation. They're strong.
They're violent. They seize every hilltop in Judea and Samaria [i.e.
the West Bank]. They carry out pogroms. They pay the law no heed
and there isn't anyne who can hold them accountable. And, worst ofall, they are dashing the chance of Israel being a ewish and
democratic state and are creating a binational reality. If those
fears are all correc, that would spell the end of Israel. Nothing
sort of that. Because if those hundreds or few thosands are
capable of dictating to the millions, then we have reached the end
of the road.... Thoseyoungsters could have challenged the
anti-Zionists within Israel. Not with force but with spirit. They
could have enlisted to help society meet its challenges. But
instead of becoming the answer, they became a problem. It was never
clear from where they drew their strength.... We are a state without
borders. Without identity. We don't even have a self-definition
yet. From the middle of the Likud all the way to the middle of
Meretz you'll find support for the Zionist idea of a Jewish and
democratic state. But a wild enterprise of outposts and
strongholds, with and without the state's approval, has led us to
ask the following question: Do we still stand a chance? Is there
still a way back from that nightmarish vision of a single state?
The hilltop youth didn't disappear on Thursday. They were only
exposed in their weakness and bravado. This is a moment of weakness
for the nightmarish vision of a bi-national state. It is a moment of
hope for the Zionist enterprise.


SIEVERS

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