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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0010
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2750/01 3441122
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091122Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9511
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 4710
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1314
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 5126
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5518
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4739
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 3161
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5511
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2353
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0578
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9305
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6794
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1740
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5807
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7790
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0636
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0961
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002750

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

3. Islamic Extremism

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

All media reported on the Likud primaries. According to the
electronic media MK Gideon Saar came in first, followed by Gilad
Erdan, Reuven Rivlin, Benny Begin, Moshe Kahlon, Silvan Shalom,
Moshe YaQalon, Yuval Steinitz, and Leah Ness. Early commentators
saw a victory of conservatism in the party, particularly as
NetanyahuQs QstarsQ were relegated to rearward positions, the Qold
guardQ to advanced places, and extremist Moshe Feiglin managed to
win a secure spot on the Likud list.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Deputy Secretary of State John
Negroponte arrived in Israel yesterday for what was described as a
Qstock-takingQ visit. One diplomatic official was quoted as saying
that Negroponte is coming to Qtake the pulse of the relationship, as
the Bush administration glides on and the new administration moves
in.

HaQaretzQs Natasha Mozgovaya recounted her visit to Guantanamo Naval
Base, where Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind 9/11, and
four others may face the death penalty.

The media reported that the government has unveiled a partial
safety-net plan for retirees despite opposition by the treasury.

HaQaretz, Israel Hayom, and The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel
has decided to delay the scheduled release of 230 Palestinian
prisoners for a week, with each side accusing the other of causing
the hold-up.

HaQaretz reported that army sources told the newspaper that, despite
the recent escalation in the volume of rocket fire at southern
Israel from Gaza, the IDF have been ordered to maintain a policy of
restraint. As a result, the IDF is embarking on very few opertions
against the rocket-launching crews. HaQartz reported that Israel
is again blocking foreig journalists from entering Gaza, despite
protest y major news organizations. This morning Israel Rdio
reported that Israel is allowing the passageof goods and fuel to
Gaza.

HaQaretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday the European
Union's 27 foreign ministers unanimously approved upgrading
relations with Israel, despite vigorous efforts by the PA and Egypt
to thwart the move.

The Jerusalem Post reported on the opening of a new checkpoint at
Hawara near Nablus yesterday.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Tawfik Hamid, an expert and former
member of Jamaa Islamiya told the daily yesterday that radical Islam
will not be defeated unless it is confronted at the ideological
level.

Maariv reported that Meretz Chairman Haim Oron has angered party
veterans because of his alleged allocation of secure spots to
newcomers.

Leading media reported that yesterday Rabbi and Prof. Daniel
Hershkowitz was chosen as chairman of the new right-wing party,
Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home). The decision was made by the
public council tasked with building the party's Knesset roster for
the upcoming general elections. The council will begin the process
of choosing the rest of the list on Tuesday.

HaQaretz reported that IsraelQs Ambassador to Germany Yoram Ben
Ze'ev, told the daily last week that German exports to Iran are up
10 percent this year, and that the German authorities are "not doing
enough" to keep Tehran isolated until it abandons its alleged
efforts to develop nuclear arms.

Leading media reported that yesterday Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat
added United Torah Judaism to his coalition, which until then had
contained no ultra-Orthodox parties.

HaQaretz quoted Zohar Goshen, the Chairman of the Israeli Security
Authority, as saying yesterday that the main problem with Israeli
investors is that they have lost their faith in the U.S. banks. He
added that IsraelQs financial system is the least exposed in the
world to the vagaries of the global capital market and that IsraelQs
first and primary task is to avoid loss of public trust in the
financial system, as was witnessed in the U.S.

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: QA bloody
front in Gaza and the western Negev is no substitute for the
diplomatic logic and political common sense the southern communities
are seeking.

Ephraim Kleiman, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, wrote in HaQaretz: QThe idea that Qeconomic
peaceQ can eliminate the need for a peace agreement and alleviating
the travel restrictions imposed on the Palestinians comes from the
naive assumption that economic improvement would mitigate hostility
and decrease violence.

Conservative Op-Ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: Q[Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni] are both to blame
for the fact that an American report that was issued last week and
presented to Barack Obama recommends talking with Hamas. This is
the first step towards American recognition of Hamas.

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

I. "The Election Campaign in Gaza"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (12/9): QThe
upcoming [Israeli] elections serve as fertile ground for those who
like to brandish slogans that drag Gaza and the lull into the
political battle. Suddenly, everyone is in uniform, wearing
helmets, arming themselves and prepared for war. It is enough to
listen to the indirect exchanges between Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak
to understand that politics, not logic, is driving this talk. QWe
must respond with fire to the rocket launches,Q declared Livni,
aiming an arrow at Barak. QThe person responsible for security must
act, and I will act in the diplomatic realm.Q Barak, for his part,
vetoed the entry into Gaza of a Qatari aid ship, while his
associates accused Livni of bending to pressure. On the sidelines
of this quarrel, [Israeli cabinet ministers] talk about Qdestroying
the infrastructureQ or launching a large-scale military operation,
without offering a convincing explanation, or any explanation at
all, as to how such an operation would effect change -- or, even
more importantly, what its price would be in blood. Anyone seeking
to rehabilitate the truce in Gaza must first obtain a truce on the
political battlefield. A bloody front in Gaza and the western Negev
is no substitute for the diplomatic logic and political common sense
the southern communities are seeking.

II. "Can QEconomic PeaceQ Be the Solution?"

Ephraim Kleiman, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, wrote in HaQaretz (12/9): QThe idea that
Qeconomic peaceQ can eliminate the need for a peace agreement and
alleviating the travel restrictions imposed on the Palestinians
comes from the naive assumption that economic improvement would
mitigate hostility and decrease violence. From this point of view,
Knesset Member Benjamin Netanyahu's current platform and Shimon
Peres' past statements about a Qnew Middle EastQ have a lot in
common. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, past experience
completely refutes this assumption. The first Intifada, undoubtedly
a popular uprising, erupted after about two decades of prosperity,
the likes of which the Palestinian economy had never experienced....
As long as Israel upholds the restrictions, no employment centers
will offer alternatives to work in Israel. Nor will they offer the
10-percent annual economic growth that Netanyahu sees in his vision,
nor the economic peace he promises.

III. "The Father and Mother of Failure"

Conservative Op-Ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (12/9): QEhud Barak has failed because the
continuation of fuel supplies to the workshops that produce Qassam
rockets is under his responsibility.... Tzipi Livni has failed
because most of the Western world still doesnQt understand HamasQs
nature. She failed because many in the West do not understand that
Hamas has an anti-Semitic manifesto with a Nazi scent.... Both
ministers are guilty of fragility over the fact that HamasQs regime
of horrors is ... winning increasing legitimacy. They are both to
blame over the fact that an American report that was issued last
week and presented to Barack Obama recommends talking with Hamas.
This is the first step towards American recognition of Hamas.

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

Summary:
--------

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: QIran assumes Russia and China
will continue to protect it from embargoes. This leaves a gaping
gulf between the Iranian and American approaches.

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

"Iran Sees Obama as Worthy Leader, But Is It Enough?"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (12/9): QIran faces presidential
elections in six months, and economic woes will be the main campaign
issue. Obama's hint of economic incentives is the QcarrotQ that he
hopes will induce Tehran to change its policies. This is the heart
of the American proposal, whose innovation is Obama's willingness to
open direct talks. Iran, for its part, assumes the U.S. has no
military option against it and that Israel would not attack without
America's backing. Obama wants to shift the military focus from
Iraq to Afghanistan, and Iran understands that he needs its
cooperation with Iraq for this. Finally, Iran assumes Russia and
China will continue to protect it from embargoes. This leaves a
gaping gulf between the Iranian and American approaches.

----------------------
3. Islamic Extremism:
----------------------

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: QIt is
important to distinguish Islam -- the religion and civilization --
from the threat posed by its extremist adherents.... Islam is mostly
at war within itself.
Block Quotes:
-------------

"IslamQs War Within"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/9):
QThis year, some 3 million faithful journeyed to Saudi Arabia,
seeking forgiveness and spirituality as they proceeded through
various stages of the hajj around Mecca.... It is important to
distinguish Islam -- the religion and civilization -- from the
threat posed by its extremist adherents, the Islamists, who are at
war with the West and our values of liberty, tolerance and
individual freedom. Without deluding ourselves about the extent to
which the Islamists have penetrated the Muslim world, it is
nevertheless important to acknowledge non-Islamist Muslim figures
who seek a modus vivendi with the rest of us.... Islam is mostly at
war within itself. And nowhere is this better illustrated than in
Pakistan, where a moderate government is contending with a Taliban
supported by Islamist elements within the regime's own intelligence
agency. Closer to our neck of the woods, we see a similar scenario
playing out between relative Fatah moderates and Hamas
fundamentalists. Only Muslims can chart the direction in which
they want to take their society. Some, like the grand mufti of
Saudi Arabia, seem to appreciate that a theology which celebrates
brutality will ultimately consume its own.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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