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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2774/01 3461207
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111207Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9553
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 4726
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1326
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 5138
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5530
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4751
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 3175
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5523
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2365
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0590
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9317
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6810
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1752
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5819
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7802
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0648
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0985
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002774

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

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

1. Iran

2. Mideast

3. Human Rights

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

HaQaretz reported that Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu told the
newspaper that Likud is behind him and far-right-winger Moshe
Feiglin will soon disappear. The Jerusalem Post reported that the
Likud's internal court will meet Thursday to determine whether to
demote Feiglin from his current realistic slot on the party's list
for the February 10 election to one that could leave him outside the
legislature. Channel 2-TV reported Wednesday that a majority of the
judges on the court were in favor of moving down Feiglin and
advancing candidates elected to regional slots, for technical
reasons. If so, Feiglin would move from No. 20 on the list to the
35th slot. HaQaretz (English Ed.) also reported that Secretary
Condoleezza Rice dismissed Likud Chairman Benjamin NetanyahuQs
Qeconomic peaceQ plan at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels
last week, saying that that the goal is a two-state solution.

HaQaretz quoted a well-placed American source as saying that earlier
this week President-elect Barack Obama's administration will offer
Israel a "nuclear umbrella" against the threat of a nuclear attack
by Iran. The source, who is close to the new administration, said
the U.S. will declare that an attack on Israel by Tehran would
result in a devastating U.S. nuclear response against Iran. But
HaQaretz reported that America's nuclear guarantee to Israel could
also be interpreted as a sign that the U.S. believes Iran will
eventually acquire nuclear arms. Maariv reported that a senior IAEA
official told the newspaper that within a few months Iran will have
enough uranium for a bomb. The official was quoted as saying that
the reactor at Natanz is a double-edged sword that can shift from a
civilian to a military application within a short time.

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar was quoted as saying in an
interview with Israel Radio that a prisoner swap is possible within
a day. Leading media reported that, as Israel's leaders met
Wednesday to discuss its military options following increasing
numbers of missiles being launched into the western Negev from the
Gaza Strip, the government approved transferring 100 million shekels
(around $25 million) to Gaza banks. The media cited opposition to
the move by right-wing parties and media. Speaking on Israel Radio,
Vice PM Haim Ramon also strongly criticized the idea.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Gen. Keith Dayton, the U.S.
Army General who is overseeing the training in Jordan of the PAQs
National Security Force for the West Bank, praised the new recruits
as the Qmost capable Palestinian security forces that have ever been
fielded here," and firmly played down the notion that they might one
day come to turn their weapons on Israel. Dayton told the daily
that the trainees are taught over and again that "you are not here
to learn how to fight against the Israeli occupation." Their focus,
rather, he said, is "totally on the lawless elements within
Palestinian society."

Leading media reported that Zeev Braude, the West Bank settler who
was caught on film shooting at Palestinians last week, was indicted
in Jerusalem's Magistrate's court yesterday. The Magistrate has
moved to release Braude with restrictions while the State
Prosecutor's Office appealed to the Jerusalem District Court against
the release. The appeal will be heard this morning. Braude was
released from police custody just hours before the indictment was
announced. The indictment came after Braude's release because the
presiding judge Q a settler -- refused to extend his remand until an
appeal was served.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the American Jewish Committee and
the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
refused to support unequivocally a call by FM Tzipi Livni for Qall
countries who care about Israel and oppose anti-SemitismQ to boycott
the second Durban Conference against Racism, scheduled to be held in
April at the UN headquarters in Geneva. On Tuesday, Livni held a
conference call with Jewish organizations throughout the world. The
participants discussed the FMQs statement of November 19, in which
she declared that QIsrael will not participate and will not
legitimize the [Durban] review conference, which will be used as a
platform for further anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic activity. We
call upon the international community not to participate.

Major media reported that yesterday the Counter-Terrorism Bureau
issued a travel advisory warning Israelis against traveling to
India's Goa region during the end-of-year holiday season. The
statement said that the terror threat inside India is Qconcrete and
very high.

Israel Hayom reported that yesterday the KnessetQs Finance Committee
allocated 281 million shekels (around $72 million) to yeshivas and
the territories.

Yediot reported that Labor Party minister Ami Ayalon announced
yesterday that he will resign from the government, bowing to his
partyQs demands.

The Jerusalem Post reported that after being used for more than 40
years of faithful service, the Israel Air Force is on the hunt for a
replacement for the A-4 Skyhawk attack planes.

Yediot cited an official Interior Minister document stating that
African refugees will be relocated to peripheral areas.

HaQaretz reported that the University of California (UC) will soon
allow students to return to studying abroad. The UC system was
among scores of American universities that suspended their Israel
study-abroad programs in 2002 after the State Department placed
Israel on its travel advisory list for safety reasons. Israel
remains on the list.

Maariv presented the results of a TNS/Teleseker poll on voting
intentions for the Knesset elections:
In brackets: Maariv's December 1 poll):
Likud:31 (33); Kadima:28 (29); Labor Party: 12 (10): Yisrael
Beiteinu: 11 (10); Arab parties: 10 (10); Shas:9 (8); National
Union Party and National-Religious Party:6 (6); Meretz:5 (7); United
Torah Judaism and assimilated: 5 (5); Green Party 3 (2).

---------
1. Iran:
---------

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: There is
reason to fear that the United States will accept a nuclear Iran for
lack of an alternative.... But until this comes about, Israel must
give Obama's new policy a chance and let him leave no stone unturned
in an attempt to stop the Iranian bomb.

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

"A New Approach to Iran"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (12/11): QU.S.
President-elect Barack Obama intends to fundamentally change
Washington's policy toward Iran. In an interview a few days ago,
Obama proposed direct talks with Iran and offered economic
incentives for halting its nuclear program. In doing so, Obama
reconfirmed his campaign promises to open a dialogue with Iran
without preconditions.... Obama's proposal will be an opportunity to
open new relations between the United States and Iran after nearly
three decades of separation, isolation and rivalry. It is also a
recognition of the Bush administration's failure to stop Tehran's
nuclear program. Israel, which sees the Iranian nuclear program as
its greatest security threat, has an interest in the success of
Obama's efforts. The existing sanctions policy has not proved
effective.... It is important for Israel not to block [Obama's] way,
and for its leaders to refrain from posturing and taking steps that
may hinder the American-Iranian dialogue.... There is reason to fear
that the United States will accept a nuclear Iran for lack of an
alternative, and invest its diplomatic effort into setting new rules
of the game in the Middle East and in strengthening deterrence,
instead of prevention. But until this comes about, Israel must give
Obama's new policy a chance and let him leave no stone unturned in
an attempt to stop the Iranian bomb.

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Liberal columnist and anchor Ofer Shelach wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: QIsrael failed in handling the Shalit question, a
shameful moral and professional failure. This failure negates the
right of the state's leader, today and after the elections, to
prolong the suffering of Gilad and his family.
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: QWith
nearly a billion people today starving in Asia and Africa, is it not
unconscionable to speak of Qmass famineQ in Gaza?

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

I. "We Failed and We Have to Pay"

Liberal columnist and anchor Ofer Shelach wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (12/11): QThe new prime minister in Israel will
decide that that's it, there is no point in holding the Shalit
family in the unbelievable path of agony in which they have been
living for the past 900 days. There are no alternatives, no new
thoughts, not even a new set of national values, the kind that Ehud
Olmert spoke about long ago. We are waiting. In this situation,
Gilad must return home.... Israel did not keep its contract with its
citizens, and therefore no one has the right to say that he has a
national consideration that outweighs the suffering of the Shalit
family. When Shalit was taken prisoner, an arrogant and obtuse
leadership saw an opportunity for a new order in the Gaza Strip, as
a priority far higher than taking efficient action for his release.
When it became apparent that an arrangement was slow in coming,
there was no permanent team that handled the matter, equipped with
instructions with historical backing and a leadership rationale, and
armed with knowledge and flexible and original thinking
processes.... Israel failed in handling the Shalit question, a
shameful moral and professional failure. This failure negates the
right of the state's leader, today and after the elections, to
prolong the suffering of Gilad and his family. Only a real leader
and a system of sterling quality would be entitled to do so, and
these are things that we do not have.


II. "Human Rights & Wrongs"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/11):
Q[Top UN Human Rights official Professor Richard FalkQs] reflections
have led him to conclude that Israel is now QslouchingQ toward
another Holocaust. But this time, it is the Jews who may be
dreaming of carrying out the genocide. Falk asks: QIs it an
irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of
Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective
atrocity? I think notQ.... Fortunately for Hamas, Falk believes
international law gives it the Qright of resistance.Q So shortly
after the Islamists grabbed control of Gaza in June 2007, he pleaded
for the world to Qstart protecting the people of GazaQ from
Israel.... Israel is trying to protect itself from Gaza. We
unilaterally pulled out our citizens and army from the Strip in
2005. Rather than use our departure to begin building a Palestinian
state, Hamas vowed to keep QresistingQ and never accept a Jewish
state in the region. Its loathing actually solidified Hamas's
popularity among Gazans.... We do not claim that life in Gaza is
easy, but so much of its misfortune is self-inflicted. And at a
time when the people of Zimbabwe and Congo are experiencing a true
Qhumanitarian catastrophe,Q is it not obscene to talk of Gaza in
those terms? With nearly a billion people today starving in Asia
and Africa, is it not unconscionable to speak of mass famine in
Gaza? Prof. Falk: If you want to help the people of Gaza, stop
besmirching Israel and start beseeching Hamas to stop shooting and
return the Strip to Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

-----------------
3. Human Rights:
-----------------

Summary:
--------

Contributor Gabi Nudelman wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv
(12/11): QAmerica used to be the self-appointed moral guardian of
the word.... Today the Qleader of the free world is a pretext waved
by all countries that infringe human rights.


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

"AmericaQs Splintered Dream"

Contributor Gabi Nudelman wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv
(12/11): America used to be the self-appointed moral guardian of
the word.... Its President was able to decide to bomb Sarajevo for
months to avoid genocide. Today the Qleader of the free worldQ is a
pretext waved by all countries that infringe human rights.... The
root of the evil mostly lies with 9/11, but no less with the Bush
administration.... Unknown prisoners are jailed in an isolated
prison, which turns OrwellQs apocalyptic vision into a childrens
tale called the war on terror.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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