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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2790/01 3471801
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121801Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9578
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
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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 4733
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1333
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 5145
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5537
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4758
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 3182
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5530
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2372
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0597
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9324
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6817
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1759
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5826
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7809
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0655
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0994
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002790

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:
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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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Israel Radio reported that Saudi Arabia and the Arab League have
written President-elect Barak Obama that they are ready for full
peace with Israel in exchange for full withdrawal.

All media quoted FM Livni as saying yesterday that it is not always
possible to bring every soldier home. Livni was talking to students
at a Tel Aviv high school. She was responding to a student who
asked why soldiers should risk their lives for the state given the
government's failure to bring back Gilad Shalit. Leading media also
quoted Livni as saying that a Palestinian state is the solution for
Israeli Arabs.

Maariv reported that senior Israeli ministers are demanding a
significant change in Israeli strategy, which would allow firing at
Gaza and stopping supplies of electricity and fuel. The newspaper
reported that DM Ehud Barak has checked the [possibility with
IsraelQs top legal experts. Yediot quoted Gaza sources as saying
that Hamas has decided, in coordination with other organizations in
Gaza, that calm will continue.

All media reported that yesterday the Likud elections committee
moved far-right activist Moshe Feiglin from the 20th place on the
party ticket to 36th, despite his strong showing at this week's
party primary. The move is seen as a triumph for Likud Chairman
Benjamin Netanyahu, who was concerned that the success of his
archrival Feiglin and his supporters in the primary would foil his
effort to present his right-of-center party as more centrist for the
election. At first Feiglin said he would appeal the decision and
even petition the High Court of Justice. But a few hours later he
changed his tack. The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu told
the newspaper yesterday that only he would determine the partyQs
policies Q no matter who was on the list. Yediot bannered:
QLikud-Style Democracy.

HaQaretz reported that 100 million shekels in cash (around $25
million) was transferred to Gaza banks Thursday to enable salaries
to be paid to PA employees in the Strip. But PA officials in
Ramallah admitted there is no guarantee that some of the money did
not find its way to Hamas. The newspaper also reported that the UN
Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) struggles
daily for permits to supply Gaza with essential goods.

HaQaretz reported that Netanyahu told a group of European
ambassadors in Tel Aviv that he has no interest in Israel ruling
over Palestinians in the West Bank and that he is more optimistic
about the Palestinian negotiating track than the Syrian.

Leading media reported that a GOI-established committee has
recommended that dozens of QunrecognizedQ Bedouin villages be
accepted.

Maariv and Israel Radio reported that yesterday in Yemen a Yemeni
extremist Muslim shot and killed Moshe Nehari, a leader of the
Jewish-Yemeni community.

Leading media quoted the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as
saying yesterday that "Waltz with Bashir," Ari Folman's animated
film recounting his experiences as a soldier in the First Lebanon
War, was nominated yesterday for Best Foreign Film in next month's
Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles.


--------
Mideast:
--------

Summary:
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Military correspondent Amos Harel and Palestinian affairs
correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote on page one of the independent,
left-leaning HaQaretz: QHamas is convinced that Israel will
eventually give in to the public and media pressure and free
everyone on its list, regardless of how dangerous they are.

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote on page one of the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: Q[Netanyahu] has assured
various international officials since the primary that he would
continue with the Annapolis process, but with some red lines.
Block Quotes:
-------------

I. "Gleefully Watching the IndecisionQ"

Military correspondent Amos Harel and Palestinian affairs
correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote on page one of the independent,
left-leaning HaQaretz (12/12): QTzipi Livni may have been trying to
send a message to Hamas regarding Israel's unwillingness to pay the
price it is demanding for Gilad Shalit. But her wording was
distinctly problematic. There is a big difference between the
reality that fighting can result in casualties and the government's
abandonment of a live soldier in captivity. And it is hard to
overstate the importance of the latter. In a country giving its
citizens fewer and fewer reasons to believe they ought to risk their
lives in its defense, it is crucial that soldiers at least feel
convinced that everything possible will be done to bring them home
should they be taken captive. Media outlets have increasingly been
declaring that Qany priceQ should be paid for Shalit. It is hard to
know whether the public agrees.... As for Hamas, it is gleefully
watching the growing public pressure in Israel for the government to
capitulate to its demands -- namely, the release of some 1,400
Palestinian prisoners, including 450 whom it has demanded by name.
These include many people involved in major terror attacks, and
Israel has thus far agreed to free less than half of them. But
Hamas is convinced that Israel will eventually give in to the public
and media pressure and free everyone on its list, regardless of how
dangerous they are.

II. "Continuing Annapolis, but with QRed LinesQ"

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote on page one of the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (12/12): QIsrael must
control the airspace of a future Palestinian state, and that entity
would have to be demilitarized, Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu has
been telling foreign officials in recent days.... [He] has assured
various international officials since the primary that he would
continue with the Annapolis process, but with some red lines....
Those red lines -Q in addition to the demilitarization of a
Palestinian state and Israeli control of its air and electromagnetic
space Q also include a unified Jerusalem under Israeli control, and
an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley.... Netanyahu has said in
these meting that the current situation in Gaza was Qunacceptable,
and that Israel could not accept the existence of what was turning
into an Iranian base of operation.
E

CUNNINGHAM

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