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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2860/01 3571139
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221139Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9707
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 4762
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1361
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 5186
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5566
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4792
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 3216
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5565
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2403
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0628
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 9352
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6845
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1789
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 5854
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7843
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0683
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 1053
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002860

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

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

All media reported that dozens of rockets and mortar shells fell on
southern Israel from Gaza over the weekend. The media reported that
the attacks have sparked a heated debate in Israel over how to
respond -- not only between the government and the opposition, but
within the government itself, as PM Ehud Olmert and DM Ehud Barak
continued to urge restraint yesterday, and FM Tzipi Livni and
opposition leaders argue that Israel must get rid of GazaQs
Hamas-run government. Leading media quoted Israeli Ambassador to
the United Nations Prof. Gabriela Shalev as saying on Sunday in a
harsh letter of complaint sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
and to the Security Council president that Israel will not be held
hostage by Hamas, Israel Radio reported that Israel has informed the
UN that it will respond. HaQaretz and IDF Radio reported that the
Olmert-Barak-Livni trio has decided to respond. HaQaretz said that
this will depend on operational conditions; in other words, the
Israel Air Force will go into action. Yesterday HaQaretz reported
that Hamas is considering renewing suicide bombings in Israel.

Leading media quoted Shin Bet head as saying yesterday that Hamas is
capable of firing rockets that can strike as far from Gaza as at the
outskirts of Beersheva and other targets in the Negev. Yediot
deduced that one in eight Israelis is within the range of improved
Hamas rockets.

The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that yesterday Egypt
warned Israel against launching a massive military operation in
Gaza. The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli defense officials as saying
that Cairo was angry with Hamas leaders for ending the six-moth of
relative calm. Israel Radio cited the London-based Arabic newspaper
Al Quds-Al-Arabi as saying that Egypt is putting a truce together.

Israel Radio reported that PM Ehud Olmert is traveling to Ankara
today on talks related to peace talks with Syria.

Israel Radio reported that the U.S. has demanded clarifications from
Israel regarding the sale of unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia.
Leading media reported that yesterday Israeli officials
categorically denied Iranian press reports that Russia will soon
begin delivery of a state-of-the-art anti-missile system that could
make it considerably harder to attack IranQs nuclear facilities.

The Jerusalem Post cited a report by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency
that leaders of 29 Jewish organizations met with representatives of
Barack ObamaQs transition team in Washington on Thursday.

The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio cited a report by the human
rights organization BQTselem that at least 58 percent of the
settlement of Ofra, near Ramallah, was located on land registered as
privately owned by Palestinians. The newspaper also reported on a
document from Orange Country, California, records showing that a
Palestinian had sold his property -- now the illegal outpost of
Migron Q to Jews. The document, purportedly signed more that four
decades after the manQs death, proved to be a forgery.

Yesterday Makor Rishon-Hatzofe citied unofficial reports according
to which PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has decided to
relieve the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Ahmed Qurei
(Abu Ala), of his duties, due to differences of opinion between the
two.

Yediot and The Jerusalem Post reported that the graffiti QDeath to
the ArabsQ and QMuhammad is a pigQ were sprayed yesterday in the
walls of the QMosque by the SeaQ in Jaffa.

Yediot reported that Israel has decided to redefine its rights in
the Mediterranean --because Egypt and Cyprus have already divided
the territory between them.

Over the weekend leading media reported that clashes broke out
between Palestinian inmates and Israeli guards at the Ofer Prison
near Ramallah on Saturday.

The Jerusalem Post quoted sources in the aviation industry as saying
yesterday that Israel will work hard to restore its Category 1
aviation-safety standard within the next year after the FAAQs
announcement over the weekend that it was downgrading the countryQs
rating to Category 2.
Yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported that IsraelQs track record of
success and a similar climate brought a delegation form the U.S
State of Georgia here last week to get a look at local cleantech and
greentech firms.

Yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported that the QU.S Army makes sure
Jewish soldiers can celebrate Hanukkah.

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

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: QThe lesson so
recently learned in the Second Lebanon War is that in a war against
organizations such as Hizbullah or Hamas, there is no guarantee that
Israel's clear military superiority will suffice to defeat the enemy
and bring peace to border communities.

Conservative columnist, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, wrote in
the independent Israel Hayom: QIt is now completely clear that by
its series of withdrawals, Israel enabled the establishment of a
strong terrorist state on its southern border, and created an
impossible situation in which the only way to win is by a bloody
price.

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

I. "Restraint, Despite Everything"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (12/22): QThe
lesson so recently learned in the Second Lebanon War is that in a
war against organizations such as Hizbullah or Hamas, there is no
guarantee that Israel's clear military superiority will suffice to
defeat the enemy and bring peace to border communities. The
challenge of restraint now facing the decision makers, at a time
when most of them are focused on the upcoming election, is not at
all simple. They must stand firm against heavy and understandable
pressure from public opinion, and also against the provocations of
political rivals who paint them as a pack of weaklings. At the same
time, the government must inject real content into its unconvincing
rhetoric. And since a large-scale military operation seems
impractical, this means asking Egypt and other Arab states to resume
the role of mediators, removing the barriers to renewing the truce
and initiating bold diplomatic moves that could prevent additional
losses on both sides.QII. QIsrael Is Paying the Price of
Abandonment

Conservative columnist, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, wrote in
the independent Israel Hayom (12/21): QEvery additional day that
t
Hamas governs in Gaza adds to its legitimacy and its perception as
the effective ruler of the Palestinian people -- a fact that casts a
heavy shadow on Abu Mazen and
his supporters, who sit in the West Bank by virtue of the IDF
bayonets. The rulers of the Arab countries are also very afraid of
Hamas's success -- a first historical success by one of the branches
of the Muslim Brotherhood-in upholding a regime over a specific
territory and population. This is the reason that the leaders of
the Arab countries around us would shed no tears if Israel were to
deal with Hamas and critically damage its control over the Gaza
Strip.... We are now paying the price for the abandonment of the
Gaza Strip. The abandonment began in 1994 following the Oslo
Accords, which led to a significant reduction in the IDF's ability
to prevent fire from the Gaza Strip and smuggling under Philadelphi
Road. The abandonment was completed in 2005 by an irresponsible act
known as unilateral withdrawal, which led to the takeover of the
Gaza Strip by Hamas and the buildup of Hamas as a real military
force, which threatens the entire southern part of Israel. It is
now completely clear that by its series of withdrawals, Israel
enabled the establishment of a strong terrorist state on its
southern border, and created an impossible situation in which the
only way to win is by a bloody price.

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

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: QAs Iran
races unabated toward nuclear capability, Obama will quickly be
forced to conclude that prevailing on Iran -- with realistic threats
of military action, if all else fails -- is vital and urgent.

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote on page one of the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: QThe most important decision the
next government of Israel will have to make is how to distribute
resources intended for use against the Iranian nuclear threat,
senior defense officials involved in decision-making have told
HaQaretz.

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

I. "Mideast Priorities"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/21):
QFor all the misguided lobbying, Obama will doubtless resist the
advice to legitimize a terror group avowedly committed to Israel's
destruction and demonstrably ready to kill its own people, too, in
pursuit of its Islamist ambitions.... But the 44th president's first
priority in the Middle East ought to be confronting Iran. Obama has
reiterated that he is willing to talk with Iran directly, which
would make him the first American president to engage in diplomatic
negotiations with the Islamic Republic.... As Iran races unabated
toward nuclear capability, Obama will quickly be forced to conclude
that prevailing on Iran -- with realistic threats of military
action, if all else fails -- is vital and urgent.... In crafting his
Middle East policy, Obama may want to place initial faith in the
power of transformative diplomacy. Unfortunately, however, as he
surely recognizes, that alone will not yield the change he so
admirably seeks to foster.


II. "A Budget Matter"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote on page one of the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (12/21): QThe most important
decision the next government of Israel will have to make is how to
distribute resources intended for use against the Iranian nuclear
threat, senior defense officials involved in decision-making have
told HaQaretz. The new government will have to decide whether to
invest in developing measures to attack Iran's nuclear facilities or
developing means of defense and deterrence if Iran does attain
nuclear power. The budget will decide whether Israel will seriously
consider a military option against Iran. A decision focusing on
defense and deterrence will mean that Israel has given up on
attacking Iran. The dilemma becomes more serious in the context of
economic recession, which limits the government's ability to expand
the defense budget. Those who support deterrence believe there is
no substitute for the military option, and costly resources should
not be wasted on a plan that will never be implemented. They also
say that, at most, Israel could bring about a delay of a few years
in the Iranian nuclear project, which does not justify the risk of
complications in the action or a wider regional conflict. They
prefer investing in a number of long-term projects that will
increase Israel's ability to defend itself against the nuclear
threat.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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