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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

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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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All media quoted Syrian President Bashar Assad, who hosted Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Damascus yesterday, as saying that
Syria was preparing for Israeli aggression. Israel Hayom bannered:
QConcern about the Strengthening of the Tehran-Damascus Axis.
Israel Radio reported that Ahmadinejad also met with Hizbullah
leader Hassan Nasrallah and the leaders of the radical Palestinian
groups. The radio reported that a trilateral
Ahmadinejad-Assad-Nasrallah meeting took place; the radio cited the
BBC as saying that the summit was not immediately announced because
of NasrallahQs concern for his personal security. While IsraelQs
President Peres called on Assad to choose between the axis of peace
and the axis of evil, Assad emphasized the special relations between
Damascus and Tehran. Ahmadinejad said he would advance a vision of
a new Middle East with "no Zionists and no colonialists." (IDF
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said yesterday that Israel
has no interest in a regional escalation.) Assad defied U.S. calls
to curb ties with Iran, saying his long-standing alliance with
Tehran remains strong despite overtures from Washington intended to
shift his loyalties. With Ahmadinejad by his side, Assad told
America not to dictate relationships in the Middle East. "I find it
strange how they talk about Middle East stability and at the same
time talk about dividing two countries," Assad told reporters when
asked about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call on Wednesday
for Syria to move away from Iran. Taking a further swipe at
Clinton, he said that perhaps he and Ahmadinejad had misunderstood,
due to a translation error or their own limited understanding. The
Jerusalem Post notes that Jerusalem is not commenting over the
Damascus summit meeting.

Leading media reported that DM Ehud BarakQs statement in Washington
that Qstrong and crippling sanctionsQ must be applied to Iran
clashes with the approach formulated yesterday by Assistant
Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley in the State DepartmentQs daily
briefing.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as saying in a joint interview with
Israel Radio and the Russian-language Channel 9-TV that he had been
misunderstood, as his cabinetQs decision to restore the Cave of the
Patriarchs in Hebron and RachelQs Tomb only meant physical
preservation of the sites and in no way a change of the status quo.
Netanyahu insisted on IsraelQs determination to respect the Muslims
religious freedom. HaQaretz reported that the PMQs Office did not
consult with intelligence or law-enforcement officials over the
security implications involved in including Hebron's site on the
list of national heritage sites slated for preservation. Speaking
on Israel Radio this morning, Environment Minister Gilad Erdan
(Likud) bashed the State DepartmentQs condemnation of IsraelQs move.
(Media quoted Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley as
saying yesterday: "We have asked both parties to refrain from
provocative and unilateral actions that undermine efforts to resume
negotiations to end the conflict," adding: "We have raised this
directly with the Israeli Government.") Erdan said that the U.S.
was misled on the issue. Israel Radio also cited condemnation of
the GOIQs decision by the Organization of the Islamic Conference,
which demanded that the U.N. Security Council debate the issue, and
by the Quartet, which called IsraelQs decision an act of aggression
and provocation toward Muslims. The media reported that yesterday
the IDF and Palestinians clashed in Hebron for the fourth day.

HaQaretz reported that, in a paper released yesterday, the PA has
warned that it may abandon its support of the 1993 Oslo Accords,
which outlines a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel, and
instead pursue the creation of a binational state between the Jordan
River and Mediterranean Sea. The document, entitled "The Political
Situation in Light of Developments with the U.S. Administration and
Israeli Government and Hamas's Continued Coup d'Etat," was drafted
in December 2009 by Saeb Erekat, the PA's veteran chief negotiator.

Israel Radio quoted the Nazareth newspaper Hadith a-Nas as saying,
based on an Arab diplomat, that U.S. Special Envoy to Middle East
Peace Senator George Mitchell recently threatened to resign over the
failure to resume Israeli-Palestinian talks. Israel Radio also
cited Hadith a-Nas as saying that the White House declined
MitchellQs request. A Palestinian source told the Arabic-language
newspaper that Mitchell had also wished to resign over the
intervention of State Department officials favorable to Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the rightist yeshiva organization
Ateret Cohanim is moving more Jewish families into JerusalemQs
Muslim Quarter.

HaQaretz reported that the passport photographs of the agents who
assassinated Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai were doctored so the agents
would not be identified. The discovery casts doubt on claims that
the espionage agency that carried out last month's hit on the senior
Hamas operative committed grave errors.

Yediot (Smadar Perry) reported that Israel neglects its relations
with Egypt.

Yediot reported that 19 of the 35 delegates who spoke about the
Goldstone Report at the European Parliament yesterday criticized it.
The Jerusalem Post reported that more than 90 U.S. Congress members
signed a letter to Secretary Clinton supporting Israel ahead of
todayQs U.N. General Assembly vote on a resolution that would give
Israel and the Palestinians five more months to investigate their
actions during Operation Cast Lead.
.
Citing the AP, HaQaretz and The Jerusalem Post quoted the European
UnionQs high court as saying yesterday that the West Bank is not
part of Israel and that Israeli goods made there are subject to E.U.
import taxes.

The Jerusalem Post cited the results of a Gallup poll that found
that Israel enjoys near record support in the U.S. However, only 30
percent of those polled foresee a time when Israel and the Arabs
will live in peace.

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Mideast:
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Block Quotes:
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I. QThe Master of Pyromania

Senior columnist and longtime peace advocate Yoel Marcus wrote in
the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (2/26): QIt's not clear what
it is about Benjamin Netanyahu, who in both his terms as prime
minister has gotten into trouble -- or to be more precise, has
gotten the country embroiled in incendiary issues. During his first
term he triggered bloody riots all over the country as a result of
opening the Western Wall tunnel (the Qrock of our existenceQ). Now
he has decided, under pressure from the right-wing forces in his
government, to add the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb to
the list of Jewish heritage preservation sites, thus enabling
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was in Europe at
the time, to warn that Israel is threatening to ignite a religious
war.... The Labor Party is being dragged into an ultra-Orthodox
religious right-wing whirlpool, the likes of which we haven't seen
since the establishment of the state. The partnership between Barak
and Bibi is causing an upheaval in the Israeli way of life. We have
returned to the days of Qthe entire world is against us.Q Instead
of being preoccupied with the important matters, we are preoccupied
with things that lead nowhere. We are scattering lit matches that
are starting fires that damage Israel's international standing, both
on the Iranian issue and on peace issues. Bibi has remained the same
Bibi, the master of pyromania.

II. QBibiQs Heritage

Diplomatic correspondent and television anchor Ben Caspit wrote on
page one of the popular, pluralist Maariv (2/26): QNetanyahu and
Barak, the two decorated and experienced generals, were supposed to
lead us to safe shores. What came of all this? If there were
negotiations with the Syrians now, Ahmadinejad would not be in
Damascus. The threat of war with Syria would be removed, at least
temporarily. If there were any kind of negotiations with the
Palestinians now, there would not be riots in Hebron. Our situation
around the world would also be better. Iran could be isolated, the
danger posed by Hizbullah and Hamas in advance of the sanctions
could be neutralized, and everything could be made simpler. All
these things are now needed like a breath of oxygen. In order to
deal with Iran, the Americans need quiet, room to maneuver, and a
calm Middle East. Instead, they get from Netanyahu and Barak an
agitated and irresponsible country, which cannot speak to any of its
enemies, cannot maintain reasonable ties with its neighbors, and
does not reward its allies -- and in the middle of all this is also
caught at high noon, allegedly of course, in Dubai, with the forged
passports and its pants down. Instead of us being in the gallery,
waving at the dock, we are sitting on it, reprimanded, enabling Iran
and its allies to look like stable elements. For the time being,
this is our heritage.

III. QThe Prime Minister as Marketing Director

Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever Plotker wrote in
the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (2/26): QIndeed,
[Benjamin Netanyahu planned] weighty, breathtaking, and historical
decisions, which would dramatically change the face of the State of
Israel and turn it into an economic, scientific, technological, and
cultural world power. This is according to a prime minister who in
his second term is playing the part of a marketing director rather
than a state leader. His QreformsQ so far are suitable for the desk
of a mid-level official in a mid-level ministry. Prime Minister
Netanyahu appears to be so bored with his high position that he
finds time to deal with nonsense; nonsense from the viewpoint of the
tasks usually imposed on a statesman chosen to lead Israel. And the
public is forgiving (it is still forgiving; however, there are
growing signs of discomfort, disappointment and impatience), because
sometimes the public prefers not to confront inconvenient truths and
is willing for some time to live in an imaginary reality, painted by
our prime minister in rosy colors.

IV. QThe Plot Thickens

HaQaretz editorialized (2/26): QThe group that took out Mabhouh was
exposed due to one weak point: the use of false passports from
Western countries bearing the identities of real Israelis with dual
citizenship. From now on all Israelis with dual passports will be
suspected of being intelligence agents. There is no doubt that this
revelation endangers, or at least complicates, other operations.
Did Mabhouh's assassination justify taking such a risk? Was there
negligence or contempt for the adversary on the part of the
planners, the commanders and those who approved the operation (Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to foreign reports)? Were
other operations compromised, that were even more essential than the
killing of a Hamas weapons smuggler? Is criticism by countries
whose passports were falsified just for the record, or will it limit
operatives' freedom of action in other hits? Will the affair
increase Israel's international isolation and present it once again
as a lawless state? If foreign reports are true about Israel's
responsibility for the Mabhouh hit and the forged passports, then a
thorough clarification is warranted, which can lead to conclusions
about both organizations and individuals.

V. QThe International Chorus at Abu MazenQs Service

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized (2/26):
Q[U.N.] Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonQs unusual pronouncement
[condemning IsraelQs list of heritage sites] was accompanied by
criticism from the United States. During most of last week
Palestinian Authority head Abu Mazen conducted an impressive lecture
tour of Europe on account of the Cave of the Patriarchs.... A
complaint by Arabs -- especially by those called Palestinians --
against Israel is immediately adopted by the Qinternational
community,Q even if their claim is ludicrous. The Belgian
Parliament, the U.N General Assembly, and television stations avidly
take in any anti-Israeli statement: even an Israeli TV anchor felt
the need to justify herself and anxiously wonder what will happen to
us.... Only 10 years ago the PLO begged for international legitimacy
and the Jews volunteered to grant it in exchange for the cessation
of terrorism. It is now the PLO that automatically activates
Qpublic opinion,Q cutting IsraelQs oxygen supply of legitimacy and
legality.

VI. QPurimQs Moral Clarity

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (2/26):
Q[Mahmoud al-]Mabhouh, a self-confessed killer ... who facilitated
the smuggling of thousands of Iranian-made missiles into Gaza to be
used against Israeli citizens, did not appear on InterpolQs list and
traveled freely. Nor is it likely that the International Criminal
Court or the U.N. Human Rights Council would have been willing to
take action against Mabhouh for violating IsraelisQ basic human
rights by trying to destroy them. But Dubai, in its clamor for the
arrest of MabhouhQs Qmurderers,Q is receiving European support.
Similarly, IDF officers who defend their country against Palestinian
terrorism are liable to be arrested and charged for war crimes when
traveling to Europe, while members of Hamas and of Fatah terror
cells can often move unhindered from country to country. Fuzzy
moral relativism is ravaging Europe and reversing long-accepted
notions of truth and falsehood.... The book of Esther, the
centerpiece of the Purim holiday, might seem like a fairytale, but
it is a quintessentially political book from which the Europeans and
the Australians could learn. Adrift in a sea of multiculturalism --
Ahasuerus ruled 120 nations from India to Kush [possibly an area in
northeastern Africa] -- the Jewish people overcame their enemy by
maintaining a distinctive identity and culture which fostered unity.
In a similar vein, Europeans, who are fighting a war of ideas, must
strengthen their ties with their own culture and the values it
represents if they are to resist the culture of destruction
emblemized by Hamas, al-Qaida and other representatives of radical
Islam, the avowed enemies of everything that is most admirable about
the West.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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