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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 TEL AVIV 001276

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR NEA STAFF

JERUSALEM ALSO FOR ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: IS KMDR MEDIA REACTION REPORT
SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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

Mideast

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

Leading media reported on the aftermath of talks held
Monday by top Sharon aide Dov Weisglass and Israel's
National Security Advisor Giora Eiland with senior U.S.
Administration officials (National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell):
Ha'aretz reported that the participants agreed that
another round of talks is necessary before PM Sharon
visits Washington. Citing Reuters, Israel Radio quoted
a White House official as saying that the U.S. is not
yet prepared to adopt Sharon's disengagement plan, that
Israel has not provided detailed plans and that a
disengagement that would bring about a withdrawal from
the Gaza Strip must reduce the tension between Israel
and the Palestinians and that no side should impose
permanent steps on the other side.

Ha'aretz reported that the U.S. complained through
several channels that Israel did not notify it of its
intention to raid several Palestinian banks, despite
reports that the preparations for the action took
months. The newspaper also reported that the U.S. was
unhappy about the lack of reports from Israel after the
raids. Jerusalem Post, Yediot and Hatzofe reported
that Monday the Tel Aviv District Court placed a
temporary lien on the approximately 40 million shekels
(around USD 9 million) in funding for terrorist
organizations seized by security officials from
Ramallah banks last week, as requested by the family of
two victims of terrorism.

Jerusalem Post reported that Monday the U.S. Supreme
Court rejected an appeal from the Holy Land Foundation
for Relief and Development to reverse a U.S. decision
to freeze and designate the charity a terrorist group
in 2001.

Israel TV reported that Sharon told Labor Party
Chairman Shimon Peres that 10 West Bank settlements
will be removed, along with all those in the Gaza
Strip. Jerusalem Post reported that FM Silvan Shalom
defended the security fence and the planned
disengagement when he met senior members of the British
media on Monday. Leading media reported that Shalom is
expected to meet with British PM Tony Blair and British
FM Jack Straw today.

All media led with the investigation of Elchanan
Tenenbaum and its implications, as he is slated to
undergo a comprehensive lie detector test today that
will determine whether he will be freed or tried.
Commentators noted that Israeli courts do not accept
the results of such tests.

Israel Radio reported that Khalil al-Zebin, who was
media advisor to PA Chairman Yasser Arafat in Beirut
and Tunis, was assassinated in Gaza early today. The
radio reported that a small Palestinian group which had
claimed responsibility for the assault on Egyptian FM
Ahmed Maher in Jerusalem in December 2003 took credit
for the murder. A radio commentator said that the
chaos that allows small groups to act has apparently
reached Arafat's surroundings.

Jerusalem Post reported that a Sunday meeting with
Jewish leaders and politicians, Sen. John Kerry, the
Democratic presidential front-runner, pledged his
strong support for Israel and vowed not to follow the
Oslo path.

Yediot reported that Israel has complained to the U.S.
Embassy about an increase in the rejection of visa
applications. The newspaper noted that in his meeting
with Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer during the weekend,
Deputy Foreign Ministry D-G Yoram Ben Zeev demanded of
Kurtzer that he cancel the waiting time for Israelis
born in Arab states. Ben Zeev also reportedly raised
the issue of high-tech workers and other scientists who
must wait for months to get visas. The newspaper cited
Kurtzer's response that he cannot promise an
improvement of the situation in the foreseeable future,
and that Washington decides directly on both above-
mentioned cases.

Ha'aretz noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin's
choice for the post of PM, former ambassador to the EU
Mikhail Fradkov, is the son of a Jew.

Maariv quoted Israeli security sources as warning that
Palestinian terrorists could make foreign workers carry
out attacks.

Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post reported that Monday Israel
Aircraft Industries (IAI) conducted a successful test
launch of a long-range artillery missile (LORA), which
Ha'aretz says is apparently meant for sale to India.

Ha'aretz reported on a dialogue between Irish-American
author Frank McCourt and Jerusalem high-school
students. McCourt, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his
memoir, "Angela's Ashes," is in Israel as part of a
State Department-sponsored program that started after
the 9/11 attacks.

Jerusalem Post reported that the New York Tolerance
Center, a branch of the Los Angeles-based Simon
Wiesenthal Center, opened Sunday in the heart of
Manhattan.
--------
Mideast:
--------
Summary:
--------

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar opined in left-leaning,
independent Ha'aretz: "[The Americans] take into
account that the Prime Minister understands that
without the Labor Party, he does not have the political
strength to move a flower pot from a single windowsill
in any of the illegal outposts on the Gaza coast, let
alone on the West Bank."

Right-wing (National Union) Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad
wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot:
"Will we demand that the President of the United States
save us from the devastating consequences of a move he
didn't want?"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"We know that Kerry hunts doves, loves Israel, and has
Jewish family. But Israel's security is at stake. We
need to know more about how he would handle [the] Arab-
Israeli conflict."

Correspondent Efraim Ganor wrote in popular, pluralist
Russian-language Novosty Nedely: "[Arafat] understands
that the worse the situation in the Palestinian
Authority, the easier for him to force terror [against
Israel]."

Author Ruhama Shattan wrote in Jerusalem Post: "On the
first anniversary of her death, I want to thank Rachel
Corrie for showing Palestinian children how to despise
America."

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

I. "If He Walks Like a Foreign Minister and Talks Like
a Foreign Minister, Will He Be Foreign Minister?"

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar opined in left-leaning,
independent Ha'aretz (March 2): "The Americans, like
the Europeans and Egyptians, know how to count the
votes against the withdrawal plan among Sharon's
colleagues in the Likud and other parties. They take
into account that the Prime Minister understands that
without the Labor Party, he does not have the political
strength to move a flower pot from a single windowsill
in any of the illegal outposts on the Gaza coast, let
alone on the West Bank. They also assume that the
Prime Minister knows that the seat under his good
friend George W. Bush is beginning to shake.... since
Sharon publicized his disengagement plan, Peres has
been explaining that this time Sharon is serious. For
the first time, he points out, Sharon is not
conditioning anything on Palestinian steps, like the
seven days of quiet. The only condition, which derives
from the unilateralism of the move, is that the
Palestinians not do anything. Peres is already
equipped with polls showing that the public in general,
and Labor voters in particular, are overwhelmingly in
favor of joining the government the day the extreme
right leaves due to its opposition to the disengagement
plan."

II. "Sharon and Mofaz Have No Plan"

Right-wing (National Union) Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad
wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot
(March 2): "Even those who were absolutely opposed to
the Oslo Agreement, claiming that the Arabs wouldn't
fill their part in the accord, can't deny that it
contained a diplomatic move in which the enemy
committed himself to certain steps. Also, those who
denounced the Geneva Accord as an unauthorized, non-
mandated national suicide must admit that it is an
agreement between sides, which still includes an
internal logical configuration of negotiations. But
Sharon and Mofaz have no clue of what will happen in
the Gaza Strip if the IDF flees from there. There is
no agreement. Therefore nobody can promise that the
Arab murderers won't procure strategic weapons. What
will Israel do to them?.... Will we demand that the
President of the United States save us from the
devastating consequences of a move he didn't want?....
The Prime Minister and the Defense Minister don't think
two steps ahead. They have no plan."

III. "Kerry's Fence Straddle"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(March 2): "In today's 'Super Tuesday' primaries, John
Kerry is expected to cinch his party's nomination....
Based on his own statements, to Kerry the fence is both
necessary and a 'barrier to peace.' The West Bank is a
matter for negotiations, yet anything over the Green
Line (where Kerry seems to think the fence should have
been built) is 'Palestinian territory.' Kerry has
spoken movingly of his deep connection to Israel. But
so did Bill Clinton. Kerry is considered 'pro-Israel,'
as is almost every candidate for national office in the
U.S. But after the failure of Oslo, the current war,
and 9/11, people who care about Israel, including
millions of Americans, have a right to know more about
what a Kerry presidency would really mean.... We know
that Kerry hunts doves, loves Israel, and has Jewish
family. But Israel's security is at stake. We need to
know more about how he would handle [the] Arab-Israeli
conflict when he is not speaking to Jewish leaders just
before the New York primary."

IV. "Developing Anarchy "

Correspondent Efraim Ganor wrote in popular, pluralist
Russian-language Novosty Nedely (March 1): "Anarchy in
the Palestinian [Authority] is not a surprise for the
Israeli security forces.... Does Arafat know about
this? Of course!.... He understands that the worse the
situation in the Palestinian Authority, the easier for
him to force terror [against Israel]. Hungry and
miserable people who have nothing to lose would wear a
'shahid's [suicide bomber's] belt' more willingly than
those who are able to work and feed their families.
With his stolen billions [of dollars] Arafat considers
himself invulnerable. Actually, it's true; therefore,
the situation in the Palestinian Authority, if it
changes at all, would change to the worse for Israel".

V. "A 'Tribute' to Rachel Corrie"

Author Ruhama Shattan wrote in Jerusalem Post (March
2): "On the first anniversary of her death, I want to
thank [the late American peace activist] Rachel Corrie
for showing Palestinian children how to despise America
as she snarled, burned an American flag, and led them
in chanting slogans, and as she gave 'evidence' at a
Young Palestinian Parliament mock trial finding
President Bush guilty of crimes against humanity.
Perhaps her help in fanning the flames of violent anti-
American sentiment led to the October 2003 bombing of
the Fulbright delegation to Gaza to interview
scholarship candidates, killing three. There will be
no new crop of Palestinian Fulbright scholars this
fall."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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