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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 001644

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:
-------------------------

All media bannered Israel's current and expected
response to Hamas-led terrorism. The media reported
that PM Sharon has ordered the assassination of Hamas
and Islamic Jihad leaders. Yediot quoted senior
security sources as saying that they are "in the
crosshairs." Leading media reported that last night
the IDF started operations throughout the Gaza Strip.
Israel Radio quoted Palestinian sources as saying that
two Palestinians were killed, including a member of the
Popular Resistance Committees, and that seven others
were wounded, one of them critically. Leading media
reported that two Palestinians were killed Tuesday in
an IAF helicopter attack in Gaza City, and that IDF
operations in the Strip are continuing today. Ha'aretz
reported that top Fatah activists are leaving the
movement to join Hamas.

Ha'aretz reported that security officials are
considering preempting any legal entanglements by
speeding up the construction of the separation fence.
Israel Radio reported that today the High Court of
Justice will debate four separate petitions related to
the erection of the fence.

Ha'aretz assesses that Syria is likely to be hit hard
by a restriction in U.S. investments. Jerusalem Post
quoted sources in Washington as saying Tuesday that the
Bush administration is expected to prohibit American
energy companies from future investments in Syria, but
allow some already existing projects to continue, as
part of fresh U.S. sanctions to be unveiled in the
coming days. Ha'aretz reported on an individual
initiative: following his visit to Israel in November
2002, New York City Comptroller William Thompson,
received the consent of the shareholders in the pension
fund of the NYC policemen and firemen to approach large
American companies in which the pension fund invests,
to stop their activities in Syria and Iran. Ha'aretz
also featured the Syrian media's efforts "to deny the
reality of a nearby country" (Israel).

Israel Radio cited Al Jazeera-TV that today Osama El-
Baz, senior adviser to Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak, is due to meet with PA Chairman Yasser Arafat
and that El-Baz is carrying a special message from
Mubarak.

Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post quoted Jordanian officials
as saying that Jordan is considering suing Israel over
the money seized from Ramallah banks in February.
Jordan claims that the funds belong to Jordanians.
Yediot reported that the Foreign Ministry is embarking
on an international campaign against the deadly abuse
of Palestinian children by the Palestinian terrorist
groups. Maariv and Hatzofe reported that Abdullah
Quran, the 10 to 12-year old boy (depending on the
media) arrested Monday with explosives at a checkpoint
near Nablus, received five shekels (about 1 USD) for
the errand he was sent on. Maariv quoted Minister in
the Prime Minister's Office Gideon Ezra (Likud) as
saying that Israeli Arabs should be recruited in
protection efforts against suicide bombers, whom they
will recognize more efficiently than the average
Israeli Jew.

Yediot reported that Tuesday A/G Menachem Mazuz
confirmed to Meretz Knesset Member Zahava Gal-On a
Ha'aretz story that the Shin Bet maintains a
"blacklist" of left-wing activists because of the
concern that they could become, albeit unwillingly,
accessories to the activities of terror organizations.
Leading media also quoted Mazuz as saying that the
disengagement plan could cause a rift among Israelis.

Most media reported that last night, with a 54 to 46-
percent margin, Yossi Beilin won the contest for the
leadership of Yahad, the successor party to Meretz,
over Knesset Member Ran Cohen, who is more identified
with social issues.

Ha'aretz reported that Iran and Egypt will operate
separate reconnaissance satellites in one to two years.

Ha'aretz reported on events held across the U.S. to
mark the first anniversary of the death of American
peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death
by an Israeli military bulldozer as she attempted to
prevent the destruction of a Palestinian house in
Rafah. Rachel's father Craig Corrie was quoted as
saying in an interview with Ha'aretz: "I believe that
the Israeli government has had every chance over the
past year to do what Prime Minister Sharon promised
President Bush in their conversation on March 17,
2003." Ha'aretz notes that according to the State
Department, the gist of that conversation was that the
GOI would carry out a comprehensive, full, and
transparent investigation and report back to the U.S.
on its findings.

Ha'aretz reported that local residents are planning a
dual language, Jewish-Arab school in the Wadi Ara area
(between Hadera and Afula).

Jerusalem Post cited an AP story that the U.S. Justice
Department has hardened its position on a Holocaust
lawsuit claiming the U.S. Army plundered riches seized
by Nazis from 800,000 Hungarian Jews and covered it up
for decades.

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

Summary:
--------

Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever
Plotker wrote in the lead editorial of mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "We cannot--
either morally or politically -- drown Gaza either in
the sea or in blood. But Arafat can be expelled."

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz:
"The new installations are part of a comprehensive
British-Palestinian security plan.... The American go-
ahead for British involvement was granted reluctantly
and on a limited basis, and only after Blair's personal
appeal to President Bush."

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"This is not 'just' child abuse, but child sacrifice.
It is as if Palestinian terrorists are trying to reach
new depths of war crimes."

Former director-general of the Prime Minister's Office
and the Foreign Ministry Avraham Tamir wrote in
popular, pluralist Maariv: "History will chronicle the
unilateral disengagement ... as a necessary transition
period in the peace process, in accordance with
President Bush's road map principles."

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

I. "Going to Gaza"

Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever
Plotker wrote in the lead editorial of mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (March 17): "The
most recent wave of terror attacks by Hamas was
launched to prove that Israel is withdrawing from Gaza
because of Ashdod, that Al Qaida's 'Madrid method'
(terror prompts withdrawal) has met with success here
as well. Israel, in response, has decided to purge
Gaza of Hamas and to deal Hamas a deathblow....
There can be no disputing the need to pay Hamas back
what it duly deserves. However, the root of all evil
does not lie with this terror organization. Hamas is
capable of launching such a large scope of terror
attacks against Israel only because it is backed by
Palestinian militias that are loyal to Arafat. Arafat
perceives Hamas to be his long-range strategic arm. He
wants to be cast as the liberator of Gaza. As such, as
long as Arafat is around, it is doubtful that the
Israeli withdrawal will take place. And it is also
doubtful whether the blow being dealt to Hamas --
lethal as it may be -- will achieve its desired goals.
We cannot-- either morally or politically -- drown Gaza
either in the sea or in blood. But Arafat can be
expelled."

II. "The British Are Here, With Arafat's Approval"

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(March 17): "With grudging consent from the Americans,
the British are now setting up two new operation
control rooms, one in Ramallah and one in Gaza, for
Palestinian security organizations.... What is the
reason for the British involvement? Aside from a
desire to wield influence in the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, the British are afraid that implementation of
the disengagement plan could lead to Palestinian loss
of control in the territories to be evacuated, and to
ensuing chaos. Essentially, the new installations are
part of a comprehensive British-Palestinian security
plan.... The American go-ahead for British involvement
was granted reluctantly and on a limited basis, and
only after Blair's personal appeal to President
Bush.... The reasons for the Americans' and the
Israelis' unwillingness to cooperate with the
Palestinians on this issue are basically identical:
Arafat's direct involvement in implementing the plan,
and his condition that nothing happen without his say-
so.... If and when the disengagement begins, we will
begin to see increasingly more involvement of foreign
countries in the area.... Because the withdrawal is
unilateral and not in the framework of an agreement, it
is doubtful that Israel could prevent the Palestinians
from steps such as inviting international
representatives, unless the step could be considered as
an act of war."

III. "Child Sacrifice"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(March 17): "Israel was shaken Monday. It wasn't
because of a terrorist atrocity actually perpetrated,
but because of one thankfully preempted. Front pages
were dominated by the story of 11-year-old Abdullah
Quran, who carried a powerful bomb in his schoolbag....
This is not 'just' child abuse, but child sacrifice.
It is as if Palestinian terrorists are trying to reach
new depths of war crimes, matched only by previous uses
of ambulances and pregnant women to carry out terrorist
attacks.... Incredibly, Abdullah's misadventure went
largely unreported by the world's media, further
underscoring the double standard against Israel.... The
Palestinian manipulation of children is as pervasive
and transparent as Hitler's 'Children's Army' at the
end of World War II. It's a flagrant violation of
Article 38 of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of
the Child, which censures 'the recruitment and
involvement of children under 15 in hostilities and
armed conflicts.' Yet it's an entrenched Arab practice
in this country.... Palestinian youngsters are
incessantly subjected to brainwashing in the media and
classroom. Hate is inculcated in them. Even
preschoolers are taught to aspire to martyr status.
They grow in a culture that, rather than consecrating
life, glorifies violent 'sacrificial' death."

IV. "Disengagement as Strategic Need"

Former director-general of the Prime Minister's Office
and the Foreign Ministry Avraham Tamir wrote in
popular, pluralist Maariv (March 17): "History will
chronicle the unilateral disengagement, in accordance
with the principles of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as
a necessary transition period in the peace process, in
accordance with President Bush's road map
principles.... Sharon's disengagement plan will earn
broad national support in Israel; the duration of a
national unity government, even if extremist factions
leave it because of the connection with the goals of
the road map; U.S. support and assistance for
relocating a civilian and military infrastructure; the
support of Egypt and Jordan to the only way of
preparing the ground for the implementation of the road
map; and the support of the European Union, the Russian
Federation, the Secretary-General of the UN and key
Arab and Muslim countries. The scope of that support
will have repercussions on change in the Palestinian
government toward a determination to dismantle the
terrorist infrastructure, to stop hostile operations
and to sever connections with international terrorist
organizations such as Hizbullah and Al Qaida....
Sharon's disengagement plan ... would have implications
for the advancement of a comprehensive Israeli-Arab
peace, in which a diplomatic and security solution
would be found to all the components of a conflict that
has lasted since time immemorial."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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