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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 06 TEL AVIV 001920

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

1. Mideast

2. Campaign Against Terrorism

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

All media quoted PM Sharon as saying Monday that if
some coalition partners leave the government when he
presents his disengagement plan to the cabinet after
returning from the U.S., he will form a new coalition
that very day. Maariv reported that State Attorney
Edna Arbel's recommendation that Sharon be indicted
frustrated Likud-Labor negotiations for the formation
of a national unity government, in which six
portfolios, including the foreign ministry, had
allegedly been promised to the Labor Party. Ha'aretz
reported that Sharon's speech to the Likud convention
tonight will not mention his legal problems, nor the
disengagement plan that is creating political problems
for him. All media reported that Monday the High Court
of Justice ordered Sharon's son Gilad to hand over
potentially incriminating documents in two corruption
probes involving the Sharon family.

Leading media reported that last night FM Silvan Shalom
affirmed his support for Sharon. Jerusalem Post and
Israel Radio quoted Shalom as warning Sharon against
forming a coalition with the Labor Party. The radio
quoted Shalom as saying that the leak of Arbel's
recommendation was "wicked" and meant to influence the
legal process. Jerusalem Post also reported that
Shalom slammed Vice PM Ehud Olmert for suggesting that
Israel should withdraw unilaterally, even without
receiving U.S. compensation, and quoted Shalom as
saying: "Those who are calling for unconditional
unilateral separation are completely wrong. The
Americans have been involved in every diplomatic
agreement in Israel's history and their assistance
should be welcome." Ha'aretz quoted Sharon as
testifying before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee that he agreed to evacuate four
settlements in the northern West Bank because the quid
pro quo from the U.S. would be much more "serious and
significant" than if Israel only evacuated the Gaza
Strip.

Maariv (Ben Caspit) reported that U.S. Ambassador Dan
Kurtzer has been "flooded" by queries from the White
House, the National Security Council and the State
Department -- requesting that he try to explain to them
what Sharon's real condition is, whether he is a lame
duck and, if so, what is the degree of his handicap.
Yated Ne'eman quoted MK Nissan Slomiansky, the chairman
of the coalition's National Religious Party, as saying
that Sharon does not have an option for an alternative
government. Ha'aretz reported that dozens of cabinet
ministers, Knesset members, local mayors, high-ranking
IDF officers and other prominent public figures have in
recent weeks signed a petition called "A People's
Petition - We Will Be There" that brands dismantling
settlements a "moral, national crime."
Ha'aretz reported that today Stephen Hadley and Elliott
Abrams from the White House, and William Burns from the
State Department, will brief senior European officials
in Brussels about last week's Israeli-American talks in
Washington over the disengagement plan. The newspaper
notes that the three U.S. envoys will then travel to
Cairo to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak,
followed by a visit to Amman to meet with Jordan's King
Abdullah. The delegates are slated to meet with Sharon
in Jerusalem Thursday.

Ha'aretz reported that while the IDF is "confused"
about the disengagement plan, the Palestinians in the
Gaza Strip are already making practical preparations
toward an Israeli withdrawal. Ha'aretz reported that
Egypt has mediated a deal to divide responsibilities
and spheres of influence between Jibril Rajoub, the
current National Security Advisor to PA Chairman Yasser
Arafat, and Muhammad Dahlan, former head of the Gazan
Preventive Security services, as Cairo moves ahead with
its plan for unified security services in the PA and a
unified Palestinian leadership to present to the
Americans.

This morning, Israel Radio reported that the IDF, which
fears that terrorists could leave Nablus to carry out
attacks, is encircling the city.

The media reported that the Israeli Arab community will
commemorate Land Day today, culminating in a protest
strike and a march in the Galilee -- from the village
of Arabe to the town of Sakhnin. Land Day marks the
28th anniversary of clashes with the police over land
confiscation, in which six Israeli Arabs were killed.

Aluf Benn of Ha'aretz reviewed a new book, "Waging
Peace: Israel and the Arabs, 1948-2003," by Prof.
Itamar Rabinovich, one-time chief negotiator with Syria
and former ambassador to the U.S. Rabinovich writes
that Arafat is to blame for the failure of the Oslo
peace process. However, he says that an interim deal
can be struck with the Palestinians now -- but only
with Arafat.

Leading media reported that Monday the Knesset Finance
Committee approved the cabinet's decision to make an
across-the-board cut of 4.8 billion shekels (around USD
1.06 billion) in the state budget for 2004.

All media reported that today the police will release
freed Hizbullah captive Elchanan Tenenbaum and place
him under house arrest.

In an exclusive Maariv feature, Italian Jew David Gerbi
describes his recent visit to his native town: Tripoli,
the Libyan capital.

Yediot reported that 70 supporters of nuclear
whistleblower Mordecai Vanunu from around the world,
including the actress Susannah York and Nobel
Prizewinners, will come to Israel to celebrate his
release in around three weeks.

Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard was quoted as saying in
an interview with Maariv that he is entreating Sharon
to "come and rescue" him during his upcoming visit to
Washington.

Ha'aretz underscored President Bush's statement Monday
that the seven new members of NATO (Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria)
"bring moral clarity to the purposes of our alliance."

This morning, Israel Radio reported that a poll
conducted in the U.S. found that Bush has regained his
lead over Sen. John Kerry.

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

Summary:
--------

Liberal contributor, Tel Aviv University Prof. Tanya
Reinhart wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "Even the U.S. has not yet dared execute
publicly a spiritual-religious leader."

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global
Research in International Affairs Center, columnist
Barry Rubin wrote in conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post: "What are the implications of Ahmed
Yassin's death for Palestinian politics?.... The real
issue is the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas."

Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and
former Foreign Ministry director-general Shlomo Avineri
wrote in Jerusalem Post: "The cold peace Egypt offered
Israel should be kept. One can only wish something
similar could be achieved with the Palestinians. Yet,
in marking the 25th anniversary of this agreement, one
should realize what it is -- and what the Egyptians
chose it should not be."

Far-left, Arabic language Al-Ittihad editorialized:
"The successive U.S. administrations have used the
[right of] veto at the Security Council to protect the
Israeli aggressor from any international condemnation
to stop its crimes.... This American position is
serving and encouraging barbaric Israeli terrorism
against the Palestinians."

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

I. "Israel vs. the Safeguards of Mankind's
Conservation"

Liberal contributor, Tel Aviv University Prof. Tanya
Reinhart wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (March 30): "Since 9/11, within the context of
the war against terrorism, the United States has been
applying pressure to cancel safeguards anchored in
international law. But even the U.S. has not yet dared
execute publicly a spiritual-religious leader (for
instance, those of the Taliban in Afghanistan). Now,
with U.S. blessing, the Israel has established that
this, too, is allowed. The rule of the military is
turning Israel into a leader in the destruction of the
protections that mankind created for its own
conservation -- protections that Israel may need
someday, as already proved by history."

II. "The Fatah-Hamas Rivalry"

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global
Research in International Affairs Center, columnist
Barry Rubin wrote in conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (March 30): "What are the implications
of Ahmed Yassin's death for Palestinian politics? In
the short run, it brought sympathy for Hamas from the
general population. But this event is unlikely to have
much lasting impact. The real issue is the power
struggle between Fatah and Hamas.... Arafat, as many
Fatah leaders know, is responsible for the declining
fortunes of his group as well as of his people. By
refusing to take strong action against Hamas, stop
terrorism, and rein in the thuggish activity of
militias waging battle against Israel, he is
discrediting the PA, Fatah, and the nationalist
cause.... But Hamas has its own problems in the pursuit
of power. However many terrorist attacks it can mount,
it is going to be weaker without Yassin. Hamas is a
very fragmented organization, with no alternative
preeminent leader in sight.... While no one should have
any illusions that Hamas will stop trying to strike
Israel with terrorism, Rantisi's elevation is not going
to make it a tougher organization. Speaking of
Rantisi, let it not pass without notice that when
Israel tried to kill him, one of the complaints brought
by foreign politicians and journalists was that he was
'only' Hamas's spokesman and not involved in terrorism.
As has repeatedly happened before, the organization's
own decision shows how naive such distinctions are."
III. "Just an Absence of War"

Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and
former Foreign Ministry director-general Shlomo Avineri
wrote in Jerusalem Post (November 26): "Exactly a
quarter of a century ago -- in March 1979 -- Israel and
Egypt signed a peace treaty which put an end to decades
of war between the two nations.... Yet today relations
between Israel and Egypt are bitter, and Israelis speak
of a cold peace.... It now appears that the Egyptian
strategy has been, from the very beginning, not to move
toward reconciliation and rapprochement. The current
Palestinian Intifada is a mere excuse. In signing the
treaty Egypt wanted -- legitimately -- to get back its
territory, but in return it never aimed at anything
save a cold peace.... Peace is not just an absence of
war. It is a state of mind, a moral disposition, an
ethical commitment. This is not what the Egyptians were
seeking. The cold peace Egypt offered Israel should be
kept. One can only wish something similar could be
achieved with the Palestinians. Yet, in marking the
25th anniversary of this agreement, one should realize
what it is -- and what the Egyptians chose it should
not be."

IV. "Vetoes That Serve Terrorism"

Far-left, Arabic language Al-Ittihad editorialized
(March 28): "The U.S. State Department's strategic
planners have put forward an agenda of 'confronting'
the sharp increase of hatred felt by the nations of the
world ... towards American imperialism! But they
[American foreign policymakers] didn't design policies
to treat the real reasons for this hatred.... The blood
of the people in the region, especially Palestinian
blood, is bleeding because of the American strategic
aggression that grants unlimited support ... to Israel.
In addition, the successive U.S. administrations have
used the [right of] veto at the Security Council to
protect the Israeli aggressor from any international
condemnation to stop its crimes.... This American
position is serving and encouraging barbaric Israeli
terrorism against the Palestinians. This was also a
clear message to the Arab regimes, on the eve of the
proposed Arab league summit, that the U.S.
Administration doesn't show any consideration for Arab
leaders. They [Arab leaders] are nothing but zero."
-------------------------------
2. Campaign Against Terrorism:
-------------------------------
Summary:
--------

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"There is a network of groups and governments that
believe in using terror to subjugate the West and make
the world safe for tyranny.... Intelligence can be a
critical tool in winning this war, but it cannot tell
us what the war is about or outline our broad
strategy."

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

"Intelligence's Limits"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(March 30): "The problem with the concept of
'intelligence failure' is that it presumes that
intelligence normally succeeds. If there is any lesson
from the investigations both here and in the U.S., it
is that policy makers must assume the structural
fallibility of their intelligence agencies.... What
9/11 shows ... is that if intelligence is to mean
anything it must first have some grasp of the major
currents sweeping the globe. Is it surprising that
Western intelligence services missed 9/11 when they did
not anticipate the fall of the Soviet Union?.... We
should keep in mind not what we think we know, but what
we do know: that there is a network of groups and
governments that believe in using terror to subjugate
the West and make the world safe for tyranny. We know
they must be beaten, and that the key to beating them
is to drive a handful of governments out of the terror
business. We also know that tyranny and terror are
inextricably linked, so that a policy of supporting
Western values of freedom and human rights is also
necessary to achieve peace and security. Intelligence
can be a critical tool in winning this war, but it
cannot tell us what the war is about or outline our
broad strategy."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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