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Cablegate: In Passover Interviews, Sharon Warns Arafat,

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

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002031

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KWBG PGOV IS GAZA DISENGAGEMENT GOI INTERNAL ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: IN PASSOVER INTERVIEWS, SHARON WARNS ARAFAT,
AFFIRMS DISENGAGEMENT, SHRUGS OFF SCANDALS


1. (SBU) Israel's three major dailies previewed April 2 the
separate Passover interviews with PM Sharon that each will
publish on April 5. The previews highlighted three of
Sharon's themes:

-- Targeting Arafat and Nasrallah: In the wake of Israel's
assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin, neither Arafat
nor Hizballah leader Nasrallah has "insurance against
targeting." "I wouldn't suggest either of them feels
immune.... Anyone who kills a Jew or harms an Israeli
citizen, or sends people to kill Jews, is a marked man.
Period."

-- Gaza Disengagement: "By next Passover we will be deep into
disengagement." The PM insisted that he made the decision to
disengage from Gaza and that he is determined to see it
through: "No one influenced me and no one convinced me.
That's nonsense. Arik convinced Sharon and Sharon convinced
Arik. It's my decision and I intend to carry it out." The
PM did not expect terrorist attacks against Israel to stop
after disengagement, but did hope for a reduction. In any
event, Israel's war against terror would continue, and even
step up, after withdrawal from Gaza. The PM stated that the
GOI does not intend to damage the electrical or water
infrastructure of areas to be evacuated, and that it would
continue to supply electricity and water to Gaza even after
disengagement. The GOI would reconsider this service,
however, if terror attacks continue from Gaza after Israel
withdraws.

-- Possible Indictment: "I believe in my full and complete
innocence." "I'm certain there won't be an indictment." "I'm
functioning normally."

2. (SBU) Apart from their Sharon interviews, the three
dailies do not appear to have any other Passover interviews
of political significance in store. Ma'ariv will publish an
interview with incoming IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Halutz.
Ma'ariv will also present an interview with former PM Barak,
but the blurb promoting the interview does not suggest Barak
conveying anything more than a makeover of his unlovable
image. Below a photo, framed in daisy petals, of a smiling
Barak clutching purple anemones appears the teaser: "Ehud
Barak reveals all.... The interview we've all be waiting for
in which the former PM speaks about his separation from Nava
(ex-Mrs. Barak), about Nili (the new girlfriend), about
aging, fears, emotional autism and the mistakes of the past."


********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************
KURTZER

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