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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 002140

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

Please note: no Israel Media Reaction Monday, April 12,
Last Day of Passover holiday.

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

1. Iraq

2. Mideast

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

Iraq and the American entanglement continued dominating
the Israeli press. All media reported about the two
East Jerusalem Israeli-Arabs who were kidnapped in
Iraq. The two were apparently working for a North
Carolina aid organization (RTI), which won a contract
from USAID for rehabilitation of the local government
in Iraq. The kidnapping opens a debate in Israel
regarding Israel's responsibility towards East
Jerusalem Palestinian residents. Israel Radio reported
that the P.A. promised to try and assist the two
hostages. The media also reported about the kidnapping
of Japanese citizens, a Canadian and a UK citizen.

Israel radio quoted Secretary of State Colin Powell as
telling a Senate subcommittee that the U.S. does not
now plan to cut loan guarantees to Israel because of
the barrier it is building through Palestinian areas in
the West Bank.

All media reported that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has
formally asked the Likud election chief to set the
party's referendum on his unilateral disengagement plan
before the end of this month. The unexpected move has
angered the right-wing faction in the Likud party,
which claims that PM Sharon is using this holiday month
(many national speeches) and the coming visit to
Washington in order to assist him win the referendum.

All media cited from NSA Condoleezza Rice testimony
before the commission investigating the 9/11 terror
attacks. Rice defended the administration against the
allegations made by Richard Clarke charging that
President George Bush had failed to take threats of an
al-Qaida attack seriously.

Jpost reported that the National Unity Coalition for
Israel, an umbrella group representing millions of
Christians across the U.S., have issued an "Action
Alert" against PM Sharon's disengagement plan.

Leading media cited Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the new Hamas
leader, calling for the formation of a "national
salvation government" consisting of representatives of
all Palestinian factions.

In an interview to Yediot Minister Of Defense Shaul
Mofaz said that the U.S.'s victory in Iraq is essential
for world peace.

Ha'aretz reported that the IDF has lately changed its
policy and stopped returning the bodies of armed
Palestinians killed in clashes with security forces to
their families and started burying them in Israel. The
decision was made as a mean of deterrence and the will
to have negotiating cards for worst-case scenarios.

Ha'aretz quoted Hamas' spokesmen as saying that despite
ongoing negotiations between them and P.A. officials
they have no intention joining the P.A. in its current
constellation.

Ha'aretz exclusively interviewed a Syrian intelligence
officer, an ex-spy against Israel, as revealing that
Syria has details and photos on the Dimona nuclear
reactor.

Maariv and Ha'aretz reported that the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has
cancelled its scheduled participant in the Israeli
Space Agency's convention next month due to what seems
to be security concerns. The Minister of Science and
Technology Eliezer (Modi) Sandberg was quoted as saying
that this was a political decision.

Roni Shaked interviewed P.A. Chairman Yasser Arafat for
Yediot. In the interview Arafat declared that he is
willing to have an immediate cease-fire and renew
negotiations.

--------
1. Iraq:
--------

Summary:
--------

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote on page one of independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz: "The degree of American success will be
determined not only by military plans, but also in
keeping with the way in which the Americans will try to
prevent a joint Sunni-Shiite uprising. A continued
increase in the number of casualties among the Iraqi
civilian population will make it harder and harder for
the Americans to achieve this objective."

Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever
Plotker wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "The American determination in Vietnam paid
off; the Soviet leadership was convinced it couldn't
forcefully impose communism on Asia. It is not certain
that this will happen in Iraq."

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in
Ha'aretz: "If I were in [President Bush's] shoes, I'd
send Saddam Hussein back to Iraq. He would know how to
organize the mess in no time."
U.S. expert and Middle East lecturer Professor Ethan
Gilboa wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "In the U.S. the pressure on Bush is growing
to face his people and the world in order to explain
what he intends to do beyond saying the known and worn
clich: 'we will not let terror win'."

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

1. "The Iraqi Mud, The Israeli Concern"

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote on page one of independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (April 9): "Israel cannot sit by indifferently
in the face of the current events in Iraq. Key
individuals who are dealing with the future of the
region ... concur that the results of the military
campaign in Iraq will also influence Israel and will
also have an effect on the degree of security felt by
countries in the region over the coming years.... It is
common belief in Israel that an intensification in the
fighting could lead to a civil war and an attempt on
the part of the Iranians to intervene and replace the
Americans.... As U.S. elections draw closer, the more
effort the radical elements in Iraq will make to strike
at the American forces, cause more casualties and
intensify their guerrilla and terror war.... The degree
of American success will be determined not only by
military plans, but also in keeping with the way in
which the Americans will try to prevent a joint Sunni-
Shiite uprising. A continued increase in the number of
casualties among the Iraqi civilian population will
make it harder and harder for the Americans to achieve
this objective."

2. "Facing a New War"

Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever
Plotker wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (April 9): "Without intending to do so, the
U.S. soldiers found themselves facing a battle not
against Saddam's junky army but against the Muslim
jihad army.... If they surrender, give-up, they will
pave the way before the jihad brigades to Riyadh, Doha
and Amman. As it seems, the comparison between Iraq
and Vietnam is not exaggerated. In Vietnam the
Americans tried to stop the Soviet communism, In Iraq
they are trying to stop the Muslim jihadism. The
American determination in Vietnam paid off; the Soviet
leadership was convinced it couldn't forcefully impose
communism on Asia. It is not certain that this will
happen in Iraq."
3. "Organizing the Mess"

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in
Ha'aretz (April 9): "The resemblance between our
invasion of Lebanon and America's invasion of Iraq is
amazing. Our soldiers were welcomed with cheers and
rice; their soldiers were greeted with shouts of joy
and the smashing of Saddam statues. We wanted to
create a new order in Lebanon; they wanted to create a
new order in Iraq. Within a short time, in our case
and theirs, the Shiites woke up and the invading armies
became targets of attack. Commissions of inquiry were
appointed, in Israel and America. Both here and there,
they called it another Vietnam. We pulled out without
achieving a thing, and Bush is still in there, mired in
a sea of blood from which no good will come. If I were
in his shoes, I'd send Saddam Hussein back to Iraq. He
would know how to organize the mess in no time."

4. "Leave the Clich Behind"

U.S. expert and Middle East lecturer Professor Ethan
Gilboa wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (April 9): "If the situation in Iraq would
cause Bush's failure in the coming elections, the
"Spain syndrome" might strengthen: terror that is
followed by exchange of leaders in countries that
supported the war. This syndrome might reach Blair in
Britain, Berlusconi in Italy and other leaders who
supported the U.S. This outcome might encourage all
Islamic terror factions to mock the weak western
liberal democracies and to enhance their efforts to
hurt them.... This week Bush left to his Easter
vacation in his farm in Texas but this is no time for
vacation but for hard work. Bush should recruit all
forces -- including the EU and the UN -- for an effort
to stabilize Iraq. In the U.S. the pressure on Bush is
growing to face his people and the world in order to
explain what he intends to do beyond saying the known
and worn clich: 'we will not let terror win'."

-----------
2. Mideast:
-----------

Summary:
--------

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz:
"[PM Sharon's] insistence that Israeli actions be
completely unilateral will eventually lead to
increasing international involvement, which could get
Israel entangled in imposed solutions."


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

"Beware of International Involvement"

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(April 9): "It turns out that the person whose
awareness has been most affected in the terrorist war
of the past two years is Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Proof of this is his decision to withdraw from the Gaza
Strip, a unilateral step because, he says, Israel has
no Palestinian partner. But his insistence that
Israeli actions be completely unilateral will
eventually lead to increasing international
involvement, which could get Israel entangled in
imposed solutions."
LEBARON

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