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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 006232

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

Israel Radio reported that, commenting on reports from
Cairo, Deputy State Department Spokesman J. Adam Ereli,
said on Wednesday: "We're not party to any reported
grant initiative, nor am I aware of any plans to host a
conference or some other kind of multilateral ceremony,
with respect to a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian
question." However, Ereli mentioned the United States'
involvement in current regional developments in close
cooperation with the Palestinians, with the Israelis,
with the Egyptians and with others, notably on the
issue of the upcoming Palestinian elections. Israel
Radio quoted Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Danny
Ayalon as saying in Washington Wednesday that the
convening of an international convention is a "failed
idea," and that one should wait until it becomes known
who will lead the PA after the elections there.

The three major dailies bannered the political
situation in Israel. Ha'aretz quoted associates of PM
Sharon as saying that Sharon hopes to present a new
government to the Knesset within 10 days of today's
meeting of the Likud Central Committee, which will
decide whether the Labor Party will enter the
government. Maariv quoted Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
as saying that he will vie for Likud chairmanship "in
the post-Sharon era."

Jerusalem Post reported that Israel has called reported
accusations from the U.S. Wednesday that its defense
officials were engaged in industrial espionage "a
misunderstanding" based on chutzpa and general nosiness
on the part of the Israelis. Ha'aretz reported that
the Defense Ministry delegation in New York is
instructing army officers and representatives of the
Israeli defense industries currently in the U.S.
regarding working procedures in the U.S. This
activity, which is led by Defense Ministry D-G Amos
Yaron, is a consequence of the allegations against
Israel.

Ha'aretz quoted Palestinian delegates at the
international conference of donors in Oslo as saying
Wednesday that the Palestinians are interested in
resuming talks with Israel as soon as possible.

Leading media (banner in Hatzofe) quoted Disengagement
Administration Director Yonatan Bassi as saying
Wednesday that settlers slated for evacuation will be
compensated in a series of low payments. Ha'aretz and
other media reported that a number of Likud Knesset
members who are opposed to Sharon's disengagement plan
are pushing for an increase in state compensation for
settlers to be evacuated under the pullout.

Maariv reported that last May President Moshe Katsav
contacted Syrian President Bashar Assad, offering to
meet with him. The newspaper reported that Assad
accepted the suggestion, on condition Katsav represent
the government. The media cited contradictory
responses by various Katsav associates.

Leading media reported that talks took place in
Brussels Wednesday between NATO and ministers from
Israel and six Arab countries. At the meeting, which
dealt with terror, Israel was represented by Diaspora
and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Natan Sharansky.
Ha'aretz quoted NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop as
saying the alliance would agree to send peacekeepers to
the Middle East only after an Israeli-Palestinian peace
treaty is signed.

Leading media reported that on Wednesday Sharon
responded to allegations of immoral conduct within the
IDF. He told reporters: "IDF soldiers are the most
moral in the world." Jerusalem Post quoted supporters
of Mustafa Barghouti, a candidate in the January 9
Palestinian elections, as saying that he was beaten by
soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint late Wednesday.
Yediot reported that Foreign Ministry D-G Ron Prosor is
coordinating PR efforts to improve the attitude of IDF
soldiers towards the Palestinian population and members
of international bodies seeking to cross roadblocks.
The newspaper reported that, among other actions, the
Foreign Ministry will brief officers serving at
roadblocks, and present to them examples from the
international media coverage about how unnecessary
incidents in the territories harm Israel.

Leading media cited figures released Wednesday by the
IDF: at least 29 innocent Palestinians -- out of 148
civilians -- have been killed during the course of the
year; the IDF has killed 119 terrorists in the West
Bank this year.

Ha'aretz cited two new separate studies -- a joint
research by a Hebrew University scholar and a Bethlehem
University academic, and another one by a Hebrew
University researcher -- that found that Israel's
educational system is hardly better than the
Palestinian one when it comes to inserting political
messages in textbooks.

Maariv (Ben Caspit) reported that next week at the
Herzliya Conference Dr. Uzi Arad and two other
strategic experts will propose a three-way solution to
the Golan issue: Israel would evacuate about half of
the Golan but retain its western part; in exchange,
Jordan would transfer to Syria an area bordering the
two countries, and receive a similar area of land from
Israel in the Arava region.

Leading media reported that the outgoing spokesman of
the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, Israel Tikochinsky,
appeared on Egyptian TV this week for the first time.
He was quoted as saying: "PM Sharon is serious in his
intention... There is a golden opportunity for the
Palestinians to prove that they are capable of acting
responsibly."

Ha'aretz quoted sources in the office of Hani al-
Hassan, a member of Fatah's council who oversees the
Fatah offices in the territories, as saying Wednesday
that jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti is expected
to announce "in the next 24 hours" that he will
withdraw from the race for PA leadership if his
political demands are met. In contrast, Jerusalem Post
cited a denial by Ahmed Ghanem, the newly appointed
head of Barghouti's election campaign, that Barghouti
had decided to withdraw from the elections.

Leading media reported that Wednesday the private
Israeli airline Israir filed an 8-million shekel (about
USD 1.85 million) lawsuit against national carrier El
Al for allegedly misusing its monopoly position on the
Tel Aviv-New York route.

Yediot reported that the Foreign Ministry will launch a
campaign in the CIS to warn local women against being
lured into a "fun job" in Israel, telling them they
could become victims of trafficking in persons.

Jerusalem Post cited a poll published Wednesday by the
(Palestinian) Jerusalem Media and Communication Center:
-59.3 percent of Palestinians feel optimistic regarding
the future in general compared with 45.3 percent last
June.
-56.7 percent of Palestinians said they supported a two-
state solution to the conflict compared with 44.5 last
June.
-51.8 percent said they were opposed to "military
operations" against Israeli targets and consider them
harmful to Palestinian interests, compared with 26.9
percent last June. Only 41.1 percent of the
Palestinians believe that terrorist attacks should
continue compared with 65.4 percent last June.

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

Summary:
--------

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "A
unity government is not generally advisable, and
certainly not in a normal democracy, which needs an
effective opposition as it needs air to breathe. But
in the face of the anomaly of the ongoing occupation,
none of this matters."

Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor, a lecturer
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Israel must
... stick to its original, unilateral disengagement
plan, and implement it diligently, modestly and with a
low profile, while holding security coordination on the
ground with the Palestinians, no more."

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in Ha'aretz: "The
disengagement is a moral and ideological victory -- in
the Arab media, even in the 'moderate' Arab states, the
festivities are already in full swing -- by terror over
the Zionists, who are being forced to uproot
settlements."

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

I. "Mobilize For War"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(December 8): "In this war over the drawing of a new,
reasonable, agreed-upon border for Israel, perhaps even
more than in the Six-Day War when the first unity
government was established, a stable emergency
government is needed that will focus on the main goal
and in which the political interests of its various
elements will take a back seat to the shared goal of
beginning to end the occupation.... Those who view the
very establishment of a unity government as a serious
democratic aberration should understand that there is
no more serious aberration in Israel's democracy than
its control over 1.5 million Palestinians to whom that
democracy does not apply. The values of Israeli
democracy today barely reach the checkpoints, and
beyond these checkpoints, acts are done in the name of
democracy about which most of the public would rather
not know. A unity government is not generally
advisable, and certainly not in a normal democracy,
which needs an effective opposition as it needs air to
breathe. But in the face of the anomaly of the ongoing
occupation, none of this matters. The arguments
against a unity government are valid for the moment
after the withdrawal. But for the withdrawal itself,
the public and its elected officials must mobilize as
for a war and carry out the task with as many political
forces as possible consolidated behind it."


II. "The Advantages of a Low Profile"

Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor, a lecturer
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (December 8):
"In the wake of Arafat's death and the changes in the
Palestinian Authority, the Israeli disengagement plan
is turning into a move that is no longer absolutely
unilateral.... Israel's enemies in the Arab world can
overlook a unilateral step taken by Israel, but not
renewing the momentum of negotiations and recognizing
Israel. Elements such as Hamas, Iran or Islamic Jihad
have no interest in the disengagement plan succeeding,
and negotiations with the PA will only spur them to
throw a wrench in the works to make it fail. This is
the paradox that Israel should have already learned to
recognize from its past failed attempts: the 'much' is
the enemy of the realistic 'little.' Disengagement is
a little, but it could develop into a lot, and relieve
the Palestinian demographic density and lead to
stability. Anyone aspiring to much more than this is
liable to lose even this little bit (the Americans in
Iraq for example). Israel has already understood this
paradox in regard to Abu Mazen: leaving him alone for
the next few months is the best help that Israel can
give him..... Israel must therefore stick to its
original, unilateral disengagement plan, and implement
it diligently, modestly and with a low profile, while
holding security coordination on the ground with the
Palestinians, no more. We must explain to our friends
in the world that this disengagement will of itself
create an opportunity for future negotiations, not the
reverse. The partying, the international conferences,
the expectations and the symbols, if there is any need
for them, can wait."

III. "Anti-National Unity"

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in Ha'aretz (December
8): "Those who warned against the Oslo disaster, and
were right by any measure of the results, are now
saying that the uprooting of settlements will lead to
disaster. This of course refers to the internal
national-Zionist schism, but also -- and for this the
Labor Party was sent packing -- to national security.
The disengagement is a moral and ideological victory --
in the Arab media, even in the 'moderate' Arab states,
the festivities are already in full swing -- by terror
over the Zionists, who are being forced to uproot
settlements. The expected result, even if the Arabs
offer a cease-fire for reorganizing, re-equipping and
recharging their energies, is the continuation of the
war of terror -- perhaps with even greater vigor. The
uprooting proves after all that when the Jews are
badgered they capitulate, and if the badgering
continues, they will continue to capitulate. And the
sea, if Allah wills it, is the limit."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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