Search

 

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 08 TEL AVIV 006535

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. U.S.-Israel Relations

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

All media reported that during his visit to the region
Wednesday British PM Tony Blair called for the
cessation of Palestinian terrorism as a paramount need
for the renewal of the peace process, and the provision
by Israel of a diplomatic horizon. The media reported
that Blair nodded briefly toward Yasser Arafat's tomb
in what Palestinian officials said was a compromise
gesture agreed upon at the last minute.

Leading media reported that IDF troops killed three
Palestinians in the Khan Yunis refugee camp Wednesday,
and that the IDF later left the city. Israel Radio
reported that this morning dozens of mortar shells were
launched at Gaza Strip settlements. All media reported
that Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli Bedouin who
was guarding bulldozers near a planned section of the
security fence in the southern Hebron hills. Israel
Radio reported that the police are close to solving the
crime. Leading media reported that the IDF has
recently arrested a Palestinian couple, East Jerusalem
residents, who planned to carry out a double suicide
bombing at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem where 15
Israelis were killed in an August 2001 attack.

Ha'aretz reported that most residents of the Pe'at
Sadeh settlement, in the Gaza Strip bloc of Gush Katif,
have reached an agreement in principle with the
Disengagement Administration for a collective move to
Moshav Mavki'im, south of Ashkelon, should
disengagement go ahead. Nigel Roberts, the World
Bank's country director for the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip, was quoted as saying in an interview with
Jerusalem Post that Israel is willing to consider the
possibility of letting a third party take over at Gaza
Strip naval and aerial ports after the disengagement
plan is carried out.

Israel Radio reported that Canada will send observers
to the PA in the January 9 elections. The station
cited assessments that 600 foreign monitors will
supervise the elections. The media reported on the
first local elections in the territories since 1976,
which are being held today. Jerusalem Post notes that
Hamas-affiliated movements are presenting female
candidates. Jerusalem Post reported that Wednesday
Israel handed over security control in Bethlehem to the
Palestinians until January 19, ahead of Christmas
celebrations in the city. Israel Radio reported that
PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) will attend the
Midnight Mass in the Nativity Church.

Israel Radio quoted Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz as
saying that he will not tolerate any attempt to
stimulate sedition in the army. Leading media reported
that Wednesday former National Religious Party leader
MK Effi Eitam called on settlers not to don orange
Stars of David. The media also cited an announcement
by Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements in the
Territories Wednesday that it has decided to oppose the
use of force, the wearing of orange Stars of David, and
the call to refuse among soldiers in the struggle
against the disengagement plan. Maariv and Israel
Radio reported that right-wing 12 Knesset members have
signed a pledge to be there for settlers on the day of
their possible evacuation. Yediot reported that
hundreds of Lubavicher Hassids from New York are
planning to come to Israel on an airlift, with the goal
of bodily preventing the evacuation of Gush Katif.

Jerusalem Post quoted Rabbi Yosef Alnekave, head of the
Gush Katif Religious Council, as warning Wednesday on
the right-wing radio Arutz Sheva (Arutz-7) that some
settlers may begin manufacturing homemade bombs to fire
at Palestinians unless the IDF succeeds in stopping the
barrage of mortar shells fired daily at Gaza Strip
settlements.

In a paid ad in Ha'aretz, Peace Now calls on Israelis
to sign a pledge to volunteer to replace any soldier
who will refuse to evacuate settlers.

Ha'aretz, Jerusalem Radio and Israel Radio reported
that, "Syrian-Turkey ties warmed up," as the PMs of the
two countries signed a free-trade agreement in Damascus
on Wednesday. The media reported that Turkish PM Recep
Tayyip Erdogan offered to broker Syrian-Israeli talks.
Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that, in an
unprecedented transaction, Druze farmers in the Golan
have received permission from Minister Mofaz to sell
15,000 tons of apples to Syria.

Jerusalem Post reported that Wednesday, calling the
number of anti-Israel resolutions in the UN
"ridiculous," Dutch Ambassador to Israel Bob Hensch
told reporters that the EU was committed to reducing
those numbers.

Extensively citing a Bloomberg article, Yediot details
the assets the late PA chairman Yasser Arafat held
around the world: USD 545 million in communication
ventures in Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia, and USD 6.6
million in business enterprises in the U.S. (two
software companies and a New York bowling alley).
Ha'aretz quoted political sources within the U.S.
Democratic Party as saying that Sen. John Kerry (Mass.)
will be visiting Israel and the PA early next month, as
part of a larger Middle East tour. The newspaper
quoted Kerry's press secretary April Boyd as saying:
"The Senator's main goal will be to visit Iraq and
thank U.S. troops and troops from Massachusetts,"
adding that Middle East peace is high on his agenda.

Leading media reported that Iran announced Wednesday
that its security services have arrested 10 persons
suspected of revealing information regarding its
nuclear program to the U.S. and Israeli intelligence
agencies. Maariv quoted Gen Mohammad Salimi, Iran's
top army commander, as saying Wednesday that his
country's military is on standby in case of an attack
against its nuclear facilities.

Yediot quoted Foreign Ministry D-G Ron Prosor as saying
at the Herzliya Conference a few days ago that Israel's
decision-making process is distorted because of the
army's excessive influence on the political echelon.

Citing Bloomberg, Jerusalem Post quoted Sudanese State
Minister at the Interior Ministry Mohamed Ahmed Haroun
as saying Wednesday in Khartoum that Israel is arming
the rebels in Sudan' western province of Darfur.

Jerusalem Post quoted visiting Harvard University
President Larry Summers, a former U.S. secretary of the
treasury, as saying Wednesday that demonization of
Israel and anti-Semitic tension on American campuses
has lessened considerably and that the divestment
movement has dissipated.

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

Summary:
--------

Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor, a lecturer
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (December 23):
"[Abu Mazen] already knows what everyone will know once
he is elected: he cannot deliver the goods."

Regional affairs writer Arnon Regular opined in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The Palestinians
[understand] that the real focal point of decision is
not in London, and that the person who will determine
Abu Mazen's future ahead of permanent-status agreements
is not Blair, but Bush."

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in page one
of conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "Blair, to
his credit, was consistent in his message: Iraq's new
rules need to apply here as well."
Liberal op-ed writer Yael Paz-Melamed commented in
popular, pluralist Maariv: "More than two-thirds of the
[Israeli] public supports evacuating settlements for
peace, even unilaterally. But [the settlers] don't
care about that. The concept of 'majority' is a
democratic concept."

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in Ha'aretz: "If the
settlers decide to respond like the citizenry of the
Ukraine ... no government can prevail over them."

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

I. "Abu Mazen's Candies"

Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor, a lecturer
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (December 23):
"[Abu Mazen] already knows what everyone will know once
he is elected: he cannot deliver the goods. Abu Mazen
planned to reach an agreement with the various
Palestinian factions about a cease-fire, even a
temporary one -- something between a cursory hudna
[truce] and a fragile pledge of honor -- so as to allow
him to begin negotiations from a position of personal
power, and as someone capable of serving as a source of
authority.... The answer he received from the Hamas
representatives both in Damascus and in the territories
was an unqualified no.... It is clear to all that
[Hamas's] conditions are unacceptable, and their only
purpose is to embarrass Abu Mazen and to cast him as
impotent.... It is clear to Hamas that a resumption of
terror attacks will embarrass Abu Mazen even before the
elections, and that those terror attacks could have an
immediate strategic impact. As such, the chances of
Abu Mazen successfully achieving a comprehensive
Palestinian cease-fire agreement are slim. Israel,
which had hoped for a successful and coordinated
withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, for good will gestures,
for opening the seaport and many other things, could
find itself facing disengagement under fire,
irrespective of the Palestinian Authority, which could
go back to being irrelevant. Given the current
development of circumstances, that ought to be the
IDF's working assumption as it prepares for
disengagement, and not any of those optimistic
assumptions about 'windows of opportunity,' that have
been reported by senior cabinet ministers."

II. "The Palestinians Understand that the Landlord
Lives in Washington"

Regional affairs writer Arnon Regular opined in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (December 23): "Even
after Blair's visit, the Palestinians have no tangible
calendar for the road map. It is obvious to them that
the Palestinian state will not be established during
2005, and they harbor no expectations about Blair's
summit conferences. Contrary to the way British
officials have presented the London conference, the
Palestinians would be hard-pressed to describe it as
anything beyond a 'meeting'.... More than once during
the last year of Arafat's life, the Palestinian
Authority has described the British policy as the
'continuation of the Balfour Declaration' -- an
Israeli-British plot behind the Palestinians' back.
During Arafat's life the Palestinians understood -- and
continue to do so now -- that the real focal point of
decision is not in London, and that the person who will
determine Abu Mazen's future ahead of permanent-status
agreements is not Blair, but Bush."

III. "How Iraq Changed Tony Blair"

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in page one
of conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (December
23): "Blair's brief trip to Iraq [on the day of the
lethal attack against U.S. troops in Mosul] left its
impact. Just how great an impact was apparent well
beyond Blair's condolences. It was apparent in his
unequivocal words about fighting terrorism and creating
democracy, and in his comments about the diplomatic
process here.... Israel's eventual embrace of the
conference [promoted by Blair], even though it will not
attend, was the result of assurances that the meeting
will not deal with the peace process, but only with
Palestinian reform, and also assurances that Blair --
during his visit to Israel -- would speak out
forcefully against terrorism. Blair lived up to his
side of the bargain.... Blair, while in Iraq, framed
the current fight there as 'very clearly a battle
between democracy and terror.' It's obvious that you
can't say that in Baghdad one day, and say something
completely different in Jerusalem the next. Blair, to
his credit, was consistent in his message: Iraq's new
rules need to apply here as well. The new rules also
apply in respect to the viability of the Palestinian
state. Blair charted new ground for a European leader
by intimating that a Palestinian state is not an end in
and of itself, and that its viability goes beyond the
usual catch-phrases of territorial contiguity and
economic independence."
IV. "The Mask is Torn"
Liberal op-ed writer Yael Paz-Melamed commented in
popular, pluralist Maariv (December 23): "That's it.
The mask has been torn off.... An enormous chasm -- a
chasm of culture, of values -- yawns between a majority
of the Israeli public and the settlers. The talk about
a majority of the Israeli public is based on repeated
public opinion polls that establish that more than two-
thirds of the public supports evacuating settlements
for peace, even unilaterally. But they don't care
about that. The concept of 'majority' is a democratic
concept. The settlers' authority stems not from that,
but from Halacha [Jewish religious law]. The entire
Land of Israel is sacred and so on and so forth.... We
are not fellow member of the same people. We are two
peoples, despite the reciprocal responsibility that was
forced upon us against our will. We, that public
defined earlier, foot the bill for the activities of
the minority working against us, sacrifice our sons to
protect them, keep any chance for peace out of reach
because of their settlement in Arab population centers,
but they don't even appreciate that. For some of them,
we are like the Nazi regime, and have come to expel
them from their homes. And we are financing even that
sick campaign, and we reconcile ourselves even to that
-- because in our democracy, freedom of speech is a
supreme value. And they look at us, and they know
precisely where our weak spots are, and they exploit it
for their own gain. And everything, of course, is in
the name of God and the Torah."

V. "Not a Refusal to Serve -- But a Rupture"

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in Ha'aretz (December
23): "The phenomenon of refusal [to serve military
orders] was not created by the Council of Jewish
Settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza [i.e. the
territories]; on the contrary, it opposed it with all
its might. The one responsible for it more than anyone
else is none other than the Prime Minister. He decided
to uproot the Gaza settlements, and is forcing the
army, even at the cost of a possible rupture in its
ranks, to carry out his decision by force. It is
toward him, as well as toward the Defense Minister who
also -- mirabile dictu -- made a complete about-face,
that the Chief of Staff should direct his accusations.
An army -- certainly the IDF -- cannot prevail over
tens of thousands of its own people by force. If the
settlers decide to respond like the citizenry of the
Ukraine -- if they come in large force for a long-term,
nonviolent struggle -- no government can prevail over
them. Ukraine has proved that it is enough for a few
thousand determined and persistent demonstrators, who
are undeterred by threats and provocations, to effect a
profound change."

--------------------------
2. U.S.-Israel Relations:
--------------------------

Summary:
--------
Veteran op-ed writer and the late prime minister
Yitzhak Rabin's assistant Eytan Haber opined in an
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "What the Americans are trying to do is to
twist the arms of mighty China and little Israel. The
problem is that from Israel's point of view it is
always worthwhile to let the neighborhood bully win."

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

"The Neighborhood Bully"

Veteran op-ed writer and the late prime minister
Yitzhak Rabin's assistant Eytan Haber opined in an
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (December 23): "The latest reports that the
U.S. has warned Israel not to send back to China spare
parts for attack drones that Beijing purchased in the
past ought to worry and perhaps shock Israelis. But
perhaps not.... The Americans feel that they own the
world and certainly the State of Israel, and their word
is law.... From their point of view, the Israelis and
the Chinese can both go jump in the lake.... Israel has
promised not to harm the vital security interests of
the United States and is honoring that promise. But
the Pentagon officials don't care. They intend to show
us who is boss. The neighborhood bully has taken to
the streets and all the children are running for cover.
In the Pentagon today there is a group that is in
distress. They are Jews, they are senior and they are
accused of pushing the United States into the
superfluous and muddled war in Iraq in order to help
Israel. This group is trying to get rid of its Israeli
taint and it trying to pin the blame on Israel. Anyone
with eyes in his head knows how dependant Israel is on
the United States for everything -- in defense, in
world politics and for its economy. In Israel today
only the air is free (and it is polluted enough). Over
everything else, for better or worse, America is in
control. What the Americans are trying to do is to
twist the arms of mighty China and little Israel. The
problem is that from Israel's point of view it is
always worthwhile to let the neighborhood bully win."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Myanmar: Military Must Stop Murdering And Jailing Protestors – Bachelet

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said security forces in Myanmar must “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors,” following another day of deadly violence across the country on Wednesday... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>