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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 04 TEL AVIV 001910

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

All major media lead with referendum bill Knesset
failure and the subsequent termination of the political
struggle against the disengagement plan.

All mass circulation dailies report that yesterday the
Knesset voted down the National Referendum Bill by an
overwhelming majority of 72 to 39, as 3 MK's abstained
and 6 stayed out. Ha'aretz and other dailies report
that 27 Likud MK's voted against Prime Minister Sharon
and for the referendum, and that two Shinui MK's defied
the party decision and stayed out, along with all Shas
MK's. A Yediot Ahronot headline sums up the vote
saying: "The bottom line: there are presently no more
parliamentary obstacles that could prevent the
execution of the disengagement plan."

The media further tied yesterday's vote with the Yesha
Council demonstration outside the Knesset. Ha'aretz
reported that yesterday, just a few thousand protesters
attended the rally. The organizers announced that the
initially planned 36-hour demonstration will last just
one day and that "the struggle is now moving to the
streets and the Katif Bloc." The same report adds that
Yesha leaders said 100,000 will nonviolently prevent
the disengagement, break the law and are willing to go
to jail.

According to Yediot Aharonot, yesterday's vote makes
the budget vote simpler and the Knesset may pass the
second and third hearings "as soon as tonight." Yediot
reports that "Sharon has a solid majority of 66-67 MK's
supporting the state budget."

Ha'aretz reported on the ongoing struggle between
Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister
Ari'el Sharon over Likud leadership. After Sharon
indirectly accused Netanyahu of damaging the Government
to promote his affairs, and after the PM associates
warned Netanyahu "to watch his back," Ha'aretz cited
Netanyahu associates as saying that this is "an
unprecedented stage in the prime minister's peoples'
threats. which tramples over every democratic norm and
introduces mafia-like threats."

Israel Radio at 07:00 AM reported that work will begin
tomorrow on a new, 43-kilometer section of the
separation fence in the south, between Shomriya and
Metzudot Yehuda. Security officials said that so far
sections had been built along 215 kilometers of the 764
kilometers planned.
The Jerusalem Magistrates Court yesterday lifted a gag
order, Ha'aretz says, reporting that the Jerusalem
District Police on Sunday arrested three right-wing
extremists from Lod who are suspected of trying to sell
weapons to the Settlers Council for use against
soldiers and police taking part in the disengagement
process. Council members filed a complaint with the
police when approached by the three and, speaking in
court, the police rejected the claim that one of the
arrested men is a provocateur working for the GSS.

Ha'aretz US correspondent elaborates on AIPAC struggle
to maintain its power in Washington in the wake of the
Franklin affair, while attempting to avoid an
indictment. Washington political sources are cited as
saying that AIPAC's current problem is the shift in
Israel's stands, which places the Jewish lobby "right
of the GOI." According to the report, Israeli
representatives in Washington and AIPAC members
exercise caution in view of the Franklin investigation.

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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Ben wrote in independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: While "in Texas, Sharon will
celebrate the victory of the bulldozer. At the heart
of his conversation with the president will be
strengthening the understandings regarding Israel
preserving for itself the settlement blocs in the West
Bank."

Chief economic editor Sever Plotzker opined in the lead
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "The withdrawal from Gaza must not turn into
a cover for all contemptible political acts, for every
offense against integrity, for any malfunction in
governmental doings and for the over-concentration of
power in the hands of a few at the top."

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized:
"Approval of the construction plans could cloud the
atmosphere between Israel and the PA, and even spark a
renewal of violence."

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

I. "The Bulldozer Won"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Ben wrote in independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (March 29): "On April 11, Ariel
Sharon will go to a victory party at U.S. President
George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.... But more
than anything in Texas, Sharon will celebrate the
victory of the bulldozer. At the heart of his
conversation with the president will be strengthening
the understandings regarding Israel preserving for
itself the settlement blocs in the West Bank. Bush
already accepted the principle last year. Now Sharon
wants to make sure the American promise for an
annexation of the blocs in the future is turned into
permission to build, in exchange for the evacuation of
settlers from Gaza and northern Samaria.... Bush's
letter from April 2004, which the administration
reaffirmed over the weekend, shows that America is not
interested in the abstract justice of the International
Court in The Hague or the cries of the occupied
Palestinians. Recognition of the 'new realities on the
ground' is the great victory of force, proof that
Jewish settlement does set the border.... Those who
thought Sharon had turned into a leftist and began
worrying about "the rights of the Palestinians" were
very wrong. Sharon still believes the bulldozer and the
housing units will set the border, with America's
support and backing. The upcoming meeting in Crawford
is meant to grant him further strength.

II. "Not Everything is Kosher"

Chief economic editor Sever Plotzker opined in the lead
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (March 29): "The vote against a referendum
constitutes another important achievement for Prime
Minister Sharon, who is succeeding in leading the
cabinet and the Knesset to the gates of disengagement
with determination and momentum.... Nonetheless, we
cannot ignore the troubling and even dangerous aspects
of the prime minister's conduct on the path to
achieving his goals. Sharon is striving to get
disengagement implemented at almost any cost, and the
cost is not negligible.... The goal of disengagement
from Gaza is very important for the future of the State
of Israel, but not important enough to give a Kashrut
certificate from the outset to any means to achieve it.
The withdrawal from Gaza must not turn into a cover for
all contemptible political acts, for every offense
against integrity, for any malfunction in governmental
doings and for the over-concentration of power in the
hands of a few at the top. We must not devote
ourselves to disengagement as if it were the vision of
the end of days or an intoxicating drug. The annals of
the State of Israel are not numbered until after
disengagement; Israel will have to live with its
problems even after the last of the soldiers and the
last of the settlers leave Gaza."

III. "Provocation in Ma'aleh Adumim"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (March
29): "The desire to avoid doing anything that might
sabotage the prime minister's political efforts to
achieve a majority for the disengagement plan has
postponed the public debate about the final border with
the Palestinians. But no matter how strong the desire
to support Ariel Sharon at this stage and to postpone
debate over the future of the settlements to a later
stage, it is difficult to accept the revelation that
the government plans to build another 3,500 housing
units ... between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim, and
thus obstruct the territorial contiguity needed for a
Palestinian state, something Sharon has already agreed
on. The construction plan for Ma'aleh Adumim is the
basis for a new dispute between Israel and the U.S. and
between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Approval
of the construction plans could cloud the atmosphere
between Israel and the PA, and even spark a renewal of
violence. It is impossible to continue demanding of the
Palestinians that they prevent terror when Israel is
not keeping its commitments to suspend all settlement
activity."
KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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