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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 03 TEL AVIV 002376

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

Bush-Sharon Meeting

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

In a banner headline and related article summing up the
Crawford summit, Yediot cites Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon's associates as saying that the prime minister's
declarations on continued construction in the Maale
Adumim E1 area may attest to the way the prime minister
views Israel's moves after the Gaza disengagement: It
is most probable that Sharon intends to initiate
additional disengagement plans from the West Bank and
evacuations of isolated settlements, they said.
Sharon, who does not trust Abu-Mazen and the veteran
Palestinian leaders, said political correspondent
Shimon Shiffer, may seek to determine another national
issue, intending to demarcate the permanent borders of
the State of Israel. Kol Israel later quoted from a
statement released by PM's bureau saying that the PM is
not planning another unilateral move and that the
reports to this effect are without any foundation.
Yediot also reported that Sharon decided to upgrade
Israel's activities in the matter of Jonathan Pollard,
sending Ambassador Ayalon to visit him in his prison
cell. Shiffer cites "reliable sources" as saying that
they would not be surprised if Bush should decide to
pardon Pollard as a gesture toward the Israeli public
and a signal that the US fully supports the Sharon-led
historic move of disengagement.

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Israel Radio this morning reported that a Fatah
militant who infiltrated into the Golan Heights from
Syria was captured by IDF soldiers. In his
investigation the militant said he intended to kidnap
an IDF soldier.

Ha'aretz reported that at the end of the weekly
discussion held at his office with top defense
establishment officials regarding preparations for the
disengagement, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz instructed
IDF officers yesterday to work on reaching agreements
with settler leaders on collecting all army-issue
weapons from settlers in the Gaza Strip and the
northern West Bank communities slated for evacuation,
shortly before implementation of the disengagement plan
begins in late July.

Ha'aretz said a member of Fatah's military wing was
killed yesterday in Nablus in an exchange of fire with
a Border Police undercover unit. The Israel Defense
Forces is preparing for a possible retaliatory strike
from the organization.

Maariv carries a story on the upcoming visit to Israel
by Russian President Putin, who is expected to arrive
on 27 April. A political source involved in the
"historic" visit says that although no one knows how
the decision to visit Israel was made, possibly Putin
is either trying to avoid criticism in Russia (related
to former Russian mogul Khodorkovski's verdict), or
trying to bolster Russia's international standing.

Yediot Aharonot reported that upon Russia's request,
former GSS officers are training Russian Education
Ministry security services in school protection in an
Israel-sponsored course.

Citing US sources, Ha'aretz related that shareholders
of heavy equipment maker Caterpillar this week rejected
a proposal that called on the company to examine the
sale of its bulldozers to Israel due to their use in
the demolition of Palestinian homes. This is the
second attempt by U.S. groups to block machinery sales
to Israel, the paper said.

Ha'aretz and other media reported that Attorney
General Menachem Mazuz closed the Greek Island case
against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his son Gilad.
He instructed State Prosecutor Eran Shendar yesterday
to remove bribery charges from David Appel's
indictment. The charges against Appel were related to
the Greek Island case, in which Sharon, Industry and
Trade Minister Ehud Olmert, and former Environment
Ministry director general Nehama Ronen allegedly
received bribes. With yesterday's decision, the Sharon
bribary affair has come to an end.

--------------------
Bush-Sharon Meeting:
--------------------

Summary:
--------

Political columnist Caroline B. Glick writes in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "Not only
has US policy of safeguarding the PA while insisting on
further Israeli land concessions to the PA made
terrorism the choice of the Palestinian electorate, but
Ariel Sharon's decision to go along with the US has
made him chart a policy course that leads, as he stated
so well a decade ago, to grave dangers to Israeli
democracy."

Senior diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote from
Washington in mass-circulation, independent Yediot
Aharonot: "The Israeli-US relations are experiencing
an unprecedented blooming.... But not everything is
rosy. Not everything is good. A drama is brewing
behind the scenes. The defense establishments of both
countries, so closely tied in cooperation, are being
ripped apart by a serious and every worsening crisis:
the Amos Yaron affair."
Block Quotes:
-------------

1. "Bush vs. Democracy"

Extreme right-wing columnist Caroline B. Glick wrote in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (April 15):
"As irony would have it, democracy is now the biggest
threat facing the so-called peace process between the
Palestinian Authority and Israel.... The thing is, both
the US and Israel are largely responsible for the
current political realities in the PA -- where not only
are all major political parties also terrorist
organizations, but the relative popularity of each
party is directly proportional to the volume of terror
attacks it has carried out.... The overwhelming
majority of Palestinians believes that it was terrorism
that forced Sharon to move to withdraw Israeli forces
from Gaza and northern Samaria.... So there we have it:
not only has US policy of safeguarding the PA while
insisting on further Israeli land concessions to the PA
made terrorism the choice of the Palestinian
electorate, but Ariel Sharon's decision to go along
with the US has made him chart a policy course that
leads, as he stated so well a decade ago, to grave
dangers to Israeli democracy.... Is the Middle East
democratizing? Certainly not in our neck of the woods."

2. "When Ariel Met George"

Senior diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote from
Washington in mass-circulation, independent Yediot
Aharonot (April 15): "The alliance between the two
leaders [U.S. President Bush and Israeli PM Sharon] is
what currently drives the Middle East. The Americans
placed their bets on Sharon. He is the horse they are
betting on and they will do everything they can to see
him win. In this respect, the Texas and Washington
visits delivered the goods. Bush's friendship, warmth,
closeness, and 'how can I help you?' toward Sharon made
the Israelis melt.... The Israeli-US relations are
experiencing an unprecedented blooming.... But not
everything is rosy. Not everything is good. A drama
is brewing behind the scenes. The defense
establishments of both countries, so closely tied in
cooperation, are being ripped apart by a serious and
every worsening crisis: the Amos Yaron affair."
CRETZ

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