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 07 TEL AVIV 002874

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. Democracy in Mideast

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

Leading media reported that Israel has informed the PA
that it will not release the next tranche of
Palestinian prisoners until the PA takes concrete
measures against terror organizations. Israel Radio
reported that Hamas is threatening to break the cease-
fire with Israel if it does not release more prisoners.
Ha'aretz quoted senior Hamas officials as saying Sunday
that the lull was in danger due to what they said was
"Fatah's attempt to wreck the local elections."

On Sunday, Maariv quoted PA Chairman [President]
Mahmoud Abbas as saying that a meeting between him and
Sharon is needed to push the peace process forward.

On Sunday, Jerusalem Post quoted an IDF officer as
saying that the army will consider launching an
operation in the Gaza Strip if the security situation
continues to deteriorate.

Leading media (banner in Ha'aretz) reported that on
Sunday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz signed an
administrative detention order against Neria Ofan, a
right-wing activist who resides in the West Bank
settlement of Yitzhar. The media say that such orders
are expected to be meted out to dozens of other right-
wing activists before the disengagement move.

On Sunday, leading media (lead story in Ha'aretz)
reported that despite the Fatah movement's technical
victory in PA local elections held Thursday, Hamas
scored unprecedented victories and now controls at
least 48 local authorities in the territories.

Vice Premier Shimon Peres was quoted as saying in an
interview with Jerusalem Post that he is still not
convinced the disengagement plan will be carried out.
Peres said he could envision a "couple of things"
blocking the moves, one of them being a decision to
destroy the homes in the settlements to be left behind.
On Sunday, Ha'aretz reported that PM Sharon is inclined
not to modify the decision to destroy those houses.

On Sunday, Yediot reported on a rift among the
leadership of the Katif Bloc (Gush Katif) settlers
regarding the proposed relocation to Nitzanim.

Leading media reported that the ministerial committee
for legislation Sunday approved changes in the
Citizenship Law that will allow dozens of mixed Israeli-
Palestinian couples to continue or begin family
unification procedures to acquire Israeli citizenship
for the Palestinian partner.

Leading media reported that hundreds of Israeli Muslims
intend to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque today following
rumors that activists of the far-right group Revava
intend to come to the Temple Mount. Israel Radio
reported that around 200 Palestinians clashed with
police in East Jerusalem this morning.

Ha'aretz reported that the third conference of
Palestinians in Europe appealed to the international
community on Sunday to recognize the right of return of
Palestinian refugees.

Ha'aretz reported that on Sunday, the Knesset's
Education Committee denounced the cabinet's decision to
establish a university in the West Bank settlement of
Ariel.

Most media reported that in a petition to the High
Court of Justice, Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a
life sentence for spying for Israel, demanded on Sunday
that Israel recognize him as a Prisoner of Zion,
stating that his U.S. jailers cruelly torture him with
sleep deprivation, electric shocks, and blasts of
freezing cold water. [NB: The term "Prisoner of Zion"
usually refers to someone whom the "Law of Return"
entitles to immigrate to Israel and who was imprisoned
because of his Zionist activity in a country where such
activity is illegal.]

All media reported that on Sunday, State Comptroller
Eliezer Goldberg submitted his annual report to the
Knesset, in which he condemned Agriculture Minister
Yisrael Katz's appointments of senior Likud Party
members to positions at his ministry.

The media reported on V-E Day's 60th anniversary
celebrations and President Bush's visit to Europe.

During the weekend, headlines were dominated by an
affair involving the wife, daughter, and son of
Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, in connection with
the alleged kidnapping and beating of a 17-year-old
ultra-Orthodox youth romantically involved with Amar's
18-year-old daughter. While many media are uncertain
about whether charges will be pressed against the
Rabbi, Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio quoted senior
police sources involved in the investigation as saying
that they believe they have sufficient evidence to do
so.

All media (lead stories in Yediot and Maariv) reported
on last night's victory of the basketball team Maccabi
Tel Aviv over Spain's Tau Vitoria, winning the
Euroleague's Final Four tournament for the second year
in a row.

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

Summary:
--------

Arab affairs commentator Danny Rubinstein wrote in
Ha'aretz: "Barring any change in Palestinian public
opinion in the coming weeks, the evacuation of Israel
from Gaza will leave control over the Strip in the
hands of Hamas."

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in
Ha'aretz: "If he transfers control to the Palestinians,
he would need to explain, especially to the Americans,
why he is not continuing to implement his road map
commitments."

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"The only one who can avert disaster is Abbas, disaster
that, it need hardly be said, will doom him too. All
he needs to do is what the road map requires him to
do."

Veteran print and TV journalist Dan Margalit wrote in
popular, pluralist Maariv: "One must not err when
reading [the Ha'aretz publisher's] article as if
maintaining the Jewish majority is at all important to
him. It isn't even remotely so."

Palestinian journalist Daoub Kuttab wrote in Jerusalem
Post: "America, please practice what you preach. Show
respect to the afflicted, and don't allow your
generosity to be abused in such a humiliating way."

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

I. "The Bitter Taste of the Hamas Victory"

Arab affairs commentator Danny Rubinstein wrote in
Ha'aretz (May 9): "Following the publication of the
results of the second round of Palestinian municipal
elections in Gaza, it can be said with certainty that
barring any change in Palestinian public opinion in the
coming weeks, the evacuation of Israel from Gaza will
leave control over the Strip in the hands of Hamas....
Officially, at least, there has been no change in the
Hamas position. It does not recognize the State of
Israel and supports the continuation of the armed
struggle.... It is possible that sometime in the
future, Hamas will change these positions. But it is
almost certain that the heads of the religious-
political movement won't do so without getting
something in return -- recognition of their movement
and readiness to accept them as negotiating partners.
There does not seem to be any chance of that now -- and
certainly not soon. Meanwhile, Hamas is marching down
a paved path, relatively certain to get the Gaza Strip
from Israel as the fruits of victory."

II. "The Pretext Behind 'Confiscating Weapons'"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in
Ha'aretz (May 8): "It is difficult to understand the
new excuse Israel is presenting for postponing
implementation of the road map. Ostensibly, it is a
logical and reasonable issue, which is even contained
in the terms of the road map: confiscation of illegal
weapons and waging war against 'the infrastructure of
terror.' In fact, this is a vague condition that
functions well as a barrier that can be easily deployed
again and again, in an attempt at blocking any
diplomatic progress.... The transfer of control is
liable to be interpreted as proof that the Palestinians
have indeed fulfilled the conditions stipulated in the
road map and that it is now Israel's turn to freeze
settlements, help establish a Palestinian state and
begin discussing withdrawal from the West Bank. It is
this stage that the government -- and the Prime
Minister in particular -- fears so much. After all, he
is the one who formulated the equation according to
which the disengagement from Gaza would enable Israel
to hold on to more of the West Bank. If he transfers
control to the Palestinians, he would need to explain,
especially to the Americans, why he is not continuing
to implement his road map commitments. Therefore, it
is preferable to wait, delay and block -- even at the
expense of a few terror attacks, or perhaps the
collapse of the cease-fire or the fall of Abu Mazen --
as long as the road map remains a mute map. The tactic
used for this end is to demand the confiscation of
weapons. It is interesting that the Americans, who
granted broad authority to the Iraqi government without
precondition and who took such pride in the formation
of an independent government in Afghanistan (which also
did not succeed in confiscating weapons) have failed to
see through this maneuver."

III. "Abbas's Cubes"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(May 8): "This indiscriminate shelling of a peaceable
civilian population cannot be tolerated in Sderot --
any more than it would anywhere else in the world.
Abbas's truce was supposed to offer at least a respite
from over four years of incessant killing and maiming.
Many in the international community are convinced that
the promised genuine calm now exists. Satisfied with
Abbas's 'achievement,' they credit him with having done
his bit under his road map obligations, content to
ignore that he has said plainly he will not satisfy the
road map requirement to dismantle the terror groups....
Even the professed calm is fracturing.... The only one
who can avert disaster is Abbas, disaster that, it need
hardly be said, will doom him too. All he needs to do
is what the road map requires him to do and what he
consistently refrains from doing -- combat terrorists.
He doesn't need Russian helicopters and armored cars,
nor American training and Egyptian advisers. He has
repeatedly promised to ensure that only his security
forces are armed, and that they carry those weapons to
impose his elected authority and implement his pledge
to enforce law and order. He has the legitimacy and the
wherewithal. What's evidently missing, tragically, is
the will."

IV. "Deceit"

Veteran print and TV journalist Dan Margalit wrote in
popular, pluralist Maariv (May 9): "The cat is finally
out of the bag. In his [May 6] article, 'Does Israel
Want Peace,' Amos Schocken removed himself and
Ha'aretz, which he publishes and owns, from the last
circle of Jewish consensus.... One must not err when
reading his article as if maintaining the Jewish
majority is at all important to him. It isn't even
remotely so. He proposes as a means of maintaining the
Jewish majority that hundreds of thousands of Arabs be
given 'resident' status only and not 'citizen' status?
That is pure deceit. Their children will be citizens
from the moment they are born. A country that is
incapable of meeting the demands of the second
generation of illegal aliens will be unable to reject
the demands for citizenship by the descendants of
people who moved to it legally, even if only as
'residents.'"

V. "America's Humiliating Gift"

Palestinian journalist Daoub Kuttab wrote in Jerusalem
Post (May 9): "The demand by the U.S. Congress to
divert USD 50 million of President George W. Bush's USD
200-million pledge of aid to the Palestinian Authority
for Israeli checkpoints is something like requiring the
Vatican to contribute air-conditioners to abortion
clinics or divorce lawyers' fees as part of its policy
of easing the plight of Catholic women. The new motto
of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)
is very simple and direct: 'From the American People.'
Recent conditions tacked onto a planned U.S. grant from
the American people is adding insult to Palestinian
injury. Diverting to Israel millions from monies
promised to the Palestinian Authority in order to
reinforce Israeli checkposts deep inside Palestinian
territories is a multiple insult to Palestinians. Not
only is it a reduction from the meager (in comparison
to the billions given to Israel) grant to Palestinians;
but to divert money earmarked for Palestinians to
strengthen the Israeli army's occupation is a moral and
political scandal.... If these U.S. congressional
restrictions are enforced, it will be a terrible blow
to the efforts of so many good people in America. If
the gift from the American is coated with poison, it
will be a terrible mark that will take a long time to
heal. America, please practice what you preach. Show
respect to the afflicted, and don't allow your
generosity to be abused in such a humiliating way."

-------------------------
2. Democracy in Mideast:
-------------------------

Summary:
--------

Nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized: "With all
due respect to Bush, the Arab states need
dictatorships, and any other form of government, at the
present stage, could actually serve the extremist
elements."

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

"Bush in Carter's Footsteps"

Nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized (May 9):
"U.S. President George Bush called over the weekend, in
a speech he gave in Riga, capital of Latvia, for free
elections in Lebanon and Egypt.... Democratic elections
in Lebanon and Egypt could lead these two countries
into chaos. With all due respect to Bush, the Arab
states need dictatorships, and any other form of
government, at the present stage, could actually serve
the extremist elements. It was Jimmy Carter who
pressured the Persian Shah to instate a more moderate
and democratic way of life in Iran.... Khomeini
[eventually] came to power and the clan of ayatollahs
is now threatening the Western world with an atom bomb.
If the sane world fears the regime in Iran, an accusing
finger should only be pointed in Jimmy Carter's
direction.... Bush ... is endangering the Middle East,
which is sitting on a powder keg in any case. The
criteria of Western morals are not applicable in the
Islamic countries.... Mubarak is the lesser of the
evils, and his son, who is being proposed as his
successor, keeps an open line with Washington. The
present situation is preferable to real democratic
elections that will end in the bullet of a gun or the
bomb belt of a suicide bomber. America should already
know from Iraq that insanity in the Middle East greatly
outweighs the sanity, especially now that Russia seeks
to return to the region."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Climate Change: Record Northern Heat, Fuels Concerns Over US Wildfire Destruction

More than 78,000 acres of forest in the Sierra mountains in California has been lost due to wildfires. Photo: San Francisco Fire Department The northern hemisphere experienced its warmest August ever, the World Meteorological Organization ( WMO ... More>>

UN: Guterres Condemns Killing Of Journalists, Following Beheading Of Mexican Crime Reporter

© UNESCO | International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Following the gruesome death of a Mexican journalist specializing in crime reporting, who was found beheaded on Wednesday, UN chief António Guterres has issued a statement condemning ... More>>

UN: WHO Warns Against Potential Ebola Spread In DR Congo And Beyond

Ebola is spreading in a western province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), raising fears that the disease could reach neighbouring Republic of Congo and even the capital, Kinshasa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. ... More>>

WWF: Living Planet Report Reveals Average Two-Thirds Decline In Wildlife Populations Since 1970

According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 released today, global populations* of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have suffered an average two-thirds decline in less than half a century. The decline is due in large part to the very ... More>>