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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 002921

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

3. President Bush Visits Latvia, Russia, Netherlands,
Georgia (May 6-10)

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

In separate interviews broadcast last night on Israel
TV, Channel 2-TV, and Channel 10-TV, Sharon said that
the evacuation of settlers from the Gaza Strip and the
northern West Bank will begin immediately after the
fast of Tish'a B'av, namely August 15-17. An official
announcement will be made after Independence Day.
Sharon mentioned in all of the interviews that "the
dream" of Israeli control over all of the territories
could not be realized today because of the
circumstances. However, he said that the settlement
blocs "will be a part of the State of Israel,
territorially connected to Israel, and with a much
larger population than there is today." Sharon also
said: "When you see road blockages [by anti-
disengagement protesters], the atmosphere is that of an
eve of civil war." (Maariv bannered Sharon's comment.)

Leading media quoted FM Silvan Shalom as saying at a
meeting with PA Interior Minister Nasser Yousef Monday,
after Sharon told Israel TV that the disengagement plan
will be implemented regardless of Hamas's showing in
the upcoming Palestinian Legislative Council elections:
"If Hamas wins the parliamentary elections in the
Palestinian Authority, Israel will not be able to carry
out disengagement." Israel Radio cited angry responses
among the PA and Fatah leaderships.

Leading media quoted senior IDF officers as saying
Monday that the IDF and settler leaders are working
together to formulate basic rules for handling
resistance to the evacuation of settlements. Several
media quoted a senior IDF officer as saying that under
no circumstances will security forces open fire on
settlers during the evacuation of Gaza Strip
settlements. Jerusalem Post quoted anti-disengagement
activists as saying at a rally last night that they
plan to "paralyze the country" next week as part of an
experiment in advance of the disengagement plan.

Yediot reported that most ministers (all of the Labor
Party's eight ministers and four of the 13 Likud
ministers) support overturning the cabinet decision of
June 2004 stating that Israel will demolish the
settlers' homes in the Katif Bloc (Gush Katif) and the
northern West Bank. The newspaper cited the Defense
Ministry's estimate that the cost of demolishing the
settlers' homes in the Katif Bloc will come to 200
million shekels (around USD 46 million), and that the
demolition process is liable to take eight to ten
months.

Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post quoted Chief Justice Aharon
Barak as saying Monday that the July 2004 ruling of the
International Court of Justice at The Hague (ICJ) also
includes many positive aspects for Israel. The
newspapers reported that influential Justice Mishael
Cheshin blasted the ICJ's non-binding ruling, and
questioned its factual basis.

Israel Radio quoted a State Department spokesman as
saying Monday that Iran must not be allowed to develop
a nuclear weapons capability, and that if the latter
carries through with its threats to resume uranium
conversion, testing, or production or any other aspects
of its program, that step would be in clear violation
of its suspension pledge and its agreement with the EU-
3 (the UK, France and Germany).

Yediot reported that the PA has complained to the World
Health Organization (WHO) and the UN's Office of the
High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva that Israel
makes use of security checkpoints that "undress"
Palestinian women. The newspaper cited the Foreign
Ministry's concern that the Palestinians will
intensively use that claim to attack Israel during the
WHO's annual conference that will take place in Geneva
next week. Yediot quoted Foreign Ministry sources as
saying that the machine installed in Rafah conforms to
all international standards.

Yediot quoted FM Shalom as saying Monday at a briefing
with the EU countries' ambassadors that he and Sharon
have decided to make "concrete" steps to have the spy
Jonathan Pollard released from prison in the U.S.
Jerusalem Post also quoted Shalom as saying that
Ambassador Danny Ayalon will visit Pollard next week.

All media reported that on Monday, Hollywood
billionaire and Israeli expatriate Haim Saban gained
control of Bezeq, after the government accepted his
Saban-Apax-Arkin consortium's offer of 4.237 billion
shekels (around USD 972 million) for the
telecommunications company.

All media reported on events related to Remembrance Day
for the Fallen of Israel's Wars, which will be
commemorated tonight through Wednesday night.

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

Summary:
--------
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized:
"[Israel] must shape its policies so that it can truly
help those considered to be more moderate -- whether
they be from Fatah or Hamas -- to fulfill their
commitments to their supporters."

Defense and foreign affairs columnist Amir Oren wrote
in Ha'aretz: "Sharon cannot cancel the evacuation, lest
he ignite George Bush's rage. But nor can he actually
go through with it. That's the perfect situation as far
as he is concerned: an eternal limbo, an evacuation
that neither lives nor dies."


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

I. "Hamas, the Partner's Partner"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (May
10): "The results of the municipal elections in the
Gaza Strip and West Bank appear to spell fear for
supporters of the political process. According to the
results, Hamas's political power has increased, Fatah
has lost a number of important positions of power, and
the Palestinian Authority, which is controlled by
Fatah, could find itself in a position of weakness when
coming to negotiate with Israel. Hamas's achievements
in the elections could also serve as an excuse for
opponents of the process in Israel.... [But] Israel's
withdrawal from Gaza is not a Hamas victory that can
stand on its own if Hamas fails to capture a piece of
the governmental pie. And this can't happen if the
organization is unable to come to terms with the
aspirations of the majority of Palestinians and their
leadership.... Israel, which continues to divide the
Palestinian population and its various leadership into
'supporters of terror' and 'opponents of terror,' is
required therefore to adopt finer and more precise
distinctions. Primarily, it must shape its policies so
that it can truly help those considered to be more
moderate -- whether they be from Fatah or Hamas -- to
fulfill their commitments to their supporters.... The
term 'terror infrastructures' requires a more narrow
definition that rests on acknowledging that Hamas's
participation in the political process is part and
parcel of the complexity of Palestinian politics. This
would indeed be a fundamental change in Israel's
strategic perception, but there appears to be no
escaping it."

II. "The Evacuation Is Only on the Horizon"

Defense and foreign affairs columnist Amir Oren wrote
in Ha'aretz (May 10): "Behind the sudden wrapping in
the tallit [Jewish prayer shawl], like behind the
discovery that the demolition of the settlers houses
and the evacuation of the rubble would very much extend
the evacuation, there lurks a stubborn suspicion that
the government of Ariel Sharon, with Defense Minister
Shaul Mofaz in the role of Dov Weisglass's arm, is
maneuvering to turn the evacuation into a horizon --
always there, approached but never quite reached. The
longer the execution of the evacuation is delayed, the
intensity of the vow in its name will increase. It
won't be canceled, just its timing will go through
occasional updating, from time to time, as required by
developments on the ground, keeping in mind the rulings
of the religious teachers of our era.... Sharon cannot
cancel the evacuation, lest he ignite George Bush's
rage. But nor can he actually go through with it.
That's the perfect situation as far as he is concerned:
an eternal limbo, an evacuation that neither lives nor
dies."

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

Summary:
--------

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global
Research in International Affairs Center, columnist
Barry Rubin, wrote in conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post: "As has so often happened, the
prospects for stability in Egypt are good, but the
likelihood of real improvement is dim."

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

"Change in Egypt?"

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global
Research in International Affairs Center, columnist
Barry Rubin, wrote in conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (May 10): "Consider the statements made
by some [Egyptian] reform movement leaders. Ayman Nour
told a Cairo crowd: 'We can be for democracy and
against the United States.' And the vice-chairman of
the Enough group is none other than Abdel-Halim Qandil,
a critic of the regime but also editor of the
sensationalist and radical Arab nationalist newspaper
al-Ahali. It is not surprising when he calls for armed
Egyptian involvement in attacks on Israel and on
American forces in Iraq. In other words, while the
opposition includes courageous moderates, it is being
seriously infiltrated by radical Islamists and
nationalists.... Mubarak will ... continue to be
president until he dies and passes on the office to
whomever he chooses. This might be, but probably will
not be, his son Gamal who, reflecting the ironies of
Egyptian politics, has made himself leader of the
'reform' movement within the ruling National Democratic
Party. More likely some former general who has held
high governmental posts will be selected. As has so
often happened, the prospects for stability in Egypt
are good, but the likelihood of real improvement is
dim. "

--------------------------------------------- ---------
3. President Bush Visits Latvia, Russia, Netherlands,
Georgia (May 6-10):
--------------------------------------------- ---------

Summary:
--------

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"The Baltic peoples were eager Nazi collaborators,
among the most zealous in exterminating their
countries' Jews.... The Jewish voice must not be left
out."

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

"Selective Memories"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(May 10): "Sixty years after the fact, the end of World
War II is unexpectedly again the subject of heated
controversy, with the Russians stressing the Third
Reich's defeat, while their Baltic neighbors emphasize
the Iron Curtain's descent upon them at war's end.
U.S. President George W. Bush inserted himself right
into the middle of the quarrel when he wrote to Baltic
leaders that V-E Day 'also marked the Soviet occupation
and annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the
imposition of communism.' This provoked an angry
response from the Russians, disputing in particular the
implied equation of the occupation by Hitler and
domination by Stalin. The significant piece of the
puzzle that remains glaringly absent from these
polemics is the fact that the Baltic peoples were eager
Nazi collaborators, among the most zealous in
exterminating their countries' Jews.... To keep the
record from becoming too distorted and history from
being more tendentiously revised than is already the
case, the Jewish voice must not be left out. For the
sake of posterity, the world must be reminded that
Lithuanian and Estonian leaders refused to attend
Moscow's 60th anniversary celebrations on the pretext
that the Russians had not apologized sufficiently....
Though Jews never massacred hundreds of thousands of
Baltic nationals, few in the region today reject the
Baltics' fallacious equation and its derivative
narrative, which blames Jews for their own bitter fate.
As a result, World War II commemorations often have
anti-Semitic overtones.... Before the Baltic states can
expect any apologies to them, they had better make a
much more serious effort to come to terms with their
own active participation in the Nazis' Final Solution."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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