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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 05 TEL AVIV 003057

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

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that Israel has
warned the PA that it will respond severely to Qassam
rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian groups in the
Gaza Strip, which all media say were aimed at Israeli
targets in the Katif Bloc (Gush Katif) and the western
Negev Wednesday and this morning. The media reported
that for the first time in months, the IAF operated
against Hamas cell members spotted firing a mortar at
the Katif Bloc, killing activist Ahmed Shahwan.
Hatzofe bannered: "Disengagement War." Yediot cited
increasing assessments among the defense establishment
that the disengagement move will be carried out "under
fire." Israel Radio reported that PM Sharon will
convene a meeting with the heads of the defense
establishment this afternoon to discuss the Palestinian
attacks. The radio also quoted Deputy Defense Minister
Zeev Boim as saying that the disengagement will not be
carried out if rockets and mortars are fired during the
evacuation.

Yediot reported that First Lady Laura Bush will visit
the Al-Aqsa Mosque under heavy security, as well as the
Western (Wailing) Wall and Yad Vashem.

Leading media, including Jerusalem Post (banner),
reported that minors arrested during Monday's cross-
country street protests against disengagement may be
courting a criminal record that could stick to them for
many years.

All media reported that some 30 Nobel laureates,
including Vice Premier Shimon Peres, as well as other
international figures, including former U.S. president
Bill Clinton, gathered in Petra, Jordan, on Wednesday,
to find ways to fight terror, poverty, and violence.
Jerusalem Post reported that Peres briefed King
Abdullah II on Israel's pullout, plugging his Labor
Party, saying that its position is that the peace
process should continue after disengagement.

Maariv (lead story) and other media reported that the
employees' committee at the Foreign Ministry is
demanding that an investigative commission be
established regarding the affair of Ambassador to the
U.S. Danny Ayalon.

Maariv reported that Ali Saad-Ali, a Libyan citizen
representing the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) has arrived in Israel to advance the
process in which Magen David Adom (the Red Shield of
David) will join the ICRC.
Ha'aretz reported that Germany decided Wednesday that
Jews who were incarcerated for at least six months in
certain labor camps in Hungary, Tunisia, Morocco, and
Algeria during World War II are now eligible to receive
pension payments.

All media quoted Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and the
Director General of the Prime Minister's Office, Ilan
Cohen, as saying Wednesday that the government will
give Katif Bloc settlers one more week to decide
whether to join the Nitzanim relocation plan, and that
otherwise they may not be able to move en bloc. The
media reported that the settler leaders rejected the
"ultimatum" and condemned the government's "spectacle
of deception."

Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post reported that, in what is
seen as a blow to PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud
Abbas, the Palestinian Legislative Council on Wednesday
refused to radically change the parliamentary election
law, this increasing chances that the vote may be
postponed.

Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post reported that the FBI
monitored conversations in which former senior AIPAC
officials Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman passed on to
the Israeli Embassy in Washington and to Washington
Post information received from Pentagon analyst Larry
Franklin.

Citing Reuters, Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that
PA Information Minister Nabil Shaath called Wednesday
for the suspension of Ibrahim Mdaires, a Muslim
preacher who described Jews as "a virus resembling
AIDS" and denied the Holocaust in a sermon broadcast
live on Palestinian television.

Ha'aretz printed a DPA (German press agency) dispatch
quoting Jordanian legal sources as saying that
Jordanian authorities have charged eight men with
plotting to attack Israeli and American tourists in
Jordan, and with planning to launch military operations
in Israel from Jordanian soil in 2004 and 2005.

Ha'aretz reported that the Socialist International, a
worldwide organization of socialist, social democratic,
land labor parties, will meet in Israel next week for
the first time in 25 years. Fatah will be sending a
large delegation to the conference, which will meet in
Tel Aviv on Sunday and Monday, and then move to
Ramallah.

Ha'aretz reported that last week, Egyptian film star
Adel Imam launched his latest film, "An Embassy in the
Building," which, for the first time in Egyptian movie
history, involves the character of an Israeli
ambassador in an Arab capital. Ha'aretz writes that
the movie could make the job of incoming Israeli
ambassador Shalom Cohen easier, simply because the
Egyptian public will be more used to the presence of
the Israeli embassy -- even if it is only on screen.

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

Summary:
--------

Military correspondent Amos Harel wrote on page one of
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Despite blunt
threats from Israel, the Islamic organization [Hamas]
is apparently calling the shots now, to a large extent
holding the disengagement hostage."

Liberal columnist Yehuda Litani wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The very
authorization of the [Palestinian] uprooted's mass
memorial ceremonies attests to the fact that Israelis
have somewhat matured."

Diplomatic correspondent Alexander Maistrovoy wrote in
popular, pluralist Russian-language Novosty Nedely:
"The Israeli Prime Minister would most likely prefer to
make a step towards Abu Mazen, thus getting an
opportunity to continue construction in settlement
blocks. This would satisfy both the Americans and the
Labor Party -- his coalition partner -- and also allow
him to carry out the disengagement plan undisturbed."

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

I. "Hamas Is Calling the Shots"

Military correspondent Amos Harel wrote on page one of
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (May 19): "After a
few days of relative quiet, a flare-up in Gaza showed
how fragile the Israel-PA-Hamas triangle can be.
Despite blunt threats from Israel, the Islamic
organization is apparently calling the shots now, to a
large extent holding the disengagement hostage. If
Hamas wants, it can continue the shelling and force
Israel to withdraw under fire, which would mean massive
destruction in Gaza as the withdrawal takes place. If
Hamas wants, it can hold its fire, keeping up its
momentum toward the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary
elections -- if they take place as scheduled -- and
then create a new difficulty for Israel and the PA
both.... The events yesterday in Gaza created a
situation similar to the one last week in the north,
after some Hizbullah fire. Israel sees itself as
obliged to retaliate for such provocations but doesn't
want to overreact lest it complicate the situation.
That's why Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz speaks of
measured reactions.... More important, perhaps, than
that was the image shown throughout the Arab world, of
Palestinian troops running for their lives away from a
mob throwing rocks at them while Hamas men shoot at
them. At least three PA security men were wounded. So
far, Hamas is the victor."

II. "Nakba Day"

Liberal columnist Yehuda Litani wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (May 19):
"Israel's Independence Day is also the day of those
Israeli Arabs who were uprooted -- and their
descendants. Those who are dubbed 'internal refugees,'
the residents of the villages inside the Green Line
that were destroyed during the 1948-49 battles, and
their relatives make use of the holiday. Picnics are
organized on the ruins of the villages they inhabited
until 57 years ago. Thus, picnics took place this year
... in dozens of villages whose residents were uprooted
during the War of Independence.... Our Independence is
their Nakba (catastrophe). Despite the fact that
hundreds of Jews attended the uprooted's memorial
ceremonies, most Israel Jews demonstrated indifference
to their pain. Some of them -- mostly the younger ones
-- aren't aware of it at all.... But the very
authorization of the uprooted's mass memorial
ceremonies attests to the fact that Israelis have
somewhat matured. They're not yet prepared to identify
with the other side's pain, but they're at least
allowing it to publicly express its feelings in
locations where its Nakba occurred."

III. "What Next?"

Diplomatic correspondent Alexander Maistrovoy wrote in
popular, pluralist Russian-language Novosty Nedely (May
19): "The current tranquility is only temporary. The
question is not whether there would be a new twist of
violence, but rather when and under which
circumstances.... Mahmoud Abbas's call for an immediate
meeting with Sharon looked like a desperate outcry...
Although Sharon's office has not yet replied, this
meeting will take place at a certain point; the
question is at which extent the Israeli and the
Palestinian leader will succeed in changing the
situation and reaching normalization.... A conflict
with the U.S. administration is what Sharon needs
least, especially when one takes into consideration the
friction over construction in Ma'aleh Adumim. The
Israeli Prime Minister would most likely prefer to make
a step towards Abu Mazen, thus getting an opportunity
to continue construction in settlement blocks. This
would satisfy both the Americans and the Labor Party --
his coalition partner -- and also allow him to carry
out the disengagement plan undisturbed."
KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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