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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 003304

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. Lebanon

3. European Union

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

All media reported on today's transition from Moshe
Ya'alon to Dan Halutz in the position of IDF chief of
staff. The media cited anger among right-wing
politicians over Ya'alon's comment to Asharq Al-Awsat
that Israel will be able to defend himself even if it
leaves the Golan. Ya'alon was quoted as saying in an
interview with Ha'aretz that unless Israel commits to
further withdrawals after this summer's disengagement
from Gaza, the pullout will be followed by an outbreak
of renewed violence. Ya'alon also told Ha'aretz that
any future Palestinian state would endanger the
existence of Israel.

Yediot writes that the significance of the test of
Iran's solid fuel missile Shihab-3 is that Israel will
find it difficult to get warnings of launchings. The
newspaper cites assessments in Israel that barring
further developments, Iran will become a nuclear power
in 2006.

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Ha'aretz quoted sources in Jerusalem as saying Tuesday
that the meeting between PM Sharon and PA Chairman
[President] Mahmoud Abbas will not take place next week
as planned. Abbas reportedly wished to meet Sharon in
Cairo next Tuesday, and coordinated it with Egypt.
Israel objected, insisting the two meet in Jerusalem.
Israel also put off a meeting scheduled for today with
PA officials, who were supposed to receive the list of
properties Israel leaves in Gaza after the evacuation.

Leading media reported that on Tuesday, Attorney
General Menachem Mazuz blasted the leaders of the
opposition to the disengagement, accusing them of
crossing red lines in their struggle to foil the Gaza
pullout. The media quoted Mazuz as saying that 12th-
grade students who blocked roads will not be allowed to
take their matriculation tests.

Leading media reported that on Tuesday, PM Sharon's
son, Likud MK Omri Sharon, who is the head of the
parliamentary pro-environment lobby, proclaimed his
opposition to the relocation of the Katif Bloc settlers
in the dunes of Nitzanim -- a plan led by his father.

Maariv reported that senior Defense Ministry officials
will soon sign a document of understanding with the
U.S., according to which Israel will be able to export
defense items to some countries only after it receives
an authorization from the U.S. Defense Department. The
newspaper quoted Israeli defense sources as saying that
this is a real surrender and a renouncement of Israel's
independence.

Ha'aretz and Hatzofe reported that the Yesha Council of
Jewish Settlements in the Territories demanded Tuesday
that veteran Israel TV anchorman Haim Yavin be fired
over a documentary currently broadcast on Channel 2-TV,
which slams Israel's policy in the West Bank and Gaza
Strip.

Leading media quoted Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel
Hollander as saying Tuesday that people opposed to the
investigation of Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon
are trying to intimidate him and his office.

Maariv and Jerusalem Post reported that the Foreign
Ministry decided Tuesday to delay the return of
Israel's ambassador to El Salvador as a protest against
the inauguration of Yasser Arafat Plaza in San
Salvador. However, Jerusalem Post quoted ministry
sources as characterizing the overall relations between
Israel and El Salvador as "very good."

A Yated Ne'eman headline reads: "Chirac Names Anti-
American De Villepin Prime Minister."

Jerusalem Post bannered the 9-year jail sentence
imposed Tuesday by a Moscow court on Jewish oil tycoon
Michael Khodorkovsky. The newspaper quoted former
cabinet minister Natan Sharansky as saying: "No doubt
this sentence is selective punishment for political
reasons." Sharansky indicated that anti-Semitism was
also a factor in the affair.

Yediot reported that Col. Miri Regev will enter her
post as IDF Spokeswoman today.

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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "It is easy for
Bush to mortgage the American position on the permanent
borders, wrapping it in different packaging for
Israelis and for Palestinians."

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

"Three Permanent Agreements"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (June 1): "It is
easy for Bush to mortgage the American position on the
permanent borders, wrapping it in different packaging
for Israelis and for Palestinians. In so doing, he
demonstrates involvement and accomplishment, fending
off charges that he has washed his hands of the
conflict. But the permanent-agreement talks are still
far off, and it is doubtful they will come to fruition
while he is still in office. In the meantime, the
president makes do with Sharon's disengagement and
Abbas's partial democratization, and soft pedals on the
evacuation of settlement outposts and dismantling of
the terror groups. These will wait for 'the day after'
-- after the disengagement, and after both sides'
elections."


------------
2. Lebanon:
------------

Summary:
--------

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"Trying to please everyone will only render [Saad]
Hariri powerless and land him in trouble. He will
never free himself or his country from Syrian hegemony
if he turns a blind eye to Lebanon's south."

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

"Lebanon's Sovereignty"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(June 1): "The world this week cheered the successful
completion of the first phase of Lebanon's modular
parliamentary elections.... The triumph of the son of a
slain leader -- anathema to Damascus --- seems to
denote a further break from Syria and a reaffirmation
of Lebanese sovereignty.... [After Israel withdrew from
southern Lebanon five years ago,] Lebanon gave
Hizbullah free reign and allowed it to amass even more
lethal power, to the point that it now constitutes a
strategic menace to Israel. Hariri's Jr.'s
pronouncements on the issue a few days ago leave little
room for optimism. Amazingly he told Newsweek that he
could not disarm Hizbullah because 'part of Lebanon is
still occupied' (the Sheba Farms). This flies directly
in the face of the UN's determination of Israel's
current border with Lebanon. Were Hizbullah to be
disarmed, he postulated, the Lebanese army would have
to replace it 'in resisting Israeli occupation,'
thereby escalating the danger of an Israeli-Lebanese
war. Nevertheless, Hariri promised to parley with
Hizbullah in an attempt to reach accord. Trying to
please everyone will only render Hariri powerless and
land him in trouble. He will never free himself or his
country from Syrian hegemony if he turns a blind eye to
Lebanon's south. If he chooses to hope for the best
and avoid confrontation, his electoral success will
prove to be yet another Levantine sham, a facade of
progress concealing the same old quagmire."

-------------------
3. European Union:
-------------------

Summary:
--------

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized:
"Sunday's vote in France constitutes fresh, additional
proof of why Israel must not adopt this system."

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote on page one
of conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "An EU
united by a constitution would -- at least politically
-- mean ... a major force on the world scene that
would, in a matter of time, see itself as America's
equal on the international stage."

Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever
Plotker wrote in the editorial of mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The results of the French
referendum exposed in its frightening hideousness the
gloomy wave of social nationalism that is submerging
the European countries."

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

I. "The Lessons of the Referendum"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (June
1): "Whatever the reasons [of the French rejection of
the European Union's constitutional treaty], the
outcome was rejection of the goal of a 'United States
of Europe,' and sanctification of the traditional value
of the nation-state.... Additionally, France's
pretensions to lead Europe, partly as a counterweight
to Germany and partly alongside Germany as a
counterweight to the Anglo-Saxon axis of Britain and
the United States, have been badly damaged....
[Furthermore,] a 'no' vote can express anger at those
in power and seizure of an opportunity to harass them,
more than genuine opposition to the issue at hand....
As the evacuation [of settlements] draws nearer and the
opposition to it increases, senior Likud officials are
liable to revive the seemingly dead idea [of a
referendum]. Sunday's vote in France constitutes
fresh, additional proof of why Israel must not adopt
this system."

II. "Weakened EU Is Nothing to Cry About in Jerusalem"

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote on page one
of conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (June 1):
"Last July, soon after the European Union angered
Jerusalem by voting en masse against Israel at the UN
on the security fence, EU foreign policy chief Javier
Solana visited Israel and said the EU cannot be
ignored.... Solana's message to [Sharon] last year was
'too bad, we are here whether you like it or not.' It
is likely, therefore, that the stinging rejection of
the EU constitution in France on Sunday, and the
likelihood that the Dutch will follow suit and vote no
to the constitution in their referendum Wednesday, is
not being lamented this week in the Prime Minister's
Office.... A weaker EU is perceived in the current
corridors of power to be in Israel's short-term
interest -- although no one, for obvious reasons, will
go on record saying this. Israel likes the current uni-
polar world, where the U.S., led by a very friendly
president and administration, calls the international
shots.... An EU united by a constitution would -- at
least politically -- mean a strengthened EU, a major
force on the world scene that would, in a matter of
time, see itself as America's equal on the
international stage. A much-strengthened EU would
indeed be able to demand a seat on near-equal footing
with the U.S. around the Middle East negotiating table.
Sharon doesn't want this to happen, but rather prefers
the EU's 'junior partner' status. Sunday's French
vote, moreover, put to rest any notion of the EU as a
cohesive unit able to act by consensus. In various
international forums, the EU's 'rule by consensus'
redounds unfavorably for Israel."

III. "The Alliance Between Nationalism and 'Leftism'"

Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever
Plotker wrote in the editorial of mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (May 31): "The proposed
European constitution that was rejected Sunday by a
sweeping majority of French citizens doesn't arouse
passions.... However, it is a revolutionary
constitution in the full sense of the word. It
incorporates the first attempt in human history to
design a common supra-national framework for millions
of people -- members of various faiths, cultures and
living standards. The Charter of Fundamental Rights
included in Europe's Constitution is intended to grant
all its residents joint constitutional and normative
compasses and to allow them to live together in
prosperity and mutual respect.... The results of the
French referendum exposed in its frightening
hideousness the gloomy wave of social nationalism that
is submerging the European countries. It is not only
the French president who has lost in the referendum
over the European Constitution. It is not only the
Euro that has been weakened. The vision of a
borderless, hate-free, solidary, and united Europe that
can say 'nevermore' has also receded by many years.
The European retreat also concerns Israel. Not only is
Israel close to Europe geographically. It also is the
homeland of a people who has suffered more than any
other people from European hatreds throughout
generations."

KURTZER

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