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.

201029Z Jun 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TEL AVIV 003844

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. Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank June 18-19

2. Mideast

3. Lebanon: Elections

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

Israel Radio reported that PM Sharon and PA Chairman
[President] Mahmoud Abbas will meet at Sharon's
Jerusalem residence on Tuesday morning.

Jerusalem Post led with comments made by Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday also cited in other
media, according to which Israel will raze settler
homes slated for evacuation and take other steps to
ensure an economically viable Palestinian state,
including allowing for a flow of people and goods in
and out of Gaza. Ha'aretz quoted Secretary Rice as
saying during her meeting with Sharon, "The most
important thing right now is to ensure the pullout
passes peacefully, without any harm to the withdrawing
settlers and the Israel Defense Forces. Israel and the
Palestinian Authority share a commitment to ensure that
disengagement happens smoothly, without violence."

Maariv reported that, during her meetings with senior
Israeli officials, Secretary Rice stressed that while
Abbas is weak, the U.S. is aware of it, that there is
no other Abbas, and that he must be helped before it is
too late, and that this should be done now and
immediately. Ha'aretz reported that Secretary Rice
asked the Palestinians not to "burden the withdrawal
agenda with superfluous issues" (such as demands that
they be allowed to control the Philadelphi Route, as
well as the border crossings into Egypt, that Gaza
airport be reopened, and that understandings be reached
with Israel on a safe corridor between Gaza and the
West Bank). The newspaper reported that, during her
talks with the PA leaders, Rice questioned the PA's
ability to restore order to its security mechanisms in
the Gaza Strip prior to the disengagement, and the PA's
apparent inability to preserve the period of quiet and
prevent Islamic Jihad and certain elements in Fatah
from escalating the situation in the Strip ahead of the
pullout. Ha'aretz quoted Sharon as saying before his
meeting with Rice, "Israel is a peace-seeking country.
After so many years of terror and bloodshed, the
achievement of security, peace, and tranquility is not
an easy task." Yediot quoted Rice as saying that
Sharon is a close friend of the U.S., and that she and
President Bush admire him. Ha'aretz reported that
Sharon told the cabinet after his meeting with
Secretary Rice, "The Americans are aware of our

SIPDIS
position that the transition from the disengagement to
the road map is dependent on the dismantlement of the
terror groups, an end to the incitement, the rounding-
up of arms and the implementation of reforms."

A PA official was quoted as saying in an interview with
Jerusalem Post: "Rice did not come up with anything
new. She only repeated the same statements, which
President Abbas heard during his meeting with U.S.
President George W. Bush in Washington." Jerusalem
Post quoted another Palestinian official as saying that
Rice chose to focus mainly on the issue of
disengagement, ignoring Israel's recurring violations
of the unofficial truce declared earlier this year by
the Palestinians.

All media reported that an IDF soldier, Sgt. Maj. Avi
Karuchi, was killed and two others were wounded Sunday
in an assault by Palestinians along the Philadelphi
Route. Islamic Jihad and Fatah's Abu Rish Brigades
claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in
response to Israel's violation of the so-called truce.
Ha'aretz writes that the incident, the first in which a
soldier has been killed since the Palestinian factions
declared a "period of calm" in January, is also putting
to test the IDF's policy of restraint in the Gaza
Strip, and could bring about the renewal of raids into
PA territory. Israel Radio reported that this morning,
an Israeli was killed and another was wounded in an
ambush in the West Bank. Islamic Jihad claimed
responsibility for the attack.

Yediot published the draft of the first agreement
reached between the GOI and Gush Katif settlers, who
will reportedly be allocated one dunam of land (0.223
acres) per family in the Nitzanim area.

Leading media reported that on Sunday, police and IDF
troops placed a roadblock near the entrance to the Maoz
Hayam hotel in Gush Katif after some far-right
extremists living there attacked and injured three
Palestinians on Saturday.

Speaking on Israel Radio Sunday, FM Shalom apologized
to Secretary Rice over Israeli arms sales to China: "If
things were done that were not acceptable to the
Americans, then we are sorry but these things were done
with the utmost innocence." The media quoted Rice as
saying, "I believe that the Israelis now understand our
concerns." Ha'aretz reported that Defense Minister
Shaul Mofaz's bureau issued a clarification on Sunday
following media reports (in Yediot on Sunday) that the
U.S. had demanded the resignation of Defense Ministry D-
G Amos Yaron and the ministry's head of security Yehiel
Horev in connection with arms deals with China. In an
unrelated development, Ha'aretz and Yediot reported
that on Sunday, visiting Chinese FM Li Zhaoxing
promised FM Silvan Shalom that the scope of trade
between China and Israel would double by the 2008
Beijing Olympic Games.

Jerusalem Post quoted Vice Premier Shimon Peres as
saying it had been agreed in his talks with Secretary
Rice that a joint American-Israeli team would be
established to examine the issue of developing the
Galilee and the Negev in line with the commitments made
by President Bush to Sharon. The newspaper notes that
the issue was also raised in a subsequent meeting
between Peres and James Wolfensohn, the Quartet's
special envoy on economic issues.

Ha'aretz, Maariv, and other leading media quoted
Egyptian FM Ahmed Abu el-Gheit as saying on Sunday,
during a meeting with Peres, that if the disengagement
plan is not backed up by further Israeli concessions on
the West Bank, the Gaza Strip will "explode." Yediot
and Israel Radio reported that Peres will meet with
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh
today. Maariv reported that the Egyptian censorship
board has instructed Egyptian film producers not to
refer to Israel negatively.

Maariv reported that Secretary Rice expressed public
support on Sunday for Israel's Ambassador to the U.S.,
Danny Ayalon, whose relations with FM Shalom are
strained.

--------------------------------------------- ------
1. Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank June 18-19:
--------------------------------------------- ------

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Shimon Shiffer wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Rice joined a
long and illustrious list of American secretaries of
state who tried unsuccessfully to bridge the
differences, the hatreds and the profound gaps in the
fundamental positions maintained by the parties in the
ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians."

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar opined in independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "It is vital ... to ensure that
Abbas comes across as a proud partner in talks with
Sharon -- and not as a collaborator with Israel."

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"The problem is that, in Washington's own terms, the
gap between the parties' actions is much wider than
Rice made it out to be [during her visit to the
region]."

Former editor-in-chief Moshe Ishon asserted in
nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe: "[Sharon and his
friends] haven't been attentive to remarks made by
Condoleezza Rice at the press conference, according to
which the withdrawal from Gush Katif is just the
beginning of the process."

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

I. "No Discounts"

Diplomatic correspondent Shimon Shiffer wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (June 20): "Just
as Rice announced with satisfaction the agreement she
secured with the Israelis and Palestinians to
coordinate the evacuation of the Gaza Strip and to
spare no effort to make the evacuation process happen
quietly, news of the grave incident on Philadelphi Road
broke. Rice joined a long and illustrious list of
American secretaries of state who tried unsuccessfully
to bridge the differences, the hatreds and the profound
gaps in the fundamental positions maintained by the
parties in the ongoing conflict between Israelis and
Palestinians. Rice did not come only to 'maintain' the
process and to ensure that Israel indeed withdraws from
the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria [i.e. the
northernmost part of the West Bank] in another two
months. Her principal task was to ensure that the
American investment in Sharon's disengagement plan does
not go down the drain. The Bush administration is
deeply invested in disengagement, since the Americans
believe that the evacuation will produce an earthquake
in the region and may even herald the beginning of the
end of the conflict. Against the backdrop of the
standstill in Iraq, Rice hopes that at least in our
arena a miracle will happen and a breakthrough on the
way to a peace arrangement will be achieved. Sharon,
who has received warm words of praise from President
Bush and Secretary Rice, did not make life any easier
for his American guest yesterday.... He warned her that
the Palestinians were liable to miss another
opportunity to reach a state of their own if the chaos
in the Palestinian Authority did not end."

II. "By the Ballot of the Bomb"

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar opined in independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (June 20): "If Sharon and Bush
can accept Hamas entering the elected Palestinian body
via the front door, without any preconditions and in
violation of existing agreements, how can Abbas be
expected to slam the door shut in Hamas's face?.... In
order to weaken Hamas, its political rivals must be
bolstered. It is vital, therefore, to ensure that
Abbas comes across as a proud partner in talks with
Sharon -- and not as a collaborator with Israel. If
not as a partner for a final status agreement -- at
least as the new landlord in the territories, someone
who Israel can turn to, someone who controls who enters
and who leaves his territory. If not as the liberator
of Al-Aqsa, then as the leader who freed prisoners,
smashed barriers, lifted roadblocks and froze the
settlements. Without all of these achievements, the
withdrawal from Gaza will turn into Hamas' victory
parade, and then there will be no need for elections or
for international recognition in order to launch the
third Intifada."

III. "Mind the Gap"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(June 20): "The U.S. ... is in full diplomatic mode:
praising where it deems praise is due, coaxing,
cajoling, and generally trying to get 'both sides' to
behave and get on with the program. Nor can the
administration be accused of blind evenhandedness,
since it clearly recognizes that Sharon is acting
boldly while Abbas is much further from advancing
Washington's vision. So what's the problem? The
problem is that, in Washington's own terms, the gap
between the parties' actions is much wider than Rice
made it out to be [during her visit to the region].
Israel is embarking on a reversal of the settlement
project on a scale that Washington could not have
dreamed of, let alone demanded, let alone expected to
receive. The Palestinians, by contrast, not only have
failed to begin to fulfill America's most basic
demands, but have even moved in the wrong direction,
denying even the principle that weapons must be
confiscated. In this context, it makes no sense to
apply roughly the same medicine in slightly different
doses.... The U.S. needs to say bluntly to the
Palestinians that they must accept the Jewish people's
national rights in this land, just as Israel has
accepted their national rights.... If the U.S. is
unwilling to say such things in a straightforward
manner, with the clarity of Bush's June 2002 call on
the Palestinians to rid themselves of Yasser Arafat,
than it should not be surprised to see its plans
unravel."

IV. "Diplomatic Talks Under Rocket Attacks"

Former editor-in-chief Moshe Ishon asserted in
nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe (June 20): "The Secretary
of State, who took part in a press conference [during
her visit to Israel], at first tried to evade a
question she was asked about whether the evacuation of
Gush Katif was part of a comprehensive plan to evacuate
Jewish settlers from the West Bank as well.
Eventually, after journalists repeated the question
several times, she said, naturally, that there is a
road map and that the U.S. would implement it some
time.... The Prime Minister and his friends are unable
to foresee the future. They haven't been attentive to
remarks made by Condoleezza Rice at the press
conference, according to which the withdrawal from Gush
Katif is just the beginning of the process, in the
framework of a plan leading to a total pullout from the
West Bank and Jerusalem, which is included in the road
map."

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Einat Hurvitz, chairperson of Amnesty International -
Israel Section, and Claudio Cordone, senior director of
Regional Programs at Amnesty International -
International Secretariat, wrote in conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "The AI [Amnesty
International] annual report is an overall record of
efforts made throughout the year to protect people's
lives and dignity. Hopefully, the lively debate that
its publication triggered in Israel and elsewhere will
provide momentum for positive change in the reality of
people's lives."

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

"Amnesty Is Not 'Out To Get' Israel"

Einat Hurvitz, chairperson of Amnesty International -
Israel Section, and Claudio Cordone, senior director of
Regional Programs at Amnesty International -
International Secretariat, wrote in conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (June 20): "Amnesty
International investigates, documents and takes action
on human rights violations around the globe using one
standard -- that of international human rights and
humanitarian law -- and strives to do so in an
impartial way. Nevertheless, the annual Amnesty
International Report 2005 covering human rights
violations around the globe in 2004 generated criticism
in this newspaper from David Forman ... and Michael
Ehrlich.... Forman accuses Amnesty International (AI)
of being 'out to get' Israel while ignoring serious
human rights violations elsewhere in the world.... As
for suicide bombings and other deliberate killings of
Israeli civilians by Palestinian armed groups, we have
consistently condemned them as crimes against
humanity.... There is plenty of evidence that far too
many killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces were
unlawful. AI and Israeli human rights organizations
have raised numerous cases over the years with the
Israeli authorities, who [sic] have hardly ever
provided evidence to disprove the allegations or shown
that proper investigations were taking place and that
perpetrators were brought to justice and held
accountable.... The AI annual report is an overall
record of efforts made throughout the year to protect
people's lives and dignity. Hopefully, the lively
debate that its publication triggered in Israel and
elsewhere will provide momentum for positive change in
the reality of people's lives."

-----------------------
3. Lebanon: Elections:
-----------------------

Summary:
--------

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Syria will
apparently be able to continue exerting its influence
in Lebanon, since after its withdrawal, no one can
demand that it disarm Hizbullah. That's Lebanon's job
now."

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

"New Parliament, Old Policy"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (June 20): "The
strange coalitions revealed during elections between
past and present supporters of Syria, between some
Druze and some Christians, the Christian right and
Sunni Muslims, and some Shi'ites and other Druze,
attest more than anything else to the fact that
Lebanon's politics, in spite of the tremendous
achievement of Syria's removal, still suffers from
chronic malaise. The main question is to what extent
the new government and parliament can withstand
external pressure as it continues to implement UN
Resolution 1559 to oust Syria from Lebanon. With the
Shi'ite bloc and Hizbullah holding 35 seats, both Aoun
and Hariri will need extraordinary political virtuosity
to convince Hizbullah to disarm. And since whoever
wins does not hold a convincing majority, any external
pressure will push political rivals into each other's
arms in order not to appear to have buckled under
international pressure. Under such conditions, Syria
will apparently be able to continue exerting its
influence in Lebanon, since after its withdrawal, no
one can demand that it disarm Hizbullah. That's
Lebanon's job now."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

C40: UN Secretary-General's Remarks To Meeting With Leading Mayors Supported By Cities

UN Secretary-General's remarks to Meeting with Leading Mayors Supported by C40 Cities: “Advancing a Carbon-Neutral, Resilient Recovery for Cities and Nations” 16 April 2021 Thank you for joining me today, and for your commitment and leadership. Cities ... More>>

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>