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.

301057Z Jun 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TEL AVIV 004119

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. Lebanese-Syrian Track

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

All media underscored unrest involving settlers and pro-
settler demonstrators on Wednesday, including road
blockages throughout the country, during which at least
five police officers were wounded and 147 demonstrators
were arrested. The media noted the police's
efficiency. The media reported that settlers attempted
to lynch a 16-year-old Palestinian in Gaza and that PM
Sharon has given instructions to find those who harmed
him. Settlers clashed with soldiers who came to
evacuate the extremists' Tal Yam stronghold on the
Mawasi coast near Gush Katif. Leading media quoted
Sharon as saying: "All that rioting must stop." Sharon
was quoted as saying in an interview with Ha'aretz that
the government must take "every measure" necessary to
end acts of violence and road blocking by right-wing
extremists. Sharon was quoted as saying in an
interview with Yediot that what is occurring is not a
struggle over disengagement from Gaza, but over the
state. All media reported that Attorney General
Menachem Mazuz decided Wednesday that anti-
disengagement protesters will no longer enjoy
privileged conditions when arrested, but that they will
be treated like every other detainee. Jerusalem Post
reported that the Shin Bet ordered the security heads
of cabinet on Wednesday to take measurements of
ministers for flak jackets.

All media reported that on Wednesday afternoon, an IDF
soldier was killed and three others were lightly
wounded when Hizbullah shelled an IDF outpost in the
Sheba Farms area. The IDF responded with artillery
fire aimed at Hizbullah positions in Lebanon. At the
same time, IAF fighter jets attacked five Hizbullah
positions in Lebanon. The clashes started as a group
of five Hizbullah fighters crossed the border in the
area. Israel lodged complaints to the UN with the
commander of UNIFIL and Israel's representative to the
UN Danny Gillerman. Leading media reported that
fighting continued this morning. Israel Radio cited
IDF claims that a Hizbullah member was killed or
wounded in the Sheba Farms, a report denied by
Hizbullah.

Ha'aretz quoted Israeli officials as saying that Israel
will not transfer Qalqilya to the PA this week, even
though Sharon promised to do so at his meeting with PA
Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas last week. The
officials said that the delay is due to the escalating
violence in the West Bank. Ha'aretz and Yediot also
say that the heads of the defense establishment
reported Wednesday to the security-political cabinet
that Abbas is not as weak as he claims to be. They
claim that he is trying to put on a facade of weakness
to avoid taking action against the terror organizations
and to pressure Israel into efforts to bolster his
regime. Ha'aretz reported that the defense officials
point out a certain weakening on the part of Abbas.

Maariv reported that on Tuesday, the U.S. House of
Representatives approved a USD-2.5 billion U.S. aid
budget for Israel -- USD 2.3 billion as defense
assistance and USD 240 million as economic assistance.
Maariv says that the amount is not due to change
substantially when it comes up for a vote at the U.S.
Senate in a few weeks.

Jerusalem Post reported that PA Minister of Civil
Affairs Muhammad Dahlan, who is in charge of
coordinating the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip with
Israel, on Wednesday accused Jewish settlers of
"poisoning" the lands in the settlements slated for
evacuation.

Jerusalem Post reported that Fatah Central Committee
Chairman Farouk Kaddoumi, a strong opponent of the Oslo
Accords, will participate in the discussions of the
committee in Amman today. The committee is convening
for the first time since Yasser Arafat's death.

Jerusalem Post reported that, for the first time ever,
an Arab satellite TV network has agreed to take part in
a project with an Israeli TV network: Abu Dhabi
Satellite Channel will broadcast a documentary film
series about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on
Saturday night, produced by Search For Common Ground, a
non-profit organization. The film will air
simultaneously on Israeli Cable Channel 8, the
Palestine Broadcasting Corporation, and the private
Palestinian Maan-TV network.

Yediot reported that the Israel Air Force has
officially become the "Air and Space Branch," (rough
translation) reflecting strategic changes in its
operations.

Leading media reported that Infrastructure Minister
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer today will sign with Egyptian Oil
Minister Sameh Fahmi in Cairo today a significant
agreement to procure natural gas from Egypt -- in an
amount of USD 2.5-3 billion over 15 to 20 years.

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

Summary:
--------
Deputy Editor-in-Chief Avi Bettelheim wrote on page one
of popular, pluralist Maariv: "I [am] more sure than
ever that the entire [disengagement is] going to be all
right, if only because the settlers are very close to
making the rest of the public sick and tired of them."

Military correspondent Amos Harel wrote on page one of
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "If the police
deploy a 6,000-strong force throughout the country, but
are unable to prevent roads from being blocked, what
will happen during the pullout, when a larger number of
police will be busy evacuating the [Gaza] Strip?"

Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor, a lecturer
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Why is the
Israeli evacuation from the Gaza Strip known as
'disengagement,' if afterwards the Palestinian workers
will return to Israel as though nothing has happened?"

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

I. "They Kicked the Ball Into Their Own Net"

Deputy Editor-in-Chief Avi Bettelheim wrote on page one
of popular, pluralist Maariv (June 30): "On Wednesday,
as I watched the scenes from the blocked roads on
television, I was more sure than ever that the entire
[disengagement] was going to be all right, if only
because the settlers are very close to making the rest
of the public sick and tired of them -- and when that
happens, their battle will become insignificant, and
will be unable to change anything of the government's
original plan for the evacuation of the Gaza Strip and
northern Samaria [the northernmost part of the West
Bank]. When the extreme Right took the law into its
own hands in the territories, the general public, which
is usually apathetic, was prepared to turn a blind eye,
because it did not affect the crowded schedule of their
lives.... It is a pity that the impotent leadership of
the settlers and their irresponsible spiritual leaders
cannot calm the tempers and behavior of their followers
and explain to them the limits of legitimate protest,
and perhaps they just do not wish to. For protest is
legitimate and it is hard not to sympathize with the
pain of those who are to be evacuated, but what
happened yesterday and last week on the roads,
including scattering metal barbs, could very easily get
out of hand and lead to loss of life.... Disengagement
cannot and must not be stopped, and the police and
other law enforcement agencies have to stop the process
that began as legitimate protest but is deteriorating
very rapidly into rampaging without limits, as though
this were a children's game and human life and the
future of the democratic state were not at risk."

II. "Escalation Everywhere"

Military correspondent Amos Harel wrote on page one of
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (June 30): "If
anyone was still harboring doubts, along came
Wednesday's day of battles throughout the country and
laid them to rest: the disengagement has arrived....
The events of the past week proved what was already
learned, in sweat and blood, on the hills of Samaria
[i.e. the northern West Bank] -- the extreme right
interprets any concession as a sign of weakness and any
delay in the legal handling of a problem as a license
for fiercer provocation. The violence is coming from
the pullout opponents, and it is dictating the nature
of the confrontation. The IDF and police are gradually
streamlining their responses to riots, but the events
of recent days constitute a worrying prelude ahead of
the real thing in August. If the police deploy a 6,000-
strong force throughout the country, but are unable to
prevent roads from being blocked, what will happen
during the pullout, when a larger number of police will
be busy evacuating the [Gaza] Strip?"

III. "Pulling the Wool Over Our Eyes"

Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor, a lecturer
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (June 30):
"Anyone who has been following what has been happening
on the roads over the past few months cannot help but
notice that the Palestinian workers are returning....
These images have not been seen for several years....
What is worse is that Deputy Prime Minister Shimon
Peres has recently been holding economic meetings in
order to return to the Israeli labor market tens of
thousands of Palestinian workers, the great majority of
whom will come from post-disengagement Gaza. This is a
severe phenomenon both for Israel and for the
Palestinians, and it should be nipped in the bud. The
correct policy should be: zero Palestinian labor in
Israel. Why is the Israeli evacuation from the Gaza
Strip known as 'disengagement,' if afterwards the
Palestinian workers will return to Israel as though
nothing has happened?.... After disengagement, Israel
should open the border between the Gaza Strip and
Egypt. This way the Palestinians will return to work
in the Arab world -- through Egypt -- and from there to
the entire world, and the issue of their labor will
become an internal Palestinian or internal Arab issue.
Just as Israel should not worry about the livelihood of
the residents of Jordan or Syria, it should not worry
about the Palestinians."

--------------------------
2. Lebanese-Syrian Track:
--------------------------

Summary:
--------

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Hizbullah wants to
define the type of challenge it is posing the new
government: now that Lebanon has gotten rid of Syrian
forces, the government must also get Israel out of the
Sheba Farms, or else Hizbullah will take care of it."

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

"Hizbullah Sends a Message -- To Beirut"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (June 30):
"Hizbullah said Wednesday's attack, in which it opened
fire on the IDF posts and launched mortar shells at
them, came in response to Israeli infiltration of
Lebanese territory. But on the eve of the appointment
of a new Lebanese prime minister, which is set for
today, it's difficult not to link the domestic politics
to the attack on Har Dov [the Sheba Farms].... The new
government will depend primarily on Christian support,
as indicated by Wednesday's announcement by Christian
opposition leader Gen. Michel Aoun that he plans to
join the government. Such a government is likely to
have a troublesome agenda from Hizbullah's perspective.
A government dependent on Christian parliamentary
support would not only feel free of Syrian pressure but
would also have to cope with the continued
implementation of UN Resolution 1559, which would
require Hizbullah to disarm and become an organization
that is political but not militaristic.... Hizbullah
wants to define the type of challenge it is posing the
new government: now that Lebanon has gotten rid of
Syrian forces, the government must also get Israel out
of the Sheba Farms, or else Hizbullah will take care of
it by dragging Lebanon into violent conflict with
Israel. This is also Hizbullah's opportunity to see
how the new political leadership in Lebanon will view
the military monopoly Hizbullah has claimed in relation
to Israel."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Assange's Hearing: Latest Observations From Court

Despite severe restrictions on observers, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is the only NGO that has gained access to the hearing, and we’ve managed to monitor proceedings on most days. We will continue to do so whenever possible. Yesterday I was in court ... More>>

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>>

ILO: Impact On Workers Of COVID-19 Is ‘catastrophic’

COVID-19 has had a “catastrophic” impact on workers, the head of the International Labour Organization ( ILO ) said on Wednesday, with lost working hours higher than originally forecast, and equivalent to 495 million full-time jobs globally in the ... 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>>