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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.

011120Z Jul 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TEL AVIV 004142

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. Aftermath of U.S.-Israel Security Exports Crisis

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

All media highlighted the evacuation by the IDF and
police on Thursday of the residents of the Maoz Hayam
Hotel at the Neve Dekalim settlement in the Gaza Strip,
which has become an outpost of right-wing extremists
during the past few months. The IDF declared the Strip
a closed military zone on Thursday at noon, meaning
that no Israelis other than residents of the Gaza
settlements were allowed to enter the Strip. This
morning, Israel Radio reported that the IDF will today
lift the closure, with some supervision. Maariv
banners: "Evacuation Has Started." Referring to the
results of the poll it publishes today (see below),
Yediot banners: "Leap in Support For Evacuation."
Hatzofe's headline reads: "Transfer Has Begun."
Ha'aretz and Yediot reported that on Thursday, an
additional incidence of disobedience occurred when a
soldier told his commanders that he refused to take
part in the army's plan to close Gush Katif to non-
residents.

Leading media quoted PM Sharon as saying Thursday at
the Caesarea Conference in Jerusalem that the Gaza
Strip must be renounced so that Israel can be built.
He slammed Jewish extremists who are "trying to
terrorize society" and "to tear it apart."

Ha'aretz reported that on Thursday, the IDF killed a
total of two Hizbullah infiltrators, and that the army
searched for a third one. Israel Radio reported that
the UN called upon the Lebanese government to extend
its control over all of its territory, to exert its
monopoly on the use of force and to put an end to all
attacks emanating from its territory. Lebanese
Information Minister Charles Rizq was quoted as saying
in an interview with Maariv that Lebanon seeks peace
and that Hizbullah should be integrated into his
country's political system as a party.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio quoted Assistant Secretary of
State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch as saying
before the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee
that the U.S. has "some concerns" about settlement
activities on the West Bank. Leading media quoted Lt.
Gen, William Ward, U.S. security coordinator in the
Middle East, as saying before the committee that the
strengthening of Palestinian security forces prior to
Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip has had
mixed success, and that their transformation from
autonomous fiefdoms to a centralized body is not
complete. Israel Radio quoted Senator Joe Biden (D-DE)
as saying at the committee session that he supports the
aid plan for the Negev and Galilee.

All media reported that IDF troops entered Nablus on
Thursday after receiving information that two soldiers
had been kidnapped when they lost their way and entered
the city. The IDF later realized there was no basis
for the reports. The media quoted Palestinian
authorities as saying that they had no evidence of
abduction. Ha'aretz reported that on Thursday morning,
Palestinian police handed over to the IDF an Israeli
citizen who had mistakenly entered Bethlehem.

Jerusalem Post reported that this week, the U.S.
authorized the sale to Egypt of 25 anti-aircraft
missile launchers to be deployed in two battalions.
The newspaper also reported that the Pentagon has
announced that it is resuming U.S. participation in
joint maneuvers with the Egyptians in the Bright Star
games to be held in Egypt this September.

A Yediot survey of visa procedures at various
diplomatic representations in Israel found that the
process at the U.S. Embassy is "awfully tough." The
newspaper quoted the U.S. Embassy spokesman as saying
that the Embassy is constantly investing efforts to
improve the quality and ease of its services.

Ha'aretz reveals that while serving as a major general
in the IDF in 1956, Yitzhak Rabin proposed transferring
the Palestinians from the West Bank, according to a
book published by the State Archive last week.

Ha'aretz featured the conclusion of Dr. Pamela and
Ambassador Robert Pelletreau's tenure as directors of
the Middle East office of the Search For Common Ground.
The newspaper quoted Robert Pelletreau, who engineered
official contacts between the U.S. and the PLO in 1988,
as saying that President Bush has, in fact, taken the
U.S. out of the game and has become part of the problem
rather than part of the solution. Pelletreau suggests
that Bush's decision to keep his distance from the
peace process has its source in domestic politics,
especially on Capitol Hill.

Ha'aretz reported that President Bush on Wednesday
directed the creation of a new National Security
Service within the FBI. The newspaper cited the
concerns of human rights organizations in the U.S. that
bringing down the barrier between the FBI and the CIA
could lead to violation of Americans' human rights.

A Yediot/Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute) poll conducted
Wednesday night:
-62 percent of Israelis support the disengagement (53
percent in a previous poll): 31 percent are opposed (38
percent in a previous poll).
A Maariv/Teleseker poll conducted this week:
-54 percent of Israelis support the disengagement (55
percent two weeks ago); 34 percent are opposed (35
percent two weeks ago).

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

Summary:
--------

Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote on page one
of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot:
"Thursday's operation went quickly and without
casualties, but the main lesson is that the army and
the police have still not changed their mentality.
Disengagement is here."

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "How is it possible
that even those [cabinet ministers] who voted in favor
of the [disengagement] plan have avoided backing Sharon
up in public?"

Conservative columnist Nadav Haetzni wrote in popular,
pluralist Maariv: "The American legislators sought to
tie the administration's hands and to prevent money
transfers to terror-backers. But it turns out that
even in the great United States, there is a difference
between the law and the administration's actions."

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

I. "The End of Restraint"

Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote on page one
of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (July
1): "It took the army time to realize that the people
sitting in the Maoz Hayam Hotel [in Gush Katif] had not
come to show their opposition to disengagement. They
had come to provoke the Palestinians, to create
provocations and to push the Palestinians into
responding with violence, to ignite the Gaza Strip, to
involve the IDF in fighting masses of Palestinians, and
to enforce their wish to halt disengagement. Only the
moment that these provocations began to become overt,
blatant and photographed in all their ugliness to the
eyes of the entire world, did somebody decide not to
wait until the end of disengagement and to get to the
point right away.... Even the tactical closure of the
Gaza Strip on Thursday, to carry out the operation in
the hotel, is before its time. Situation assessments
had stated that closing the Gaza Strip would take place
as close as possible to the time of disengagement. A
month before, and if possible, even less.... We can
only hope that this lesson-learning does not boil down
to mutual slaps on the back. True, Thursday's
operation went quickly and without casualties, but the
main lesson is that the army and the police have still
not changed their mentality. Disengagement is here."

II. "Silence of the Lambs as Israel Burns"

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (July 1): "The
country is burning and the lambs are silent.... There
is a principle known as collective responsibility.
Sharon's success will be [the cabinet ministers']
success. Yet no one has come out in defense of Sharon
-- or in defense of the decision reached by his
government, to be more precise. Even the Labor
ministers, who joined the government to insure Sharon a
majority on disengagement, are not standing up for
him.... Nine Likud ministers voted in favor of the
disengagement, and five against. How is it possible
that even those who voted in favor of the plan have
avoided backing Sharon up in public? Are they secretly
working against him? Do they want to see him fail?
The biggest surprise is Ehud Olmert, who used to act as
if he were the godfather, if not the father, of the
disengagement initiative. You don't hear a peep out of
him any more.... What is disturbing at this acute stage
is the absence of any act of leadership on Sharon's
part that will show them what's what. Now is the time
for him to say to his silent and subversive ministers:
make up your minds. Are you with me or against me? If
you're against me -- get out. And that also applies to
the biggest troublemaker of them all, Netanyahu the
Zigzagger. The eyes of the world are now upon us, and
the clock is ticking. By the end of the year, we must
reach the point where not a Jew is left in the Gaza
Strip. That is the goal, and that is the time frame.
Period."

III. "An American Check For Terror"

Conservative columnist Nadav Haetzni wrote in popular,
pluralist Maariv (July 1): "Last Friday, a subcommittee
of the U.S. House of Representatives discussed U.S.
assistance to Palestinian terror. A new, worrying
report was place on the desk of the subcommittee. It
was drafted by the organization Palestinian Media
Watch, which is headed by Itamar Marcus. The report
says that the U.S. Government funds Palestinian
institutions that sponsor terror -- in contravention of
U.S. law.... It was exactly in order to prevent that
phenomenon that, in January, the U.S. Congress passed a
special law banning the transfer of funds to sponsors
of terrorism. The American legislators sought to tie
the administration's hands and to prevent money
transfers to terror-backers. But it turns out that
even in the great United States, there is a difference
between the law and the administration's actions. Of
course, the report's data are known to the Washington
leaders. Still, the will to create an imaginary
reality in the Middle East prevails over compliance to
the law.... This deceptive American move is combined
with another one by the Israeli government. The
creation of an imaginary reality, and the deception of
the public are needed in both capitals. Whitewashing
Abu Mazen is as important to Bush as its is to the
Sharon family's bureau -- the hell with reality."

--------------------------------------------- --------
2. Aftermath of U.S.-Israel Security Exports Crisis:
--------------------------------------------- --------

Summary:
--------


Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Arrogance is
the most prominent feature in the Rumsfeld-era
Pentagon. It doesn't stop in Iraq."

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"The damage the current [Israeli arms sales] system has
inflicted on our foreign affairs as well as our
national coffers cannot be exaggerated. It also need
not and must not be tolerated."

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

I. "Chinese Acupuncture"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (July 1):
"Israel has two kinds of friends in Washington: those
who support it unconditionally and are certain of its
perfection, and those who love Israel in a patronizing
fashion -- they know better than Israel what is good
for it. Doug Feith, who is No. 3 at the U.S. Defense
Department, belongs to the second category.... All of
[Defense Ministry Director-General Amos] Yaron's
requests to come to Washington and to confront Feith
were rejected.... Accusations hurled at Israel reached
the President. The crisis caused Sharon to face a
dilemma: he didn't feel like talking to Bush about it.
Sharon needs the President's good will regarding much
more significant matters, such as the disengagement....
Perhaps this isn't just the story of the crafty Israeli
who sells weapons above and under the table, but also
that of the arrogant American who does not bother to
prove, who behaves towards other governments like a
Wild West cowboy. Arrogance is the most prominent
feature in the Rumsfeld-era Pentagon. It doesn't stop
in Iraq."
II. "Rethink Arms Exports"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(July 1): "Once [Defense Minister Shaul] Mofaz returns
[from talks with U.S. officials later this month,] the
government must comprehensively revise its arms exports
decision-making process. The damage the current
system has inflicted on our foreign affairs as well as
our national coffers cannot be exaggerated. It also
need not and must not be tolerated. A situation
whereby the retired generals who run this part of the
military-industrial complex make moves involving
sensitive, long-term diplomatic implications about
which they are neither equipped nor mandated to decide
must be brought to an end. A new forum, comprising
politicians, diplomats, economists and academics, must
be set up and assigned with the task of providing our
otherwise praiseworthy arms exporters the one thing
they so fatefully lack: proper supervision."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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