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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.

200949Z Jul 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 TEL AVIV 004508

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

Gaza Disengagement

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

Jerusalem Post quoted senior diplomatic officials as
saying that the Prime Minister's Office is hoping that,
in addition to pressing the PA to rein in the
escalating violence, Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice will also give PM Sharon a domestic boost by
reaffirming the letter President Bush gave him in 2004
in response to the disengagement plan.

Jerusalem Post quoted FM Silvan Shalom as saying
Tuesday that Palestinian terrorism could disrupt
disengagement.

The major story in the media: On Tuesday, thousands of
police officers, soldiers, and Border Police officers
encircled the village of Kfar Maimon in the Negev,
where police estimated 7,000 anti-disengagement
protesters spent the night (according to other
assessments, up to 20,000 demonstrators are at the
site). Hatzofe banners: "Kfar Maimon -- Capital of
Orange." Leading media quoted leaders of the Yesha
Council of Jewish Settlements in the Territories as
saying they would resume the pullout protest march
toward the Gaza Strip settlement bloc of Gush Katif,
which police have prohibited. This morning, Israel
Radio reported that the Yesha Council settlers and the
police reached an agreement, according to which the
sides would not resort to violence. The radio cited an
announcement by the Yesha Council, according to which
most demonstrators would leave and only a few hundred
would remain on the site.

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Leading media reported that the Knesset will vote today
on a one-month delay of the disengagement. The media
reported that Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has
decided to absent himself from the vote, and that two
Knesset members of the government coalition's United
Torah Judaism will vote in favor of the postponement.
Major media say that the bill is not expected to pass.
Ha'aretz quoted Yuval Steinitz (Likud), chairman of the
Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, as
saying that he will continue to support the
disengagement weakly, but that he believes Israel now
needs to retake the Gaza Strip.


Jerusalem Post reported that several thousand people
jammed a busy midtown Manhattan street Tuesday
afternoon for a prayer, song, and protest rally against
withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The demonstration was
organized largely by the Lubavitch youth organization.

Leading media reported that on Tuesday, the IDF shot
dead two senior Islamic Jihad militants, the brothers
Ibrahim and Warad Abanrah, who had been wanted for four
years.
Israel Radio reported that two mortar shells were
launched at a southern Gaza Strip settlement this
morning.

Ha'aretz and Maariv quoted Uzi Rubin, former head of
the Defense Ministry department responsible for
ballistic missiles, as saying Tuesday before the
Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that
the Arab countries surrounding Israel have some 1,000
missiles that can fire a total of some 500 tons of
explosives at any spots in the country.

Leading media quoted Shin Bet head Avraham Diskin as
saying at a closed session of the Knesset's Interior
Committee that 11 percent of the Palestinians involved
in terror entered Israel through the process known as
family unification.

Israel Radio reported that the left-wing forum Mate
Harov ("Majority's Coalition") will post pro-
disengagement PR teams at 200 junctions around the
country.

Israel Radio reported that, under Egyptian mediation,
Fatah and Hamas have decided to bring their clashes in
the Gaza Strip to an end. The media reported that 15
to 23 Palestinians were wounded in the confrontations
between the factions on Tuesday.

Leading media reported that A-G Menachem Mazuz insists
that Sharon's son, MK Omri Sharon, spend time in prison
over his involvement in the 1999 Likud primaries
affair.

Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz reported that a
representative of the Shi'ite Hizbullah and Amal
factions (the independent Fawzi Salukh, according to
Jerusalem Post) will be named foreign minister in
Lebanon's new government. Jerusalem Post says that the
cabinet includes one Hizbullah member, Muhammad Fneish,
who will be the new energy minister.

Ha'aretz, Yediot, and Jerusalem Post quoted prominent
Syrian journalist Ali Jamalo, director of the Damascus-
based Champress Web site (www.champress.net) as saying
on Tuesday that the Hebrew version of the site would be
available for surfers within six weeks. Jerusalem Post
says that Jamalo has close links to the Syrian
government. One of the new site's stated purposes is to
"fight the great ignorance among Hebrew speakers
regarding all aspects of Syria."
Leading media quoted London Mayor Ken Livingstone as
saying on Tuesday, in an interview with the British Sky
News-TV, that Likud and Hamas are "two sides of the
same coin." He expressed understanding for the
motivations of Palestinian suicide bombers. Jerusalem
Post quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev as
saying: "It is a pity he made no differentiation
between murderous terrorists and between those trying
to protect innocent civilians against the terrorists."

-------------------
Gaza Disengagement:
-------------------

Summary:
--------

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "It's
better for the police and IDF to realize there is only
one way to implement their decisions: with force,
determination, and all the means available to them.
Just as the police and armies of other democratic
countries do when the rabble threatens to topple them."

Veteran op-ed writer and the late prime minister
Yitzhak Rabin's assistant Eytan Haber opined in the
lead editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "Just one hasty decision by either the
demonstrators or the security forces is enough to lead
the genie, which has already been let out his bottle,
to civil war, brother against brother. God save us."

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"Whatever Sharon's failings, the onus today is on his
opponents."

Matti Golan, former editor-in chief of Ha'aretz and
business daily Globes, maintained in Globes: "We ought
to hear ... an explicit, clear statement that whatever
may happen, Israel won't return to Gaza."

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

I. "Let the Police Win"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (July
20): "Less than a month before the withdrawal from
Gaza, it's hard to hold out hope that the security
forces are indeed capable of implementing the
meticulously developed operational plans. But this
should not divert attention away from the mass
violation of the law [by disengagement opponents] that
took place on Tuesday. The participation of thousands
of declared criminals in an event the police proscribed
does not make it legal, but rather a display of rabble
that adopted for itself, out of habit, supremacy over
the law.... The government of Israel doesn't have the
right to allow such public, caustic crushing of its
orders and authority. The illusion that it's possible
to preserve democracy via negotiations with known
criminals has once again dissipated. The sight of
police officers standing empty-handed across from a
hostile mob is one that Israeli society, in this most
delicate situation, must not permit itself. It's
better for the police and IDF to realize there is only
one way to implement their decisions: with force,
determination, and all the means available to them.
Just as the police and armies of other democratic
countries do when the rabble threatens to topple them."

II. "A Tragedy Unfolding Before Our Eyes"

Veteran op-ed writer and the late prime minister
Yitzhak Rabin's assistant Eytan Haber opined in the
lead editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (July 20): "Now [Ariel Sharon's] best students
are rising up against their rabbi, justifying the
excellent grades they received on their report
cards.... In this fulminating atmosphere, with the
emotional temperature continuing to rise, someone is
going to die. If, heaven forbid, it is a member of the
security forces, all of the dams will burst and then
one would be better off not even accidentally being in
the settler camp. A disaster of that kind will result
in a complete divorce of the secular camp from those
who are convinced that they are the best of the younger
generation. If, heaven forbid, one of the
demonstrators and/or settlers should die, the
disengagement plan could die -- and then we will all
pay a high international price. There is no need for a
series of mistakes (which have already been made) to
heat up the atmosphere. Just one hasty decision by
either the demonstrators or the security forces is
enough to lead the genie, which has already been let
out his bottle, to civil war, brother against brother.
God save us."

III. "Marching on Gaza"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(July 20): "As this newspaper has been stressing for
many months, no small amount of blame for the
escalating level of internal dissent falls on the Prime
Minister himself.... Yet whatever Sharon's failings,
the onus today is on his opponents.... A minority of
disengagement opponents are prepared to do whatever it
takes.... It is not too late for wisdom to prevail. The
Council [of Jewish Settlements in the Territories] kept
the marchers in place in Kfar Maimon through the day
Tuesday.... Hopefully, this step may allow cool heads
to prevail, and responsible voices -- public figures as
well as spiritual leaders, particularly those who
either oppose or are unenthusiastic about disengagement
-- to emphasize and reemphasize the insistence that the
anti-disengagement struggle must not deteriorate into
violence. They must clearly define the limits of civil
disobedience, and insure that it does not veer into the
all-out confrontation and lawlessness that would tear
apart the social cohesion and the democracy that are
integral to the very existence of Israel."

IV. "Back to Gaza?"

Matti Golan, former editor-in chief of Ha'aretz and
business daily Globes, maintained in Globes (July 20):
"Everything we are observing now -- the demonstrations,
the clashes, the unrest, the huge financial
expenditures -- could be in vain. Is this the
government's policy indeed?.... If terror takes place
after the disengagement, is there a possibility that
Israel could return to the [Gaza] Strip? It currently
is key question.... If this possibility does exist, it
would be important to know about it. This is
definitely something that could change many people's
opinion regarding the merit of the disengagement
plan.... If this is not true, we ought to hear about it
-- in an explicit, clear statement that whatever may
happen, Israel won't return to Gaza. If we don't hear
this, even before the disengagement, the public will
know it has fallen victim to deception by politicians,
who act out interests that have nothing to do with the
good of the state and its citizens."

CRETZ

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