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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.

271044Z Jul 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TEL AVIV 004678

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. Global War on Terrorism

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

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was quoted as saying, in a
bannered interview with Yediot, that Israel will pull
out from the Philadelphi route by the Jewish New Year
(early October). Mofaz made similar remarks in
comments he made on Israel TV last night. Yediot also
reported that the IDF has restricted conditions for
Israelis' entry into the Gaza Strip, allowing it only
for the settlers' next of kin. Ha'aretz and Israel
Radio reported that Mofaz and PA Civil Affairs Minister
Muhammad Dahlan met on Tuesday. Ha'aretz quoted
Israeli security sources as saying that the two made
progress. Ha'aretz reported that the two men agreed to
establish two joint teams that would deal with the
checkpoints; one would focus on improving the current
checkpoint situation and the other would discuss how
they would be controlled in the future. The radio
quoted Dahlan as saying that the talks were held in a
positive atmosphere, and that Israel has okayed the
construction of a seaport in Gaza. The station
reported that Mofaz insisted on security quiet, and on
there being no firing during the disengagement.

Ha'aretz reported that the U.S. administration has
refused to rescind sanctions against Israel until the
latter proves it has increased its monitoring of
security-related exports, deepening the crisis between
the two countries. The newspaper added that the U.S.
demands that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz join an
apology with his signature to the memorandum of
understanding to be signed between the two countries.
Ha'aretz reported that Mofaz, who was about to leave
for Washington for talks on the matter, canceled the
trip following the increased U.S. demands.

Jerusalem Post quoted an official close to Sharon as
saying on Tuesday, on his plane en route to Paris, that
Israel will not agree to hold an international summit
on advancing the post-disengagement diplomatic process
until after the first stage of the road map.

All media reported that a "pulsa denura" ceremony
against Sharon was held last Thursday in the old
cemetery of the Galilee town of Rosh Pina. Channel 2-
TV will tonight broadcast a recording of the event, a
part of which it aired last night. The "pulsa denura"
is commonly considered the most severe of kabalistic
curses, and is meant to cause its subject's death
within the year. The media recall that such a rite was
held against the late PM Yitzhak Rabin shortly before
his assassination. All media reported that on Tuesday,
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni ordered the state-employed
rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin (near Haifa), David Meir
Drukman, to be placed before a disciplinary court for
calling on disengagement opponents to break the law to
prevent implementation of the plan.
Israel Radio cited an announcement by the Yesha Council
of Jewish Settlements in the Territories that it will
hold a mass rally in Sderot next Tuesday and prepare
for a long stay there in order to paralyze the security
forces ahead of the disengagement.

Israel Radio and the leading Internet news site Ynet
quoted PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas as saying
in an interview with the UAE-based newspaper Al-Khaleej
that he rejects the idea of the Gaza Strip turning into
a large prison that would not be sufficiently open to
the outside world. Abbas was also quoted as saying
that he is not confident that Sharon wants peace.

Israel Radio quoted Quartet representative James
Wolfensohn as saying before a congressional committee
in Washington that there has been some progress in
contacts regarding the evacuation of the rubble of
settlers' houses from the Gaza Strip, that both Israel
and the Palestinians are interested in the rubble being
moved to Egypt, and that there are commercial
negotiations with Egypt on the matter. The station
also quoted him as saying that, were harmful material
to be extracted from the rubble, the rest could be used
for construction in the PA, and only a small part of
the materials would be transferred to Egypt.

Yediot's article featuring Richard Jones, whom
President Bush nominated as ambassador to Israel on
Monday, is entitled "Whisperer to Condoleezza."
Jerusalem Post focused on controversies that surrounded
Jones during his terms as ambassador in Lebanon and
Kuwait.

Ha'aretz and other media quoted Shin Bet head Yuval
Diskin as saying on Tuesday, before the Knesset's
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, that the PA's
ability to impose law and order is negligible, while
terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad see no
reason to stop attacks on Israel during the
disengagement. Diskin was also quoted as saying that
terror may shift to the West Bank after the
disengagement. Maariv quoted senior IDF officers as
saying, during a visit by Mofaz and Chief of Staff Dan
Halutz to the IDF's Gaza Strip divisional headquarters,
that there will be no choice but to carry out a large-
scale military operation in the Gaza Strip to prevent
Palestinian attacks during disengagement. Jerusalem
Post reported that on Tuesday, Palestinian PM Ahmed
Qurei rejected Sharon's warning that Israel would
respond harshly to terrorist attacks during
disengagement.

Jerusalem Post reported that the Foreign Ministry is
looking for new ways to ensure that Hizbullah's
inclusion into the Lebanese government does not win it
greater international legitimacy. The newspaper said
that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "provided
cover for this approach" during her contacts in Beirut
on Friday.

Leading media reported that British PM Tony Blair and
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw have expressed
reservations about London Mayor Ken Livingstone's
diatribe against Israel.

Ha'aretz cited a report made public on Tuesday by the
Strategic Assessment Initiative, a Washington-based
NGO, according to which "reform of the PA security
sector is a prerequisite for the success of the
implementation of the road map." The report also
states, "Coordinated third-party assistance in the
field of security services reform will be a critical
success factor."

Maariv and other media reported that the Iraqi
constitution, which is being drafted, includes a
paragraph meant to prevent the granting of Iraqi
citizenship to most Iraq-born Jews.

Yediot and Israel Radio reported that Tuesday's
editorial in Jutland Posten, Denmark's largest
circulation newspaper, was entitled "We Are All
Israelis." The Danish daily expressed its regret over
criticism leveled by the West on the way Israel has
fought terror. Yediot reported that on Tuesday, the
French daily Le Monde front-paged a caricature
featuring Sharon as a dove.

All media (lead stories in Maariv and Israel Radio)
prominently reported that today, Attorney-General
Menachem Mazuz will indict PM Sharon's son, Knesset
Member Omri Sharon, for flouting campaign finance laws,
forging corporate documents, perjury, and breach of
trust. In what has been dubbed the "straw companies
affairs," MK Sharon is alleged to have committed the
offenses first during PM Sharon's campaign for Likud
leadership, and later when Ariel Sharon ran for PM.
The media say that, if convicted, Omri Sharon could be
jailed for up to five years. Yediot and Israel Radio
reported that on Tuesday, Omri Sharon asked that his
parliamentary immunity be removed.

Citing Reuters, Maariv quoted Bob Baker, senior VP of
the American computer giant Intel, as saying on Tuesday
that his company has made no decisions regarding the
expansion of its activities in Israel. The media had
quoted Sharon as saying early this week that the
company would invest USD 4 billion in the country.

Yediot features Miri Chen, the Israeli girlfriend of
Discovery space shuttle crewmember Steve Robinson.

Ha'aretz published the results of a Peace Now poll
conducted by Market Watch among residents of West Bank
settlements that are not slated for evacuation. The
question was whether to build new settlements.
-51.3 percent of secular settlers among those surveyed
said that such construction should be avoided; 42.7
percent said it should be continued.
-35.2 percent of traditional settlers among those
surveyed said that such construction should be avoided;
58.1 percent said it should be continued.
-7.5 percent of Orthodox settlers among those surveyed
said that such construction should be avoided; 86.6
percent said it should be continued.
-25.4 percent of ultra-Orthodox settlers among those
surveyed said that such construction should be avoided;
66.7 percent said it should be continued.

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

Summary:
--------

Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon wrote in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "Israel has
shown it is prepared to take difficult steps to achieve
President Bush's vision for peace in the Middle East.
The world should insist on no less from the
Palestinians."

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: "Israel cannot afford a second assassination
of a prime minister. Therefore, with all due respect
to the rabbinic world ... it is time -- there is no
other choice -- to take off the gloves."

Editor-in-Chief Amnon Dankner wrote on page one of
popular, pluralist Maariv: "While it is true that one
could argue that a ceremony of this kind expresses the
reckless will of one oddball or another to see the
prime minister die ... the truth is that this entire
issue is merely a summer show for thirsty and generous
media."
Senior op-ed writer Uzi Benziman commented in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "[Settler leaders]
pay lip service to the principle of non-violent
struggle, but in fact they are preparing for a
bellicose fight with the declared goal of forcing their
stand on others."

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

I. "Jump-Starting the Peace Process"

Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon wrote in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (July 27):
"Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is boldly determined to
move forward with disengagement from Gaza and the
northern West Bank, out of a deep conviction that it is
critical to Israel's future. Unfortunately, the
Palestinian leadership has failed to meet him
halfway.... Time is running out for the Palestinian
leadership to confront the terrorists. Should it fail
to do so, Israel will be forced to take the necessary
steps to defend its people: lest the Palestinians miss
another historic opportunity, the world should insist
that they crack down on terrorism now.... Disengagement
is an immense political, strategic, and indeed historic
undertaking, aimed at reducing friction between
Israelis and Palestinians, jump-starting the peace
process and providing the Palestinians with a unique
opportunity to build institutions of responsible self-
governance.... [Also], the trauma of disengagement has
opened up dangerous rifts in Israeli society.... At
stake is not only the success of disengagement but also
the very fabric of Israeli society.... The notion of
disengagement would have been unthinkable had Israel
not prevailed in the latest round of sustained
terrorism waged by the Palestinians since September
2000. The stakes for Israel are enormous. We are a
strong but small country facing a largely hostile
region roughly 500 times our size. We can ill afford
to make mistakes. Israel has shown it is prepared to
take difficult steps to achieve President Bush's vision
for peace in the Middle East. The world should insist
on no less from the Palestinians."

II. "Put the Rogue Rabbis in Their Place"

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 27): "The custom in Israel has always
been to uphold the dignity of rabbis.... Lately, in
light of what is happening in the disengagement plan,
rabbis have arisen ... who speak in favor of a 'pulsa
denura,' which is generally agreed to mean issuing a
death sentence against the prime minister. So we
learned from the assassination of prime minister
Yitzhak Rabin. The matter of the 'pulsa denura' is
utter nonsense.... The question that should be examined
is whether these statements have the potential to lead
one or more fools and idiots to harm high placed
officials in the State of Israel. The answer is: Yes.
Israel cannot afford a second assassination of a prime
minister. Therefore, with all due respect to the
rabbinic world and with all due regret, it is time --
there is no other choice -- to take off the gloves....
Direct or indirect calls to murder the prime minister
should meet with squads of police officers who will
round up the rabbis calling for murder, like the worst
of scoundrels, push them into the paddy wagon and lead
them to Lysol-scented cells."

III. "Pulsa Deshmulsa"

Editor-in-Chief Amnon Dankner wrote on page one of
popular, pluralist Maariv (July 27): "This entire issue
of a 'pulsa denura' [kabalistic death curse] oughtn't
elicit more than a shrug of the shoulders and a snigger
of ridicule, since it is taken seriously only by a few
eccentrics who, by the bye, want to make a bit of cash
on the side.... We would best bear in mind that Yigal
Amir did not stand with a talith [prayer shawl] in a
graveyard at night and recite pseudo-magical texts; he
oiled a gun and collected bullets. While it is true
that one could argue that a ceremony of this kind
expresses the reckless will of one oddball or another
to see the prime minister die, and perhaps creates
somewhere a tiny wave of a murderous atmosphere, the
truth is that this entire issue is merely a summer show
for thirsty and generous media, that was produced by a
group of people who would put the money they received
from the television program to best use by getting some
psychological counseling."

IV. "He Had a Dream"

Senior op-ed writer Uzi Benziman commented in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (July 27): "Pinchas
Wallerstein, the militant leader of the settlers' anti-
disengagement protest, went out on a limb when he tried
to compare the right-wing demonstrators' attempted
invasion of Gush Katif last week to human rights leader
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s freedom march on Washington
D.C.... He spoke out against violence.... One of King's
main messages was the shared destiny of the American
people, and he spoke out against separatism and
prejudice.... When we examine the message of
Wallerstein and his friends, we meet an entirely
different world of concepts and intent.... They pay lip
service to the principle of non-violent struggle, but
in fact they are preparing for a bellicose fight with
the declared goal of forcing their stand on others....
Moreover, King's march was coordinated with the
authorities; then-president John F. Kennedy welcomed it
with a call for equality for all. The march to Gush
Katif set out to break the law -- an attempt that did
not succeed."
----------------------------
2. Global War on Terrorism:
----------------------------

Summary:
--------

Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Condemning terrorism
ought to be a simple matter for the leader of the
Catholic Church."

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

"A Papal Omission"

Jerusalem Post editorialized (July 27): "Condemning
terrorism ought to be a simple matter for the leader of
the Catholic Church. Yet on Sunday, when Pope
Benedictus XVI condemned recent terrorist atrocities in
Britain, Egypt, Iraq and Turkey, conspicuously absent
from the papal list was the renewed terrorism in
Israel.... The inclination, subliminally or otherwise,
to isolate Jews in a separate category, isn't unique to
the Vatican. But we expected better of a just-
installed pontiff who has declared his desire to reach
out to Jews and announced plans to visit the synagogue
in Cologne during his upcoming journey to his native
Germany. A pope, what is more, who was reportedly
ready to take a tougher approach to the struggle with
militant Islam than his predecessor. Sadly, however,
it almost appears that Benedictus XVI is falling short
even of Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa who
has reportedly and at long last accepted the UN's draft
definition of terror, one that brooks no exception
making Israel a legitimate target. The Arab world has
been aggressively sabotaging any UN attempt to at all
agree on what terror is since 1996. The need to define
terror received particular impetus after 9/11. UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan was finally forced to take

SIPDIS
on the Arab block. His terminology had emerged as the
principal bone being thrown to Washington in response
to its insistent demands for UN reform.... It's a step
in the right direction, even if hesitant, even if the
product of coercion, even if only following 9/11 (as if
all which preceded it mattered less) and even that
belatedly."
KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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