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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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TEL AVIV 004727

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. U.S.-Israel Relations

2. Democracy in Mideast

3. Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism

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

Maariv quoted people who attended Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice's meeting with Defense Minister Shaul
Mofaz during her visit to Israel as saying that she was
particularly assertive. The discussion was over
Secretary Rice's demand that Israel approve the

SIPDIS
transfer of trucks and military equipment to the PA,
and her insistence on a tight calendar in the matter.
The newspaper quoted Israeli defense sources as saying
that the conversation was tough, and that the talks
that Rice held with PM Sharon and FM Silvan Shalom were
difficult as well.

The media continued to report on Sharon's official
visit to France. Israel Radio quoted him as saying in
an interview broadcast on Thursday on a French TV
network that France should pressure the PA to stop the
violence, and that Syria has not given up its ambition
to control Lebanon, where he said Iranian Revolutionary
Guards are training Hizbullah members. Maariv reported
that Sharon told a gathering of French Jewish leaders
on Thursday that the entire world can see how difficult
and painful the disengagement plan is to Israel. He
was quoted as saying that the upcoming period will be
one of the most difficult that Israel has known.

Ha'aretz reported that Mofaz has thus far rejected a
recommendation by senior IDF officers that Israel
launch a major offensive in the Gaza Strip shortly
before or simultaneously with the disengagement. The
newspaper cited Mofaz's belief that all diplomatic
avenues to persuade the PA to act against the terrorist
groups must be exhausted first, and that the PA has a
clear interest in preventing fire. Jerusalem Post
quoted a senior officer in the IDF's Southern Command
as saying that the army will build three fences and a
range of state-of-the-art weapons systems around the
Gaza Strip after disengagement in order to foil
infiltration by terrorists. Jerusalem Post and
Hamodi'a quoted the officer as saying that the cost of
the security apparatus would be 1 billion shekels
(around USD 220 million).

Yediot and other media reported that the police are
planning to impose a closure on southern Israel next
week to prevent the influx of protesters to the area of
Sderot. Ha'aretz cited the belief of the IDF's
Southern Command that the number of right-wing
activists who have succeeded in infiltrating the Gaza
Strip since its closure on July 13 appears to be
between 1,000-1,200, and not 2,000 as announced early
in the week.
Israel Radio reported that Ami Ayalon, the co-founder
of the Peoples' Voice initiative, will lead a pro-
disengagement rally in Jerusalem today.
Yediot reported that Israel has informed the U.S. that
it refuses to allow the FBI to question Naor Gilon,
head of the political department at the Israeli Embassy
in Washington, or other Israelis involved in the affair
of Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin. However, the
newspaper writes that Israel agrees to provide written
answers to all of the investigators' questions. Yediot
reported that the U.S. apparently is not satisfied with
Israel's proposal.

Leading media quoted Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh
Hassan Nasrallah as saying Thursday that his
organization will not ignite the Israel-Lebanon border
during the disengagement.

Jerusalem Post reported that undercover Border Police
units shot and killed Islamic Jihad fugitive Muhid
Mussa near Tulkarm on Thursday afternoon.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that on Thursday,
the Vatican reacted strongly to Israel's protests over
Pope Benedict XVI's failure to condemn the Netanya
bombing. The media cited the Vatican's announcement:
"The Holy See cannot take lessons or instructions from
any other authority on the tome and content of its own
statements." The Vatican cited retaliatory actions by
Israel following past terrorist attacks.

Jerusalem Post reported that a new Foreign Ministry
project hopes to get Jewish and moderate Muslim groups
in Europe to cooperate in speaking out against
terrorism. Reda Mansour, a veteran Druze diplomat who
has served as consul-general in San Francisco and
ambassador to Ecuador, heads the new initiative.

Maariv reported that a new border crossing between
Israel and Egypt will soon open near Nitzana.

Reporting on developments in the trial of four Arab
American members of Islamic Jihad in Tampa, Fla.,
Ha'aretz cited an agreement that was reached recently
between U.S. prosecutors and the defendants' attorneys,
according to which most of the Israeli witnesses who
were supposed to travel to Tampa this summer will not
go.
This week's Maariv/Teleseker poll:
-57 percent of Israelis support the disengagement (54
percent in a poll earlier this month).
-"Were Knesset elections held today, and were the Likud
to split into two branches, for whom would you vote?"
(in parliamentary mandates): Likud (Sharon branch) -
30; Likud (Netanyahu branch) - 21; Labor + One Nation:
18; Shas - 10; Shinui - 9; National Union - 7; Meretz -
6; United Torah Judaism - 5; National Religious Party -
4; Arab parties - 10.


--------------------------
1. U.S.-Israel Relations:
--------------------------

Summary:
--------


Assistant diplomatic correspondent Ilil Shahar wrote in
popular, pluralist Maariv: "It would appear that the
Americans are concerned that their involvement in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict will also fail to end in
success, as has happened in Iraq."

Deputy Managing Editor and extreme right-wing columnist
Caroline B. Glick wrote in conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post: "The Americans, seeing that Sharon has
effectively rendered his own fortunes hostage to
Washington's discretion in not making it too clear that
no ... guarantees were ever made, can now demand
anything of him that they wish."

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz:
"Even a banana republic would not sign such an
agreement.... [However], even without American
pressure, the time has come to introduce order into
defense exports from Israel."

Correspondent Dov Kontorer wrote in conservative
Russian-language Vesty: "The international conference
promised by Rice is exactly what Sharon was trying to
avoid.... Nobody would call current relations between
Israel and the U.S. administration good or even
satisfactory."
Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in Maariv:
"Israel is hugely disappointed over Washington's
actions in the matter [of Iran's nuclear arming]."

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

I. "Toughness Behind the Smiles: Condoleezza
Reprimanded Mofaz"

Assistant diplomatic correspondent Ilil Shahar wrote in
popular, pluralist Maariv (July 29): "A chill wind is
blowing from the direction of Israel's purported
closest friend. Sources who participated in the
meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
report that she was more adamant than ever. In a
meeting with Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Rice
aggressively asked that Israel authorize the transfer
of trucks and vans for the use of the Palestinian
security services, as well as other combat support
supplies.... Rice then set Mofaz a timetable.... Mofaz
once again tried to protest the tight schedule: "I am
the defense minister, I have other things to tend to,'
he said. Rice lost her patience: 'I am the Secretary
of State and I am telling you that it is important'...
Political sources have noted in recent weeks that
Rice's visit is not the only sign of a cool attitude on
the part of the U.S. Among other things, they
mentioned that the Americans are not pleased with the
fact that Israel has not succeeded in reaching
coordination with the Palestinians on disengagement.
It would appear that the Americans are concerned that
their involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
will also fail to end in success, as has happened in
Iraq, and there are also two other unpleasant affairs
in the background: the sale of the drone spare parts to
China, and the affair of Pentagon mole Larry Franklin."

II. "Awaiting the Cavalry Charge"

Deputy Managing Editor and extreme right-wing columnist
Caroline B. Glick wrote in conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (July 29): "Sharon has justified his
decision to move ahead with the withdrawal and
expulsion plan with nonexistent guarantees from
President George W. Bush to support the remaining
Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West
Bank] and to oppose the Palestinian demand to
obliterate Israel through the so-called right of
return. The Americans, seeing that Sharon has
effectively rendered his own fortunes hostage to
Washington's discretion in not making it too clear that
no such guarantees were ever made, can now demand
anything of him that they wish."
III. "A Shallow Strategic Dialogue"

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(July 29): "The assumption was that Washington would
end the crisis [over Israel's security exports] before
the disengagement. Instead, the Americans have
presented more stringent demands.... An example of the
shallowness of the strategic contacts is the absence of
a fundamental discussion between the United States and
Israel regarding the U.S. administration's plan to
expand the democratic process in the Middle East. This
process has scored some success in several places, but
at the same time it is also giving free rein to
extremist forces, which are liable to endanger pro-
Western regimes such as Egypt.... The American side is
broadcasting that it has been burned by Israel several
times, and this time it has decided to be firm.
Because they feel affronted, they are not taking into
account the political situation in Israel, and are
trying to dictate to the Knesset, in an insulting
manner, a timetable for its decisions. An agreement is
meant to end a crisis, and not to force a friendly
nation to agree to be punished in stages. Even a
banana republic would not sign such an agreement. On
the other hand, it is clear that the supervision of
arms exports from Israel is deficient.... Even without
American pressure, the time has come to introduce order
into defense exports from Israel."

IV. "Signs of a Crisis"

Correspondent Dov Kontorer wrote in conservative
Russian-language Vesty (July 28): "Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice ... said that right after the
disengagement is completed, she would propose calling a
new international conference on the Middle East, which
would give 'a new impulse to the Middle East peace
process.' In case Prime Minister Sharon was hoping to
gain time and ease American pressure on Israel, the
negative outcome of his plan has become obvious,
[because] the international conference promised by Rice
is exactly what Sharon was trying to avoid.... The
U.S. encourages Sharon in his every step related to the
uprooting of Jewish settlements, but his attempt to
disengage from Gaza and all the Gaza-linked problems...
is producing energetic protests by Arabs and a
subsequent tough reaction from the White House. Nobody
would call current relations between Israel and the
U.S. administration good or even satisfactory."

V. "Between Paris and Tehran"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in Maariv
(July 29): "Israel assumes that Iran will achieve 50-
percent success in the [uranium enrichment] process;
the Americans believe that it will encounter many
glitches and delays. A propos the Americans: Israel is
hugely disappointed over Washington's actions in the
matter. 'This is an absolute failure,' say [Israeli]
experts about the sterile American effort, the lack of
consciousness, the enormous energy wasted in Iraq, as
opposed to impotence on the real front, against Bush's
'axis of evil': North Korea and Iran. Europe is
currently leading the struggle against Iran's nuclear
program. This might be one of the reasons for Sharon's
passionate acceptance of the French embrace."

-------------------------
2. Democracy in Mideast:
-------------------------

Summary:
--------

Op-ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in popular,
pluralist Maariv: "A stream of reformists and liberals
is sprouting inside the Arab world.... Thanks to them,
the Middle East, and the entire world, too, might look
better in the future."

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

"A Salute to Muslims"

Op-ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in popular,
pluralist Maariv (July 29): "Now, alongside the
justified struggle against terror and the necessary
battle to silence the venomous preachers, and before
those efforts turn into Islamophobia, one should
remember that the most important arena against terror
is the Muslim one. It is the scene of a giant battle
between reformists, Jew-haters, and the West.... A
stream of reformists and liberals is sprouting inside
the Arab world. They are fed up with hateful sermons,
tyranny, oppression of women, hatred of Jews, and self-
delusion. They are expressing themselves in key media
outlets.... Those new voices represent hope.... They
don't constitute the majority; but neither are they an
insignificant minority. Thanks to them, the Middle
East, and the entire world, too, might look better in
the future. Inshallah."

--------------------------------------------- -
3. Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism:
--------------------------------------------- -
Summary:
--------

Editor-in-Chief David Horovitz wrote in conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "Immensely more articulate
than Bush and most of Israel's limited advocates,
[Blair's] verbal onslaught on terrorism was more
pointed and effective than most any heard these past
few years."

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

"Tony Blair's Finest Hour"

Editor-in-Chief David Horovitz wrote in conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (July 29): "Commendably, for
the British government, as Prime Minister Tony Blair
made plain this week, terrorism is terrorism is
terrorism. It has no justifiable pretexts. It has no
legitimacy. And it is no less deplorable and
unacceptable in one part of the world than in
another.... Most tellingly for us, his ringing
declaration that terrorists have no 'justification for
killing people in Israel' was bookmarked by the prime
ministerial equivalent of 'I know you're not going to
like this but I'm going to say it anyway'.... He
demolished the diabolical historical revisionism that
cites Afghanistan and Iraq as the catalysts for 9/11,
noting acidly that 2001's Black September attacks
predated both those instances of Western
intervention.... Blair ... evidently will not be moved.
Immensely more articulate than Bush and most of
Israel's limited advocates, his verbal onslaught on
terrorism was more pointed and effective than most any
heard these past few years: 'There is no justification
for it, period,' he said.... What a ray of hope to
witness a British prime minister acknowledge the grim
challenge posed by the bombers, and begin to grapple
with the process of beating them."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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