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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 06 TEL AVIV 004791

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. Gaza Disengagement

2. Iran: Nuclear Program

3. Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism

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

All media reported that tens of thousands of right-wing
activists participated in Tuesday's anti-disengagement
rally in Sderot, after which they left the town and
traveled south to Ofakim to continue their protests
today. The media say that a few hundred extremists
could try to infiltrate Gush Katif. Leading media
(banner in Maariv) write that a rally to be held next
to Jerusalem's Western (Wailing) Wall on Tish'a B'av --
August 14 -- the day commemorating the destruction of
the two Temples, could turn into a serious disturbance.

Ha'aretz (Zeev Schiff) quoted U.S. security envoy Lt.
Gen. William Ward as saying that the PA's expected
dispatching of forces to maintain order is only one of
the steps the Palestinians are taking ahead of the
disengagement. Ward was quoted as saying that there is
full military coordination between IDF officers and
senior PA officials, and that the operation will
succeed if everything works as planned. Ha'aretz
reported that IDF representatives met with PA security
chiefs on Tuesday to coordinate the disengagement for
the first time after a month-long hiatus. Israel Radio
reported that PM Sharon will meet with Defense Minister
Shaul Mofaz and other officials today to discuss the
issue of land borders with Egypt. The radio says that
the defense establishment favors a border crossing at
Kerem Shalom, south of Rafah, and that Vice Premier
Shimon Peres proposes that passage for persons be in
Rafah, and for goods in Nitzana. Maariv reported that
the IDF proposes that Israel cancel its control over
passage of persons and goods at the Rafah terminal, but
that Israel would announce ahead of time that its
reaction will be "unprecedented" in its vigor if the
Palestinians abuse the arrangement by smuggling weapons
and launching rockets into Israel. Israel Radio
reported that Mofaz will visit Jordan today to discuss
the implementation of the disengagement and bilateral
security cooperation issues with King Abdullah and
senior Jordanian officials. The station also reported
that PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas will meet
with King Abdullah of Jordan today.

Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that Peres
will meet with Quartet envoy James Wolfensohn today.
Jerusalem Post says that the two men will discuss some
of the key outstanding issues that need to be resolved
prior to disengagement -- the link between Gaza and the
West Bank; air and sea ports in Gaza; the border
transfer points and customs envelope; removal of
roadblocks and improved movement within the West Bank;
the future of the homes in the settlements; the Gaza
greenhouses; and a U.S. agreement on a USD-2.2 billion
aid package to Israel. Israel Radio reported that the
PA will create a company that will manage the assets
left by Israel after the disengagement, and handle the
affairs of foreign workers in the Strip.

Ha'aretz quoted officials responsible for the
construction of the separation fence in the "Jerusalem
envelope" as saying that construction of the fence will
not be completed before the end of the year.

An Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank, Abdel Halim
Izzedine, known as Abu Qassam, was quoted as saying in
an interview with Ha'aretz that his organization
supports the hudna (cease-fire) but is forced to
respond to Israeli provocations. Izzedine said his
organization might recognize Israel.

Maariv reported that a flyer and a video recording
claiming that Al-Qaida has opened a branch in the Gaza
Strip were distributed among Islamic extremists in the
Strip on Tuesday. The newspaper writes that
Palestinian sources have expressed their doubts
regarding the report's veracity.

Leading media reported that a Palestinian attempt to
target the demonstrators failed Tuesday when a Qassam
rocket fired at Sderot landed by mistake in the
Palestinian town of Beit Hanun, killing a three-year-
old Palestinian boy and wounding nine other
Palestinians. Ha'aretz reported that, minutes before
the rockets were launched, Palestinians fired an anti-
tank rocket at an Israeli convoy traveling to the
isolated settlement of Netzarim, causing no injuries.
Islamic Jihad and the PFLP claimed responsibility for
the attack on the convoy. Jerusalem Post quoted a
senior officer in the IDF's Southern Command as saying
that the IDF asked the PA, during disengagement
coordination talks on Monday, to curb terrorist
organizations and prevent them from firing Qassam
rockets at Sderot on Sunday. This morning, Israel
Radio reported that the military branch of Islamic
Jihad told AFP that the organization instructed its
militants three days ago to stop firing rockets at
Israeli targets until after the disengagement. Israel
Radio reported that a Palestinian was killed in a blast
in the southern Gaza Strip before dawn on Tuesday. The
radio quoted Palestinians as saying that the man was
mishandling explosives.

Maariv reported that Israel is seeking to remove UNIFIL
from Lebanon and to force the Lebanese government to
deploy its forces in the south of the country. The
newspaper also cited a report published by a Lebanese
news agency, according to which the U.S. intends to
press Israel to withdraw from the Sheba Farms area.
Maariv says that American sources have denied the
report.

Leading media cited a U.S. intelligence report made
public by Washington Post on Tuesday, according to
which Iran may be up to 10 years away from making a
nuclear bomb, double the previous assessment. Ha'aretz
writes that the report disproves the original U.S.
estimate.

Yediot reported that disengagement opponents paralyzed
the activity of the Israeli Consulate-General in New
York City on Tuesday by placing two fictitious
announcements on New York Internet sites.

Ha'aretz reported that Qatar will donate at least USD
10 million to the municipality of the Israeli-Arab city
of Sakhnin in order to "help put the Galilee city
firmly on the sports map in the Middle East." Sakhnin,
which has 25,000 residents, is a success story of
Israeli-Arab soccer.

-----------------------
1. Gaza Disengagement:
-----------------------

Summary:
--------

Conservative columnist Yosef Harif wrote in popular,
pluralist Maariv: "Sharon should not be frightened by
external pressure and give up his strategic 'credo' --
even if he is compelled to enter a confrontation with
his great friend in the White House."

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

"After the Disengagement Comes Annexation"

Conservative columnist Yosef Harif wrote in popular,
pluralist Maariv (August 3): "Sharon keeps repeating
these days that Israel adheres to the 'road map'....
How does the [map's] demand that Israel 'end the
occupation' reconcile with annexing territories and
Israel maintaining large settlement blocks in Judea and
Samaria [i.e. the West Bank], about which Sharon claims
he received a promise from President Bush.... It is
commonly assumed that Sharon aspires to enter history
as the person who reached peace and security. But out-
and-out concessions and surrender to external dictates
won't lead him there. Sharon had a strategic plan that
talked about the necessity of keeping security areas in
Judea and Samaria, which ought to be annexed to Israel.
Sharon should not be frightened by external pressure
and give up his strategic 'credo' -- even if he is
compelled to enter a confrontation with his great
friend in the White House.... [Following crises during
the Nixon and Reagan presidencies] and upon other
occasions, ways were eventually found to achieve an
understanding between Washington and Jerusalem. Those
developments should inspire Israel 'on the day after'
[disengagement]. This will be Sharon's greatest test."

--------------------------
2. Iran: Nuclear Program:
--------------------------

Summary:
--------

Washington correspondent Orly Azolai wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "President Bush
isn't the first leader in history who has tried to
preserve his political power by intimidating citizens,
but he has turned this approach into an art."

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

"Bush's Knack"

Washington correspondent Orly Azolai wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (August 3): "The
day President Bush defined Iran as a leading 'axis of
evil' country, he started putting together a series of
allegations in order to justify a future military
operation against it. On Tuesday, it turned out that
his claims ... don't hold water. U.S. intelligence
found that Iran doesn't represent a threat against
world peace in the immediate term, but Bush doesn't
like being confused with facts.... Since Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad was elected Iran's president, the American
'spin' has turned into real brainwashing. According to
the White House, Satan resides in Tehran. In two
years, the ayatollahs would be a pushbutton away from
annihilating the world. Vice President Cheney has
already declared that if the crisis wasn't solved
through diplomatic ways, America had offensive military
options. But all the American intelligence branches
have just spat in the President's face.... President
Bush isn't the first leader in history who has tried to
preserve his political power by intimidating citizens,
but he has turned this approach into an art: in Iraq
and Afghanistan first, and now in Iran.... For their
part, the Iranians continue their policy of ambiguity.
They know the truth, but they don't care whether the
world fears them and continues to woo them. Nuclear
blackmail pays -- just ask North Korea."

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

Summary:
--------
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan
Shalom wrote in conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post: "If the growing determination Blair has shown
were mirrored in the statements and actions of the
entire international community, the battle against
terror would, indeed, be well on the way to victory."

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

"Tony Blair Gets It"

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan
Shalom wrote in conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post (August 3): "I was in London last week for
meetings with Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw.... For many years, many saw

SIPDIS
suicide terror as Israel's problem alone. The world
preferred to view it as a localized problem despite the
Israeli people's understanding that if Palestinian
grievances supposedly justified such terror, it would
only be a matter of time before some other grievance
was used to justify suicide terrorism elsewhere. The
impulse to remove from the equation the free choice of
terrorists to explode themselves, along with as many
innocent victims as possible, is one of the most
dangerous trends in the public response to global
terror. In my meetings with Blair and Straw I was
impressed by the determination of the British
government to stand up to this drivel.... Tony Blair's
unequivocal recent statements on terror should be
compulsory reading for all leaders, journalists and
anyone who shares our determination to stop the
terrorists from taking away our democratic way of life
and its hard-won freedoms. They should be applied not
only in the British context, but everywhere terrorists
lurk. Britain, which currently holds the rotating
presidency of the European Union, has taken some
welcome steps along this path. We hope that this trend
will continue and solidify. If the growing
determination Blair has shown were mirrored in the
statements and actions of the entire international
community, the battle against terror would, indeed, be
well on the way to victory."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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