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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 004815

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. Iraq

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

All major media reported that police last night halted
thousands of anti-disengagement activists at the Peduim
junction two km west of Ofakim after the demonstration
departed the Negev town in an attempt to reach Gush
Katif. Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that
hundreds of people managed to infiltrate Gush Katif.

Maariv cited the belief of senior IDF officers that the
army will have no choice but to embark upon a large-
scale offensive in the Gaza Strip before the evacuation
of settlements starts. The newspaper reported that the
army has started increasing the number of its forces in
the Strip.

Leading media reported that PM Sharon decided on
Wednesday to submit a proposal to the cabinet for
approval on Sunday, according to which the isolated
Gaza Strip settlements of Netzarim, Kfar Darom, and
Morag would be the first ones to be evacuated. This
does not match the calendar planned by the IDF. Yediot
reported that Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz will
propose in the coming cabinet meeting to decide, along
with the vote on the implementation of disengagement,
to declare a national day of mourning on the day of
Gush Katif's evacuation.

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Ha'aretz reported that on Wednesday, Sharon devoted
more than six hours to discussions on the future joint
"customs and tax envelope" for the Gaza Strip, Israel,
and the West Bank. He also addressed the critical
question of control over crossings with the Strip after
the implementation of disengagement. The newspaper
says that Sharon refrained from revealing positions,
but said, "The easier we make it to cross from Egypt
into Gaza, the harder it will be leave Gaza for Israel
and the West Bank. Ha'aretz cited four options in the
matter, which were presented by Giora Eiland. Each
alternative is supported by a different cabinet
minister.

Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post quoted Palestinian
officials as saying that 30 Egyptian security officers
arrived in Gaza on Wednesday to help train 5,000
Palestinian police officers to ensure order there after
an Israeli withdrawal.

Ha'aretz's English web site reported that the
Construction and Housing Ministry issued two tenders
today for the building of 72 housing units in the
settlement of Betar Ilit, which is situated between
Jerusalem and the Etzion Bloc of settlements in the
West Bank. The site and Israel Radio also reported
that on Wednesday, Health Minister Danny Naveh (Likud)
submitted a proposal to Cabinet Secretary Yisrael
Maimon urging the government to approve building a new
Jewish neighborhood between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh
Adumim as part of a construction plan known as E-1.
Naveh was quoted as saying that the plan is meant to
prevent 'a Palestinian stranglehold' around Jerusalem
and is especially necessary at this stage in order to
strengthen Jewish settlements and security in the West
Bank while the government simultaneously evacuates
settlers from the Gaza Strip.

Ha'aretz quoted Jerusalem police chief Ilan Franco as
saying Wednesday, during a High Court of Justice
hearing on the separation fence, the crossings to be
built in Jerusalem as part of the separation fence will
actually improve the lives of Palestinians in East
Jerusalem.

Israel Radio cited a GOI warning to Israelis about
traveling to Jordan, following information that
terrorist organizations could carry out attacks in the
kingdom, as the Jordanian security services have
reportedly arrested 11 Al-Qaida activists.

All media recall that Mauritanian President Maaouya
Ould Sid Ahmed Taya, who was deposed Wednesday, is a
"close friend of Israel" (as in Ha'aretz). This
morning, Israel Radio reported that the Foreign
Ministry has decided not to close the Israeli Embassy
in Nouakchott.

Yediot cited a "Newsnight" BBC-TV report broadcast
Wednesday, which said that, unbeknown to the U.S.
administration, the UK supplied Israel with 20 tons of
heavy water in 1958.

Yediot led with a report made public by the GOI's
Central Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, which found
that the gap between rich and poor in Israel greatly
increased in 2004. Yediot and Maariv cited a World
Bank index, analyzed by the BDI economic group,
according to which Israel is the most corrupt (80.8
percent on the BDI index) of Western states (average:
91.4 percent).

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

Summary:
--------

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "D-
Day, when Israel will decide in favor of sane,
sovereign democracy and against messianic zealotry, is
indeed approaching."

Liberal op-ed writer Ofer Shelach commented in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The
Palestinians want arms in order to show power within
their society, while Israel is firm in its belief that
a rifle that is in Arab hands in the first act, will
necessarily fire at Jews in the third act."

Very liberal columnist Yehuda Litani wrote in Yediot
Aharonot: "This disengagement is not even the beginning
of a reconciliation process, but rather a move of
deceit and cunning."

Liberal columnist Larry Derfner wrote in conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "Can we admit that we think
a great, great thing is about to happen in this
country?"

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

I. "You Want Trauma? Fine"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(August 4): "On Tuesday ... teenagers from some of the
Gush Katif settlements announced that they plan to
commit suicide on the day of the evacuation....
Settlement leaders have not hidden their intentions.
They say explicitly that they want to 'sear' the public
consciousness with a trauma so severe that a move such
as the disengagement will never happen again.... All
that remains is to tell the 'exiles,' the potential
suicides and their friends: you want trauma? Fine.
Don't threaten. On the contrary: wear sackcloth, pour
ashes on your heads, cry out in a mighty voice and
declare your mourning. Anyone who hurts himself or
others is responsible for his own actions -- not the
army, the police or the government. D-Day, when Israel
will decide in favor of sane, sovereign democracy and
against messianic zealotry, is indeed approaching.
That, therefore, is what settler extremists should
'sear' into their consciousness: the disengagement will
happen, and Israel, if it wants to survive, will also
seek to continue the process."

II. "Conflict at a 5.56 Millimeter Caliber"

Liberal op-ed writer Ofer Shelach commented in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (August 4): "The
Palestinians have been warning for some time that the
Palestinian police and the security services, or what
is left of them after nearly five years of systematic
dismantling by Palestinian and Israeli hands alike,
lack arms and ammunition. Extremely high-placed
Palestinians said this to U.S. General Ward months ago,
and others conveyed the message to senior Israeli
officials.... In Israeli eyes, this is nonsense that
shows how deceitful the other side is and how naive the
Americans are. So you lack arms? Says the Israeli
rationale to its regular partner in dialogue, that is,
to itself -- you can get it from Hamas.... The Israeli
consciousness, not only on the Right, which objected to
the decision to give them guns, found peace for itself
over the past five years, with great effort and at a
bloody price, deep within the policy of 'there is no
partner.' The objective truth is unclear. What is
certain is that anyone who seeks to carry out terror
attacks does not lack guns and ammunition. There will
be enough rifles and bullets for those who wish to
wreak terror on the roads, just as explosives are not
the problem of those who wish to stage suicide
bombings. What stands behind this debate is pure
symbolism of disbelief: the Palestinians want arms in
order to show power within their society, while Israel
is firm in its belief that a rifle that is in Arab
hands in the first act, will necessarily fire at Jews
in the third act."

III. "The Morning After"

Very liberal columnist Yehuda Litani wrote in Yediot
Aharonot (August 4): "Sharon wishes to create a new map
of settlement blocs in the West Bank, opposite
Palestinian enclaves such as Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus
and Jenin, which will be connected by roads, not by
geographical contiguity. Even if Israeli army forces
are not posted within these enclaves, Israel will
continue to control the territories by remote control
and will send in troops when necessary. In such a
situation, the Palestinian Authority under Abu Mazen's
leadership will be weakened even further, and the
anarchy in the West Bank will increase.... [In the
future], instead of gradually dying out, the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict would be re-ignited time after
time due to the actions for strengthening the
settlement blocs in the West Bank.... This
disengagement is not even the beginning of a
reconciliation process, but rather a move of deceit and
cunning: evacuating a small part in return for building
and settling in a much larger part. The comparison
between Sharon's disengagement initiative and De
Gaulle's giving up Algeria in the early 1960s is
inapplicable. From the beginning of his term as
president at the end of the 1950s, De Gaulle knew that
the battle for Algeria was lost. In contrast to him,
Sharon believes that Israel will continue to control
most of the West Bank territories, and what he has done
until now in the chess game between us and the
Palestinians is to sacrifice a pawn or a bishop in
order to protect the queen's life. The morning after
disengagement will not look rosier than the present
mornings."

IV. "Why the Long Faces?"
Liberal columnist Larry Derfner wrote in conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (August 4): "I'd like to see
one TV anchor in this country introduce a story on the
Gush Katif settlers without the mandatory pained
expression on his face.... The key word here is
'mandatory.' The message going out to the Israeli
public via the mainstream media is that the withdrawal
from Gaza and northern Samaria [the northernmost part
of the West Bank] is to be treated like a funeral, like
Yom Kippur.... The whole Western world is
congratulating Israel on getting out of Gaza, on
finally doing the right thing, the smart thing, the
best thing for Palestinians and Israelis alike -- and
here in Israel the Jews are doing their damnedest to be
miserable.... Can we admit that we think a great, great
thing is about to happen in this country? Can we stop
trying to exaggerate and exaggerate the sympathetic
hurt we feel for the settler families being dislocated,
and instead start to -- dare I say it? -- celebrate?
Yes, there is one genuine source of pain in this story
-- the 8,500 settlers being forced to move. They are
definitely deserving of every Jew's sympathy. But this
has gone way, way out of proportion."

---------
2. Iraq:
---------

Summary:
--------

Veteran op-ed writer and the late prime minister
Yitzhak Rabin's assistant Eytan Haber opined in an
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "As more caskets are removed from cargo
planes ... America will bite the hands of those who
sent it to war."

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

"And Slowly Creeps Death"

Veteran op-ed writer and the late prime minister
Yitzhak Rabin's assistant Eytan Haber opined in an
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (August 4): "On Wednesday, seven U.S. soldiers
were killed in Baghdad, and 14 more on Thursday. Who
cares, except the bereaved families? The Americans,
the world, Israelis are shrugging their shoulders and
moving on to the next item in the newspaper, on the
radio and television.... As more caskets are removed
from cargo planes ... and as more tears run down from
children who lost their fathers, America will bite the
hands of those who sent it to war (for those who have
forgotten, this is was happened during the Vietnam
War)."

KURTZER

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