Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Netanyahu Resignation

2. Israeli Arabs

Key stories in the media:

All media reported that on Sunday, immediately before
the cabinet voted the final approval for the evacuation
of the Gaza Strip settlements of Kfar Darom, Netzarim,
and Morag, Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tended
his resignation. (The decision was approved 16-5.
Likud ministers Netanyahu, Limor Livnat, Danny Naveh,
Yisrael Katz, and Tzachi Hanegbi opposed the move.) At
a subsequent press conference, Netanyahu said he no
longer wanted to be part of a policy that he said was
leading the country "blindly" to the establishment of
an extremist Islamic base in Gaza that could threaten
Israel's existence. Both Yediot and Maariv banner that
Netanyahu is "disengaging." Pro-settler Hatzofe
banners: "A New Hope." PM Sharon named Vice PM Ehud
Olmert Acting Finance Minister.

Israel Radio quoted Defense Ministry Director General
Amos Yaron as saying at a press conference today that
the solution found for razing the houses in the
settlements was satisfactory: Israel will raze the
houses and will remove any hazardous waste material;
the Palestinians will remove the rubble. Some of the
rubble that is not used may be buried in Sinai. The
cost of removing the rubble is projected to run between
USD 25 and 30 million. Israel will turn this sum over
to a World Bank organization that will supervise the
work by means of subcontractors. Yaron was quoted as
saying that the overall cost of the disengagement plan
is expected to come to 1.9 billion shekels (approx. USD
424.6 million).

Leading media reported that a reconstruction of the
lynching of the Jewish terrorist Eden Natan-Zada shows
that he was killed after some policemen stepped off the
bus in which he had carried out his attack. Leading
media reported that the Israeli-Arab leadership warned
the police on Saturday not to investigate the killing
of Natan-Zada, stating that Shfaram residents "are
themselves victims of racist terror." All media
reported that, as acting religious affairs minister,
Sharon authorized Natan-Zada's burial in the civilian
cemetery of Rishon Letzion, after several cemeteries
announced they would not accept his body. On Sunday,
leading media highlighted a series of major failures --
including lack of dialogue between the IDF and the Shin
Bet -- as the defense establishment did not identify in
time the danger posed by Natan Zada. Yediot and Israel
Radio reported that on Sunday, Defense Minister Shaul
Mofaz placed three activists of the outlawed far-right
movement Kach under administrative detention.

On Sunday, Yediot reported that Hamas announced during
the weekend that it would retaliate for the Shfaram
killings, but that Israel's Islamic Movement
subsequently released a statement urging Hamas not to
do so.

All media reported that a 10-year-old Israeli boy was
seriously wounded Sunday in a drive-by shooting near
Ramallah. Maariv reported that Fatah claimed
responsibility for the attack, saying it was in
retaliation for the Shfaram bus killings.

Ha'aretz reported that IDF officers have dismissed as
inflated settlers' estimates, according to which 4,000
Israelis are currently in the Gaza Strip illegally.

Hatzofe cited the Qatari newspaper Al-Watan as saying
Sunday that the Lebanese army will deploy along the
Lebanon-Israel border by the end of the year. Al-Watan
reportedly quoted diplomatic sources in Damascus.

Citing Reuters and the Iranian news agency IRNA,
Ha'aretz reported that Iran's new president Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad told Syrian President Bashar Assad during
his visit to Iran Sunday that the two countries must
cooperate against the U.S.

On Sunday, Ha'aretz published an interview it conducted
with Chinese Information Minister Zhao Qizheng last
week. He reportedly cited his country's anger over the
U.S. interference in Israeli arms sales to China,
saying this was "another example of American hegemony."

During the weekend, the media reported that four cruise
ships transporting 3,500 passengers were rerouted on
Friday from Turkish ports of call to Cyprus harbors,
because of an alert about a possible Al-Qaida attack.

On Sunday, citing Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Jerusalem
Post reported that former AIPAC staff members Steve
Rosen and Keith Weissman, who were involved in the
affair of Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin face up to 10
years in prison.

On Sunday, Ha'aretz reported that a Presbyterian
committee on Friday accused four companies of
contributing to the "ongoing violence that plagues
Israel and Palestine." The Church named Caterpillar,
Motorola, United Technologies, and ITT, which all
supply the IDF, and the banking conglomerate Citigroup,
which has reportedly channeled funds to Palestinian
terrorist groups.
A Yediot/Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute) poll conducted
Sunday night:
-"Following Netanyahu's resignation, should the
disengagement be carried out?" Yes: 55 percent (58
percent in a previous poll); no: 39 percent (35 percent
in a previous poll); 6 percent are undecided (7 percent
in a previous poll).
-"Did the Finance Minister act properly when he
announced his resignation?" Netanyahu was wrong: 48
percent; he was right: 46 percent.
-"Why do you believe Netanyahu resigned?" He wanted to
prepare for a contest with Sharon over Likud chairman
chairmanship: 47 percent; he did not want to be a
partner in the evacuation of settlements: 29 percent;
he reached the conclusion that he failed as finance
minister: 10 percent.
-"If the Likud wins the next elections, who should be
PM?" Sharon: 38 percent; Netanyahu: 30 percent;
neither of the two: 30 percent; either of them: 2

A Maariv/Teleseker poll conducted Sunday night:
"Should Netanyahu have resigned?" Yes: 52 percent; no:
36 percent.

Ha'aretz published the results of Tel Aviv University's
Peace Index poll, conducted August 2-4:
-60 percent of Israelis (57 percent of Israeli Jews)
are in favor of disengagement; 34 percent are opposed.
-73 percent believe that the disengagement plan
represents only the first step toward an expanded
evacuation of West Bank settlements; 20 percent believe
there will be no further evacuations.

1. Netanyahu Resignation:


Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote on page one of mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "His
resignation, which a year ago could have turned the
[disengagement] decision around, will make no
difference. He knows this."

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one
of popular, pluralist Maariv: "There were also
political considerations [in Netanyahu's
resignation].... He is closely watching the growing
popularity of [chief Likud 'rebel'] Uzi Landau."

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized:
"Binyamin Netanyahu's resignation ... places him ... as
the leader of the extreme right in Israel."

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"We hope and expect that Netanyahu will use his new
position at the head of the anti-disengagement camp to
set bright red lines against attempting to thwart
disengagement by refusal and by force, even in a
supposedly non-violent manner."

Block Quotes:

I. "Free Is All Alone"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote on page one of mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (August 8): "The
question was how and when to resign. Netanyahu, a
chronic latecomer, was politically late by several
months. In the meantime, disengagement had become a
fact. His resignation, which a year ago could have
turned the decision around, will make no difference.
He knows this. A few weeks ago, when I quoted sources
on the Right who asserted that 'it all depends on
Netanyahu,' he hurried to explain that nothing depends
on him. The evacuation is going to be approved by the
automatic majority in the cabinet and the Knesset.
There is nothing that can be done about that.... It is
very possible that Netanyahu is right when he warns
against the establishment of an Islamic terrorist state
in Gaza that will drown Israel in blood. Perhaps he is
also right when he anticipates that disengagement will
only heighten the diplomatic pressure on Israel. If
his prophecies of doom come true, all eyes will be on
him. His key word yesterday was 'blindness': the
government is going into disengagement blindly, like
another government went to Oslo. It doesn't matter
that he accepted Oslo out of electoral constraints,
just as he accepted disengagement out of ministerial
constraints. 'Blindness' is a catchphrase that will
recur over the coming weeks and months."

II. "Not Only Ideology"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one
of popular, pluralist Maariv (August 8): "At Thursday's
[anti-disengagement] demonstration in [Tel Aviv's]
Rabin Square, Netanyahu will undoubtedly deliver a
speech and everybody will shout very loud to [Likud
ministers] Danny Naveh, Limor Livnat and Yisrael Katz
to follow Bibi's example. The flagging hopes of the
demonstrators have been revived. Sharon will endeavor
this morning to nip them in the bud while they are
still in manageable proportions. His spokespeople will
tell every available forum that the disengagement plan
will be executed on the appointed date.... He has grown
wings by virtue of this resignation.... The diplomatic
developments, the supply of ammunition to the
Palestinians, the decision to permit construction of
the seaport in Gaza, and the withdrawal from
Philadelphi Road, influenced Netanyahu's decision to
resign. But it was not only due to ideology. There
were also political considerations. Netanyahu is
constantly commissioning, reading and analyzing polls.
He is closely watching the growing popularity of [chief
Likud 'rebel'] Uzi Landau."

III. "Leader of the Extreme Right"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(August 8): "Binyamin Netanyahu's resignation from the
government right before the disengagement places him,
finally, in the spot that suits him -- as the leader of
the extreme right in Israel.... In resigning, Netanyahu
contributed support and momentum to the camp of the
lawbreakers, which is threatening to thwart the
implementation of the Knesset decision on the
evacuation of the settlements in Gaza and the northern
West Bank that passed by a wide majority. Netanyahu
decided to resign now to garner momentary credit,
precisely when the country desperately needs
responsible leadership.... If the evacuation of Gaza
takes place on time and is completed as planned,
Netanyahu's resignation, which now looks dramatic, will
be recorded as ephemeral. Perhaps it will also signal
the beginning of a reform of the political system and
the reorganization of political parties, based on their
genuine, updated platforms. On one side will be the
camp of the supporters of Greater Israel and the
occupation, and on the other side will be the parties
that support democracy in an Israel with redrawn

IV. "Exit Netanyahu"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(August 8): "If a situation in which disengagement
opponents had no significant political representation
was an unhealthy anomaly, then Netanyahu's resignation
has restored a degree of coherence to the system as a
whole.... Netanyahu has begun a battle for the heart of
the Likud. Just as Netanyahu did not reverse, and in
fact reluctantly advanced, the Oslo agreement that he
opposed and inherited, it is hard to imagine him
reversing disengagement; indeed, he made clear again on
Sunday that he did not believe it could now be
reversed. At the same time, the paths forward that
Netanyahu and Sharon represent seem, at this moment, to
be irreconcilable.... With the race that is emerging
between them, the voter will be given a choice between
something akin to the old Likud and the new path Sharon
represents. In the meantime, we hope and expect that
Netanyahu will use his new position at the head of the
anti-disengagement camp to set bright red lines against
attempting to thwart disengagement by refusal and by
force, even in a supposedly non-violent manner. In this
crucial role at this critical moment, ironically,
Netanyahu could have much greater influence than he had
in his cabinet post."

2. Israeli Arabs:


Zuheir Andrawus, Editor-in-Chief of the Israeli-Arab
newspaper Kul Al-Arab, wrote in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "There is no other option
for [Israeli Arabs] ... than to resort to the
international organizations."

Block Quotes:

"An Explosive Situation"

Zuheir Andrawus, Editor-in-Chief of the Israeli-Arab
newspaper Kul Al-Arab, wrote in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (August 8): "The terrorist
attack in Shfaram was the result of wild incitement
against us [Israeli Arabs].... Israel's leaders must
internalize the fact that for the first time since the
foundation of the states, [Israeli] Arabs have turned
into a preferred and easy target of Jewish terror....
The terrorist attack proved conclusively that Israel is
incapable of protecting its Arab 'citizens.' Thus,
there is no other option for a national minority that
is discriminated against in all domains, than to resort
to the international organizations, so that they
convince the Western countries to provide it protection
or tutelage. The internationalization of the situation
will be useful if we can take advantage of the


© Scoop Media

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