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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.

191117Z Aug 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TEL AVIV 005139

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR NEA STAFF

SECDEF WASHDC FOR USDP/ASD-PA/ASD-ISA
HQ USAF FOR XOXX
DA WASHDC FOR SASA
JOINT STAFF WASHDC FOR PA
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL FOR POLAD/USIA ADVISOR
COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE FOR PAO/POLAD
COMSIXTHFLT FOR 019

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:
--------------------------------

Gaza and Northern West Bank Disengagement

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

Israel Radio and leading Israeli news web sites
reported that this morning, at the same time as a
Katyusha rocket landed in Aqaba's harbor, next a
facility used by a U.S. military ship, another rocket
landed next to Eilat Airport. There were no casualties
in Israel. The media quoted the police as saying that
the rockets were probably fired from Jordanian
territory. Israel Radio reported that the security
forces of Israel are cooperating, and that one person
was killed on the Jordanian side. Ha'aretz's web site
quoted Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz as saying that the
Eilat attack appeared to be intentional. The web site
quoted a security official as saying it was not clear
whether Eilat or two U.S. Navy vessels anchoring in
Jordan were the true target of the rocket attack.

Israel Radio quoted a White House spokeswoman as saying
that President Bush expressed confidence in PM Sharon's
ability to complete the disengagement, and that he
understands the pain of the people who had to leave
their houses. The spokeswoman reportedly mentioned the
President's belief that the disengagement will make
Israel stronger; she was quoted as saying that it will
bolster the U.S.-Israel connection. Leading media
reported that the American media extensively reported
on the disengagement. Israel Radio notes that,
contrary to the Israeli media, they did not show
empathy for the evacuated settlers. The media note
that European media seem more interested in the
Palestinians' fate than in the disengagement.

All media reported that on Thursday, the IDF completed
the evacuation of Neve Dekalim and Kfar Darom, the two
settlements with the highest number of disengagement
opponents. Many police officers were injured in the
clashes. The final stage of withdrawing the two
settlements came down to evacuating their synagogues,
which took several hours. In Kfar Darom, dozens of
youngsters barricaded themselves on the synagogue
rooftop, and assaulted soldiers and police officers.
Many police officers were injured in the clashes.
Leading media quoted Sharon as saying that the
disturbance at Kfar Darom was "criminal." At Neve
Dekalim, nearly 1,000 people who had barricaded
themselves in the synagogue emerged after lengthy talks
with the security forces. The media note that 16 of
the 21 Gaza Strip settlements were evacuated.
Hatzofe's banner compares the evacuation with the
destruction of the two Temples. This morning, the
electronic media are reporting that the security forces
are continuing the operation -- at first in the
settlement of Gadid, where they are facing some
resistance. Israel Radio reported that the cabinet
will vote Sunday on the evacuation of northern West
Bank settlements.

Jerusalem Post quoted FM Silvan Shalom as saying in an
interview held with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai Al-Aam
on Wednesday that Gaza would serve as a "model," and
that if the PA dismantled the terrorist infrastructure
and "peace and quiet reign in the region, we will be
able to move forward and return to the road map."
Shalom warned that Israel would not "take a new risk"
if the Palestinians resume their attacks from Gaza and
that Israel was now expecting Palestinian "actions,"
not excuses.

Israel Radio reported that there still is no
arrangement with Egypt regarding the transfer of rubble
from settlers' houses slated for demolition. The
station says that The Palestinians have made the
transfer of the rubble to Sinai conditional on the
attainment of an agreement regarding the operation of
the border crossing in Rafah. Israel Radio reported
that officials in Jerusalem have decided that if an
agreement is not reached in the coming days, Israel
will leave the building debris in place.

Yediot reported that Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz
(Likud) demanded on Thursday that Sharon convene an
urgent cabinet debate about Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice's remarks to The New York Times this
week regarding the continuation of the peace process.
Katz was quoted as saying: "Rice's declaration proves
that there is no basis for the Prime Minister's
statement that there will be no further disengagement."

Ha'aretz, Yediot, and Jerusalem Post cited The New York
Times as saying Thursday that David Satterfield, a
former State Department official who is deputy to the
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, is mentioned
-- but not by name -- in the indictment against former
AIPAC official Steve Rosen as one of the senior U.S.
officials who discussed classified material with the
defendant. Yediot's headline reads: "Another Israeli
'Mole' in U.S. Administration."

Ha'aretz reported that on Thursday, a group of Israeli
youths vandalized the gas station at the entrance of
the northern West Bank settlement of Sa-Nur. The
station is owned by a native of the adjacent village of
Jebaa who is a Canadian citizen. This morning, Israel
Radio reported that Sa-Nur expelled two young extremist
outsiders seen as responsible for the criminal act.

A Yediot/Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute) poll:
-59 percent of Israelis support the disengagement: 37
percent are opposed; 4 percent are undecided.
-"How would you grade the police and IDF's performance
during the evacuation?" Very good: 62 percent; good:
27 percent; not good: 7 percent; very bad: 4 percent.
-"What is your evaluation of the PM's leadership
regarding disengagement?" Very good: 28 percent; good:
33 percent; not good: 14 percent; not good at all: 22
percent; 3 percent are undecided.


------------------------------------------
Gaza and Northern West Bank Disengagement:
------------------------------------------

Summary:
--------

Senior columnist Dan Margalit wrote in popular,
pluralist Maariv: "[Sharon] wanted to dodge the
implementation of the 'road map' and was afraid to
deceive George W. Bush. Therefore, he was compelled to
offer him an alternative plan."

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz:
"There are two faces to the disengagement from the Gaza
Strip that, in fact, may be mutually contradictory."

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in
Ha'aretz: "Now it's the Palestinian Authority's turn
not to miss an opportunity that has fallen straight
into its hands like a gift from heaven.... Only Sharon
could evacuate Gaza, and only he can take the next step
toward peace. Don't pass him by."

Political parties correspondent Sima Kadmon wrote in
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Sharon
finds it hard to find a political direction at this
time."

Editorial Page Editor Saul Singer wrote in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "In [The New
York] Times's eyes, the night during which soldiers
gathered to evict settlers was the night of the living
dead, when the ghost of Greater Israel returned to
haunt the region, a ghost so powerful that its exorcism
must be Bush's top peacemaking priority."

Nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized: "Prime
Minister Sharon ... turned a blind eye to the fact that
Jews have resided in the Gaza Strip for six centuries."


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

I. "The Plan Wasn't Born of Terror or Corruption"

Senior columnist Dan Margalit wrote in popular,
pluralist Maariv (August 19): "The question regarding
the reason why Ariel Sharon broke his promise to the
Likud voters and adopted the unilateral disengagement
plan is significant at this time and charged with
meaning for the future.... Disengagement was born in
the Prime Minister's entourage. The idea wasn't even
new. [Then-Likud cabinet minister] Roni Milo proposed
it to Yitzhak Shamir during the 1992 elections. It was
rejected and the Likud lost. Amram Mitzna presented it
on a smaller scale during the 2003 elections, and lost
too. It was later revived [among Sharon advisers].
This was neither because Palestinian terrorism
succeeded, nor because Sharon became entangled in a
corruption quagmire, but because he wanted to dodge the
implementation of the 'road map' and was afraid to
deceive George W. Bush. Therefore, he was compelled to
offer him an alternative plan."

II. "The Two Faces of Disengagement"

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(August 19): "There are two faces to the disengagement
from the Gaza Strip that, in fact, may be mutually
contradictory. The positive aspect is reflected in
Israel's success in shortening the military lines
logically and ceding territory that effectively is of
no strategic importance to the country.... The negative
aspect of the disengagement is reflected, above all, in
the uncertainty of who will rule in the Gaza Strip
after the evacuation and whether a new round of
violence will erupt. This situation is compounded by
the fact that the Palestinians feel, and to a large
extent justifiably, that the Israeli withdrawal from
Gaza is their victory.... The Palestinians do not
accept the fact that Israel took an important, risk-
fraught move via the disengagement and now it's their
turn to play their part.... [If terrorist activity is
resumed], Sharon and the Israeli government will be
unwilling to go ahead with implementing the road map.
This will certainly be the case if it turns out that
lifting the siege of the Gaza Strip is bringing about
large-scale arms smuggling and the entry of
international Islamic terrorists. The Palestinians'
political aspirations will again be halted and the
prospect of another disengagement will vanish."

III. "This Is Just the Beginning"

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in
Ha'aretz (August 19): "Hamas is already boasting that
Israel has left Gaza with its tail between its legs.
My answer to these guys is that humiliation, if you
want to call it that, is better than stupidity. What
do they want to do? Bring back terrorism and catapult
Israel's fanatics and rebels into power? And an aside
for those loudmouths in Hamas: quit the heroics.
Nowadays you can't even go out without your masks on
for fear of being identified. Now it's the Palestinian
Authority's turn not to miss an opportunity that has
fallen straight into its hands like a gift from heaven.
Tone down the hostile rhetoric, disarm the terror
organizations, stop pelting Israel with rockets and
mortars, and muster the seriousness and courage to
negotiate a settlement with Israel. Only Sharon could
evacuate Gaza, and only he can take the next step
toward peace. Don't pass him by."

IV. "Alone"

Political parties correspondent Sima Kadmon wrote in
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (August
19): "Sharon finds it hard to find a political
direction at this time. Reason makes him turn
rightwards; however, he would then lose the camp he has
recently acquired -- this being conditional support,
anyway. Sharon has no illusion: that Left/Center camp
didn't really discover a new Sharon. He just found
temporary partners who would implement his worldview.
Should Sharon turn leftwards, he would deepen his
preexisting problem, despite the fact that he refuses
to recognize its might: his relations with the Left and
his cradle -- the Likud."

V. "Lesser Israel, Greater Palestine"

Editorial Page Editor Saul Singer wrote in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (August 19):
"Greater Israel is dead; long live Greater Israel, said
[Ethan Bronner in] The New York Times [Tuesday]....
Reading the Times ... one might think there was nothing
more alive and menacing that the 'threat' of Greater
Israel. After briefly praising Israel for 'finally'
taking such an obvious step, the paper frets that
'Sharon seems to think that withdrawing from Gaza will
buy Israel time to consolidate in the West Bank'.... In
the Times's eyes, the night during which soldiers
gathered to evict settlers was the night of the living
dead, when the ghost of Greater Israel returned to
haunt the region, a ghost so powerful that its exorcism
must be Bush's top peacemaking priority. Could we
return to earth for a moment, please? Settlements and
Greater Israel are no longer the principal obstacle to
peace, if they ever were. Another dream is: Greater
Palestine.... Even the most moderate Palestinian
asserts that Israel in its entirety sits on 'stolen'
Palestinian land, and that while Israel must be
recognized de facto, a Jewish state has no moral or
legal right to exist."
VI. "Sharon Is Putting Out Gush Katif's Candle"
Nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized (August
19): "Prime Minister Sharon and his cabinet members
turned a blind eye to the fact that Jews have resided
in the Gaza Strip for six centuries. The Strip is an
integral part of the Land of Israel. For some reason,
they decided that Gaza wasn't a part of the Land of
Israel. Moreover, Sharon also ignored the fact that
Kfar Darom was established ... in 1946, before Israel's
independence, on land purchased by the Jewish National
Fund.... Gush Katif used to exalt Israel; the Sharon
government is blowing out that candle."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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