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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 005253

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

1. Mideast

2. Global War on Terror

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

Israel Radio quoted Vice PM and Finance Minister Ehud
Olmert as saying, after his meeting with Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice in Washington Wednesday, that
the PA must disarm the Palestinian terror groups.
Jerusalem Post quoted Olmert as saying that, though
Rice expressed her interest in moving forward on the
road map, they did not discuss any timetable, and that
the U.S. did not set any date for beginning its
implementation. Israel Radio reported that Olmert
discussed the issue of the separation fence with
Secretary Rice, following A/S David Welch's criticism

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SIPDIS
of Israel's announced plan to build in Area E-1,
between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim. Ha'aretz and
Israel Radio reported that the Planning Council of the
Civil Administration in the West Bank is expected to
approve relocating the HQ of the Judea and Samaria
police district from Jerusalem to Area E-1 in coming
days. Speaking on Israel Radio, Olmert said it would
be "strange" if Israel did not receive special
disengagement-related aid from the U.S. Israel Radio
reported that today, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will
meet with Secretary Rice. The station notes that
Olmert and Livni are both Sharon associates.

Israel Radio reported that Olmert and his Egyptian
counterpart, who is also visiting Washington, have
asked the U.S. to expand their joint free-trade zones.

All media (lead stories in many of them) reported that
a British yeshiva student, who was a tourist in Israel,
was stabbed to death last night, close to Jaffa Gate,
in the Old City of Jerusalem, whereas his companion, an
AmCit, was moderately wounded. Leading media reported
that last night in the Tulkarm refugee camp, Special
Forces of the IDF killed five Palestinians, three of
them senior wanted men from Islamic Jihad and Fatah.
Israel Radio cited Palestinian claims that the IDF had
killed teenagers and a denial by the IDF. Leading
media reported that Fatah and Islamic Jihad (or Hamas)
vowed to take revenge on Israel.

Israel Radio reported that late this morning, a mortar
shell landed next to Margaliot, along the Lebanese
border. There were no casualties.

Maariv reported that following a special security
meeting convened by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on
Wednesday, Egyptian forces defined as "border police"
could deploy along the Philadelphi route in two weeks.
For its part, Jerusalem Post reported that the defense
officials decided that the IDF would withdraw from the
corridor by the end of the year. Leading media note
that the cabinet is expected to vote on the Israeli-
Egypt agreement on Sunday, and the Knesset during the
course of next week.

Jerusalem Post reported that representatives of various
Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip (the Popular
Committee for Defending Palestinian Lands) accused
Israel on Wednesday of burying "toxic materials" under
the rubble of dismantled settlements to prevent
Palestinians from exploiting the land.

Leading media cited a statement issued on Wednesday by
the UN Security Council, which says: "The members of
the Security Council welcome the beginning of the
Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the northern
West Bank and they commend the ongoing implementation
of this process."

Ha'aretz quoted Palestinian sources in Gaza as saying
it would be difficult for the PA police to guard the
evacuated settlements and prevent the Palestinian
public and armed groups from entering them.

IDF Radio Wednesday cited the Popular Resistance
Committees militant network as saying that it has
developed a rocket capable of striking targets 15 km
away from the Gaza Strip -- enough to strike Ashkelon.
Maariv reported that the Shin Bet has fortified
Sharon's Sycamore Farm against Qassam rockets.

Israel Radio reported that elements in the Arab world
are prodding Islamic Jihad to participate in the
Palestinian Legislative Council elections.

Maariv reported that senior IDF officers told residents
of the northern West Bank settlements of Hermesh and
Mevo Dotan this week that they are "next in line" for
evacuation. Hatzofe reported that the government and
the settlers had reached an agreement postponing the
evacuation, but that Sharon thwarted it because he
wanted a tough image of Gush Katif residents to be
engraved in the public eye.

Leading media reported that the Likud leadership is
preparing for early Knesset elections. Citing
conversations with aides of PM Sharon and other figures
in Israeli politics, Ha'aretz reported that most of
Sharon's close advisers believe that he should leave
the Likud and set up a new party.

Maariv bannered a TNS/Teleseker Polling Institute
survey that found that Binyamin Netanyahu would
overcome Sharon in internal Likud elections, but that
the party would come out weakened from the contest:
-Should Sharon retire from politics, a Netanyahu-led
Likud would garner 32 Knesset seats; Peres-Led Labor
would obtain 31 seats.
-Should Sharon remain in politics, a Sharon-led Likud
would garner 38 Knesset seats; Peres-Led Labor would
obtain 22 seats.
-Should the Likud split, "Sharon's Likud" would get 34
seats; "Netanyahu's Likud" would get 20 seats.
-Should the "big bang" in Israeli politics happen, a
Sharon-Peres-Lapid party would reap 54 seats;
"Netanyahu's Likud" would obtain 23 seats.

Yediot and Jerusalem Post reported that the American
computer chip giant Intel plans to base its next
generation of processors on the models developed in its
Israeli branch.

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

Summary:
--------

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "After a stormy
week of disengagement, Israel and the U.S. appear to
see eye to eye on the next stage."

Liberal op-ed writer Ofer Shelach commented in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Like an
experienced magician [Sharon] draws all of the public's
attention to his one hand, assuming that their dull
wits will prevent them from seeing what his other hand
is doing."

Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor, a lecturer
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in Yediot
Aharonot: "The automatic hold on the Gaza Strip has
become, for Israel, a conditioned reflex like that of
Pavlov's dog.... Israel must let go of its hold since
the situation has changed and we have left."

Nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized: "Bush
enjoys that achievement [the disengagement], which
he'll certainly credit to himself -- as well as the one-
on-one understandings he reached with Ariel Sharon."

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

I. "Washington: It's the Palestinians' Move Now"

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (August 25):
"Official Washington was quite open this week about its
expectations for a continuation of the diplomatic
process in the Middle East. The President himself said
bluntly that what 'must happen now is the establishment
of a working government in Gaza'.... In Israel, of
course, people are happy with the remarks. The ball is
now in the other court. Thus, after a stormy week of
disengagement, Israel and the U.S. appear to see eye to
eye on the next stage. Israel has proven its
determination in carrying out the pullout from Gaza,
and now the Palestinians must implement the required
reforms. The message was clearly spelled out in
telephone calls from Washington to Ramallah in the past
days.... The diplomatic dialogue between Israel and the
U.S. this week indicated mutual satisfaction.... In the
background is the understanding of the political
difficulties Sharon faces in his party.... Even the
issue of settlements is now being mentioned by the
administration in more hushed tones.... Therefore, one
should not expect too much fuss about the building of
the fence in the Ma'aleh Adumim area: the
administration is not going to argue with Israel about
its security needs and its right to defend itself,
[Assistant Secretary of State David] Welch said. The
question is the fence's route, and this must first be
studied. Then if necessary, it can be discussed."

II. "What the Other Hand Is Doing"

Liberal op-ed writer Ofer Shelach commented in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (August 25):
"[The erection of a separation fence encompassing
Ma'aleh Adumim] will create a state of physical
separation that will render impossible most of the
existing ideas for how to solve the question of
Jerusalem and how to create a Palestinian state with
territorial contiguity. The next stage will be to
present the construction plans that will build houses
right up beside the fence and will create a situation
that will be difficult to reverse.... Under the cover
[of disengagement] and against the backdrop of the
public's deep sleep, Sharon swapped ... Greater Israel
for Greater Jerusalem. On the very day when all eyes
were turned to Kfar Darom and Sa-Nur, facts began to be
established on the ground in Jerusalem -- the place
where, if no solution is found, no political
arrangement will ever be achieved between us and the
Palestinians. All this was done far from the eyes of
the public, when a somniferous cabinet voted 'yea'
without knowing for what, and in a way that is destined
yet to cost Israel dearly in blood and money: either
this initiative will be scuttled as a result of
international and legal pressure, as was the case with
the separation fence, or it will be completed and will
create a reality that complicates the achievement of a
political solution. While the Left rose to cheer its
new hero, Sharon took steps to complete the
implementation of his plan, and established facts on
the ground elsewhere. Like an experienced magician he
draws all of the public's attention to his one hand,
assuming that their dull wits will prevent them from
seeing what his other hand is doing."

III. "Israel and Pavlov's Dogs"

Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor, a lecturer
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in Yediot
Aharonot (August 25): "The Palestinians claim today
that Israel's decision to reserve responsibility for
air, sea and land entry into the Gaza Strip rules out
any such recognition by the UN regarding Gaza. For
this reason, it is not certain whether Israel will
receive world legitimacy any time soon. Worse than
that, after the terrible sacrifice Israel made, it
could be criticized in the world and this trend has
already begun -- with the claim that the withdrawal
only made the problem worse, since now Gaza is
imprisoned in an Israeli cage and the occupation is
being done by remote control. In order to nip this
claim in the bud, Israel must allow the Palestinians in
Gaza full control over their border crossing with
Egypt.... The automatic hold on the Gaza Strip has
become, for Israel, a conditioned reflex like that of
Pavlov's dog, which connected the sound of a bell
ringing to the meal he was supposed to receive. Israel
must let go of its hold since the situation has changed
and we have left. That is the meaning of the word
'disengagement' and the possibility of gaining
international legitimacy. As of now Israel is
reserving to itself air and sea supervision of Gaza due
to fear of terrorism, but in everything concerning life
itself, the Gaza Strip should be connected with Egypt
by land and with the entire Arab world in the most free
and complete manner."


IV. "Bush Has Failed in Iraq -- the Compensation Is a
Deportation of Jews"

Nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized (August
25): "U.S. President George Bush 'applauds' Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon for the completion of his work --
the deportation of the Gush Katif Jews. So do [Bush's]
partners in the military coalition that is rolling in
its own blood in Iraq. Bush enjoys that achievement
[the disengagement], which he'll certainly credit to
himself -- as well as the one-on-one understandings he
reached with Ariel Sharon. The U.S. is enduring
countless blows in Iraq, which has turned into one big
slaughterhouse.... Bush also experiences humiliations
from the number one enemy of Christendom and the
Western world -- Al-Qaida.... Israel is the heart of
the nations; when it bleeds, the Western world, too,
will have to take part in its torments."

-------------------------
2. Global War on Terror:
-------------------------
Summary:
--------

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"A vast gulf separates Amman and Cairo on the issue of
border security. That divide must be bridged as soon
as possible."

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

"From Aqaba to Taba"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(August 25): "Only a few dozen kilometers, at most,
separate the Red Sea resort cities of Aqaba in Jordan
and Taba in Sinai. Yet a vast gulf separates Amman and
Cairo on the issue of border security. That divide
must be bridged as soon as possible.... No matter
whether Palestinians or global jihadists are the source
of [terror] threats, they pose serious risks to all
three countries.... With that in mind, one would hope
that all three countries could agree on the need to
clamp down on terrorism at the borders. Unfortunately,
though, that is not always the case -- with Egypt
lagging noticeably.... Egypt could take a lesson from
Jordan, which has been far more reliable in keeping the
peace along its border with Israel.... [And] Amman must
remain vigilant, all the more so since Iraqi Al-Qaida
leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is suspected of trying to
take over his native Jordan.... The challenge of
border security in our region, always acute, is
becoming all the greater as Israel prepares to leave
Gaza altogether. The Israel-Egypt peace treaty may be
tested as never before. Terrorism is a threat that no
country can allow to cross its border."

KURTZER

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