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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.

291033Z Aug 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TEL AVIV 005302

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. U.S.-Israel Relations

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

All media highlighted the suicide bombing that occurred
outside Beersheva's central bus station on Sunday
morning. Two security guards were seriously wounded
and 61 other people were treated for shock. Israel
Radio reported that the suicide bomber has not been
identified, but that Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa
Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.
Leading media highlighted the fact that southern Israel
is not protected by a security fence. This morning,
the electronic media reported that an IDF soldier was
lightly wounded when Palestinians opened fire on the
car in which he was driving in the Gaza Strip.
Ha'aretz says that Egyptian intelligence chief Omar
Suleiman, who is arriving today for a visit to Israel
and the PA, will try to restore the calm.

Leading media reported that during the weekend,
President Bush demanded that the Palestinians respond
to Israel's disengagement by cracking down on
terrorism. The media say that this is the President's
strongest such statement since the withdrawal.

On Sunday, Ha'aretz reported that despite the signing
of a memorandum of understanding between Israel and the
U.S. to end the dispute over Israel's sale to China of
spare parts for attack drones, U.S. sanctions continue.

Speaking on Israel Radio this morning, FM Silvan Shalom
said that Israel would consider using the disengagement
as a positive model for future moves, should long-term
calm be achieved with the Palestinians.

All media reported that on Sunday, the cabinet approved
the agreement with Egypt to deploy some 750 Egyptian
border guards on the Philadelphi route between the Gaza
Strip and Sinai. Eighteen ministers voted for the
agreement and only two against: the Likud's Limor
Livnat and Tzachi Hanegbi. On Sunday, Yediot and
Maariv reported that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
might visit Israel in November.

On Sunday, leading media reported that on Saturday,
Hamas released a video showing bomb-maker Mohammed
Deif, who tops the list of militants wanted by Israel,
celebrating the Gaza Strip pullout as a victory for
armed resistance and urging the destruction of Israel.
Today, Jerusalem Post quoted sources in Ramallah and
the Gaza Strip as saying that tensions are mounting
between the PA and Hamas following the release of the
tape.

Citing AP, Ha'aretz reported that Egyptian FM Ahmed Ali
Abu el-Gheit turned down a request from the
International Atomic Energy Agency to sign the
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, saying Israel
should first join a separate agreement calling for a
halt to the spread of nuclear weapons.

Maariv reported that the defense establishment has
decided that 15 settler families that reside in
Hebron's wholesale market will be forcibly evacuated by
the end of the year.

On Sunday, Maariv cited a military document
investigating Thursday's killing of five Palestinians
by IDF troops in Tulkarm. The document reported on
irregularities, including the fact that a Palestinian
youth was killed mistakenly. However, Maariv cited the
IDF as saying that the operation was conducted
properly.

Yediot reported that a rocket-like device has recently
been found near PM Sharon's Sycamore Ranch. The
newspaper reported that the Shin Bet and police have
not determined the factors behind the device.

The leading news web site Ynet reported that the
increase in the West Bank settler population is mostly
a result of jump in the number of residents in ultra-
Orthodox communities, home to about quarter of all
settlers, who seek cheaper accommodation.

All media reported that Sharon's son, Knesset Member
Omri Sharon, was indicted Sunday on counts of flouting
campaign finance laws, forging corporate documents,
perjury, and various offenses related to the 1999 Likud
primaries. The state prosecution has requested that
Omri Sharon serve time in prison.

Ha'aretz reported that the head of Israel's National
Security Council, Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, has
advised PM Sharon that he intends to resign from his
post by the end of the year.

Yediot on Sunday presented what it says is the PA's
development plan for "Gaza 2015." On Sunday, Hatzofe
reported that Palestinians have assigned the names of
"Arafat" and "Yassin" to abandoned Gush Katif
settlements.

Jerusalem Post quoted chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat
as saying Sunday that the PA will continue to work
toward moving Yasser Arafat's tomb to the Al Aqsa
Mosque in Jerusalem. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mark
Regev was quoted as saying in an interview with
Jerusalem Post that, from the Israeli perspective, the
issue is not on the agenda.

On Sunday, Yediot reported that Danny Ayalon, Israel's
Ambassador to the U.S., refuses to release to the
State's Attorney's Office recordings of senior Foreign
Ministry officials that revealed that FM Shalom and his
wife demanded that Ayalon's personal assistant be
dismissed because he didn't arrange a meeting between
them and Madonna.

All media reported that in Frankfurt on Sunday,
prominent Israeli author Amos Oz received the Goethe
Prize, which some media described as second in
importance to the Nobel Prize. Oz, who talked about
the painful disengagement from the Gaza Strip and
northern West Bank, said that Germany and the rest of
Europe must lend a supportive hand to Israel and to
peace, without coming out for or against either Israel
or the Palestinians.

Jerusalem Post reported that 20 Bedouin families -- all
Israeli citizens -- from the Gaza Strip village of
Dahaniyeh, who have assisted the defense establishment,
will move today to new homes in Tel Arad, in the
eastern Negev.

Maariv reported that the IDF has dismantled the unit of
the IDF Intelligence Branch that collected information
about Jews. (It was established ahead of the
disengagement.)

The advance of Hurricane Katrina toward New Orleans
dominated this morning's broadcasts in the electronic
media.

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

Summary:
--------

Liberal op-ed writer Ofer Shelach opined in the
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "The ... insight [that] only a light at the
end of the Palestinian tunnel, a state in the making
with Israeli support, could help reduce terror -- this
insight has not yet dawned on the decision makers in
Jerusalem."

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"Having praised the terrorists to the hilt and credited
them with pushing Israel out of Gaza, Abbas continues
to campaign resolutely to make sure they are armed to
the teeth."

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz:
"Egypt needs this new agreement to succeed, which is
why President Hosni Mubarak acquiesced to Israel's last-
minute request to add a new clause to the agreement."

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar wrote in Ha'aretz: "The
time for indulging [Sharon] is now over. Sharon's good
deeds will be counted in his favor, while his bad deeds
will be chalked up against him."

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

I. "There Is a Connection, There Is No Connection"

Liberal op-ed writer Ofer Shelach opined in the
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (August 29): "Common sense -- and public
Palestinian sources, such as public opinion polls --
say that the Palestinians have learned from
disengagement that Israel understands nothing but
force. What other conclusion could be drawn, after
years in which every Israeli administration declared
that there would be no negotiations or territorial
concessions under fire?.... However, no one can say
whether this indeed brought about an increase in
terror, and certainly no one can prove a connection
with the terror attack in Beersheva or any other local
action.... The change can only be made by a
[Palestinian] government that is capable of giving its
people hope -- and a clear Israeli message of
supporting this hope. Unilateral steps, which the
Prime Minister insists to this day constitute a
punishment to the Palestinians (although no one besides
him understands what kind of punishment this is), do
not contribute a thing to creating this kind of body on
the other side. Israel has long since relinquished its
habit of bombing PA targets after terror attacks,
perhaps because the absurdity of these steps was
painfully obvious and perhaps because there were no PA
targets left to bomb. But the opposite insight -- only
a light at the end of the Palestinian tunnel, a state
in the making with Israeli support, could help reduce
terror -- this insight has not yet dawned on the
decision makers in Jerusalem."

II. "Hudna, Shmudna"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(August 29): "Suicide bombing isn't an individual
undertaking; it is the culmination of a carefully
orchestrated effort. The bomber is the agent of an
entire terror infrastructure. It is this
infrastructure that the Palestinian Authority has been
called upon to dismantle, time and again.... Abbas
promised just prior to yesterday's Beersheva blast that
the truce he committed the Palestinian side to long ago
-- a 'hudna,' which was in fact never genuinely
enforced -- would be of unlimited duration....
Meanwhile, having praised the terrorists to the hilt
and credited them with pushing Israel out of Gaza,
Abbas continues to campaign resolutely to make sure
they are armed to the teeth. This is the dangerous
subtext of his demands that Israel forfeit all controls
on incoming land, air and sea traffic into Gaza....
Were he sincere about eradicating terror he'd have put
Hamas master bomb-maker Muhammad Deif behind bars
instead of allowing him to remain at large within his
fiefdom to dispatch taped messages exhorting
Palestinians to greater bloodshed in order to wrest
Jaffa, Safed, Nazareth and Ashkelon from Israel.
Deif's in-your-face harangues are emblematic of what is
wrong with the PA."

III. "Egypt Needs Success"

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(August 28): "The uniqueness of the Philadelphi
agreement with the Egyptians lies not in the deployment
of 750 Egyptian border guards along the 14-kilometer
stretch between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Rather, it
lies in the direct involvement of Egypt in Palestinian-
Israeli security, largely with the aim of preventing
the activity of Islamic extremist groups that could
spill over from Gaza into Egypt.... In the past,
Egypt's involvement in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
consisted mainly of giving advice and criticizing
Israel. Egypt needs this new agreement to succeed,
which is why President Hosni Mubarak acquiesced to
Israel's last-minute request to add a new clause to the
agreement.... A formula was found that indirectly deals
with a prohibition against selling or giving Egyptian
weaponry to the PA."

IV. "An Insufficient Remedy"

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar wrote in Ha'aretz
(August 29): "The disengagement from Gaza was a
necessary but insufficient remedy for the prevention of
a binational reality, if not a binationalist-religious
one. A state where 40 percent of the residents under
its control are not Jewish cannot be called a Jewish
state. The disengagement plan justifiably gave Sharon
parliamentary immunity against initiatives of the
extreme right to foil the pullout of the civilians and
the soldiers who risked their lives needlessly. The
time for indulging him is now over. Sharon's good
deeds will be counted in his favor, while his bad deeds
will be chalked up against him."

--------------------------
2. U.S.-Israel Relations:
--------------------------

Summary:
--------

Senior Likud member and former ambassador to the U.S.
Zalman Shoval wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot: "China's accelerated economic growth
is causing an increase in demand for Middle East oil
and more active political activity by Beijing in our
region -- a reality that Washington cannot ignore."

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

"Friendship Dependent on Black Gold"

Senior Likud member and former ambassador to the U.S.
Zalman Shoval wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (August 29): "Those who want to, can
spot certain clouds that have recently appeared in the
blue skies of Israel's relations with the U.S. For
example, the U.S. administration has delayed its
announcement of the 'disengagement grant' -- and it was
said that the proposed sum will reach half of what was
requested by Israel. Is this a diplomatic step hinting
at American expectations for the post-disengagement
stage -- or perhaps 'merely' further proof that Israel
has not yet learned the complex rules of requests for
special aid from the Americans?.... But what should
raise more in-depth thought on our part are possible
trends in U.S. foreign policy for the long term. The
name of the game is oil. If Washington had hopes that
its military victory in Iraq would assure an orderly
supply of the black gold, those were disproved.
Moreover: China's accelerated economic growth is
causing an increase in demand for Middle East oil and
more active political activity by Beijing in our region
-- a reality that Washington cannot ignore.... In the
present situation, greater weight should be given to
the opinion that after the abandonment of Gaza, we
should actually strengthen our hold on the settlement
blocs in Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank]. What
will the Americans say? There will probably be
criticism, but we may have to remind them that we hold
an explicit commitment by President Bush, with the
support of both houses of Congress, which means that
these blocs will remain in Israel's hands."

CRETZ

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