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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.

021109Z Sep 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TEL AVIV 005404

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. Meeting of Israeli and Pakistani Foreign Ministers

2. Mideast

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

All media (lead stories in Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post)
reported on the "historic" meeting between FM Silvan
Shalom and his Pakistani counterpart Mian Khurshid
Mahmood Kasuri in Istanbul. The media reported that
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf initiated the
meeting. Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post say that PM
Sharon and Musharraf may meet in New York later this
month. Israel Radio quoted senior World Jewish
Congress official David Twersky, who has held extended
contacts with Pakistani officials, as saying that a
Pakistani cabinet minister, whom he declined to name,
will visit Israel soon. Ha'aretz reported that
Pakistan's move sparked "condemnation, criticism, and
a little praise from the Arab world." Jerusalem Post
writes that the summit meeting will be dependent on
domestic Pakistani and Arab world reactions to the FMs'
public meeting. Ha'aretz's web site reported that hard-
line Pakistani lawmakers walked out of parliament
Friday to protest the first formal talks between
Pakistan and Israel, as radical Islamic groups planned
rallies at mosques across Pakistan.

Yediot and Maariv banner maneuvers by the right wing to
topple Sharon (see below: Yediot's poll among members
of the Likud's Central Committee). Maariv writes that
the recent attempt to bring down PM Sharon was
initiated by two West Bank settlers and funded by a
Jewish donor from the U.S. Israel Radio quoted a close
associate of MK Binyamin Netanyahu as saying that, if
elected Likud chairman in November, Netanyahu aspires
to topple the government immediately and become interim
PM until the Knesset elections. The station later
cited a denial by Netanyahu's HQ. Ha'aretz's
Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner cites the belief
of Netanyahu's associates that the U.S. administration
has no cause for concern if their man becomes the next
PM.

Jerusalem Post quoted unnamed sources as telling the
newspaper that if Sharon opts to leave the Likud and
runs for election at the head of a new faction, he will
set out a vision for Israel's borders in the West Bank
similar to the route of the security barrier with minor
additions. The newspaper also quoted unspecified
sources as saying that Sharon will indeed quit the
party if its central committee defies him this month
and votes for the leadership contest sought this winter
by Netanyahu and MK Uzi Landau.

Vice PM and Finance Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted as
saying in an interview conducted with Jerusalem Post on
Thursday that Israel has given the U.S. administration
commitments that it will not build between Jerusalem
and Ma'aleh Adumim and that the contested project has
been put on hold indefinitely.

All media reported that on Thursday, Israel and Egypt
signed a detailed agreement providing for the
deployment of 750 Egyptian policemen along the
Philadelphi road. Israel Radio cited a senior defense
source as saying that the move poses no strategic
threat to Israel. Jerusalem Post quoted Hamas leader
Mahmoud Zahar as saying on Thursday that if Israel does
not relinquish control over the Rafah border crossing,
Hamas will launch armed attacks on Israel to force it
out of the area. Jerusalem Post reported on a palpable
decline of the PA in Gaza, where Hamas is winning the
PR campaign.

Maariv reported that GOI sources have confirmed that
King Abdullah II of Jordan will visit Israel next week,
despite previous Jordanian denials.

Yediot reported that Israel secretly opened a
diplomatic-commercial representation in Dubai a few
days ago.

Israel Radio reported that Shalom will meet today with
a senior leader of China's Communist Party to discuss
Iran, the PA, and the weapons exports crisis with the
U.S.

Yediot reported that the Shin Bet has instructed that
Sharon should only travel by helicopter, because of
increasing threats on his life.

All media continued to report on the havoc wreaked by
Hurricane Katrina. Referring to looting, murders, and
hunger in New Orleans, Yediot's front-page headline
reads: "Like in the Third World." Israel Radio
reported that on Thursday, Israel offered to send
hundreds of medical personnel, as well as supplies and
medicine, to the U.S. Ha'aretz invites its readers to
contribute to the United Jewish Communities (UJC)
Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Fund.

Maariv reported on a new security doctrine being
formulated by a team made up of academics, politicians
and security officials and headed by former Justice
Minister Dan Meridor. The team's report, which Maariv
says will be shown soon to the prime minister and
defense minister, allegedly states that there is no
longer any "security significance" in holding onto the
West Bank and Golan Heights. Maariv quoted Meridor as
saying last night: "The document is still being drafted
and it is still too early to talk about the contents.
At this stage there is no statement about the
territories."

Yediot reported that Sharon poured outstanding praise
on Defense Ministry D-G Amos Yaron at a farewell
meeting with him.

Leading media reported that on Wednesday, a Los Angeles
court indicted four members of an Islamic cell who
planned to carry out attacks against synagogues, the
Israeli Consulate-General, El Al, and U.S. military
facilities.

Leading media cited a Justice Ministry announcement on
Thursday that the state prosecution plans to indict all
those arrested during the pullout who are suspected of
serious crime.

A Yediot/Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute) poll conducted
on August 30-31 among members of the Likud's Central
Committee found that the committee would rate prominent
Likud politicians in the following positions in the
party's list for the Knesset elections:
-Uzi Landau: 1st (up from 10th in the original Likud
list of candidates in the 2003 elections); Netanyahu:
4th (up from 10th); Silvan Shalom: 11th (down from
4th); Ariel Sharon: 12th (down from 1st); Shaul Mofaz:
13th (down from 12th); Ehud Olmert: 22nd (up from
33rd); Limor Livnat: 25th (down from 6th); and Omri
Sharon: 40th(down from 27th).

--------------------------------------------- ----------
1. Meeting of Israeli and Pakistani Foreign Ministers:
--------------------------------------------- ----------

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Ariel Sharon's
disengagement plan presented a good opportunity for
renewing efforts to establish ties in the Arab and
Muslim world.... Pakistan was the first to reward
Israel for the Gaza withdrawal."

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"The Muslim and Arab boycott of Israel harms the cause
of Palestine because it conflicts with the two-state
solution on which the establishment of a Palestinian
state is supposedly based."

Dr. Meir Litvak, a senior researcher in the department
of Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University, wrote
in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot:
"Thursday's meeting holds a meaningful message for
other Muslim countries and Muslim societies and gives
legitimacy to Israel from a leading Islamic country."

Dr. Shmuel Bar, a senior research fellow at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in popular, pluralist
Maariv: "The strengthening of Pakistan's moderate image
and even presenting it as advancing the peace process
in the Middle East would help the Pakistanis vis a vis
the Americans."

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

I. "A Reward For Withdrawal"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (September 2): "The
equation was written during the first stages of the
peace process, at the 1991 Madrid Conference: Israel
would gradually end its occupation of the territories
and would receive, in turn, diplomatic recognition and
economic opportunities from the 'outer circle' nations.
The idea was that, in exchange for the territories,
Israel would achieve international acceptance, which
would encourage it to continue the process. The United
States exercised its diplomatic might toward this end,
and Israel exploited its image as having magic powers
in Washington.... Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan
presented a good opportunity for renewing efforts to
establish ties in the Arab and Muslim world. Silvan
Shalom brings up the issue with his U.S. and EU
counterparts at every meeting. For months, aides have
been searching for a breakthrough in Asia, Africa and
the Maghreb. Pakistan was the first to reward Israel
for the Gaza withdrawal."

II. "Pakistan's Play"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(September 2): "Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf
has been quick to deny that yesterday's historic public
meeting between the Pakistani and Israeli foreign
ministers presages the imminent opening of diplomatic
relations.... But the pictures of smiling ministers
Kurshid Kasuri and Silvan Shalom speak louder than a
thousand protestations.... The motives behind this
opening more likely relate to the United States and to
India than they do to Palestine. Gestures toward Israel
are likely seen as an easy way to curry favor with the
U.S. while giving Israel a possible reason to set
limits on its warming military ties to India.... The
Muslim and Arab boycott of Israel harms the cause of
Palestine because it conflicts with the two-state
solution on which the establishment of a Palestinian
state is supposedly based.... Muslim and Arab states
have at least as great an interest, whether narrowly or
broadly defined, in opening ties with Israel as we do
with them. By being among the first, Pakistan may
benefit slightly more than those who follow. But this
is no argument for straggling, because the cost of
being in the rejectionist camp are likely to go up."

III. "Meaningful Message to the Muslim World"

Dr. Meir Litvak, a senior researcher in the department
of Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University, wrote
in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot
(September 2): "The importance of the meeting between
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Pakistani Foreign
Minister Khurshid Kasuri is mainly symbolic, although
we should not make light of the importance of symbols.
Pakistan, the second largest Muslim country in the
world, where Islam is the basis for its national
identity, was hostile to Zionism and to Israel since
the state was established. There is no doubt that
Thursday's meeting holds a meaningful message for other
Muslim countries and Muslim societies and gives
legitimacy to Israel from a leading Islamic country.
This having been said, it is reasonable to assume that
Pakistan's motives for the meeting have more to do with
its relations with the U.S. and the need of General
Pervez Musharraf's regime to earn further American
support.... Even if the foreign ministers' meeting on
Thursday does not herald a strategic change, there is
no question that it is something beneficial and should
be welcomed."

IV. "Target: U.S."

Dr. Shmuel Bar, a senior research fellow at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in popular, pluralist
Maariv (September 2): "What in essence are the
Pakistanis' interests in ties with Israel about? It
turns out that they have quite a few. First and
foremost, Pakistan views Israel as a comfortable and
quick means to win over the heart of the U.S. The
strengthening of Pakistan's moderate image and even
presenting it as advancing the peace process in the
Middle East would help the Pakistanis vis a vis the
Americans and prove that it is worthy of their support
despite its non-democratic regime.... Furthermore,
Pakistan has much interest in curbing military ties
between Israel and its bitter enemy, India. It is also
possible that Pakistan views coordination with Israel
-- also considered a country with a nuclear capability
-- as a way of curbing pressures to make a commitment
not to spread WMD. This is primarily in the wake of
its having been designated as partially responsible for
the Iranian nuclear program. On the other hand, and
despite all these interests, Musharraf must continue to
deal with vocal and aggressive Islamic opposition,
which has already declared the day of recognition of
Israel as a black day in the history of Pakistan.
Which interests and pressures will be the decisive
ones? It is possible that we shall soon know."

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz:
"International support for the [disengagement] plan
depends first of all on the fact that the international
community does not see the disengagement as a slamming
of the door on continuing negotiations with the
Palestinians."

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "[Hard-core
Likudniks and settlers] believe that in the choice
between pressure from the Right and American pressure,
Netanyahu will bend to the Right."

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

I. "What the Security Services Think"

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev
Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(September 2): "The IDF's Intelligence Branch believes
there is now a greater chance that Israel will improve
its security capability, and that international
legitimacy for terror will decline in the wake of the
withdrawal.... International support for the plan
depends first of all on the fact that the international
community does not see the disengagement as a slamming
of the door on continuing negotiations with the
Palestinians, or a subterfuge for transferring settlers
from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. Moreover,
Military Intelligence reminds us that the conflict with
the Palestinians will go on even after we have left the
Gaza Strip, and that this isn't total disengagement,
because part of the economic responsibility for what is
going on with the Palestinians will fall on Israel even
after the disengagement. It is clear that the head of
MI would have preferred that the disengagement be
'unilateral and coordinated' with the Palestinians,
rather than unilateral. And that is what is, in
effect, happening at present, including help from
America and from international bodies."

II. "This Will Be the Last Battle"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (September 2):
"When one talks to distinct right-wingers, religious
and non-religious, one realizes that what motivates
them now is an intense desire for revenge.... It will
sear into the consciousness of all politicians, any
contenders for the crown, the knowledge that anyone
touching their holies, the settlements, the Land of
Israel, has one fate-- demise. What happened to Rabin
one way will happen to Sharon another way. If one
insists, it can be shown that this happened to others:
to Shamir after the Madrid conference, to Netanyahu
after his concessions in Hebron, to Barak after Camp
David. A myth has been created. Sharon must not break
it (for this exact reason the Left should wish for
Sharon's survival, in order to prove to the next
generation of leaders that it is possible to evacuate
territories without losing power).... Distinct right-
wingers who support [Netanyahu] -- the reference is not
to the Knesset members who sat behind him [at his press
conference], each with his own police record, but the
veterans of Herut [the core of Likud] and the settlers
-- are counting on his weakness. They believe that in
the choice between pressure from the Right and American
pressure, Netanyahu will bend to the Right."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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