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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 09 TEL AVIV 005706

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. UN Reform

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

All media led with the speech PM Sharon delivered in
Hebrew to the UN General Assembly on Thursday. The
major media focused on Sharon's conciliatory words, as
he reached out to the Palestinians and said that Israel
is willing to make painful concessions. Sharon said
that Israel respects the Palestinians and has no
aspirations to rule over them. He added: "They are
also entitled to freedom and a national, sovereign
existence in a state of their own." Sharon also spoke
of the deep connection of the Jewish people to the land
of Israel since Biblical times, and about the unbroken
continuity of Jewish settlement. Sharon presented his
red lines, which pertain to Israel's independence and
sovereignty, and its right to live "in full security
and without threats and terror." Sharon talked about
the importance of the separation fence in saving lives.
Sharon also expressed condolences to the people of the
U.S. following the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and
addressed the U.S. President as "my friend, President
George Bush."

Israel Radio quoted PA Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh as
saying that Sharon was trying to make the road map
fail, and to prevent the peace process from moving
forward. The radio quoted Jibril Rajoub, the PA's
National Security Advisor, as saying that Sharon's
address was a collection of lies and that his words
were full of venom. The station says that PA Chairman
[President] Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian PM Ahmed
Qurei have not yet responded to the speech.

All media quoted Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz as saying
on Thursday that in light of the smuggling from Sinai
to the Gaza Strip, Israel will reject the PA's request
to permit its security forces to increase its own
supplies of weapons and ammunition. Mofaz also ordered
heightened security checks at crossing with the Gaza
Strip. The media also quoted Mofaz as saying he will
tell Egypt that the chaos at the border cannot go on.
Leading media reported that the security establishment
is considering bolstering the 230-km-long border with
Egypt.

The media reported that on Thursday, Sharon discussed
with British PM Tony Blair the threat posed by Iran's
nuclear program. In his speech, Sharon said: "Even
today, there are those who sit here as representatives
of a country whose leadership calls to wipe Israel off
the face of the earth, and no one speaks out." The
media reported on a meeting between Iran's President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the FMs of Britain, Germany,
and France, which focused on the matter. Leading media
reported that, referring to the possible investigations
of Israeli officers in the UK, Sharon told Blair that
he hoped that he, a former general, would not be
arrested when visiting the UK.

Major media quoted MK Binyamin Netanyahu as saying that
Sharon's speech represented additional evidence that he
is veering to the Left. Maariv reported that Netanyahu
associates are envisaging for the first time the
possibility of Netanyahu's defeat in the race for Likud
leadership.

Leading media reported that President Bush spoke
Wednesday at a national dinner in Washington that was
the culminating event of the celebration of 350 years
of Jewish life in America. Ha'aretz reported that the
President bestowed the Medal of Honor upon Nazi
concentration camp survivor and Korean War POW Tibor
Rubin, but that he did not mention the "long years when
recognition of the Jew's bravery had been denied."

Ha'aretz, Jerusalem Post, and Israel Radio quoted
Qatari FM Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir Al Thani as saying
that his country is considering establishing diplomatic
relations with Israel even before the foundation of a
Palestinian state. The Qatari FM told reporters that
he wished for a nuclear-free Middle East. The radio
said that, contrary to expectations, no meeting took
place between Sharon and the Emir of Qatar.

Ha'aretz reported that five Jewish families have
recently moved to a building in the Tel Rumeida quarter
of Hebron, which was purchased by residents of the
Jewish settlement in Hebron.

Jerusalem Post reported that Gerhard Jarosch, the
senior Austrian judicial investigator investigating the
flow of funds in the Cyril Kern affair, told the
newspaper that he strongly suspects that Sharon was
given a bribe in 2002.

Ha'aretz cited a Water Commission report as saying that
if the Palestinians go ahead with building a sewage
pipe from the Gaza Strip to the Mediterranean Sea, this
could cripple the desalination plant near Ashkelon,
which is due to be inaugurated at the end of the month.

Ha'aretz reported that U.S. Democratic Party Chair
Howard Dean will come to Israel this weekend for a
weeklong visit initiated by the National Jewish
Democratic Council. Dean's entourage will include
Democratic leaders from Florida, Arizona, and Ohio.

Yated Ne'eman printed a story by the Israeli press
agency Itim, according to which outgoing U.S.
Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer told an assembly of
the Israel Export Institute on Thursday that he is
leaving Israel more optimistic than when he had
arrived. The Ambassador reportedly praised the
behavior of the IDF and settlers during the
disengagement move.


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

Summary:
--------

Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever
Plotker wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "The Prime Minister chose the least expected
place, the UN General Assembly, to give the Likud a
writ of divorce."

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea and diplomatic
correspondent Shimon Shiffer wrote from New York in
Yediot Aharonot (September 16): "Sharon wished to sound
pragmatic, open to compromise and to agreements. That
is also how he sounded. But he included several
statements in his address that his listeners ... found
difficult to swallow."

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote from New York
on page one of popular, pluralist Maariv: "It was
[Sharon] who had spun the dream and it was also he who
conceded that the dream had been shattered."

Nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized: "When the
Prime Minister said he was a proud Jew, it looked as if
he was hesitant about how far to go."

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "Let
us hope that the Palestinians will listen to the
message they received this important week from
President Bush."

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in Ha'aretz:
"The Americans now have an interest in praising and
supporting Sharon.... But even he knows, of course,
that this is a time-out."

Legal commentator Zeev Segal wrote in Ha'aretz: "The
High Court relies on international law (in particular,
the Hague amendments) to justify the authority to build
the fence."

Legal correspondent Dan Izenberg wrote in conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "What is new in Thursday's
decision is that the High Court made clear that the
government was not violating international law by
building a fence inside the West Bank to protect
Israeli settlers.... On the other hand, the court will
make sure that the fence protects the settlers rather
than the settlements."

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

I. "Writ of Divorce to the Likud"

Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever
Plotker wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (September 16): "The Prime Minister chose the
least expected place, the UN General Assembly, to give
the Likud a writ of divorce. The level-headed, moving
and excellent speech that Sharon gave in Hebrew was
aimed completely at the ears of the Center-Left voters.
It did not include a single paragraph of flattery to
his traditional constituency: the Likud Central
Committee members and registered party members.
Sharon's speech, which was laden with statements about
continuing to make painful concessions to the
Palestinians and about their national rights, serves as
conclusive testimony to his move away from the
ideological core of the Likud, his great shift to the
Left and an end to his leadership of the hawkish right
wing camp in Israel.... [The commentators] received a
typical Shimon Peres-style speech: eloquent, well built
and dovish -- a speech with meager diplomatic rewards:
a few pats on the back from Bush, a few empty
statements from Putin and a rather insulting statement
by the president of Pakistan."

II. "Sharon: Palestinians Have Right to State of Their
Own"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea and diplomatic
correspondent Shimon Shiffer wrote from New York in
Yediot Aharonot (September 16): "Sharon wished to sound
pragmatic, open to compromise and to agreements. That
is also how he sounded. But he included several
statements in his address that his listeners, in all
the UN official languages, found difficult to swallow.
One statement touched upon the UN itself.... Sharon
also denounced the UN for the fact that 'no one opens
their mouth' when Iran, a member of the organization,
calls for the destruction of Israel. In his speech,
Iran, and only it, was the enemy. He warned of its
attempts to arm with nuclear weapons. Other difficult
statements touched upon the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict.... He mentioned the integrity of Jerusalem
three times, but did not ignore the Palestinians'
rights: 'The Palestinians also have a right to freedom
and to a sovereign national existence in their own
state.' Sharon appends conditions to this right. Now,
when Israel has left Gaza, a trial period has begun for
the Palestinians, during which they must 'put an end to
terror and its infrastructure, terminate the anarchy of
the gangs and stop the incitement.'"

III. "In Hebrew, Before the Entire World"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote from New York
on page one of popular, pluralist Maariv (September
16): "It was undoubtedly the speech of [Sharon's]
life.... He maneuvered between ... two poles: on the
one hand Jerusalem must be united for all eternity and
the separation fence will be built as fast as possible,
but on the other hand there is a need for compromise,
for the establishment of a Palestinian state, and
extension of a hand in peace -- sincerely.... The
target audience of Sharon's speech was the entire
world, the center of the political map and also the
Likud Central Committee. It was he who had spun the
dream and it was also he who conceded that the dream
had been shattered.... Sharon's speech did not reveal
anything that we did not know. Nevertheless, in that
speech there was something vibrant, something touching,
which we had never heard from him before, perhaps
because this time, for a change, we believed him."

IV. "They Say That Sharon Sometimes Believes to
Himself"

Nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized (September
16): "Our corrupt prime minister ascended the UN stage
on Thursday and delivered an election speech. It was
pretty shallow. Worse, his speech didn't convince any
of his opponents.... The frowns in Sharon's face
exposed his cynicism and what was obvious: that man
doesn't believe in any word he ever uttered. When the
Prime Minister said he was a proud Jew, it looked as if
he was hesitant about how far to go. Then, he
continued by saying that the Land of Israel is our open
Bible -- no less. As if we had forgotten that only
yesterday did we send an army to deport people from
their homes in the same Biblical land."

V. "Land For Carpets"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(September 16): "Knesset Member Binyamin Netanyahu, who
appointed himself (belatedly) as the leader of the
disengagement critics, came up with a childish slogan
for the displays of international support [for Israel]
-- 'carpets for land.' The former prime minister and
foreign minister surely knows that the carpets of the
White House, Kremlin and UN lead to realizing Israel's
most vital strategic interests.... Israel has won the
world's sympathy because it has given up lands it was
holding.... Let us hope that the Palestinians will
listen to the message they received this important week
from President Bush, as he stood beside the Israeli
prime minister in New York. He said Americans would
very much like to say 'Gaza first,' but the situation
on the ground will be the barometer of progress. It is
possible to quibble over the definition of 'order,' but
there are three aspects that are not in dispute --
security, quiet and governance, he said."

VI. "Just Don't Interfere"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in Ha'aretz
(September 16): "[Sharon] asked Bush for political
quiet, so that he can beat his political rivals at
home. Just don't interfere. According to the Israeli
version, Bush agreed.... The Americans now have an
interest in praising and supporting Sharon, so that he
remains in power. The scenes of anarchy in Gaza, and
the violation of the border on the Philadelphi route,
reinforce the Prime Minister's claim that the burden of
proof now lies with the Palestinians. But even he
knows, of course, that this is a time-out, and not a
situation that will become permanent.... [Sharon's
warnings about the Palestinian legislative elections
will create] the next crisis in relations with the PA,
which will cause a major headache for the Americans,
who are anxious to promote democracy in the Middle
East."

VII. "Justices Remain True to the Original
International Law"

Legal commentator Zeev Segal wrote in Ha'aretz
(September 16): "The verdict [of Israel's] High Court
[regarding the security fence] could be seen as an
answer to the different position taken by the
International Court of Justice in The Hague in July
2004. The ICJ issued its legal opinion shortly after
the High Court's first principle ruling on the fence,
and did not refer to it. The High Court of Justice
criticizes the ICJ's opinion, which it claims is based
on partial factual infrastructure, and mainly for
ignoring the terror issue and Israel's security needs.
This approach to the ICJ's legal opinion does not mean
that the High Court totally ignores international law
norms, which it usually does recognize. The High Court
relies on international law (in particular, the Hague
amendments) to justify the authority to build the
fence."

VIII. "ACRI Won Battle, Lost War"

Legal correspondent Dan Izenberg wrote in conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (September 16): "The
Association for Civil Rights in Israel [ACRI] won the
battle but lost the war in the case of [Palestinian
petitioner] Zaharan Mara'be versus the State of Israel
regarding the separation fence built two years ago
around the Alfei Menashe enclave.... But in the broader
sense, it lost the battle to persuade the High Court of
Justice to accept the advisory opinion of the
International Court of Justice, which declared on July
9, 2004 that the separation fence was illegal and
should be torn down because most of it was built inside
the West Bank.... What is new in Thursday's decision is
that the High Court made clear that the government was
not violating international law by building a fence
inside the West Bank to protect Israeli settlers.... On
the other hand, the court will make sure that the fence
protects the settlers rather than the settlements, and
that the government will not be careless -- as it was
in the case of Alfei Menashe -- about how much
Palestinian land it includes in the blocs."

--------------
2. UN Reform:
--------------

Summary:
--------

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"A United Nations that cannot even rationally define
the universal problem of terrorism, or exclude Libya
and Cuba from sitting in judgment of human rights, is a
fatally flawed UN."

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

"Unsalvageable?"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(September 16): "A United Nations that cannot even
rationally define the universal problem of terrorism,
or exclude Libya and Cuba from sitting in judgment of
human rights, is a fatally flawed UN. Judging from the
dynamics that surrounded [the] drafting of the outcome
document, the UN remains largely at the mercy of
nations for whom aggression is a relative term and a
legitimate diplomatic tool, one that in fact they will
gladly continue deploying at the UN itself, as they
have in the past. It would actually be
counterproductive to push for a more effective UN, so
long as it remains, on fundamental matters of peace and
security, pointed in the wrong direction."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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