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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.

031155Z Oct 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TEL AVIV 005945

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


Please note: no Tel Aviv Media Reaction report Tuesday-
Wednesday, October 4-5, 2005, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New
Year) holiday.

--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

Mideast

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

Leading media (banner in Maariv: "Positive Signal From
Abu Mazen") reported that, after weeks of lack of
contact, PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas called
PM Sharon to congratulate him upon the occasion of the
Jewish New Year. Yediot led with comments made by
Sharon in a holiday interview with the newspaper: "Next
[Jewish] Year We'll Make a Giant Step Toward Peace."
Ha'aretz quoted a high-ranking GOI source as saying,
after the telephone call between the two leaders, that
Sharon will meet Abbas before the latter's trip to
Washington on October 20. Other media filed similar
reports. Talking on Israel Radio in a pre-Jewish New
Year interview this morning, Vice PM and Acting Finance
Minister Ehud Olmert stated his belief that in the
coming year Israel would have to expand a "path that
could lead to significant advancements toward peace."

On Sunday, Ha'aretz and other media (banners in the
ultra-Orthodox press) quoted Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice as saying on Friday that Hamas cannot
remain an armed organization and participate in the
political process in the PA. However, the newspaper
also quoted Secretary Rice as saying that the
Palestinians must be given time to arrange their
internal political affairs. Several media cited the
GOI's satisfaction over Secretary Rice's remarks.
During the weekend, the media noted that although Fatah
won more seats than Hamas in the PA's municipal
elections on Thursday, Hamas was victorious in the
larger communities. On Sunday, Jerusalem Post quoted
Palestinian sources in Gaza City as saying that Egypt
has decided to host another round of talks between the
Palestinian factions to discuss extending the
unofficial truce with Israel.

On Sunday, Hatzofe reported that one month ago, Foreign
Ministry officials drafted a "road map to the Roadmap."
The report allegedly proposes concessions on the issues
of Palestinian prisoners and crossing points, and
assesses that there will be no U.S. pressure on Israel
after the EU presents its own demands.

In Ha'aretz's lead story, GOI sources are quoted as
saying that, in recent conversations with their Israeli
counterparts, senior American officials have expressed
interest in Israel's assessments of Syrian President
Bashar Assad's possible successors, asking who Israel
thought could replace him and still maintain Syria's
stability. The newspaper quoted U.S. officials as
saying that their impression from those conversations
was that Israel would prefer to have a weakened Assad,
vulnerable to international pressure, remain in power,
and that it is unenthusiastic about the possibility of
a regime change in Syria. Ha'aretz writes that the
Israelis' impression was that the United States' main
concern is the flow of terrorists into Iraq via Syria,
rather than the threat posed by the Syrian-backed
Hizbullah organization in Lebanon. The newspaper says
that both the U.S. and Israel are awaiting the result
of the investigation into the assassination of former
Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri, and will not decide what do
to about Syria until the findings have been published.
Ha'aretz quoted the GOI sources as saying that Israel
expects the conclusions to prove extremely embarrassing
for Syria and put Assad's regime in a difficult
situation.

Leading media reported that three Palestinians were
killed and dozens were wounded on Monday in clashes
between PA and Hamas militants in Gaza.

On Sunday, the major Hebrew-language media led with a
warning by the security services that terrorist
organizations plan to attack Israeli tourists in the
Sinai during the holiday season beginning this week.
Today, leading media reported that hundreds of Israelis
have returned from the Sinai and that thousands of
others have canceled their trips there.

Maariv reported that on Sunday, a senior Iranian
delegation met in Damascus with the heads of the
rejectionist Palestinian organizations for a discussion
on the "struggle against the enemies -- the U.S. and
Israel." Today, Israel Radio reported on talks between
the Iranian delegation and the highest levels of the
Syrian government.

On Sunday, Maariv reported that in recent contacts with
the U.S., Israel has demanded that the activity of
UNIFIL in southern Lebanon be reduced, due to Israel's
"harsh disappointment" about its achievements.

Jerusalem Post reported that South African businessman
Cyril Kern, believed to have served as a conduit for a
suspected bribe given to Sharon, has recently been
questioned by investigators from the South African
National Prosecution Authority, who have allegedly
received new evidence from Kern.

During the weekend, all media reported that at least 25
people were killed and over 100 were wounded in a
series of bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali on
Saturday.

Leading media reported that the IDF will open a
Military Police investigation into the killing on
Friday of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy in Nablus.

Jerusalem Post quoted one of the aides of Ahmed Jibril,
the head of the PFLP-Popular Front, as saying on Sunday
that Jibril is planning to move from Damascus to the
Gaza Strip.

Former Defense Ministry DG Amos Yaron was quoted in an
interview with Yediot as saying that the U.S. owes him
an apology, but he doubts whether "high-ranking
officials at the most powerful defense department in
the world will openly admit to having erred regarding
officials in a small country like Israel."

On Sunday, Yediot reported that the Ministry of
Construction and Housing is investigating the
disappearance of 400 mobile homes in the West Bank.
The state had spent 34 million shekels (approx. USD 7.4
million) on the trailers, which were transferred to
settler communities.

On Sunday, Ha'aretz reported that Jennifer Miller, 24,
the daughter of former U.S. diplomat Aaron David
Miller, has just written a book entitled "Inheriting
the Holy Land -- An American's Search for Hope in the
Middle East."

On Sunday, Jerusalem Post reprinted a Washington Post
feature on Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Karen
Hughes.

Ha'aretz (English Ed.) and other media published a paid
ad for a concert to be held in Tel Aviv Saturday night
"with the support of the Office of Public Affairs, U.S.
Embassy, Tel Aviv" in memory of Daniel Pearl, the U.S.
journalist kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in 2002.

--------
Mideast:
--------

Summary:
--------

Columnist and TV celebrity Yair Lapid wrote on page one
of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "I'm
telling you it will be a good year.... The
disengagement is behind us. The fratricidal civil war
was cancelled for lack of evidence. The primaries will
reach us with a fashionable delay."

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "We
should demand that [Sharon] apply his belated
diplomatic understanding without winking or playing for
time.... When a politician leads rather than is
dragged, his chances of victory increase."

Arab affairs commentator Danny Rubinstein wrote in
Ha'aretz: "An exclusively military campaign would not
help. On the contrary, it would weaken Fatah and Abu
Mazen and would fortify his opponents."

Security and intelligence affairs commentator Amit
Cohen wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv: "The next few
days will prove which side [the PA or Hamas] is more
determined, who is more hungry for victory."

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

I. "It All Depends On Us"
Columnist and TV celebrity Yair Lapid wrote on page one
of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (October
3): "I'm telling you it will be a good year.... It will
be good because we so much want it to be good.... The
disengagement is behind us. The fratricidal civil war
was cancelled for lack of evidence. The primaries will
reach us with a fashionable delay. It has been a long
time since there was such a hunger for something good.
The Palestinians, as usual, are nothing to write home
about, but there is some movement even on that front.
The economy is recovering.... The most popular Israeli
leader in our times, Bill Clinton, invented the method.
He inherited an America which was depressed and in the
doldrums, and he spent the next two years saying 'look
what a wonderful country we have, look how strong and
beautiful and successful we are. We are unbeatable.'
The economy recovered first, followed by national
pride. The psychological subterfuge worked like a
charm. And admit it -- we too have a little charm. As
the number 2 man in the Chinese government said: 'We
come to you because the Jews are the most clever people
in the world.' A billion Chinese can't be wrong. We
are smart and gifted, and we have built in the Third
World a wily western country that is sometimes entitled
-- let's say at [Jewish] New Year -- to be proud of
itself too. It's not only pleasant. It's also a good
technique to help us to live well. So believe me, it
will be a good year, if we only want it enough."

II. "The Year of the Turnabout"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(October 3): "Many years were wasted until Sharon --
the leading provocateur against the left, the man who
torpedoed every attempt to stop construction in the
settlements, and extracted budgets from every nook and
cranny of every ministry in which he served in order to
nurture this unnecessary enterprise, the man who stood
in the forefront of those who incited against Yitzhak
Rabin and the Oslo Accords -- reached this conclusion
himself. There is no point in demanding regret or soul-
searching over those lost years, but we should demand
that he apply his belated diplomatic understanding
without winking or playing for time.... This was the
year of the turnabout, the year of the disengagement,
and the year of the fence.... The question of what
Sharon will do in the coming months is a political
one.... When a politician leads rather than is dragged,
his chances of victory increase."

III. "Helping Hamas"

Arab affairs commentator Danny Rubinstein wrote in
Ha'aretz (October 3): "Hamas clearly is the ascendant
power among the Palestinian public. The movement is
deeply rooted in public life.... Mass arrests such as
those of last weekend, and the targeted assassinations,
of course, make Hamas move backward, and strengthen its
extremist wing. Since it is a movement that has won
the admiration and respect of the masses, Israel's
struggle against it must not take on a solely military
character. An exclusively military campaign would not
help. On the contrary, it would weaken Fatah and Abu
Mazen and would fortify his opponents."

IV. "Inevitable Conflict"

Security and intelligence affairs commentator Amit
Cohen wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (October 3):
"Senior Palestinian officials admit that Hamas is
better equipped than most of the security agencies....
Therefore the aspiration of the heads of these agencies
was to rehabilitate their forces quickly, to rebuild
the command structure, to recruit new personnel, and --
most important -- to obtain arms and ammunition. Only
after this had been achieved did they intend to go to
war. But the Palestinian Authority was overtaken by
events. The explosion at the Hamas demonstration in
[the Gaza refugee camp of] Jabalya, the inflammatory
rhetoric of Hamas, the Israeli military operation and
the way in which Hamas backed down, led the Palestinian
Authority to conclude that it was time to tighten the
rope a little. A few days ago the Palestinian police
received a clear order to arrest every armed person who
was not in uniform. On Sunday, in contrast to many
times in the past, an attempt was made to implement the
decision on the ground, even at the price of a
conflict. Hamas, for its part, proved once again that
it is not afraid of a fight, so long as it is fighting
only the Palestinian Authority, not the whole of Fatah.
The next few days will prove which side is more
determined, who is more hungry for victory."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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