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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.

141024Z Oct 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TEL AVIV 006075

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. Syria

2. Mideast

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

The three major Hebrew-language newspapers bannered the
issue of the fate of the Syrian regime following the
"mysterious" suicide of Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi
Kanaan on Wednesday. Yediot reported that over the
past few weeks, U.S. administration representatives
have held talks with senior officials from Arab
countries to find out who could replace President
Bashar Assad as Syria's leader (the newspaper banners:
"U.S.: End of Assad Regime Near"). Maariv bannered
Assad's comment to CNN's Christiane Amanpour that he is
"not afraid of America," and highlighted his remark in
the interview: "We don't think this government in
Israel is serious about the peace process. So, in the
near future, we don't see any hope. But in the long
term, there must be peace. There is no other option."
Ha'aretz quoted FM Shalom as saying on Wednesday that
he hoped Kanaan's suicide would not make him a
scapegoat for Assad. Ha'aretz quoted Shalom as saying:
"The Syrians feel the noose tightening around their
necks," Shalom said. "The [UN investigator Detlev]
Mehlis report is closing in on direct Syrian
involvement in [Rafiq] Hariri's murder."

Jerusalem Post led with an AP story about the bloody
standoff between Islamic hostage-takers and Russian
security forces in the Russian city of Nalchik.

Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra was quoted as
saying in an interview with Jerusalem Post that extreme
far-right activists still seek to plan attacks against
PM Sharon or the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem Post cited statistics released by the PA,
according to which the number of Palestinians killed in
internal strife is higher than those killed by the IDF
in the first five months of 2005. The ministry points
out that Fatah's armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades, was largely responsible for the continued
state of lawlessness and anarchy.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that Vice Premier
Shimon Peres will met with chief PA negotiator Saeb
Erekat at his Tel Aviv offices today to discuss
operating procedures for the Rafah border crossing
between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Ha'aretz quoted a
diplomatic source in Jerusalem as saying that Israel
has not yet taken a position on a plan prepared by
Egypt and the World Bank, according to which the PA and
Egypt would jointly operate the crossing. Israel Radio
quoted Jibril Rajoub, the PA's National Security
Adviser, as saying that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
will travel to Egypt to discuss the border issue with
senior Egyptian officials.

Hatzofe reported that citing anarchy in the PA, Israel
has secretly allowed the Palestinian forces in Tulkarm
to carry Kalashnikov rifles.

Hatzofe reported that the "National Palestine
Solidarity Committee" has written to Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, demanding that the U.S. release
Professor Sami Al-Arian and three other persons, who
are on trial in Florida for supporting terror.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was quoted as saying in
an interview held in Kabul with Yediot's Orly Azolai
that he would be pleased to meet Sharon.

Jerusalem Post reported that despite an American Jewish
Congress press release on Tuesday saying that Pakistan
will accept aid from Israel and American Jewish groups,
Jerusalem still has not heard from Islamabad whether it
is interested in Israeli assistance.

Ha'aretz printed a Reuters story, according to which
some U.S. Protestant churches are turning their backs
on the idea of dumping investments in companies
profiting from Israel's West Bank occupation.

Maariv lengthily reviewed "Kill! Kill! Kill!," a book
published in Paris by former Staff Sergeant Jimmy
Massey, a 12-year Marine veteran, in which he accuses
the U.S. of genocide in Iraq. Maariv notes that
American publishers "did not hurry" to print Massey's
book.
Alexander Haig, who served as the late U.S. president
Richard Nixon's chief of staff during the Yom Kippur
War, was quoted as saying in an interview with Maariv
that U.S. intelligence "failed disgracefully" at the
time.

Leading media cited the Health Ministry's assessment
that 3,000 Israelis could die from avian influenza if
the epidemic reaches the country.

Ha'aretz published the results of a survey conducted
early this week among Labor Party members by the Amanet
Group's Dialogue Institute:
-"Should Labor quit the cabinet by the end of 2005, or
remain in it until the 2006 elections?" Stay: 76.5
percent; quit: 15.8 percent; 7 percent were undecided.

Maariv printed the results of a TNS/Teleseker Polling
Institute survey conducted this week:
-"If elections were held today, whom would you vote
for?" (in Knesset seats - in parentheses: results of
2003 Knesset elections): Likud (headed by Sharon): 38
(40); Labor (headed by Peres): 24 (22); Shinui: 9 (15);
National Union 8 (4); Yisrael Beiteinu: 6 (3); Meretz:
6 (6); National Religious Party: 4 (6); United Torah
Judaism: 5 (5); Arab parties: 8 (8).

----------
1. Syria:
----------

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Israel will try to
avoid being drawn into the crisis of its northern
neighbor."

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote on
page one of Ha'aretz: "If any government directive to
eliminate Hariri existed, Kanaan certainly knew about
it."

Arab affairs correspondent Jackie Hoogie wrote in
popular, pluralist Maariv: "Hariri and Kanaan have
taken to their graves many secrets related to the 29-
year-long Syrian chapter in Lebanon."

Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman wrote in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "Israel, say
sources close to the issue, is pleased with the status
quo and with a situation in which Assad is under
constant measured pressure."

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


I. "Assad Is Good For the Golan"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (October 14): "The
United States, which in the past keenly supported the
talks with Syria, has let it go in recent years. In
the present state of affairs, Assad is good for the
Golan and he also preserves the silence on the northern
border. He conducts his war with Israel indirectly, by
sponsoring Hamas and other terror organizations'
headquarters in Damascus.... Israel will try to avoid
being drawn into the crisis of its northern neighbor.
It will try to delay any negotiations on the Golan
Heights for as long as possible, but it will also be
careful not to contribute to any serious upheavals in
Damascus that could endanger the quiet on its own
northern border."

II. "Who Benefits From Kanaan's Death?"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote on
page one of Ha'aretz (October 14): "[Syrian Interior
Minister Ghazi] Kanaan knew the history of Syrian
control in Lebanon, under both the late president Hafez
Assad and his son Bashar, and carried the facts in his
head and in his documents. Bashar appointed him
interior minister and internal security chief and if
any government directive to eliminate Hariri existed,
Kanaan certainly knew about it.... Will Kanaan's death
affect the probe of Hariri's murder? That depends on
where the inquiry stands.... If the commission intends
to question senior Syrian officials in the next two
weeks on the basis of information from Kanaan, it may
now hit a brick wall, as those suspects can pass the
blame to the dead Kanaan."

III. "Assad's Gain"

Arab affairs correspondent Jackie Hoogie wrote in
popular, pluralist Maariv (October 14): "It is widely
believed that Ghazi Kanaan was the most serious threat
to Assad among the Alawites.... Syria withdrew from
Lebanon half a year ago; since then, the Lebanese scene
has not stopped bleeding from bombings and bodies.
Hariri and Kanaan have taken to their graves many
secrets related to the 29-year-long Syrian chapter in

SIPDIS
Lebanon. The way they disappeared teaches that the
presence in Lebanon may have been Syrian, but the
tragedy was of a Greek nature."

IV. "Solving the Riddle of Bashar Assad"

Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman wrote in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (October 14):
"The lack of alternative to Bashar Assad leads the U.S.
to a policy of preferring 'behavior change,' as a
senior administration official put it, instead of
'regime change.' The U.S. is looking to coerce him
into cooperating, rather than trying to overthrow him.
The Israeli view, as it is presented by diplomats to
the U.S. administration, is rather surprising. While
publicly Israel criticizes the regime in Syria, in
private Israeli representatives have made it clear to
the U.S. that regime change of any kind in Damascus is
not in Israel's interest. Israel, say sources close to
the issue, is pleased with the status quo and with a
situation in which Assad is under constant measured
pressure. Just enough pressure to make him cautious
about his moves, but not too much so as not to push him
into a corner that might lead him to take desperate
actions against Israel, either in the Golan Heights or
along the Lebanese border."

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

Summary:
--------
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "An
Arab country, Qatar, is helping to strengthen the bonds
between the State of Israel and its Arab minority."

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


"Qatar's Stadium"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(October 14): "The USD 6-million donation offered by
Qatar to the municipality of [the Israeli-Arab town of]
Sakhnin will be enough to complete construction of the
local stadium, with change left over. This is the
stadium that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised to
build a year and a half ago, after Sakhnin's soccer
team won the State Cup. The donation will turn the
stadium into a unique Arab-Israeli project, the fruit
of open cooperation, not between Israeli and Arab
individual business people but rather between
governments.... If in the past, the popular slogan
spoke of Israeli Arabs as a bridge between the country
and the Arab states, it now appears that the
established order has been turned on its head: an Arab
country, Qatar, is helping to strengthen the bonds
between the State of Israel and its Arab minority. The
need of Israeli-Arab institutions for aid from Arab
states mainly because of their low ranking on the
Israeli government's list of priorities should not
diminish the significance of Qatar's action.... In its
games at home and abroad, Bnei Sakhnin [the town's
soccer team] represents Israel, not Qatar or any other
Arab state, and its fans are Israeli citizens. This is
how they are seen in Arab countries, whose attitude
toward Israel is determined not by Israel's policy
regarding its Arab population but rather by its policy
toward the Palestinians in the territories. This
innovation, where for the first time ever an Arab
country has taken a clear interest in Israeli citizens
based on apolitical, altruistic interests rather than
political ones, brings with it an additional blessing.
It obligates Israel, at least in terms of Qatar, to
make amends on its policies, not only toward the
Palestinians but also toward the Israeli Arabs."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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