Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Search

 

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

260837Z Oct 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TEL AVIV 006186

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:
--------------------------------

Mideast

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

All media stories follow the Qassam attacks from Gaza
and the IDF's retaliation over the past two days. The
Qassam fire came following the killing of Luai Saadi,
the commander of Islamic Jihad's armed wing in the West
Bank on Sunday. Saadi was responsible for two suicide
bombing attacks in Natanya and Tel Aviv this year,
causing the death of 1- Israelis. Islamic Jihad
spokesman responded with threats of "painful revenge"
of Saadi's death. A total of six rockets were fired
from northern Gaza strip into Israel, causing neither
casualties nor damage. The last of these rockets was
fired last night.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

All media reported on President Bush's speech at U.S.
Air Force Base, accusing Syria of enabling terror and
radical Islam.

Leading media intensively covered Secretary Rice's
remarks in a joint press availability with the Canadian
Foreign minister, on issues involving crossing between
Israel and the PA, and the freedom of movement with in
the West bank, which would facilitate the economic
programs initiated by the Wolfensohn plan and the G-8.

Ha'aretz and other media reported that an Israeli
aircraft fired at least one missile at an open field in
the northern Gaza Strip early Wednesday, about two
hours after Palestinian militants launched a homemade
rocket into the Negev town of Sderot, but caused no
damage or injury. The air strikes, which landed in the
Beit Hanun area, caused no injuries nor damage, Israel
Radio reported. An IDF source said the strikes were
"warning shots" into an open area from where Qassam
rockets were launched in an effort to prevent further
attacks. The PA said Tuesday it had deployed troops to
areas in northern Gaza to stop rocket fire into Israel.
Unnamed Israeli officials are cited as pointing a
finger at Damascus, blaming Syria for encouraging
Palestinian attacks.

IDF troops arrested three wanted Tanzim and Islamic
Jihad militants in the West Bank before dawn Wednesday,
IDF Radio reported.


Ha'aretz carries an extensive interview with Dr.
Mahmoud al-Zahar, HAMAS leader in the Gaza Strip, who
says his organization "will increase the number of
kidnappings of Israelis if Israel does not release
Palestinian prisoners." He added that the group will
not extend its participation in a cease-fire among
Palestinian organizations beyond the end of 2005, if
the PA reneges on its promise to hold elections in
January. Al-Zahar stated that the present cease-fire
is not a change of position, noting that though "there
is Palestinian consensus regarding the 1967 borders and
some people think this is a strategic alternative and
the end of the story, Hamas regards these borders only
as a stage in the struggle."

Ma'ariv and other media report that Defense Minister
Mofaz is leaving this morning for Egypt, where he will
meet with President Mubarak and other officials. While
there, Mofaz will raise issues such as security
arrangements along the border and attempts to prevent
HAMAS from taking part in PA elections. Having settled
differences between them, Mofaz and Shim'on Peres
devided responsibility over the Gaza crossings so that
the defense establishment is in charge of the land
crossings from the Gaza Strip to Israel and Egypt,
while Peres' office will be in charge of the Gaza-West
Bank transportation project, the seaport, and regional
development.


In a related story, Kol israel and Ha'aretz Internet
edition reported that ahead of the visit, MK Yuval
Steinitz (Likud), chairman of the Knesset Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee, called on Defense
Minister Shaul Mofaz on Wednesday to tell the Egyptians
that Cairo was not meeting its obligation to keep
Palestinians from smuggling weapons into the Gaza
Strip. "Egypt is, in effect, assisting the
strengthening of Hamas, not just regarding Israel,"
said Steinitz.


Ha'aretz reports that U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice suggested Tuesday that Israel must
loosen controls at border crossings to allow free
passage for Palestinians and economic development in
areas that would one day be an independent Palestinian
state. She did not specifically call on Israel to
change its border policies, but did not dispute the
findings of envoy James Wolfensohn that Israel was
stalling in the restoration of movement across the
borders.


Ha'aretz reported that Israel is worried about possible
new Russia-Syria arms deals. Israel has expressed
concern over Russia's intention to sign new arms deals
with Syria, following the already completed deal to
provide Syria with SA-18 anti-aircraft missiles.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who is scheduled to
meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on
Wednesday in Israel, will tell him of Israel's
objection to the sale of more weapons to Syria, a
political source in Jerusalem said Tuesday. He added
that Syria was undermining the stability in the area.
"We believe sanctions should be imposed on any state
that supports terror," he said. Israel welcomes
pressure on Syria, which may change its conduct and
even lead to the closure of Hamas and Islamic Jihad
headquarters in Damascus. However, Israel's leadership
is at odds over whether Syrian President Bashar Assad's
continued rule would serve Israel's interest or whether
Israel should strive to topple his regime, Ha'aretz
said.


Ha'aretz said James Wolfensohn, the Quartet's special
envoy for the disengagement, has criticized Israel for
holding up agreements on opening Gaza Strip border
crossings to the passage of people and goods and on
improving Palestinian mobility in the West Bank. In a
letter sent last week to United Nations Secretary
General Kofi Annan and the foreign ministries of
Britain, Russia and the United States, Wolfensohn
wrote: "The Government of Israel, with its important
security concerns, is loath to relinquish control,
almost acting as though there has been no withdrawal,
delaying making difficult decisions and preferring to
take difficult matters back into slow-moving
subcommittees." The letter, a copy of which was
obtained by Ha'aretz, indicated that Israel is
preventing the implementation of a proposal by
Wolfensohn and the World Bank to introduce a temporary
system for allowing people and goods to move between
Gaza and the West Bank in convoys.
The letter also criticized the Palestinian Authority -
for worsening the economic crisis by deciding on a
salary hike in the public sector, for the internal
anarchy and the decline in the PA's functioning. He
warned that these factors, combined with the lack of
Palestinian mobility, will take a toll on donor
countries' willingness to honor their pledges. Sources
in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's bureau said in
response that Wolfensohn's letter would be studied
after the Sukkot holiday. Other government officials
said that the letter points to poor functioning by the
defense establishment in conducting negotiations with
the Quartet envoy. "It's nothing to get worked up
about," a senior defense official said.


Ma'ariv reported that two Israeli Arabs have been
arrested on suspicion of joining Hamas in the 1990s,
while they were studying dentistry in Romania, and then
carrying out assignments for the armed group, the
police and the Shin Bet security service said
yesterday. The two, who were arrested about a month
ago by the Shin Bet and the Central Unit of the Galilee
Police, are said to have confessed to Hamas
involvement.


The Jerusalem Post reported that lawyers representing
Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, the two former American
Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) staffers
accused of communicating classified information, wish
to call to the stand three Israeli diplomats that
received information from the defendants as well as
from the third defendant in the case, Pentagon analyst
Larry Franklin. All three Israelis mentioned in the
Rosen-Weissman indictment are no longer in Washington
and all have diplomatic immunity, which prevents them
from being subpoenaed by either side in the case.

All media report on Microsoft CEO Bill Gates 24-hour
visit to Israel. Gates was quoted as praising in his
media interviews the local high-tech community for its
achievements and talents, calling Israel part of
Silicon Valley in the U.s.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio noted that the Defense
Ministry's travel advisory against the Sinai peninsula
is still in effect.


-------------
Mideast
-------------

Summary:

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized:
".Wolfensohn's letter took a dramatic tone, intended to
wake the decision-makers from their apathy.. Arrogant
responses" by the Prime Minister's Office and the
Defense Ministry "do not evince an overabundance of
diplomatic wisdom. When it comes to the relationship
of Israel with the Palestinians, Israel's primary
interest is a significant improvement in the standard
of living of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West
Bank."

Right-leaning Jerusalem Post editorialized: "The
United States is calling for urgent UN Security Council
action following a UN report implicating senior Syrian
officials in the assassination of former Lebanese prime
minister Rafik Hariri on February 14. That such action
is warranted should go without saying...This time, we
hope, Damascus may have taken its 'misunderestimation'
of the international community one step too far."

Pluralist Yedi'ot Aharonot carries a commentary by
military correspondent Alex Fishman who, referring to
the most recent Qassam rockets fired into Israel and
the IDF's use of a "psychological package" in
retaliation," says that "in the absence of a political
lever and the lack of an effective, long-term military
solution, the political-security leadership think hard
to find a way out of the trap that the Gaza terror is
leading us to once more."


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

I. "Lift the siege of Gaza"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized:
".Wolfensohn's letter took a dramatic tone, intended to
wake the decision-makers from their apathy, warning
that 'if we miss this opportunity for change, we will
regret it for the next decade.' The Prime Minister's
Office responded that the letter 'would be studied
after Sukkot,' while the Defense Ministry said there
was 'no need to get excited.' These arrogant reponses
do not evince an overabundance of diplomatic wisdom.
When it comes to the relationship of Israel with the
Palestinians, Israel's primary interest is a
significant improvement in the standard of living of
the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
If Wolfensohn's letter prompted Shaul Mofaz and Shimon
Peres to divide up their responsibilities in this
matter, it will have served a purpose. The Sharon
government might mistakenly think that fences, targeted
killings and shootings are a recipe for calm. It might
also be tempted to think that cutting off Gaza from the
West Bank is possible. However, the Qassams fired at
Sderot in response to the killing of the Islamic Jihad
activist in Tul Karm shows that the Palestinians in the
West Bank and Gaza are one entity. If normalcy is
desired with this entity, the basic conditions must be
created for economic recovery that will strengthen the
moderates and make terror less popular. The task of
disengagement from Gaza has not been completed, let
alone been successful. Only half the work has been
done so far. Lifting the economic embargo from Gaza is
a necessary precondition to this success."

II. "Catching Rogues"

Right-leaning Jerusalem Post editorialized: "The
United States is calling for urgent UN Security Council
action following a UN report implicating senior Syrian
officials in the assassination of former Lebanese prime
minister Rafik Hariri on February 14. That such action
is warranted should go without saying. It is critical
that this become just the first step on a long road
toward holding rogue states accountable for egregious
acts of international aggression.. The United States
and Israel know full well that Iran and Syria have for
years either supported or directly organized terror
attacks and bombings against the military personnel of
both countries. The level of evidence implicating
these regimes in such barbaric acts must, in some
instances, be no less than that implicating the Syrian
regime in the Hariri case. Yet the United States, let
alone Israel, has never - except in the Lockerbie case
against Libya - bothered taking these regimes to court,
so to speak, in the Security Council. We and the
United States have never bothered because we knew that
the forum that was created to protect innocent nations
against international aggression instead could be
counted on to protect the aggressors themselves. The
critical question now is whether this situation is
finally changing.. Syrian protestations regarding
flimsy evidence and the presumption of innocence are,
of course, risible coming from a brutal police state
whose idea of justice has infamously included carpet-
bombing its own citizens. Yet the fact that the regime
would even attempt such a defense shows that it still
believes that there are no limits to Western
gullibility and weakness. This time, we hope, Damascus
may have taken its "misunderestimation" of the
international community one step too far."

III. "Qassams on Damascus' Orders"

Writing in pluralist Yedi'ot Aharonot, Military
correspondent Alex Fishman states that the order to
fire Kassam rockets at Israel came from Islamic Jihad
headquarters in Damascus. From the moment top Islamic
Jihad wanted man in the West Bank Luai Saadi was
assassinated, the Damascus headquarters put heavy
pressure on its activists on the ground to step up the
mortar shell fire and Kassam rocket fire at any price
and within a short time. The administration in
Damascus could not even pretend it had no idea what was
going on under its nose, after Israel relayed to the
Syrians-by means of various channels-a message that
this was exactly what was about to happen. Neither
does the Palestinian Authority take us seriously. A few
hours before the fire two days ago, Israel informed the
PA that Kassam rockets were about to be fired. PA
officials were asked to take a number of steps to
prevent the fire. The Palestinian security
organizations did not even bother to pretend they were
doing something...What we learned from the last round
of shooting in the Gaza Strip is that in fact, there
are no means of putting effective pressure on terror.
Israel was unable to create a situation in which it is
"worth it" for persecuted Damascus and for the PA to
become the address to which Israel appeals to prevent
terror. And the second lesson: once again the
limitations of Israel's force have been revealed. When
there are no real targets-we make a lot of noise. This
is exactly what happened: helicopters hit two
buildings, eight artillery shells fell in the northern
Gaza Strip, the Navy fired flares from the sea, and the
Air Force caused five sonic booms over the Gaza Strip.
This psychological package can work once, twice, three
times. After that the population gets used to it.
Without diplomatic leverage, and without an effective
military response over time, the security-police
echelon must sit down and figure out what to do: how to
get out of the trap to which terror from Gaza Strip is
again leading us.
JONES

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
World Headlines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.