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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 07 TEL AVIV 006468

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

Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank November 13-14,

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2005

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

All major media, except The Jerusalem Post, led with
the political situation in Israel.

Israel Radio reported that Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
and FM Silvan Shalom this morning in Jerusalem.
Ha'aretz quoted political sources as saying Sunday that
Secretary Rice is likely to demand that Sharon step up

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negotiations over operating the border crossing in
Rafah to enable free passage between the Gaza Strip and
Egypt, and expand the activity of the Karni cargo
terminal, which is considered the "bottleneck" of the
Palestinian economy in the Gaza Strip. Ha'aretz wrote
that Rice will also seek to ascertain from Sharon how
Israel will act in the event that Hamas takes part in
the PA's parliamentary elections. Ha'aretz noted that
the topic came up in the course of Rice's preliminary
meetings with top Sharon aide Dov Weisglass, during his
visit to Washington. The Jerusalem Post banners: "Rice
to Nudge Both Sides During Brief Visit." The Jerusalem
Post and Ha'aretz reported that, addressing the Saban
Forum in Jerusalem on Sunday, Secretary Rice called on
Israel to grant the Palestinians more freedom of
movement and that she implored the Palestinians to
tackle terrorism. The Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz
quoted Secretary Rice as saying that the possibility of
peace would be more potent if "the Palestinians fight
terrorism and violence and advance democratic reform,
and Israel takes no action to prejudge the final talks
and works to improve the daily lives of the
Palestinians." The Jerusalem Post quoted her as saying
that more Israelis have come to recognize that a
democratic Palestinian state is in Israel's security
interest. The Secretary was also quoted as saying that
the PA's dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure is
essential "because in the final analysis no democratic
government can tolerate armed parties with one foot in
politics and one foot in the camp of terror."

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The Jerusalem Post wrote that during their speeches
before the Saban Forum, Sharon and Rice "seemed on
exactly the same page regarding Iran, Syria, and Iraq."

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that a high-level
meeting on Sunday slated to reach Israeli-Palestinian
agreement on opening the Rafah border crossing ended in
a stalemate. Ha'aretz reported that the Quartet's
special envoy, James Wolfensohn, met with Defense
Minister Shaul Mofaz and PA Minister of Civilian
Affairs Muhammad Dahlan, but that he did not resolve
the key dispute: Israel's demand for information on
those entering via the crossing in time to thwart the
entry of those involved in terror. Ha'aretz quoted
Israeli sources as saying that the Palestinians
toughened their stance at the meeting. The newspaper
reported that on Sunday, Wolfensohn called the next 72
hours "critical to his mission" in a meeting with the
managers of the Karni cargo terminal. Ha'aretz further
quoted Wolfensohn as saying he is frustrated by the
lack of change in atmosphere between Israel and the
Palestinians and the risk that the Gaza Strip will
become a huge prison. Ha'aretz quoted Wolfensohn as
saying he planned to report his concern to Secretary
Rice.

In its lead story, Ha'aretz quoted several Labor Party
ministers as saying on Sunday that Labor Party
ministers will resign from the government even before
the Knesset votes this Wednesday on four bills to
dissolve the house, if the faction decides to support
the bills at its own meeting on Tuesday. Yediot
banners newly elected Labor Party Chairman Amir
Peretz's intransigence regarding his demand that Labor
begin moves this week to dismantle the government.
Leading media reported that senior Labor Party members
lashed out at Peretz on Sunday over his behavior toward
Sharon, accusing him of generating a needless crisis by
issuing an ultimatum to the PM.

Maariv reported that an increasing number of Likud
members -- including Mofaz, in an interview with the
newspaper -- are calling on Knesset Member Binyamin
Netanyahu not to vie for party leadership and to stand
behind Sharon in the struggle against the Peretz-led
Labor Party. Mofaz was quoted as saying in the
interview with Maariv that Netanyahu and the Likud
"rebels" must form a political alliance with Sharon.
Yediot reported that senior Likud members are mulling a
proposal to cancel the party's primaries, as Sharon
would remain party chairman and Netanyahu would become
his deputy. Maariv quoted a Sharon associate as
saying Sunday that Sharon is inclined to stay in the
Likud in view of the approaching elections and Peretz'
election as chairman of the Labor Party. A Yediot/Mina
Zemach (Dahaf Institute) poll conducted among members
of the Likud's Central Committee found that Sharon's
opponents constitute a large majority among the party's
candidates for the next Knesset.

Maariv quoted Secretary Rice as saying before the Saban
Forum that the late PM Yitzhak Rabin was a peace
pioneer. Leading media reported that the Knesset will
hold a special session in Rabin's memory to mark ten
years of his assassination. The media reported that
1,000 figures, including members of foreign delegations
who have arrived in recent days, have been invited to
the event. Yediot published an op-ed article by
British FM Tony Blair in memory of Rabin.

Israel Radio reported that last night, the IDF
responded with artillery fire to a launching of mortars
next to the Gaza Strip-Israel barrier. Ha'aretz and
The Jerusalem Post reported that IDF troops shot and
killed a Palestinian gunman while he lay wounded in a
yard in Jenin on Saturday. Leading media reported that
the security forces defused a booby-trapped car that
had been abandoned for over two weeks next to a
shopping mall in Holon, a southern suburb of Tel Aviv.
Yediot reported that IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz has
recommended that the army not impose a general closure
of the territories following terrorist attacks, saying
that such a measure constitutes a collective punishment
that eventually harms Israel.

Hatzofe reported that the Israeli defense establishment
has recently exposed attempts by terror organizations
to transfer terror means to the Gaza Strip and the West
Bank through Egypt and Jordan. The newspaper wrote
that the terror activists were spotted at the Allenby
Bridge.

Leading media reported that on Sunday, U.S. Senator
Hillary Clinton expressed strong support for Israel's
construction of the separation fence, stating that
every government has an obligation to protect its
citizens and criticizing the Palestinian Authority and
the residents of the territories for not doing enough
to prevent terrorism against Israel. Ha'aretz reported
that on Sunday, former U.S. President Bill Clinton met
with Sharon and condemned Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's statement that "Israel must be wiped off
the map, adding that Ahmadinejad was elected to improve
the situation of his country, but that such comments
only isolate it. A headline in Yediot reads: "Bill and
Hillary Have Conquered Israel."

Maariv cited the UN's anger over a proclamation by
Israeli customs of the Kuneitra crossing on the Golan
as an international border crossing, following
smuggling of goods into Israel by UN officials.

Ha'aretz and Maariv reported that on Sunday, the state
told the High Court of Justice that Israel Air Force
warplanes break the sound barrier over the Gaza Strip
to confuse terrorists.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that on Sunday,
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf defended his
recent efforts at rapprochement with Israel and
American Jews, describing them as a "strategic
decision" in an interview with CNN.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Plasan Sasa, a company
based in Kibbutz Sasa in Galilee, has won a contract to
supply the U.S. Marines with armor protection kits for
their Oshkosh trucks in a deal worth USD 100 million.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli neurologist
Dr. Rivka Inzelberg was invited by her Iranian
colleagues to lecture on her findings about Alzheimer's
disease during a recent conference in Istanbul.

Yediot reported that the CIA tortured and killed a
detainee in Iraq.

--------------------------------------------- -------
Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank, November 13-14,

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2005:
--------------------------------------------- -------

Summary:
--------

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "This
pedantry on the part of Israel, all of whose moves
undoubtedly stem from some sort of security need, has
already provoked the Quartet's representative, James
Wolfensohn, to issue warnings and even to state that
nothing has changed in the Strip since the IDF's
departure."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post
editorialized: "Whether you are newly elected Labor
Party Chairman Amir Peretz championing the Oslo path or
Ariel Sharon demanding that the PA live up to the
Roadmap before further progress is made -- there is an
Israeli consensus."

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III wrote in
Ha'aretz: "The memory of [Yitzhak Rabin] should remind
each of us -- Israeli, Arab, and American alike -- that
peace should always be more than only a prayer. It
should be our aspiration."

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

I. "Endangering the Disengagement "

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(November 14): "The government seeks to enjoy the best
of all possible worlds: to disengage from Gaza and make
the Palestinian Authority responsible for its economic
future, while imposing an absolute freeze on any
diplomatic negotiations over the region's future....
The current dispute between the PA and Israel over the
question of the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza
is liable to create the impression that we are talking
about some inviolable security necessity.... It would
not be superfluous to examine whether Israel could not
concede on this issue, whose security importance is far
outweighed by the benefits of resolving the dispute.
This pedantry on the part of Israel, all of whose moves
undoubtedly stem from some sort of security need, has
already provoked the Quartet's representative, James
Wolfensohn, to issue warnings and even to state that
nothing has changed in the Strip since the IDF's
departure. This is a severe statement, which is aimed
primarily at Israel and can be heard clearly in
Washington. Israel, the PA, and members of the Quartet
all have a clear interest in Wolfensohn persisting in
his efforts rather than throwing up his hands in
despair."

II. "The Wrong Path"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post
editorialized (November 14): "On all the ideas Abbas
could have raised on Friday [during a ceremony in
memory of Yasser Arafat], it is disheartening he chose
to hammer away at the usual non-starters: Israel
withdrawal to the 1967 'borders' including Jerusalem's
holy places, and the demand for the 'return' of the
'refugees'.... Such intransigence coupled with a self-
defeating refusal to stop the violence is indeed
embracing Arafat's 'legacy.' But it is not the way
toward peace.... Whether you are newly elected Labor
Party Chairman Amir Peretz championing the Oslo path or
Ariel Sharon demanding that the PA live up to the
Roadmap before further progress is made -- there is an
Israeli consensus: no return to the 1949 Armistice
lines -- Abbas's so-called 1967 'borders.' No 'return
of the 1948 refugees and their descendants.... No
Israeli government will halt construction of the
security barrier. And no Israeli prime minister -- no
matter how accommodating -- will sit on his hands as
scores of Israelis are slaughtered in cafes, buses, and
markets. His predecessor's policies brought despair
and the relentless shedding of innocent blood. If he
is to lead the Palestinians along the path to a better
future, Arafat's are the last 'principles' Abbas should
be seeking to emulate."

III. "James Baker Remembers Yitzhak Rabin"

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III wrote in
Ha'aretz (November 14): "I am honored to lead the
American presidential delegation to Israel this week to
commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragic loss of
Yitzhak Rabin, a man whom I was proud to call my
friend. He was a true giant -- a soldier tempered by
war whose tireless efforts in the name of peace are a
reminder that anything is possible, even in the face of
daunting opposition, through commitment and vision.
This anniversary should serve as a moment to recall the
extraordinary life of a tireless defender of Israel and
a visionary who struggled -- and died -- for a future
where Israelis could live in peace with all their
neighbors. And it is an occasion to rededicate
ourselves to that dream.... Foremost, Mr. Rabin
believed that military strength was to be used to
obtain peace, not merely to exercise military
control.... He also believed that the special
relationship between Israel and the United States was
critical to promoting negotiations for a lasting peace
between Israelis and Arabs. He understood that the
United States cannot 'create peace' in the Middle East.
Only Arabs and Israelis can do that. But Washington
can play an important role in that difficult process.
And finally, he believed that peace was crucial to the
long-term security of Israel.... Yitzhak Rabin was a
true visionary who possessed a unique understanding of
his country, and its role in the region and the world.
As such, he will never be forgotten. But the memory of
him should remind each of us -- Israeli, Arab, and
American alike -- that peace should always be more than
only a prayer. It should be our aspiration."

JONES

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