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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TEL AVIV 006719

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. Israeli elections
3. Iran, nuclear program
-------------------------
Key stories in the media:
-------------------------


All media report on Shimon Peres' quitting Labor and
political activity and endorsing PM Sharon's Kadima.
The Jerusalem Post reports that "former prime minister
and Labor Party leader Shimon Peres ended weeks of
speculation about his political future when he
announced on Wednesday that he had decided to retire
from the Knesset, endorse PM Sharon and join his
attempt to bring about Middle East peace. If Sharon is
re-elected as prime minister, Peres is to serve as a
senior minister in charge of peace talks with the
Palestinians and developing the Galilee and Negev
regions. He does not intend to seek a Knesset seat
with Sharon's new Kadima party, ending a record 46
years in the Knesset." According to a Ha'aretz-Dialog
poll published Thursday, some 30% of Israelis say the
move would increase the chances they would vote for
Sharon's party, while 15% said it would decrease those
chances. The poll shows that 47% of those polled said
Sharon is their favorite candidate for prime minister,
with Labor's Amir Peretz coming in a "distant second"
with some 18%.

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.

The media carry a host of reactions to Peres' move.
Ha'aretz reports that Labor Chairman Peretz has not
commented yet, but Labor MK Ofir Pines said Peres'
"attempt to excuse the fact he abandoned ship for the
sake of peace is pathetic." Likud's Netanyahu said the
move "proves Kadima is headed leftward" and that "Labor
II has been established." Meretz' Yosi Beilin said
Peres "made a grave mistake" when he decided to join
"Sharon's supermarket, whose few products have all
expired." The Jerusalem Post reports that, in the wake
of the Peres move, the Likud announced its new election
slogan: "Vote Sharon, get Peres."

Yediot Aharonot reports that after 32 years in the
Knesset, Meretz Chairman Yosi Sarid "made a final
decision" to quit the party and politics. He will
announce it officially tomorrow.
Ha'aretz reports that Moshe Feiglin, a Likud right-wing
member, officially announced he is running for party
leader and its candidate for prime minister yesterday.
He presented a family-oriented social agenda, saying
Israel should quit the Oslo process and annex all the
land in Israel's hands at this time.
Ha'aretz reports that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has
stated publicly that the separation fence will serve as
"the future border of the state of Israel" and that,
"the High Court of Justice, in its rulings over the
fence, is drawing the country's borders." Livni's
remarks are in contradiction to the position of the
state prosecution, which she oversees as justice
minister. The prosecution has many times stated in
court, when petitions against the separation fence were
being heard, that the barrier is a "security" rather
than a "political" fence, and that it is a temporary
measure. "Just as the fence has been built, so it can
be taken down or moved," the prosecution has oft
stated. Speaking a few days ago at a legal conference
in Caesarea, Livni said: "One does not have to be a
genius to see that the fence will have implications for
the future border. This is not the reason for its
establishment, but it could have political
implications."

Ha'aretz follows-up on a report on Military
Intelligence chief Major General Aharon Ze'evi's
(Farkash) remarks Wednesday before the Knesset Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee, where he said Hizballah
had planned to unleash a massive barrage of rocket
attacks on civilian targets in the north, encouraging
an Israel Defense Forces reaction, in response to which
the Lebanon-based organization had planned to launch
rockets, including long-range Katyushas, at Israel's
northern border last week. Referring to the Iranian
issue, Ze'evi said that if by the end of March 2006,
the international community does not manage to use
diplomatic means to block Iran's effort to produce a
nuclear bomb, "there will no longer be any reason to
continue diplomatic activity in this field, and it will
be possible to say that the international attempts to
thwart [Iran's efforts] have failed." Several MKs,
including the committee chairman, said they thought
Ze'evi was saying military efforts would become
necessary by April.

In a related story, Ma'ariv cited an unnamed "security
source" as saying that "Israel will apparently have to
get used to living with the fact that Iran has nuclear
capabilities." The source said he sees "no power in
the world that could change the situation at this
time," saying that this would force Israel to think
deeper about its strategic situation, while focusing on
bolstering its conventional military capabilities. The
source added that Israel would not be dragged into
skirmishes by Hizballah provocations.

The Jerusalem Post reported that during a visit to the
Kerem Shalom terminal crossing, Defense Minister Shaul
Mofaz said Wednesday that Israel cannot accept a
situation whereby "complete, accurate and real time
information" on Palestinians traveling between Egypt
and the Gaza Strip is withheld. Mofaz warned that if
the PA fails to live up to its commitments in
accordance with the US-brokered agreement, Israel will
shut down the Karni and Erez terminal crossings and
later turn them into international border crossings
between Israel and Gaza, a step that will have severe
economic repercussions for the PA. Mofaz intends to
raise the issue in the coming week with European Union
officials, and if the PA fails to amend the situation
then conclusions will be drawn, security officials
said. Five days since the crossing was officially
opened, several thousand Palestinians have passed
through the terminal, which is yet to become fully
operational and is currently open four to five hours
each day.
The Jerusalem Post reports that senior Fatah members
are demanding that Marwan Barguti, the Fatah activist
who scored a landslide victory in PA primaries last
week from his Israeli prison, be appointed deputy PA
chairman.
The Jerusalem Post reports that 10 Palestinians were
wounded in Nablus yesterday in clashes with IDF
soldiers in pursuit of fugitives.

Yediot Aharonot reports that dozens of Israeli veteran
combat soldiers were sent to northern Iraq over the
past 18 months to establish special Kurdish security
and antiterror units, and mainly to help establish the
Hawler International Airport. They were sent there by
Israeli commercial companies that produce military
equipment and provided the Kurds with manpower and
equipment to the tune of hundreds of millions of
dollars. The Defense Ministry stated in reaction to
this report that "it has never allowed any Israelis to
operate in Iraq, and that if any operations have been
taken, they were done privately and without
permission."

1. Mideast

Summary
-----------
Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor writes in
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Two
large experiments in democracy have been held in the
Arab world in recent years, and both ended with a grave
democratic disappointment.. The Arab world wants to
join the democratic world, but knows that the
democratic tool would allow the rise to power of
political Islam, which would cancel democracy..
Separating state from religion and banning religious
parties from any political elections could solve the
problem."

Bloc quotes
--------------
"God's Houses and Parliaments"

Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor writes in
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Egypt
and the Arab world were (once again) shocked -- the
Muslim Brothers Party won 20% of the parliamentary
seats in Egypt's democratic elections, and coupled with
pro-Islamic parliamentarians, they hold 30% of the
seats., which naturally came at the expense of
President Mubarak's party. Two large experiments in
democracy have been held in the Arab world in recent
years, and both ended with a grave democratic
disappointment: In the 1992 Algerian elections, the
Islamic Salvation Front won no less than 82% of the
vote.. Last year, the Americans imposed a democracy in
Iraq, but it is still disappointing, with religious and
ethnic parties returning to the political ring and the
raging civil war.. The Arab world wants to join the
democratic world, but knows that the democratic tool
would allow the rise to power of political Islam, which
would cancel democracy. How to solve this dilemma?
Who could vouch that if elections are held in the PA,
Hamas would not win and start ruling the same
Palestinian Authority that Israel established to fight
Hamas?. Turkey offers a model: separating state from
religion. which might prove to be the coveted answer:
if - as part of a regional covenant, under the auspices
of the world's superpowers - all the Arab parliaments
should decide on banning religious parties from any
political elections, it could solve the problem."

2. Israeli elections

Summary
-----------
Veteran columnist Yaron London writes in the editorial
of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The
instinct that drives people toward the 'strongman'
while ignoring his other qualities, searching his past,
or finding what goes on in his skull, are the same
instincts that created Fascist mass-supported parties."

Political commentator Evelyn Gordon writes in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: Sharon "is
winking at the voters and saying: Vote for me because
you know that I am lying.. For now, it looks as if the
upcoming election will primarily be a referendum on
Sharon's performance as prime minister. Thus voters
are faced with a simple choice: They can say, loudly
and clearly, that they are tired of being fed lies;
that they want politicians to tell the truth about
their intentions and thereby allow them to make a real
choice about the country's future. Or, by reelecting
Sharon, they can declare that not only is being lied to
perfectly fine, but they actually prefer it to being
told the truth."

Bloc quotes
--------------

I. "The Smell of Fascism is in the Air"

Veteran columnist Yaron London writes in the editorial
of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot:
"Strange is the public's belief in a man who only
yesterday was perceived as a corrupt warmonger. Scary
is the race of notables to join the party that was born
at his whim and totally depends on him. The instinct
that drives people toward the 'strongman' while
ignoring his other qualities, searching his past, or
finding what goes on in his skull, are the same
instincts that created Fascist mass-supported parties.
We may find comfort in ignoring certain historical
chapters and drawing hope from others: In many
respects, PM Sharon is like French President Charles de
Gaulle, who was deposed after changing his country's
constitution, established a ruling party that was based
on his big name, and pulled France out of Algeria."

II. "The Fruit of Mendacity"

Political commentator Evelyn Gordon writes in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "As Ha'aretz
columnist Akiva Eldar aptly noted on Monday, Ariel
Sharon currently appears poised to become the first
person ever elected precisely because nobody believes a
word he says.. Lying to the electorate has been the
Israeli political norm for the last 13 years, ever
since Yitzhak Rabin's victory in 1992.. Sharon's
broken promises over disengagement inevitably
undermined his credibility. But now, in a display of
true political genius, he is trying to turn this lack
of credibility from a liability into an asset.
Essentially, he is winking at the voters and saying:
Vote for me because you know that I am lying.. for
now, it looks as if the upcoming election will
primarily be a referendum on Sharon's performance as
prime minister. Thus voters are faced with a simple
choice: They can say, loudly and clearly, that they are
tired of being fed lies; that they want politicians to
tell the truth about their intentions and thereby allow
them to make a real choice about the country's future.
Or, by reelecting Sharon, they can declare that not
only is being lied to perfectly fine, but they actually
prefer it to being told the truth. In that case, two
things are certain. First, no Israeli politician will
ever again consider honesty a viable policy; anyone who
values integrity will understand that he does not
belong in politics and quit. As a result, Israeli
politics will become even more dishonest, corrupt, and
debased than they already are. And second, Israelis
will deserve every bit of it."

3. Iran, nuclear program
Summary
-----------
Military correspondent Amir Rapoport writes in
pluralist, popular Ma'ariv: "Sadly, there exists no
military option to destroy the Iranian nuclear project.
Europe (Russia excluded) and the United States are
currently united in their willingness to threaten Iran
with grave international sanctions if it does not stop
its nuclear project., and should they fail, we will be
left with the military option, but it is hard to
believe that the [American] public would allow the
administration to launch another military adventure
whose end no one knows."

Bloc quotes
--------------
"There is No Military Option"

Military correspondent Amir Rapoport writes in
pluralist, popular Ma'ariv: "Sadly, there exists no
military option to destroy the Iranian nuclear project
in an instant.. It is impossible because instead of
running their nuclear project from a single facility,
they dispersed its components all over Iran. There is
no single site there that, if destroyed, would stop the
project.. But there are ways to stop the nightmare of
a nuclear bomb in the hands of an extremist ayatollahs
regime.. Europe (Russia excluded) and the United
States are currently united in their willingness to
threaten Iran with grave international sanctions if it
does not stop its nuclear project., and should they
fail, we will be left with the military option., but
when we remember the mud the Americans have sunken into
in Iraq, it is hard to believe that the public there
would allow the administration to launch another
military adventure whose end no one knows. Given this
complex reality, the conflicting remarks that senior
Israeli security officials have been making regarding
the Iranian bomb reflect an Israeli incompetence, more
than confusion."
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.