Search

 

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

null
Carol X Weakley 07/27/2006 01:05:17 PM From DB/Inbox: Carol X Weakley

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS TEL AVIV 02901

SIPDIS
CXTelA:
ACTION: PD
INFO: POL DAO DCM AMB

DISSEMINATION: PD
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: A/PAO:STUTTLE
DRAFTED: PD:MKONSTANTYN
CLEARED: AIO:GJANISMAN

VZCZCTVI093
PP RUEHC RHEHAAA RHEHNSC RUEAIIA RUEKJCS RUEAHQA
RUEADWD RUENAAA RHEFDIA RUEKJCS RUEHAS RUEHAM RUEHAK RUEHAD
RUEHLB RUEHEG RUEHDM RUEHLO RUEHFR RUEHRB RUEHRO RUEHRH
RUEHTU RUCNDT RUEHJM RHMFISS RHMFIUU RHMFIUU
DE RUEHTV #2901/01 2071219
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261219Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5180
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEADWD/DA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 7440
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 0435
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 1427
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0651
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0617
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 8226
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 1349
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 8289
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 8724
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 5423
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 2788
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 7656
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 1912
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 3776
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 4014
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 TEL AVIV 002901

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
CDR USCENTCOM 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

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION


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

Mideast

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

Israel Radio reported that on Tuesday President Bush hinted that he
supported the continuation of the IDF operation in Lebanon. The
radio quoted Bush as saying: "We want a sustainable cease-fire. We
don't want something that's short-term in duration. We want to
address the root causes of the violence in the area, and therefore,
our mission and our goal is to have a lasting peace -- not a
temporary peace, but something that lasts. And I believe that Iraq,
in some ways, faces the same difficulty, and that is a new democracy
is emerging and there are people who are willing to use terrorist
techniques to stop it." The President was speaking at a joint White
House press availability with Iraqi PM Nuri Al-Maliki.

All media reported on the second day of Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice's current visit to Israel and the PA. Ha'aretz
(lead story) and Yediot reported that Secretary Rice and PM Ehud
Olmert agreed Tuesday that the role of the international force that
will be sent to Lebanon following a cease-fire will be to assist the
Lebanese Army to deploy in the south, ensure that Hizbullah does not
rebuild its positions there and ensure that quiet is maintained
along the Israeli-Lebanese border. However, Ha'aretz and Yediot
said that this force will not be responsible for disarming Hizbullah
nor will it be stationed at the border crossings between Lebanon and
Syria in order to halt the flow of weapons from Syria to Hizbullah.
Ha'aretz wrote that Israel has thereby in effect conceded its
initial demands that any cease-fire deal include stripping Hizbullah
of its rockets and ensuring that it is not rearmed. Ha'aretz wrote
that Rice and Olmert agreed that any new arrangement in Lebanon must
be based on UN Security Council Resolution 1559 and the statement
issued by the G-8 summit, both of which call for disarming Hizbullah
and deploying the Lebanese Army along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Ha'aretz quoted Olmert as saying that Israelis determined to keep up
the fight against both Hizbullah in the north and Hamas in the
south. Ha'aretz quoted Secretary Rice as saying that the US opposes
an immediate cease-fire that is not part of a broader arrangement.
The Secretary was quoted as saying that instead, the US is seeking a
sustainable cease-fire that would improve the security situation,
because "we have no interest in returning in another three weeks, or
three months, or six months," or whenever the extremists next decide
to sabotage the peace.

Ha'aretz reported that Israel promised Secretary Rice Tuesday that
it would work to ease the humanitarian distress in Lebanon. The
newspaper reported that Olmert pledged to widen existing
transportation channels in Lebanon and add transportation corridors
for that purpose. Ha'aretz reported that Defense Minister Amir
Peretz proposed to Rice that an international task force be created
to assist in rehabilitating Lebanon after the fighting ends.
Ha'aretz quoted Peretz as saying that such a force would prevent the
creation of a vacuum that would enable Iran to strengthen its hold
on Lebanon by financing the reconstruction itself, which it is
currently promising to do. Yediot reported that Peretz has
advocated the creation of an Israeli security zone in southern
Lebanon, without permanent IDF outposts.

Israel Radio and other media reported that four members of a UNIFIL
force, including a Chinese worker for the organization, were killed
in an IAF air strike on Khiam, southern Lebanon. Israel Radio
reported that the Chinese government summoned Israel's Ambassador in
Beijing, requesting that Israel apologize over his killing. The
station cited the Israeli Foreign Ministry as saying that Israel
will conduct a full investigation into the matter. The station
reported that Israeli Representative to the UN Ambassador Danny
Gillerman expressed deep regret over the incident but that he
rejected a claim by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that he was
"shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate
targeting by Israeli Defense Forces of a UN Observer post in
southern Lebanon." Israel Radio later reported that Olmert called
Annan to express his deep regret for the incident, but that he
voiced reservations over Annan's remarks. Israel Radio reported
that Annan called on the GOI to conduct a full investigation into
the incident. The radio reported that Israel's Ambassador to the US
Danny Ayalon also condemned Annan's remarks and called on him to
apologize.

Israel Radio and other media quoted Hizbullah Secretary-General
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah as saying Tuesday on Hizbullah's Al Manar-TV
that his fighters would begin firing rockets deeper into Israel,
south of Haifa. The radio quoted a senior GOI source as saying that
Nasrallah is lying and making up "Arabian Nights-type" stories, and
that Israel should not relate to them. Vice PM Shimon Peres was
quoted as saying in an interview with Israel Radio that Israel
should not relate to Nasrallah's remarks, but that it should be
prepared as if Nasrallah had been telling the truth. Major media
cited statements by senior Hizbullah members, including Nasrallah,
that the organization did not foresee Israel's strong response
following the abduction of two IDF soldiers along the Lebanese
border. Yediot bannered a "secret" message that Nasrallah
reportedly transmitted to his men, according which Israel's home
front would break in two weeks. Ha'aretz had reported in today's
edition that an IDF analysis of the messages transmitted by
Nasrallah to his men during the fighting in Lebanon revealed a
slightly less bellicose tone than the one he took in media
interviews during the same period.

The media reported that the battle for Bint Jbail is continuing.
Israel Radio reported that ten IDF troops were wounded in the
southern Lebanese town today. The media reported that a senior
Hizbullah commander was killed in a clash with the IDF, although
Maariv wrote that the report was unconfirmed. Leading media
mentioned the IDF's belief that Hizbullah is retreating. Maariv
bannered an Israeli intelligence assessment that Nasrallah is hiding
in the Iranian Embassy in Beirut and conducting the fighting against
Israel from there. Yediot quoted a senior Israeli military source
as saying that during the past two nights the IDF attacked convoys
of weapons that were on their way from Syria to Lebanon. Maariv
reported that the IAF has received orders to respond massively for
each Katyusha rocket fired into Israel. All major media quoted IDF
Intelligence head Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin as saying before the
Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that
Damascus fears that Israel would expand its Lebanon offensive to
include Syria and that it has gone on high alert in preparation for
such a scenario. Maariv stressed Yadlin's remark that Israel is not
interested in a conflict with Syria. Yadlin also warned that
Hizbullah was planning to abduct more IDF soldiers, in addition to
the two it has already kidnapped, in an effort to use them as
bargaining chips in a future exchange of captives for prisoners.

All media reported that a 15-year-old girl from the Israeli Arab
village of Maghar in the Galilee was killed Tuesday when a
Hizbullah-fired rocket landed in her living room. The rocket was
one of 95 to land in the north on Tuesday, including 17 that hit
Haifa, where The Jerusalem Post said a man died of a heart attack
while running for shelter.

Globes cited an assessment by Israeli economists that should the war
in Lebanon continue for two more weeks, the cost of the
confrontation to Israeli would amount to 10 to 20 billion shekels
(around USD 2.26-4.52 billion). Globes reported that a budget
deficit of 7 to 9 billion shekels (around USD 1.58-2 billion) is
being forecast. The Jerusalem Post reported on important donations
to Israel by Jewish American communities.

Maariv reported that the US Embassy in Tel Aviv has announced that
it would be considerate of tourist visa applicants who are prevented
from coming to the Embassy because of Hizbullah's rocket attacks or
call-ups to the IDF.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli diplomatic officials as saying
that Israel would not discuss a withdrawal from the Sheba Farms
area.

Reporting from the Rome conference on the Israel-Lebanon crisis, two
Yediot correspondents wrote that two "senior Arab statesmen" have
expressed strong criticism of Israel's "too slow" operation against
Hizbullah.

Ha'aretz quoted AG Menachem Mazuz as saying Tuesday that Israel is
still not legally at war with Lebanon, even though it is conducting
large-scale ground operations on Lebanese territory.

Israel Radio reported that on Tuesday PA Chairman [President]
Mahmoud Abbas presented to Secretary Rice his plan for the release
of captured IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit: Shalit would be released
in exchange for the freeing of Palestinian prisoners, the cessation
of Israel's attacks, and the lifting of the economic siege on the
PA. The radio quoted Abbas as saying that his plan enjoys the
approval of all Palestinian groups, including Hamas. Yediot
published the details of Hamas's demands. The Jerusalem Post
headlined: "Abbas Promises to Help Release Gilad Shalit." Ha'aretz
quoted Muhammad Nazal, a senior "Hamas-abroad" official, as saying
Tuesday that Hamas and Hizbullah must cooperate on the matter of the
abducted soldiers.

Maariv cited an allegation by Turkey that on Tuesday the Israel Navy
shot at a Turkish ferry carrying Lebanese fleeing their country.
Maariv cited the IDF's response by that the vessel suspiciously left
Beirut port without identifying itself.

Leading media cited the preliminary findings of an air force
investigation into Monday's helicopter crash that killed two IDF
officers: It is likely to have been caused by a hit from an IDF
rocket.

Yediot reported that foreign buyers are less eager to purchase
Israeli defense products in the wake of Hizbullah's missile hit on
an Israel Navy ship.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported on the largest ever cash sale of
an Israeli company: Hewlett-Packard is buying the Israeli company
Mercury Interactive Corp. for USD 4.5 billion. The media noted that
the US Securities and Exchanges Commission is currently
investigating Mercury for financial irregularities.

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

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Why
should Lebanon take on this politically and militarily difficult
task [of disarming Hizbullah] if it feels it has US support
regardless?"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of popular,
pluralist Maariv: "Condoleezza Rice ... is no longer convinced of
anything. On the one hand, she is giving [Israel] some rope. On
the other hand she would like to see us doing something with that
rope -- hanging Nasrallah, for example."

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev Schiff wrote on
page one of independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "At the conclusion
of two weeks of fighting, Israel is far from a decisive victory, and
its main objectives have not been achieved."

Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the late prime
minister Yitzhak Rabin, opined in the lead editorial of
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Israel [could] help
convince that this is not just Israel's war but that of the entire
Western world against ... Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizbullah."

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote on page one of Ha'aretz:
"The decision to launch a broad military operation in Lebanon ...
was made with lightning speed."

Senior op-ed writer Uzi Benziman commented in independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The primary decision-makers do not [seem to]
have a hidden agenda in this war."

Columnist Shaul Schiff wrote in nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe: "It
would be worthwhile to remember that the US has very close links
with Britain.... There also is the issue of oil and its price."

Very liberal columnist Meron Benvenisti wrote in Ha'aretz:
"Experience teaches us that the turnabout from patriotic criticism
to rational behavior based on moral norms occurs sooner or later."

Prominent liberal novelist David Grossman wrote in Yediot Aharonot:
"Whereas Hizbullah is interested in the destruction of Israel, most
Palestinians have already become reconciled -- albeit grudgingly --
with its existence."

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

I. "No Prizes For Hizbullah"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (7/26):
"'The people of this region, Israeli, Lebanese and Palestinian have
lived too long in fear and in terror and in violence,' Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice said, standing next to Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert on Tuesday. 'A durable solution will be one that strengthens
the forces of peace and democracy in the region.' Rice is right.
Such a durable solution must begin with the principle that Hizbullah
is handed only defeats and Israel only victories by this war's
diplomatic aftermath. Otherwise, aggression will have been rewarded
and the seeds of future conflict will have been sown. In this
context, Lebanon's demand that Israel relinquish the Sheba Farms
enclave, and the murmur of international support such demands are
gaining, are mystifying and disturbing.... A critical component of
the 'durable solution' the US is correctly seeking is for Lebanon to
do something that it has failed, despite substantial international
pressure, to do until now: disarm Hizbullah and prevent its
rearming. Why should Lebanon take on this politically and
militarily difficult task if it feels it has US support regardless?"


II. "The Rope Offered by Condoleezza Rice"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of popular,
pluralist Maariv (7/26): "[At the Lebanon Forum, which is meeting in
Rome today] the Europeans will be torn between these two poles, but
will tend to support Annan. In the end, there may be a formula
calling for an immediate temporary cease-fire for humanitarian
purposes. Or perhaps the American position will prevail, perhaps
with British support. But this is not certain, because,
unfortunately, the Americans do not have the power of veto at the
Lebanon Forum. When in Rome, do as the Lebanese do. Condoleezza
Rice herself is no longer convinced of anything. On the one hand,
she is giving [Israel] some rope. On the other hand she would like
to see us doing something with that rope -- hanging Nasrallah, for
example. 'What is your end game?' she has been asking the Israelis.
'What do you see as your way out of this situation in the end?'
And indeed, a good question. We are no longer seeking the 'decisive
point,' but rather the 'feel good point.'"

III. "No Goals Attained"

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev Schiff wrote on
page one of independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (7/26): "At the
conclusion of two weeks of fighting, Israel is far from a decisive
victory, and its main objectives have not been achieved. There are
major lessons to be learned. The war of attrition being waged by
Hizbullah is continuing unabated.... Without the assistance of
ground forces, it will not be possible to hit the rocket reservoirs
hidden in tunnels and basements. Excellent troops have been sent in
from the standing army but if hundreds of Hizbullah fighters are not
hit, the achievement will be only partial.... The objective of
keeping Syria out of the conflict has been achieved -- so far.
Syrian troops are on alert, and the Syrians are helping to bring
equipment to Hizbullah. Israel is preparing for the eventuality
that Syria's leaders will make a mistake. The Palestinians in Gaza
are meanwhile suffering the IDF's wrath at Hizbullah, and the
responses to Qassam attacks have become harsher. There is no
progress yet in the diplomatic attempts to bring about a new type of
cease-fire. Israel has to be wary, lest Hizbullah surprise it and
cause heavy losses."

IV. "V For Victory"

Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the late prime
minister Yitzhak Rabin, opined in the lead editorial of
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (7/26): "What ... would
be considered an achievement for the IDF, the government, and the
state? [Such a possibility would exist] if, in the context of an
arrangement, Hizbullah and its Katyusha rockets remain in the Beirut
area, do not get close to South Lebanon, and especially do not open
fire. In such a case, a threat would still hover above Israel --
and even possibly increase -- but in the context such an agreement
it would not be very different from treaties with Arab states that
possess emergency weapons arsenals. The other option -- probably
the less advisable one -- would be to intensify the conflict with
Hizbullah and to draw into it mostly American foreign forces that
Israel will help convince that this is not just Israel's war but
that of the entire Western world against the malefic quartet, as
Shimon Peres called it Tuesday -- Iran, Syria, Hamas, and
Hizbullah."


V. "Was There a Proper Decision Process?"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote on page one of Ha'aretz
(7/26): "The decision to launch a broad military operation in
Lebanon, in response to the abduction of soldiers ... on the morning
of July 12, was made with lightning speed.... [At first] the 'world'
blamed Hizbullah and agreed to put off a cease-fire until a broader
agreement is reached on southern Lebanon. World media this week
turned against Israel and focused on Lebanon's destruction, but
sources in Jerusalem say this is not reflected so far in the
important positions of the government.... Olmert will [also] have to
redraw his [realignment] plan, knowing that the international
recognition he wants for the new border in the West Bank will
require him to evacuate the IDF, not just settlers, thereby taking a
security risk."

VI. "No Hidden Agenda"

Senior op-ed writer Uzi Benziman commented in independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (7/26): "The Lebanon War of 1982 was founded
upon a ruse: the defense minister and the chief of staff had a
covert plan that they concealed from the government. In the Lebanon
War of 2006, all the cards are on the table. But in this instance,
as well, there is a lurking danger of the political leadership being
dragged into events by authorizing the plans proposed by the
military leadership.... In the current war, no significant cracks
have been spotted, so far, in the version reported by the political
leadership and the senior military leadership in their description
of the war and its objectives. This would mean the primary
decision-makers do not have a hidden agenda in this war.
Nevertheless, two weeks into the war, it is coming across as a
runaway train over which the government's control is growing
increasingly tenuous."

VII. "The Turnabout Will Come Quickly"

Very liberal columnist Meron Benvenisti wrote in Ha'aretz (7/26):
"No one can predict this, but experience teaches us that the
turnabout from patriotic criticism to rational behavior based on
moral norms occurs sooner or later, sometimes within weeks or months
and sometimes after a generation. It seems that in the current
outbreak of violence, the change will come very quickly; its
conduct, objectives and results do not encourage too much enthusiasm
and it has not even been granted the title of 'war' since those who
waged it are not sure if they want to commemorate it among the
state's official wars or if they believe it would perhaps be better
to forget it."

VIII. "The US, Oil Interests, and Britain"
Columnist Shaul Schiff wrote in nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe
(7/26): "President Bush undoubtedly has been one of the friendliest
US presidents to Israel.... But ... it would be worthwhile to
remember that the US has very close links with Britain and that
relations between Tony Blair and George Bush are particularly good.
There also is the issue of oil and its price.... An international
force would not have the capacity to prevent Hizbullah from
rebuilding itself."

IX. "On the Wrong Track"

Prominent liberal novelist David Grossman wrote in Yediot Aharonot
(7/26): "The uncompromising bellicose activity of Hizbullah has
caused many Israelis to lump the two fronts together and to have a
feeling that they pose a single existential threat. But whereas
Hizbullah is interested in the destruction of Israel, most
Palestinians have already become reconciled -- albeit grudgingly --
with its existence and the necessity of dividing the land between
the two nations. Most of the Israelis and Palestinians recognize
that they are destined to live together and cannot be separated.
Both have a clear interest in reaching a compromise and even to give
up some of their demands which are a matter of principle for them.
It is clear to both of them that in the last analysis, the conflict
cannot be solved by force. The cruel pounding of the Gaza Strip has
achieved all that it can, and according to reports even the most
extremist organizations in the Palestinian Authority are ready for a
cease-fire. A sincere Israeli proposal to begin negotiations even
before the end of the fighting with Hizbullah could send a signal to
the Palestinians and the entire world that Israel draws a
distinction between these two conflicts, and will improve the
situation of Israel on both fronts at one and the same time."


JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>