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

Search

 

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

null
Carol X Weakley 08/03/2006 03:07:08 PM From DB/Inbox: Carol X Weakley

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS TEL AVIV 02996

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

DISSEMINATION: PD
CHARGE: PROG

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

VZCZCTVI087
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 #2996/01 2141007
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021007Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5317
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 7479
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 0474
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 1466
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0692
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0659
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 8268
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 1390
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 8328
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 8765
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 5462
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 2827
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 7695
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 1951
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 3817
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 4079
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TEL AVIV 002996

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

1. Israel-Hizbullah Conflict

2. Iran

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

Major media led with an IDF commando raid on a hospital in the
Hizbullah stronghold of Baalbek, in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa valley.
Leading media reported that the commandos killed several Hizbullah
operatives (according to Ha'aretz, five junior Hizbullah militants)
and brought three others to Israel. Israel Radio reported that
Hizbullah denied that Israel had captured any of its men, and cited
the organization as saying that Israel abducted innocent civilians.
Israel Radio said that no Israeli soldiers were hurt.

Leading media reported that an IDF officer and two other soldiers
were killed in skirmishes with Hizbullah in the southern Lebanese
village of Aita al-Shaab on Tuesday. The media reported that 25 IDF
soldiers were wounded in the clashes. This morning, Israel Radio
reported that Hizbullah resumed Katyusha rocket fire at northern
Israel communities. Maariv quoted a senior IDF source as saying
that Hizbullah's capability to fire rockets at Haifa has been
critically harmed, although it is not inexistent. Yediot reported
that Dr. Mounir Harzallah, a Lebanese physician of Shiite origin,
who lived in a small Shi'ite village near the town of Marjayoun in
southern Lebanon, sent a letter to the Berlin newspaper Der
Tagesspiegel, describing how Hizbullah built a school and a
residential building in his village above a storehouse for
ammunitions and Katyusha rockets in it. The physician left the
village in 2002.

The leading Internet news service Ynet and Israel Radio quoted
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as saying Tuesday on the PBS

SIPDIS
Newshour that a cease-fire could be reached in Lebanon within days.
She was quoted as saying: "This week is entirely possible. Certainly
we are talking about days not weeks." Rice spoke after meeting with
Vice PM Shimon Peres who had said the Israeli military campaign
would take "a matter of weeks, not months." Israel Radio noted that
this was the first time the US administration was setting a
timeframe for a cease-fire. The Jerusalem Post quoted Peres as
saying at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Tuesday that
Israel would agree to an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon stopped
firing rockets into Israel. The Jerusalem Post said that Peres's
statement fell short of the official GOI position. The Jerusalem
Post quoted Peres as saying in Washington that Israel was thankful
for the United States' supportive position and that he had "only
thanks, no criticism" to the US administration. The Jerusalem Post
reported that Peres dismissed fears that Syria would act militarily
against Israel due to the conflict in Lebanon. He was quoted as
saying: "I am not impressed by the Syrian threat. They know the
weakness of their army." The Jerusalem Post reported that Peres
criticized the insufficient action of the international community on
Iran's nuclear project, saying that the "only strength of Iran is
the weakness of the international community." The Jerusalem Post
reported that Peres was scheduled to meet late Tuesday afternoon
with Secretary Rice and with National Security Advisor Stephen
Hadley.

All media quoted PM Ehud Olmert as saying Tuesday at the National
Defense College that Israel will agree to a cease-fire when
conditions are different from those that caused this war to break
out. Olmert was quoted as saying that the face of the Middle East
has already changed.

Leading media reported that the EU foreign ministers who met in
Brussels Tuesday failed to call for an immediate cease-fire in the
Israel-Hizbullah conflict. At the insistence of Britain and
Germany, the body instead called Tuesday for an "immediate end to
hostilities, to be followed by a sustainable cease-fire." The EU's
rotating President, Finnish FM Erkki Tuomioja, was quoted as saying
that the Union would not add Hizbullah to its list of terrorist
groups. Yediot cited an official Russian list of terrorist
organizations in the world, which does not include Hamas or
Hizbullah.

Ha'aretz reported that the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza
Strip remained closed on Tuesday despite Israel's pledge to
Secretary Rice that it would be opened for traffic.

SIPDIS

Major media reported that while well-known liberal literary
personalities such as Yoram Kaniuk and Yehoshua Sobol support Israel
and view the current war as a "war of no choice," 60 young literary
personalities this week published a letter calling for an immediate
halt to the war in Lebanon. Of the latter group, journalist-author
Nir Baram has been most frequently featured on TV talk shows.

Israel Radio reported that a few hundred protesters rallied in front
of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, demanding an immediate cease-fire in
Lebanon. The radio also said that several people waved Israeli
flags at the site to support the IDF operation.

Yediot reported that France has proposed to the UN Security Council
that the two IDF soldiers abducted by Hizbullah be handed to a third
party when the cease-fire becomes valid and that that party would
retain them until the completion of negotiations over a long-term
arrangement in Lebanon. Israel Radio cited the London-based
Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat as saying that Egypt has resumed its mediation
efforts to reach a prisoner exchange between the Palestinians and
Israel. The radio quoted former Palestinian FM Nabil Shaath, an
associate of PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas, as saying that
the prisoner swap whose possibility was cited on Israel Radio
Tuesday could start with the transfer of abducted IDF Cpl. Gilad
Shalit to Egypt.

Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday the High Court of Justice ruled
that the right-wing group Temple Mount Faithful can visit the mount
on Tisha B'Av, which falls tomorrow. The fast day on the ninth day
of the Jewish month of Av commemorates the destruction of both
temples.

Major media marked one year since the evacuation of the Jewish
settlements in the Gaza Strip.

------------------------------
1. Israel-Hizbullah Conflict:
------------------------------

Summary:
--------

Military correspondent Alex Fishman opined on page one of
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "In private
conversations, our friends from Washington are angry at us,
disappointed with us.... Despite this, they still consider us the
'good guys' who are fighting the bad guys."

Senior op-ed writer Uzi Benziman commented in independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Even if the balance of this [Israeli
military] effort is positive, on the day after the war, the
government and IDF chief of staff will have to start preparing --
this time seriously -- for the terror (and nuclear) threats on the
horizon."

Military correspondent Danny Shalom wrote in the lead editorial of
nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe: "The Americans' patience is wearing
thin, and if in the next few days Israel cannot present a tangible,
unequivocal achievement, a disappointed Bush will have to instruct
Israel to cease fire."
Ephraim Halevy, former Director of the Mossad, who was National
Security Adviser to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, wrote on
page one of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "With
Israel by her side, why should [Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice]
not sit with the Iranians, who are Hizbullah's real bosses?"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in Ha'aretz: "A
multinational force could mess up Hizbullah's plans to profit from
the ruins."

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

I. "End Is in Sight"

Military correspondent Alex Fishman opined on page one of
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (8/2): "It is hard to
believe, but the end is starting to come into sight. There is a
reasonable chance that by the end of the week, a decision on a
cease-fire will be made.... This will be a cease-fire of the most
fluid and fragile kind. A cease-fire that does not necessarily
signal quiet in its first weeks. It will be more of 'freezing a
situation of instability' with the potential for an outburst at any
given moment. After three weeks of combat, something more definite
might have been expected. But this, apparently, is what there is.
On Monday, the US administration managed to buy some more time for
us, a few more days of combat. The European foreign ministers were
about to submit a draft resolution to the Security Council for an
immediate and unconditional cease-fire. From Israel's standpoint
this is the worst situation. The Americans enlisted the Germans and
the British and shot down this resolution. In private
conversations, our friends from Washington are angry at us,
disappointed with us -- mainly due to the military results that we
have achieved so far -- but they are fighting for us tooth and nail.
'Your incompetence will kill us' [written in English in the
article] -- this phrase has been heard over the past few days by
Israelis who have working ties with White House officials. Despite
this, they still consider us the 'good guys' who are fighting the
bad guys."

II. "Not Being Prepared"

Senior op-ed writer Uzi Benziman commented in independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/2): "Ehud Olmert's fatal error occurred
when he pushed the all-out war button without being fully cognizant
of the IDF's ability to realize its goals. Olmert crashed through
the gate that Barak and Sharon refrained from opening. Now he is
being dragged after an army that wants to improve its results by
means of a major ground offensive. Even if the balance of this
effort is positive, on the day after the war, the government and IDF
chief of staff will have to start preparing -- this time seriously
-- for the terror (and nuclear) threats on the horizon."

III. "The Americans Are Asking: What About the Achievements?"

Military correspondent Danny Shalom wrote in the lead editorial of
nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe (8/2): "The IDF received a very long
rope during the war with Hizbullah in Lebanon in order to hit the
terrorists and to destroy their infrastructure in southern Lebanon.
The President of the US, who rejoiced at Israel's aggressive move,
decide to grant the IDF an almost indefinite amount of time, but he
expected to see results -- perhaps not the elimination of Hizbullah,
but critical damage to the terrorist organization, so that this
serves as an example to all Muslim terrorist organizations in the
world, in particular Al Qaida. But, as it appears on the 22nd day
of the war, something went wrong along the way.... The Americans'
patience is wearing thin, and if in the next few days Israel cannot
present a tangible, unequivocal achievement, a disappointed Bush
will have to instruct Israel to cease fire."

IV. "Supping With the Devil"

Ephraim Halevy, former Director of the Mossad, who was National
Security Adviser to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, wrote on
page one of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (8/2): "What
remains to be done? There are two [possible] moves: One is to
enable the IDF to continue the operation and reach a strategic
achievement versus Hizbullah and Iran. The next step is to invite
Iran to sit at the negotiating table along with the US and Israel,
while Israel strikes at Hizbullah unremittingly. At first, Iran
will not want to do so. After all, it would like Israel to
disappear from the world map. But the more Iran senses the failure
of its strategy, the more likely it is to understand the limits of
its strength. Iran's distress is clearly visible; it is currently
in danger of taking a major blow to its regional standing and
international image. Iran is very sensitive to these aspects....
What is the point of [Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice
discussing matters with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who
has no power or ability? What real value would an agreement signed
by the Lebanese government have? With Israel by her side, why
should she not sit with the Iranians, who are Hizbullah's real
bosses? And what would we talk about with the Iranians? When we
sit opposite one another, it will be hard to begin to cover all the
issues on the agenda. But to reach that stage, an IDF success on
the battlefield and diplomatic creativity are necessary. Some may
say that this is a delusional dream that will never reach fruition;
but anyone who believes that a soldier in an international force
will disarm a Hizbullah fighter is daydreaming."

V. "Lahud Fears an International Force"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in Ha'aretz
(8/2): "Currently, the [Lebanese] government does not have the
military strength to challenge Hizbullah. Not only is the Lebanese
Army too weak militarily, but it is headed by a pro-Syrian
commander, Michel Suliman, and even though the chief of staff is a
Druze, he is not strong enough to stand up to Suliman. In these
circumstances, the proposed international force could function as an
alternative national army in addition to its policing duties.
Putting French troops into this mix could definitely create problems
for Lahud and for Syria, which views France as hostile for
sponsoring UN Security Council Resolution 1559.... An overly
ambitious multinational force is liable to interfere with
Hizbullah's complete control of the civilian population, with its
receipt of funds, training camps and, of course, with its weapons
stores. This explains Hassan Nasrallah's deep concern for the
composition of the multinational force. He does not want his
political power to be transferred to the Lebanese government under
the umbrella of the multinational force. And he definitely does not
want to lose the fat contracts for reconstructing the south, with
contributions for it already pouring in from Arab states. Hizbullah
owns a huge construction firm that is sure to want the lion's share
of the rebuilding projects. To get them, the organization will have
to keep away potential competitors, especially companies close to
the Beirut government. A multinational force could mess up
Hizbullah's plans to profit from the ruins."

---------
2. Iran:
---------

Summary:
--------

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "If, at the end of
the day, international diplomacy fails with Iran, the dismantling of
Hizbullah's rockets will diminish the risk to Israel's home front in
the event of military action aimed at destroying Iran's nuclear
facilities."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "It is
not too soon for Israel to demand, and for the US to assert, that
the next [UN] resolution [regarding Iran] link sanctions to all
forms of Iranian international aggression, including support for
terrorism."

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

I. "The Iranian Context"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (8/2): "The war in
Lebanon has diverted Israeli attention from the important resolution
the UN Security Council passed Monday regarding the Iranian nuclear
program. Resolution 1696 calls on Iran to stop enriching uranium by
the end of the month, or else face sanctions.... The Security
Council decision's timing is significant, coming in the midst of the
war between Israel and Hizbullah.... Israel, which sees the Iranian
nuclear program as the gravest of threats to its existence and
security, must not ignore the connection between the battlefields
beyond the Blue Line and the uranium enrichment facilities in
Natanz.... The plan being developed for ending the war in Lebanon,
which centers around the deployment of a strong multinational force,
will be a test of the international community's determination to
wrest from Iranian control the outpost Tehran has established among
Shiites in Lebanon. And if, at the end of the day, international
diplomacy fails with Iran, the dismantling of Hizbullah's rockets
will diminish the risk to Israel's home front in the event of
military action aimed at destroying Iran's nuclear facilities."

II. "The Great Satan"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (8/2):
"On Monday, President George Bush stated categorically, 'Iran must
end its financial support and supply of weapons to terrorist groups
like Hizbullah. Syria must end its support for terror and respect
the sovereignty of Lebanon.' The US is working hard on cobbling
together an international force to bring this about. It is somewhat
strange, given the current full recognition that Iran is the culprit
behind the suffering of so many Israelis and Lebanese, that this
week's Security Council resolution on Iran makes no mention of that
nation's support for terrorism. This is a worrisome omission. It
is inconceivable that Iran could give up its nuclear ambitions and
be showered with Western technology and guarantees, without having
given up its support for terrorism. Yet this is how the just-passed
resolution is constructed. It is not too soon for Israel to demand,
and for the US to assert, that the next such resolution link
sanctions to all forms of Iranian international aggression,
including support for terrorism."
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.