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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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Carol X Weakley 08/04/2006 04:05:14 PM From DB/Inbox: Carol X Weakley

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS TEL AVIV 03048

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

DISSEMINATION: PD
CHARGE: PROG

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

VZCZCTVI418
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 #3048/01 2161203
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041203Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5391
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 7495
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 0491
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 1482
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0708
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0676
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 8284
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 1407
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 8344
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 8781
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 5478
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 2843
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 7711
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 1967
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 3836
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 4102
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TEL AVIV 003048

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

All media reported that twelve Israelis were killed Thursday. Four
IDF soldiers were killed in southern Lebanon and eight civilians in
Katyusha rocket attacks (five in Acre, including a father and his
daughter, and three Israeli Arabs in Maalot-Tarshiha).

Israel Radio reported that the UN Security Council might only
convene on Wednesday. Leading media reported that the US and France
are still at odds over the text of a draft resolution at the
Security Council to reach a cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon.
Media reported that France has circulated a revised UN resolution
calling for an immediate cessation of Israel-Hizbullah hostilities.
The media reported that Washington has so far resisted calls for a
cease-fire without simultaneous steps to deploy peacekeepers and
tackle Hizbullah's disarmament. Ha'aretz wrote that France insists
that the fighting be halted first to pave the way for a wider peace.
Israel Radio quoted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as saying
in an interview with CNN that a UN resolution "cannot lead to a
return to the status quo ante." Maariv reported that during the
interview, Secretary Rice voiced reservations about comments made by
State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack Thursday that "we
certainly would hope that we could achieve something by Friday, but
if not, we are prepared and Secretary Rice has instructed our
people, both here in Washington and up in New York, that we're going
to work all throughout the weekend if necessary to get something
done." Leading media reported that the US demands an arms embargo
on Hizbullah.

Ha'aretz reported that PM Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir
Peretz were at odds last night over the extent of the Israeli ground
offensive in Lebanon. Peretz reportedly favors expanding the
incursion as far as the Litani River, with the objective of
controlling the area from which the short-range rockets are fired at
Israel. Ha'aretz reported that on Thursday that he had instructed
the army to do so. Maariv reported that Peretz's instruction
surprised Olmert, who Ha'aretz wrote is not enthusiastic about the
idea and feels that holding more ground in southern Lebanon will not
solve the problem of Hizbullah's medium- and long-range rockets.
Ha'aretz said that the plan to take the area as far as the Litani
was presented to the political-security cabinet on Monday, along
with the less expansive plan that was approved and is currently
being put into practice. Ha'aretz quoted a GOI source as saying
that most of the cabinet ministers, including Peretz, had approved
the more limited plan. The source was quoted as saying that this
should first be completed and then the cabinet could reconvene to
discuss a deeper incursion. The media reported that the IDF has
created a several-kilometer-wide buffer zone. Israel Radio reported
that Olmert met with Peretz and FM Tzipi Livni last night, and
quoted a senior government source as saying that no decisions were
made at the meeting.

The Jerusalem Post quoted a high-ranking IDF officer as saying that
the IAF has-been unable to employ targeted killings in the fight
against Hizbullah to any significant degree due to an acute lack of
real-time intelligence. The newspaper quoted the officer as saying
that the difficulty in obtaining intelligence has caused Israel's
three intelligence organizations -- the Mossad, the Shin Bet, and
IDF Intelligence-- to forgo their "daily ego wars" and to work
together in "unprecedented" harmony.

All media reported that Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan
Nasrallah warned last night in a televised broadcast that his
organization would target Tel Aviv if Beirut was attacked by Israel.
"If our capital, Beirut, is attacked, we will attack your capital,
Tel Aviv," Nasrallah threatened. This morning Israel Radio reported
that the IAF responded by striking many Hizbullah targets in Beirut.
Maariv bannered remarks mad by a senior IDF officer that if Tel
Aviv is bombarded, Beirut will burn. The Jerusalem Post quoted Uri
Lubrani, an adviser to the Defense Minister and formerly Israel's
longtime coordinator of activities in Lebanon. As saying that
Hizbullah is hurting under the impact of Israel's military action,
but that it is not yet showing signs of desperation.

All media quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying
Thursday in a speech during an emergency summit meeting of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference in Kuala Lumpur that the
solution to the Middle East crisis was to destroy Israel. He also
called for an immediate halt to fighting between Israel and
Hizbullah. Maariv and other media reported that in a video
recording broadcast at the summit, Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora said
that 900 Lebanese have been killed in the fighting. Maariv reported
that those figures contrasted the lower ones presented by the
Lebanese Health Ministry. Israel Radio cited reports in the
Australian newspaper The Australian that hundreds of Southeast Asian
suicide bombers have been dispatched around the world with a mission
to attack Jewish interests in countries that support Israel such as
Britain, the US and possibly Australia. The radical Jakarta-based
Asian Muslim Youth Movement (AMYM) reportedly gave details of the
plot on Thursday, claiming it was being funded in part with cash
donations from two unnamed Australian-Indonesian businessmen. The
leader of the AMYM, Islamist author Suaib Bidu, warned that
thousands more jihadis were preparing to join the resistance against
Israel and die as "martyrs."

Maariv reported that FM Livni and Science and Technology Minister
Ophir Pines-Paz have decided that after the end of the current
conflict, Israel would open international Israeli cultural and
scientific fairs in order to restore and bring up to date Israel's
image in the world. The Jerusalem Post cited the role of
"Anglo-Israelis" in presenting Israel's case to the foreign media.

The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that at a monthly press
conference at 10 Downing Street, British PM Tony Blair refused to
condemn Israel's actions as "disproportionate." Instead he called
for restraint on both sides. The radio reported a "revolt" over
Blair's Lebanon policy among the British government and Blair's
Labour Party.

Israel Radio reported that Thursday Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
publicly announced he was recalling his country's ambassador from
Tel Aviv in protest of Israel's offensive in Lebanon with the
support of the US. The radio noted that Venezuela only has a charge
d'affaires in Israel at the moment.

The cover story of Yediot's weekly magazine is a portrait of
Secretary Rice, the "velvet woman and ice queen."

SIPDIS

Leading media reported that early Thursday morning IDF troops raided
southern Gaza, killing eight to ten Palestinians, including four
militants and an eight-year-old boy. Israel Radio reported that
last night the IAF bombarded a storage building in the Gaza refugee
camp of Shati. The radio also reported that IDF troops hit four
armed Palestinians in the Rafah area.

Yediot and Maariv reported that two weeks ago security forces
arrested a young Palestinian from a refugee camp near Nablus. She
had reportedly "seduced" an Israeli man and planned to abduct him on
behalf of Tanzim.

Major media reported that Karnit Goldwasser, the wife of Ehud
Goldwasser, one of the soldiers abducted by Hizbullah, is touring
the US in an effort to influence US public opinion over her
husband's fate. Israel Radio reported that she met with US Senator
Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday.

Ha'aretz reported that on Thursday the High Court of Justice ruled
that compensation claims by Palestinians over damage sustained
during the confrontation in the territories since September 2000 be
frozen.

Globes reported that Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and its Elta
Systems Group subsidiary have "suffered a heavy blow." The South
Korean Ministry of Defense has disqualified Elta's proposal to
supply four AWACS plans, worth USD 1.5 billion. The decision leaves
Boeing as the sole proposal in the tender, and brings to an end the
year-long prestigious head-to-head confrontation. Globes wrote that
US export licenses, the lack of which were the cause of Elta's
disqualification, were essential for parts of the AWACS system
developed in cooperation with the US government.

A Globes-Smith Institute poll found that:
-71 percent of Israelis rely on Olmert's management of the security
situation.
-62 percent are satisfied with Peretz's performance.
-73 percent express their appreciation of the government's
performance in managing the arena of international policy.
-53 percent of Israelis believe that Israel will obtain only a
relative or a small part of the war's objectives.

Maariv printed the results of a TNS/Teleseker Polling Institute
survey conducted among Israeli Jews:

"Who do you think is winning the war in the north so far?"
Hizbullah: 3.5 percent; Israel: 54.8 percent; no one: 37.7 percent;
undecided: 4 percent.

"Who do you think will ultimately win the war in the north?"
Hizbullah: 2.6 percent; Israel: 73.5 percent; no one: 19.4 percent;
undecided: 4.4 percent.

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

Summary:
--------

Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "Though the voices criticizing Bush's
policy on the Lebanon war are growing, a recent poll [conducted in
the US] suggests that the President's political instincts were
right."
Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev Schiff wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Israel must ... avoid again
finding itself waist-deep in the Lebanese quagmire."

Senior columnist Dan Margalit wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv
(8/4): "Ehud Olmert has led the battle demonstrating judgment ...
and courage."

The Jerusalem Post editorialized: "[Blair's] insight that the war
against Israel is part of the wider war against the West is
critical, and something that even President George Bush has not
expressed in such coherent terms....

Daniel Levy, the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative,
wrote in Ha'aretz: "The last two years of the Bush presidency can be
an opportunity for progress or an exercise in desperate damage
limitation. It sounds counter-intuitive, but Israel should reflect
on and even help reorient American expectations."

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

I. "The Devil's in the Details"

Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (8/4): "Though the voices criticizing
Bush's policy on the Lebanon war are growing, a recent poll suggests
that the President's political instincts were right. A majority of
Americans believe that the current involvement of the US in the
conflict is sufficient, and more important, more than 40 percent of
Americans don't want to see their government getting any deeper into
the conflict. If Bush's plan plays out as he had intended, these
Americans will have nothing to fear: The US will stay out of active
involvement and will -- at most -- put a hint of pressure on Israel
to make sure it wraps up the operation in a few days."

II. "Stay Out of the Lebanese Quagmire"

Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev Schiff wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/4): "A problem will arise if
no international peacekeeping force can be found to which the IDF
can hand over the territory that it now occupies in southern
Lebanon. In such a scenario, Israel will be faced with a dilemma:
Stay in southern Lebanon, or withdraw, even if Hizbullah returns to
set up bases there? If confronted with this question, Israel must
choose withdrawal -- in order to avoid again finding itself
waist-deep in the Lebanese quagmire."

III. "A Worthy Conduct of the Campaign"

Senior columnist Dan Margalit wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv
(8/4): "Despite his mistaken decision to stop the aerial fighting in
southern Lebanon for 48 hours, which allowed Hizbullah to take a
deep breath and to partially rearm, Ehud Olmert has led the battle
demonstrating judgment ... and courage (by giving a red light to the
Baalbek operation). It is true that there is a discussion about
whether he restricted himself when he started the war, which delayed
the first signs of success, but this is a question for
historians.... But a worthy leadership has been born."

IV. "Blair's Blast"

The Jerusalem Post editorialized (8/4): "[British Prime Minister
Tony] Blair's description of the war [in a speech he delivered in
Los Angeles on August 1], in short, was brilliant and courageous.
His insight that the war against Israel is part of the wider war
against the West is critical, and something that even President
George Bush has not expressed in such coherent terms. No less
importantly, he strongly dismissed the language of grievances: It is
rubbish to suggest that [terrorism] is the product of poverty.... It
is based on religious extremism.... And not any extremism, but a
specifically Muslim version'. Yet strangely, when it came to
suggesting solutions, he seemed to employ the grievance-based model
he had so forcefully rejected. 'This war ... can only be won by
showing that our values are stronger, better and more just, more
fair than the alternative. ... Unless we revitalize the broader
global agenda on poverty, climate change, trade, and in respect of
the Middle East, bend every sinew of our will to making peace
between Israel and Palestine, we will not win.' Blair is right that
the global jihad cannot be beaten without defeating its dream of
destroying Israel. But this, unfortunately, is not how he will be
understood. Reactionary Islam dreams of destroying the Jewish
state. It is the Western exposure and rejection of this dream, and
forcing the Arab world to disavow it, that will pave the way for a
Palestinian state. Israel is not rejecting Palestine; it is the
Arab world that continues to reject Israel."

V. "Ending the Neoconservative Nightmare"

Daniel Levy, the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative,
wrote in Ha'aretz (8/4): "Witnessing the near-perfect symmetry of
Israeli and American policy has been one of the more noteworthy
aspects of the latest Lebanon war. A true friend in the White
House. No deescalate and stabilize, honest-broker, diplomatic
jaw-jaw from this president. Great. Except that Israel was
actually in need of an early exit strategy, had its diplomatic
options narrowed by American weakness and marginalization in the
region, and found itself ratcheting up aerial and ground operations
in ways that largely worked to Hizbullah's advantage, the Qana
tragedy included. The American ladder had gone AWOL.... It is
admittedly difficult for Israel to have a regional strategy that is
out-of-step with the U.S. administration-of-the-day. However, the
neocon approach is not unchallenged, and Israel should not be
providing its ticket back to the ascendancy.... Internationalist
Republicans, Democrats and mainstream Israelis must construct an
alternative narrative to the neocon nightmare, identifying shared
interests in a policy that reestablishes American leadership,
respect and credibility in the region by facilitating security and
stability, pursuing conflict resolution and promoting the conditions
for more open societies (as opposed to narrow election-worship).
The last two years of the Bush presidency can be an opportunity for
progress or an exercise in desperate damage limitation. It sounds
counter-intuitive, but Israel should reflect on and even help
reorient American expectations."

JONES

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