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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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Carol X Weakley 10/12/2006 04:34:19 PM From DB/Inbox: Carol X Weakley

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS TEL AVIV 04021

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

DISSEMINATION: PD
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: PAO:HKFINN
DRAFTED: PD:MKONSTANTYN
CLEARED: AIO:GJANISMAN

VZCZCTVI646
PP RUEHC RHEHAAA RHEHNSC RUEAIIA RUEKJCS RUEAHQA
RUEADWD RUENAAA RHEFDIA RUEKJCS RUEHAD RUEHAS RUEHAM RUEHAK
RUEHLB RUEHEG RUEHDM RUEHLO RUEHFR RUEHRB RUEHRO RUEHRH
RUEHTU RUCNDT RUEHJM RHMFISS RHMFIUU RHMFIUU
DE RUEHTV #4021/01 2851014
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121014Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6885
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
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 1043
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 7825
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 0875
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 1816
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 1020
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 8673
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 1748
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 8674
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 9121
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 5807
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 3179
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 8041
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 2296
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4190
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 4738
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 004021

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 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. Mideast

2. Iran

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

Israel Radio quoted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as saying
Wednesday in Washington, in an address to the American Task Force on
Palestine: "I know the commitment of the Palestinian people to a
better future. I know firsthand the commitment of President Abbas
and moderate Palestinians to that future. And I know the commitment
of the people in this room and of the American Task Force on
Palestine that one day indeed there will be a Palestinian state
living side by side in peace with Israel. I can only tell you that
I, too, have a personal commitment to that goal because I believe
that there could be no greater legacy for America than to help to
bring into being a Palestinian state for a people who have suffered
too long, who have been humiliated too long, who have not reached
their potential for too long, and who have so much to give to the
international community and to all of us. I promise you my personal
commitment to that goal." The radio noted that earlier in her
speech, the Secretary refrained from specifically condemning the
Palestinian government and reminded her audience that the US had
supported the parliamentary elections in which "as you know, a
plurality of voters cast their votes for Hamas."

Israel Radio quoted Khaled Mashal, the head of Hamas's political
bureau, as saying in an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat
that he does not rule preventing by force the holding of early
elections that would be called by PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud
Abbas. Mashal accused PM Ehud Olmert of having torpedoed the deal to
have IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit released. Ha'aretz reported that
during a press conference Wednesday, Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas
official in Lebanon, accused Fatah of foiling Qatari efforts to
broker the establishment of a Palestinian unity government. Hamdan
was quoted as saying that through its actions, Fatah was offering
political support for Western sanctions against PM Ismail Haniyeh's
Hamas-led government. Hamdan was quoted as saying that Abbas and
his team were "providing political cover for American-Israeli
sanctions." The Jerusalem Post reported that Hamas leaders on
Wednesday sought to defuse tensions with Cairo by appealing to Egypt
to resume its mediation efforts to form a Palestinian unity
government.

Israel Radio quoted Palestinian sources as saying that overnight,
five Palestinians from a single family were killed in an air strike
in the southern Gaza Strip. The radio said that four of them were
Hamas militants and that the fifth one was a youth. Ha'aretz and
other media reported that two Palestinians were killed and three
wounded by IDF fire in several territories. Troops also arrested
two Palestinians reportedly attempting to bomb a West Bank
checkpoint. Israel Radio reported that three Qassam rockets landed
in Sderot this morning, causing no casualties.

Ha'aretz reported that Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz announced
Wednesday that he opposes bringing Knesset Member Avigdor
Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu Party into the coalition, but that did
not appear to dent Olmert's determination to try to broaden the
coalition and thereby increase his government's stability. Ha'aretz
reported that Olmert's aides made it clear last night that they
blamed rebels in the Labor Party for forcing Olmert's hand with
their lack of coalition discipline. This morning, Israel Radio
reported that Lieberman demands only one cabinet seat for his party.
Media reported that Olmert is offering him a new portfolio devoted
to strategic affairs. Yediot reported that Jordan's King Abdullah
II is worried about the strengthening of the Israeli Right.

Ha'aretz cited a new report by the Israeli nonprofit organization
Physicians for Human Rights, which charges that he Shin Bet security
service is systematically preventing Palestinians who need medical
treatment unavailable in the territories from entering Israel.
According to the organization, in many cases, patients have been
denied urgent, life-saving treatment. The report says that the Shin
Bet automatically refuses entry permits, and reconsiders its
decisions only if legal action is begun. Ha'aretz cited the Shin
Bet's response that it has to balance security considerations
against human rights, and reported that the security service noted
that terrorist groups have tried to take advantage of Palestinian
patients with entry permits in order to carry out attacks inside
Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that an e-mail campaign criticizing the
decision of the United Jewish Communities (UJC) -- the umbrella
organization of North American Jewish federations and communities --
to allocate part of the funds raised for Israel after the Lebanon
war to Israeli Arabs is stirring debate in the American Jewish
community.

Leading media reported that American student Michael Leighton
Phillips, 24, a volunteer with Project Hope, a Canada-based group,
was freed late Wednesday after being held for a day in Nablus by
Palestinians. He appeared to be unharmed. Philips is from New
Orleans. Israel Radio reported that Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
militants brought him to security headquarters in Nablus. Earlier
Wednesday, Ansar Assuna, a previously unknown Palestinian armed
group, claimed it had kidnapped an American student to "confront"
the US and force the release of some Palestinians held in Israeli
prisons. The group made demands to reporters in the Gaza Strip by
masked gunmen claiming it was holding 24-year-old Michael Phillips.
Ha'aretz's web site quoted an American Consulate official as saying
that Phillips was missing but that could not confirm that he was
kidnapped. The Internet site said that the official was speaking on
condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to
reporters.

Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post quoted Lebanese Parliament Speaker
Nabih Berri as saying Wednesday in an interviewed published
Wednesday in the British daily The Guardian that Hizbullah will
resume its fighting against Israel if it does not withdraw from the
Sheba Farms area. Citing AP, The Jerusalem Post reported that on
Wednesday Italian PM Romano Prodi gave his moral support to Lebanon
during his visit to that country. The Jerusalem Post reported that
Prodi offered to mediate in the release of the two IDF reservists
abducted by Hizbullah.

Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post cited the Jewish Telegraphic Agency
(JTA) as reporting Wednesday that dovish pro-Israel members of the
American Jewish community are planning to set up a pro-Israel
alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby
(AIPAC). Among the figures behind the initiative are billionaire
philanthropist George Soros, who has not been involved with Israeli
issues until now, philanthropists Edgar and Charles Bronfman, and
Mel Levine, a former Democratic congressman and now high-powered
West Coast lawyer. Ha'aretz reported that on Wednesday, Meretz
Chairman MK Yossi Beilin commended the establishment of the new
lobby. Beilin told Ha'aretz that the lobby would not compete with
AIPAC but portray another facet of American Jewry. The founders
have been discussing ways to persuade the Bush administration to
increase its involvement in finding a solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The initiative for the lobby is
spearheaded by Dr. David Elcott, executive director of the Israel
Policy Forum (IPF), an advocacy think tank founded to counter
AIPAC's objection to the Oslo Accords.

Citing AP, Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post quoted David Shearer,
head of the UN's office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) in Jerusalem, as saying Wednesday that the number of Israeli
military roadblocks in the West Bank increased by nearly 40 percent
in the past year -- from 376 to 528.

All media prominently reported on an accident that occurred in
Manhattan Wednesday: A light airplane flown by New York Yankees
pitcher Cory Lidle collided into the 30th floor of a 50-story
apartment building. Media questioned security arrangements in New
York City's air space five years after 9/11.

Maariv told the story of two brothers -- Binyamin Ben-Ari, who
serves in the IDF, and Michael Dudley, a US Marine posted in Iraq.

Yediot cited the concern of the Israeli defense establishment that
Israel's defense exports to India would suffer following the alleged
bribing affair to Indian officials. Major media reported that the
Indian suspects have accused the leaders of the Indian National
Congress, India's ruling party, of making up the affair.

Yediot reported that, five years after 9/11, the FBI still does not
employ a sufficient number of Arabic speakers.

Yediot reported that last week the IDF arrested Shelley Mizrachi,
who was born in the US to Israeli immigrants, for dodging the draft.
Mizrachi had come to Israel for a visit and to arrange her
induction into the IDF.

Yediot presented the results of a Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute)
poll:
"Were elections for the Knesset held today, for whom would you
vote?" (Results in Knesset seats -- in brackets, seats in current
Knesset.)
-Likud 22 (12); Yisrael Beiteinu 20 (11); Kadima 15 (29); Labor
Party 15 (19); Shas 10 (12); Arab parties 10 (10); National
Union-National Religious Party 5 (9); United Torah Judaism 5 (6);
Meretz 4 (5); Gil - Pensioners' Party 4 (7); "floating votes" --
equivalent to 10 Knesset seats.

------------
1. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Zalman Shoval, senior Likud member and former ambassador to the US,
wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot:
"[Condoleezza] Rice's main goal in her trip was to form a kind of
informal bloc of moderate Sunni Arab governments versus Shi'ite
Iran.... But very soon the Secretary of State learned that the
candidates for joining the US initiative have other intentions."
Nationalist writer Uri Dan commented in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "Unfortunately, the 'Chamberlainian' spirit in the United
States' media and politics is presently gaining over the Bush
administration's Churchillian policy."

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "[Yisrael
Beiteinu Party leader Avigdor] Lieberman is in favor of domineering
and uncompromising policy that uses force, in both words and deeds,
against an ever-lengthening list of enemies to which he is careful
to add Israel's Arab citizens. Olmert's government has no reason to
bring him in."

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

I. "Journey to Nowhere"

Zalman Shoval, senior Likud member and former ambassador to the US,
wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/12):
"Condoleezza Rice will probably want to forget her latest journey to
the Middle East.... The affairs [of Bob Woodward's 9/11-related
revelations and of that of former Republican Congressman Mark Foley]
strengthened the feeling of Rice's interlocutors that the Republican
administration, which is destabilized in any case due to the
entanglement in Iraq, is about to lose its majority in at least one
of the two houses of Congress, which will also undermine her
authority. Rice's main goal in her trip was to form a kind of
informal bloc of moderate Sunni Arab governments versus Shi'ite
Iran, whose status in the region has risen following what is
perceived as Hizbullah's victory in the second Lebanon War. But
very soon the Secretary of State learned that the candidates for
joining the US initiative have other intentions. It is not that the
Arab rulers who are considered allies of the US are not quaking in
their boots over the Shi'ite danger and the Iranian nuclear threat.
But as they told Rice, they do not intend to openly confront other
Arab governments or movements, and will certainly not be willing to
make any statement on the Iranian matter. In general, all the
problems would be solved if the US would work to resolve the
Israeli-Arab conflict (i.e. pressure Israel) -- and in the meantime,
Abu Mazen must be helped.... Voices can be heard in the [Israeli]
government to the effect that Israel should accommodate the
Palestinians, even partially, so as not to reach a head-on collision
with Rice. But no one should have illusions with regard to the fact
that opening the crossings and releasing the funds will help not
only Abu Mazen, but also the collapsing Hamas government, and could
pave the way to forming a Palestinian unity government based on the
plan of elements that have inscribed the destruction of Israel on
their banner."

II. "Hate Is Celebrating"

Nationalist writer Uri Dan commented in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (10/12): "Time is running out... Like in Israel, US
politicians and media people (such as The New York Times)
incessantly erode Bush's Churchillian policy in the face of the
worldwide Muslim threat. Unfortunately, the 'Chamberlainian' spirit
in the United States' media and politics is presently gaining over
the Bush administration's Churchillian policy. In Israel, the
leftist brainwashing has not yet succeeded in reaching similar
achievements. Israelis feel threatened and are prepared for a true
leadership that would restore their confidence. And Israel also has
answers to Iran's atom -- in full coordination with the US, of
course."

III. "War of Survival"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (10/12):
"Despite the fact that the government has a solid majority, with 67
Knesset members, the Prime Minister is involved in an
incomprehensible effort to expand it. It is hard to see the point
in bringing together two parties, such as Labor and Yisrael
Beiteinu, which have nothing in common in either the foreign or
socioeconomic spheres.... In the past few days, changing the system
of government has turned into a successful tactic to divert
attention from the real problems on the agenda. [Yisrael Beiteinu
leader] Avigdor Lieberman has managed to force his platform into the
public debate, on his way into the government..... Lieberman is in
favor of domineering and uncompromising policy that uses force, in
both words and deeds, against an ever-lengthening list of enemies to
which he is careful to add Israel's Arab citizens. Olmert's
government has no reason to bring him in."

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

Summary:
--------

Senior military affairs analyst Reuven Pedatzur wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Israel must take advantage of
the fury that is presently being aroused by North Korea in order to
promote the inevitable change in its nuclear policy."

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

"Perhaps They'll Get It Now"

Senior military affairs analyst Reuven Pedatzur wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/12): "Israel must continue to
try to convince the international community that a nuclear Iran
endangers the entire free world, and to hope that decisive steps
will be taken against it. The only effective way is an American
military operation..... Unfortunately, however, the chances of an
American military attack on Iran are not great, and thus we return
once again to the need to prepare to confront a nuclear Iran. This
preparation must include a substantial change in Israeli nuclear
policy -- the abandonment of vague deterrence and the transition to
open nuclear deterrence. Experience during the Cold War period
teaches that only such deterrence is likely to prevent the use of
nuclear weapons by the other side.... This change in Israeli nuclear
policy must be implemented with advance coordination and with the
consent of the Americans. We can assume that Washington is willing
to allow Israel to abandon the vagueness if the threat to it is
nuclear. Israel must take advantage of the fury that is presently
being aroused by North Korea in order to promote the inevitable
change in its nuclear policy."

CRETZ

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