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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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Carol X Weakley 10/16/2006 03:11:01 PM From DB/Inbox: Carol X Weakley

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS TEL AVIV 04047

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

DISSEMINATION: PD
CHARGE: PROG

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

VZCZCTVI793
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 #4047/01 2891027
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161027Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6931
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 1056
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 7838
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 0888
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 1829
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 1033
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 8686
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 1761
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 8687
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 9134
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 5820
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 3192
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 8054
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 2309
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4203
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 4754
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TEL AVIV 004047

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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. Iran

2. Mideast

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

On Sunday, The Jerusalem Post reported that Internal Security
Minister Avi Dichter will leave on Sunday for an official visit to
the US, during which he will meet with top law enforcement officials
to share his first know-how in homeland security and
counter-terrorism. The Jerusalem Post reported that Dichter spoke
to the newspaper about what he believes the US can learn from Israel
on fighting terrorism, his belief that Israel should give up the
Golan Heights in a peace treaty with Syria and MK Avigdor
Lieberman's prospects of heading a ministry charged with managing
the Iranian threat. Dichter was quoted as saying: "Israel is a
laboratory for learning how to defend citizens because we face
threats every day. The US does not have to pay with American blood.
They can learn from what we have learned here." According to
Dichter, cooperation with the US on counter-terrorism has increased
significantly since 9/11.

All media, except the ultra-Orthodox newspapers, led with a joint
police/Justice Ministry announcement Sunday recommending that
Israeli President Katsav be indicted on charges of rape, as well as
well as indecent acts using force, indecent acts without consent,
and sexual harassment. The police also informed AG Menachem Mazuz
on Sunday that there was enough evidence to prove that Katsav had
committed grand larceny, fraud, and breach of faith and that he had
violated the law prohibiting wiretapping.

Over the weekend, all media reported on proposed entry of
Lieberman's party Yisrael Beiteinu into the government coalition.
On Sunday, Ha'aretz and Maariv reported that Labor Party Chairman
Amir Peretz and Vice PM Shimon Peres of Kadima were discussing the
creation of a joint front to block Yisrael Beiteinu's bid. On
Sunday, The Jerusalem Post reported that a majority of the Labor
Party's Knesset faction is expected to demand that Peretz and the
rest of Labor's ministers quit the cabinet if PM Ehud Olmert insists
on bringing in Lieberman. Also on Sunday, Yediot reported that
Lieberman allegedly urged oligarch Arkady Gaidamak, who reportedly
had been sought out in the summer by Likud Chairman Binyamin
Netanyahu as a potential partner and counterweight to Lieberman, to
form his own party and to run for Knesset. According to the report,
Lieberman told Gaidamak that together they would be able to form the
largest political party in Israel.
On Sunday, the media (banner in The Jerusalem Post) reported that
following 72 hours of intense fighting, the IDF withdrew from the
central Gaza Strip Saturday night, leaving behind 21 dead
Palestinians, including seven killed earlier in the day. Ha'aretz
quoted IDF officers as saying that Hamas wants to create a "balance
of terror" with Israel in the Gaza Strip, in order the IDF from
making a ground forces incursion into the territory. The officers'
conclusion is based on the organization's greatly accelerated
munitions acquisitions over the past few months, which was reported
by several media. Yediot quoted an Israeli expert as saying Sunday
that the IAF can be expected to hold out new threats in Gaza.

Ha'aretz reported that Defense Minister Amir Peretz told the cabinet
on Sunday that he planned to meet with settlement leaders to discuss
the possibility of a voluntary evacuation of the illegal settler
outposts in the West Bank.

Ha'aretz cited the London-based Al-Hayat as quoting Egyptian sources
assaying that Syria, which pressured Khaled Mashal, the head of
Hamas's political bureau, and torpedoed almost agreed-upon efforts
to reach a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas. Israel Radio
quoted Mashal as saying that he was not ready to start negotiations
over the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit without Israel committing
itself to releasing Palestinian prisoners.

Yediot reported that PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas is
building a large, skilled, and terror-free force in Jericho with US
financial support.

The Jerusalem Post and Yediot quoted Brig. Gen. Yossi Badatz, the
head of the IDF's intelligence directorate, as saying at Sunday's
cabinet meeting as saying that Israel has indisputable proof that
Syria continues to transfer weapons to Hizbullah. On Sunday,
Ha'aretz reported that Hizbullah is hiding weapons in southern
Lebanon and that the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL are not making efforts
to find them.

All media reported that commanders who did not fully understand
their orders, who were not present with their troops during
important battles, and who even failed to fulfill basic missions
constitute some of the grave failures found by an internal IDF
committee that probed Division 91's performance during the recent
war in Lebanon. These are the first such findings emerging from
internal IDF investigations.
Ha'aretz and Maariv, and The Jerusalem Post reported that Adalah -
the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel is calling for
the suspension of State Prosecutor Eran Shendar for his role in the
"failures of the Police Investigation Department (PID) into the
events of October 2000.: Shendar headed the PID at the time of the
disturbances, during which 12 Israeli Arabs and one Gazan were
killed by the police, and he was in charge of its investigation of
the events.

Over the weekend, the media reported that the National Planning and
Construction Council was set to make a final decision Tuesday on the
controversial Safdie plan, named after architect Moshe Safdie, to
build up the area west of Jerusalem.

The media reported that on Sunday, the ministerial committee on
legislation approved, by a five-to-four margin, the bill supporting
a presidential-style premiership in Israel that was proposed by MK
Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu).

Over the weekend, the media reported that clashes erupted on Friday
between hundreds of Palestinians and Border Police troops near the
roadblocks at the entrances to Jerusalem. The clashes broke out
after the Israel Police restricted access to the city for the third
Friday of prayers during the Muslim month of Ramadan to people only
above a certain age. On Sunday, Hatzofe reported that Knesset
Member Uri Ariel from the National Union Party has been drafting
plans for the construction of a synagogue on the Temple Mount.

The Jerusalem Post cited GOI sources as confirming Sunday that Asi
Shariv, Olmert's spokesman, will likely be Israel's consul-general
in New York, one of the most sought after positions in the foreign
service.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the American Federation of
Teachers, which represents 1.3 million teachers across the US, is
calling on Irish academics to oppose demands to boycott Israel

Ha'aretz cited the Australian Jewish community's dissatisfaction
with the alleged characterization of Asians by Israel's Ambassador
in Canberra Naftali Tamir in an interview with Ha'aretz as the
"yellow race." On Sunday, Ha'aretz reported that on Friday, the
Foreign Ministry condemned Tamir's remarks in the interview that
Israel and Australia were white sisters amid the "yellow race" of
Asia. On Sunday, The Jerusalem Post reported that Tamir was being
called back to Jerusalem for a "further clarification" of the
matter.
Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem on Sunday, Nobel Chemistry laureate Roger D.
Kornberg, an American scientist with close ties with Israel,
criticized the Israeli government for slashing support to
universities, charging that this has shaken the foundation of
Israel's scientific research community.

---------
1. Iran:
---------

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Our
government, crucially, should not allow the understandable desire to
encourage a global response to be misinterpreted as a sign that even
Israel is beginning to treat the unthinkable as inevitable."

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

"Unthinkable, Not Inevitable"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (10/15):
"Last week, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert convened a special meeting of
security chiefs to discuss Israeli strategy toward the Iranian
threat, amid concerns that Western responses to it are inadequate.
These concerns have grown with the expectation that any sanctions
imposed on North Korea after it claimed to have exploded a nuclear
weapon will amount to little more than a slap on the wrist. The
Prime Minister's meeting reportedly concluded that Israel would
continue to support the diplomatic approach toward the Iranian
challenge, as led by the United States and Europe. In other words,
Israel will continue to attempt to walk the fine line between
encouraging the international community to take the lead on this
global threat, and insisting that failure is not an option.... By
stepping back, Israel is trying to accentuate the global nature of
the Iranian challenge, but Israel can and should be doing more to
explain this.... The mullahs fervently believe that nuclear weapons
will not only protect their regime, but allow them to expand their
power and the grip of their own militant brand of Islam throughout
the world. Israel cannot accept such a genocidal threat, but neither
can other free nations accept such a blatant attempt to hijack the
world order. Our government, crucially, should not allow the
understandable desire to encourage a global response to be
misinterpreted as a sign that even Israel is beginning to treat the
unthinkable as inevitable."

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Israel is marching headlong, with its
eyes wide open and a clear mind, to a head-on clash with the
Hamas-led Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip. Both sides have
been preparing for this confrontation carefully, with the sense that
it is ineluctable."

Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in Yediot Aharonot: "That which is
perceived as giving power in the Middle East weakens Israel in the
West, particularly in Europe, and what is perceived in the Middle
East as weakness gives it strength in world public opinion."

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

I. "War Around the Corner"

Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/15): "The incidents these past few
days in the Gaza Strip are just the preface to the big bang. Israel
is marching headlong, with its eyes wide open and a clear mind, to a
head-on clash with the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority in the Gaza
Strip. Both sides have been preparing for this confrontation
carefully, with the sense that it is ineluctable. The Palestinians
have been arming themselves to the teeth.... All of [the recent
Israeli] defensive military activity is geared to stymie and delay
the process in which Hamas has been building its army in the Gaza
Strip. But it is all in vain. Israeli officials have watched
Palestinian terror experts return to Gaza after spending months of
training in Lebanon, whereupon they carry out a series of military
preparations right under our nose, and all of which is generously
funded by Hamas. A tremendous amount of weapons, ammunition and
explosives -- leftovers from the war in Iraq -- has been flowing
from the Sinai peninsula into the Gaza Strip, through the mediation
of international arms dealers. That is why the clash is
ineluctable. The Southern Command's defensive activity will not
succeed in stopping the massive armament program, but it has
contributed greatly to keeping the troops in top operational
readiness in advance of the day when they are put to the test. And,
as we learned in Lebanon, that is no laughing matter."

II. "The Paradox of Power and Weakness"

Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in Yediot Aharonot (10/15): "Here is
a paradox: That which is perceived as giving power in the Middle
East weakens Israel in the West, particularly in Europe, and what is
perceived in the Middle East as weakness gives it strength in world
public opinion. In the Middle East, people admire the strong,
whether it is Ahmadinejad, Saddam in his time or, not to mention
them in the same breath, Ariel Sharon, who was perceived as a
strongman. In the Western world, the strong arouse aversion. In
the Middle East, one may never be perceived as weak. In the West,
that is to one's credit. The size of the Israeli movement toward
regional strengthening is equal to the amount of damage it suffers
in the world arena, and the opposite. Both movements are dynamic,
and therefore also reversible. Movement in both of them can occur
in either direction. Holding on to territory is seen as Israeli
power, but in the world it is viewed as causing damage....The rule
also works for the Palestinians. As long as they were seen as weak,
world sympathy for them grew; the moment that Hamas presented them
as having an army and power, the world forgot them. From now on,
any Israeli measure must take the paradox into account.... The
Israeli leadership must embark on the forceful military operation
under the justification of the existential threat -- a process that
occurred in the first stages of the Lebanon War. For that, Israel
must use the international institutions that we usually scorned, and
we must establish a well-oiled public-relations network that can be
activated on short notice. The world would see a clear victory
against an existential threat as a blessing, while in the region it
would be seen as strength and as a deterrent. The time has come for
Israeli accomplishments that we have not had for more than two
decades."

CRETZ

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