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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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Leza L Olson 12/01/2006 02:14:44 PM From DB/Inbox: Leza L Olson

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS TEL AVIV 04699

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

DISSEMINATION: PD
CHARGE: PROG

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

VZCZCTVI516
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 RHMFISS RHMFIUU
DE RUEHTV #4699/01 3351132
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011132Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7946
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 1295
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 8058
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 1146
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 2056
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 1275
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 8969
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 1997
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 8920
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 9364
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 6040
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 3418
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 8295
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 2532
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4439
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 5227
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TEL AVIV 004699

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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. Mideast

2. Iran

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

Major media reported on, and Ha'aretz (English Ed.) led with, praise
lavished on Thursday by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on PM
Ehud Olmert for his address on Monday at a memorial event for
Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. Ha'aretz cited
sources in Olmert's bureau quoting Secretary Rice as saying: "The
speech will contribute to calm and will further the peace process in
the region." Ha'aretz reported that during their meeting on
Thursday, Olmert updated Rice on the talks held a day earlier with
visiting Egyptian Chief of Intelligence Omar Suleiman, regarding
efforts to gain the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces
soldier, Gilad Shalit. Ha'aretz wrote that the Secretary informed
Olmert of the content of her talks earlier in the day with
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Following her meeting
with Olmert, Rice met with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Ha'aretz
said that the Secretary expressed her appreciation for the restraint
Israel has exercised in recent days in the face of continued rocket
fire from the Gaza Strip. Rice added that the cease-fire in the
Gaza Strip needs to be bolstered with further measures. Yediot
reported that Olmert and Livni conveyed to Rice their concerns about
Hamas's arming. Ha'aretz quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark
Regev as telling reporters that Olmert wants to extend the
cease-fire to the West Bank once it has proven effective in the Gaza
Strip. Israel Radio reported that defense sources will oppose this
trend. In a headline above a picture of the Bush-Rice meeting,
Hatzofe wrote that Olmert was "receiving orders." Leading media
quoted Rice as saying following her meeting with Abbas earlier that
Israel and the Palestinians should step up efforts to revive peace
talks and move toward a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. "Hopefully we can take this moment to accelerate our
efforts and intensify our efforts toward the two-state solution that
we all desire," Rice said at a news conference with Abbas.

Yediot reported that, after the GOI instructed the IDF to discuss
the stabilization of the truce with Palestinian organizations,
Israel is coordinating the cease-fire with Hamas. Yediot quoted
Noam Shalit, Gilad Shalit's father, as saying during a press
conference on Thursday that he has sent messages to Khaled Mashal,
the head of Hamas's political bureau.
Ha'aretz (Hebrew Ed.), The Jerusalem Post, and Maariv led with
Lebanon-related issues. Ha'aretz cited fears in Lebanon that
Hizbullah-initiated demonstrations against the regime in that
country might provoke riots today. The Jerusalem Post reported that
Israeli defense officials expressed extreme concern on Thursday over
Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah's call for a massive
protest to being down the Lebanese government. The Israeli
officials warned that UNIFIL might be expelled from Lebanon if PM
Fouad Siniora were forced to leave office. Maariv quoted Olmert as
saying during a closed meeting on Tuesday with the ambassadors of
the EU that Israel does not intend to "give Hizbullah what it wants
in exchange for caskets." Maariv quoted the PM as saying that he
does not intend to reach any agreement with Hizbullah before he
obtains evidence that the captured IDF soldiers are alive. Maariv
said that Olmert clearly hinted that IDF soldiers Eldar Regev and
Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped by Hizbullah, might not be
alive.

Last night Channel 10-TV told the story of "Avi," an Israeli
residing in the US, who came in possession of current documents and
photographic material related to one of America's most wanted men,
Hizbullah's chief operations officer Imad Mughniyeh, whose latest
known pictures were published decades ago. According to the
station, "Avi" gave the materials free of charge to Israel's three
intelligence agencies, which invited him to Israel. Channel 10-TV
reported that the agencies reneged on their promises to "Avi,"
including granting Israeli citizenship to his companion "Anat," a
national of an Eastern European country, which would have allowed
her to live in the US.

Israel Radio reported that a Hebron Palestinian youth was killed by
Border Policemen after he threw a firebomb at the forces. Citing
Reuters, Ha'aretz reported that IDF soldiers shot dead a Palestinian
youth in Nablus on Thursday. The radio said that a Qassam rocket
was fired at the western Negev, and that the IDF arrested 29
Palestinians -- mostly Hamas militants -- in the West Bank.

All media quoted Abbas as saying at the joint press conference with
Secretary Rice that the talks with Hamas on the establishment of a

SIPDIS
government of national unity have reached a "dead end." The
Jerusalem Post reported that Abbas is expected to make a "dramatic
announcement" this weekend regarding the ongoing crisis with Hamas
over the formation of a Palestinian unity government. The Jerusalem
Post reported that PA officials told the newspaper that Abbas was
considering the possibility of firing the Hamas-led government and
holding a national referendum on early parliamentary elections.
Yediot and Israel Radio reported that last night the High Court of
Justice rejected, 4-3, petitions that demanded the establishment of
a state commission of inquiry into the second Lebanon War. Israel
Radio reported that the Movement for Quality Government will appeal
the ruling.

Israel Radio reported that the US might demand that the UN Security
Council impose sanctions on Iran even without Russia and China's
assent. Former Israeli Ambassador to Tehran Uri Lubrani, an advisor
to the Defense Minister on Iran, was quoted as saying in an
interview with Ha'aretz that instead of launching a military
operation against Iran, he favors fomenting a popular regime change
and paralysis of the Iranian oil industry, suggesting that the US
foot the bill for the operation.

Maariv reported that this week Defense Minister Amir Peretz decided
to adopt the defense establishment's view that a fence be built in
the middle of the village of Barta'a, which straddles the
Israel/West Bank border.

Israel Radio reported that the Baker/Hamilton committee recommends
the creation of a conference, in which Iran and Syria would also
participate, in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would also be
discussed. The radio reported that senior members of the Republican
Party could object to some recommendations of the committee,
principally a pullback of US forces from Iraq. The radio hinted
that those officials might also object to the committee's advice on
the Middle East.

British Ambassador to Israel Tom Phillips was quoted as saying on
Wednesday in an interview with Ha'aretz (English Ed.) that Britain's
policy toward Israel will not change when British PM Tony Blair
steps down.

Media reported that on Thursday an Egyptian state security court
confirmed death sentenced against three men found responsible for
the October 2004 Sinai bombings in which 34 civilians, including 13
Israelis, were killed.

All media reported that former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon left
New Zealand earlier this week, after an arrest warrant was issued
against him there as a suspect of war crimes. After the retired
general, who had been on a private visit in New Zealand, departed
the country, the warrant was canceled.

Yediot said that the Israeli-Palestinian radio station Kol Hashalom
serves as a "rare meeting place" between bereaved people on both
sides.
------------
1. Mideast:
------------

Summary:
--------

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The US President is trying to strengthen
[Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri] Al-Maliki, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad
Siniora, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. But how
will the battered and bruised Bush summon the resources to help
them?"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "In order to promote an initiative, there
is need for a different Palestinian government."

Political parties correspondent Yossi Verter wrote in Ha'aretz:
"Olmert apparently realized that he had to go back to the sources,
and the sources of Kadima are, simply stated: a diplomatic
process."

Senior columnist Dan Margalit wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "Olmert has recognized the Hamas government de facto....
[But its] infrastructure is crippled."

Meretz Party Chairman, Knesset Member Yossi Beilin wrote in The
Jerusalem Post: "[Olmert] understood that US President George Bush
will demand that Olmert address the Palestinian issue."

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

I. "Triple Trouble"

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (12/1): "The US President is trying to
strengthen [Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri] Al-Maliki, Lebanese Prime
Minister Fouad Siniora, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud
Abbas. But how will the battered and bruised Bush summon the
resources to help them? The three leaders are similar, but there
are also substantial differences between them. The Bush
administration sees Al-Maliki as being insufficiently resolute to
act in accordance with the interests that will calm his country.
The White House is concerned that he is sometimes motivated by
impulses that do not correspond with the objective.... The American
position is different regarding Siniora: The Bush administration
does not have a shadow of a doubt regarding his motives and
intentions, but they understand full well that the weakness of his
government doesn't allow him to do more. In other words, Siniora is
the right person in the right place. As for Abbas, the Americans
are not worried about the purity of his intentions, but they think
he too has difficulty understanding how to carry them out. And
unlike with Siniora, they are not convinced that he will ever reach
this understanding, even when he is handed the means and the
resources. Perhaps, as a Bush administration official put it a few
months ago, he has the will, but not the personality."

II. "Respect Him but Suspect Him"

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (12/1): "When a prime minister declares,
as Olmert declared, that he has no need for an agenda, the agenda
pursues him.... There are no free lunches. The cease-fire enables
Hamas to gain strength in Gaza, and what is even more severe in the
eyes of Minister Avi Dichter: it enables it to build an
infrastructure in the West Bank as well. If Hamas builds up its
strength in the West Bank, the entire center of the country will be
exposed to rockets and suicide bombings. The next stop in the
journey is the prisoners' agreement.... [Foreign Minister] Tzipi
Livni will support the release of prisoners with blood on their
hands, if the release is part of a comprehensive initiative. When
Israel gives the Palestinians a gesture here and a gesture there, it
weakens Abu Mazen and strengthens Hamas. Only when the gestures are
part of an initiative, a plan, are they beneficial, believes Livni.
This is also the opinion of the leaders of the moderate, diplomatic
camp on the Palestinian side. But in order to promote an
initiative, there is need for a different Palestinian government.
And terror must be battled against, in keeping with the Roadmap.
All the plans, including Olmert's plan and the plan put forth by
Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos, speak first about a war on
terror and only then about an Israeli withdrawal. It is difficult
to see how Abu Mazen can overcome this obstacle."

III. "Back on Track"

Political parties correspondent Yossi Verter wrote in Ha'aretz
(12/1): "Two [close associates of Ehud Olmert] said that [his
November 27 speech] was nothing but an aggregation of speeches and
statements that had already been delivered and stated: in the
Knesset, in his victory speech on election night, and in the
'convergence' interviews. This is how one rebuilds the image of the
leader whose status has been eroded and who has been mortally
wounded because of the war. But even without all the surrounding
brouhaha, it can be said that Olmert's speech put his government on
its natural track again. Since the Lebanon War, this government had
lost its sense of direction. After all the declarations, all the
spin, the cross-eyed glances to the right, and the foaming at the
mouth on the Iranian issue, Olmert apparently realized that he had
to go back to the sources, and the sources of Kadima are, simply
stated: a diplomatic process."

IV. "Bacteria Hunters"

Senior columnist Dan Margalit wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv
(12/1): "Calm came to pass for various reasons. The first, obvious
one is that Hamas in Gaza became entangled due to the IDF's shrewd
fighting and the West's refusal to recognize its war-mongering
government. The cease-fire saved the remainder of its rule. IDF
Chief of Staff was right in saying that the [Israeli] government
consulted the IDF only partially before it implemented the
cease-fire. It did not want a truly professional opinion before
exacting a success. There are less transparent reasons [for the
cease-fire]: Olmert has recognized the Hamas government de facto.
It is an organization whose main purpose is to rehabilitate the
infrastructure of terrorism in Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West
Bank]. This infrastructure is crippled."

V. "Is Olmert Serious This Time?"

Meretz Party Chairman, Knesset Member Yossi Beilin wrote in the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (12/1): "Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert's speech Monday at Sde Boker was the third of three
major orations he has lately given on matters of war and peace....
He understood that US President George Bush will demand that Olmert
address the Palestinian issue just as he understands that the
Quartet's demands of the nascent Palestinian government will be much
more moderate than the demands placed on PA Prime Minister Ismail
Haniyeh's government these past months.... If only he is serious
this time. If only he would move, as I recently suggested, toward a
final agreement that follows the Geneva Accords, or would find
another way to reach an historic deal, the members of Meretz-Yahad
will raise their hands in favor, even from our modest place in the
opposition."

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

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "There
is a huge gap between Bush's description of the [Iranian] problem
and US actions."

Meretz Knesset Member Avshalom Vilan, a founding member of Peace
Now, wrote in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Can we really
afford populism when dealing with what may be the most important
question for Israel's security?"

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

I. "Beyond Alarms"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/1):
"There is a huge gap between Bush's description of the [Iranian]
problem and US actions. If the world is facing a 'mortal threat'
from Iran, why does the US seem to be so actively contemplating
asking Iran to help with Iraq? It is ironic that the Bush speech in
Riga was made to NATO leaders. NATO, after all, is supposed to be a
body of collective self-defense, a forum for action -- as in the
case of the joint forces now operating in Afghanistan that Bush
praised. NATO could also be a forum for imposing sanctions, backed
by the threat of military action. Russian and Chinese
foot-dragging cannot be allowed to become an excuse for collective
Western suicide. In Riga, Bush came over like a fire chief sounding
the alarm who, instead of organizing his trucks to put out the fire,
pens a letter 'to whom it may concern.' The US needs to lead the
world in confronting Iran. This means spelling out what economic,
diplomatic, and if necessary, military measures must be taken to do
so. If Bush does not, the historic indictment of which he speaks
will be of his own term of office, during which a global threat
which could have been stopped was allowed to reach its most critical
stage."

II. "Populism Instead of Foreign Policy"

Meretz Knesset Member Avshalom Vilan, a founding member of Peace
Now, wrote in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (12/1):
"Israeli interests suggest the formation of a wide coalition of the
international community, thus portraying Iran as a challenge to the
world, rather than a risk to regional stability, important as that
may be. Only a global coalition could apply an effective economic
pressure leading to significant political pressure.... Instead of
creating an atmosphere of fear and panic, the Israeli Prime Minister
and his cabinet would do better to create coalitions between
possible allies. The coalition should be undoubtedly be led by the
United States, but it cannot rely on American power and readiness
for action alone.... Olmert and Netanyahu are continuing the line,
drafted by first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion that 'it
does not matter what the gentiles do but what the Jews do.' Both
policymakers fall short of grasping that the world has changed, and
in an era where globalization prevails, threats and public policy
should not be coordinated solely from Jerusalem. Henry Kissinger
was quick to comprehend this -- 'Israel has no foreign policy but
only domestic politics.' But if in the past the truism of
Kissinger's witty wording was enough to carry a comprehensive
foreign policy, we may now have reached the point when this becomes
a strategic threat. Can we really afford populism when dealing with
what may be the most important question for Israel's security?"

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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