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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2109/01 1911006
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101006Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2191
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
RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 2436
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9155
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2488
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3241
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2462
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0413
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3195
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0071
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0539
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7138
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4551
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9465
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3637
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5575
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7377
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002109

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

SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS
SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION


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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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Yediot reported that the heads of NATO told Strategic Affairs
Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Israel cannot count on the

international community to help it militarily against the Iranian
nuclear program. Lieberman visited NATO Headquarters in Brussels a
couple of weeks ago. The Jerusalem Post reported that Brig. Gen.
(res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, the former head of IDF Intelligence's
Research Division, told the newspaper on Monday that time to launch
an effective military strike against Iran's nuclear installations
was running out. Kuperwasser predicted that sanctions will
ultimately fail to stop Tehran's nuclear program. Yediot reported
that Mossad employees are wondering whether the firing of the deputy
director of the Mossad was due to a personal disagreement between
him and Mossad Director Meir Dagan, or to an argument over Israel's
Iran policy.

Ha'aretz reported that on Monday visiting Italian PM Romano Prodi
called for preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. But he
added that Israeli leaders should distinguish between Tehran's
legitimate civil nuclear energy program and any attempt to acquire
nuclear weapons, which must be prevented. Prodi also denied reports
in the Turin daily La Stampa that his government had prevented
Italy's force in UNIFIL from obtaining information about the
abducted Israeli soldiers in Lebanon. The media reported that the
families of the three Israeli soldiers being held hostage found an
attentive ear with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Maariv quoted Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as saying
that a deal to release IDF soldier Gilad Shalit has already been
made in Israel-Hamas contacts under Egyptian mediation, but that the
deal is stalled because of Israeli difficulties in drawing up an
acceptable list of prisoners to be released. Citing Arab sources,
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Hamas has rejected the list of
prisoners presented by Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that in a letter published in the French
daily Le Monde, a group of 10 EU foreign ministers has called for an
international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
calling the Roadmap plan dead. The signatories of the letter were
the FMs of France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria,
Romania, Cyprus, Slovenia, and Malta.

Yediot cited data gathered by the IDF, according to which 25 tons of
explosives have entered the Gaza Strip over the past month alone.

Major media reported that in an interview to the Dubai-based
satellite station Al Arabiya-TV, PM Ehud Olmert urged Syrian
President Bashar Assad to "come to Jerusalem to talk." In his first
appearance on a major Arabic news station in over six years, Olmert
said: "Bashar Assad, you know You know I am ready to hold direct
negotiations with you and you also know that it's you who insists on
speaking to the Americans. The American President says: 'I don't
want to stand between Bashar Assad and Ehud Olmert. If you want to
talk, sit down and talk." Olmert added that Assad has "heard many
things from me already."

Israel Radio quoted PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas as saying
that Fatah will not resume dialogue with Hamas. He accused Hamas of
opening the gates to al-Qaida activists.

The Jerusalem Post quoted a spokesman for the (Israeli) Fruit
Growers Association as saying that on Monday Hamas's Finance
Ministry barred Israeli fruits and vegetables from entering the Gaza
Strip. The move is likely to cost Israeli fruit growers 3-5 million
shekels a day (approx. USD 710,000 - 1.8 million).

Ha'aretz reported that the office of the IDF Advocate General is
considering petitioning the High Court of Justice against the
Winograd Commission, because the commission has no plans to issue
warning letters to any individual who may be harmed by the
publication of its final report. The commission's final report on
the Second Lebanon War is expected in the fall.

The Jerusalem Post reported that legal appeals to the High Court of
Justice continue to delay the construction of the West Bank security
fence, which may not be completed until 2010.

Yediot reported that 25,000 Israelis have acquired American
citizenship over the past decade and that there has been a sharp
increase in green card applications by Israelis.

Ha'aretz reported that the Israeli defense establishment will be
keeping a close eye on developments in Lebanon's domestic political
scene, especially for the next two weeks. The newspaper cited
Israel's concern that Hizbullah and its political allies may seek to
establish an alternative government.

Ha'aretz reported that Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is
presently negotiating a USD 1.5 billion contract in India. The
deal, a joint protect with the Indian Army, involves development and
manufacture of ground-to-air missiles.

Ha'aretz quoted Jewish-American academics and community leaders as
saying that the trend toward delegitimizing Israel's existence as a
Jewish state is growing not only in Europe, but also in the US.

The media reported that Israeli authorities have confined refugees
from Sudan to prisons and other facilities. Media said that the
Defense Ministry is waiting for Cairo to establish a deportation
administration that will be responsible for coordinating the
refugees' return to Egypt. Ha'aretz cited London -based daily
Al-Hayat assaying that that Sudan has announced that it will
institute legal proceedings against Sudanese who arrived in Israel
as refugees.

Ha'aretz reported that 25 Jewish and Arab Israeli youth attended a
three-day filmmaking seminar at Kibbutz Ramat Hashofet, sponsored by
the Education Ministry's Communications and Film Education
Department in conjunction with the Haifa Cinematheque. Their short
works included personal histories related to the Israeli-Arab
conflict. Organizers hoped to help forge collaborative relationships
between the Jewish and Arab participants.

Ha'aretz reported that IBM Israel focuses on innovation.

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

Summary:
--------

Liat Collins, Editor of The International Jerusalem Post, wrote in
the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "Olmert has
temporarily gained a second chance to form the government. It won't
take long to see whether a second round means second best."

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "With Assad trying to inch
closer toward the West, Syrian tourism on the rise, and moderate
Islamic countries headed by Saudi Arabia urging Assad to act wisely
and cautiously, Israel's leaders need to focus on Assad's peace
proposal."

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in
International Affairs Center, columnist Barry Rubin, wrote in The
Jerusalem Post: "If deterrence must turn into implementation, the
guns should be pointed in the right direction. Let the Syrian
rulers tremble where now they swagger."

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

I. "Double Trouble"

Liat Collins, Editor of The International Jerusalem Post, wrote in
the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (7/10): "The [Second
Lebanon] War blurred the borders between the home front and the
front lines.... A year later, it is business as usual. And as usual,
politics dominates.... Olmert's well-honed sense of political
survival has ... enabled him to -- at least for now -- keep his
coalition alive (albeit struggling). But his political enemies are
just waiting for an opportunity to trip him up. And it does not bode
well that his No. 2 ([Haim] Ramon) hates his Defense Minister
(Barak) and his Defense Minister would like nothing more than a
second chance in the prime minister's seat. Olmert has temporarily
gained a second chance to form the government. It won't take long
to see whether a second round means second best. Olmert is fighting
the political battle of his life while Judge Eliahu Winograd is
preparing his report and recommendations following last summer's war
in the North. A case of double jeopardy?"

II. "The Hot Air of August"

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (7/10): "How can you tell that
August is around the corner? Because the country is talking itself
silly over the terrible war that we are supposedly expecting this
summer.... Large-scale war games conducted by the Syrian army near
the border had all our big chiefs up in arms. But Israel's war
games in the Negev, preparing for a Syrian offensive, could have the
same effect on Bashar Assad.... Coming from the dictatorship world,
Assad is liable to think that Israel wants to erase the fiasco of
the Second Lebanon War by means of a strike against Damascus. An
attack like that could bring down the Alawite regime and spell the
end of Assad. Syria is not one of those countries that goes to war
all of a sudden, says a political analyst who knows the score. In
fact, the whole idea of a war this summer is absurd. Why would
Syria be the one to declare war when no Arab country has ever gone
into battle alone against Israel? With Assad trying to inch closer
toward the West, Syrian tourism on the rise, and moderate Islamic
countries headed by Saudi Arabia urging Assad to act wisely and
cautiously, Israel's leaders need to focus on Assad's peace proposal
and stop driving him crazy with their hot air forecasts for
August."

III. "Getting Serious About Syria"

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in
International Affairs Center, columnist Barry Rubin, wrote in The
Jerusalem Post (7/10): "Clearly, Israel does not want war with
Syria. Yet the whole concept of deterrence is to make clear to the
Syrians that Israel is not afraid of war, and that Syrian support
for terrorism against Israel will have real and costly consequences.
Without this fear, there is no deterrence. And without deterrence,
war -- either directly with Syria or with Syria's clients in Lebanon
-- is far more likely. The weakness of Syria should also be a
factor in Israeli thinking.... To rebuild Israeli deterrence
requires a proper degree of credible threat against those inciting,
planning, financing and equipping attacks on Israel. This should be
directed against those forces that are both implacable enemies and
that have to take material losses into account. If deterrence must
turn into implementation, the guns should be pointed in the right
direction. Let the Syrian rulers tremble where now they swagger."

JONES

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