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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2124/01 1920957
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110957Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2211
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 2441
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9160
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2493
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3246
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2467
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0419
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3200
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0076
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0544
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7143
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4556
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9470
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3642
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5580
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7382
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002124

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

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

1. Mideast

2. Pakistan

3. Iraq

4. US-Israel Relations

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

Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that the Arab League
delegation composed of Egyptian FM Ahmed Ali Abu al-Gheit and
Jordanian FM Abdelelah al-Khatib will only arrive in Israel on July
25, due to PM Ehud Olmert's crowded schedule. The Jerusalem Post
reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Quartet's
new envoy to the region, former British PM Tony Blair, are expected
to attend next week's Quartet gathering in Cairo. The Jerusalem
Post quoted officials in Jerusalem as saying that nothing concerning
a Bush visit to Israel has been confirmed.

Israel Radio quoted State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack as
saying on Tuesday: "Anything that President Abbas proposes with
regard to maintaining law and order, I think people have to take a
look at it. I'm not sure that you're going to find too many forces
willing to go into what I expect is a non-permissive environment.
The focus should be on building up functioning, capable, responsible
Palestinian security forces that are capable of functioning in both
areas. Now, I know that right now that's a difficult proposition
with respect to the Gaza, but that's really where the main weight of
our focus is and the main weight of our effort." McCormack was
responding to Mahmoud Abbas's proposal that international forces be
sent to the Gaza Strip.

Leading media reported that on Tuesday Palestinian militants fired
at least 11 mortar shells toward Israel from the Gaza Strip. No one
was injured, but two structures near the Kerem Shalom border
crossing sustained damage, and the IDF closed the crossing down. An
anti-tank missile was also fired at IDF troops on the Gaza border,
but no one was hurt. Hamas targeted the crossing apparently because
of Israel's intention to make it the main entry point into Gaza.
This morning Israel Radio reported that Israel is sending to the
Gaza Strip dozens of truckloads of agricultural produce. Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe reported that on Tuesday the Palestinian government
headed by deposed PM Ismail Haniyeh asked Israel to start direct
talks with Israel on opening the crossings.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the latest IDF assessment predicts
that war with Syria could erupt if PM Olmert does not begin peace
negotiations with Damascus and that such a conflict would be "at
least 10 times worse" than last summer's conflict with Hizbullah.
The Jerusalem Post and other media quoted Syrian MP Muhammad Habash
as saying that Syria has rejected PM Olmert's offer of peace talks
with President Bashar Assad. Speaking on IDF Radio, Internal
Security Minister Avi Dichter said that Olmert's offer was "genuine
and real." But he was not optimistic that Assad would agree.
Maariv reported that in an interview published this week in The New
York Sun, an unnamed Syrian Ba'ath official threatened Israel with
attacks against Golan settlements if Israel does not evacuate the
Golan Heights by September. The official was quoted as saying that
Syria "learned from the Hezbollah experience last summer and we can
have hundreds of missiles hitting Tel Aviv that will overwhelm
Israel's anti-missile batteries." He was further quoted as saying
that Syria has "proof" that Israel is also readying for a war.

The Jerusalem Post reported that IDF Intelligence (MI) is also
identifying and pinpointing targets for the IDF in the event that a
strike is launched against Iran's nuclear facilities. Major media
cited MI's assessment that Iran might obtain a nuclear bomb by 2009,
although it is more likely to succeed in its endeavors in 2010 or
2011. Hamodi'a reported that the US has dispatched the aircraft
carrier USS Enterprise to the Persian Gulf. Maariv reported that an
interview published with Italian PM Romano Prodi, in which he said
that Israel should be guaranteed that there will be no Iranian
military program, caused angry responses in Tehran and almost
produced a diplomatic crisis between Italy and Iran.

Ha'aretz reported that the UN has transmitted messages to Israel in
recent weeks that the organization's mapping experts have determined
that the controversial Sheba Farms on Mount Dov near the Lebanese
border, now controlled by Israel, is Lebanese territory. The UN,
which has communicated to Israel that the disposition of the Sheba
Farms should be dealt with as soon as possible, has proposed to
senior government officials that Israel withdraw from the area and
that it be considered international territory to be controlled by
UNIFIL. Ha'aretz noted that FM Tzipi Livni and PM Olmert oppose the
idea. Ha'aretz quoted GOI officials in Jerusalem as saying that the
UN cartographer handling the matter in recent months has determined
that the area is indeed Lebanese. The officials added that Syria and
Lebanon also agree that the area is Lebanese. Therefore, the UN has
said there is no reason for Israel not to relinquish control over
the area. Ha'aretz said that GOI officials are treating the matter
with kid gloves out of concern that a public statement by the UN
could lead to renewed conflict in the North. The daily also noted
that the US and France want the Sheba Farms to return to Lebanon.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Mahmoud Abbas has come under heavy
criticism from Palestinians -- including drafters of the PA's Basic
Law -- who say he is forging a "military dictatorship" in the West
Bank by granting military courts broad powers to crack down on
civilians. Abbas is also under attack for seeking to dilute the
power of the Palestinian Legislative Council, whose members were
elected in January 2006.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that the Waqf Muslim religious
trust is digging a ditch in the Old City of Jerusalem, from the
northern side of the Temple Mount compound to the Dome of the Rock
as a prelude to infrastructure work in the area, generating protests
from archaeologists. Ha'aretz also reported that the Israel
Antiquities Authority (IAA) told the High Court of Justice that it
was prepared to allow construction of the Museum of Tolerance on the
site of an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem's Mamila area,
although an enormous archaeologist had determined that the
excavation was far from complete.

Martin Scheinin of Finland, Special Rapporteur for the UN Human
Rights Council, was quoted as saying in an interview with The
Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the council has been a huge
disappointment, as it singled out Israel. Scheinin also criticized
Israel over its security fence and targeted killings.

Ha'aretz reported that on Monday Vice Premier Haim Ramon and
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz called for the building of a
fence along the southern border to prevent illegal entries via
Egypt. Mofaz was quoted as saying that a fence would also reduce
drug smuggling and trafficking in women.

The Jerusalem Post reported in-depth on the Fourth of July reception
at the US Ambassador's residence. The newspaper reported that DCM
Gene Cretz, the master of ceremonies at the celebration, will be
winding his tour of duty next month.

Ha'aretz and Yediot reported that the stocks on Tel Aviv's financial
markets represent one of the best investments in the world; since
the start of the Second Lebanon War they have risen by 40 percent.

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

Summary:
--------

Prominent liberal author A. B. Yehoshua wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Weaknesses and
failures are not necessarily moral flaws -- just as victories and
achievements are not proof of a moral advantage."

Senior columnist Moshe Ishon wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe: "[Tzipi Livni's peace plans] cannot be
implemented in reality. It turns out that the minister in charge of
foreign affairs is hovering in the air."

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

I. "A Year Since Operation Peace for Galilee"

Prominent liberal author A. B. Yehoshua wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (7/11): "A year ago, on
July 12, from the international border, Hizbullah -- a Lebanese
military organization that advocates the destruction of Israel --
launched an attack on Israel, killed eight soldiers, took two
prisoners, and directed rocket fire at the northern communities. We
will not repeat what happened a year ago, since the events are
well-known. Israel's strong response to the offensive was morally
right, and it was so perceived by most of the world, including parts
of the Arab world. True, the war, despite its justification, lasted
longer than it should have and revealed many weaknesses, both in the
army and in the defense of the home front, but weaknesses and
failures are not necessarily moral flaws -- just as victories and
achievements are not proof of a moral advantage. In complete
contrast to its older and bloodier sister, this war, which we still
call the Second Lebanon War, was actually Operation Peace for
Galilee. It recaptures the original name of the first Lebanon War,
which was staged with blood and destruction by the Begin-Sharon
government. Will there be peace for the Galilee in the future? I
do not know. If this war, the anniversary of which we are now
marking, will become not only a punching bag and source for
recriminations, but also a long list of urgent actions that need to
be taken, in repairing the army, in fortifying the northern
communities and in stabilizing the Security Council agreement on the
international border, and mainly in a bold peace initiative with
Syria -- then there is a real chance that there will indeed be peace
in the future for northern Israel, which is much larger than we
think -- from [the northern Galilee] to the outskirts of Tel Aviv."

II. "A Foreign Minister Disconnected From Reality"

Senior columnist Moshe Ishon wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe (7/11): "It is worth mentioning that it is not
only the national camp [i.e. the Right] that does not believe in a
peace arrangement in a foreseeable time -- but also the liberal camp
and part of the Left. Our generation is not prepared for peace....
But our Foreign Minister, who has recently been talking about peace
with the Palestinians, is not aware of that. She still believes in
progress in peace talks. Meanwhile, her peace plans 'lie in peace'
on the pages of newspapers and the Foreign Ministry's protocols.
But they cannot be implemented in reality. It turns out that the
minister in charge of foreign affairs is hovering in the air."


-------------
2. Pakistan:
-------------

Summary:
--------

Dr. Itzik Kfir, an expert on terror in the developing world at the
Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The civilian/military Pakistani
administration does not want to see bin-Ladin clutch the red
button.... But there can be no doubt that the rise of Islamic
extremism to power would increase Pakistani terrorist activity in
India -- especially in Kashmir."

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

"Will Extremists Control the Islamic Atom Bomb?"

Dr. Itzik Kfir, an expert on terror in the developing world at the

Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (7/11): "Despite the bloodshed, the 'Red
Mosque' crisis will eventually end in a compromise. Some rebel
leaders will be jailed, but will be released after one or two years.
It would be more difficult to predict the results of the elections.
The civilian/military Pakistani administration does not want to see
bin-Ladin clutch the red button. Even the Islamist parties do not
want this. But there can be no doubt that the rise of Islamic
extremism to power would increase Pakistani terrorist activity in
India -- especially in Kashmir."

---------
3. Iraq:
---------

Summary:
--------

Michael Freund, who was an assistant to former prime minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post: "As Israel's experiences with withdrawal over the past decade
have made clear, retreat in the face of terror is simply not an
option, and one can only hope that this lesson will not be lost on
the powers that be in Washington."

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

"America, Stay the Course in Iraq"

Michael Freund, who was an assistant to former prime minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post (7/11): "Before the decision-makers in Washington hastily
embrace retreat, they might want to take a step back and consider
just how detrimental, demoralizing and even destructive withdrawal
can be. For proof, they need only look to Israel's recent
experience in this regard. Twice in the past seven years the Jewish
state has turned tail and fled, pulling its forces out of Lebanon in
2000 and Gaza in 2005. Tired of fighting a determined foe,
successive Israeli governments decided to throw in the towel and
hope for the best. In both instances, Israel's retreat was carried
out in a rapid and precipitous manner, with little thought given to
the day after. The result, of course, was nothing short of
disastrous.... The fact is that what happens in Iraq matters. Not
just in Baghdad, but in Teheran, Pyongyang and in Gaza City too. A
weakened America means a strengthened foe, one even more determined
to press forward with attacking Israel and the West. As Israel's
experiences with withdrawal over the past decade have made clear,
retreat in the face of terror is simply not an option, and one can
only hope that this lesson will not be lost on the powers that be in
Washington. For in the tinderbox that is the Middle East, an
American pullout from Iraq might just be the spark that will lead to
an even greater conflagration."

------------------------
4. US-Israel Relations:
------------------------

Summary:
--------

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "There is as degree of difficulty in planning
a joint future for Israel and American Jews without first working
out the reciprocal relationship."


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

"Where Is the Center of the Jewish People?"

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (7/11): "There is as degree of difficulty in
planning a joint future for Israel and American Jews without first
working out the reciprocal relationship. Zionist Israel will find
it difficult to accept the status of a B team.... In any case, the
requirement is to shape a partnership of a new sort. This is a
worthy, complex challenge for those planning the future of the
Jewish people. Otherwise, as in the old joke about the Jew and his
two synagogues, the reality will draw the future: One place will be
for living and the other for not setting foot."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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