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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #2357/01 2130807
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 010807Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9252
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2602
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3338
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2570
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0540
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3302
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0175
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0640
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7235
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4657
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9570
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002357

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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Ha'aretz reported that Secretary Rice's visit to Israel and the West
Bank is the first step in preparations for the U.S.led international
peace conference proposed for this fall. The paper, citing
diplomatic sources in Jerusalem, reported that Prime Minister Olmert
will tell Secretary Rice that he would like to make a diplomatic
splash at the summit by having a meeting with a Saudi official. The
paper noted that it is doubtful whether the Saudis will even attend
the summit as Bush has stipulated that only countries that recognize
Israel's legitimacy will be invited to participate. The Jerusalem
Post reported that according to diplomatic officials Rice will ask
Israel to continue taking steps to bolster PA Chairman Mahmoud
Abbas.

All media reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke at a
graduation ceremony in Jerusalem for the Israel Defense Forces'
command college on Tuesday. He was quoted as saying that there is no
reason to create an atmosphere of war and that all sides want
peace, not war. In contrast Syrian President Bashar Assad was
quoted as saying in a letter he wrote to the Syrian army that the
"resistence model" has won and that the release of Syrian soil is
sacred.

Leading media reported that Secretary Rice signed a joint statement
with the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and six Persian Gulf
states, endorsing the 2002 Arab peace initiative as one of the
foundations for Middle East peace.

All media quoted Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem as saying
on Tuesday that Syria is ready to take part in the U.S.-sponsored
Mideast peace conference, despite the country's stance that
Washington is behind the instability in the region.

All media quoted Russia's deputy foreign minister as saying that
Russia intends to downgrade its ties with Hamas, including a
suspension of high level contacts.. Israel Radio reported that
Hamas officials claim to have received official invitations to visit
Moscow and that they intend to go in the near future. The media also
reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin told visiting
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday that he is
the legitimate leader of all Palestinians.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Jordanian government spokesman Nasser
Judeh as saying on Tuesday that Jordan does not intend to deploy
troops in the Palestinian territories to aid with security.

Leading media reported that Hamas is setting up a new intelligence
service in Gaza. According to Hamas's Interior of Ministry
spokesman, the new force will become operational within the next few
weeks and it will focus on security throughout Gaza.

Yediot reported that Israel is seriously looking at buildinga
nuclear power station to meet future demand for electricity.
According to the paper if Israel goes ahead with this plan, it would
have to open up its nuclear activities to international inspection.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the US Consulate General in
Jerusalem announced yesterday a new on-line appointment system for
American Citizens living in Jerusaelm.

Yediot quoted US Consul-General Richard Beer as saying in an
interview with the paper that the refusal rate in Israel stands at 4
percent. According to the consul the number of Israelis applying
for a US toiurist visa has risen by 50 percent this year.

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

Summary:
--------

Columnist Akiva Eldar wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz: "Despite Olmert's generously broad coalition, the prime
minister is even failing to meet his commitment to dismantle the
illegal settler outposts in the West Bank.... When will it be time
to talk? It is time we realized that time does not take orders from
Jerusalem. Abbas is telling every Israeli he meets that in 18
months at the latest, we will have to look for partners from Hamas.
If we have a partner, then we must begin talking to him right now.
If we have no partners, then we best prepare the bomb shelters.
There is no such thing as a half-partner."
Economic editor Sever Plotker wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The current administration in Iran fears
the Qatari model more than an Israeli attack on its nuclear
devices.... When an oppressive regime and a reconciling regime exist
next to each other, the model of reconciliation will eventually
topple oppression. This is especially true when both have money and
only one uses it correctly. That is why in the summer of 2007 we
can be a little bit more optimistic."

Columnist Yosef Harif wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv: "Why
does [Vice Prime Minister Haim] Ramon believe that now of all times,
Israel has a worthy partner ...? After all it is the same Abu Mazen
who isknown to be a weak leader who did not succeed in the past to
fulfill any of the obligations he took on in past agreements with
Israel.... It is hard to imagine that this is the man with whom
Israel could reach an agreement under the threatening shadow of
Hamas."

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

I. "Time Does not Take Orders from Jerusalem"


Columnist Akiva Eldar wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (08/01): "The Palestinian partner was born in Oslo in the
summer of 1993, and died seven years later at Camp David. Following
seven more years of violence, diplomatic stalemate and renewed
settlement -- and following the disillusionment from the
misconception of unilateral moves -- the word 'partner' is slowly
making a comeback. The Ramallah branch of the Palestinian
government is no longer considered 'an entity that supports
terrorism,' as former prime minister Ariel Sharon's cabinet defined
it in its December 2001 statement on the Palestinian Authority.
Following the recent loss of the Gaza Strip to Hamas, Palestinian
Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was transformed overnight from a
weak and irrelevant leader to a partner worth strengthening.
During his last meeting with Abbas, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert even
mentioned something about possibly agreeing to discuss the permanent
peace agreement in their next meeting. However, one should keep in
mind that when Jerusalem mentions the permanent peace agreement, it
does not mean the third and final stage of the international
Quartet's road map plan for peace.... Olmert and Foreign Minister
Tzipi Livni are not offering to discuss 'an agreed, just, fair, and
realistic solution to the refugee issue, and a negotiated resolution
on the status of Jerusalem,' as required in that godforsaken road

map.... Despite Olmert's generously broad coalition, the prime
minister is even failing to meet his commitment to dismantle the
illegal settler outposts in the West Bank.... When will it be time
to talk? It is time we realized that time does not take orders from
Jerusalem. Abbas is telling every Israeli he meets that in 18
months at the latest, we will have to look for partners from Hamas.
If we have a partner, then we must begin talking to him right now.
If we have no partners, then we best prepare the bomb shelters.
There is no such thing as a half-partner."

II. "Oil on Democracy's Wheels"

Economic editor Sever Plotker wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (08/01): "Let's look around at what is
happening in the Arab-Muslim sphere: the three fragile democracies
-- Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq - are surviving somehow.... It is
still not the democratic Middle East that George Bush continuously
speaks about, but in the summer of 2007 there is room for cautious
optimism.... Hundreds of billions of dollars of oil money is also
strengthening -- for now - the democratic trends.... Oil money will
fast-forward democratization of the Muslim world; it is already
generating a change in it.... The danger of instability has weakened
and the slightly autocratic democratic regimes can afford a few
reforms. At the same time, oppressive regimes, first and foremost
Iran, are failing disgracefully in their use of oil money.... The
current administration in Iran fears the Qatari model more than an
Israeli attack on its nuclear devices.... When an oppressive regime
and a reconciling regime exist next to each other, reconciliation
will eventually topple oppression. This is especially true when
both have money and only one uses it correctly. That is why in the
summer of 2007 we can be a little bit more optimistic."

III. "Dangerous Peace"

Columnist Yosef Harif wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv
(08/01): "Haim Ramon, who was appointed by Ehud Olmert to be Vice
Prime Minister, has come up with an idea to raise Olmert's political
stock.... The plan that Ramon is working on focuses on reaching a
permanent agreement with the Palestinians. From what we have
learned so far about the plan, it involves an Israel withdrawing
from major parts of the West Bank, not unilaterally, but with as
part of an agreement with Abu Mazen. It will lay the foundations
for a Palestinian State in the West Bank.... Why does Ramon believe
that now of all times, Israel has a worthy partner ...? After all it
is the same Abu Mazen who is known to be a weak leader and who did
not succeed in the past to fulfill any of the obligations he took on
in past agreement with Israel.... It is hard to assume that this is
the man with whom Israel could reach an agreement under the
threatening shadow of Hamas.... Moreover, it is most likely that
Hamas would do everything possible to take over territory that would
be transferred to the PA ... Such a development ... would put the
center of Israel in clear danger, one that Israel would not be able
to ignore. And so instead of Ramon's plan promoting peace, it might
lead to a new war."
JONES

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