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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2491/01 2281122
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161122Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2800
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 2596
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9307
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2674
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3399
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2631
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0612
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3363
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0233
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0698
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7290
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4716
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9625
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3789
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5733
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 7674
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002491

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. Iran

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

The Israeli electronic media reported that a memorandum of
understanding was signed this morning in Jerusalem between Israel
and the US on the new American defense package for Israel. Under
Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and US

SIPDIS
Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones signed the aid agreement with
Foreign Ministry Director General Aharon Abramovitch, and met with
FM Tzipi Livni. Under the new aid agreement, the US will transfer
USD 30 billion to Israel over 10 years, compared with USD 24 billion
over the past decade. Ha'aretz reported that Israel is slated to
receive the first pay out in October 2008, amounting to USD 2.550
billion. That sum will grow each year by USD 150 million, until it
reaches USD 3.1 billion in 2011. In addition, the agreement permits
Israel to convert into shekels 26.3 percent of the aid money,
thereby enabling it to procure defense equipment from Israeli
companies. The rest of the aid must be used to purchase equipment
from American military industries. Ha'aretz reported that Israeli
negotiators tried to step up the percentage of aid that could be
used for procurement from local companies, without success.
Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday PM Ehud Olmert met with Burns, in
preparation for today's signing. Ha'aretz wrote that Olmert asked
Burns to thank. President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice for their efforts in transforming the understandings with
Olmert, reached during his last visit to Washington, into a binding
agreement. Ha'aretz quoted Olmert as saying: "The aid agreement
with the US is an important and significant component for Israel,
and proves once again the depth of the relationship between the two
countries and the United States' commitment to Israel's security,
and to preserving its qualitative advantage over other countries in
the Middle East." Ha'aretz reported that Burns also met Wednesday
with Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who oversees the strategic
dialogue with the US. Mofaz and Burns agreed to hold a strategic
dialogue in mid-October on Iran and Lebanon.

Yediot reported that Olmert and PA Chairman (President) Mahmoud
Abbas are shaping up a final-status agreement and that they plan to
present a document for approval to the participants of the
international meeting in November. Yediot quoted Olmert as saying
that he strives to reach understandings that will resolve the
conflict.

Yediot reported that following reports about progress in talks
between PM Olmert and Chairman Abbas, Saudi King Abdullah has
decided to resume his participation in the peace efforts, and that
he is personally involved in the secret preparations ahead of the
Washington meeting.

Ha'aretz quoted GOI sources in Jerusalem as saying on Wednesday that
Israel is working to promote an economic plan to complement the
agreement of principles ahead of the regional conference later this
year. Ha'aretz quoted a source as saying that the plan would
provide an "economic horizon" with a number of future investment
projects when the Palestinian state is declared. Ha'aretz quoted a
senior GOI official as saying that the plan's goal is to "present
the Palestinians with economic signposts along with the diplomatic
signposts to show what can be accomplished." Ha'aretz reported that
FM Tzipi Livni told foreign ministers and other officials in Europe
that the plan needed international support. Makor-Rishon-Hatzofe
quoted Livni as saying that economic projects cannot replace a
diplomatic process between the sides. The "strategic" projects
Israel has suggested so far include infrastructure improvements such
as electricity and water, city planning in the West Bank and Gaza,
rehabilitation of sewage systems and the establishment of a "peace
corridor" in Jericho. Ha'aretz reported that Livni has presented
the plan to the Quartet's Middle East envoy, Tony Blair.

The Jerusalem Post reported that following conciliatory signals from
Abbas to Hamas, PM Olmert's office warned on Wednesday that any
Fatah-Hamas unification would lead to a breakdown in the diplomatic
process with the reconstituted PA.

Ha'aretz reported that Turkish officials trying to jump-start peace
efforts between Syria and Israel told the newspaper that Israel
should not view Syria as a branch of Iran because Tehran and
Damascus differ on regional issues.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday Israeli officials in
Washington welcomed reports that the US is set to brand the Iranian
Revolutionary Guards a terrorist entity, saying that the move could
help dislocate the "strategic backbone" of the regime in Tehran. In
another development, The Jerusalem Post quoted Yayha Rahim Safavi,
the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, as saying
that Iran has developed a missile that can penetrate the armor of an
Israeli-made tank and a US-made Abrams tank. Safavi was also quoted
as saying that Iran has land-to-sea missiles that can hit any ship
in the Persian Gulf.

Maariv reported that the Winograd Commission is expected to tell the
High Court of Justice that the public, not the commission, will
determine the fate of public figures involved in the Second Lebanon
War.

Major media reported that on Tuesday IDF forces uncovered and
detonated a tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip, which was dug to
facilitate a terror attack against Israel.

Ha'aretz reported that the Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights
has filed a complaint against the IDF's Civil Administration's
health coordinator, Dalia Basa, accusing her of negligent homicide.
An 18-year-old Palestinian died at a roadblock after a traffic
accident. He was not rushed in time to a Jerusalem hospital.

Ha'aretz reported that on Wednesday Defense Minister Ehud Barak
warned that to sanction ideologically motivated refusal of orders by
IDF troops is to jeopardize Israeli democracy.

Ha'aretz found that most West Bank settlements are outside the
separation fence, but that the majority of the settlers live west of
it.

Leading media reported that in three weeks Transportation Minister
Shaul Mofaz will put an end to the guarding of buses because of the
drop in terrorist attacks.

Ha'aretz and Yediot reported that the Deputy IDF Chief of Staff,
Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky, and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi,
has decided that Kaplinsky will not be replaced next month as
scheduled but that he will remain in office for several additional
weeks. Ha'aretz noted that the reason for the delay was described
as "personal," but it may also pertain to the rising tensions
between Syria and Israel. Ha'aretz quoted army sources as saying
that Ashkenazi is seeking to avoid unnecessary changes for the IDF
at this sensitive point in time. The newspapers said that
Kaplinsky's replacement is Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, military attache in
Washington.

Yediot reported that Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu has received
2 million shekels (around USD 470,000) in donations to finance his
competition in the Likud primary. Yediot quoted his office as
saying that he only gets monies from US Jews to avoiding conflicting
interests in Israel. However, Yediot found that some of the donors
are linked to business people in Israel.

The Jerusalem Post quoted the American magazine GQ as saying that
Howard Kohr, the executive director of AIPAC, is Washington's sixth
most powerful person.

Leading media reported that the data released this month by the
GOI's Central Bureau of Statistics indicate an inflationary trend,
as the Consumer Price Index rose by 1.1 percent.

Yediot and Israel Radio reported that as part of the celebrations of
the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence, Knesset Speaker Dalia
Itzik plans to reenact the historic UN vote on the partition of
Palestine, with the participation of 33 ambassadors from the
countries that voted in favor of the November 29, 1947 resolution.
The media reported that Itzik invited UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon to take part in the event.

All media cited a report by a committee investigating aviation
safety in Israel as saying that the condition of civil aviation is
critical and that Ben-Gurion Airport is incapacitated.


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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Shimon Shiffer wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "If [Prime Minister
Olmert and Chairman Abbas] succeed in working out an initial
arrangement for peace between Israel and Palestine, Olmert can
expect to chalk up a significant achievement in the international
conference in Washington -- recognition of Israel from such
countries as Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf emirates."

Military correspondent Amos Harel wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Whether war will break out in the summer or
in fall is not up to Assad alone. It also depends on how much
restraint Israel shows."

Yossi Ben-Aharon, who was director-general of the Prime Minister's
Office under former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, argued in the
popular, pluralist Maariv: "Arab aggression against the Jews,
including that of Arabs in the Land of Israel, led to mass flight
and emigration in both directions."

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

I. "The Goal: An Agreement by November"

Diplomatic correspondent Shimon Shiffer wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (8/16): "Ehud Olmert
wants to go down in history as the prime minister of peace and not
as the prime minister of war. His goal is to work out the
principles of the permanent status arrangement with the Palestinians
within two-three months. On the Palestinian side of the table is a
leader who does not have a lot to lose, after basically losing the
Gaza Strip -- Abu Mazen. The two, who have been meeting regularly
lately under American pressure, decided to use their time together
to work and dove straight into the deep water -- serious talks on
the main issues in dispute -- Jerusalem, refugees and permanent
borders.... Olmert revealed to [a Congressional delegation that
visited Israel this week] that he and Abu Mazen will make an effort
to formulate the principles of the permanent status arrangement
before the international conference. Olmert explained to his guests
that very few Israelis believe today that it is possible to reach an
arrangement with the Palestinians and to implement it on the ground.
'Nonetheless,' he added, 'it is worth trying to reach agreements
with Abu Mazen on the core issues that created the conflict'.... If
the two leaders succeed in working out an initial arrangement for
peace between Israel and Palestine, Olmert can expect to chalk up a
significant achievement in the international conference in
Washington -- recognition of Israel from such countries as Saudi
Arabia and the Persian Gulf emirates. It is important to note that
even if written understandings are reached, Olmert will be able to
control the timetable for their implementation, at least until the
Palestinians prove they are capable of controlling their state."

II. "Restraint and Strength"

Military correspondent Amos Harel wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/16): "Whether war will break out in the
summer or in fall is not up to Assad alone. It also depends on how
much restraint Israel shows in the face of attempts to drag it into
a conflict. Last year, Olmert failed this test in the North. This
time, he has a defense minister and chief of staff who know the
Syrian arena. He should not be tempted to prove our superiority
this time around. Olmert, [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak and [IDF
Chief of Staff Gabi] Ashkenazi's main challenge is still to prevent
war, not win it."

III. "Our Refugees"

Yossi Ben-Aharon, who was director-general of the Prime Minister's
Office under former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, argued in the
popular, pluralist Maariv (8/16): "Prior to the 'peace conference'
planned for this fall, Arab leaders warn that this time the
conference must discuss the 'core' issues of the conflict,
otherwise, they threaten, there is no point in holding it. These
subjects refer to borders, Jerusalem and refugees. UN Resolution
242, which to this day is used as the basis for negotiations on an
arrangement, includes a call for a just solution to the refugee
problem.... Arab aggression against the Jews, including that of
Arabs in the Land of Israel, led to mass flight and emigration in
both directions. Therefore, there are no grounds to the argument
that the Palestinians have first ownership rights to the Land of
Israel, nor to the argument that derives from this regarding the
Palestinian refugees' 'right of return'.... It is time that the
government of Israel adopted an overall two-pronged approach with
moral, political and PR validity: 1) The international community
twice recognized the historical link of the Jewish people to the
Land of Israel (by the League of Nations and the UN) and its
political rights as derived from this. 2) Jews from Arab countries
(who make up about half of the population in Israel) have basic
rights to self determination, focusing specifically on the Land of
Israel, as a result of population swaps that the Arabs forced on
them with their aggression, and this is above and beyond their
religious and historic link to the Land of Israel. Adopting this
line will provide an effective answer to the campaign of
delegitimization against Israel, and will utterly reject the
Palestinian refugeesQ demand for the 'right of return.'"

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

Summary:
--------

Op-Ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "[Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] wants to impose Islam on the world --
no less."

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

"The Tehran Tyrant"

Op-Ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (8/16): Quietly, without being seriously discussed in most
world media, the Iranian President clarified this week that his goal
is neither Israel nor the elimination of Zionism. In fact he made
clear remarks about his immediate, present intentions. He is going
for something much bigger. He wants to impose Islam on the world --
no less..... What more should be understood for the West to wake up?
Let us leave aside the 'progressive forces' whose strength is great
in the Western media and academe. Where are the leaders? Where are
the people with a real conscience? Where are the historians who
have not yet lost their compass in the face of the terror police of
the politically correct? Why are they not calling the tyrant by
name? The world is silent. Only a miracle will cause it not to
pay."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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