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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2620/01 2411146
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291146Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3010
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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9365
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2741
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3456
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2691
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0684
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3422
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0294
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0760
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002620

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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

SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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

1. Mideast

2. Iran

3. Turkey

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

All media reported on the meeting between PM Ehud Olmert and PA
Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas. The Jerusalem Post reported
that on Tuesday officials from both sides adamantly denied that an
agreement on principles dealing with Jerusalem, borders, and
refugees was exchanged between the two leaders. Al Jazeera-TV
broadcast on Tuesday what it claimed was the two-page document drawn
up by the two sides, but Israel dismissed the report as false.
Yediot and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Olmert and Abbas will
strive to draft such a document for the international meeting
expected in November. Yediot reported that Gideon Saar, head of the
Knesset's Likud faction, will direct PM Olmert to bring the
agreement to Knesset approval. Yediot reported that Dani Dayan,
Chairman of the Council of Jewish Settlements in the Territories,
urged right-wing and center Knesset members to work toward toppling
the government and thwarting the incipient agreement of principles.

Israel Radio reported that PM Olmert's bureau blamed Hamas for the
failure to release abducted IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit three months ago
(four months ago, according to some media). Media reported that the
list of 450 prisoners presented by Hamas included the perpetrators
of some of the worst bombings of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The media
quoted Gilad's father Noam Shalit as saying at a public rally in Tel
Aviv on Tuesday: "The team dealing with the issue of Gilad's return,
under the leadership of PM Olmert, has failed."

Ha'aretz reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak wants to replace
permanent checkpoints in the West Bank with mobile ones, thus easing
restrictions on Palestinian traffic while still safeguarding
Israel's security. However, he believes that such a change cannot
be implemented immediately, as the IDF must first train a sufficient
number of troops in the new methods, which is likely to take some
time.


The Jerusalem Post reported that PA officials told the newspaper on
Tuesday that EU security officials have been conducting secret talks
with Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip over the past few weeks. The
newspaper cited denial of the report by EU and Israeli officials.

Maariv reported that the IDF has transferred its training of troops
to the Negev rather than on the Golan. The newspaper reported that
the Israeli defense establishment has reached the conclusion that
tensions with Syria are over.

Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday Ra'anan Dinur, Director General
of the Prime Minister's Office, told the Knesset Committee on
Foreign Workers that Israel is considering the construction of a
border fence in cooperation with Egypt to prevent the passage of
terrorists, smugglers, and asylum-seekers between the two countries.
Egypt has yet to respond to the proposal. Construction of the
fence unilaterally by Israel would cost between 2.5 and 3 billion
shekels (approximately USD 605 million to 725 million). Ha'aretz
quoted officials in Jerusalem as saying that it was unlikely Egypt
would agree to the fence's construction, and that a unilateral move
would damage the relations between the two countries. Dinur also
told the committee that Israel would take in some 500 refugees from
Darfur who had infiltrated from Egypt over the past two years, and
that PM Olmert would present a proposal to that effect to the
cabinet in mid-September.

Electronic media reported that this morning IDF troops surrounded a
house in Qalqilya, saying it was believed to be the hideout of a
wanted Palestinian militant. All media reported that a Qassam
rocket scored a direct hit on a home in Sderot on Tuesday, lightly
injuring one person who was walking by at the time.

Ha'aretz quoted Col. Imran Suleiman, the commander of the
Palestinian security forces in Jenin -- where an IDF officer was
rescued from a likely lynch mob on Monday -- as saying on Tuesday:
"The PA has changed its attitude toward Hamas and ties with Israel,
even though Israel refuses to do the same. This is a gQden
political opportunity to reach an agreement between Israel and the
PA, an opportunity that will not repeat itself." Israel Radio cited
the London-based Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat as saying today that Hamas is
prepared to cede to Chairman Abbas control of PA institutions and
bases in the Gaza Strip in return for a renewal of the unity
government, reforms in the PLO, and the reinstatement of the
Palestinian parliament. The proposal was reportedly given to Abbas
by Hamas senior leaders on Tuesday, but the leadership of Hamas was
reluctant to embrace it.

Ha'aretz reported that Israel is considering a Palestinian request
to include in its amnesty for Fatah fugitives 26 militants expelled
in 2002 after a standoff in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The request was made by Chairman Abbas during his meeting with PM
Olmert on Tuesday. Some Palestinians included in the request are
from Fatah rivals such as Hamas. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted
Israeli defense sources as saying that Israeli authorities are
likely to approve a request by the PA to allowed freedom of movement
in the Palestinian territories to Nayef Hawatmeh, the Damascus-based
leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Ha'aretz reported that Hizbullah is planning to file a host of
lawsuits against Israel over the damage it caused during the Second
Lebanon War. Lebanese individuals with dual citizenship will file
the suits in the countries where they hold citizenship. Attorney
Ibrahim Awada, who heads Hizbullah's legal department, revealed the
plan last week on a Syrian television program devoted to "Zionist
crimes against Lebanon." He said that each plaintiff would hire a
lawyer in the country where he files suit, and that Hizbullah would
pay the lawyers' fees. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Hizbullah
is building a new line of fortifications north of the Litani River.

Leading media reported that on Tuesday Israeli mercenary (res.) Col.
Yair Klein was apprehended in Russia and that he might be
transferred to a jail in Colombia, where he was sentenced to 12
years imprisonment for training drug cartels and illegal
paramilitaries.

Yediot quoted the Los Angeles police as saying that members of local
Israeli gangs may be behind the shooting in the legs of Israelis
residing in the city.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that in an interview with Palestinian
TV, senior Hamas official in Gaza Fathi Hamad threatened to make use
of suicide bombers against Abbas.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the participants in Faithlink -- a
British-based student interface network -- are all in agreement that
coming to Israel and the PA was nothing short of an "eye-opener,"
both politically and religiously.

Leading media reported that on Tuesday the Israel Prisons Service
parole board denied a request by former businessman and convicted
traitor Nahum Manbar for his 16-year sentence to be reduced by a
third. Manbar was convicted of treason in 1998 for selling military
equipment to Iran and found guilty of other security crimes.

Yediot and other media cited International Monetary Fund data
concerning the gross national product (GNP) per capita in
industrialized nations: In Israel it is USD 31,800 and in the US USD
45,200. The average GNP per capita in the Euro bloc is USD 31,900.
The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe said that Israel's GNP
per capita is USD 31,767.

The Jerusalem Post reported that two educational NGOs -- one
American and one Israeli -- signed an agreement in Jerusalem on
Tuesday to join their expertise to reduce the unwarranted placement
of non-white children in the US in special education programs. The
US-based National Urban Alliance for Effective Education and the
International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential in
Jerusalem signed their partnership agreement at the Knesset and they
plan to begin working with children in 20 US cities as soon as
possible.

American mogul Sheldon Adelson, the "richest Jew in the world," was
quoted as saying in an interview with Globes that he decided to
create his new free daily Yisrael Hayom (Israel Today) to counter
the influence of Arnon Mozes and Ofer Nimrodi -- the respective
owners of Yediot and Maariv -- who Adelson said control Israel.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Israel's Ambassador to Greece Ali Yahya as
saying that the Greek public and government are thankful to Israel
for the work of dozens of firefighters who came there to help douse
the raging fires in the country.

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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote on page one of the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: "The major challenge
facing both Olmert and Abbas is not producing a paper that will
please US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but rather what to do
with Hamas -- Iran's new local proxy."

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The American concern for the welfare of the
Vietnamese then, or of the Iraqis today, was not and is not the main
consideration determining the public's support for or opposition to
a pullout. In Israel, too, the country's policy was not determined
by consideration for the welfare of our neighbors."

Far-left Palestinian affairs correspondent Amira Hass wrote in
Ha'aretz: "Experience teaches us that [the Palestinians] will accuse
two other governments [rather than Hamas's of causing
impoverishment]: Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah,
which is increasingly considered to be a lackey of the US."

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

I. "Full Gas in Neutral?"

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote on page one of the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (8/28): "Even if Olmert and
Abbas reach an 'agreement of principles' dealing with the core
issues -- Jerusalem, borders, and the refugees -- neither of them is
strong enough politically. Olmert and Abbas need to discuss these
issues, because that is what the US wants them to do in order to
serve its wider Middle East goals of forging a 'moderate coalition'
to help out in Iraq and to face off against Iran. But Olmert and
Abbas can't implement any agreement on these issues because they
cannot deliver their publics.... The major challenge facing both
Olmert and Abbas is not producing a paper that will please US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but rather what to do with

SIPDIS
Hamas -- Iran's new local proxy. Any agreement that Olmert and
Abbas might work out will be meaningless if Hamas retains its
current strength in Gaza."

II. "History in Combat"

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/28): "It was an important and fascinating
speech. An American president was declaring himself a heretic in
public by announcing that the US withdrawal from Vietnam was not
necessarily the wisest move. Just a year before, in June 2006, he
was asked whether he saw a similarity between Vietnam and Iraq and
he said, 'No.' Last week, at a national convention of the Veterans
of Foreign Wars, he gave a detailed 'Yes'.... The truth ... is that
the American concern for the welfare of the Vietnamese then, or of
the Iraqis today, was not and is not the main consideration
determining the public's support for or opposition to a pullout. In
Israel, too, the country's policy was not determined by
consideration for the welfare of our neighbors. The withdrawal from
Lebanon, like the withdrawal from Vietnam, was imposed by the
public. No one has yet formulated a credible explanation for Ariel
Sharon's decision to withdraw from Gaza. He certainly didn't do it
for the good of the Palestinians."

III. "Three Governments and One Closed Crossing"

Far-left Palestinian affairs correspondent Amira Hass wrote in
Ha'aretz (8/28): "Hamas knows how to lead prayers in the mosques but
does not know what economics is, explained one textile workshop
owner. But it is probably more accurate to say that the Hamas
government is convinced that the policy of impoverishment will
actually strengthen its position among most of the Palestinian
public, and draw it closer to uncompromising ideological positions
and pan-Islamic power centers: Not just because of the many
charitable organizations that Hamas established, but also because
experience teaches us that people will accuse two other governments:
Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, which is
increasingly considered to be a lackey of the US."


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

Summary:
--------

Former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The best way to
undermine Iran's strategy of destabilizing the region is through a
comprehensive Israeli-Arab peace, which will be accompanied by
massive investments in human development and bring in its wake
international financing for building a peace and security system in
a Middle East free of nuclear weapons."

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

"A Nuclear Iran: There Are Steps That Can Be Taken"

Former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (8/28): "The nightmare
of a nuclear Iran haunts Arabs and Israelis alike, but the driving
force in the attempt to block the Iranian ambitions consists of the
US and Israel. In the America-Iran-Israel triangle lies the root of
the problem, as well as the possible solution..... Only in the time
of the Rabin government did Israel and Iran reach an open
confrontation..... The Israeli-Arab peace process under US
sponsorship produced a series of breathtaking achievements -- the
Madrid peace conference, the Oslo Accords, the peace between Israel
and Jordan, a near agreement with Syria, and establishing Israeli
delegations in most of the Arab countries. All these were a
nightmare for Iran, which felt increasingly isolated. At this
juncture, Israel and Iran -- two forces competing for hegemony in a
rapidly changing region -- chose to portray the strategic contest
between them in ideological terms.... Iran, more than being an enemy
of Israel, was an enemy of the possibility of Israeli-Arab
reconciliation.... The best way to undermine Iran's strategy of
destabilizing the region is through a comprehensive Israeli-Arab
peace, which will be accompanied by massive investments in human
development and bring in its wake international financing for
building a peace and security system in a Middle East free of
nuclear weapons."


-----------
3. Turkey:
-----------

Summary:
--------

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The fear of Islamization [in
Turkey] is not necessarily real."

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

"Too Early to Talk about Islamization"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/28): "With the election of
[Abdullah] Gul as president, the impression might be created that
Turkey has completed the crossing of secular lines and is about to
strike out Ataturk's ideology. But the fear of Islamization is not
necessarily real. It looks as if the continuity of a policy in
which the 'Islamists' have engaged so far can be expected. During
the past five years it has been in power, the Justice and
Development Party has made every effort to blur its religious
character; neither does it present itself as an Islamist party with
a religious agenda. The party failed every time it tried to promote
religious issues -- either because of pressure from the army or due
to the understanding that the Turkish public, in spite of having
granted the party 47 percent of its votes, is a secular public....
Anyway, the party's victory also shows that there is no real stable
political alternative to it."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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