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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9454
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2857
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3556
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2791
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0805
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3520
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0385
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002815

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:
--------------------------------

1. Mideast

2. US-Israel Relations

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

Leading media reported that on Thursday PM Ehud Olmert told a
gathering of Kadima that "there is a partner for dialogue in the
PA." Media quoted Olmert as saying that he will propose the release
of prisoners "without blood on their hands" at Sunday's cabinet
meeting. Olmert was quoted as saying that in his last meeting with
Abbas, they decided that task forces would draft a joint declaration
ahead of November's Middle East conference in Washington. He was
quoted as saying that if an agreement was reached on such a
declaration and the leaders of moderate Arab countries attended, the
conference would be a success. The Jerusalem Post quoted
diplomatic sources as saying that Olmert received an impression from
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday that she had agreed

SIPDIS
to his request to limit the scope of the conference to a joint
declaration, despite the Palestinian request for the meeting to
yield an outline for a peace deal. The sources were quoted as sayng
that no document would be signed at the summit. Ha'aretz quoted
Secretary Rice as saying on Thursday after meeting with PA Chairman

SIPDIS
[President] Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah that the upcoming meeting in
Washington must be substantive, using whatever document Israel and
the Palestinians formulated beforehand as the basis for serious
talks. Several media quoted Rice as saying that she hopes that the
Washington meeting would lead to "serious negotiations for the
establishment of a Palestinian state as soon as possible." Ha'aretz
quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying this week that the
incipient joint declaration "must be sufficiently substantive, so
that the Palestinians do not feel humiliated and exploited."
However, he also said that "it must be sufficiently general, so
Israelis do not feel like they are suckers who have made substantive
concessions on core issues without receiving anything in return."
Media reported that most senior members of Kadima are critical of
Vice PM Haim Ramon's stance on Jerusalem. Major media reported that
FM Tzipi Livni reiterated that in any agreement not a single
Palestinian refugee would be allowed to return to his home in
Israel. Israel Radio reported that she will leave for the US on
Saturday night to attend the annual session of the UN General
Assembly.

Ha'aretz reported that on Thursday President Shimon Peres told
Secretary Rice that it was "in everyone's interest that the summit

SIPDIS
does not fail. We must be aware of the possibility of a crisis of
expectations and create a substantive agenda."

The Jerusalem Post reported that the IDF is working on a proposal
that calls for a "complete disengagement" from the Gaza Strip --
involving the closure of all border crossings with Israel and the
transfer of responsibility over the Palestinians territory to Egypt.
The newspaper reported that Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Moshe
Kaplinsky is behind this plan.

Defense Minister Barak was quoted as saying in an interview with
Maariv that PM Olmert knows that he erred in the Second Lebanon War,
that he (Barak) has brought cool mindedness to the post of defense
minister, and that he never said that the Labor Party would leave
the government coalition the day the Winograd report is published.

Major media (lead story in Yediot) reported on a high state of alert
along the Syrian border. The newspaper quoted IDF Chief of Staff
Gabi Ashkenazi as saying that the army will do everything not to be
surprised. Israel Radio quoted The Washington Post as saying that
Israel and the US shared data on the suspected nuclear site in
Syria. Major media reported that on Thursday President Bush would
not comment on Israel's purported attack on Syria.

The Jerusalem Post reported that barred by police from visiting
Ground Zero, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "may find more of
a welcome" at Columbia University, where he has been cleared to
speak on Monday at the school's annual World Leaders Forum despite
outrage expressed by New York-area Jewish leaders.

All media reported that on Thursday senior Likud members and other
right-wing politicians rallied to the side of Likud Chairman
Binyamin Netanyahu in an effort to contain the political damage that
his statements acknowledging an Israeli operation in Syria may have
caused. Israel Radio quoted PM Olmert as saying that Netanyahu's
comments were unintentional. Ha'aretz quoted Ibrahim Othman, the
Syrian Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
as saying on Thursday that Israel's nuclear capabilities were
sparking an arms race in the region. Leading media reported that on
Thursday the IAEA conference criticized Israel for refusing to put
its nuclear program under international purview. Only the US
supported Israel.

Israel Radio reported that the IDF has arrested suspected terrorists
who were planning a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on Saturday. Its
reported mastermind Nihad Shakirat (phon.) is the head of Hamas in
the Nablus refugee camp of Ein Beit Ilma.

Ha'aretz quoted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) as saying that the number of roadblocks has reached
572, an increase of 52 percent compared to 376 in August 2005. The
OCHA was quoted as saying in the past two months alone, Israel put
up 40 new roadblocks.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Chairman Abbas has ordered to
anchor in the Palestinian Charter the right of return and the
Palestinians' right to fight the occupation by all means permitted
by international law, including the armed struggle.

Jailed Fatah/Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti was quoted as saying in
an interview with Yediot that he will take part in and win the
election for Palestinian president. He was also quoted as saying
that Hamas put a knife in the back of the Palestinians.

Steve Emerson, the Executive Director of the American NGO
Investigative Project on Terrorism, was quoted as saying in an
interview with The Jerusalem Post that radical Islam is alive and
well in America -- thanks to the tacit cooperation of government
agencies that embrace the very groups they should be investigating.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a bill protecting travelers from
denial of life insurance simply because they travel to Israel
cleared the House of Representatives on Wednesday in a 312-110
vote.

The media reported on the fast of Yom Kippur, which takes place
tonight and tomorrow, and ran features devoted to the 1973 Yom
Kippur war. Ha'aretz reported that on the sixth day of the Yom
Kippur War, as the Egyptian forces were stranded in Sinai, Israel
requested military aid from the US -- and "realized that it faced a
huge problem in the Pentagon, in the shape of Admiral Thomas
Moorer."

Ha'aretz reported that in his forthcoming book, Brig. Gen. (res.)
Yiftah Spector claims that he was the leader of the air attack on
the USS Liberty during the Six-Day War.
Leading media reported that the FAA has urged Israel to improve its
aviation safety.

Ha'aretz (English Ed.) reported on the opening of the school year
at the Walworth Barbour American International School (AIS) at its
new campus in Even Yehuda last week. Ambassador Richard Jones, an
AIS parent, attended the dedication ceremony.

Yediot presented the results of a Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute)
poll:
-"Were elections held today, for which party would you vote for?"
(Results in Knesset seats -- in brackets, results of a July 27
poll.) Likud 24 (26); Labor Party 18 (23); Yisrael Beiteinu 10 (7);
Shas 10 (11); Kadima 10 (11); Arkady Gaidamak: 8 (2); National
Union-National Religious Party 5 (8).
-"What effect resulted from Netanyahu's remarks on the operation in
Syria?"
They have neither harmed nor advantaged Israel: 43 percent; they
have harmed Israel: 31 percent; they have advantaged Israel: 3
percent; 23 percent were undecided.

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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post: "For years Jerusalem has been enlisting
US and European help to contain Tehran. But there will be a
price."

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Olmert isn't particularly nonplussed by his
Defense Minister's skepticism and wariness. If anything, it just
strengthens his position in the negotiations with Abbas and in
fending off Rice's pressures."


Ahmed Yousef, a political advisor to Palestinian (Hamas) PM Ismail
Haniyeh, wrote in Ha'aretz: "Isolating Hamas is not a feasible
political option.... Hamas is a bulwark in the face of radical and
militant ideas and trends."

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

I. "No Such Thing as a Free Launch"

Diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (9/21): "Israel sees the containment of
Iraq as nothing less than an existential imperative. Although Iran
is obviously a threat to the whole world, and not just a threat to
Israel, it is first and foremost a threat to Israel, and for years
Jerusalem has been enlisting US and European help to contain Tehran.
But there will be a price.... Olmert ... met Rice this week facing
a situation in which she needs to satisfy the Saudis, and he will be
expected to satisfy Rice. Politically, this is not an easy place
for him to be."

II. "Back on Top"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (9/21): "The diplomatic process in which
Olmert is currently engaged appears to Barak to be the exact
opposite of what went on at Camp David. Then Israel spoke with
Arafat, whose desire to reach an accord was in doubt, although his
ability to implement one was not. Now Israel is dealing with Abbas,
a relatively positive figure, and Salam Fayyad, a totally positive
figure, with the danger of their falling from power and being
replaced by Hamas hovering in the background. The goodwill of these
two men is not in question, but even if an understanding is
attained, it's doubtful whether they'll be able to stand behind it
and implement it. Olmert isn't particularly nonplussed by his
Defense Minister's skepticism and wariness. If anything, it just
strengthens his position in the negotiations with Abbas and in
fending off Rice's pressures. At the end of the day, Barak and the
Labor Party will support any agreement that Olmert brings to a vote.
They have no choice, and Barak also knows this quite well, of
course. But in the meantime he's still enjoying his new role as
Mister Security."

III. "Hamas Is the Key"

Ahmed Yousef, a political advisor to Palestinian (Hamas) PM Ismail
Haniyeh, wrote in Ha'aretz (9/21): "Hamas is an integral part of the
Palestinian political landscape. It is a mainstream Islamic
movement that is committed to the principles of democracy and
legitimate and peaceful political participation on an equal footing
for all Palestinian groups. The movement has deep roots in various
sectors of Palestinian society. Isolating Hamas is not a feasible
political option.... Hamas is a bulwark in the face of radical and
militant ideas and trends. Policies whose aim is the isolation or
marginalization of Hamas will not only fail but will also set the
stage for the spread of extremist thinking in occupied Palestine.
Allowing Hamas to participate in the Palestinian political process
will encourage the growth and development of pragmatic ideas and
instruments of political action. It will also allow tolerance and
respect for pluralism and diversity to strike root in Palestinian
political culture. The West should ask itself whether it wants the
moderation and realism of Hamas or the dogmatism of radical groups
that subscribe to the clash of civilizations theory."

------------------------
2. US-Israel Relations:
------------------------

Summary:
--------

MJ Rosenberg, Director of the Israel Policy Analysis Forum's
Washington Policy Center, wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (9/21): "Has 'pro-Israel' advocacy consistently
produced 'pro-Israel' ends? At several critical moments, it most
certainly has not."

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

"It's Lobbying, but Is It Really Pro-Israel?"

MJ Rosenberg, Director of the Israel Policy Analysis Forum's
Washington Policy Center, wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (9/21): "Has 'pro-Israel' advocacy consistently
produced 'pro-Israel' ends? At several critical moments, it most
certainly has not.... Was it pro-Israel to press Congress to attach
so many onerous conditions to aid to President Mahmoud Abbas's
Palestinian Authority that Abbas was unable to demonstrate to his
people that a moderate president, who fully accepted Israel, would
produce benefits that they would not achieve by choosing Hamas?....
Was it pro-Israel to prevent the Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II
administrations from insisting on a permanent freeze on settlements
or, at the very least, the immediate removal of the illegal
settlements? Wouldn't Israel be infinitely better off if the United
States had used friendly persuasion to end the settlement enterprise
right from the get-go? After all, the vast majority of Israelis
consider the settlements to be impediments to peace and so has every
president since the first settlement was erected.... There is
nothing pro-Israel about supporting policies that only promise that
Israeli mothers will continue to dread their sons' 18th birthdays
for another generation. For that we are supposed to be grateful?"

JONES

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