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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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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
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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

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

Israel Radio quoted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as saying on
Sunday that Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia will be invited to the
Washington meeting on the Middle East, which will address the core
issues -- borders, Jerusalem, and refugees. Israel Radio reported
that on Sunday the international Quartet "expressed concern over
conditions in Gaza. It agreed on the importance of continued
emergency and humanitarian assistance without obstruction." The
Quartet "further noted its grave concern over the continued rocket
fire from Gaza into Israel."

As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak this week to the
UN General Assembly and at a Columbia University forum, The
Jerusalem Post bannered "[FM Tzipi] Livni to Be Both Diplomat and
Demonstrator at UN." (Jewish groups are expected to protest
Ahmadinejad's visit.) Major media quoted John Coatsworth, a dean at
Columbia, as saying over the weekend in an interview with FOX News
that he would have let Hitler speak. Leading media quoted Livni as
saying: "The world does not understand that Iran will blow up in its
face." The Jerusalem Post reported that on Sunday Yad Vashem
condemned Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia. Leading media quoted
Iran's President as saying in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes,"
recorded last Thursday, that his country does not need nuclear
weapons and that Tehran is not looking for war with the US.
Ha'aretz, Yediot, and Israel Radio quoted Newsweek as saying that
Vice President Dick Cheney considered asking Israel to bomb the
nuclear reactor at Natanz, which would have led to an Iranian
response against Israel, thus providing an excuse for the US to
attack Iran. Yediot quoted the British weekly The Sunday Times as
saying that Israel has set up a secret team, led by Dr. Lani Kass
(phon.), to prepare for wars in cyberspace. Kass is now training
the US army. Yediot quoted the German weekly Der Spiegel as saying
that in response to suspicions that German firms are sending
technology to Iran, German FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier accused the US
and France of continuing to do business with Iran. On Sunday Yediot
reported that Tehran revealed a new ballistic missile, an improved
model of the Shihab 3. This model, which has a longer range, is
capable of striking anywhere inside Israeli territory as well as US
military targets in the Middle East.

All media reported that on Sunday the cabinet approved the release
of 91 Palestinian prisoners ahead of the Muslim holiday of Id el
Fitr, while a senior GOI source said that Egypt continues to
negotiate with Hamas for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad
Shalit. The cabinet passed the early release by a vote of 16 to 6.
Opposed were Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael
Beiteinu), and the four Shas ministers. Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman
Avigdor Lieberman was absent. The prisoners to be released are
members of Fatah, the PFLP, and the DFLP who do not have "blood on
their hands." The original list included 100 names, but nine were
removed because they did not meet the criteria. Ofer Dekel, PM Ehud
Olmert's special coordinator for missing soldiers, visited Cairo
again last week. Ha'aretz quoted a senior GOI source as saying that
the intensity of the Egypt-Hamas discussions has slightly decreased
in recent months.

All media reported that on Sunday Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned
Israelis that they must be prepared for the next war "as if it is
just around the corner." Barak added that Israel "should not be
deceived by the illusion of a bogus calm." He was speaking at a
ceremony commemorating the fallen of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Ha'aretz (and Yediot on Sunday) reported that Defense Minister Ehud
Barak has agreed to the deployment of 500 armed Palestinian police
officers on the streets of Nablus, to enforce law and order in the
West Bank's largest city. Ha'aretz quoted Defense Ministry
officials as saying that the officers would be deployed within two
weeks and will only be permitted to operate during daylight hours.
Barak's decision followed a request made by Palestinian PM Salam
Fayyad in a recent meeting with Barak. The matter was also
discussed at Barak's meeting last week with U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice. Ha'aretz quoted one source in Barak's office as
saying that if the Nablus model is successful, it could be extended
to other West Bank cities. Ha'aretz quoted Palestinian security
sources as saying that Palestinian police are already active in the
city.

On Sunday The Jerusalem Post reported that French FM Bernard
Kouchner told the daily that the West should not be talking to Hamas
at present. Ha'aretz reported that FM Livni plans to launch a
diplomatic campaign to convince the world that terrorist

organizations should no longer be allowed to field candidates in
elections.

Maariv reported that four key cabinet ministers -- Ehud Barak,
Daniel Friedmann, Avigdor Lieberman, and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer -- are
opposed to setting up a commission to check the damage caused to
Palestinian civilians by the July 2002 bombardment of a Gaza
building that killed Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh and 14 innocent
civilians. Maariv reported that PM Olmert has expressed similar
reservations.

Over the weekend all media reported that Daniel Sharon, a
32-year-old dual citizen of Israel and Germany who resides in
Nahariya, has been arrested in Lebanon on charges of espionage
Sharon, a convert to Islam, has visited Lebanon 11 times over the
past two years with a German passport and made numerous visits to
other Arab countries. Lebanese media reported that he is a
homosexual who enjoyed making new acquaintances in Arab countries.
Leading media reported that Israel is letting the German government
handle the affair. Israel Radio reported that Lebanon is likely to
deport Sharon.

Ha'aretz reported that the Jewish National Fund (JNF) is expected to
tell the High Court of Justice Monday that it will agree to market
its lands to non-Jews in the near future, although it has long
insisted that JNF lands should be used only for housing Jews. The
JNF will be compensated for land sold to Arabs by receiving an
equivalent amount of land from the state. This "tactical retreat"
reportedly stems from the JNF's concern that the High Court will
issue a precedent-setting ruling in the petition now before it.

The Jerusalem Post quoted PA officials as saying on Sunday that
several Fatah officials who fled to the West Bank after Hamas's
takeover of the Gaza Strip last June have decided to return home.
The officials were quoted as saying that the decision came after the
Fatah officials received assurances from Hamas that they would not
be harmed.

Yediot reported that on Sunday Ahmed Yousef, a political advisor to
Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas), told the newspaper that PA
Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas will return from the US
empty-handed and that there will be no political solution without
Hamas's participation.

Leading media quoted the British weekly The Sunday Times as saying
that a few weeks ago Israeli commandos collected nuclear samples in
Syria. Israel Radio cited denial of the report by Syria's
Information Minister.

Ha'aretz quoted Jordanian King Abdullah II as saying on Sunday that
Jordan will allocate 1.113 million Jordanian Dinars USD 1.5 million)
to the Jordan Hashemite Fund for the Reconstruction of Al-Aqsa
Mosque and Dome of the Rock.

On Sunday Maariv reported that the Saudi air force will soon receive
72 Typhoon (Eurofighter) combat planes. This is a sophisticated
western airplane, equivalent in capability to one of the advanced
F-26 models.

Leading media reported that a long list of prominent intellectuals
recently signed a petition calling for PM Olmert to negotiate with
Hamas. The signatories of the petition -- which was organized by
the sponsors of the Geneva Initiative -- include the authors Amos
Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Meir Shalev, Judith Katzir, Eli
Amir, Savyon Liebrecht, Yehoshua Sobol, and Dorit Rabinyan.

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

Summary:
--------

Dov Weisglass, top diplomatic adviser to former prime minister Ariel
Sharon, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot:
"The tendency to make light of the strength of the current US
administration, which is towards the end of its term, is an
error.... The current president is a true friend, who is well aware
of the threats and the means of removing them. Israel must not miss
the remainder of his term."

Former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon wrote in Yediot Aharonot:
"If the states of the free world are determined, jihadist Islam will
be defeated even without the degree of bloodshed of World War II."

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

I. "Window of Opportunity"

Dov Weisglass, top diplomatic adviser to former prime minister Ariel
Sharon, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot
(9/24): "A ... weighty consideration for supporting accelerating the
[diplomatic] process, is the position of the United States. The US
administration aspires towards, and is urging, progress on the
Israeli-Palestinian track. Israel must be attentive to the desires
of the current administration, not only because of its strong
friendship, but because of its understanding of the fundamental
threats to Israel's existence, which have recently increased. At
the end of the day, the Israeli-Palestinian problem is difficult and
painful, but it does not hold the danger of destruction for Israel.
Iran and its agents to the north are the existential danger. An
arrangement in the Palestinian arena, which would be led by the
Americans and supported by a majority of the Arab world, will give
the US the required political capital, in the region and in the
world, to increase pressure on Iran. The tendency to make light of
the strength of the current US administration, which is towards the
end of its term, is an error; the system of government there is far
different from our own.... A president in his last year of office is
not similar to a president in the first year of his term, but he
still has considerable ability to act. The current president is a
true friend, who is well aware of the threats and the means of
removing them. Israel must not miss the remainder of his term."

II. "We Must Confront"

Former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon wrote in Yediot Aharonot
(9/23): "The wave of jihadist Islam did not start in September 2001
with the attack on the United States. The Iranian revolution in
1979 is an historical turning point in which fundamentalist Islam
began to gather strength and self-confidence.... President Bush's
decision to move from the defensive to pre-emptive attack changed
the situation. The overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan
and the attack on al-Qaida leaders turned the organization's leaders
into the hunted ones, making it difficult for them to perpetrate
large terror attacks.... During the days preceding World War II,
there were also elements in the West who chose not to confront Nazi
ideology and were even ready to make concessions to it in order to
gain quiet in the short term. The adherents of jihadist Islamist
ideology do not have nearly the same power as Nazi Germany did, and
their power cannot be compared with that of the states of the free
world. Therefore, if the states of the free world are determined,
jihadist Islam will be defeated even without the degree of bloodshed
of World War II."

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

Summary:
--------

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "It is
unfortunate that the US and other signatory countries have not
fulfilled their responsibilities to enforce the Genocide
Convention.... If they had ... perhaps the international sanctions
campaign to force Iran to back down would have bee more successful
by now."

Moderate Orthodox contributor Bambi Sheleg wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: " The representative of the oppressed on Earth,
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will ... explain to his American audience why
it is moral to destroy the state of the Jews."

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

I. "Columbia's 'Realpolitik'"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (9/24):
"In addition to anger, it is hard not to react with sadness to one
of America's great universities succumbing to the utter distortion
of the hallowed value of free speech.... It should not be necessary
to enumerate here the crimes of the Iranian regime -- from
supporting terrorism, to killing American soldiers, to denying the
Holocaust, to opposing peace with Israel, and seeking our
destruction. By inviting a leader who embodies these crimes,
Columbia is saying that it does not regard them as seriously as it
does other international miscreants to which it would not dream of
granting such a platform.... Columbia is not standing up for free
speech, but for realpolitik in its crassest form: Might takes right.
Or in this case, terror makes right.... It is unfortunate that the
US and other signatory countries have not fulfilled their
responsibilities to enforce the Genocide Convention, which is
explicitly designed to prevent genocide, by making incitement to
genocide a punishable crime. Such procedures should have been
initiated against Ahmadinejad years ago. If they had, perhaps
Columbia would have thought differently about extending its
invitation, and perhaps the international sanctions campaign to
force Iran to back down would have bee more successful by now."

II. "Anti-Israel Provocation"

Moderate Orthodox contributor Bambi Sheleg wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (9/24): "In many places in the Western world we
witness a strange alliance between ultra-liberals and
ultra-fundamentalists. Both sides, which used to look as absolute
opposites, have many contact points, among which hatred for Israel
and a form of kowtowing to forces of Islamic zealots, which appear
'authentic' and 'oppressed.' The representative of the oppressed on
Earth, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will visit Columbia University and
explain to his American audience why it is moral to destroy the
state of the Jews.... The only question is why it is mainly Jewish
organizations that oppose this heinous visit. I am afraid to guess
the answer to that question."

JONES

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