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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002853

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

Please note: There will not be a Tel Aviv Media Reaction report
Thursday, September 27, 2007, due to the Sukkoth holiday.

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

Iran

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

All media reported on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech
to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. The Jerusalem Post bannered:
"Ahmadinejad Sets Out His Vision of a World without Israel." He was
quoted as saying that his country has completed the development of
atomic energy for peaceful purposes and that he considers the debate
on the issue closed. Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman
walked out before Ahmadinejad's speech, calling him a "madman."
Leading media quoted FM Tzipi Livni as saying that she refuses to
attend Ahmadinejad's attempts to legitimize his twisted view.
Leading media reported that at a press conference after his speech
Ahmadinejad would not answer questions by Karnit Goldwasser, the
wife of one of the IDF soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah in July 2006.
The Iranian President ignored a question by Channel 10-TV 's
Washington correspondent and withdrew his hand when Israel Radio
correspondent Benny Avni told him he was a proud Zionist. Major
media quoted President Shimon Peres as saying on Tuesday that he was
in favor of academic freedom of expressions "on condition that it is
based on truth, not lies. Ahmadinejad stood up on Monday and lied
to the people of America."

The media reported that in his speech to the UNGA, President Bush
slammed brutal regimes, including Iran, but avoided mentioning
Ahmadinejad. Singling out the Human Rights Council, the President
was quoted as saying that the UN was "silent on repression" in
places like Caracas and Tehran while it focused its criticism
"excessively on Israel." He also mentioned Israel in his
reaffirmation of a two-state solution and call for the international
community to help by backing Palestinian moderates.

Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter was quoted as saying in an
interview with Makor Rishon-Hatzofe that Yasser Arafat and his
follower Mahmoud Abbas "built tactics of cowards, who did not have
the courage to go out to the streets and confront those whom they

viewed as jeopardizing the interests of the PA.

All media reported that French President Nicholas Sarkozy told the
UNGA on Tuesday that "allowing Iran to have nuclear weapons would
mean an unacceptable risk for regional and world stability."
Sarkozy added there would be no world peace if the international
community "shows weakness in the face of the proliferation of
nuclear weapons,"

Ha'aretz reported that Syria is willing to transfer its claim to the
Sheba Farms to UN custody as part of an effort to resolve the
sovereignty dispute. The new Syrian position was outlined in a
letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by Spain's Foreign
Minister Miguel Moratinos, who visited Damascus last month.
Ha'aretz quoted Israeli political sources as saying on Tuesday that
Syria's offer is meant to put pressure on Jerusalem, which opposes a
withdrawal from Sheba at this stage.
Yediot correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai reported from the location in
the Syrian desert where he said the September 6 Israeli strike took
place. The newspaper said it would publish more details from
Ben-Yishai on Friday. Yediot reported that in recent days the
Syrian Army increased its activities in the Golan.

The Jerusalem Post reported that EU Ambassador to Israel Ramiro
Cibrian-Uzal said on Tuesday that Syria's decision on whether to
attend a US-sponsored Middle East meeting in Washington could go a
long way in determining the future of the peace process.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a committee set up following the
cabinet's decision last week to define the Gaza Strip as "hostile
territory" has recommended that Gaza be penalized seven
megawatt-hours of electricity following every Qassam rocket attack.
Ha'aretz and other media reported that on Tuesday Bank Hapoalim,
Israel's largest bank, announced that it is cutting business ties
with Palestinian banking institutions in the Gaza Strip, thereby
essentially severing the Hamas-ruled territory from a steady money
supply. Ha'aretz said that Israel Discount Bank, the other Israeli
bank with the necessary clearing mechanisms in place for working
with Palestinian banks, is expected to follow suit. Media reported
that both banks are in part responding to the GOI's recent decision
to declare Gaza "hostile territory."

Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday FM Tzipi Livni told the Amir of
Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, that Arab countries should
strengthen ties with Israel via "normalization in stages." (Yediot
printed a picture of Livni with Qatar's head of state.) At a

meeting in New York, Livni and Sheikh Al-Thani also discussed the
talks between Israel and the Palestinians ahead of the regional
meeting due this fall in Washington, and Qatar's possible support
for the talks. Earlier in the day Livni met with Egyptian FM Ahmed
Ali Abu al-Gheit, saying that to contribute to the success of the
diplomatic process, Egypt had to stop the smuggling of arms and
money into Gaza. Livni also said "recent developments are turning
the West Bank into a test case" where "the success of the process"
would be measured. On Monday Livni met with the foreign ministers
of Jordan and Mauritania, as well as with deputy foreign minister
Sayyid Badr of Oman, with which Israel has not had diplomatic
relations since the outbreak of the second Intifada in 2000. Livni
and Badr met over the dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of the
Middle East Desalination Research Center in Oman -- a remnant of
cooperation between Israel and the Arab world.

Based on interviews with Arab diplomats, The Jerusalem Post reported
that Arab leaders see the Washington meeting as a "waste of time."

Major media reported that the cabinet is divided over National
Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer's proposal to
imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. The Jerusalem Post quoted
associates of Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying that Ben-Eliezer
was not speaking on behalf of Barak, his political ally. Maariv
reported that most cabinet ministers are in favor of freeing
Barghouti in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit. Leading
media quoted National Union-National Religious Party MK Effi Eitam,
a former minister, as saying on IDF Radio that releasing Barghouti
would lead to soldiers refusing to take orders. Israel Radio
reported that Hamas has voiced its opposition to such a deal.
Ha'aretz reported that former PM Ariel Sharon's aides inquired
whether Barghouti would support Salam Fayyad for prime minister
should Fatah win the January 2006 elections. MK Haim Oron (Meretz),
who visited Barghouti in his Israeli prison, served as the liaison
between Barghouti and Sharon's bureau. Barghouti told Oron that he
would support Fayyad and objected to forming a coalition with Hamas.
Sharon's staff concluded that Barghouti had the power to help Fatah
win the elections, and therefore, the authorities improved his
prison conditions:

This morning electronic media reported that IDF forces have arrested
seven wanted militants in the West Bank, including a participant in
the 2000 lynch of IDF soldiers in Ramallah. Several Qassam rockets
were fired into Israel.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported on Islamic Jihad's growing presence on
the Internet.

Ha'aretz reported that senior Israeli and Palestinian police
officers will participate in a conference organized by the EU next
month in Jerusalem as part of efforts to renew cooperation between
Israel and the PA. Ha'aretz quoted Colin Smith, who heads EUCOPPS,
the EU team advising the PA's police force, as saying that the
purpose of the conference will be to renew ties between the forces
and begin formulating working procedures on issues of common
interest.

The Jerusalem Post and Maariv cited an AP report that Israel is
lobbying nuclear exporting countries to lift restrictions that
prevent them from doing business with the Jewish state. The
initiative appeared to be linked to a US-India deal that would
effectively waive the rules of the Nuclear Suppliers Group by
allowing the US to supply India with nuclear fuel despite its
refusal both to sign the nonproliferation treaty and to allow the
IAEA to inspect all of its nuclear facilities. The Jerusalem Post
cited an AP report that North Korea accuses the US of helping Israel
develop nuclear weapons. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that the US
will build a nuclear reactor in Yemen.

Maariv reported that a source associated with the investigation of
Daniel Sharon, the dual Israeli-German citizen detained in Lebanon,
told the English-language Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star that
Sharon is not a spy.

Ha'aretz reported that on Monday an Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian
academic center was inaugurated in Berlin. The center -- the
product of a joint initiative by the Interdisciplinary Center
Herzliya, Jordan's Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, and Al
Quds University -- will specialize in European Studies.
Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya President Uriel Reichman, Al Quds
University President Sari Nusseibeh, Dutch Queen Beatrix, and former
German president Richard von Weizsacker, attended the ceremony.

Ha'aretz, The Jerusalem Post, and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that
right-wing activists are planning to set up five new settlement
nuclei throughout the West Bank on Sunday.

Ha'aretz reported that the Jerusalem Municipality is promoting a
plan to build 1,900 housing units for Arab residents of the city in
the northern neighborhood of Isawiyeh.

Leading media reported that Haidar Abdel Shafi, a former Palestinian
negotiator, leading Palestinian nationalist, and physician, died
Tuesday in the Gaza Strip. He was
88.

Leading media cited a prediction by the Israel Airports Authority
(which controls Israel's border crossings) on Tuesday that between
30,000 and 40,000 Israelis will cross through Taba to Sinai over the
Sukkoth holiday, despite warnings from the GOI's terror
headquarters.

Maariv told the plight of 96 refugees from Eritrea who crowd a Tel
Aviv apartment.

Ha'aretz Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner said that the 2008
US presidential campaign will be the "longest, most expensive, most
sophisticated, most impulsive, and most crowded one in US history --
perhaps also the most interesting.

-----
Iran:
-----

Summary:
--------

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner opined in the left-leaning,
independent Ha'aretz: "The credibility of the Security Council is on
the line. It is possible to see this as good news of a sort: Burns
apparently believes that it still has some shreds of credibility
left to lose."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"[President Bush's] speech [at the UN] seems to have been written
almost as if the jihadi bid for global dominance did not exist."

Washington correspondent Orly Azolai wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "[Ahmadinejad] taught Bush a lesson this
week: He proved that he is not afraid to talk directly with the
enemy."

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

I. "Ahmadinejad and the City"

Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner opined in the left-leaning,
independent Ha'aretz (9/26): "On one hand, it is possible to hope
that no great damage was caused [by Iranian President Ahmadinejad's
visit to NY]. He came, he spoke, he left.... But in the big city,
and sometimes this is easy to forget, public relations are an
important matter, but not the most important. More important is a
shipment of Iranian arms that was caught in Afghanistan last week on
its way to the Taliban rebels. More important are the talks on
tightening sanctions on Iran, which, if they do not produce results,
will spell the end of the illusion of resolving the crisis by means
of the United Nations Security Council. Today and tomorrow, there
will be meetings of the countries that are supposed to decide on
those sanctions.... At their meeting last Friday, which was
reportedly 'excellent,' no agreement was reached. Therefore, US
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns took
the trouble to send a warning in advance of the next round of talks:
The credibility of the Security Council is on the line. It is
possible to see this as good news of a sort: Burns apparently
believes that it still has some shreds of credibility left to
lose."

II. "The Jihadist Elephant"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (9/26):
"On Tuesday, President George W. Bush, speaking to the UN, stood up
for human rights around the world.... Yet ... the speech seems to
have been written almost as if the jihadi bid for global dominance
did not exist. How is it possible to speak of human rights
challenges in individual nations without prominently acknowledging
the greatest threat to human rights globally, let alone outlining a
strategy to address it?.... Faced with a ruthless and determined
enemy that celebrates death over life and poses an inimical threat
to Western civilization, we dance gingerly around the problem, as if
it is not quite a subject for polite company.... Our leaders talk
blithely of real global problems, such as the environment, poverty
and disease and human rights, as though it would be possible to
comprehensively address any of them if the world descends into an
abyss of escalating terrorism, spreading dictatorships and new
nuclear powers sprouting like mushrooms.... Western global
priorities are seriously misaligned.... The existential threat to
Israel is, of course, part of the Islamist threat to the West.
Ignoring it, in either its local or global forms, will not make it
go away."

III. "Ahmadinejad Took Center-Stage"

Washington correspondent Orly Azolai wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (9/26): "For over two years Bush has tried
to convince the Americans and the world that Satan resides in Tehran
and that Iran is the axis of evil's most dangerous point. Instead
of being offended, he taught Bush a lesson this week: He proved that
he is not afraid to talk directly with the enemy, and that playing
at being angry is good in a kindergarten, but not for managing a
world approaching a crisis. It is doubtful whether many Americans
were convinced by his claims, but it is equally hard not to remain
indifferent to his pronouncements.... Ahmadinejad proved that one
does not have to agree with every word that is uttered. It is
possible to be opposed to him, protest, and insult, but also, to ask
and listen. This is better than banging on the drums of war."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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