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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2890/01 2751037
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021037Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3488
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 2797
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9494
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2898
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3596
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2831
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0853
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3561
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0425
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0896
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7475
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4922
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9830
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 3981
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5926
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 8051
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002890

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:
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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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Reflecting various reports in the Israeli media, The Jerusalem Post
quoted PA officials in Ramallah as saying on Monday that the
Palestinians will only participate in the US-sponsored meeting if a
general agreement is first reached with Israel on all the
fundamental issues. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted the Lebanese
newspaper Al-Nahar as saying that the Palestinians have readied a
detailed draft for a final-status agreement that includes the
removal of all settlements within three years. The Jerusalem Post
quoted Yisrael Beiteinu party officials as saying on Monday that PM
Olmert need not fear the party leaving his coalition over
territorial concessions made to Abbas at Annapolis as long as he
does not cross the party's "red lines."

Last night Channel 2-TV (lead story in Yediot) reported that IDF
Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi sent a letter to PM Ehud Olmert and
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, expressing his reservations about the
release of 29 Gazan security prisoners and noting that Cpl. Gilad
Shalit is captive in Gaza. Ashkenazi had already signed a
recommendation to release the prisoners. In a possibly related
development, President Shimon Peres delayed his signing of the
release document for the 29 prisoners until late Monday afternoon.

The media reported that Syrian President Bashar Assad implied in an
interview with BBC-TV on Monday that Syria will not retaliate
militarily for the alleged Israeli strike last month, but that Syria
still reserves the right to respond. Assad was quoted as saying
that the incident showed Israel's "visceral antipathy toward peace."
He was further quoted as saying that the attack targeted an unused
military building. Assad also said he was not sure Syria would
participate in the US-sponsored international peace meeting set for
November. "If they don't talk about the Syrian occupied territory,
no, there's no way for Syria to go there. It should be about
comprehensive peace, and Syria is part of this comprehensive peace,"
Assad was quoted as saying. Ha'aretz reported that a top GOI
official in Jerusalem responded to Assad's speech by saying the
planned meeting "is not meant to replace direct negotiations."
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted the British weekly The Sunday Times as
saying that Russia has sent experts to Syria to upgrade its air
defense systems.

The media reported that on Monday FM Tzipi Livni told the UN General
Assembly: "Too many see the danger [of Israel's annihilation] but
walk idly by, hoping that someone else will take care of it." She
added that Iran was the world's primary sponsor of terrorist
activity. She was quoted as saying: "There are still those who, in
the name of consensus and engagement, continue to obstruct the
urgent steps ... to bring Iran's sinister ambitions to a halt."
Ha'aretz noted that Livni's message was apparently directed at
Russia and China, who pressed to restart negotiations with Tehran
based on the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency
before voting on sanctions. Livni said that Iran is a major source
of instability in the entire Middle East. Regarding recent
developments with the Palestinians and the perceived opportunities,
Livni was quoted as saying: "There is no substitute for the
bilateral process. Failure is not an option -- but it is for the
parties themselves to define success. It is time to reclaim
democracy, and this begins by rejecting those who abuse it ... No
true democracy on earth allows armed militias, or groups with racist
or violent agendas, to participate in elections."

Ha'aretz quoted Israeli security sources as saying that Israel has
issued a message to Egypt expressing the seriousness with which it
regards Cairo's decision to allow at least 80 Hamas members to cross
into Gaza last Sunday, because some of those who crossed recently
underwent military training in Iran and Syria. Ha'aretz quoted an
Israeli spokesman as saying that Egypt appeared to want to play down
its level of coordination with Hamas, and that Israel was told that
those who crossed on Sunday had broken through the border fence.

All media (banner in Maariv) quoted Daniel Seaman, Director of the
Government Press Office (GPO), as saying on Monday that the
September 2000 death of Palestinian child Mohammed Al-Dura in the
Gaza Strip was staged by a Gaza cameraman. Seaman made the comments
in an official letter, representing the Prime Minister's Office, in
response to demands he strip France 2-TV journalists of their GPO
credentials. France 2-TV had broadcast the original footage of
Al-Dura's death on September 30, 2000, the second day of the Second
Intifada. Seaman also wrote that "Israel was accused of murdering a
small child after the event by the world press and his image has
been burned into the collective Arab memory as a symbol of the
brutality of the Zionist state." Ha'aretz quoted PM Olmert's Bureau
as saying that it had not received Seaman's letter, did not know of

its contents nor did it grant its approval. However, it seems that
the Prime Minister's Office's legal adviser approved the letter.
Conversely, Yediot reported that on Monday Olmert's Bureau claimed
that it did not approve or review the letter sent to the French TV
station. Maariv cited France 2-TV's denial of the accusations.

Major media reported that on Monday security forces evacuated most
of the hilltops taken over by right-wing activists in a declared
attempt to establish illegal outposts. Several media reported that
on Monday the State Attorney's office accepted a petition by Peace
Now against delaying the evacuation of Hebron shops invaded by
settlers.

Ha'aretz reported that last week the US Congress adopted a
resolution congratulating Israel on chairing a UN committee for the
first time. The director of the Israel Foreign Ministry's UN
Political Affairs Department, Ron Adam, was appointed chair of the
33-member Committee on Program and Coordination, which examines and
approves the work plan for all UN agencies and bodies. The House
Foreign Affairs committee congratulated Adam and the "government and
people of Israel on Israel's first ever appointment to chair a UN
committee." The resolution was initiated by Rep. Alcee Hastings
(D-FL).

Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter (Kadima) was quoted as saying
in an interview with Ha'aretz that it would be preferable if the
Attorney General would delay the probes against PM Olmert until
Olmert finishes his term. Furthermore, Dichter was quoted as saying
that he believes that Israeli politics could benefit from a change
in the law that would introduce rigid criteria for initiating
criminal investigations against senior officials.

The Jerusalem Post reported that during a meeting with Rep. Jim
Moran (D-VA), six AIPAC members spurned him for saying recently that
that AIPAC pushed the US into war in Iraq.

Leading media reported that on Monday several dozens of protestors
gathered in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Ha'aretz reported that Spacenet, a subsidiary of NASDAQ-listed
Israeli company Gilat Satellite, has teamed up with Verizon to
supply SkyEdge satellite-bases communications systems to the United
States Postal Service. Verizon was quoted as saying that the entire
project is worth USD 25 million.

Leading media reported that AT&T is making its first acquisition in
Israel -- the startup Interwise, for USD 121 million. The company
makes software for conferencing via the Internet.

Ha'aretz reported that last month an Israeli scientist, Dr. Michael
Graber, the former deputy executive secretary of the UN Environment
Program (UNEP) Ozone Secretariat received an award for his work.
The Montreal Protocol to protect the earth's ozone layer was signed
20 years ago. The treaty was the first agreement banning or limiting
chemicals that harm the ozone layer. Graber received a Montreal
Protocol Outstanding Service Award, as part of the UNEP's
acknowledgment of the program's success.

All media reported that on Monday the US dollar reached the low
point of 3.96 shekels.

--------
Mideast:
--------

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "If there is
no significant softening in the position of the leaders to the point
where Bush will be able to bridge their differences at Annapolis,
the whole effort may break down -- heaven forbid -- with terrorist
attacks terrorist attacks the enemies of an agreement are
planning."

Giora Eiland, former director of Israel's National Security Council,
wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "It is
clear that Israel has already given up the principle of not
discussing the final status issues before there is a solution to the
security problems. It is likely that this Israeli concession is
appropriate, but what exactly did we receive in exchange?"

Washington correspondent Orly Azolai wrote in Yediot Aharonot:
"Washington wants Syria at the discussion table so that it will not
try to destroy the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and in order to get
it away from Iran. In order to do this, the United States is also
willing to discuss the future of the Golan Heights, which is also
part of the Saudi initiative."

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in Yediot Aharonot:
"Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem, who made a fiery speech
against Israel at the UN on Monday, will not get the green light to
propose peaceful relations with Israel when he arrives at the
conference. Therefore, Assad knows perfectly well that the
Washington peace conference will not get the Golan Heights back for
him."

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

I. "More Flexibility Required"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (10/2): "[The
recent] toughening in Palestinian positions is aimed at scoring
points with the Palestinian public and Arab states, which are
supposed to back Abbas on his way to the summit. Abbas would like
to bypass the leadership of Hamas and gain the support of the
Palestinian public; however, the Palestinians apparently support the
Hamas policy, even though they are not pleased with the hardships
being endured in the Gaza Strip. Even key states, like Saudi
Arabia, may demand that Abbas not moderate his positions, in return
for their seal of approval on the summit.... Israel can contribute
to [the] effort [to give substance to a future Palestinian entity]
by spurring economic activity in the Palestinian Authority, in part
by removing roadblocks, and bolster Abbas by releasing more
prisoners. However, in spite of the importance of these measures,
if there is no significant softening in the position of the leaders
to the point where Bush will be able to bridge their differences at
Annapolis, the whole effort may break down -- heaven forbid -- with
terrorist attacks the enemies of an agreement are planning."

II. "Is It Better to Talk?"

Giora Eiland, former director of Israel's National Security Council,
wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/2): "A
political initiative could be welcome, and negotiations are a
preferable way to solve conflicts, but the assumption that it is
always better to talk is mistaken. Moreover, it is not right to
conduct negotiations, certainly not public negotiations under
international sponsorship, before holding a complete and real
analysis that includes three stages: 1) A clear definition of our
interest (and order of priorities). 2) An analysis of the interests
of all the players (including the Americans, the Saudis and others)
and 3) on the basis of the two previous articles, a definition of
the 'required achievement,' which means how the process will end if
we conduct it as we should. Only when the subject is completely
clarified is it possible and right to issue statements and make
promises in the name of the state. I am not sure that such a
complete procedure is taking place now.... On the other hand, it is
clear that Israel has already given up the principle of not
discussing the final status issues before there is a solution to the
security problems. It is likely that this Israeli concession is
appropriate, but what exactly did we receive in exchange?"

III. "The United States' Deal"

Washington correspondent Orly Azolai wrote in Yediot Aharonot
(10/2): "Washington officially wants the countries of the Arab
League, led by Saudi Arabia, at the discussion table, and therefore
will be forced top include elements of the Saudi initiative on the
agenda.... The Americans surprised everyone when they decided to
invite Syria to the conference even though it is considered a state
that sponsors terrorism. The United States accuses Syria of
undermining the Lebanese government and of giving terrorists on
their way to strike at American troops, passage to Iraq through its
territory. Washington wants Syria at the discussions so that it
will not try to destroy the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and in
order to get it away from Iran. In order to do this, the United
States is also willing to discuss the future of the Golan Heights,
which is also part of the Saudi initiative."

IV. "AssadQs Goat"

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in Yediot Aharonot
(10/2): "Assad already knows that Syria will be invited to the
conference in Washington, like a problematic family member who is
better brought along, lest he stay home and break the furniture. He
also knows that even though his enemies in Saudi Arabia have been
shunning him since the assassinations in Beirut, they will still do
the work for Damascus. It makes no difference who represents the
Saudi royal palace in the meetings; at the discussion table he will
have to raise the Arab peace initiative, which offers normal
relations with Israel in exchange for withdrawal to the 1967
borders. For Assad, this proposal sketches the departure route from
the Golan Heights. But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem, who
made a fiery speech against Israel at the UN on Monday, will not get
the green light to propose peaceful relations with Israel when he
arrives at the conference. Therefore, Assad knows perfectly well
that the Washington peace conference will not get the Golan Heights
back for him."

JONES

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