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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2948/01 2851340
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121340Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3598
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 2840
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9534
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2945
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3639
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2871
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0899
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3603
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0468
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0936
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7515
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 4962
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9873
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4021
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5966
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 8117
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002948

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. Turkey

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

Leading media reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will
come to the region early next week. Israel Radio reported that a
three-way meeting will be held between her, PM Ehud Olmert, and PA
Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas. Leading media quoted Syrian
President Bashar Assad as saying in an interview with two Tunisian
newspapers: "Syria has not received an invitation to the [fall]
conference, and even if it did, it will not take part in a
conference that lacks any chance of success." The Jerusalem Post
reported that Assad's comments did not surprise Jerusalem, where one
diplomatic official said that the meeting was aimed at solving the
conflict through peace and dialogue, a position Damascus -- through
its support of Hams and Hizbullah -- does not champion. Yediot
cited the Mossad's assessment that Syria would agree to peace Israel
in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan. However,
the Mossad reportedly believes that if there is no progress in
negotiations by 2009, Syria will resort to military provocations.

Ha'aretz's Web site and other media reported that on Thursday
Secretary Rice told reporters on the way to Moscow that she asked

SIPDIS
the Israeli Ambassador to the US, Sallai Meridor, for clarifications
about an Israeli plan to build a road between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh
Adumim, partly on confiscated Palestinian land. Rice told the
reporters that she has not received a reply.

In an interview broadcast last night on Channel 10-TV, chief
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that President Bush should
not convene the Mideast peace meeting next month if Israel and the
Palestinians are unable to reach an agreement in advance. "Do you
think President Bush will do what President Clinton did?" Erekat
wondered aloud. "I really doubt the Americans will issue the
invitation if decisions are not made by Abbas and Olmert." Erekat
said an Israeli-Palestinian agreement could be two-three pages and
that Olmert and Abbas have agreed on some points, however he would
not elaborate. He also said that "negotiations are over. It's time

for decisions. We have never been closer to achieving the end game
than we are nowI don't want my son to be a suicide bomber." Erekat
dismissed the notion that neither Olmert nor Abbas is strong enough
politically to make the concessions necessary or get the backing of
their people. "If Mr. Olmert and Mr. Abbas reach the agreement on
the end game, they'll be the most important persons in this holy
land since Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem," he said. Erekat
repeated previous statements from the PA that any peace accord would
be put before the Palestinian people in a referendum. While
admitting that Abbas's Fatah is not strong enough to retake Gaza by
force, Erekat added that an endgame agreement would shut down Hamas
without a shot being fired. Leading media quoted a senior source in
the IDF's General Staff as saying that the chance of Fatah returning
to power in Gaza this decade is close to nonexistent and compared it
to the likelihood that "Gorbachev will return to rule Russia."

Maariv and Israel Radio quoted a senior Palestinian official on the
negotiating team as saying that Israel has agreed to the terms of
the 2001 Taba negotiations. The radio quoted Abbas as saying that
Israel should release all Palestinian prisoners by the conclusion of
the negotiations. On Thursday Israel Radio quoted senior Fatah
official and former Palestinian PM Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) as saying
that if the fall meeting does not yield results, Palestinians are
likely to respond with a third, more intensified Intifada. Qurei
was also quoted as saying that despite Abbas's statements on
Wednesday demanding a full Israeli withdrawal from all lands
captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, Palestinians were prepared to
negotiate borders.

Ha'aretz reported that IDF Intelligence head Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin
told the cabinet during a meeting this week that in the eyes of the
PA leadership, the summit in the US must succeed. Yadlin contended
that if it does not, Israel will be blamed. Hamas, Yadlin added,
considers the summit a negative development and will attempt major
terrorist attacks to undermine it. The IDF is concerned that
suicide bombers will be dispatched from the West Bank or an attack
will be launched against one of the crossing points to Gaza.

Israel Radio reported that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has warned
the PA not to make "further concessions" to Israel. The Jerusalem
Post quoted Christina Gallach, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy
chief Javier Solana, as saying on Thursday that the EU would support
President Abbas if he reconciled with Hamas. However, she was
quoted as saying that the EU still held firm to its policy of not
recognizing Hamas until it recognizes Israel.
Ha'aretz reported that in a strongly worded message to the US,
Israel said that the smuggling of weapons and militants from Egypt
into the Gaza Strip is directly threatening the Annapolis
conference. Ha'aretz quoted senior Israeli political figures as
saying on Thursday that in talks with their American counterparts,
they stressed that the porous border in Sinai "is becoming a
strategic problem" and asked them to raise the issue with the
Egyptians. The Israelis also expressed their frustration over
Egyptian behavior towards Hamas, both in terms of the ease of
smuggling and Cairo's calls for Fatah and Hamas to renew
negotiations for a unity government. Ha'aretz reported that senior
Israeli officials told the Americans: "Egypt is working against
everything we are all trying to achieve. We are organizing a summit
to further the diplomatic process under the banner 'strengthening
Abu Mazen,' and they are strengthening Hamas."

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe cited the assessment of right-wing Knesset
members and jurists that the Jerusalem Arabs will demand enormous
sums if the city is divided.

All media reported that Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman
(Yisrael Beiteinu) told Mideast envoy Tony Blair on Thursday that
any attempt to address the core issues surrounding the establishment
of a Palestinian state at the upcoming US-hosted peace meeting would
"bring about the collapse of the coalition and the government in
Israel." Lieberman met with Blair in Jerusalem Thursday, and told
him that any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "must
include Israel's Arab citizens as well, when the basis for an
agreement should be a land swap and a population transfer."
Lieberman also said that "the international community has to make a
concerted effort to resolve the issues of Israel's security and the
Palestinian economy."

In an interview with Yediot's Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer, Blair
("The Man Who Came to Help") was optimistic on the peace process.

Ha'aretz quoted Israeli defense sources as saying on Thursday that
during his official visit to Jerusalem next week, Turkish Chief of
Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit will focus on his country's strategic and
defense relationship with Israel and not on the air strike the IDF
carried out in Syria last month. Major media voiced concerns that
the House Foreign Relations Committee's decision to declare the
World War I massacre of Armenians "genocide" might be detrimental to
Israel.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer was quoted in an interview
with Yediot that the continued tenure of Accountant General Yaron
Zelekha might harm the Israeli economy. The media reported that on
Thursday, in an unprecedented move, the entire elite of the Finance
Ministry gathered to call for Zelekha's dismissal, charging that his
conduct was harming the Israeli economy.

Major media reported that Daniel Sharon, the dual Israeli-German
citizen arrested in Lebanon on suspicion of involvement in murder
and spying, was released on Tuesday and returned to Germany.

Ha'aretz reported that Ynet, the news Web site of the Yediot
publishing group, is closing its English version [www.ynetnews.com],
apparently within days, because it wasn't generating satisfactory
revenues.

Yediot quoted the Dutch Defense Ministry as saying that turning off
the radar of a Dutch ship operating off the shores of Lebanon might
prevent the detection of weapons being smuggled to Hizbullah. The
radar is suspected of being the source of interference to the
broadcasts of the Israeli satellite TV company Yes.

On Thursday IDF Radio reported that a right-wing group plans to
launch a campaign next week calling for the release of PM Yitzhak
Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir.

The Jerusalem Post lengthily exposed the attitudes of Democratic US
Jews vis-a-vis presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack
Obama.

Maariv reported that the renowned American surfer Kelly Slater, who
is of Syrian origin, will arrive in Israel to attend an event
promoted by the peace oriented OneVoice movement.

Israel Radio cited the results of a poll it sponsored:
61.4% of Israelis believe that the fall meeting will not yield
diplomatic progress, while 22.8% think it will. The remaining 15.8%
are undecided.

Maariv cited the resultsQ a poll gauging the general confidence of
Israelis, and members of the armed forces in the IDF:
Only 25% of reservists express high confidence in the IDF's top
brass.
Only 40% of the public express high confidence in the IDF's top
brass.
Over 50% of young professional soldiers express interest in civilian
jobs.

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

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Olmert believes he will go to Annapolis from
a position of strength.... George W. Bush, the friendly president,
now in his final year of office, will not get into a confrontation
with Israel."

Columnist Caleb Ben-David wrote on page one of the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (10/12): "[Secretary Rice's] one
advantage over [James] Baker ... is that this time the two sides are
already talking substance with each other."

Conservative journalist Haggai Segal, a member of the Jewish
Underground that was active in 1980, wrote on page one of the
nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe: "It is really funny to
concede the Temple Mount while suddenly insisting on some side wall
[the Western Wall]."


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

I. "A Welcome Right-Wing Leverage"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/12): "Internal opponents are important --
they strengthen you outwardly. That historic role is now being
played by the Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu parties.... Faced with ...
Palestinian demands and the pressures exerted by US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, who is to arrive in the region on Sunday for
talks, Olmert has two cards he can play: Eli Yishai and Avigdor
Lieberman, the leaders of Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu,
respectively.... The view in the Prime Minister's Bureau is that the
existing coalition will survive the Annapolis meeting and the
declaration it will produce. Shas has no ideological problem when
it comes to negotiations with the Palestinians.... Lieberman's
agenda is different.... A more forceful policy in southern Israel,
which will reduce the extent of the rocket fire, will make it easier
for him to stay in a government pursuing a political process with
the Palestinians. The implication is that Olmert should take a
harder hand against Hamas, which will make public opinion more
receptive to the anticipated concessions to Abbas.... Olmert
believes he will go to Annapolis from a position of strength....
George W. Bush, the friendly president, now in his final year of
office, will not get into a confrontation with Israel. Unlike Rice,
Bush is not eager to liberate the Palestinians from the yoke of the
Israeli occupation."

II. "Can Condi 2007 Trump Baker 1991?"

Columnist Caleb Ben-David wrote on page one of the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (10/12): "[Secretary Rice's] one
advantage over [James] Baker ... is that this time the two sides are
already talking substance with each other. But Rice's predicament
is clearly evident in her lack of leverage with the rest of the
guest list.... Assad's presence in Annapolis would anyway have
likely been more of a hindrance than help in the main business of
moving the Israeli-Palestinian tack along. Not so the Saudis;
indeed, the presence of Saudi Arabia at the meeting next month would
be a genuine step forward, even if not much else is accomplished
there."

III. "The Arab Wall"

Conservative journalist Haggai Segal, a member of the Jewish
Underground that was active in 1980, wrote on page one of the
nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe (10/12): "The old-new
Palestinian demand of sovereignty over the Western Wall is coming
back. However unpleasant it is to say this, [the Palestinians] are
right.... [As every place is considered a Muslim holy site] our wall
is their wall -- not the Western Wall, but the Arab Wall. After
all, this is just a supporting wall. All right, we might have some
feelings for it.... At the beginning we might say 'absolutely not'
... but in a matter of days we'll also get used to this idea.... It
is really funny to concede the Temple Mount while suddenly insisting
on some side wall."

-----------
2. Turkey:
-----------

Summary:
--------

Columnist and former Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Sarid wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "There is no need to compare
between holocausts to recognize other nations' suffering."

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

"Today's Denial Is Tomorrow's Holocaust"

Columnist and former Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Sarid wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/12): "Denying another
nation's Holocaust is no less ugly than denying ours. It is also
dangerous. Today's denial is tomorrow's Holocaust.... A week before
invading Poland, Hitler addressed his officers.... 'Who, after all,
speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?' Such was
Hitler's calming message to his troops. The next time some Israel
hater -- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for example -- denies the Jewish
Holocaust, and we raise a hue and cry about it, there will be some
self-righteous Gentiles ready to say, 'You're right, but we have our
own Turkeys'... As natural and historic victims, we should be the
ones to spread the message from one end of the world to another:
what happened to us can happen again, to us and to the people of
Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, Sudan, and Burma. There is no need to
compare between holocausts to recognize other nations' suffering."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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