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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #3014/01 2910747
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P 180747Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 003014

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

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: SPECIAL ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION


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

Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank, October 14-18, 2007

SIPDIS

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

Leading media reported that during their joint press conference on
Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Minister
Tzipi Livni said that the Palestinians should lower their
expectations. Ha'aretz reported that a senior GOI official told the
newspaper on Wednesday that Israel is prepared to make a joint
declaration with the Palestinians that will address the core issues
of Jerusalem, refugees, and permanent borders. Ha'aretz also
reported that Palestinian officials demanded that Israel commit to a
timetable for negotiations. The senior source in Jerusalem was
quoted as saying that Secretary Rice has reached an agreement with
the Palestinians that the "declaration will address all core issues
and point to certain avenues to be pursued through negotiation."
But Ha'aretz reported that Rice's dealings with the Palestinian
leadership in Ramallah seems to have hit a bump, after she
reportedly told the Palestinians that Israel will not commit to a
timetable. Palestinian sources were also quoted as saying that
Israel is refusing to have the right of return mentioned in the
document. The Jerusalem Post reported that a Palestinian official
described Rice's current shuttle mission as a failure, saying that
she was unable to persuade Israel to change its "tough" position.
Ha'aretz reported that Palestinian officials said that Abbas "will
not attend the conference at any cost." Ha'aretz reported that the
Israeli and Palestinian negotiation teams will meet again either
today or Friday,

Ha'aretz reported that Secretary Rice told the Palestinians that
Israel was prepared to accept a "vague mention" of permanent
borders, but according to Palestinian sources, not willing to commit
to the 1967 line. Ha'aretz quoted Rice as saying that while the
sides are only beginning the process of negotiations, she is
optimistic and that "we are showing the parties that there is a
basis for moving forward." Rice was also quoted as saying that the
current talks are the most serious the two sides have had about core
issues in some time.

Ha'aretz and Yediot Aharonot quoted President Bush as saying on
Wednesday at a White House news conference that it was important for
Rice to help Israelis and Palestinians make progress ahead of the
international meeting. "We believe that now is the time to push
ahead with a meeting at which the Israelis and Palestinians will lay
out a vision of what a state could look like," Bush was quoted as
saying. "And the reason why there needs to be a vision of what a
state could look like is because the Palestinians that have been
made promises all these years need to see there's a serious, focused
effort to step up a state," the President added. The Jerusalem Post
highlighted Bush's comment that the Arab nations have not done
enough to encourage a Palestinian state.

All media -- lead stories in all major newspapers -- reported that
President Bush warned of a possible "World War III" should Iran gain
the know-how to build a nuclear bomb. All media reported that PM
Ehud Olmert is leaving on Thursday for Moscow to hold surprise talks
with Russian President Vladimir Putin, following PutinQs return from
Iran. In her press conference with Rice, Livni raised the idea of
an additional Security Council resolution. Ha'aretz quoted former
Mossad director Ephraim Halevy as saying in a lecture on Wednesday
that the Iranian threat to Israel is substantive but not
existential.

All media reported that an IDF soldier was killed during an
operation in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Ha'aretz reported that
an Egyptian document distributed in Congress asserts that Egyptian
soldiers cooperate with smugglers in allowing arms and military
equipment into Gaza. The document was relayed to senior Israeli
officials where it has served to intensify concerns about Egypt's
willingness to stem the flow of weapons.

Ha'aretz reported that on Wednesday Syria denied that one of its
representatives at the UN admitted that IsraelQs September strike
hit a nuclear installation. Ha'aretz reported that Syria gave UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a film showing the area Israel hit.

SIPDIS

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Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank, October 14-18, 2007:

SIPDIS
-----------------------------------

Summary:
--------

Columnist, Law Professor, and former cabinet minister Amnon
Rubinstein, who currently teaches at Columbia University, wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv and the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post: "Ahmadinejad will not be physically present in
Annapolis, but his threats will be there, hovering above the
conference table."

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz: "Abbas plays the role of the poor, weak victim who must be
saved from the jaws of Hamas, and Israel will be asked to foot the
bill of the rescue. The price will be more than even the most
left-leaning side of Zionism can afford."

Diplomatic correspondent Shimon Shiffer wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "When he enters the
Kremlin today, the Prime Minister will convey an unequivocal message
to the Russian President: When Iran has nuclear weapons and Syria
procures advanced weapons systems, Israel will have to consider
reacting to these threats."

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in Ha'aretz: "In all his
speeches Olmert insists that Iran is an 'international, not an
Israeli, problem.' If so, the rush to the Kremlin suggests
precisely the opposite."

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

I. "Ahmadinejad & Annapolis"

Columnist, Law Professor, and former cabinet minister Amnon
Rubinstein, who currently teaches at Columbia University, wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv (10/12) and the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (10/18): "Ahmadinejad will not be
physically present in Annapolis, but his threats will be there,
hovering above the conference table. The response to these threats
is to include the Palestinians in the context of a defense alliance.
An alliance of this kind would minimize the existential dangers
posed to Israel, compared to which the other dangers -- which do
indeed exist -- are dwarfed."

II. "Paying a High Price"

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (10/18): "Abbas plays the role of the poor, weak victim who
must be saved from the jaws of Hamas, and Israel will be asked to
foot the bill of the rescue. The price will be more than even the
most left-leaning side of Zionism can afford. If it does so, it
will no longer be a Jewish, Zionist state. In the future, it might
not be a state at all. Therefore, even Olmert will be forced to
break up the party, and the world will once again have a reason to
denounce Israel for not restoring Palestinian rights. Justice
lovers of the world believe that the strong must defer to the weak,
and the rich to the poor. By this logic, if Israel caused the
refugee problem, then it bears the responsibility of bringing them
back 'home'.... Abbas's negotiating team represented the
Palestinians in the meetings that led to the Oslo Accords. It is
the same team that will be facing us at Annapolis. Yasser Arafat
went to the White House to reap the profits and, eventually, the
Nobel Peace Prize. This team, headed by Ahmed Qurei, has returned
15 years later to push us into a new corner."

III. "Before It Is Too Late"

Diplomatic correspondent Shimon Shiffer wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/18): "When he enters
the Kremlin today, the Prime Minister will convey an unequivocal
message to the Russian President: When Iran has nuclear weapons and
Syria procures advanced weapons systems, Israel will have to
consider reacting to these threats.... The open dialogue between the
leaders of Israel and Russia is not self-evident: Only 20 years ago
any random encounter between Israeli and Russian officials at UN
Headquarters in New York would have produced giant headlines in
Israel. Israel hopes that the current close ties will allow Olmert
to convince Putin to take into account Israel's existential concern
about Iran's nuclear plan."

IV. "What About National Pride?"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in Ha'aretz (10/18):
"Apparently Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not learn this lesson
from Sharon. His rushed trip to the Kremlin today, for a meeting
with Putin immediately following his visit to Iran, does not reflect
Israeli national pride. It hints of pressure and concern and bowing
before Russian power. And if Olmert thought that Putin does not pay
attention to these details, he had an opportunity to hear on
Wednesday from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about her
embarrassing visit to Moscow last week.... In all his speeches
Olmert insists that Iran is an 'international, not an Israeli,
problem.' If so, the rush to the Kremlin suggests precisely the
opposite.... The Prime Minister believes that Putin is dealing with
Iran cautiously, and in spite of his favorable declarations in
Tehran, he is delaying the delivery of nuclear fuel to the plant at
Bushehr. Olmert will probably try to strengthen this dual approach
in Russia's foreign policy. The statements of President George W.

Bush that nuclear weapons in Iran may lead to World War III show
that Israel is not alone in the struggle and that it has an
important ally in the White House. But Israel appears to be trying
to place its concerns before the international community."

JONES

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