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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #3077/01 2971501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241501Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3813
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 2894
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9582
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3020
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3687
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 2921
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0979
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3652
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0518
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0984
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7563
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5011
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 9931
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4077
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6014
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 8226
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 003077

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


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

1. Rabin Assassination Anniversary

2. Mideast

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

Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday a Palestinian was killed in an air
force attack on a vehicle in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the
central Gaza Strip. The newspaper quoted the IDF as saying that the
targeted vehicle was carrying a terrorist from the Popular
Resistance Committees. Leading media reported that on Tuesday eight
Qassam rockets and eight mortar shells were fired from the Gaza
Strip. A house in Sderot sustained a direct hit.
Israel Radio reported on a drive-by shooting this afternoon at the
entrance of the West Bank settlement of Ariel, in which an Israeli
was wounded.

Major Israeli media reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak plans
to approve a list of sanctions against Gaza following an escalation
of Qassam rocket fire. The Jerusalem Post quoted officials as
saying that Israel will begin to cut the supply of gasoline to Gaza
in the coming days. Leading with the same issue, Ha'aretz said that
the security forces plan to cut power in Beit Hanun in the northern
Gaza Strip for two hour intervals, during the evening or the night.

Major media (lead story in Makor Rishon-Hatzofe) quoted Likud leader
Binyamin Netanyahu as saying on Tuesday during a Likud photo-op on
the Tower of David in Jerusalem's old city, that the "Olmert
government is leading to a Hamas-led Jerusalem." Likud MKs have
vowed to fight against any territorial concessions within or around
Jerusalem.

All media (banners in Yediot and Maariv) devoted considerable space
to the 12th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination. Ha'aretz
quoted President Shimon Peres as saying on Tuesday that "Today, the
path that Yitzhak Rabin paved for us is reemerging; the path of
peace has not been lost." Israel Radio quoted Ehud Barak as saying
that Israeli public institutions still harbor people who were part
if the incitement that preceded the assassination.
Leading media reported that on Tuesday PM Ehud Olmert heard from
British PM Gordon Brown that he and his government would seek
further sanctions against Iran in the UN and the EU. Ha'aretz and
Israel Radio reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin told
Olmert in their meeting last week that Russia will not supply
nuclear fuel to Iran. Olmert also met in London with Turkish PM
Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Yediot reported that the IDF is asking the public to make use of
quiet days to protect their homes against missile attacks --
preparing protected spaces, plastic sheets, and drinking water.

Yediot reported that while current Shin Bet head Avraham Diskin
believes that the failure of the Annapolis meeting would increase
terror, previous Shin Bet head and Knesset Member Ami Ayalon, holds
a contrary opinion. The Jerusalem Post quoted PA negotiator Saeb
Erekat as saying on Tuesday that the PA will not attend the
Annapolis meeting unless an agreement is reached beforehand on all
final status issues.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Hamas announced on Tuesday that
it uncovered a Shin Bet spy ring that was gathering information on
abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Leading media reported that in a speech at the National Defense
University, President Bush described the deployment of a missile
system in Europe as essential to counter the Iranian threat. Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe quoted Defense Secretary Robert Gates as saying on
Tuesday that US missiles in Poland will be positioned for defensive
purposes only.

Ha'aretz reported that Vice PM Haim Ramon will ask PM Olmert for
further funding to extend the West Bank separation barrier.
Construction will soon be halted unless new funds are found.

Yediot and Maariv reported that on Tuesday Syrian President Bashar
Assad ordered that citizenship be granted to the residents of the
four Druze communities in the Golan. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported
that Gen. Ali Habib, the commander of the Syrian Air Force, told his
pilots to be prepared to counter any foreign aggression.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that in an interview with AFP,
Hizbullah's foreign relations chief Nawaf Mussawi warned against the
establishment of a US military base in Lebanon.

Ha'aretz quoted the Russian news agency Novosti as saying that Iran
has signed a deal with China to buy two squadrons of J-10 fighter
planes that are based on Israeli technology.

Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday the Military Advocate General
petitioned the High Court of Justice to require the Winograd
Commission to make good on its pledge to issue warnings to those who
might be harmed by the committee's final report.

Leading media reported that State Attorney Eran Shendar, in
agreement with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, has decided not to
prosecute PM Olmert in two affairs involving the purchase of
properties -- in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The Jerusalem Post printed a Jewish Telegraphic Agency wire report
quoting Turkish FM Ali Babacan as saying in an interview with the
liberal Islamic newspaper Zaman that he had told American Jewish
leaders that a genocide bill would strengthen the public perception
in Turkey that "Armenian and Jewish lobbies unite forces against
Turks."

Yediot reported that Israelis can now only find employment in
Europe, since the US is "full" and will no longer admit high-tech
workers.


------------------------------------
1. Rabin Assassination Anniversary:
------------------------------------

Summary:
--------

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "The demand to
create a Jewish consensus before any decision on withdrawal has
become a code for refusing to accept any concession, even if it is
supported by a large democratic majority."

Conservative, Orthodox journalist Hanoch Daum wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Since [the Rabin
assassination] we yeshiva students have all become accustomed to the
accusatory looks and the collective smear campaign. Some of us also
felt a bit guilty.... something of this sense of guilt, something
of the knowledge that I took part in the ongoing incitement, that I
too was in [Jerusalem's] Zion Square [the scene of incitement by
right-wing leaders before the assassination], still stings in my
heart."

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: "The obsessive interest in Amir's life is turning
the murderer into a legitimate figure, a local celeb."

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

I. "Democracy or Hypocrisy"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (10/24): "A
large majority of the Israeli public continues to support leaving
the occupied territories in return for a peace agreement. From this
point of view, [Yitzhak Rabin's assassin Yigal] Amir failed
resoundingly. The minority that believes the territories must not
be left under any circumstances has not grown, but it has become
more extreme.... The demand to create a Jewish consensus before any
decision on withdrawal has become a code for refusing to accept any
concession, even if it is supported by a large democratic
majority.... Amir decided to murder Rabin the moment the Oslo
Accords were signed. He was not deterred, but rather imbued with
faith in the justness of his cause. Generations of young people
must be educated against this faith and cause. Even before he
carried out the assassination Amir belonged to the camp that
preferred the greater, occupying Land of Israel to the democratic
Israel, although he understood that these are two conflicting
entities. Many still believe as he does. Education for democracy
must encompass debate about Israel's control over the lives of
Palestinians deprived of civil rights; it must relate to the fact
that Israeli democracy suffers from an essential flaw. Without
discussing these issues on the commemoration day of the
assassination, the initiative will not be educational, but
hypocritical."

II. "My Responsibility"

Conservative, Orthodox journalist Hanoch Daum wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/24): "The days were
the stormy days of Oslo, and I was sent by the organizers of the
demonstrations, together with my classmates from the yeshiva, to
demonstrate in front of RabinQs home, to blow on whistles opposite
the Prime Minister's Residence and to shout all kinds of yells
there, including 'I don't want to be next,' and of course 'Rabin the
traitor' and 'You don't have a mandate.' I regret those
demonstrations. To a large degree, they were part of the atmosphere
in which Yigal Amir grew. Part of a delegitimization campaign that
was conducted incorrectly and without a sense of proportion against
a person who was promoting a completely mistaken idea and who had
mismanaged the battle against his opponents in the national camp by
ostracizing them -- but who had done so in good faith..... Since
[the assassination] we yeshiva students have all become accustomed
to the accusatory looks and the collective smear campaign. Some of
us also felt a bit guilty. We remembered the demonstrations, the
defamations, the persecution that we were part of.... The years
passed. The collective guilt passed from us to Ariel Zilber [a
singer who recently participated in the creation of a movie calling
for the early release of Amir] and his 'compatriots.' But something
of this sense of guilt, something of the knowledge that I took part
in the ongoing incitement, that I too was in [Jerusalem's] Zion
Square [the scene of incitement by right-wing leaders before the
assassination], still stings in my heart."

III. "The Yigal Amir Festival"

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (10/24): "This year it seems that ... instead of
stories and broadcasts about Rabin's actions and legacy, public
debate focuses on the murderer, his wife, and his yet to be born
child. Instead of marking 12 years since the prime minister's
assassination, it looks as if Israeli society is marking the 12
years since the assassin was jailed.... The obsessive interest in
Amir's life is turning the murderer into a legitimate figure, a
local celeb.... Make no mistake. The media is not providing such
approving coverage to Amir's fans and family to expose wild weeds in
Israeli society or to prevent the next assassination. The real,
principal motive behind every detail coming out of the Amir
household only stems from the unrestrained chase for rating and
public exposure.... As was to be expected, 12 years after that
horrible night, memory fades, prime minister Rabin becomes no more
than a distant figure in Israeli history, and the hot news is
provided by an assassin who never stopped smiling."

------------
2. Mideast:
-----------
Summary:
--------

Liberal op-ed writer Uzi Benziman commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The conflict is perceived as an ailment that
is part of the scenery -- a troubling phenomenon we have to put up
with. It is not given the status of a major problem that must be
urgently resolved."

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

"The Time to Put Principles Aside"

Liberal op-ed writer Uzi Benziman commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/24): "The personal fate of the prisoners
and the missing [Israelis], and the horrendous hardship experienced
by their families are only a random illustration to the suffering
and injustice the conflict has caused to thousands of people on both
sides. When the suffering manifests itself in a single, individual
case, the decision makers are overwhelmed by misgivings and ethical
considerations. Why are these elements not expressed in their daily
handling of the conflict? A hundred years of a chronic conflict,
with many bloody outbursts, especially 40 years of violent
confrontation, has dulled the Israeli public and its leaders to the
human cost of the struggle with the Palestinians. The conflict is
perceived as an ailment that is part of the scenery -- a troubling
phenomenon we have to put up with. It is not given the status of a
major problem that must be urgently resolved."

JONES

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