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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #3398/01 3331203
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291203Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4378
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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9744
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3231
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3850
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3097
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1186
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3821
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0683
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 003398

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:
--------------------------------

Annapolis Conference

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Key Stories in the Media:
-------------------------

All media reported that President George Bush, Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have symbolically
launched the renewing negotiations on a permanent agreement on
Wednesday.

Ha'aretz reported that in an interview with PM Olmert the latter
said that Annapolis is not an historic point but that it can assist
in progressing forward.

Leading media reported that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will
continue to head the Israeli team and will lead the negotiations
with the Palestinians. The media noted that the talks between the
sides will open on December 12.

Yediot Aharonot reported that PM Olmert met President Bush again in
order to discuss the Iranian threat.

Maariv revealed that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander
Sultanov has been forwarding messages in recent weeks between Israel
and Syria in a Russian attempt to renew negotiations between Israel
and Syria. The newspaper reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmerts'
recent urgent trip to Russia was also related to these attempts.
All media reported that the US has agreed to the Russian request to
host a continuous conference to Annapolis in three months in Moscow.


Ha'aretz noted that the nomination of General James Jones as the
adviser of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on security issues
related to the peace negotiations between Israel and the
Palestinians is bad news for Israel. The newspaper quotes Israeli
sources that Jones is not a favorable choice because of his
blatantly cool attitude to Israel.

Israel Radio quoted President Shimon Peres as saying that Annapolis
was a huge success for its four leaders: President Bush; PM Olmert;
PA President Abbas and Secretary of State Rice.

Israel Radio this morning reported that four Palestinians were
killed in two IAF strikes in the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF
the four were attempting to execute terrorist activity against
Israel. Ha'aretz Internet site reported that since Sunday 20
Palestinians were killed most of them Hamas activists.

All media reported that the police is expected to present its
recommendations regarding PM Olmert's involvement in the sale of
bank Leumi's controlling interest on Thursday. Estimations are that
the police will recommend closing the case against him

Yediot presented the results of a Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute) poll
after the Annapolis Conference:
When asked if they believe that a final status peace agreement will
be signed with the Palestinians by the end of 2008?
83 percent of questioned said no; 16 percent said yes; 1 percent
didn't know.
50 percent believe that the Annapolis conference was a failure; 18
percent thought it was a success; 32 percent didn't know.
To the question should Israel enter negotiations with Syria?
62 percent said yes; 35 percent said no; 3 percent didn't have an
opinion.

Ha'aretz published the results of a Dialog poll conducted after the
Annapolis Conference which found that 53 percent of the Israeli
public will support a permanent agreement based on a two-state

solution; 38 percent do not support such an agreement and 9 percent
didn't know. Sixty two percent believe that the Annapolis Conference
did not progress the chances of a permanent agreement; 24 percent
said it did not; 14 percent didn't know. To the question whether the
conference was a success or a failure, 42 percent thought it was a
failure; 24 percent said it was neither; 17 percent thought it was a
success and 17 percent didn't know.

---------------------
Annapolis Conference:
---------------------

Summary:
--------

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "It is a mistake
to assume that a new American administration or a new president will
have a different agenda. The American interest in the Middle East
is to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as soon as possible."

Senior diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the Ha'aretz:
"Only if [Rice] stubbornly nags Israel and the Palestinians by
frequent visits, by pressing through mediating proposals, and if
Bush constantly reiterates that he is backing his secretary of
state, will it be possible to make progress. If the administration
lifts its hands off the process once again, the Annapolis summit
will join the pile of diplomatic events that vanished without a
trace."

Nationalist Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized: "Instead of the
unequivocal demand from the Palestinians to halt violence as a first
condition for continuing the road map process, Israel is requesting
'reciprocity' of a new kind: It too has a part in terrorism.... This
concession is critical.... It is a moral concession."

Op-ed commentator Yael Paz-Melamed wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "My prayer is that there will be enough people in this
country that will give a chance to the process that opened two days
ago in Annapolis. Only a chance. Just a try."

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

I. "Forward"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (11/29): "The
purpose of the [Annapolis] meeting was to jump-start the dormant
process, and it has been achieved completely. The conditions for
pushing forward have been created. The pressure applied by George
Bush and Condoleezza Rice, up to the last minute, in order to reach
a joint political declaration, promises strict American supervision
and unwillingness to tolerate wasting of time. The argument being
raised, that the time table is too tight (by the end of 2008), is
ridiculous.... A tough American approach, essentially pressuring
both sides to discuss the core issues, could have positive results.
Both sides know the details of a possible agreement, but are worried
they lack the mandate to sign such a deal. Because of this, they
must welcome American pressure. It is a mistake to assume that a
new American administration or a new president will have a different
agenda. The American interest in the Middle East is to solve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict as soon as possible."

II. "Only Bush Can"

Senior diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,

left-leaning Ha'aretz (11/29): "If there is one lesson to be learned
from the Annapolis summit, it is that American leadership in the
peace process between Israel and its Arab neighbors is essential.
Only the stubbornness of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the
backing she received from U.S. President George W. Bush succeeded in
bringing here the foreign ministers of most Arab countries and the
world's leading diplomats.... However, with all due respect to the
Bush-Rice success at Annapolis, their real test is still before
them, and it all depends on their determination and perseverance....
The only chance the process has for success, or at least for
significant progress on the way to an agreement, lies in continued
American leadership. Only if [Rice] stubbornly nags Israel and the
Palestinians by frequent visits, by pressing through mediating
proposals, and if Bush constantly reiterates that he is backing his
secretary of state, will it be possible to make progress. If the

SIPDIS
administration lifts its hands off the process once again, the
Annapolis summit will join the pile of diplomatic events that
vanished without a trace."

III. "Moral Concessions"

Nationalist Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized (11/29): "Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni are now causing a
deterioration of the most profound moral foundations upon which the
State of Israel stands. Instead of the unequivocal demand from the
Palestinians to halt violence as a first condition for continuing
the road map process, Israel is requesting 'reciprocity' of a new
kind: It too has a part in terrorism.... This concession is
critical.... It is a moral concession. The Israeli leadership did
not owe anyone a concession of this type, after what was discovered
this past summer in Syria, and following years of rocket fire
against civilians."

IV. "Prayer and Hope"

Op-ed commentator Yael Paz-Melamed wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (11/29): "Yes, we do not like peace conferences... That is
because we have bad experience with them and disappointments, but
also because conferences that do lead to some sort of process oblige
us to make decisions we don't have the power to make. Who wants to
start discussing settlement evacuation.... Let us live quietly. We
got used to the situation and developed a mechanism to deal with
it.... But in front of all this stand war and its victims.... There
is so much agony on both sides that maybe after all this attempt is
worth a huge effort.... My prayer is that there will be enough
people in this country that will give a chance to the process that
opened two days ago in Annapolis. Only a chance. Just a try."
MORENO

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