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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #3507/01 3471116
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131116Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4562
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 3137
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9803
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3301
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3909
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3156
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1266
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 3889
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0744
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1214
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7784
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5251
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0164
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 4298
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6239
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 003507

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

Mideast

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

Yediot reported that preparations have begun for President Bush's
visit in January. Israel Radio and The Jerusalem Post's web site
quoted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as saying in an interview
with USA Today: "The reason why [President Bush] is going [to the
Middle East] is that he very much wants to signal support for the
bilateral process between the parties and to continue in a hands on
way to encourage [Israelis and Palestinians] to move forwards....
The President has an extraordinary way of sitting with people and
eliciting from them where the enablement might be to get something
done. Where are the sticking points? And not in a way that says
all right I'm going to go ahead and fix this for you, but just
talking to the parties. And I think actually talking to them
individually by that time will be helpful because he'll be able to
get a strong sense of where the points of convergence are that maybe
they won't see, and where the points are divergent are well."

Israel Radio quoted a senior Israeli defense source as saying that
the only solution to the standoff in Gaza is a large-scale military
operation, but that it should be carefully weighed. The radio
quoted IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi as saying that such an
offensive is getting more likely. Leading media quoted Defense
Minister Ehud Barak as saying that a proper response to Qassam
rocket attacks will be found.

Leading media reported that Har Homa construction and the violence
in the territories marred Wednesday's Israeli-Palestinian talks.
Maariv reported that Israel is continuing the expansion of Har Homa
despite Palestinian and world criticism. The Jerusalem Post quoted
Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman as saying on Wednesday: I have
to correct the State Department. They spoke about 300 housing units
in Har Homa, but there are 3,000 on the way."

Leading media quoted a senior Israeli diplomatic source as saying in
an unprecedented criticism of U.S. policy that President Bush has
failed in his handling of the Iranian nuclear issue. The source was
quoted as saying that the U.S. is being distracted from the main
concerns of the West: fighting extremist Islamic terror; rogue
states; and the proliferation of nuclear technology.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Quartet envoy Tony Blair told the
Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday that he
understands Israel's hesitancy to cede more land. The Jerusalem
Post reported that the incoming UN envoy, Robert Serry of the
Netherlands, called on Israelis and Palestinians to honor the
Roadmap, and criticized the Har Homa construction project.

Yediot quoted oligarch Arkady Gaidamak as saying that in the absence
of government action, he will provide protection to the houses of
Sderot.

Ha'aretz reported that Jerusalem Municipality legal counsel Atty.
Yossi Havilio wrote the mayor and other city officials that the
municipality is discriminating against East Jerusalem students by
not providing places of study.

Major media quoted U.S. intelligence sources as saying that Iran
test-fired a ground-to-ground, 2,000-km range Ashura missile during
the Annapolis conference. Leading media quoted French President
Nicolas Sarkozy as saying in an interview with the French weekly Le
Nouvel Observateur that Israel might attack Iran if it continues its
nuclear program.

Yediot reported on a thaw in Egypt-Iran relations. The Jerusalem
Post quoted AP as saying that Egypt refuses to sign stricter IAEA
protocols, citing Israel's refusal to sign the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted an Israeli defense source as saying that
Hizbullah was behind Wednesday's assassination in Beirut of Brig.
Gen. Francois El-Hajj, who was slated to become Lebanese chief of
staff. The source was quoted as saying that Syria did not order the
murder.

The Jerusalem Post reported that visiting Lt. Gen. (ret.) David
Barno, the former commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, told
the newspaper that the U.S. will not relent in its pursuit of Usama
bin Ladin until he is captured.

Ha'aretz revealed that in December 2000 Israel told then U.S.
President Bill Clinton that it saw particular importance in
establishing a special authority in Jerusalem's sacred basin to
ensure freedom of worship for Jews and Muslims. This statement came
in response to ideas Clinton proposed to resolve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ha'aretz also divulged that Israel
told the Americans that it saw an ambiguity in Clinton's stance on
refugees that should be avoided.

Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that a report released today by
the World Bank warns that even if the donor countries meet all of
the PA's demands for aid, the Palestinian economy will continue to
deteriorate if Israel continues to enforce mobility and trade
restrictions in the West Bank.

The teachers will receive an 8.5% pay raise, paid over two terms
the first in January 2008 and the second one year later; both
pending an increase in teaching hours. The pay raise -- given in
addition to the 5% guaranteed pay raise to all workers of the public
sector -- is meant to enable the Education Ministry's school-system
reform to take place. Should the school-system reform prove
successful, the teachers will ultimately be granted a 26% pay raise.
Should the move fail, their 8.5% raise will be rescinded.

Maariv reported that refugees from two tribes in Darfur are
continuing to fight each other in Eilat.

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

Summary:
--------

Shlomo Avineri, Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and
former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Annapolis apparently will not
lead to conflict resolution. [But] the conference will ...
contribute toward making the conflict more moderated."

Conservative contributor Menachem Ben wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv: "[I propose the] option of a large Hebrew state,
in which the Palestinians will live in two separate autonomies (Gaza
and the West Bank), to which it is possible to add a third autonomy
for Israeli Arabs who will opt for such a solution."

Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot: "The 'release' ideal that Hamas and the other
organizations nurture is unrealistic.... Will the Israeli
government, the great IDF and the security establishment finally
discover [Gilad Shalit's] location in Gaza and disengage Shalit and
ourselves from the 'prisoner problem'?"

Arab affairs correspondent Jacky Hoogie wrote in Maariv: "Lebanon
bleeds alone in this tragedy."

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "Our own
diplomats giving credence to claims that the UN is in any way
treating Israel as 'normal and acceptable' is like thanking a bully
for slapping a 'kick me' sign on our backs."

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

I. "On America's Strength and Weakness"

Shlomo Avineri, Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and
former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (12/13): "At present it is clear
that both sides (if we ignore the serious problem of Hamas control
in Gaza) have the political desire to conduct real negotiations and
to lower the flames. What is less clear is whether they have the
political capability to reach agreements with regard to core issues.
It appears they do not. It is clear that Bush can clear the way
for a dramatic event of the kind seen at Annapolis, but he does not
have the ability to keep up a daily check of dozens of discussions
and issues raised during negotiations in various work groups..... As
in other similar cases -- Cyprus, Kosovo, Bosnia -- America's
strength is limited when the local political desire and the
political capability are missing. This means that, despite all the
media brouhaha, Annapolis apparently will not lead to conflict
resolution. The conference will serve as a tool to solving some of
the many problems between us and the Palestinians, and in this way,
to contribute toward making the conflict more moderated."

II. "What If the Arabs Don't Agree?"

Conservative contributor Menachem Ben wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (12/13): "The question is what will happen if the
Arabs, as can be expected, do not agree to anything. Then Israel
will reserve itself another option, based on the existing situation,
but one that opens new vistas. This is the option of a large Hebrew
state, in which the Palestinians will live in two separate
autonomies (Gaza and the West Bank), to which it is possible to add
a third autonomy for Israeli Arabs who will opt for such a solution
(with all security branches remaining in Israeli hands, of course).
Thus, it will at least be obvious that all residents of the
autonomies are Palestinians, while all the rest are Israelis who
choose their Israeliness.... The alternative (surrendering to the
Palestinian demand now -- so that [Israel] is later absorbed into
greater Palestine -- is much worse."

III. "The Holy Palestinian Ghost"

Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (12/13): "The number of Palestinian prisoners in
Israeli jails stands at 10,000 -- how can it be, with such a
quantity of prisoners and the internal Palestinian pressure because
of it, that the problem of Gilad Shalit has not yet been solved?
Precisely because of the enormous number of prisoners. This
enormous number creates the distinction between the matter of the
prisoners and the 'prisoner problem,' which for the Palestinians has
become something holy, mythological, and bigger than life. Here is
a paradox for us: It is precisely the Palestinian rhetoric that
locked up the prisoners. It made the subject so large that it was
impossible to deal with it, and therefore the only option is not to
deal with it at all. In our region, one doesnQt mess with a holy
ghost.... The 'release' ideal that Hamas and the other organizations
nurture is unrealistic. They have built an almost metaphysical,
utopian reality whereby all the prisoners are released and return to
their homes, at the absolute maximum level -- a magical happy
ending. But that is a dream of the kind that never comes true. And
thus, rhetoric has imprisoned the Palestinian leadership, and as a
result, that same Palestinian leadership continues to jail its
prisoners. If so, then on the shoulders of the captive Gilad Shalit
rests the entire Palestinian fate with its conflicts, hatreds, the
illusions in which it has thrown itself and the terrible split that
it is undergoing. No one will dare to touch that horrible political
abscess, and one Israeli soldier is paying the price. Will the
Israeli government, the great IDF and the security establishment
finally discover his location in Gaza and disengage Shalit and
ourselves from the 'prisoner problem'?"

IV. "On the Cusp of a Civil War"

Arab affairs correspondent Jacky Hoogie wrote in Maariv (12/13):
"The assassination of Francois El-Hajj, the Lebanese Army's No. 2,
was entirely a Syrian initiative that was conceived and carried out
by its allies in Lebanon.... Lebanon bleeds alone in this tragedy.
There is nobody in the world that is able or wants to save it from
... Syrian meddling or unlock it from Iran's much more dangerous
embrace. George Bush, the man who set off to fix the world, has
already stopped lecturing Assad on Lebanon. Even the President of
the United States knows that after getting entangled in Iraq and
standing helpless in front of Iran, it would be preposterous to
waste energy on Lebanon just because a few politicians have been
blown up."

V. "UNreformed"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/13):
"On Tuesday, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman
lauded the passage of an Israeli-drafted resolution in a UN
committee for the first time ever.... We hate to rain on this
parade, but our own diplomats giving credence to claims that the UN
is in any way treating Israel as 'normal and acceptable' is like
thanking a bully for slapping a 'kick me' sign on our backs....
While this 'breakthrough' resolution could be cited to exemplify the
isolation of the Arab bloc, it also demonstrates the refusal of this
same bloc and the countries that blindly vote with it to remotely
treat Israel as a nation like any other -- namely a nation with the
right to exist -- let alone a peace-seeking democracy under
terrorist attack. That would be of limited concern if the
anti-Israel bloc was consistently and overwhelmingly out-voted on
substantive resolutions as well. But this, of course, is not the
case. Worse, the Arab bloc is still able to use the UN system as
its own cudgel to delegitimize Israel."

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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