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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1808/01 2261105
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141105Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3057
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 5809
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2387
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 6380
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 6618
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 5861
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 4472
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 6698
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3487
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1697
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0377
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 7888
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 2885
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 6880
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 8934
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 1706
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 2574
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001808

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:
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1. Mideast

2. Iran

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Key stories in the media:
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Israel Radio quoted a senior Israeli diplomatic source as saying
that Israel might agree to a move led by President Obama in which it
would pledge to freeze construction in settlements if it receives in
exchange tangible gestures from the Palestinians and the Arab
states. HaQaretz reported that the U.S. told Israel last week that
Gulf states Oman and Qatar are willing to renew their relations with
Israel if it agrees to a moratorium on construction in the West
Bank. Some media did not mention the settlement proviso. The
leading Internet news service Ynet quoted a senior Israeli
diplomatic source as saying in response to the report about the Gulf
states that Qat this stage no golden formula has been found and
there are no negotiations with the Americans, all the more with the
Palestinians.

Yediot reported that over the past two weeks senior Netanyahu aides
and U.S. officials have held secret talks in order to reach an
agreement over a construction freeze in the settlements. The
newspaper says that the main argument between the parties is about
the duration of the freeze and the conditions in which Israel may
resume construction. Yediot reported that the U.S. wants Israel to
stop construction for two years.

HaQaretz reported that PM Netanyahu recently told his ministers to
refrain from making any comment on the status of Gilad Shalit so as
not to compromise recent Egyptian-brokered talks on the abducted
soldier's release from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip. Maariv
reported that the Shalit family-run campaign for the release of
Gilad Shalit requests that HamasQs demands be brought to the
cabinetQs decision.

Leading media reported that residents of the Bnei Adam outpost have
agreed to voluntarily evacuate three caravans in their West Bank
settlement, after being advised to do so by leading rabbis of the
national religious movement.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday every member of FatahQs
Higher Committee in the Gaza Strip resigned in protest against what
one of them described as Qmassive fraudQ in the election for the
Fatah Central Committee.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was quoted as saying yesterday in an
interview with HaQaretz that Israel's character is its own business
and that it is not up to the Palestinians to define it. He had been
asked about PM Benjamin Netanyahu's demand the Palestinians
recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Fayyad was also quoted as
saying: "Establishing a proper government is a goal in itself, but
also a means to end the occupation." Fayyad noted that the
Palestinian economy's growth has exceeded all expectations, but
expressed regret it has taken Israel so long to remove dozens of
roadblocks, which have stymied the PA's economic development for
many years. He cannot understand why Israel bothers with petty
details such as this roadblock or another, while it has admitted
they were not necessary. Fayyad said that Israel must carry out a
prisoner exchange to end the Gilad Shalit affair immediately.

Israel Radio and Ynet quoted Syrian Ambassador to Turkey Nidal
Kablan as saying that his country will not give up Turkish mediation
in its negotiations with Israel.

Israel Radio cited a Lebanese newspaper as saying that Israeli
Ambassador to Egypt Shalom Cohen is still under the threat of
assassination.

The Jerusalem Post reported that The J Street political action
committee has received tens of thousands of dollars in donations
from dozens of Arab and Muslim Americans, as well as from several
individuals connected to organizations doing Palestinian and Iranian
issues advocacy, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Additionally, at least two State Department officials connected to
Middle East issues have reportedly donated to the PAC, which gives
money to candidates for US Congress supported by J Street. The
organization describes itself as a "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobby
pushing for more American involvement and diplomacy in resolving the
Middle East conflict.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday Israeli sources confirmed
Yemeni media reports that the overwhelming majority of the final
remnant of Yemen's ancient Jewish community, numbering some 250
people, are looking to leave the country for the U.S. or Israel, due
to persecution and violence.

The Jerusalem PostQs Web site and Israel Radio reported that Arab
states are lobbying the EU to support their drive to force Israel to
open up its secretive nuclear program to international perusal.

HaQaretz and other leading media reported that yesterday the Foreign
Ministry censured Israel's Consul-General in Boston Nadav Tamir due
to a memo he wrote criticizing Israel's policy on the United States.
The envoy apologized for the way the incident unfolded.

HaQaretz and other media reported that Netanyahu sent an official
response to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's request for clemency
for Salah Hassan Hamori, of the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine, a French citizen convicted of plotting the assassination
of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. HaQaretz reported that Netanyahu wrote to
Sarkozy that the parole panel rejected Hamori's request in part
because he had not expressed regret for his actions and because the
attorney general believed his early release constituted a danger to
the public. Netanyahu also noted that Hamori is considered a
dangerous prisoner even imprisoned, so he does not meet the criteria
for parole.

The Jerusalem Post and other media quoted the IDF as saying in a
statement released yesterday that a Human Rights Watch report that
IDF soldiers killed 11 Palestinian civilians holding white flags in
Gaza during Operation Cast Lead is Qbased on unreliable witness
reports.

The Jerusalem Post reported that for participants in a small new
volunteer program initiated by the Zionist Freedom Alliance -- a
"revolutionary" group that promotes Zionism on U.S. campuses as an
indigenous, not biblical or political movement -- connecting with
Israel means defying international pressure that all construction
east of the Green Line come to a halt, and heading deep into the
West Bank to show solidarity with the Jewish communities there.

Yediot reported that Israel has arrested Osama Mansour, one of PA
President Mahmoud AbbasQs senior advisers on suspicion of
involvement in a Palestinian plot to take over land in Jerusalem,
kidnap a man who sells land to Jews, and carry out extortion. A
Jewish middleman and two Israeli Arabs are suspecting of aiding
Mansour in the attempted abduction.
Yediot reported that President Shimon Peres is scheduled to make a
working visit to Russia next week and that Russian PM Vladimir Putin
is expected to visit Israel in October.

The media reported that IsraelQs Central region was brought to a
standstill all afternoon and evening as police set up roadblocks on
all the main roads around Ben-Gurion Airport and leading into the
West Bank, following an eyewitness account that a soldier had been
kidnapped in the area. The report turned out to be wrong. The
Palestinian MaQan news agency reported that a group calling itself
the Al-Quds Army had claimed responsibility for the reported
capture.

Yediot reported that the U.S. dollarQs rate on the Tel Aviv money
market has plunged since Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer
stopped regulating it.

HaQaretz ran a feature about White House Social Secretary Desiree
Rogers.

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

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

I. "Not Obama, but Abbas"

Editor-in-Chief David Horovitz wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (8/14): QAn Obama visit [to Israel] would
be encouraging, welcome, and almost certainly constructive. Israel
would certainly be pleased to hear directly from the President. But
the voice we need to hear is that of Abbas -- -- an Abbas speaking
to his people and to ours in terms he did not employ at FatahQs
Bethlehem gathering. An Abbas countering the duplicitous ArafatQs
assertion to the Palestinian public that the Jews have no rights and
no legitimacy here. An Abbas explaining to his people and to ours
that we are fated to live together and that he will meet us on the
road to a better future.. It gets ever harder [to believe that
Abbas is indeed a Palestinian devoted to compromise when he]
presides over the relegitimization of the murderous Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades at a Fatah conference that did anything but advance
prospect for reconciliation.
II. "Hope Stuck in the Mud"

Far left columnist Gideon Levy wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/14): QBarack Obama's America is not
delivering the goods.... He came into office amid much hoopla. The
Cairo speech ignited half the globe. Making settlements the top
priority gave rise to the hope that, finally, a statesman is sitting
in the White House who understands that the root of all evil is the
occupation, and that the root of the occupation's evil is the
settlements. From Cairo, it seemed possible to take off. The sky
was the limit. Then the administration fell into the trap set by
Israel and is showing no signs of recovery... Perhaps they will
reach a compromise and agree on nine months [of construction freeze
in the settlements], not including natural growth though allowing
completion of apartments already under construction -- a grand
accomplishment. Jerusalem has imposed its will on Washington. Once
again we are at the starting point -- dealing with trifles from
which it is impossible to make the big leap over the great
divide.... An America that will not pressure Israel is an America
that will not bring peace.

III. "A Black Stain of Collaboration"

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized (8/14):
QAfter the terrorist rocket-launching became intolerable and the
[human rights] organizations did not do or say anything, the IDF
embarked on a large offensive against HamasQs stronghold in Gaza. A
few months after the operation, the human rights groups have turned
the operation into a goldmine by promoting Qhuman rights;Q they are
extracting testimonies of actions and violations that no one can
verify -- there isnQt even a need for this. The Foreign Ministry
has embarked on an appropriate action to stop European funding of
the group QBreaking the Silence.Q But this is not enough. The IDF
should not be entrusted with the human rights groupsQ propaganda;
the entire government must grant full backing to the IDF. The
motives of the human rights groups, especially since the 2001 Durban
Conference are explicit: a political struggle that makes a cynical
use of Qhuman rightsQ concepts. Those organizations must be told:
You have destroyed the true human rights values by turning them into
weapons against democracy and Israel.

IV. "Showdown in Bethlehem"

Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh wrote in The
Jerusalem Post (8/14): QDuring the Fatah congress in Bethlehem,
officials like [Muhammad] Dahlan, [Jibril] Rajoub, and [Tawfik]
Tirawi came under sharp criticism from many of their colleagues who
accused them of being part of the corrupt regimes of Yasser Arafat
and his successor, Abbas. Some delegates even went as far as to
demand that the trio be put on trial for their QcrimesQ against the
Palestinians when they were in office. All three were responsible
for the establishment of security forces that imposed a reign of
terror and intimidation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the
signing of the Oslo Accords 16 years ago. To describe the three men
as QreformistsQ is like praising the rulers of Kuwait and Saudi
Arabia as feminists, liberals, and champions of gays and lesbians,
these critics claimQ.... While Abbas and his camp may have tightened
their grip on Fatah, itQs premature to talk about a new era of
stability and unity in the ruling faction.

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2. Iran:
---------

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

"The Day of the Bomb"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (8/14): QRight now, the Americans have reservations [about
attacking IranQs nuclear facilities]. There is an internal argument
in Israel, but as of now some believe that an attack is a possible
and necessary move. Some Israelis say that the Iranian people are
not in the situation of 1980, when Saddam Hussein invaded and all
Iranians united around Khomeini. Besides, it is reasonable to
believe that reasonable attack, with reasonable means, could be
effective. How effective? Israelis say it would delay [IranQs]
nuclear plans for a few years and preventQaccelerationQ -- for a
long time. It should be enough.

MORENO

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