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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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P 171152Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2393
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 6395
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 6626
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 5871
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 4486
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 6712
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3493
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1707
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0383
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 7894
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 2899
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001824

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
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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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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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The media reported that yesterday, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S.
Michael Oren rejected recent assessments that Israel was planning an
attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. In an interview with Fareed
Zakaria on CNN, Oren also said: "The government of Israel has
supported President Obama in his approach to Iran -- engagement and
outreach to Iran." According to the envoy, Iran is also involved in
stirring up tensions in the Palestinian arena. The Jerusalem Post
reported that PM Benjamin Netanyahu will be Qtaking EuropeQs
temperatureQ during his upcoming trip to London and Berlin, on the
possibility of imposing crippling sanctions on Iran If it refuses
WashingtonQs offer of engagement over its nuclear program.

Israel Radio quoted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, now visiting
Washington, as saying in an interview with the Egyptian daily
Al-Ahram that he is putting the peace process on top of his agenda.
Mubarak called on Israel to take practical steps such as a
settlement freeze. The media reported that he will meet with Jewish
American leaders while in the U.S.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Daniel Herschkowitz, the head of the
Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home) party, as saying yesterday, based
on conversations with Netanyahu, that Netanyahu will reject
President ObamaQs request for a freeze on natural growth in West
Bank settlements.

HaQaretz reported that residential trailers are playing a major role
as West Bank settlers try to create facts on the ground before the
U.S. and Israel reach any decision on a construction freeze in the
settlements. In recent months, settlers have been trying to
assemble trailers at a quickened pace.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Hamas leader Khaled Mashal as saying
yesterday in an interview with the Qatari newspaper Al-Watan that
Hamas is interested in opening a dialogue with the Obama
administration because current U.S. policies are much better than
those of former President George W. Bush. MashalQs remarks were
published a day after Hamas foiled an attempt by a more radical
Islamic group to establish an Islamic emirate in Gaza. Mashal also
denied reports about progress in negotiations for Gilad ShalitQs
release.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli officials as saying yesterday that
the Defense Ministry is postponing the delivery of cement to Gaza
out of fear that Hamas will get its hands on the material and use it
to rebuild its military infrastructure damaged during Operation Cast
Lead. Yesterday, mako.co.il, the online service of Channel 2-TV,
reported that the IDF released documentation -- a film clip --
showing how Hamas fighters used Palestinian civilians as human
shields in the course of Operation Cast Lead. The excerpt was
published following recent criticism on the subject by human rights
organizations.

Yesterday, The Jerusalem Post quoted senior Israeli officials as
saying on August 15 that Jerusalem expects Lebanon and the
international community to fully implement Security Council
Resolution 1701.

Expanding on the issue of obstacles placed in the way of foreign
nationals who enter Israel if they have family, work, business, or
academic ties in the West Bank, The Jerusalem Post quoted an
American citizen married to a Palestinian from Ramallah and who has
a return ticket to the U.S. through Ben-Gurion Airport as saying
that she was horrified to discover that she had been given one of
the new limited entry stamps after visiting her in-laws in Jordan
for a family wedding. The Jerusalem Post also cited information for
travelers posted on the Web site of the U.S. Consulate-General that
the Consulate can do nothing to assist in getting this visa status
changed.

HaQaretz reported that American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, a
nonprofit organization that sends millions of shekels worth of
donations to Israel every year for clearly political purposes, such
as buying Arab properties in East Jerusalem, is registered in the
U.S. as an organization that funds educational institutes in
Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a reception tonight, featuring
former U.S. presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee at the Shepherd Hotel
in Jerusalem, has turned into a hotly contested venue for protests
both for and against Israeli policy in the area.

Over the weekend Israel Radio reported that Galilee farmers who
found themselves in dire financial straits sold rights (through
intermediaries) to their privately-owned land to the highest bidder
-- allegedly wealthy residents of the Gulf states.

Yediot reported on a project called Middle East Education through
Technoogy (MEET), in which 120 high-school Israeli and Paestinian
students meet during summer programs. he project is now in its
sixth year.

HaQaretzreported that workers at the Negev Nuclear Researc Center
in Dimona were made to drink uranium in 988 as part of an
experiment, according to a lawsuit filed four months ago in the
Beersheva Labor ribunal by a former worker at the facility.

Ove the weekend all media underscored a spate of cruel murders and
other violent crimes.

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

Block Quotes:
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I. "Quiet: Now Is the Time for a Solution"

Former Meretz leader and former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin wrote
in the independent Israel Hayom (8/17): QWe would do well to
remember August 2009. It is a moment that ostensibly we ought to be
able to enjoy. The Israeli economy appears to have overcome the
global economic crisis even before other economies, and the Tel Aviv
Stock Exchange is breaking new heights. Hamas in Gaza has stopped
firing rockets, and Hizbullah has opted to suffice with childish
demonstrationsQso that the state of quiet has been maintained in the
north as well. Abu Mazen succeeded in holding the Fatah Central
Conference and became in its aftermath a leader with a stronger
mandate to promote a meaningful political solution. The economic
prosperity on the West Bank has been shown to us by nearly every
media outlet: the night life in Nablus, the restaurants in Ramallah,
the Palestinian children who go to Bat Yam and see, for the first
time in their lives, the sea.... It would seem as if nothing were
urgent and that we might now relax and wait to hear U.S. Special
Envoy to the Middle East George MitchellQs offers and President
Barack ObamaQs speech at the U.N. In the meantime, we might as well
take a brief vacation. But that is precisely the same mistake that
recurs nearly every summer, one decade after the next ever since the
great victory of 1967.... Instead of trying to get a tan in the
damaging rays of the sun, the government would do well to draft the
Israeli peace initiative and to avert a situation in which August
2009 turns into an all-too-brief recess between the clouds of war.

II. "Palestinian State Is Not Synonym for Terrorist Entity"

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/17): QFor some reason [as far as official
Israel is concerned] the continued calm on Israel's eastern border
and the order Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's government
has imposed in cities the IDF has been good enough to evacuate have
been unable to prove that the Palestinian state is not necessarily a
synonym for a terrorist entity. Nine years after the outbreak of
the Al-Aqsa Intifada and almost five years after Yasser Arafat's
death, a solid Palestinian leadership is waiting for Israel. It's a
leadership that speaks out and acts decisively against violence.
The sixth Fatah convention approved a diplomatic solution based on
two states within the 1967 borders. Although a mountainous 16 years
of diplomatic process have produced a molehill, the option of
returning to the armed struggle against the occupier has been pushed
to the margins. The Palestinian leadership, as well as the
countries of the Arab League, are showing understanding for Israel's
concerns; our Palestinian neighbor will be immeasurably less armed
and dangerous than our northern neighbors. We can only hope that
its security forces will not abuse their new recruits and that their
officers will not be liars.


III. "Nowhere to Go"

Columnist and former intelligence officer Amos Gilboa wrote in the
popular, pluralist Maariv (8/17): QFollowing the Fatah conference in
Bethlehem last week, one can describe the political situation of the
Palestinians with two simple English words: dead end. There is a
zero chance of reaching a final status arrangement with the
Palestinian anytime in the near future.... Analysts and politicians
are telling us: There is hope. One can make a deal with this new
Fatah leadership. And why is this? Because the conference stated
that it was in favor of the peace option, that this was its path,
that it favors the two-state solution.... These are false arguments.
The mere fact that the Palestinians make use of the secret words
Qtwo-state solutionQ and QpeaceQ means absolutely nothing. They
have been saying this since the Oslo Accords. So long as delegates
to the Palestinian conference see a need to render their positions
more extreme, this means they understand well where the wind is
blowing in the Palestinian street. So where is all this heading?
We will witness in the near future many ideas about some
international conference or another, one or another American plan to
reach an agreement. Just so long as activity is produced to conceal
the sorry reality, and also to create a lot of headlines. And
Israel? The best thing it can do is to publish its own initiative,
and if not -- at least refrain from provocation and be sure to be
coordinated with the Obama administration.

IV. "The Obama Prisoner-Release Doctrine"

Columnist Shmuel Rosner, who was HaQaretzQs correspondent in
Washington, wrote in Maariv (8/17: "Here is an interesting exercise
in Middle Eastern scriptwriting: A current or past senior Israeli or
American official travels to Gaza. In complete contrast to official
Israeli and American policy, he holds talks with the Hamas
leadership.... He brings to Israel in his car the kidnapped soldier
Gilad Shalit. Is anyone against this? This is not a bloated
scenario -- not as far as Americans are concerned: Over the past two
weeks similar events occurred on the other side of the planet.
Former President Bill Clinton visited North Korea on an Qunofficial
mission, but with the knowledge and the blessing of the Barack Obama
administration. He returned with two captive female American
journalists. There was criticism, but it was contained by the
clicking of the cameras memorializing the returneesQ tears of joy.
Over the past weekend, there was a repeat performance -- on a
smaller scale: Burma (whose unrecognized name is Myanmar) is not
more dangerous than North Korea. Senator Jim Webb isnQt as famous
as Clinton. Nonetheless, Webb traveled to boycotted, extremist
Burma, and returned with a nice booty: the American prisoner John
Yettaw.... [Preconceptions] will fall like a stack of cards if the
Hamas leaders decide to make one small gesture in exchange for such
a brief encounter.... If this is happening in America -- which is
rather indifferent to its prisonersQ fate -- all the more in
Israel.

V. QFatahQs Ticking Bomb

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in
International Affairs Center, columnist Barry Rubin, wrote in the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (8/17): QAs Fatah continues
the conflict and blocks a resolution for years, they face lower
living standards and destructive violence. If Fatah becomes more
radical, as indicated by Abbas's choice for successor, the
Palestinian people will suffer even more.... Fatah has apparently
chosen as its next leader a man who rejects the 1993 Israel-PLO
(Oslo) agreement and the ensuing peace process. Muhammad Ghneim was
so passionately opposed even to negotiating with Israel that he
refused to go to the Gaza Strip and West Bank with Arafat in 1994.
He also refused to participate in the PA as long as it was involved
in the peace process. So can Ghneim participate now because he has
changed his mind, or rather -- as seems more likely -- that Fatah no
longer takes the peace process seriously? This situation is
equivalent to Russia picking a hard-line Stalinist as its next
leader.... If Ghneim takes over, you can not only forget about peace
-- which doesn't look too promising anyway -- but the status quo
could also be jeopardized. The re-radicalization of Fatah might
lead to a very big, even violent, sustained crisis. Attention must
be paid to this development.

VI. QBreaking the Final Taboo

Security and intelligence affairs commentator Amit Cohen wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv (8/16): QHamas has faced a number of
violent challenges since it seized power in the Gaza Strip. It
emerged from all of them successfully. The al-Qaida operatives
managed to hurt Hamas, but even they are no match for the Hamas
security forces' superior numbers and weaponry. But as opposed to
previous instances, this time Hamas wasn't fighting against a clan
or an organization; rather, it was fighting against a competing
religious doctrine, which is much harder to defeat. The struggle
between the Muslim Brotherhood-to wit, Hamas and the Salafi-jihadi
school, has been under way for many years across the Muslim world.
The defeat in Rafah does not necessarily spell an end to the
phenomenon.
The conflict between those two schools of religious thought is
complex and profound. A large part of it stems from differing
religious interpretation and beliefs about proper Muslim conduct --
and not from disagreements about Israel. From Israel's point of
view, there is not much difference between the two schools. Hamas
is prepared to speak about a cease-fire and a hudna, while the
al-Qaida operatives reject such an option out of hand. But in terms
of their long-term strategies, both of them believe in jihad as an
inseparable part of their being. Still, to generalize, it is clear
that Hamas is capable of showing more pragmatism. Hamas, for
example, was willing to receive the former U.S. President, Jimmy
Carter, as a VIP visitor to Gaza. Alternatively, the members of the
Salafi school of thought had planned to assassinate Carter. They
believe that figures such as Carter must not be tolerated. They
believe that Hamas is groveling before the West, before
Christianity, by accepting figure such as Carter or Tony Blair.
They repudiate any notion of foreign relations or even foreign
public relations. The only publicity they need is well-covered
violence.

MORENO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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