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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1846/01 2321033
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201033Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3129
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 5836
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2414
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 6419
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 6647
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 5892
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 4507
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 6733
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3514
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1728
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0404
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 7916
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RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 6909
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 8961
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001846

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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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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Israel Hayom cited the belief of officials in Jerusalem that
President Obama intends to introduce the general outline of his
political plan for the Middle East before the meeting of the U.N.
General Assembly in New York in another month. According to the
daily, reports from Washington seem to indicate that Obama will want
to capitalize on that dignified platform to set in motion the
regional process he has spoken about in his speeches. Israel Hayom
says that it is not clear where Obama hopes that progress will be
made following the first stage of his plan (mutual Israeli and
Palestinian moves).

Channel 2-TV quoted Vice PM and former IDF chief of staff Moshe
YaQalon as saying during a meeting of QJewish Leadership,Q the most
right-wing Likud faction, that Peace Now and the QelitesQ are a
Qvirus.Q YaQalon also blasted the U.S. He was quoted as saying:
QI, for one, am not afraid of the Americans. I believe that the
Jews have the right to live anywhere in the land of Israel forever.
The media reported that his remarks sparked controversy among
Israeli politicians. The media reported that PM Benjamin Netanyahu
has summoned YaQalon for clarifications. Former Vice PM Haim Ramon
told Israel Radio that YaQalon is the true representative of
NetanyahuQs political views.

HaQaretz, The Jerusalem Radio, and HaQaretz reported that the U.S.
has harshly criticized new Israeli restrictions placed on foreign
nationals entering the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge, calling the
new regulations Qunacceptable.Q A report on the restrictions
appeared in HaQaretz last week. HaQaretz reported that earlier
this week, a senior official at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv met
with the head of the Foreign Ministry's consular division, Yigal
Tzarfati, for clarifications on the new procedure, by which
passports are stamped at the bridge with a directive limiting the
bearer to areas of the Palestinian Authority only. The U.S. message
reportedly was that such a procedure is harmful to U.S. citizens who
come to the PA. HaQaretz reported that U.S. diplomats asked
Tzarfati what the reason was for the restrictions. Leading media
cited a note issued by the State Department saying: "We have let the
government of Israel know that these restrictions unfairly impact
Palestinian and Arab American travelers and are not acceptable. We
have repeatedly told the government of Israel that the United States
expects all American citizens to be treated equally, regardless of
their national origin or other citizenship." The media reported
that State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly reiterated the message.
HaQaretz recalled that on August 14 the U.S. State Department
renewed its travel advisory to Israel and the Palestinian Authority,
drawing the attention of American travelers to Israel and the West
Bank to the new procedure at the Allenby Bridge. HaQaretz reported
that Interior Ministry officials at the borders also advise people
concerned by the measure not to come to Israel through Ben-Gurion
International Airport or the Sheikh Hussein Bridge crossing with
Jordan near Beit She'an, rather only through the Allenby Bridge,
frequently after they had been refused entry through the other entry
points. HaQaretz quoted senior Foreign Ministry officials as saying
that the Interior Ministry is behind the new procedures, and that
the Foreign Ministry does not support it and does not understand its
logic. "It is unclear what good it is and how it can be enforced,"
a Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying. "All it does is
damage Israel's image in its foreign relations," the official added.
HaQaretz has learned that a number of European embassies are
planning to approach the Foreign Ministry to protest and seek
clarifications. HaQaretz quoted Interior Ministry spokeswoman
Sabine Haddad as saying that the procedure is based on a decision by
the interior minister and the defense minister from 2006 that "any
foreign national who wants to enter the Palestinian Authority must
have a permit issued by the army, and entry is permitted only into
PA territory."

The leading Internet news site Ynet reported that yesterday around
20 right-wing demonstrators, some of them dressed in traditional
Native American garb, protested opposite the American Embassy in Tel
Aviv against what they called U.S. interference in IsraelQs domestic
affairs. The protesters carried signs comparing between the fate of
Native Americans and the demand made on Israel to freeze settlement
construction in the West Bank.

HaQaretz reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are guarded by Israel's Shin Bet
on some of their trips around the West Bank. According to an
agreement between Israel and the PA, a team from Shin Bet's VIP
security unit accompanies Abbas and Fayyad whenever they are in Area
C, meaning that part of the West Bank that is under full Israeli
control according to the Oslo Accords.

The media reported that Swedish Ambassador to Israel Elisabet Borsin
Bonnier apologized for the article in Aftonbladet that claimed that
IDF soldiers snatched body organs from Palestinians. The Jerusalem
Post noted that Rafi Barak, the Foreign MinistryQs senior Deputy
Director-General, told Bonnier that Israel is QbotheredQ that the
Swedish government has not publicly condemned the article.

The Jerusalem Post reported that more than 70 international human
rights groups are calling for an end to voting practices in the U.N.
Human Rights Council that have allowed countries responsible for
human rights violations to be elected.

The Jerusalem Post reported that, for the first time, IDF troops
will actively participate in an NATO operation in the Mediterranean
Sea as part of the Active Endeavor maritime counter-terror
operation.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Magen Dan outpost settlers alleged
that the IDFQs forced removal of a caravan from their hilltop
yesterday breached an agreement reached with the Elkana council to
allow for its voluntary removal. A spokesman for the IDFQs
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories was quoted
as saying that the people in Magen Dan Qwere warned many times that
if they did not abide by the agreement, the caravan would be
forcibly removed.Q Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that the key
witness against the residents of the southern Hebron Hills Mitzpe
Ashhal outpost is a Hamas activist who is banned from entry to
Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the four Labor QrebelQ Knesset
members -- Ophir Pines-Paz, Eitan Cabel, Yuli Tamir, and Amir Peretz
-- will launch a new political movement next month, laying the
groundwork for what could eventually become a new party that would
aim to replace Labor.

Maariv quoted John Stork, the author of the Human Rights Watch
report on IDF abuses during Operation Cast Lead, as saying that he
no longer supports the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes in Munich.
Maariv says that the article by its Op-Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini
on this issue made waves in human rights groups around the world and
especially in the U.S.
Yediot reported that FM Avigdor Lieberman intends to Qconquer
Africa (i.e. emulate the success of then FM Golda MeirQs policies in
the Q50s and Q60s) in his upcoming trip to five countries on the
continent.

HaQaretz reported that yesterday prominent religious Zionist rabbis
published a manifesto opposing the proposed appointment to the
Supreme Court of Beersheva District Court Judge Joseph (Sefi) Elon.
They primarily objected to two decisions he made at the time of
Israel's 2005 disengagement from Gaza. HaQaretz quoted the judgeQs
brother, right-wing politician Benny Elon, as saying that calling
Joseph a leftist is nonsense. Media reported that yesterday flyers
against Justice Minister Yaakov NeQeman were distributed at a
right-wing meeting. NeQeman, who supports the appointment of Joseph
Elon, was called the poodle of High Court of Justice President Dorit
Beinisch.

Leading media reported that the composite state-of-the-economy index
rose 1.2% in July, extending the recent upturn that had stemmed
nearly a year of declines, according to figures released by the Bank
of Israel yesterday. The figures confirm recent numbers that point
to an improvement in the Israeli economy.

The electronic media reported that the popular entertainer Dudu
Topaz, who was indicted for plotting attacks on top media
personalities, killed himself in his prison cell.

Erratum: An item in the August 19 morning media review read: QThe
Jerusalem Post quoted the Association for Civil Rights in Israel as
saying that the state has demolished some 130 houses in unrecognized
Israeli Bedouin communities since 1967.Q The date should have been:
Qsince the beginning of 2007.

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Mideast:
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Block Quotes:
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I. "The Boogie ManQs Virulent Virus"

Columnist and former Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Sarid wrote on page
one of the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/20): QWe have been
told recently that the Qsextet forum,Q of which [Vice Prime Minister
Moshe QBoogieQ] Ya'alon is a senior member, is a serious group that
embodies endless depths of good judgment and balance. Spare us
these fairy tales... Even the bad old Netanyahu, with his Qthe Left
has forgotten what it is to be Jewish,Q seems pretty normal next to
them. QI'm not afraid of the Americans,Q Boogie said there, in the
closed meeting with [far-Right Likud] Jewish Leadership activists
who crowned him their leader. As a half-brained leader he is not
afraid of Obama. But we are very much afraid of Boogie. This fear,
which we haven't been able to shake off since we browsed through his
autobiography, soared yesterday, leaving us scared to death. But
most terrifying of all is the thought that until not long ago he was
the chief of staff, our army's supreme commander. Now we know in
whose hands Israel's security is entrusted.

II. "A Peace Horizon"

Senior commentator Ari Shavit wrote in Ha'aretz (8/20): QThe obvious
revolution is economic. Trade between the Palestinian Authority and
Israel has climbed 42 percent over the past year.... The hidden
revolution is security oriented.... The military's dramatic lowering
of its profile and reduction of friction did not lead to renewed
terror. Things are currently quiet there, very quiet. The quiet is
maintained by unprecedented cooperation between the IDF and the five
Palestinian security branches.... The third revolution is in public
awareness.... Arafat's death and Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip
have freed the West Bank from Arafatism.... If Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu is booby-trapped by the settlers and if U.S.
President Barack Obama follows in the footsteps of his Palestinian
counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, an explosion would ensue.... But if U.S.
special envoy George Mitchell develops a creative peace plan for his
president, it may be possible to avoid past mistakes. This new plan
must be based on Fayyad and his way. It must bring the Palestinians
closer to a state in a decisive but realistic way. Instead of
dealing with the conflict's unsolvable theology again, it must
establish a practical dynamic of hope. Obama's challenge this
autumn is to give the West Bank revolution a peace horizon, without
pushing it backward to a reality of war.

III. "The Palestinian Position Is Important"

Shlomo Avineri, Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and
former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, wrote in Ha'aretz
(8/20): QUnder the terms of binding international agreements, Israel
has committed itself to recognizing the Qlegitimate rights of the
Palestinian Arab nation.Q Menachem Begin was the first to do this.
For many Zionists, and not just those who were schooled in the
ideological camp of Herut [LikudQs core movement], this was
difficult. In contrast to what is thought in extreme rightist
circles, this is not tantamount to relinquishing the Zionist
narrative, it is a willingness to accept the legitimacy of a
competing narrative and to seek a compromise. We only ask of the
Palestinians that which we ourselves have done in the past.... The
Palestinians fought the Jewish state, and if they truly and
sincerely wish to forge peace, they must be willing to come to terms
with the Jewish state, and to do so explicitly, without
stuttering.

IV. "ItQs Time to talk to Fatah"

Former diplomat and former Labor Knesset member Colette Avital wrote
in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (8/20): Q[FatahQs]
congress also endorsed the 2002 Arab initiative. Interestingly, but
not known to everyone, the initiative does not call for a right of
return of the refugees. Here too, my humble advice to all the
skeptics is to read the text as formulated. It clearly states that
there should be a Qprincipled and agreed-upon solutionQ for the
refugee problem. Finding the dark side of things provides good
pretexts to those who refuse progress. The time has come for the
Netanyahu government to renew the dialogue with the Palestinian
Authority, led by the only pragmatic Palestinian movement, Fatah. A
stronger Palestinian leadership, with a broader basis of popular
support and a flexible platform, now opens better opportunities for
serious negotiations.

V. QObamaQs Main Man in the Middle East?

U.S.-Israel relations expert Professor Eytan Gilboa of Bar-Ilan
University wrote in The Jerusalem Post (8/20): QSeventy one senators
politely wrote Obama on August 10 that he needs to better balance
his strategy: they disagreed with his one-sided pressure on Israel,
they praised the Netanyahu government for taking positive steps
towards peace, and told Obama to obtain similar concessions from the
Arab states. Obama has been praising Mubarak but the Egyptian
president will have to work much harder to gain credibility and
support both in Israel and with the American public. Obama's
intention to formulate and announce yet another American blueprint
for Arab-Israeli peace would be better served if he listened to
American public opinion and to what seventy one senators wrote him
just a few weeks ago. While Mubarak and the officials are
reinforcing Obama's failing outlook, the senators, including the
most influential from his own party, advised him to rethink and
revise his approach.

VI. QBetween the President and the General

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: QGamal Mubarak, an
economist and a banker by training, and who for more than ten years
has been an unremitting rising star in Egypt's governing party, has
remained evasive. If pressured, he has hinted, he will have no
choice but to run in the race, with the goal of winning, and to
continue to serve his people. On the other side of the race,
people-and particularly so officials in Washington and in the
American media-have begun to speak about the veteran Mr. Mukhabarat
[intelligence], General Omar Suleiman, as the next president of
Egypt. In the past decade he has taken under his purview the
direction of Egypt's political-security policy (Israel, Fatah-Hamas,
the Shalit deal, relations with the international intelligence
community, as well as other covert and sensitive missions), and he
has an impressive record. Official Israel, one ought to note, have
been taciturn. In closed conversations it is easy to see the
preference of the entire intelligence community in the direction of
the general. The long-standing relationship, the close ties, and
the cooperation that is achieved far from the public's eye, are all
accredited to him. Conversely, experts from the civilian
institutions have recommended watching the ongoing preparatory
process that Gamal has been undergoing. Despite the fact that this
is a troubling question, there isn't a clear answer. When the
subject at hand is the largest Arab state, out closest neighbor with
which we signed our first peace accord, with a long list of shared
enemies and interests-even if it is interesting and important,
Israel cannot afford to take sides. Nor can Israel afford to be
taken by surprise.

MORENO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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