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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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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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Major media reported that yesterday PM Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed
PA President Mahmoud AbbasQs willingness to meet with him in New
York in late September.

The media reported that yesterday Netanyahu and U.S. Special Envoy
for Middle East Peace George Mitchell released a joint statement in
London, saying that they Qhad a very productive meeting today where
the full range of issues was discussed.Q HaQaretz reported that
Netanyahu presented a proposal for resolving the ongoing
Israeli-American dispute over construction in the settlements.
Leading media reported that, in a meeting with Mitchell, Netanyahu
suggested a temporary freeze, reportedly for nine months, on
construction in the West Bank. HaQaretz reported that, as agreed
upon in the joint statement, the Americans are slated to respond to
Netanyahu's proposal at a meeting in Washington next week between
Mitchell and two Israeli officials: Netanyahu's envoy, attorney
Yitzhak Molcho, and DM Ehud Barak's chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Mike
Herzog. Israel Radio quoted a Washington official as saying that
Barak himself will lead the Israeli delegation. According to
HaQaretz, Mitchell himself will return to Jerusalem in the second
week of September with the goal of finalizing an agreement, as the
new Israeli proposal will exclude some 2,500 housing units on which
construction has already started. Additionally, in special cases
where it is necessary to keep "normal life" Netanyahu wants to be
able to erect public buildings in the settlements -- mainly
kindergartens and schools. Finally, HaQaretz said that Israel wants
the freeze to have a clear "exit plan." In Israel's view, the
freeze is a confidence-building measure that must be matched by
reciprocal steps from the PA and Arab states. If these fail to
materialize, Israel wants an American guarantee that it will not
oppose renewed building. HaQaretz reported that Mitchell has
recognized the fact that Netanyahu cannot announce a settlement
freeze in East Jerusalem. The officials were quoted as saying that
the U.S. will not endorse new construction there, but that it would
not demand that Jerusalem publicly announce a freeze.

The media reported that positive developments on a prisoner exchange
for Gilad Shalit continued to emerge yesterday with news that Ahmed
Jabari, the Gaza head of Hamas's military wing, had arrived in Cairo
in recent days for talks on a prisoner swap. Jabari, who was
accompanied by top Hamas figure Mahmoud Zahar and two other
advisers, is considered the leading Hamas figure on prisoner
exchange talks. Israel Radio quoted senior Hamas official Ismail
Haniyeh as saying that a prisoner exchange deal is closer than ever.
The radio and other media cited contradictory statements by Hamas
officials. The media reported that Israeli negotiator Haggai Hadas
met yesterday with relatives of the captive soldier to update them
on recent developments in the negotiations. After meeting with
Hadas, Noam Shalit, the soldier's father, told HaQaretz: "There are
no updates or developments other than what we're hearing in the
media." On press reports that a prisoner exchange could be sealed
in the coming weeks, Noam Shalit said, "That's all speculation."
Yediot quoted German sources involved with the exchange proposal as
saying that it will take place within two months.

The Jerusalem Post quoted the PAQs chief Islamic judge, Sheikh
Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, as saying yesterday that there was no evidence
to back up claims that Jews had ever lived in Jerusalem or that the
Temple ever existed.

All media devoted lengthy articles to the life and times of the late
Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Maariv reported that 118 non-aligned nations sent a letter to the
International Atomic Energy Agency, calling it to discuss at its
General Conference in September an Iranian proposal that would
prevent an attack on IranQs nuclear installations.

HaQaretz reported that the Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair is
accusing Israel of obstructing one of the West Bank's most important
economic projects, even as Netanyahu outlines his economic peace
vision abroad. Blair joined the PA in accusing Israel of violating
the agreement to allocate frequencies to operate the Palestinians'
second cellular phone company in the West Bank, Wataniya Mobile.
The company has threatened to pull out of the deal. Blair wrote in
a Quartet document that if Israel delays releasing the frequencies
any further, Wataniya Mobile's $700 million investment in the West
Bank could go down the drain and other investors could be deterred.

Leading media quoted LebanonQs PM-designate Saad Hariri as saying on
Tuesday that he wants to Qaffirm to the Israeli enemy that Hizbullah
will be in this government whether the enemy wants it or not.

Yediot reported that the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA)
will send a delegation to a plant of the Israeli pharmaceutical
company Taro in Haifa to check its quality and production lines, in
order to make sure that IndiaQs Sun Pharmaceutical Industries is not
involved in the plantQs management. (Sun is trying to take over
Taro.) Caraco, a U.S. subsidiary of Sun, was closed down around a
month ago following an FDA claim that it found serious defaults in
CaracoQs production line and the drugs it manufactured.

Yediot reported that Israel Electric Corporation is willing to pay
EMG, an Israeli-Egyptian company, an extra $1.5 billion to buy
natural gas. Yediot cited the anger of the competing company Delek,
which says that Israel Electric has yielded to the Egyptians.

The Jerusalem Post reported that New York CityQs 92nd Street QY
aims to give children of expatriates a better sense of
QIsraeliness.


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Mideast:
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Block Quotes:
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I. "An Obstructing Condition"

Mati Steinberg, who teaches at the Hebrew University and the
Interdisciplinary Center, and is an advisor to Shin Bet, wrote in
the independent, left-leaning HaQaretz (8/27): QIn his attempt to
explain why Israel should demand the Palestinians recognize Israel
as a Jewish state (The Palestinian position is important, HaQaretz,
Aug. 20), Prof. Shlomo Avineri presents the Palestinian positions as
though they have not changed since November 1947 when they rejected
the United Nations' Partition Plan. This is not so. In 1988 the
Palestine Liberation Organization's National Council adopted the
Palestinian Declaration of Independence, basing it on the principle
of partition and citing the 1947 U.N. resolution about the
establishment of a Jewish state alongside an Arab one. That led to
the PLO's recognition of United Nations Security Council Resolution
242 of 1967. In 1993 the Israeli Government and the PLO declared
their mutual recognition of each other's legitimate and political
rights.... It is no coincidence that the first demand to recognize
Israel as a Jewish state was officially presented when the Sharon
government commented on the Roadmap. The more the Palestinian side
adapted to the rules of international law and agreed to recognize
QIsrael's right to exist in peace and securityQ (as the Roadmap
stipulates) so grew Israel's need to present additional demands.
This need increased still more after the Arabs launched their peace
initiative.... The Israeli demand will foil the prospects for a
settlement and in an area that is bi-national and with
two-religions, will present a real danger to Israel's Jewish
character.

II. "Criticism Is Power"

Ha'aretz editorialized (8/27): QNetanyahu had three basic arguments
against Breaking the Silence, [an Israeli group that denounced
alleged IDF abuse during Operation Cast Lead]. The organization
operates in Israel, the only democracy in the region, which is
blessed with a legal system that investigates even the IDF without
favoritism; the organization is funded by foreign countries,
including that of his host, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
(Netanyahu did not say whether he had asked Brown to discontinue the
funding, and if so what Brown's response was); and it does not
direct its criticism at those who deserve it, namely the Hamas
government in Gaza and other regimes in the Middle East. By placing
Israel on the same moral plane as Hamas and regimes in the Arab
countries and Iran, Netanyahu unjustly denigrated Israeli democracy.
The strength of a nation depends not only on its ability to fight
its enemies, but also on its willingness to listen to critical
voices from within.... In the dictatorial regimes that Netanyahu
condemns there are no organizations like Breaking the Silence, and
anyone who questions the wisdom of the government is punished. It
is hard to believe the Prime Minister envies the power of other
rulers in the region to silence their critics. If that is how our
most fluent speaker sounds, it's a shame that he broke his
silence.

III. "De-Facto Deliberations"

Former Legal Adviser to the Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador
to Canada Alan Baker, who participated in the negotiation and
drafting of the Interim Agreement between Israel and the PLO, wrote
in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (8/27): QAccording
to [Article XXXI of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement
on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip], QNeither side shall initiate
or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent-status
negotiations.Q Clearly this vital provision places a reciprocal and
parallel obligation on each of the parties -- the PLO and Israel --
not to unilaterally alter the status of the territories until such
change is mutually agreed upon. The intention of the parties during
the negotiations was clear -- the Palestinian side will not declare
a unilateral state, and the Israelis will not declare annexation....
Why is there a need to present [a unilateral proclamation of
Palestinian independence in 2011] as if it is done deliberately
behind Israel's back? [Palestinian Prime Minister Salam] Fayyad's
plan, if it is to be taken seriously by all involved, could and
should be structured to function within the existing and agreed-upon
framework of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, rather than to
attempt to undermine that framework and thereby open up a Pandora's
Box. It could serve as a refreshing opportunity and reason for
Israeli and Palestinian teams to return to the negotiating table and
work out a pragmatic way of moving forward toward the
permanent-status agreement.

IV. "Pulp Journalism"

Far left columnist Gideon Levy wrote in Ha'aretz (8/27): QThe task
of serious journalism is to document, investigate and prove -- not
to call on others to investigate, as the Swedish tabloid
[Aftonbladet] did. One may, for example, accuse the Swedish
reporter of a crime, writing that he rapes little boys or girls, all
based on suspicions and rumors, and call on the Swedish police to
investigate. That's what the reporter did with his claims of
trafficking in Palestinian organs.... The Israeli occupation is ugly
enough without the contribution of Nordic fairy tales. Its wrongs
are abominable even without exaggerations and inventions. We, a
small group of Israeli journalists trying to document the
occupation, always knew that we must not publish an unfounded
report. One mistake and the whole journalistic enterprise would
fall into the hands of official propaganda, which automatically
denies all suspicions and is just waiting for a mistake.... Now all
serious researchers, journalists and human rights groups have to
prove the accuracy of their findings. The truth is that the
occupation is very evil, even if not in the way Aftonbladet
presented it.

V. QItQs Open Season on Israel

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in HaQaretz (8/27): QOnly due to
the uproar that [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman fomented did
the public become aware of the anti-Israel zealotry of many ...
nongovernmental organizations, which are financed, inter alia, by
donations from Arab oil powers, huge western foundations like the
Ford Foundation, countries such as Britain, the Netherlands, and
Switzerland, and the European Union.... Words, screamed Peace Now
earlier this week, can kill. That is true. And what about the
millions of words denouncing Israel that this organization, and
others like it, export overseas, where they serve as weapons of
propaganda against Israel?.... This ongoing, organized, global and
completely unbridled campaign of demonization is liable (and who
should know better than we?) to end in a new license for genocide --
against us.

VI. QThe Zionist LeftQs Red Lines

Liberal columnist Larry Derfner wrote in The Jerusalem Post (8/27):
QThere's a lot I agree with, a lot I identify with, in Neve Gordon's
recent Los Angeles Times op-ed QBoycott Israel.Q Like the
Ben-Gurion University professor, I realize that Israel has become so
right-wing that it's not going to end the occupation on its own.
While I haven't lost all hope, as he has, that the Obama
administration will force Israel's hand, I can't help seeing that
Barack Obama and his team are wilting by the day. Like Gordon, I
look at my two sons and dread the future that's waiting for them in
this country unless there's a radical change, which is seeming more
and more unlikely. But while I pretty much go along with his
reading of where things stand, I want nothing to do with the
solution he's chosen -- throwing in with the
Palestinian/international campaign for boycott, divestment, and
sanctions (BDS) against Israel. By doing so, he's joining a
movement that is not out to Qsave Israel from itself,Q as he writes,
but one that simply hates Israel's guts, that sees it as 100 percent
guilty and the Palestinians as 100% innocent. He's standing up for
a cause that's rotten and destructive.... Joining a movement that
advertises its thoroughgoing malice for Israel, and that means to
wreck it, is dishonorable.
CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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