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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 5892
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2470
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 6476
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 6703
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 5949
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 4569
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 6793
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3570
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1786
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0460
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 7973
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 2976
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 6965
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001904

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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All media reported on the indictment yesterday of Rawi Sultani, a
23-year-old Israeli-Arab from Tira, northeast of Kfar Saba, who was
allegedly recruited by Hizbullah in the summer of 2008 when he
traveled to Morocco to attend a Balad (National Democratic Assembly)
Party summer camp and later reportedly traveled to Poland to meet
another Hizbullah agent. Sultani was charged with giving Hizbullah
information on IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi AshkenaziQs gym.
Ashkenazi was apparently targeted by Hizbullah for assassination
following the killing of Imad Mughniyah, the groupQs Qchief of
staff.Q Yesterday, Balad officials expressed concern that they
would be pressured to close down party-sponsored summer camps for
young activists. The media quoted Balad faction chairman Knesset
Member Jamal Zahalka as saying that his party will not change its
legitimate political activities. A participant in one of the camps
told Channel 2-TV that they were intended to strengthen the
Palestinian identity of young Balad activists. He said they learned
in the camps about the "catastrophe" caused by Israel's creation,
and how to protest against the West Bank security barrier. National
Union Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari called upon Attorney-General
Menachem Mazuz to make Balad an illegal party, which was done in the
1980s to the Kach party of the late Knesset Member Meir Kahane, with
whom Ben-Ari was close. The media pointed at the weaknesses of
protection around the Chief of Staff, recalling the case of the
theft of AshkenaziQs credit card data and a handgun from his office
a few weeks ago.

HaQaretz reported that Washington will announce the renewal of talks
between Israel and the PA through a trilateral summit of President
Obama, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas. The meeting would take place on the sidelines of the U.N.
General Assembly late this month; two years would be allotted to
completing talks on a peace agreement. HaQaretz and The Jerusalem
Post reported that yesterday President Shimon Peres confirmed to Fox
News that such a summit was being considered. HaQaretz reported
that U.S. officials briefed representatives of several EU countries
last week on the diplomatic vision Obama will present at the U.N.
The Jerusalem Post quoted a PA official as saying yesterday that
President Abbas will not agree to the resumption of peace talks with
Israel unless Israel freezes all construction work in the
settlements.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the government will Qunleash a
public diplomacy blitz in the U.S. on SundayQ aimed at nothing less
than reframing the Israeli-Arab conflict.Q The newspaper cited
statement put out by FM Avigdor Lieberman's office according to
which government ministers Moshe Ya'alon, Yossi Peled, Dan Meridor,
and Benny Begin, as well as Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and
former Consul-General in New York Alon Pinkas, will begin on Sunday
-- in a staggered fashion -- fanning out across the U.S., meeting
with political and media figures, policy-makers, campus groups, and
Jewish organizations, in an effort to explain the government's
positions. During the campaign, which will last until mid-October,
various members of the group will be in each of the following
cities: Washington, New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta,
Philadelphia, Detroit, Las Vegas, Houston, Los Angeles, San
Francisco, and Miami. The Jerusalem Post quoted Lieberman as saying
at the preparatory meeting held yesterday said that even though
recent polls showed that the American public continued to view
Israel as an important strategic ally, there was a need to
strengthen this connection because of the importance Israel
attributed to its relationship with the U.S. These comments
appeared an effort to distance this campaign from the diplomatic
cable sent recently by Israel's Consul-General in Boston, Nadav
Tamir, who said the Jewish state was losing ground in American
public opinion. Lieberman took issue with that conclusion. The FM
said there was a need to present the "historical facts" to Americans
and to refute long-entrenched opinions, such as that "settlements
are an obstacle to peace." Lieberman said it was important to
explain that Arab aggression toward Israel began before there were
any settlements, and -- in fact -- before the creation of the state,
and that the true conflict in the region was not between Jews and
Arabs, but rather between moderates and extremists.

The ultra-Orthodox HamodiQa quoted FM Lieberman as saying yesterday
at a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana that Israel
will not remain indifferent if Palestinian PM Salam FayyadQs
unilateral plan to establish a Palestinian state is promoted.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli officials as saying yesterday that
DM Ehud Barak hopes to reach an agreement with settler leaders that
E
will enable the evacuation of 23 unauthorized outposts in the West
Bank without the need for military or police intervention. The
officials talked to the newspaper following a face-to-face meeting
Barak held at his Tel Aviv office with leading members of the Yesha
Council of Jewish Settlements in the Territories.

Yediot reported that Judge Noam Solberg, a 47-year-old religious
settler, is Justice Minister Yaakov NeQemanQs candidate for the post
of attorney-general. The newspaper says that High Court of Justice
President Dorit Beinisch, who did not want Solberg in her court,
might accept him as attorney-general. Yediot reported that NeQeman
might split the attorney-generalQs functions between that of
attorney general and that of head of the general prosecution.

The media reported that 30 of the 108 children of Ethiopian origin
whom three semi-private Petah-Tikva schools refused to accept will
begin their studies in those schools today.

All media marked 70 years of the outbreak of World War II. Maariv
reported that yesterday former Polish President Lech Walesa told the
newspaper in Gdansk that his country is Qstuck with the Russians
and that it is important for Poland to improve relations with
Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported that Polish Ambassador to
Israel Agnieszka Magziak-Miszewska, who together with the
Association of Polish Jews in Israel will today attend a ceremony at
the Tel Aviv Museum, noted that 120,000 Jewish soldiers served with
the Polish army in its attempts to resist the Nazi onslaught.

Citing the Swedish news agency TT, The Jerusalem Post quoted Swedish
FM Carl Bildt -- currently on a trip to Kabul -- as denying that he
discussed with Italian FM Franco Frattini a possible resolution to
the Israeli-Swedish friction at an upcoming informal meeting of
European foreign ministers.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Danny Attar, the Jewish Chairman of
the Gilboa Regional Council and his Arab deputy Eid Saleem, and
Qadoura M. Qadoura, the Governor of the neighboring PA city of
Jenin, are visiting the U.S. to promote Jewish-Arab coexistence.

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Mideast:
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Block Quotes:
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I. "President Obama: Pro-Israeli, Pro-Palestinian, Pro-Peace"

Gershon Baskin, Co-Director of the Israel/Palestine Center for
Research and Information, wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (9/1): QThe U.S. position has always been that
Israelis and Palestinians have to want peace more than the third
parties do. Well, the people in the region do want it, they just
don't know how to do it and have lost faith that it is even
possible. The recent reports of increased law and order and
economic growth in the West Bank brought a glimmer of hope to the
Israeli public, but then came the Fatah convention which was
perceived as backtracking to the days of Palestinian rejection of
Israel's right to exist. It is time to face reality -- Israelis and
Palestinian cannot do it by themselves. If President Obama is
successful in creating the conditions for a renewal of negotiations,
they will surely fail soon after they begin. Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas will not get beyond
the first substantive discussion on any one of the main strategic
issues: security, borders, Jerusalem or refugees. It is not because
they don't want to -- I strongly believe that both Abbas and
Netanyahu want to bring peace and security to their people -- they
are simply not capable of seeing eye-to-eye on any of the main
issues. President Obama will have no choice but to advance the
negotiations by putting the United StatesQ own vision of peace with
a detailed plan on the table.... President Obama should not be
deterred by the noise that those who oppose peace on both sides
make. The majority of Israelis and Palestinians really do want
peace and if these principles are accepted, President Obama will be
perceived as being pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian and pro-peace.

II. "Diplomatic Entanglement"

Former Meretz leader and former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin wrote
in the independent Israel Hayom (9/1): QNetanyahu insists on
continuing to build in Jerusalem and some of the settlements; the
U.S. doesnQt want to be caught up in an absurd situation in which,
for the first time in 42 years, just as its policy on settlements is
so unwavering, a compromise will be created, producing legitimacy
for some of them. How does one resolve this predicament? Netanyahu
should unilaterally announce a construction freeze. The U.S. will
announce that it notes his statement, that it doesnQt accept
construction in Jerusalem and the settlements, but that it views the
statement as progress that will allow the continuation of the
negotiations. The PLO will announce that IsraelQs decision isnQt
sufficient but that it allows the return to negotiations. On one
hand, this move wonQt make the Americans and the Palestinians
legitimize any continued Israeli building; on the other hand, it
wonQt push all of us into a Qno exitQ corner. The duration of the
freeze could match the time that U.S. administration will allot the
negotiations for an Israeli Palestinian peace treaty. During this
period, the U.S. can demand that the Arab states partially implement
the Arab [peace] Initiative. The U.S. itself will have to be more
intensely involved in the negotiating process than Senator Mitchell
has been so far.

III. "Important Diplomatic Developments"

Zalman Shoval, a senior Likud member and former ambassador to the
U.S., wrote in the independent Israel Hayom (9/1): QThe very
possibility that the American [peace] plan may become public --
assuming it will earn automatic support from European and other
states, without its key clauses having previously been coordinated
with Israel -- will pose almost unprecedented challenges to IsraelQs
policy.... The American intent to conclude the negotiations Qin two
yearsQ is more confused than [likely U.S. efforts to seek a
permanent-status agreement straightaway]. It bears out the fact
that policy-makers in the administration suffer from a typical
American anti-historic syndrome that states that there is no problem
without a solution in a set amount of time. This is happening
instead of the Americans focusing on an effort to manage the
conflict, promoting steps that would remove the threatening nuclei
of flames, and then gradually moving forward to a situation of
de-facto peace between the sides.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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