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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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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 an unnamed Israeli diplomat as saying that there
is no disagreement with the U.S. regarding the issue of construction
freeze in the settlements. The diplomat was quoted as saying that
the sides are discussing the duration of the freeze and what will
happen afterwards, and that Israel is not discussing the cessation
of construction in Jerusalem. The radio reported that today in New
York. Israeli envoys Yitzhak Molcho and Mike Herzog are slated to
meet with U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell.
Israel Radio said that diplomats in New York are lowering
expectations in advance of the meeting; their expectation that
Mitchell will return to the region this month for further talks is
cited.

Electronic media reported that this morning in Jerusalem Silvan
Shalom, Vice PM and Minister for Regional Development and the
Development of the Negev and the Galilee, met with the PAQs Economy
Minister Bassem Khoury. The Jerusalem PostQs Web site reported that
the talks are focused on economic proposals to improve life for the
Palestinians. Officials were quoted as saying that the agenda
includes proposals to ease restrictions on the entry of Palestinian
businesspeople and VIPs to Israel. The minister also reportedly want
to boost Israeli meat exports to the West Bank and dairy imports
from the West Bank to Israel and increase medical treatment for
Palestinians in Israel. They also are to discuss joint industrial
parks meant to further what Netanyahu has termed an "economic
peace."

Yediot and Israel Radio cited a TIME Magazine report that the EUQs
rapporteur on piracy and a former commander of the Estonian armed
forces, Admiral Tarmo Kouts told the magazine that only a shipment
of missiles could account for Russia's bizarre behavior throughout
the month-long saga of the Russian merchant vessel Arctic Sea.
Kouts was quoted as saying that an Israeli interception of the cargo
is the most likely explanation. However, Dmitri Rogozin, Russia's
envoy to NATO, has vehemently denied KoutsQs comments. Yediot
reported that the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda quoted a
senior general in the Russian Army Qwho is close to the
investigation of the affairQ as saying that the Arctic Sea was
transporting missiles to Iran, apparently of the S-300 class or X-55
cruise missiles. The radio reported that Israel had no comments on
the affair.

The Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom reported that
Minister-without-Portfolio Yossi Peled (Likud) told Likud activists
in Tel Aviv yesterday that PM Benjamin Netanyahu has not made a deal
with the Obama administration to freeze construction in the West
Bank. Peled had accompanied Netanyahu to Europe.

Israel Radio reported that President Obama told a Muslim American
audience at an Iftar dinner he hosted yesterday that QIslam is part
of America.

HaQaretz reported that, during a meeting with PM Netanyahu in
August, settler leaders told him that he had humiliated them and
that they will not hesitate to act against them. The newspaper
reported that the PM told them: QUltimately, we are all interested
in the same thing, but on must act wisely.

Citing a report published on Monday by the Palestinian Maan news
agency, The Jerusalem Post quoted PA Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa
Karaki as saying that Israel was not doing enough to maintain the
health of Palestinian prisoners. Karaki cited the recent discovery
of cancer in 25 Palestinian prisoners, which he called a Qtroubling
phenomenon.

The Jerusalem Post reported that FM Avigdor Lieberman will embark
today on a nine-day, five-country tour of Africa -- Ethiopia, Kenya,
Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that
Lieberman will dedicate the Project for Excellence in Agriculture
for Building Human Agricultural Wealth in Ethiopia, which is part of
a joint project of Israel, the U.S., and Ethiopia. The Minister of
Agriculture, the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, and representatives of
USAID will also attend. Lieberman was quoted as saying that the
visit was part of his plan to open "new directions" for Israeli
diplomacy and that it would improve Israel's standing in the
international forums in which African nations have a significant
presence. Lieberman's visit comes just two days after Libyan leader
Muammar Qadhafi said (according to an AFP report) at a special
African Union summit in Tripoli to mark 40 years of this rule that
Israel was causing all of Africa's woes. Qadhafi demanded the
closure of all Israeli embassies across Africa, describing Israel as
a "gang" and saying it used "the protection of minorities as an
excuse to launch conflicts."

The media reported that yesterday DM Ehud Barak told students and
parents in a Negev school that the state cannot guarantee soldiers
safety. The media quoted Barak as saying: QDonQt whineQ about Gilad
Shalit. The Jerusalem Post Web site cited the response of the
Shalit family-run campaign for ShalitQs release: "We're not whining,
we are fighting for Gilad's life." Yediot quoted the Shalit family
as saying that Barak should first bring a sign of life from Gilad.

The Jerusalem Post cited a halachic (religious) decision issued on
Monday night by a group of rabbis calling themselves "The New
Sanhedrin" that a Jew who sells land to an Arab in Israel should not
be allowed to lead prayers in synagogue, should not be given the
right to make a blessing during the Torah reading, should not be
counted among the quorum needed for public prayers, and is
considered an abettor to the enemies of Israel.

Yediot reported that early this week National Security Adviser Uzi
Arad visited Jordan to try to convince the royal Jordanian court to
apply pressure on the Palestinians so that they agree to meet with
Netanyahu.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted sources in Washington as saying that
President Obama is considering postponing by three months the date
of IranQs answer to the U.S. conditions for a dialogue. The
Jerusalem Post said that Iran is reportedly ready to hold talks with
the West. The Jerusalem Post quoted a senior Israeli diplomatic
official as saying that the Iranians were doing little more than
engaging in Qbrinkmanship.Q The media also reported that, in an
interview with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Mohamed
ElBaradei, outgoing chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), called the Iranian threat "hyped," saying there is no proof
the Islamic republic will soon have nuclear weapons. However,
ElBaradei admitted that Qthere is concern about Iran's future
intentions and Iran needs to be more transparent with the IAEA and
international community."

Yediot reported that, commenting on a confidential report he wrote
on the Israeli GovernmentQs handling of the Jonathan Pollard affair,
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said that there have been
flaws in the efforts to have him released.

HaQaretz reported that last week's 80-ton test of explosives in the
Negev was not for earthquake research as originally reported, but
was meant to simulate a ballistic missile attack. The test was
conducted by the Geophysical Institute in cooperation with the U.S.
Department of Defense. It took place at the Sayyarim military base
in the southern Negev.

HaQaretz reported that despite the agreement that was reached with
Petah Tikva schools regarding the admission of pupils of Ethiopian
origin, few students found a place in those institutions yesterday.

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

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

I. "This Time Barak Is Right"

Former Labor Party politician Uzi Baram wrote in the independent
Israel Hayom (9/2): QEhud Barak is right.I have been opposed to
most of his political steps in the past years, but when I heard
Barak say that "Gilad Shalit's release should not be at all costs,"
I felt rare identification with the things that were said. The
public brainwashing on the matter of Gilad Shalit has long passed
reasonable boundaries. Indeed, Israel should do everything in its
power to bring back its sons who are being held captive by the
enemy, but the Israeli Government also has a duty to foresee the
possibility of additional kidnappings, which would soon lead to an
escalation in the circle of extortion. It may be that some of the
Palestinian prisoners should be freed due to reasons of time, but it
is unthinkable to have a situation where the Israeli government is
subjected to unbearably heavy one-sided pressure to free the soldier
from Hamas captivity Qat any cost that is demandedQ. As a disciple
of anti-racist, humanist and liberal approaches that support
equality among human beings, irrespective of race and sex, I object
to the numerical equation of thousands of Palestinian prisoners
versus one Israeli prisoner.

II. "IQm a Proud Winner"

Amir Goldschmidt, chairman of the youth task force for Gilad Shalit,
wrote in Israel Hayom (9/2): QMr. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, I
heard your statements, and I was astonished. Your job as defense
minister is to look after the IDF soldiers and the citizens of
Israel, by all possible means. It is the state's job mainly to look
after its sons and daughters who enlist in the army in order to
defend their family, their state and their freedom. Young people,
including myself, enlist in the army not only as a duty but also as
a privilege, and I am aware that there is a chance that I will die
in defense of my homeland. I am prepared for this, but I would like
to know that the state and the government will stand behind me if I
am kidnapped. Before this, there is a soldier in captivity who was
kidnapped during his military service by a terrorist organization,
and he has been forsaken by you and by the Israeli Government for
over three years. Your job entails moral, command and personal
responsibility for Gilad's return. We are fed up with sayings and
quotes -- we want Gilad at home. It is unthinkable that your
response to the youth will be Qdon't whine about GiladQ -- would you
like us to go out and celebrate? We do not call this Qwhining,Q we
call it social fortitude, caring and social involvement -- when
young people stand on their feet, not sitting in front of the
computer or drugging themselves with a reality TV show, but fighting
for the life of a soldier who went to defend us. These are young
people of the highest caliber, the kind who truly act rather than
just talk. If the fact that we care about Gilad Shalit means that
we are whiners, then we are proud whiners, how about you? My
request to you is simple. Spare us the words, the quotes and the
showy sentences. Act quickly, do your job and bring Gilad back.

III. "Hatred Redux"

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (9/2): QWhoever insists
on watching the leading Ramadan serials [in the Aab world], will
immediately feel that he is traveling in reverse through a time
tunnel. Peace education? The end of the era of wars? Not on the
small screen. After the scripts have been approved by the
authorities, and the venom drips three times a day in reruns, no one
will escape the brainwashing. This week, the ruler of Dubai
announced a $1-million prize for an outstanding television series.
In Dubai, they show QStrictly ConfidentialQ every night. This is
the story of a married psychiatrist, a mother of two, who travels to
work in one of the Gulf emirates and catches her husband having an
affair. There are no Israelis here, the Mossad is not involved,
there is no politics, just in-depth treatment of the hopeless status
of the Arab women, just as Yusra, the legendary Egyptian star,
likes. We are keeping our fingers crossed for you here, Yusra.
May you win the million, and may your series be screened all over
until next Ramadan.

IV. "Democratic Wild Weeds"

Conservative Op-Ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (9/2): QLet us not get too upset over the young
Arab man, Rawi Sultani, who allegedly conspired with Hizbullah to
assassinate the Chief of Staff. The truth is that only a tiny,
fringe, negligible minority among Israeli Arabs reaches the point of
engaging in hostile activity. The number of Arab young people who
join the National Service, despite the opposition of the leaders who
incite against it, is much greater than that of those who are
recruited for hostile activity.... The dissonance between the sane
majority, in Israel and throughout the world, and the radical
leadership needs rethinking. Balad and [its former, self-exiled
leader Azmi] Bishara, for example, should have been shunned long
ago.... [A twisted version of rights] encourages radicalism and
support for violence. Instead of the sane majority among Israeli
Arabs gaining expression, individuals, groups and even judicial
echelons are mobilized to defend individuals and political parties
that support violence or reject the existence of Israel as a Jewish
and democratic country. The illusion that protection under the law
will cause the radical elements to become moderate does not pass the
test of reality. It has not happened in Europe, where those groups
that are the most prominently radical win approval, and it certainly
has not happened in Israel. The problem is that not only has the
radical left become a prisoner of the hollow mantras of the
discourse of rights. These opinions are legitimate. They are part
of free expression. The problem is that official organizations have
joined this discourse -- not because they support Balad [the
Democratic National Assembly Party], but for reasons of freedom of
organization and freedom of expression. Surrender to radical groups
does not strengthen democracy. Those who say that Qwe must
encourage resistanceQ (read: armed struggle) and those who shout
QPariahQ to a young man who volunteers for community service do not
deserve legal protection. On the contrary. Protecting it is
tantamount to giving a booster shot to the young man who allegedly
abetted Hizbullah. Israeli democracy must decide between Bishara
and [current Balad leader Jamal] Zahalka on the one hand and the
majority of young people who support national service on the other.
Currently, the choice is in favor of the former. Let us not be
surprised that they are sprouting wild, hostile weeds.
---------
2. Iran:
---------

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

"HobsonQs Choice"

Former Ambassador to the U.S., former Minister of Foreign Affairs,
and former Minister of Defense Moshe Arens wrote in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (9/2): QA ... convoluted argument ... goes
something like this: In order to impose economic sanctions on Iran,
the United States needs the support of a regional Arab coalition --
Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia -- and these countries will not
lend their support for such sanctions unless Israel ceases to build
in Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank]. But that seems almost
preposterous. These countries really do not weigh very heavily in
the scales when it comes to the imposition of sanctions against
Iran, but even if that were to turn out to be a major consideration
in the American decision-making process when it comes to arresting
Iran's race for nuclear armaments, would any of these countries
really opt for a nuclear Armageddon in the region if Israel does not
cease building in Judea and Samaria?
So what is the origin of this hypothetical non-dilemma that must be
keeping Israelis awake at night these past few months? Is it the
result of the feverish imagination of some of our news media?
Regardless of just who has been promoting this ludicrous idea, its
origin surely lies in the fact that for the past few years Israeli
leaders have been first in line to sound the alarm bells and push
the panic button regarding the Iranian effort to attain nuclear
armaments. They have hardly talked about anything else.... If
somebody is looking for an excuse to stop building in the
settlements in Judea and Samaria, the Iranian bomb is not a
legitimate excuse. The settlements do not appear as a variable in
the Iranian nuclear equation.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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