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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002015

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
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PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: SPECIAL ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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Visit of U.S. Special Envoy Sen. George Mitchell to Israel, PA

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Key stories in the media:
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All media highlighted the killing of IAF Captain Assaf Ramon
yesterday when the F-16A Falcon jet he was flying crashed during a
routine training flight. He was the son of Ilan Ramon, the first
Israeli astronaut, who died during the disastrous Earth reentry of
the NASA space shuttle Columbia in 2003. Israel Radio reported that
PM Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Special Envoy Senator George Mitchell
will be attending Assaf RamonQs funeral this afternoon, and that
todayQs meeting between the two was put off until tomorrow. Media
also reported that Mitchell visited the Ramon family home
yesterday.

HaQaretz quoted PM Netanyahu as saying at yesterdayQs cabinet
meeting that differences remain with the U.S. over the conditions
necessary to resume peacemaking. Netanyahu said he hopes to narrow
the gaps between the two sides during his meeting with Mitchell.
HaQaretz quoted Mitchell as saying during his meeting with President
Shimon Peres that the purpose of his visit is to reach agreement on
any outstanding issues and that reported that the dispute had been
resolved are Qpremature.Q Media reported that the Special Envoy
also met with DM Ehud Barak and FM Avigdor Lieberman. Maariv said
that the latter is not involved in the current diplomatic contacts.

Yediot cited the assessment of high=ranking diplomatic sources that
the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will resume in
a matter of weeks as part of the expected three-way summit between
Netanyahu, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and President Obama. Yediot
cited the prevalent view of diplomatic sources that Mitchell will
eventually succeed in obtaining from Netanyahu assent to temporarily
freeze construction in settlements in exchange for normalization of
relations with Israel on the part of Arab states. The Jerusalem
Post actually reported that Saudi Arabia is stepping up its
boycotting of Israel: RiyadhQs boycott-related requests of American
companies rise more than 76%.

Leading media reported that yesterday in Cairo, Netanyahu and
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak discussed Mideast peacemaking,
according to a statement from Netanyahu's office. It said all sides
-- Israel, the Palestinians, Arab nations and the international
community -- must do their part in advancing the peace process, an
apparent reference to gestures the Arab world might offer in
exchange for a settlement freeze.
Netanyahu also discussed Egypt's attempts to mediate a prisoner
swap between Israel and Hamas. Yediot reported that Vice PM and
Interior Minister Eli Yishai handed Mubarak a letter from ShasQs
spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, urging him to use his influence
to have Gilad Shalit released. HaQaretz reported that Mubarak
spokesman Suleiman Awad told the state-run ME NA news agency that
Mubarak asked Netanyahu to halt Israeli construction in the West
Bank and in East Jerusalem, to lift restrictions on Palestinians,
and to quickly resume peace talks. HaQaretz reported that Israeli
and Palestinian officials denied the report published in yesterdayQs
newspaper quoting unnamed European diplomats as saying that borders
would be drawn between Israel and a Palestinian state to be
established within two years while major outstanding issues would
remain unresolved.

The Jerusalem Post reported that today Vice PM Silvan Shalom will
hold a press conference with the far-Right Council of Rabbis of
Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank].

HaQaretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday settlers and
security forces clashed at the northern West Bank outpost of Havat
Gilad. The clashes broke out following an attempt by security
forces to confiscate a truck which was supposedly used to illegally
transport a mobile home to the site. Dozens of right-wing activists
who came to the site to try to prevent the truck from being moved,
punctured the tires of military vehicles, hurled stones, and set
fire to a nearby Palestinian-owned olive orchard. One man was
injured and four were arrested. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that,
in a toast ahead of the Jewish New Year, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen.
Gabi Ashkenazi made conciliatory remarks in the direction of the
settlers.

Maariv reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry is bracing for the
publication of the U.N. Human Rights Council-appointed fact-finding
mission to investigate international human rights and humanitarian
law violations related to Operation Cast Lead. The Jerusalem Post
reported that British and Canadian lawyers, together with the U.N.
watchdog QU.N Watch,Q are complaining the week of alleged bias in
the commission.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that IsraelQs National Security
Council will function as a command reporting to the prime minister.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Sheikh Salam al-Hoziel from Rahat,
the only Bedouin city in Israel, who has been active on the campaign
for the release of Gilad Shalit and whose house was subsequently
burned down, will take on IsraelQs Islamic Movement and Hamas.

Maariv reported that since Operation Cast Lead, 80,000 cubic meters
of sewage from Gaza have been discharged daily into the
Mediterranean, threatening to disrupt the operation of the
desalination plant in Ashkelon.

HaQaretz reported that Israel Antiquities Authority researchers have
re-exposed a stretch of road in Jerusalem dating to the Second
Temple period that is believed to have been used by pilgrims on
their ascent to the Temple. Existence of the 40-meter segment of
road, cleared over the past few months to open it to visitors, has
been known of for more than a century. The excavation is taking
place in the neighborhood of Silwan near the Siloam Spring.

--------------------------------------------- ---
Visit of U.S. Special Envoy Sen. George Mitchell to Israel, PA
--------------------------------------------- ---

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

I. QFighting the Gatekeeper

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (9/14): QThe American designers of policy, who
tend to sew the peace process according to the measures of the
Israeli coalition, are blind to anything having to do with the
limits within which Palestinian politics operates. Over and over
they offer a quilt that is too short, but which keeps the Israelis
warm, only to complain that the Palestinians are the ones getting
cold feet. Proof of this can be found in an article by Aaron
Miller, who served for many years as deputy to Dennis Ross in the
American mediation team, and which was published in the Washington
Post in May 2005. Under the title QIsrael's Lawyer,Q he wrote that
QFor far too long, many American officials involved in Arab-Israeli
peacemaking, myself included, have acted as Israel's attorney,
catering and coordinating with the Israelis at the expense of
successful peace negotiationsQ.... Israel promised seven years ago
to freeze settlement construction, including that which was meant to
meet natural growth, but at the White House they certainly know that
Netanyahu's deputy, [Moshe] Ya'alon, argues that it is the Qright
of every Jew to build a home -- in the middle of the Nablus casbah.
This approach only causes a loss of Arab trust in the willingness of
Israeli governments to do justice by the Palestinians; it mortally
undermines their trust in the willingness of the Americans to use
their power and influence in order to carry out U.S. interests in
the region. If Obama is worried about fighting with the gatekeeper,
and so lets Netanyahu rule the vineyard, we will all eat grapes of
wrath.

II. QA Peace Plan Devoid of Contents

Former editor-in-chief Moshe Ishon wrote in the editorial of the
nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe (9/14): QAccording to
European sources, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that within two
years, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations regarding the establishment
of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel will resume....
Beyond the American and Palestinians stances, it appears that most
Israelis cannot endure the concessions to which Netanyahu is
prepared to commit itself in Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank].
Anyway, his new proposals will not withstand the test of reality.


III. QJews Also Have a Nakba

Ron Breiman, a former chairman of the conservative group Professors
for a Strong Israel, wrote in HaQaretz (9/14): QIn its 62nd year,
Israel must decide between a Palestinian state or peace. A
Palestinian side alongside Israel at the outset, but on its ruins in
the future, is the diametric opposite of peace. Pushing toward such
a state, and ignoring both common sense and the majority, rends the
nation's fabric, and in itself sabotages the essential foundations
of peace.
IV. QAssad Would Have Loved It

Columnist and former intelligence officer Amos Gilboa wrote in the
popular, pluralist Maariv (9/14): QChecks done by the Americans with
Assad personally and with his aides show that the document that
[Ron] Lauder [a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu] presented [former U.S. President Bill] Clinton was not at
all acceptable to the Syrians or to Netanyahu.... A passage in
Dennis RossQs book [QThe Missing PeaceQ] raises the possibility that
this is an internal draft paper in which he inserted the positions
that had been presented to him by the Syrians. In other words, it
is more or less a QSyrian paper,Q not a pledge by Netanyahu.

V. QProtecting the Quarterback in the White House

Lenny Ben-David, who served as a senior diplomat in the Israeli
Embassy in Washington and a member of AIPACQs staff in Washington
and Jerusalem from 1992 to 1997, wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (9/14): QYesterday's New York Times
Magazine published the latest paean to J Street, portraying it as
brash and brave, representative of 92 percent of American Jewry, and
a young and open organization willing to take on a monolithic and
Paleolithic AIPAC and other veteran American Jewish
organizations.... One fact the Times magazine seems to get right: QJ
Street shares the Obama administration's agenda.Q But the Times
should have gone on to ask the nature of J Street's relationship
with senior officials in the Obama administration.


VI. QIn the Middle East, Fear Trumps Popularity

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in
International Affairs Center, columnist Barry Rubin, wrote in The
Jerusalem Post (9/14): QThis is the region's political style:
Toughness counts; fear is better than popularity. In contrast to
Western viewpoints, to concede or compromise shows weakness which
means others will walk all over you. Of course, this is precisely
how they view the West's sensitivity and apologies.
QConfidence-buildingQ measures become contempt-building measures.
Many Western leaders and much of the Western intelligentsia are like
people sleeping through a burglary. Not only are their friends
trying to wake them up, so are -- however inadvertently -- their
enemies.

VII. QArea C Illegalities

The Jerusalem Post editorialized (9/14): QThe right-wing
organization Regavim has launched a campaign to force the government
to issue and implement demolition orders against illegal Palestinian
construction in Area C of the West Bank, which is entirely under
Israeli military and administrative control.... Regavim's claim that
it is demanding equality for Jews vis-`-vis Palestinians in the
development of land resources in Area C is misleading. By and
large, the Israeli government is not offering a reasonable
alternative to the Palestinians in Area C other than to build
illegally at the risk of having their homes demolished. Prime
Minister Netanyahu has embraced the vision of Israel and a
demilitarized Palestinian state living peacefully side by side. He
has vowed to drive a hard bargain on the division of disputed
territory, but his hierarchy is holding to an unreasonable formula
as regards Palestinian building, even in areas where Israel does not
envision maintaining control. A more nuanced approach is overdue.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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