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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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P 131018Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 6894
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6138
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 4774
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 6985
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3762
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002230

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: SPECIAL ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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1. Mideast

2. Israel-Turkey Relations

3. Israel-NATO Cooperation

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Key stories in the media:
-------------------------

All media reported that yesterday, in his opening speech to the
KnessetQs winter session, PM Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the Qtwisted
reportQ by (Justice Richard GoldstoneQs) Qtwisted commission,Q which
he said Qundermines IsraelQs right to self-defense, encourages
terror, and endangers peace.Q He also stated which people he
believed would be liable to face indictment in The Hague for war
crimes: Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, and Tzipi Livni, Qwho sent IDF
soldiers to protect our cities and our citizens.Q HaQaretz noted
that the Goldstone report never mentioned those three names. The
media reported that Netanyahu reiterated his demand that the PA
recognize Israel as a Jewish state for there to be peace. In her
Knesset speech, Livni protested against the GovernmentQs inactivity,
particularly as far as peace efforts are concerned.

TurkeyQs cancelation of a planned joint exercise with the Israel Air
Force scheduled for this week continues to be one of the main topics
covered by IsraelQs media. The exercise was to also include U.S.,
Italian, and NATO forces. Media reported that in response to
Turkey's decision against IsraelQs inclusion, the U.S. pulled out of
the exercise, forcing Ankara to cancel the drill. Turkey defended
its move by saying that the planes that Israel was going to send
likely bombed Hamas targets during Operation Cast Lead early this
year. The Jerusalem Post reported that 10 Turkish ministers are
scheduled to travel to Syria today to take part in a meeting of the
newly-formed Turkey-Syria High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.
Israel Radio and other media reported that Tzipi Livni was
interviewed last night for Turkish state television TRT for a
special interview in which she tried to relay a direct message to
the Turkish public in wake of the crisis in Israel-Turkey relations.
Livni said in the interview that relations between Israel and
Turkey were of a strategic nature and - as chairwoman of the
opposition - unrelated to the specific government that was in power
in Jerusalem, noting that there was no distinction between the
Israeli governing coalition and opposition on this matter.

Maariv reported that an Israeli missile vessel will soon join NATO
patrol activity in the Mediterranean to prevent terrorist activity
in the sea.

All media reported that last night a minor Hizbullah operative was
killed in an explosion in the village of Tayr Filsi, southern
Lebanon. Five other activists may have been killed in the blast.
Israel complained to UNIFIL that Hizbullah likely breaches U.N.
Security Council Resolution 1701, which bans the group from having
weapons south of the Litani River.

On Sunday HaQaretz wrote: QThe differences between Israel and the
Palestinian Authority appear to remain substantial even after a
series of meetings with the U.S. special envoy to the Middle East,
George Mitchell. Positions may have even hardened, with no
breakthrough imminent, despite U.S. President Barack Obama's winning
of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Leading media quoted the German weekly Der Spiegel as saying
yesterday that U.S. forces intercepted a German ship allegedly
carrying weapons from Iran to Syria.

Israel Radio reported that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
supports the Palestinian proposal to hold a discussion on the
Goldstone report soon at the U.N. Human Rights Council. He spoke
yesterday by phone with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and said he
supported Abbas's efforts to have the report discussed. Yesterday
Yediot quoted a senior Israeli official as saying: QWe brought this
upon ourselves. Our unnecessary boasting after Abu MazenQs decision
to consent to postpone the discussion by six months forced him to
change the decision.

HaQaretz reported that the U.S. told Egypt that it has reservations
about the intra-Palestinian reconciliation effort in its current
form and timing. The newspaper reported that U.S. Special Envoy for
Middle East Peace George Mitchell told his high-ranking Egyptian
interlocutors Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Abu al-Gheit that the U.S.
expects any Palestinian government and any minister taking part in
it to accept the three conditions that the Quartet has imposed on
Hamas.
HaQaretz reported that Shin Bet is investigating who has distributed
leaflets containing instructions on how to make bombs and weapons;
the flyers were circulated in various illegal outposts one year ago.
Similar flyers were passed out before the Gay Pride Parades in
Jerusalem during the past three years. The flyers were titled,
"Death to Sodomites" and included instructons on how to make
Molotov cocktails and other iprovised weapons to be used against
gays and lesbians. The media reported that, in a separate
development, the IDF banned three residents of the radical
settlement of Yitzhar suspected of involvement in illegal activity
from entering the West Bank.

Israel Hayom reported that senior Israeli officials have recently
begun to voice their concerns that one of the indirect results of
the international uproar over the Goldstone report will be a
successful Palestinian effort to sabotage Israel's efforts to become
a member of the OECD.

The media reported that this yearQs Nobel Prize winner for
chemistry, Professor Ada Yonath, caused uproar on Saturday when she
expressed her opinion regarding the case of the kidnapped soldier
Gilad Shalit during an interview with IDF Radio. She said that all
the terrorists who are imprisoned in Israel should be released with
no connection to the deal. "Anyone sitting in our jails who is not
an ordinary criminal but rather someone whom we term a terrorist
should not be in our prisons whether he has blood on his hands or
not. We should think of ways to make sure that people won't have
the motivation to go out to kill or be killed."

Israel Hayom and other leading media cited the results of a poll
commissioned by the Geneva Initiative organization and carried out
ten days ago:
- Fifty-one (51) percent of the public is pleased with PM
Netanyahu's performance on matters of state, as opposed to 33% who
are displeased with that performance.
- Forty-six (46) percent of the respondents said that they believed
that if the prime minister were to take a major political
initiative, such a course of action was liable to increase public
support for him. The poll also found that the public is equally
divided, with 46% in favor and 46% opposed, to the proposed
arrangement in the holy basin of Jerusalem that would leave the
Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall under Israeli control, while
placing the other quarters and the Temple Mount under Palestinian
control.
- Furthermore, 61% of the respondents said they supported a

Palestinian state without an army.
- The poll also found that the Geneva agreement enjoys the support
of a majority of the respondents (56%), but that most respondents
(55%) said they did not believe that such an agreement could be
reached.

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

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

I. "A Prize for Failure"

Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/11): QLast March, he came here as the
Qhigh commissioner.Q Everyone trembled with fear. He supposedly had
a plan, he presented demands and dictates, and sent the Israeli
Government into a corner. When people here thought that he was
irritable, the Defense Minister abandoned his post and flew to New
York especially to calm him down. And, mirabile dictu: in October,
the same George Mitchell comes here, but in the role of the nice
American uncle, offering advice with a smile. At the beginning of
the year, he knew exactly what we had to do. Seven months later, he
wants to know our suggestions for the peace process with the
Palestinians, what we can contribute in order to strengthen Abu
Mazen. What started with unusual momentum has ended with nothing.
The gap between the Mitchell of last March and the Mitchell of
October is the story of the dismal failure of American diplomacy in
the Middle East.... There is no such thing as an American president
visiting an ally such as Saudi Arabia without getting an agreement
on the object of his visit in advance, but his staff tripped him
up.... Now the film is being corrected. An expert, good old Dennis
Ross, has been brought in. Ross is an international expert on the
Middle East, but he is no less an expert on procedure. In
diplomacy, essence is less important. Procedure counts. Therefore,
they are going back now to the game in the Middle East that everyone
loves best: who will meet with whom, who will report towhom, which
committees will be established. Blah, blah, blah. ThatQs what
happens when you do not have to sweat too much. The director,
producer and screenwriter already got the prize in advance,
anyway.

II. "Netanyahu in the Consensus"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning HaQaretz (10/13): Q[In his speech to the Knesset
yesterday] Netanyahu spoke in the name of the national consensus, in
the knowledge that his political situation is stable and the public
supports him. A poll published this week by the Geneva Initiative
-- a left-wing group that is not one of NetanyahuQs fans -- found
that 51 percent of Israelis are happy with his policies and only 33
percent are unhappy. In this situation, when he represents the
center, Netanyahu can declare that Israel is ready for peace and is
waiting for a Palestinian leadership that will declare an end to all
outstanding claims and recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Until
the Palestinians muster the courage to do so, Netanyahu will busy
himself with land reform, paving roads, and fighting crime.

III. "Explosion Is on the Way"

Veteran journalist and television anchor Yaron London wrote in
Yediot Aharonot (10/12): QYour neighbor, a difficult character,
covets your plot of land, and openly talks about the day when he
will remove your house. Can you sleep soundly? This, in essence,
is the explanation for the fact that it is so easy to inflame masses
of Muslims with the allegation that Israel schemes to demolish the
Temple Mount mosques. In the eyes of many Jews, these buildings are
an abomination, like the despicable object (of unclear nature) that
the defilers placed at the site of the TempleQs altar. This is not
proof that Israel plots to destroy the holy sites of Islam, but it
is enough to make the believers lose sleep. There are no Jews who
declare that they intend to take immediate action, but there have
already been people who tried, and they are walking about freely in
our midst.... I fear that the errors made by the rational part of
the people of Israel since the Six-Day War can no longer be
rectified. The messianic madness cannot be cured by conventional
means. Perhaps the disaster can be postponed. Firstly, the
archeological excavations in the holy basin should be stopped for a
few years, during which time the findings should be examined and
research papers on them should be published. Secondly, we should
invite non-Jewish archeologists, theologians, Muslim and Christian
clerics, historians, preservation architects and the like, to see
things for themselves. This will probably help as much as trying to
resuscitate a dead body, but what do we have to lose?

----------------------------
2. Israel-Turkey Relations:
----------------------------

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

I. "Ankara Must Decide"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (10/13):
QWho would have thought -- Turkey and Armenia agreeing to normalize
political relations. Armenia's president planning to attend a
football match in Turkey. And George Papandreou, the new Greek
Prime Minister, making Turkey the destination of his first trip
abroad. These are encouraging examples of how age-old animosities
are being relegated to the dustbin of history. Too bad, then, that
Ankara appears to be simultaneously doing everything it can to junk
its relationship with the Jewish state.... Turkey is an
irreplaceable ally. Israelis want our two countries to enjoy
cordial relations despite everything that's happened. The onus is
now on Ankara to make plain that it, too, wants the relationship to
continue. It would thereby also be signaling that Turkey wants to
be a bridge between Islam and the West -- instead of yet another
barrier.

II. "No More Playing Chicken with Turkey"

Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in the
independent, left-Ha'aretz (10/12): QTurkey did not hide its deep
opposition to Israel's policies in the territories in general and to
Operation Lead Cast in particular. Erdogan's outburst against
President Shimon Peres last January at the Davos gathering did not
stem from Islamist or pro-Iranian objectives. Erdogan's support for
a U.N. deliberation of the Goldstone Report and his declaration that
Qthose responsible for war crimes must be identified and held
accountable,Q is not based on any wish to please Iran or Syria.
Turkey has a steady and clear policy on this issue and it is not a
proxy for any country. Public opinion exists in Turkey too and it
is influential, and when the Prime Minister sees thousands of Turks
protesting against Israel's policy in Jerusalem, he cannot remain
indifferent. At the same time, Turkey continues and will continue
to have normal ties with Israel because such a relationship is part
of Turkey's strategy, but today it finds itself in a different
international status, of the sort that allows it to also take swipes
at Israel.

----------------------------
3. Israel-NATO Cooperation:
----------------------------

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

Liberal columnist and television anchor Ofer Shelach wrote in the
popular, pluralist Maariv (10/13): QNATO uses cooperation with
armies of states that are not part of the alliance as a sort of
certificate of esteem, or as a prize for good behavior. In Israel's
case, the issue at hand is the former of those two.... The
importance of having an Israeli ship join the force is also related,
of course, to the timing-at a time of tension between Israel and
some of the members of the alliance, first and foremost Turkey. The
Israel Navy, often the army's neglected little sister, earned this
right, and not by chance.... The IDF praises the navy's contribution
in the battle against arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip. That said,
it is clear that the navy cannot act far from Israel's shores in
such a way that it is not discovered by NATO forces, which closely
monitors activity in the waters of such a sensitive region....
However, along with the esteem and the cooperation, the overt and
the covert, there is also responsibility: Israel needs the support
of foreign forces, which receive orders from foreign governments, in
order to safeguard its most immediate security interests. It has no
choice but to recognize the fact that the response of these
governments to its actions, and their interests, no longer fall
under the category of Qwhat the goyim say,Q which as we know [as a
phrase uttered by David Ben-Gurion], is far less important than what
the Jews do. And those who need international consent for activity
far from the border, must be much more attentive to what is said in
those countries about what it is doing close to the border, or even
inside its own territory.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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