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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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P 151040Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002270

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

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Key stories in the media:
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Yediot (Shimon Shiffer) reported that, following the failure in
obtaining a settlement construction freeze and Arab gestures towards
Israel, the U.S. administration is drafting a new diplomatic
outline: inviting the sides for negotiations on the core issues --
borders, Jerusalem, and the refugees. The daily reported that the
Americans have informed Israelis and Europeans of the move, which
Yediot says is likely to be announced by President Obama after he
receives the results of Senator MitchellQs mission from Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a resolution that the PA and a
group of countries intend to submit today to the U.N. Human Rights
Council (UNHRC), which will deliberate over the Goldstone report,
makes no mention of Palestinian violence against Israelis, such as
the eight years of rocket attacks from Gaza against southern border
communities. The newspaper reported that PLO Ambassador to the U.N.
in Geneva Ibrahim Khraishi told The Jerusalem Post that there were
enough votes in the council to endorse the resolution and move it on
to New York, where it would carry more weight. Khraishi was quoted
as saying that Palestinians were keen to use international law to
stop the "occupation," which has led to grave "violations of human
rights." HaQaretz quoted Palestinians as saying that if their
proposal does not garner support, it could bring about the collapse
of PA President Mahmoud AbbasQs government.

Leading media reported that yesterday at the U.N. Security Council,
the U.S., Britain, and France requested that Israel conduct an
investigation of its own into Operation Cast Lead. Spanish PM Jose
Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was quoted as saying in an interview with
Maariv that the Goldstone report must be taken into account but that
it should not become an obstacle to peace. (Zapatero also told
Maariv that his family has Jewish (QMarranoQ) roots.) Major media
reported that at a U.N. Security Council debate on the Middle East
that was not expected to take action, Israel's Ambassador to the
U.N., Gabriela Shalev, dismissed the Goldstone report as a waste of
the council's time, saying that the document "favors and legitimizes
terrorism." Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Alejandro Wolff was
quoted as saying that Washington had serious concerns about the
report, including what he said was its "unbalanced focus on Israel."
But he repeated the U.S. view that Israel should look into it. "We
take the allegations in the report seriously," he told the council.
"Israel has the institutions and the ability to carry out serious
investigations of these allegations and we encourage it to do so."
Wolff said that Hamas was a "terrorist organization" that was
neither willing nor able to investigate its own behavior.

All media reported that yesterday the state-run Turkish TV channel
TRT1 broadcast the first episode of a series on a Palestinian family
living in the West Bank, in which IDF soldiers are variously seen
killing a baby and a young girl, and lining up Palestinians to be
shot before a firing squad. Israel Hayom banners: QTurkish Blood
Libel.Q The Israeli Foreign Ministry called in Turkey's envoy to
register a protest. FM Avigdor Lieberman, currently holding
meetings in Austria, issued a statement saying the airing of this
show, on a government-controlled station, represented the "gravest
form of incitement." Lieberman was quoted as saying: "This series,
which has absolutely no connection to reality, and which presents
IDF soldiers as murderers of innocent children, is not fit to be
broadcast even in the most hostile countries, and certainly not in a
country that has full diplomatic relations with Israel.Q Israel
Radio cited the Turkish newspaper Zaman as saying that Turkey will
ask Israel to disburse up to $4million in compensation for an
alleged delay in the delivery of drones.

HaQaretzQs Web site and Israel Radio cited the French weekly Le
Canard Enchaine as saying that Israel is preparing to attack Iran
after December. The magazine quoted French sources as saying that
Israel has reportedly ordered combat rations for its elite army
units from a French supplier and IDF reservists overseas have been
ordered to return to their units between November and December,.
According to the report, during his brief visit to France, IDF Chief
of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told his French counterpart,
Jean-Louis Georgelin, that "Israel will not bomb Iran, but may carry
out ground operations in the area." The French source further
reported that Israel is planning to assassinate scientists linked to
the Iranian nuclear program and take military action against Hamas
and Hizbullah.
The Jerusalem Post quoted a senior GOI official as saying that
Israel has passed on unequivocal messages to the PA that it will not
quietly accept a Palestinian unity government that would neither
denounce violence, recognize Israel, nor accept previous
Israeli-Palestinian agreements. The official declined to say what
measures Israel would take or whether it would cut off ties with the
PA as a result.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday the U.S. House of
Representatives passed Iran sanctions legislation, trying to add
pressure to the Iranian regime even as the administration has
emphasized diplomacy with Tehran. The bill authorizes state and
local governments to divest from firms with investments of $20
million in IranQs oil and gas sectors, relieving some of the legal
barriers currently in place.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli flag was displayed at
the first International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) conference
in Abu Dhabi this week.

All media highlighted State Comptroller Micha LindenstraussQs
special report on the travel of DM Ehud Barak, his entourage, and
other leading military figures to the Paris Air Show last June.
Accommodations during the visit cost 944,000 shekels (around
$236,000), not including flights, food, or any other expenditures.
All media are critical of the splurge, including HaQaretzQs
editorial, which calls on the Defense Ministry to reimburse the
monies.

HaQaretz reported that the IDFQs Home Front Command will begin
distributing new gas mask kits to the civilian population beginning
in January. The plan is to hand out 4.5 million kits within three
years.

HaQaretz cited a suit filed last week in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's
Court, according to which a Palestinian taken by ambulance to
JerusalemQs Hadassah University Hospital in 2006 was denied entry by
hospital security, which may have been a factor in his death en
route to another hospital

The media reported that U.S. born Judge Neal Hendel is one of three
new Supreme Court Justices who were sworn in yesterday

In a feature story about involvement by Israelis in Central and
South America, Maariv told the story of Yehuda Leitner, who is
accused of trying to help exiled Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.
Leitner says he was in his kibbutz at the time.

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1. Mideast:
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Block Quotes:
-------------

I. "The Iceberg"

Senior commentator Ari Shavit wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (10/15): QThe Right is the primary culprit of Israel's
legitimacy crisis. With the occupation, the settlements and
brutality, religious nationalism has fed the destructive forces that
seek to trample the natural rights of Jews and Israelis. But the
Left has also contributed its part to the legitimacy crisis. Those
on the radical Left did not always make certain that opposition to
Israeli policies would not turn into reservations about Israel's
very existence.... On one hand, there is an urgent need for a
creative, daring diplomatic initiative that would prove that Israel
is truly and genuinely striving to end the occupation. Without such
an initiative, the world will not listen to Israeli justice, which
today remains a concept largely invisible to the world. On the
other hand, there is a need to enlist Israeli and Jewish elites in
the struggle to once again strengthen the foundations of Israel's
legitimacy. This diplomatic and moral effort is no less important
than the struggles that produced the Balfour Decaration and the UN
partition resolution. If suc an effort is not launched
immediately, and does ot soon succeed, Israel will become an
internatinal pariah.


II. "A Defeat Foretold"

Chief conomic Editor and senior columnist Sever Plotker rote in
the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aaronot (10/15): QOperation
Cast Lead did not resut in the liberation of Gilad Shalit, it did
not opple Hamas, it did not boost the moderates (the economic
revival in the Palestinian cities boosted them), it did not stop the
Qassam rocket fire (the rocket fire was stopped after Israel agreed
to hold its fire and resigned itself, for all intents and purposes,
to the existence of an arms smuggling network that utilized tunnels)
and failed to achieve even a single one of its stated objectives,
barring the one that found expression in those two words, 'savage
response' [citing Tzipi LivniQs words in an interview yesterday].
From a political standpoint, the ramifications of Operation Cast
Lead are destructive.... Even if no one from Israel is tried at the
International Court of Justice at The Hague, the Goldstone report is
going to remain seared in the minds of the Western intellectual
elites and the incited masses across the Muslim world. That charge
sheet against Israel, one of the most egregious ever written, will
haunt us for years to come. There isn't an eraser that will elide
the mark of Cain that the report has left stamped on our foreheads.
An infuriating report, a coarse blood libel -- but an existing
fact.

III. "Saving Abu Mazen"

Palestinian affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote in HaQaretz
(10/15): QWhile [Mahmoud] Abbas would be happy to see Israel's
cabinet and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suffer political
damage, the decision to approach the U.N. Human Rights Council is
intended first and foremost to hurt Hamas in the eyes of the
Palestinian public and to save Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) from
more harsh criticism.... However, it seems there is some substance
to Hamas' claims against Fatah. Abbas, Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad's cabinet -- everyone, in short -- is blasting Israel over
Operation Cast Lead. But their own hands are far from clean in this
regard. Quite a few senior Fatah officials, including ones close to
Abbas, urged Israel to intensify its attacks on Hamas during the
operation. Now they are accusing Israel of war crimes.


IV. "It Looks Like Law, but It's Just Politics"

South AfricaQs Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, who also has a PhD in
human rights law, wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post (10/15): QThe [Goldstein] report uses the veneer of
respectability that comes with legal methodology, and with the
presence of an internationally respected judge, to gain credibility.
Law is a very powerful weapon to give respectability to
contemptible actions and opinions. The South African Apartheid
Government was very legalistic in its approach to racial oppression,
and was punctilious about promulgating proper laws, and about
maintaining a fully functioning judiciary to give the fagade of
respectability to its repugnant policies.... One aspect of the

evidence, presented to but not accepted by the Goldstone Mission,
was that of Hamas leader Fathi Hammad, who said: QThis is why we
have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly,
and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing
machine. It is as if we are saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire
death while you desire life.Q These procedural and substantive
injustices demonstrate the complete lack of integrity and fairness
of the process. It looks like law, but it is not. It is just
politics. The Goldstone Mission is a disgrace to the most basic
notions of justice, equality and the rule of law. And it is
dangerous. Injustice will only lead to more death and destruction.
The Talmud says QThe world stands on three things: truth, justice
and peace.Q These three values are linked. There can never be
peace without justice and truth. The Goldstone Mission is unjust
and wanting in truth. It has, therefore, harmed the prospects for
peace in the Middle East.

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

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

I. "DonQt Kill A Turk. Rest"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of the
popular, pluralist Maariv (10/15): Q[The headline is a play on a
Hebrew expression, Qto kill a Turk and to rest,Q which is to say: to
do one thing at a time.] We need to begin to get used to the fact
that Turkey is changing -- a substantive, profound, strategic
change. That isnQt good, but it is something that can be lived
with.... The traditional focal points of power in Turkey have
gradually grown weaker. The army no longer controls the country the
way it used to. The diplomatic elite has also been pushed aside.
Instead, Islam has come to occupy the central rubric, and along with
it has arisen a neo-Ottomanism, which talks about restoring TurkeyQs
lost glory, casting its gaze inward at the Middle East and the
neighboring Muslim countries at the expense of the West and Europe.
That change is social, deep and real.

II. "Turkey -- the QSick ManQ Again"

Veteran journalist and television anchor Dan Margalit wrote in the
independent Israel Hayom (10/15): QA contortion of madness is
gripping Recep Tayyip ErdoganQs leadership. He behaves as if he
were drugged, in need of increasing doses of narcotics with an
anti-Semitic flavor.... Erdogan perhaps thinks he can return Turkey
to the days of the Ottoman Empire, which disappeared at the end of
World War I and will not return.... For many years noted European
statesmen called [Turkey] the Qsick man on the Bosporus.Q Recent
indications on the diplomatic scene are evidence that this is how it
can now be called.

CUNNINGHAM

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