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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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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. U.S.-Israel Relations:

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Key stories in the media:
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The Jerusalem Post quoted GOI officials as saying yesterday that the
Moscow conference on the Middle East may be in jeopardy as a result
of Russia's support for the U.N. Human Rights CouncilQs (UNHRC)
endorsement of the Goldstone Commission report accusing Israel of
war crimes. Russia, along with India and China, voted in favor of
the endorsement at Friday's meeting, sending the report to the U.N.
General Assembly for further consideration. The Jerusalem Post
quoted an Israeli official as saying that the Moscow conference may
be in peril now, not because Israel is trying to punish Russia, but
rather because the diplomatic process -- as PM Benjamin Netanyahu
warned -- would be harmed as a result of the PAQs pushing the
Goldstone Report forward. The Jerusalem Post reported that
following its vote on Friday, Moscow delivered a letter directly
from FM Sergey Lavrov saying that while it voted for the resolution,
Russia opposed referring the issue to the Security Council, from
where it could theoretically be sent to the International Criminal
Court.

Yesterday The Jerusalem Port quoted the Israeli Foreign Ministry as
saying that the UNHRC resolution endorsing the Qone-sidedQ Gaza
report harms regional peace efforts. The media reported that Jewish
Knesset members from across IsraelQs political spectrum condemned
the UNHRCQs endorsement of the Goldstone report. Major media
reported that in an interview with the Swiss daily Le Temps, just
before FridayQs vote, Judge Richard Goldstone himself criticized the
wording of the resolution, saying it had been wrong to target only
Israel while failing to condemn Hamas.

Yesterday HaQaretz reported that PM Benjamin Netanyahu does not want
Ankara serving as mediator in any future diplomatic negotiations
with Syria, in view of the crisis in relations between Israel and
Turkey.
The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio quoted Intelligence Minister Dan
Meridor as saying yesterday in Washington that Israel is Qvery
closeQ to making a deal to restart negotiations with the
Palestinians. He was speaking during a keynote address at the
Washington Institute for Near East PolicyQs fall conference.

HaQaretz (English Ed.) reported that one week before the conference
in Washington of left-leaning lobby group J Street, Israel's
ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, is still not saying whether he
will attend or not. J Street was quoted as saying that President
Shimon Peres has written a welcoming letter to conference
participants, with his apologies for not being able to attend.

HaQaretz and other media reported that PM Netanyahu told Spanish PM
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero last Thursday that talks between Israel
and the U.S. over construction in the settlements on the West Bank
had ended. Netanyahu was quoted as saying: QWe solved the matter of
the settlements with the Americans. I cannot say more than that. If
you are interested in hearing more details, ask in Washington.
HaQaretz wrote that it is not clear what Netanyahu meant and what
the details of the "solution" are, but this is the first time that
Netanyahu has made such a statement. HaQaretz quoted sources in
Jerusalem as saying that Netanyahu spoke about the matter after his
representatives Mike Herzog and Yitzhak Molcho reached agreements in
Washington during their talks last week. HaQaretz reported that
Zapatero told Netanyahu of his visit to the White House two days
before his arrival in Jerusalem. He was quoted as saying that he
was obsessed with Obama, and that there will never be another chance
where a man who professes values such as his will be president, and
that everyone must help him realize his vision.

Yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli envoys
negotiating with the U.S. over a settlement freeze and restarting
peace talks are set to arrive in Washington in coming days to
continue discussions with the Obama administration. The daily also
reported that U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones called on
Israel to open the crossings into Gaza and for the bolstering of a
Palestinian plan to build the institutions of statehood over the
next two years.

Leading media cited LebanonQs claim that Israel aerially blew up
spying devices that it had planted in Lebanon. Other media cited
HizbullahQs claim that it destroyed the equipment. HaQaretz and
other media quoted the IDF SpokesmanQs Office as saying that once
again Hizbullah is trying to deflect international attention form
its Qcontinued and increasing violations of U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1701.

HaQaretz reported that Professor Yoram Tsafrir, one of IsraelQs
leading archaeologists, has publicly condemned the Israel
Antiquities Authority's failure to object to a plan to construct a
building over a site in the Western Wall plaza where a
well-preserved ancient Roman road was recently excavated. Tsafrir
was quoted as saying at a conference that the construction will
cause Qgenerations of weepingQ over the serious damage to the site.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Saturday, in an address at an
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) dinner, U.S. Attorney-General Eric
Holder decried the continued phenomenon of anti-Semitism in America
as well as the stigma felt by many Muslim Americans.

Yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported that the ADL is pushing for
David Tenenbaum, a Jewish engineer for the U.S. Army, to get his day
in court after being unjustly targeted for alleged ties with
Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported on the first days in office of Joel
Lion, the new spokesman and consul for media affairs at the Israeli
Consul-General in New York. Lion, who is also an Orthodox rabbi,
told the newspaper, QIsrael is something inventive. Israel is
something moving. Israel is something spiritual. Israel is not
only conflict.

Yediot reported that Israel, which has not built enough desalination
plants, intends to import water from Turkey.

The unexplained murder of six members of the Oshrenko family in
their Rishon Lezion apartment on Saturday morning led the headlines
over the weekend and into the beginning of the week. The family
emigrated from Uzbekistan in the nineties. Some media said that the
QRussian or Caucasian mafiasQ could have carried out the slaughter.
Media reported that Israel asked Russian and Uzbek law-enforcement
authorities for assistance.

All media reported on yesterdayQs suicide bombing in southeast Iran
that killed at least 42 people -- including five senior
Revolutionary Guard commanders.

The Jerusalem Post described the work of an Israeli aid team in the
typhoon-stricken Philippines.

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1. Mideast:
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Block Quotes:
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I. "My Mission -- and Motivation"

Judge Richard Goldstone, head of the U.N.-mandated Gaza Fact-Finding
Mission established to investigate alleged crimes committed during
Operation Cast Lead earlier this year, wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (10/19): QI would have been acting
against those principles and my own convictions and conscience if I
had refused a request from the United Nations to investigate serious
allegations of war crimes against both Israel and Hamas in the
context of Operation Cast Lead. As a Jew, I felt a greater and not
a lesser obligation to do so. It is well documented that as a
condition of my participation I insisted upon and received an
evenhanded mandate to investigate all sides and that is what we
sought to do. I sincerely believed that because of my own record
and the terms of the mission's mandate we would receive the
cooperation of the Israeli government. Its refusal to cooperate was
a grave error.... Israel missed a golden opportunity to actually
have a fair hearing from a UN-sponsored inquiry. Of course, I was
aware of and have frequently spoken out against the unfair and
exceptional treatment of Israel by the UN and especially by the
Human Rights Council. I did so again last week. Israel could have
seized the opportunity provided by the even-handed mandate of our
mission and used it as a precedent for a new direction by the United
Nations in the Middle East. Instead, we were shut out.


II. "Just What Did Goldstone Expect?"

Former Legal Adviser to the Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador
to Canada Alan Baker, who participated in the negotiation and
drafting of the Interim Agreement between Israel and the PLO, wrote
in the Jerusalem Post (10/19): Q[Judge Richard Goldstone] criticizes
Israel's decision not to cooperate with his Fact-Finding Mission,
but naively ignores the very one-sided and politically hostile
mandate of the mission as set out by the United Nations Human Rights
Council, that determined in advance that Israel had committed war
crimes. Any concession towards impartiality that he claims to have
received from the president of the HRC never materialized into a
change in the council's mandate, which remained rabidly one-sided
and politically loaded. Similarly he strangely ignores the fact
that one of the senior members of his mission -- Prof. Christine
Chinkin -- had, during the course of the fighting in Gaza, already
voiced her opinion in the most public manner through the British
media, accusing Israel of war crimes. In such circumstances, how,
in all logic, could any reasonable observer familiar with the United
Nations and its inquiry procedures expect Israel to cooperate with
such a politically prejudiced and gravely flawed inquiry? In doing
so, Israel would have been perceived to have accepted the
substantive elements of the Human Rights Council's initial
criticism.... Israel must act to control [the] damage [caused by the
Human Rights Council] by establishing an inquiry manned by a
prominent retired Supreme Court justice and serious military and
legal experts. Such a move would instantly neutralize and deflate
international criticism; it would provide a viable claim of
non-admissibility to any attempt to prosecute Israel or Israeli
leaders before international or national courts and tribunals.

III. "Hilltop Double-Talk"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (10/18): QWhile
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tries to battle the Goldstone
report in the name of Israel's right to self-defense, and his envoys
and the U.S. administration discuss terms for renewing negotiations
with the Palestinians, his government is developing infrastructure
in dozens of West Bank settlements.... The real problem is not the
breaking of promises to the U.S. administration and Israeli public,
but the severe damage that construction in the settlements is doing
to Israel's most important interests. Every new home or road
compromises the probability of a partition plan based on forming a
Palestinian state in the West Bank. Every hilltop construction
approved by Netanyahu and Barak perpetuates the occupation and
accelerates the gallop toward a binational state and the elimination
of Zionism. Under the cloak of their double-talk, the Prime
Minister and Defense Minister are taking steps that ruin trust and
endanger Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state.


IV. "ItQs Only the Symptom"

Dov Weisglass, who was former prime minister Ariel Sharon's top
diplomatic advisor, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (10/19): QIsrael erred by believing that it would succeed
in removing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the top of the
global agenda by QexplainingQ -- mainly to the Americans -- that it
was Qnot important at the momentQ and that [the world] should Qfocus
on Iran.Q Israel erred when it believed that it could make people
forget the political aspect of the conflict by vigorous activity to
ease the living conditions of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria
[i.e. the West Bank] and by advancing an Qeconomic peace.Q This did
not work. Everyone sees the conflict as the cause of most of the
ills in the diplomatic world, and everyone wants this conflict to
end as soon as possible. Therefore, Israel is subjected on all
quarters to demands for political progress, and the relationship
between its position on the conflict and its diplomatic standing
around the world is absolute, direct and immediate. The
Palestinians raised allegations of Israeli Qwar crimesQ in the past
too, but as long as they were perceived as enemies of peace --
mainly because of their engagement in terrorQIsrael succeeded in
fending them off.... Today, matters have changed to an extreme
degree. The Palestinian Authority, whose wish to establish and run
a state met with scorn until a few years ago, appears now more than
ever as a levelheaded and moderate political entity, and as a fit
and worthy party to a political arrangement. The Hamas regime in
Gaza is not perceived by the world as something that prevents a
diplomatic process, but rather as an incentive for accelerating it.
Many believe that an arrangement between Israel and the PA will work
to curb and weaken Hamas. The world -- possibly prematurely -- is
pleased.... [But] the [Israeli GovernmentQs] silence [over the core
issues of the conflict] worries and annoys the Palestinians and most
of the countries of the world. What angers them the most is the
governmentQs halfhearted and evasive treatment of the continued
construction of Jewish homes inside Palestinian neighborhoods in
Jerusalem, and the continued development of Israeli settlements even
in places that will clearly not be included in Israeli territory in
any final status arrangement. The confidence in the seriousness of
the Israeli government to achieve a political arrangement with the
Palestinians is dwindling. And so the phrase Qthe whole world is
against usQ could become a reality. The Goldstone report is a very
bad indication of this.

V. QUnnecessary Duel

Ha'aretz editorialized (10/19): QDefying diplomatic good sense,
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he opposes a
resumption of Turkey's efforts to mediate between Israel and Syria
in light of the Turks' recent behavior. In his view, Turkey can no
longer be described as an Qhonest broker.Q This is an empty threat,
mainly because the Netanyahu government has not shown any interest
in resuming peace talks with Syria, with or without a mediator.
Thus the real harm done by Netanyahu's words lies in his eagerness
to repay Turkey, and especially its prime minister, Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, in double measure for its criticism of Israel. This is an
unnecessary duel that both sides, Turkey and Israel, ought to try to
calm.... I contrast to Israel, Turkey understands the need to
distinguish between negotiations and rebukes. And it is not Turkey
that will suffer if it is removed from the list of honest brokers.
Rather, it is Israel, which is liable to lose an important channel
of communications that could facilitate future talks with
Damascus.

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2. U.S.-Israel Relations:
--------------------------

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

QA Bit More Popular than Assad

Columnist Shmuel Rosner, who was HaQaretzQs correspondent in
Washington, wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv (10/19): QWhat is
considered in Jerusalem as natural suspicion from the attitude of
the incumbent U.S. administration is very worrisome when seen from
Washington and New York.... How can it be that [in a recent
Jerusalem Post survey] U.S. President Barack Obama only garners few
percentile points of support in Israel? How has a U.S. president
who keeps reiterating his commitment to IsraelQs security and
well-being, and to [the United StatesQ] deep friendship with Israel,
have fallen so low in Israeli public opinion?.... Obama made many
mistakes in his rapport with the Israeli Government and public. He
got bad advice from associates who thought they knew Israel. True
in his basic worldview there are elements that create an inherent
hardship for Israel. Neither has Obama found the time to take a
step indicating steadfast friendship. Thus, is it not surprising to
find much lower support that for his two predecessors.... The ease
of the past 16 hours may have been exhausted.... It is possible that
a pinch of racism somehow added to the uncertainty that Israelis
feel toward a black president whose middle name is Hussein. One
would better return to reality: Bush and Clinton are gone -- never
to come back. America is changing and wonQt always elect a
president endowed with a developed pro-Israel instinct. At this
point Obama fails to enthuse Israelis, but he is far from being
hostile. Forty -- not four -- percent of support would be a much
more reasonable amount.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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