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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2310/01 2931031
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201031Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3897
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 6118
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2690
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 6723
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 6936
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6177
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 4816
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7026
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3798
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2014
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0680
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8203
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3208
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 7186
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 9254
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 2009
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 3005
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002310

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:
--------------------------------

1. Mideast

2. Iran

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

All media reported that President Shimon PeresQ Facing Tomorrow
Conference will open in Jerusalem tonight. U.S. Ambassador to the
U.N. Susan Rice, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and Quartet
envoy Tony Blair are expected to attend.

Major media (lead story in HaQaretz) reported that today at a
special meeting, the security-diplomatic cabinet is likely to
discuss whether Israel should establish a commission of inquiry into
the findings of the Goldstone report. HaQaretz reported that both
the Justice Ministry and Foreign Ministry support establishing such
an inquiry, holding that it would aid Israel in combating the
report. HaQaretz reported that DM Ehud Barak, for his part, does
not rule out such a probe but does not want it to harm the standing
of Israel's existing investigative bodies and the IDFQs own
prosecutors. HaQaretz reported that yesterday PM Benjamin Netanyahu
pledged to lawmakers from his Likud party that Israel would ensure
that the report be vetoed at the U.N. General Assembly. Maariv
quoted an Israeli diplomatic source as saying that the process
constitutes a Qslippery slope.

Leading media reported that an American scientist, who had worked in
the U.S. Department of Energy, Pentagon, and NASA, was arrested
yesterday on charges of attempted espionage for Israel. However, no
actual Israeli involvement is alleged. (Major media quoted senior
GOI officials as saying that Israel does not spy in friendly
countries.) The suspect, Stewart David Nozette, 52, from Chevy
Chase, Maryland, was arrested yesterday by the FBI and charged with
attempted espionage for knowingly and willfully attempting to
communicate, deliver, and transmit classified information relating
to the national defense of the United States to an individual that
Nozette believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer. Nozette is
expected to appear before a Washington, D.C. court today. If
convicted, he is expected to receive the maximum penalty allowed by
law -- a life sentence. Nozette had worked for the National Space
Council and, later, the Department of Energy. He had a special
security clearance, allowing him access to, among other matters,
information specifically relating to nuclear materials. The
affidavit submitted to the court states that on September 3, Nozette
was approached by a man who led him to believe he was an Israeli
intelligence officer. The man, however, was an undercover agent for
the FBI. During the phone call, Nozette agreed to meet the man
later on the same day. At the meeting, which took place at a
Washington hotel, Nozette allegedly told the agent of his access to
top secret information and his possession of a high-ranking security
clearance, which allows access to information received from American
satellites. He is alleged to have told the undercover officer he
would be willing to answer specific questions in exchange for money.
Following some further meetings, the FBI twice transferred sums of
money for classified information, which Nozette allegedly provided.
The exchanges were documented by the FBI. The FBI agent who
contacted Nozette pretended to be an Israeli officer due to early
information indicating Nozette was interested in selling secrets to
Israel.

Yediot reported that the Juniper Cobra exercise, which will start in
the next few days, QworriesQ Syria and Iran. Leading media reported
that Israel conveyed reassuring messages to neighboring countries.
HaQaretz reported that Charles F. Wald, former Deputy Commander of
United States European Command (USEUCOM), told participants at a
conference this weekend in Washington organized by the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy that the U.S. would find it difficult
not to join an Israeli air strike in the event that Jerusalem
decides to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.

HaQaretz quoted an unnamed officer on the IDFQs General Staff as
saying that the extremist fringe of West Bank settlers is growing.
The officer blamed individuals Qformerly in position of power, who
are now unemployed and setting up all kinds of committees,Q for
fanning the flames of radical sentiment among settlers. He did not
name names, but top army officials suggested he might be referring
to former Kedumim Mayor Daniella Weiss.

HaQaretz reported that yesterday the Defense and Interior Ministers
agreed to appoint a task force to facilitate construction in the
West Bank. A similar team, which was responsible for establishing
the ownership of West Bank lands, operated until about three years
ago under the auspices of the IDFQs Civil Administration. Officials
were quoted as saying that the team's work is essential to issuing
building permits in the West Bank. DM Barak and Interior Minister
Eli Yishai made the decision at the request of West Bank settlement
leaders. HaQaretz quoted Interior Ministry sources as saying that
the task force was meant to remove bureaucratic obstacles.

All media reported that yesterday Knesset Member Daniel Ben Simon
announced his resignation as Labor faction chairman after only five
months, dealing another blow to party chairman Ehud Barak. Ben
Simon said he was not joining the four Labor "rebels" at this point.
However, he no longer saw himself bound to coalition discipline and
would act as a one-man faction, he said. The former HaQaretz
journalist blasted Barak's policies at a news conference yesterday,
saying, "The man heading Labor is responsible for the [West Bank]
outposts and I cannot accept that." Labor failed to achieve its
goals vis-a-vis the peace process and "should not be in the
coalition," he said.

HaQaretz reported that the Defense Ministry will reduce by 30% the
number of the members of its delegation in New York.

The Jerusalem Post cited the belief of officials at the Israel Water
Authority that if this winter is as lacking in rainfall as the last
one, by next summer Israel will have to take drastic steps such as
importing water and setting up portable desalination plants.

Yesterday HaQaretz reported that the Interior Ministry has confirmed
the contents of a leaked internal report, which states that since
launching operations in July, its Oz task force has been responsible
for the deportation of 700 illegal migrant workers and the voluntary
exit of 2,400 more. The Jerusalem Post quoted human rights
organizations as saying that the statistics in the report prove that
negotiation and discourse are more effective than arrests, but that
the intimidation caused by Oz's activities are a major motivator for
the voluntary exits. Oz officials chose to say that the numbers
proved that their intensive activities work. The Jerusalem Post
reported that roughly 50 residents of south Tel Aviv demonstrated in
the Hatikva market on Monday evening, calling on the government to
implement its policies regarding the deportation of illegal foreign
workers. The protest called on PM Netanyahu and his cabinet to
stand firm on the decision to deport illegal migrants and not back
down in the face of "leftist and media-driven propaganda."

The Jerusalem Post reported that senior Palestinian pollster Khalil
Shikaki told the newspaper that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has
suffered a serious blow to his standing versus Hamas in recent
weeks, but that he should be able to recover that ground. Recently
reported surveys show Abbas having lost support to Hamas PM in Gaza,
Ismail Haniyeh, with each of them now commanding the support of
about 16% of the Palestinian public, as opposed to a month earlier
when Abbas could boast twice that figure. However Shikaki was
quoted as saying that despite Abbas' setback, "this is only
temporary" and that Abbas "can overcome it long before the
elections," currently scheduled for 2010. Shikaki, who was speaking
on the sidelines of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's
fall conference, said that Abbas had faced similar challenges to his
popularity -- notably during the IDF's campaign against Hamas in
Gaza last winter -- and still rebounded.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday a representative of the
State Attorney's Office told the Knesset Law Committee that the
Government has paid hundreds of millions of shekels in damages to
Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza for harm caused them
by the IDF during military operations since the first Intifada. The
committee met to continue its discussion of a government-sponsored
amendment to the 1952 Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) Law that
would further restrict the rights of Palestinians to sue the state.
The bill has already been amended twice. However, the second
amendment was struck down by the High Court of Justice on the
grounds that it disproportionately favored the interests of the
state vis-a-vis the rights of Palestinian civilians whom the state
is obliged to protect.

Maariv and Israel Radio reported that a Nigerian refugee who sought
a permanent visa in Israel gave as a reason for his being persecuted
the fact that he had kidnapped and killed five Americans. The
Israeli authorities transferred his case to Interpol.

HaQaretz praised the design of the new American International School
in Even Yehuda.

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

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

I. "What Do We Care about Justice?"

Liberal columnist and television anchor Ofer Shelach wrote in the
popular, pluralist Maariv (10/20): QThe truth is that the only
morality that has always been our guiding light was our own
morality, which is based on a concept of survival. Israel sees
itself as a ghetto outpost, the last bastion against constant and
harsh existential threats. And when the tyrant is always at the gate
and the pogrom around the corner you pick friends and rivals based
only on their utility. The only moral yardstick is who is a Qfriend
of IsraelQ and who isn't. The denial of the Armenian Holocaust (and
how can we call this a Holocaust, there is only one Holocaust and it
is exclusively ours), or at least avoiding any mention of it, is a
practical policy practiced by Israel for many years by right wing
and left wing governments alike.... There are many more examples. It
could also be said, with complete justification, that morality, in
international eyes, is relative and that no country truly acts based
on it. The U.S. preaches to the entire world, but it has been
connected with oppressive and benighted regimes when this serves its
interests. And here is another point for thought: ultimately, those
who act without any considerations of morality also suffer in
practice. The arguments of those who said that our relationship
with South Africa was not just morally problematic but would also
cause us damage (Yossi Beilin was among the first of the politicians
to say this) fell on deaf ears. Today we are remembered in the new
South Africa, and in other parts of that continent, as having stood
by the side of the despised regime. The problem is not our
relations with Turkey. These too will fall into place, ultimately,
because of self interest. The problem is our consciousness, which
from year to year, shrinks to a harsh point of whining and self
pity. The problem is that we've lost our insight, which was once to
be taken for granted even if we didn't always follow it, that the
pretension of being a light unto the nations and a moral role model
is a source of strength, perhaps the most important source, and that
if we are not moral, we will weaken and lose.

II. "The Goldstone Mission vs. the Peace Process"

Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (10/20): QAfter taking the tangible risk
of leaving contested territory for the sake of advancing peace, Gaza
was turned into a lawless enclave of Hamas-led, Iranian-backed
terrorism. Yet, when Israel was forced to defend itself, the world
reacted not with support and understanding, but with accusations of
Qcrimes against humanity.Q Damned when they do and damned when they
don't, Israelis are now asking themselves QWas the sacrifice worth
it?Q While Israelis consider their options, the Goldstone snowball
is threatening to gain momentum. From Geneva, the issue has now
been passed to the U.N. General Assembly in New York for further
action. But, it is still not too late. An international rejection of
the HRC's [Human Rights CouncilQs] treatment of the Goldstone report
would signal to the Israeli public that the world indeed supports
its compromises toward peace.

III. "Barak Is Not a Partner"

Labor Party Knesset Member and former HaQaretz columnist Daniel Ben
Simon, who quit the chairmanship of his partyQs Knesset faction
yesterday, wrote in the independent, left-leaning HaQaretz (10/20):
Q[Ehud Barak told me last week:] QYou don't understand who we're
dealing with. We made [the Palestinians] a lot of offers, but they
refuse to enter negotiations.Q I reminded him that we had yet to
remove even a single outpost. What message does that send to the
Palestinians? Why should they believe us while the hammers at the
settlements and outposts don't stop pounding for a minute? Is this
the way to help a U.S. president full of good intentions advance a
genuine peace effort? I was left without any comforting answers.

---------
2. Iran:
---------

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

"Ambush in Baluchistan"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (10/20):
QPlainly, the realm where espionage, ethno-nationalism,
narco-terrorism and Islamist ardor meld is frustratingly murky . For
all we know, Jundullah may indeed have links with al-Qaida, the
Pakistani Taliban, and even Western intelligence -- just as Iran
claims. What matters most at this stage is that Sunday's attack has
drawn needed attention to the Revolutionary Guards -- also known as
the Pasdaran. Founded in 1979 to protect the revolution, some of
its charter members had received training in Palestine Liberation
Organization camps in Lebanon. Over the years, the IRG metastasized
from a Praetorian Guard to an evil empire in its own right.... The
Guards is not just the glue that holds the regime together; it is
its nucleus. Abbas Milani of Stanford University theorizes that the
Guards' power may now exceed that of the supreme leader.... What
should inform the international community as it tries to negotiate
with Iran is that its QgovernmentQ is in reality a sophisticated
criminal syndicate. For Iran's essential character is reflected not
only in the theocratic visage of Khamenei and the mad-hatter mug of
Ahmadinejad but, more revealingly, in the shadowy role of the
Guards. The sobering reality of what lies at the core of the regime
ought to impel the civilized world, led by Nobel Peace Prize
laureate Barack Obama, to act with all deliberate speed to stop the
Iranian bomb. Not only for Israel, but also because this twisted
regime is a menace to its people, its neighbors, the region, and
beyond.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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