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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2362/01 3001017
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271017Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3982
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEADWD/DA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 6149
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2720
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 6753
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 6966
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6207
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 4850
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7059
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3828
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2045
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0710
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8233
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3238
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 7216
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 9286
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 2039
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 3047
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002362

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

Israel Radio and other media reported that yesterday President Obama
marked the fifteenth anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty
between Israel and Jordan. He was quoted as saying: QAs we honor
this historic event, we remember that peace is always possible
despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

HaQaretz quoted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying that
efforts should center on bolstering the position of Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas. Her comments were in a report to President
Barack Obama last week on attempts to renew negotiations between
Israel and the Palestinians. HaQaretz reported that a senior
diplomatic source who was privy to the State Department report noted
that in it Clinton had stressed the significant setback to Abbas in
Palestinian public opinion because of the initial decision not to
press ahead with bringing the Goldstone report on Gaza to the Human
Rights Council of the U.N. Last night Channel 10-TV reported that
Abbas has told the White House that he is considering stepping down
because of the lack of progress in the peace process. Israel Hayom
says that he is Qthreatening the U.S.Q by doing this. Israel Radio
reported that Abbas denied the report. Some media quoted Abbas as
saying that Israel and Netanyahu are to blame for his alleged
intention to resign.

Major media reported that the U.N. General Assembly will debate the
Goldstone report next week at the behest of the Arab League. Yediot
says that the assembly is already expected to condemn Israel.
Israel Hayom reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry has
distributed to all ambassadors posted in Israel a report containing
an internal IDF critique of its action during Operation Cast Lead.
Maariv bannered a letter written by Dr. David Tsangan, who served in
the Jenin district during Operation Defensive Shield. The doctor,
citing the Jenin massacre hype, suggests on the basis of that
precedent that Goldstone was deceived in Gaza by similar means.

Leading media reported that yesterday IDF Chief of General Staff
Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned, during a speech at a Holocaust
memorial in Berlin that contained a veiled reference to Iran that
Israel will not entrust its security to the hands of "strangers" and
will do "everything needed" to protect its citizens if war is forced
upon it. HaQaretz and Israel Hayom wrote that Ashkenazi told
reporters that he refuses to rule out an Israeli probe into
Operation Cast Lead.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the U.S. will continue pressing for
a deal to get Israel and the PA back to the negotiating table,
despite concerns in Jerusalem that Friday's announcement of PA
elections in January makes the likelihood of starting negotiations
now even more remote.

The Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio reported that the human-rights
group Amnesty International (AI) has issued a critical report
charging that Israel prevents Palestinians from receiving adequate
water supplies. The radio media cited the Israel Water AuthorityQs
response that AIQs data is inaccurate. The radio cited the
authority as saying that Israel has even helped the Palestinians in
this domain.

Leading media quoted Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying
yesterday that FM Avigdor Lieberman threatened to make use of
nuclear weapons during Operation Cast Lead. However, Erdogan said
that the strategic alliance with Israel still exists. Yediot
reported that a Turkish Navy ship arrived in Israel a few days ago
for a joint exercise with the Israel Navy.

Israel Radio reported that the U.K. is placing an obstacle to
IsraelQs admission to the OECD: it wants Israel to report statistics
within the Green Line only. Each member state of the OECD has a
power of veto on the admission of new members.

HaQaretz reported that human rights lawyers and pro-Palestinian
activists in a number of European countries hold lists with names of
IDF soldiers allegedly linked to war crimes committed during
Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. Existing legislation enables
arrest warrants to be issued against these officers if they enter
those countries.

Major media quoted French FM Bernard Kouchner saying in an interview
with the British daily The Daily Telegraph that Israel is likely to
take military action against Iran if the latter acquires nuclear
weapons, making it urgent for world powers to break the nuclear
deadlock.

Leading media reported that yesterday France decided to postpone a
conference of the foreign ministers of the Union for the
Mediterranean, after Egypt said it would not participate if FM
Lieberman was among the delegates. France and Egypt have shared
presidency of the union since 2008. France has been pressuring the
Egyptians to attend the conference regardless, but to no avail.
HaQaretz cited a proposed suggestion to elevate the rank of
conference participants to the prime-ministerial level. This would
resolve the conflict, as Egypt does not boycott PM Benjamin
Netanyahu. However, the proposal is not yet complete and has not
been officially presented to the member states.

Israel Hayom quoted DM Ehud Barak as saying yesterday at a meeting
of the Labor PartyQs Knesset faction that the QLeft behaves like a
small childQ that treats peace as a toy to be had here and now. The
newspaper quoted Meretz Party Chairman Haim Oron as saying that
Barak has turned the Labor Party into QNetanyahuQs blind chorus.

Yediot reported that the Labor Party QrebelsQ will form a political
movement next week.

Leading media reported on the friendship between an Israeli boy who
was hit by a Palestinian missile and a Palestinian girl who was
injured by an Israeli missile.

Maariv reported that Israel is considering purchasing F-35B
warplanes from the U.S. The aircraft employs a
short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) capability, which the daily
says will be useful if runways are paralyzed by missile attacks.

Maariv reported that the IDF and the Defense Ministry are
considering eliminating duplications in the areas of construction
and purchasing.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Venezuelan Government has made
it difficult for Israeli tourists to procure entry visas.

The Jerusalem Post reported that newly elected UNESCO
Director-General Irina Bokova will attend a memorial ceremony for
the assassinated PM Yitzhak Rabin in Tel AvivQs Rabin Square on
November 4.

HaQaretz quoted Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) Chairman Natan
Sharansky as saying yesterday that JAFI plans to send more than 100
well-trained emissaries to North American college campuses within
the next two years. Currently, about 20 JAFI emissaries work on
American university campuses. The new JAFI representatives will be
tasked with explaining to students the "realities of the Middle East
and to show what Hamas and Hezbollah are doing and what Israel is
doing to bring some justice and democracy to Palestinians." The
plan is mentioned in a proposed resolution of JAFI's task force on
anti-Semitism, which is expected to pass.

The Jerusalem Post cited the results of an Anti-Defamation League
poll conducted among Americans and released on Monday:
-67% see Israel as a country to be counted on as a strong, loyal
U.S. ally;
-By a 3-1 ratio, the American people express more sympathy with
Israel than with the Palestinians;
-64% of Americans continue to believe that Israel is serious about
reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians;
-Americans are skeptical about "peace dividends" that would result
from a freeze on settlements; 53% believe leaders of the Arab world
will continue to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, even
if Israel stops all further construction settlements; only 25%
believe the Palestinians would be prepared to achieve a final
resolution of the conflict if Israel stopped further construction of
settlements;
-While Americans support the creation of a Palestinian state, 56%
believe it must not be established until the Palestinians end the
violence and accept Israel's legitimacy;
-A majority places the onus for peace on Palestinians because of the
division between the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and other Arab
states and because of their refusal to accept Israel's right to
exist; 51% believe Palestinian division stands in the way of peace.
-There has also been significant gain in those who would support
either Israel or the U.S. using military action to stop Iran from
making a nuclear weapon, with 57% of Americans supporting an Israeli
response, up from 42% in 2007and 54% supporting U.S. action, up from
47% in 2007.

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

Block Quotes:

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I. "On Goldstone, the U.S. Is on IsraelQs Side"

Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/27): QObama will not call
Bibi to account for the Goldstone report. The administration has
accepted Operation Cast Lead with understanding. If only for the
reason that the American armed forces themselves are killing
civilians in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and anywhere else they
come into contact with civilians. With all the changes in warfare
methods, the day will come when the Geneva Conventions will have to
be adjusted to regular armies' wars against terror groups, which
mostly target civilians. But until we get there, the subject and
victim of the Goldstone Commission is Israel, which has been
tarnished as responsible for war crimes, and perhaps even crimes
against humanity.

II. "The QThird TemplarsQ"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (10/27):
QIt's a dilemma for mainstream Israelis.... Step back from the
Temple Mount and Arab intimidation wins. Assert Jewish rights and
risk heartening a band of Jewish extremists high on a toxic potion
of piety and politics. That even a QmoderateQ Palestinian leader
like Mahmoud Abbas does not accept the Temple Mount as sacred to
Jews further complicates the predicament. One possible approach is
for the government to explicitly remind the Waqf that its
administrative role on the Mount derives from the authority vested
in it by the Jewish state.... In parallel, we want to clearly hear
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denounce as folly the actions of
those agitating for a Third Temple built on the ashes of the Muslim
shrines. He should disabuse anyone who imagines that the antics of
these QThird TemplarsQ have support on the sane Right. Given the
Palestinians' endemic intransigence and quick resort to violence --
including, it should be stressed, via malevolent inflation of
tensions on the Mount -- it is easy to be dismissive of all their
grievances over Jerusalem. But sometimes, more sensitivity could be
applied. The Palestinians are not always wrong to complain that
municipal authorities are placing unreasonable demands on them in
seeking building permits while facilitating scatter-site Jewish
housing (with no security value) in densely populated Arab
neighborhoods. In the final analysis, Israeli sovereignty is best
manifested by providing the same level of municipal services to all
taxpaying Jerusalemites -- and by insisting on the same adherence to

the law from all.

III. "George MitchellQs Mission Impossible"

Efraim Inbar, Professor of Political Science at Bar-Ilan University
and Director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies,
wrote in The Jerusalem Post (10/27): QAmerican diplomacy can hardly
make a dent in the schism within Palestinian society that is the
main stumbling block for progress in peace-making. As long as
Islamist Hamas has a powerful grip on the Palestinian ethos and
Palestinian aspirations and as long as its ruthless rule over Gaza
continues, Palestinian politics are hostage to the extremists and
are unable to move toward an historic compromise with the
Jewish-Zionist national movement. Mitchell cannot even prevent a
draft of a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation document that does not conform
to Quartet demands (renounce violence, recognize Israel and respect
past agreements). The final obstacle for Mitchell is the nature of
his mandate -- the pursuit of an outdated paradigm, the two-state
solution. Unfortunately, the desired outcome of the Oslo process,
partition of the Land of Israel [i.e. Israel, including the
territories] into two states -- Jewish and Palestinian -- was not
achieved and this predicament is unlikely to change any time soon.
The Palestinians failed the main test of statehood: monopoly over
the use of force.... Therefore, what is needed is a new policy
paradigm. It is high-time to consider a return to the status quo
ante of pre-1967. Jordan and Egypt are responsible states at peace
with Israel that successfully ruled over the Palestinians. They
should be induced to share responsibility for regional stability.
The Palestinian potential for regional mischief is not only Israel's
problem.

IV. "Abbas Is a Partner for Peace. Is Netanyahu?"

Gershon Baskin, Co-Director of the Israel/Palestine Center for
Research and Information, wrote in The Jerusalem Post (10/27):
Q[Mahmoud] Abbas has implemented almost all the Palestinian
obligations under the Roadmap (Israel has not implemented any of its
obligations).... He has dismantled the infrastructure of Hamas and
Islamic Jihad throughout the West Bank.... He has refused to give in
to public pressure pushing him toward reconciliation with Hamas
under almost any terms. He has demonstrated leadership time and
time again. It is time to stop saying Abbas is weak. Abbas is
perhaps the best Palestinian partner we could ever hope for. No, he
is not a Zionist, and no, he will not adopt Israel's positions in
negotiations. He will stand by his decision to bring the Goldstone
report to the United Nations, against fierce Israeli pressure. He
is a Palestinian leader, not an agent of Israel. He will demand
Palestinian rights in Jerusalem and he will demand that the refugee
issue be negotiated and not conceded prior to negotiations. Abbas
is a partner for peace. Is Benjamin Netanyahu?

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

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

I. "An Iranian Dictate"

Columnist Shmuel Rosner, who was HaQaretzQs correspondent in
Washington, wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv (10/27): Q[At the
upcoming Jewish-American convention in Washington], Benjamin
Netanyahu] will have to talk about the peace process in order not to
appear as a man who is again trying to divert the topic to his
favorite subject. But, in the closed White House room, the order of
priorities will be more obvious: Iran first, Palestine later. The
outline of the conversation will be determined by the developments
over the few weeks before [NetanyahuQs] trip -- that is to say by
the Iranians.


II. "Hope or Illusion?"

Avraham Ben-Zvi, visiting Professor of Political Science at Haifa
University and an expert in U.S.-Israel relations, wrote in the
independent Israel Hayom (10/27): QDespite question-marks inherent
in the agreement [with Iran], the [Obama] administrationQs eagerness
to adopt it as a successful expression of its comprehensive
diplomatic approach might produce an atmosphere of conciliatory
forgiveness vis-a-vis an extremist regime.... It can only be hoped
that the Israeli nightmare of facing an indifferent administration
(which prefers to deny scenarios contradicting its world view) will
not happen. It must be hoped that the current American optimism
will eventually be mitigated with an alert, sober American behavior
attentive to the doings in Iran.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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