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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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P 020618Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 6988
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6229
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 4872
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7081
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3850
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2067
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0732
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8255
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3260
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002394

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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Special Envoy Mitchell to Israel, West Bank

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Key stories in the media:
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The media reported that U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace
Senator George Mitchell has arrived in the region. Israel Radio
reported that he met with DM Ehud Barak yesterday and that he is
scheduled to meet with PM Benjamin Netanyahu today. The Jerusalem
Post said that expectations of progress in talks with Israel and the
Palestinian Authority are low, citing concern that the PA election
campaign will make launching negotiations even more difficult than
before. Maariv expects Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying
during her visit to Israel and the PA that the U.S. administration
is losing patience and is determined to swiftly bring about the
resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Maariv reported
that Clinton will try to convince PA President Mahmoud Abbas to
return to the negotiations. However, Maariv quoted a senior Israeli
diplomatic official as saying: QWe are not the problem, but the
Palestinians, who present preconditions, are.

Both HaQaretz and Maariv devoted their lead stories to the
presentation of President AbbasQ negative views about PM NetanyahuQs
policies. HaQaretz reported that Israeli officials have told the
newspaper that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is deeply suspicious of
Netanyahu and is losing faith in his intentions to reach a peace
agreement. "I know Netanyahu is pragmatic and everyone tells me he
has changed," Abbas reportedly told the officials recently. "But I
don't see it. I fear it's the same Netanyahu of 1996. How much
longer can I still give him credit?" Abbas reportedly said he
missed former PM Ehud Olmert, with whom he had "almost closed [a
deal]." QAnd I'm willing to give Netanyahu one more chance. But we
have no more than two to three weeks during which something must
happen," an Israeli official quoted Abbas as saying. An Israeli
source said Abbas was extremely frustrated by Netanyahu and the
changes in Israel's policy, especially by the "extreme rhetoric."
Abbas was quoted as saying in an interview with Maariv that not only
has Netanyahu not advanced the diplomatic process and not done
anything tangible for peace, but he continues building settlement
and inflicting mortal wounds to the process.

HaQaretz reported that last night Croatian President Stjepan Mesic
called President Shimon Peres to brief him on the details of a
conversation he had held earlier that day with Syrian President
Bashar Assad and relay another message from Assad about the
possibility of resuming peace negotiations between the two
countries. Peres then reportedly called PM Netanyahu and briefed
him on the details of the conversation. Leading media quoted
TurkeyQs new Ambassador to Israel, Ahmet Oguz Celikkol, as saying
yesterday before an Israeli academic conference that good relations
with Israel are part of TurkeyQs global aspirations.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday Israel maintained a low
profile on the issue of Iranian President Mahmoud AhmadinejadQs
pledge not to retreat Qeven an iotaQ on his countryQs nuclear
program, with no comment from PM Netanyahu and restrained remarks
from DM Barak. According to the newspaper, this low-key response
appeared to reflect a desire to avoid Israel "becoming the story,"
which is now focused on whether Tehran will accept the Vienna
agreement. This morning Israel Radio reported that Iran rejected
the terms of the agreement.

The media quoted Yonatan Ben-Artzi, the grandson of the slain Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin, as saying yesterday at the official ceremony
in memory of his grandfather at Mt. Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem that
leaders attending the event had led protests in which Rabin was
called a a murderer and traitor. The media reported that in his
speech at the Knesset session commemorating Rabin, PM Netanyahu
raised the possibility that extremists may carry out a similar
assassination today. Media reported that, claiming that the popular
rally in memory of Rabin in Tel Aviv tomorrow does not represent
their views, left-wing leaders -- particularly from Meretz --
decided not to attend the demonstration. Maariv reported that, in
his videotaped address to the rally, President Obama is expected to
say that QYitzhak left us a legacy on that awful November night.

Maariv (Ben Caspit) reported on a meeting of senior diplomats from
all over the world -- including Israelis -- in Morocco this week,
which encompassed sincere, promising talks about peace and
coexistence.

HaQaretz reported that the QBrigades of Abdullah Azzam,Q a
Lebanon-based group linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for a
rocket salvo against Israel this week, saying the attack was in
retaliation for IsraelQs crackdown on protesters at JerusalemQs

Temple Mount. The Jerusalem Post quoted Lebanese President Michel
as saying in an interview with the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar that
one Qmust not rule outQ the possibility that Israel was behind the
attack.

Maariv headlined a feature about the visit to Israel of USS Higgins
as part of the Juniper Cobra 10 exercise with the banner, QWe Are
Protected.

Citing the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The Jerusalem Post reported
that President Obama has named retired Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE),
an QIsrael critic,Q to co-chair the PresidentQs Intelligence
Advisory Board.

Israel Radio quoted a senior Hamas member as saying that the gap
with Israel over the release of Gilad Shalit has narrowed and now
concerns only 107 Palestinians whom Israel refuses to free.
HaQaretz reported that Shimshon Liebman, who heads a special task
force to win ShalitQs release, told the daily that both the task
force and the Shalit family would develop their own strategy and
resume intensive lobbying if the negotiations make little progress.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Semyon Mogilevich, an
Israeli-Russian oligarch, appears on the list of the FBIQs 10 most
wanted criminals.

All media reported that a gunman shot and wounded two men in the
parking lot of a North Hollywood, California synagogue early
yesterday. Jewish schools and synagogues in the area were put on
alert shortly afterward in the event that it was not an isolated
attack. HaQaretz reported that the Anti-Defamation League expressed
Qdeep regretQ over the incident.

The Jerusalem Post cited a nationwide Anti-Defamation League survey
that found that only 12% of Americans hold anti-Semitic views.

----------------------
Special Envoy Mitchell to Israel, West Bank:
----------------------

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

I. QIn Favor of a Deal with Damascus
The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (10/30): QThe
Israeli approach to relations with Syria needs to be managed from
the end to the start, and the end is a vision of regional peace
between Israel and its neighbors. In parallel to efforts to reach a
permanent settlement with the Palestinians and without hurting their
interests, Israel must seek peace with Syria in the context of
Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967: full and secure
peace in return for complete withdrawal. Those who do not want such
a deal will seek to undermine it using arguments of procedure.... In
the past, Netanyahu spoke indirectly with Hafez Assad, the late
father of the current leader in Damascus, through U.S. businessman
Ron Lauder. The contacts failed and there is some dispute over what
happened. There is no dispute, however, that seeking peace with
Syria, through talks between chiefs of staff and shuttle diplomacy
by secretaries of state, is a key element in Yitzhak Rabin's
diplomatic legacy, which Netanyahu's Defense Minister, Ehud Barak,
says should be seen through. Rabin's memory should extend beyond
flowery speeches, eulogies, and arguing over the Oslo process.
Energized efforts toward peace with Syria would perpetuate the Rabin
legacy.

II. I Will Not Be Coming to Rabin Square Tomorrow

Former Meretz Knesset Member Zahava Gal-On wrote in HaQaretz
(10/30): QThis is not my rally any more. This is no longer the
rally of those committed to democracy and peace, those who recognize
the need to divide the land, end the occupation, evacuate
settlements, and establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Above all, this is no longer the rally of people who acknowledge and
respect painful majority decisions even if they don't like them. So
I will not be coming to the square on Saturday. Yitzhak Rabin was
murdered because of the policy he charted. In the early years, when
the memory was still fresh, the rally reminded us of Rabin's
political path and of what he was murdered for. But as the years
passed, the organizers rewrote history, toadied up to the right
wing, and invited politicians from parties that refuse to compromise
and end the occupation. With the main speakers being people like
Defense Minister Ehud Barak and opposition chairman Tzipi Livni, the
captains of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, why shouldn't Education
Minister Gideon Sa'ar [Likud], who is by no means a member of Peace
Now, also speak?.... By turning the rally on Saturday into a
nonpolitical event, they are erasing the fact that the Prime
Minister's assassination was entirely political. They are erasing
the rabbis' incitement against Rabin and the balcony in Zion Square
[in October 1995 in Jerusalem]. They are erasing the fact that an
entire political camp was engaged in a campaign to delegitimize the
Prime Minister by claiming that a government supported by Arab votes
was illegitimate and had no mandate to give up parts of the Land of
Israel. And thus they exonerate those political and public figures
who were abettors and accomplices. Thus they take part in papering
over the controversy and the rift. But no fake consensus can be
allowed to cover up this basic truth.

III. QYes, Rabin Can Already Be Regretted

The nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe editorialized
(10/30): QThere is no need to agree with the path and consequences
of Oslo to long for the late Yitzhak Rabin. Israeli society has few
heroes.... Despite the wretched expression Qvictims of peace,Q there
can be no doubt that had Rabin reached the recognition that the
[peace] process had turned into an exercise in deception, he would
have said this clearly. It is therefore possible to state that he
believed in peace until the day of his death. Even this belief is a
source of nostalgia. One should remember that RabinQs peace
included [in IsraelQs possession] the entire Jordan Valley, the
settlement blocs (Qsuch as Gush Katif,Q as he said in his last
Knesset speech), and all of Jerusalem. Let us mention that what is
now considered as RabinQs way is very far from his peace vision.


IV. QThe Week in Blood

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (10/30):
QIt's been another dreadful week in the war of civilizations....
This is a war of civilizations in the sense that Muslim extremists
with imperial ambitions are engaged in a zero-sum struggle against
the values associated with modernity -- liberty, enlightenment, and
tolerance. For now, the battle is being played out mostly in
Muslim-majority lands, though New York, London, Madrid, and Israel's
cities have also been killing fields. Western elites have tended to
deny, downplay or reject outright the systemic nature of the
Islamist menace. Under these circumstances, there has been no real
will to mobilize Western publics for the sacrifices ahead....
Israelis have demonstrated that it is possible to defend their
country with precisely the means [Philip] Alston [of the U.N. Human
Rights Council, who this week took the Obama administration to task
for its policy of targeted assassinations of terrorist chieftains]
finds so distasteful against an enemy that is driven by an
unfortunate -- some would say perverted -- reading of Islam. Like
other Islamist groups, both Hamas and Hizbullah have no compunction
about launching attacks from behind their civilian populations.
Yet, contrary to the mendacious assertions of the Goldstone Report,
our army has protected us without losing its soul.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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