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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002396

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
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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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U.S. Special Envoy Sen. George Mitchell to Israel, West Bank

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Key stories in the media:
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Yediot reported that President Obama has moved his scheduled speech
at the United Jewish Communities General Assembly (GA) in order not
to meet with PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the
conference.

Media reported that PM Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with U.S.
Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell again
this afternoon in an attempt to find a way to allow the Palestinians
to return to the negotiating table. HaQaretz cited the admission of
senior U.S. officials that the talks have reached an impasse.
HaQaretz reported that yesterday Mitchell met with Netanyahu's
senior aide Yitzhak Molcho and later held consultations with his own
advisers. HaQaretz cited quoted a source in the Prime Minister's
Office as saying that the Palestinians were clearly the problem,
adding that there was full agreement between Israel and the U.S.
The media reported that yesterday Netanyahu hit out at the
Palestinian Authority over its demand for a complete Israeli
settlement freeze before embarking on any fresh peace talks, saying
he hoped the Palestinians would "get a grip" and drop this
precondition. "We've done things that have not been done until
today, although while we are taking steps toward negotiations, we
have encountered preconditions demanded by the Palestinian side,
which were never demanded before," Netanyahu was quoted as saying at
the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

Media reported that the Palestinians have rejected Israel's offer to
reduce settlement construction, rather than bringing it to a
complete halt. Pointing an accusing finger at the U.S., the
Palestinians said yesterday that Washington's backing for Israeli
refusal to halt Jewish settlement expansion had killed any hope of
reviving peace negotiations soon. The Jerusalem Post reported that
yesterday PA officials warned that Washington's failure to force
Israel to halt all construction in the settlements would lead to an
"explosion." The officials also criticized Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton's statements in Jerusalem in which she backed PM
Benjamin Netanyahu's position on the issue of settlements, calling
his moratorium on new construction Qunprecedented." The Jerusalem
Post reported that an official in Ramallah told the daily that the
"mask has fallen off the face" of President Obama. The Palestinian
official was quoted as saying that the U.S. has once again
demonstrated that it's not an "honest broker" in Middle East because
of its "bias" in favor of Israel.

FM Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday in an interview with IDF Radio
that at this current juncture, an interim agreement with the
Palestinians should be pursued, rather than a final settlement.
Lieberman was quoted as saying: QIf you are asking if within the
next few years it would be possible to achieve comprehensive peace
with the Palestinians to end the conflict, then [the answer is]
'No'." The FM stressed the importance of improving the situation on
the ground, suggesting that a Qlong-term interim agreementQ was the
Qmost obviousQ next step toward quiet on the Israeli-Palestinian
front, rather than a comprehensive peace agreement. A Palestinian
state would not be established within the framework of an interim
agreement, he clarified, adding that the QPalestinian state is not
an interim objective, but the goal it was also the goal of the
Roadmap."

All media led with an announcement yesterday by Shin Bet and the
Israel Police that they had arrested Yaakov (QJackQ) Teitel, an
American-born settler from Shvut Rahel allegedly behind an
unprecedented series of deadly terrorist shootings and bombings
spanning 12 years, in which two Arabs were killed and Israel Prize
laureate Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell was wounded. According to Shin Bet,
he also planted a bomb at the entrance to house of a messianic
Jewish couple in Ariel, seriously wounding their son, Ami Ortiz, who
was then 15. The media reported that Teitel procured his weapons
in the U.S. and smuggled them into Israel in a container he was
entitled to bring as a new immigrant and in the hold of a British
Airways commercial airliner. Israel Radio quoted a senior Shin Bet
official as saying that it is likely that other such Jewish
activists exist and that they may be planning attacks. Media quoted
Israelis as saying that the Florida resident was known to the U.S.
authorities and wanted for his alleged involvement in violent crimes
there, prior to his second immigration to Israel in 2000. Israel
Radio reported that opposition head and Kadima chair Tzipi Livni
told a forum of his party that it is necessary to educate against
hate crimes. The media dubbed him a QJewish terroristQ (banners in
Yediot and Maariv). The media quoted Left-wing figures as saying
that Teitel is but one of the far RightQs Qwild weed.Q The Yesha
Council of Jewish Settlements in the Territories distanced itself
from Teitel. The media quoted right-wing activists as saying that
Teitl is a Qlone gunmen.

Maariv reported that next week, as part of the Juniper Cobra 10
exercise, the IDF and the U.S. Army will simulate the interception
of a missile above Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the human rights organization Gisha
has petitioned the administrative court of Tel Aviv District Court,
charging that the Government has violated the Freedom of Information
Law regarding the disclosure of its criteria for determining which
goods being allowed into Gaza are considered "humanitarian." The
organization also demanded to see a government document entitled
"Red Lines," which reportedly determines the minimum required food
intake required by Gaza residents according to age and sex
categories to sustain themselves.

Yediot cited a report in the German weekly Der Spiegel that
allegedly describes the destruction by Israel of a Syrian nuclear
reactor and surrounding events.

---------------------------------------
U.S. Special Envoy Sen. George Mitchell to Israel, West Bank:
---------------------------------------

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

I. QWashington Is Waiting for Rais Abbas

Columnist Shmuel Rosner, who was HaQaretzQs correspondent in
Washington, wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv (11/2): QThe
Obama administrationQs efforts to make the Arabs compromise with
Israel have failed so far. The PresidentQs emissaries -- as the
President himself -- have failed.... Washington knows that there
wonQt be significant achievements until political questions
disheartening the President of the Palestinian Authority are
arranged and the fate of the elections for the Palestinian
presidency is known.... In late October, [Secretary] Clinton sounds
different from in June. When Israel is happy, the Palestinians are
frowning. Of course the Palestinians will not say it openly, and
will continue to talk about the urgent need for progress.... At this
time they believe that a quiet dialogue is better -- moving forward
as far as possible, helping the QRaisQ wherever possible, and wait
for good news.

II. QItQs Not Peace, Madam Secretary

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (11/2): QU.S. generals, and even Israeli ones,
have confirmed that the Palestinians have fulfilled the precondition
set for them [in the Roadmap]. It's hard to find anyone who will
say this about the Israelis.... To build during negotiations on land
that the entire world claims is not yours -- that's something else.
The main thing is that Netanyahu promised in his Bar-Ilan speech
that he supports two states for two peoples. Even Hillary Clinton
said this was wonderful.... Obama has pleaded with friendly Arab
leaders to grant Israel an advance on future concessions [included
in the Arab peace initiative] to prepare the groundwork for the
peace process. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and a few Gulf
leaders agreed to launch initial steps of reconciliation. But even
they, like Obama, had a precondition: freezing settlements in the
West Bank and East Jerusalem. They did not ask for anything more
than what Clinton announced a few months ago: a complete cessation
without natural growth, without illegal outposts and without
excuses.... If Hamas lacked a reason to reject the initiative for
reconciliation with Fatah and wait patiently for another round of
the Qpeace processQ to go the way of its predecessors, and have the
West Bank return to its bosom, then Mrs. Clinton supplied just such
a reason, in a big way.

III. QObamaQs Best Friends

Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/2): QIt seems that Netanyahu has
reached the conclusion that IsraelQs major problem -- with the
Palestinians. Iran, Turkey, and Goldstone -- is the weakness of the
Obama administration. Since world leaders have reached the
conclusion that Obama is weak, they allow themselves to go wild.
Iran continues to develop its nuclear arsenal; Abu Mazen presents
impossible conditions prior to negotiations; Erdogan woos Syria and
Iran and incites against Israel; and Goldstone sanctifies norms that
will make any war against terror fail in the future. The world is
bustling humiliating America by spitting at Israel. The conclusion
reached by Netanyahu is interesting: instead of confronting the
Obama administration, he is obligated to embrace it.

IV. QClinton Understands Israel

Former Editor-in-Chief Moshe Ishon wrote in the editorial of the
nationalist, Orthodox Makor Rishon-Hatzofe (11/2): Q[Secretary]
ClintonQs task isnQt a simple one. Various sources say that over
the past few months Abu Mazen has lost his influence on the
Palestinian Authority. The terrorist organizations dictate the
[PAQs] policy. Abu MazenQs situation is difficult. Clinton
understands it perfectly and acts accordingly by extending her hand
to the Israelis. A comprehensive regional agreement looks more
distant than ever.

V. QChange of Policy or QNo Choice

The ultra-Orthodox Yated NeQeman editorialized (11/2): QOne may
assume that NetanyahuQs assent to a massive freeze of construction
and his being satisfied with minor construction that will almost
please the Israeli Right, is what convinced the [U.S.]
administration that nothing can be obtained from the current Israeli
government.... Washington reached the conclusion that there is no
real alternative.

V. QTerror against All

Ha'aretz editorialized (11/2): QBy his own confession, implicating
himself in two murders and 10 other acts of terrorism, Yaakov (Jack)
Teitel should be regarded as one of the most dangerous terrorists
ever to operate in Israel and the territories. Teitel is different
from the Jewish terrorists who preceded him in that he did not
distinguish between his Palestinian targets and the Israelis whose
political ideas he opposed, such as Professor Zeev Sternhell....
Terrorism of Teitel's kind reflects a boundless hatred of entire
populations. It will take generations to eradicate, but there are
already lessons to be drawn from this case. Intelligence gathering
and law enforcement against extremist elements in the settlements
must be stepped up, and attacks on Palestinians must be more
thoroughly investigated.

VI. QWhy Does the U.S. Insist on Playing IranQs Game?

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in
International Affairs Center, columnist Barry Rubin, wrote in the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (11/2): QAfter
interviewing officials, the Financial Times reports that the
Europeans are ready to reject Iran's demands now as Qunacceptable
but the United States is Qmore willing to show patience than either
Britain [or] France.Q Why is the U.S. Government so eager to keep
playing Tehran's game? Here are two answers: [A)] President Barack
Obama's worldview insists that all problems are resolvable by
talking and making concessions. He also fears confrontation. [B)]
The desire to keep Russia on board. But we know Russia won't
support sanctions and serious pressure on Iran. Moscow wants
America to fail internationally and views Iran as an ally. So
America's policy is being held hostage by a president with no
experience and little understanding of international affairs, a set
of ideas making failure inevitable, trying to please a country which
is an ally of the adversary and misestimating a dictatorial regime
with boundless ambitions and tremendous self-confidence. What a
mess. But how long into 2010 can they spin this before Washington
is going to have to recognize that talks are going nowhere?

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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