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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #2424/01 3081119
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P 041119Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002424

STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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SECDEF WASHDC FOR USDP/ASD-PA/ASD-ISA
HQ USAF FOR XOXX
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JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
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PARIS ALSO FOR POL
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

1. Mideast

2. Anti-Terrorism Efforts

3. One Year after ObamaQs Election

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

The media reported on the first anniversary of President ObamaQs
election.

Israel Radio quoted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as explaining
in an interview with Al Jazeera-TV why negotiations with Israel,
even without the total settlement freeze, was ultimately good for
the Palestinian people to assuage Arab anger and clarify the U.S.
position to the Islamic world.. Clinton was quoted as saying that
the settlement issue will be resolved when the borders of the
Palestinian state are drawn. Israel Radio quoted the Secretary as
saying in another interview that every step taken by the Israeli
Government is Qunprecedented.

Leading media quoted PM Benjamin Netanyahu as saying yesterday that
Hamas missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv would endanger the Qwhole
world but above all, they threaten our civilians, our cities.Q He
was speaking during a visit to the headquarters of the Juniper Cobra
joint U.S.-Israel defense exercise. Major media reported that a few
hours earlier, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum issued a new statement
saying the Israeli announcement was aimed to influence world public
opinion ahead of the U.N. debate on the Goldstone report. Barhum
was quoted as saying that the diplomatic crisis triggered by the
report "has led the Zionist enemy to make up excuses in an attempt
to instigate public opinion against Hamas."

The Yediot-linked Web site Ynet reported that Jerusalem expects
Washington to exercise its right of veto in the UN should the
international body's Arab bloc be able to get it to vote on
deferring the Goldstone report to the Security Council. Ynet
reported that yesterday Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon confirmed that
Israel and the U.S. have come to a "silent understanding" that that
the latter will veto a decision to have the matter heard by Security
Council. The Jerusalem Post quoted Ayalon as saying yesterday that
it was a mistake to reduce the complex questions that divide
Israelis and Palestinians to one concrete problem such as the
settlements. Leading media reported that yesterday Foreign Ministry
Director-General Yossi Gal told ambassadors that support for the
Goldstone report would have a negative effect on the peace process
and undermine democraciesQ right to self-defense. Ynet quoted
Jerusalem sources as saying that the General Assembly is likely to
defer the matter to the Security Council nonetheless and despite
considerable effort to thwart the move. The Jerusalem Post reported
that EU countries are hammering details of an initiative that would
amend the existing resolution and send the matter back to Geneva.
Leading media reported that yesterday the House of Representatives
approved a nonbinding resolution rebuking the Goldstone report. The
resolution, which passed 344-36, called the investigation of the
conflict Qto be irredeemably biased and unworthy of further
consideration or legitimacy.Q Twenty-two House members voted
QpresentQ on the resolution. Israel Hayom and other media reported
that two Jewish groups -- J Street and Americans for Peace Now --
expressed reservations about the resolution, saying that it should
include calls on Israel and Hamas to conduct independent
investigations into Operation Cast Lead.

Leading media reported that last night, 150 km from Israeli shores,
Special IDF Forces arrested a commercial ship carrying the Antigua
flag, on which there were large quantities of weapons. The weapons
were camouflaged as civilian goods. After an initial examination by
the combatants, it was taken to a port in Israel. Israel Radio
quoted Israeli military sources as saying that the weapons
originated from Iran and were intended for Hizbullah. Commentators
cited a possible rift between Syria and Iran as a reason for IranQs
direct supply of weapons to Hizbullah.

The media reported that yesterday rioting settlers forced a
Palestinian family out of their home in the East Jerusalem
neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, after the Jerusalem District Court
denied the residents' appeal to remain on the premises. Shortly
after the verdict was passed dozens of settlers stormed into the
house with hired security guards, demanding that the family vacate
immediately. A violent riot erupted between the settlers and the
neighborhood's Palestinian residents. Leading media reported that
the home is one of 28 properties in the neighborhood that are the
subject of an ongoing legal battle between Jewish claimants and the
Palestinian families who live there. Israel Radio cited a statement
by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that he was "dismayed at
continued Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem, including the
demolition of Palestinian homes, the eviction of Palestinian
families and the insertion of settlers into Palestinian
neighborhoods." He described the East Jerusalem event as "just the
most recent incident", adding that "these actions stoke tensions,
cause suffering and further undermine trust." Several media
reported increasing Egyptian condemnation of IsraelQs actions in
East Jerusalem.

Yediot quoted Palestinian media as saying over the past few days
that progress has been made in efforts to have Gilad Shalit
released. The newspaper quoted a Gaza news agency as sayng that the
deal is Q95% complete.Q Yediot quoted diplomatic sources in
Jerusalem as saying that it is an unsurprising spin by Hamas for
domestic purposes -- as internal polls suggest that Hamas is
weakening in its struggle with Fatah. The sources admitted that
there has been some progress, but that Qwe are not on the eve of an
agreement.Q Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that yesterday, in a
precedent-setting ruling, the High Court of Justice instructed the
state to base its decisions regarding the release of terrorists on
their chances of resuming terrorist activities.

Israel Hayom reported that Kadima Knesset Member Shaul MofazQs peace
plan [which was reported yesterday by Maariv] threatens to split
Kadima. Party chair Tzipi Livni is opposed to MofazQs proposal that
a Palestinian state be immediately established in interim borders
and that the core issues be postponed. Livni favors granting
Palestinian statehood at the conclusion of the negotiations.

The Jerusalem Post reported that senior officials from aerospace
giant Lockheed Martin were in Israel yesterday for talks with the
Defense Ministry, in an effort to convince Israel to overcome
concerns and go ahead with plans to purchase the fifth-generation
F-35 stealth fighter jet. According to senior defense officials,
Lockheed Martin is concerned that Israel will not follow through
with its initial plan to sign a contract for some 25 aircraft in the
coming months. Officials were quoted as saying yesterday that the
target date for a contract at the beginning of 2010 would likely not
be met. As a result, the arrival of the aircraft -- initially
predicted to begin in 2014 -- would likely be postponed by at least
one or two years. If the contract is not signed, there are concerns
that other countries will follow suit and possibly slow down their
procurement plans as well.
Yediot reported that for the past 10 days the Israeli Foreign
Ministry has complained to The New York Times over the American
paperQs Qbiased and unfair reporting vis-`-vis Israel.Q Yesterday
the Israeli delegation to the U.N. conveyed this complaint to The
New York Times. The Israeli protest revolves around Qnegative
subjective language about IsraelQ and Qfabricated formulations that
cause the innocent reader to believe that the Goldstone report found
hard evidence that Israel carried out war crimes in Gaza.

The Jerusalem Post reported that former President of Tel Aviv
University and former Ambassador to the U.S. Itamar Rabinovich and
Al Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh were in Frankfurt,
Germany this week to jointly receive the Korn and Gestermann
Foundation Freedom Prize that is given every three years to people
who have contributed significantly to peace in the Middle East. In
accepting the prize Rabinovich said that the two sides must reach an
accommodation as quickly as possible because time is working against
them.

Leading media cited police suspicions that Yaakov (Jack) Teitel, who
has confessed to murdering two Palestinians and carrying out a long
list of other, less deadly, terror attacks, also murdered two
traffic policemen in the Jordan Valley eight months ago -- a crime
originally attributed to Palestinian terrorists. Media reported
that yesterday Yosef Spinoza, a neighbor of Teitel, was arrested at
their Shvut Rahel settlement. He is suspected of having known about
some of Teitel's actions. Spinoza was also detained for questioning
about two weeks ago, but was released several hours later.

HaQaretz reported that following intense pressure from
ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ), the
Government is expected to submit a bill to the Knesset today that
would increase the number of deputy mayors in Jerusalem to eight.
This would essentially provide ultra-Orthodox parties with two more
municipal-paying jobs -- one for Shas and the other for UTJ.

Major media bannered a letter sent yesterday by State Prosecutor
Moshe Lador to Justice Minister Yaakov NeQeman in which he blasted
NeQeman for his proposal to split the attorney general's role in
two, so that the same person would no longer serve as both head of
the prosecution and the government's legal advisor. The proposal,
which Lador termed a "silent revolution," will not only weaken the
attorney general, but will also dismantle the prosecution, he
charged. The media cited NeQemanQs response that Lador, a civil
servant, had crossed a red line.

HaQaretz reported that, nearly 15 years after it was founded, the
Israeli data security firm Finjan Software has been sold to the U.S.
firm M86 Security in a share-swap deal. Finjan has raised $80
million over its lifetime. Under the agreement, M86 acquires
Finjan's global operations, products, and technology, which merge
into M86 Security, effective immediately.

The Jerusalem Post cited the results of a poll commissioned by
Independent Media Review and Analysis and conducted last week by the
Maagar Mohot polling company: a majority of Israeli Jews distrust
Palestinian and generally Arab willingness to make peace and have a
similar distrust for the efficacy of multinational forces as
guarantors of a future agreement. Asked whether the assertion that
a complete withdrawal to the pre-1967 border would bring peace --
the central plank of the Arab peace initiative -- was "simplistic
and naive" or "logical and correct," Israeli Jews responded 80% to
10% in favor of the former option. This opinion was shared across
much of the Israeli political spectrum, with a majority of Labor
voters (60%) and overwhelming majorities of Kadima (85%), Likud
(93%), ultra-Orthodox (80%) and right-wing (96%) party voters
expressing this view.

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

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

I. "Stop Treading Water"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (11/4): QA year
after Barack Obama's election as president of the United States, it
has become clear that with regard to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the
change he promised boils down to high-flown rhetoric and a confused
policy. Instead of restarting negotiations on a final-status
agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and promoting the
two-state solution with all his might, the world's greatest power is
treading water in the swamp of the settlements.... The crisis of
trust between Netanyahu and Abbas, and the huge gap between their
positions, necessitates a determined and consistent American stance
whose goal is to restart the negotiations and conclude them, instead
of wasting time and prestige in endless discussions over empty
formulas for limiting settlement construction. It is not enough to
urge the prime minister to bolster Abbas in order to keep the West
Bank from falling into the hands of Hamas. The time has come for
Obama to summon both sides for serious, continuous negotiations,
accompanied by a timetable for establishing a Palestinian state
alongside Israel on the basis of the June 4, 1967 borders. There
could be no clearer expression of the United States' commitment to
Israel's security and its future as a Jewish and democratic state.

II. "HamasQ Doomsday Weapon"

Palestinian affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff and military
correspondent Amos Harel wrote in HaQaretz (11/4): QMaj. Gen. Amos
Yadlin, director of Military Intelligence, announced yesterday that
Hamas launched a rocket some 60 kilometers into the sea, apparently
as an experiment. Such a rocket ... could ... possibly reach as far
as Tel Aviv.... Yadlin's announcement should be seen as part of an
attempt by the military to prepare the public for a new attack
against the Strip. The General Staff is not remotely eager for
another round, especially with the Goldstone report conclusions
still haunting commanders of the previous operation when they travel
abroad. Hamas, for its part, is in no hurry for a confrontation
either. Gaza has not yet recovered from the devastation of Cast
Lead, and the organization knows it would pay in heavy casualties if
the conflict reignites. What Israel should be doing in the meantime
is improving its anti-missile defense systems.

---------------------------
2. Anti-Terrorism Efforts:
---------------------------

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

"Obama Is Learning from the IDF"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in HaQaretz (11/4):
QIsrael's critics in the United States portray it as a strategic
burden. They argue that during the Cold War there was value in
cooperating with the IDF, which gave the Americans useful
information on Soviet weapons systems used by Arab armies. But the
Soviet Union collapsed and all the value Israel offered to U.S.
national security evaporated with it. These critics are wrong in a
big way: the U.S. military effort against al-Qaida and the Taliban
is based on a doctrine developed by Israel. The IDF was a global
leader in targeting terrorists from the air. When Israel embarked
on its assassinations policy in the summer of 2001, the United
States condemned it. Several weeks later the Twin Towers were
brought down in a terrorist attack and Washington's approach
changed. Instead of condemning Israel, the Americans simply copied
its methods, foreign sources say. Unmanned combat air vehicles
(UCAVs), armed with missiles, started being used to kill terrorists,
first in Yemen and later in Afghanistan and Pakistan. U.S.
President Barack Obama has proved to be an enthusiastic student of
the doctrine of targeted killings, even more than his predecessor
George W. Bush.... It would be interesting to know if Obama, who is
due to decide on the future of the war in Afghanistan, knows from
whom the Americans have learned the modern doctrine of antiterrorism
warfare, and whether he is grateful to the IDF.


------------------------------------
3. One Year after ObamaQs Election:
------------------------------------

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

"He Can"

Correspondent Nadav Eyal wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv
(11/4): QIt has become fashionable to be disappointed by Obama.
Those who like to be disappointed are those who never loved him;
hardcore right-wing Americans always suspected him, to say nothing
about parts of the Israeli public; Obama undoubtedly turned out to
be a green president -- at least as far as foreign relations are
concerned.... [However,] Obama can score a key achievement in the
Middle East: he succeeded in pushing Netanyahu to the wall and force
him to utter the phrase QPalestinian state.Q On the other hand,
pressuring Netanyahu isnQt a big challenge. One can understand why,
even in the U.S. -- a country that sanctifies rewarding people,
optimism, and patriotism -- the Nobel Prize awarded to the President
was recently spurned. There is truth in this criticism, but it
misses the point. In short, Obama is succeeding on the important
arena -- the economy.... A letdown? It is still early to say that
Obama is a disappointment. There is one indication of his success:
the American Right reacts hysterically. It can be assumed that this
is not because Obama failed, but because he has been successful.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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