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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #2431/01 3091434
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051434Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4107
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 6199
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2769
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 6804
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7017
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6256
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 4903
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7109
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3878
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2094
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0761
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8282
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3287
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 7265
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RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 2088
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002431

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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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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The Jerusalem Post quoted U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham as saying
yesterday, in a lecture under the auspices of Tel Aviv University,
that Barack Obama is Israel's "closest friend," contrary to what
many Israelis seem to believe in recent polls. He offered examples
of this friendship, foremost among them the American
administration's opposition to the Goldstone Report. "From the
inception of the Goldstone Commission we objected to its flawed
mandate," Cunningham told the Israeli audience. He said that
America's bond with Israel had been clearly demonstrated by its
"opposition to delegitimizing [of] Israel internationally" and its
efforts to ensure "Israel is treated fairly in the United Nations."
Cunningham urged Israel and the Palestinians "to relaunch
negotiations without preconditions on the core issues of the
conflict: security for both Israelis and Palestinians, borders,
refugees and Jerusalem." He insisted the U.S. was "eager to
support the difficult decisions that must be made and the risks that
must be run if peace is to come." Responding to a question from an
audience member if the U.S. had reexamined its initial assumptions
about the conflict when it took office some 10 months earlier --
including a demand for an Israeli settlement freeze widely seen as
contributing to a short-lived diplomatic rift between the two
countries -- Cunningham admitted that American efforts to jumpstart
negotiations through "finding the right context" had yet to bear
fruit. The administration "started out with several factors that
were new and [which] we thought provided a different kind of
opportunity to move rapidly into negotiations," Cunningham said of
the American demand for a settlement freeze and the parallel call on
Arab states to offer normalization gestures toward Israel. That
opportunity had not materialized, he admitted.

Israel Radio also quoted Cunningham as saying in his address that
Obama is Israel's "closest friend." The radio reported that the
Ambassador noted that the United States is committed to the
existence, security, and prosperity of Israel as Jewish and
democratic state. Israel Radio quoted Cunningham as saying that
there are misunderstandings between the two countries but that they
can be overcome between friends.

IDF Radio emphasized Ambassador CunninghamQs reiteration in his
lecture that the U.S. is opposed to construction in the settlements.
The radio quoted British Foreign Secretary David Miliband as saying
on Tuesday that Jewish settlement in the West Bank is an obstacle to
peace. IDF Radio noted that MilibandQs remarks came on the heels of
Secretary of State Hillary ClintonQs comments in Morocco. The media
quoted Clinton as saying yesterday in Cairo: QOur policy on
settlement has not changed. We do not accept the legitimacy of
settlement activity. Ending all settlement activity current and
future would be preferable." Of the Israeli offer to restrain, not
halt settlement construction, she said, "It is not what we would
prefer because we would like to see everything ended forever."

HaQaretz reported that yesterday Israel's Foreign Ministry issued a
document to Israeli embassies and consulates around the world,
instructing employees to utilize Israel's seizure of a ship carrying
some 300 tons of weapons, believed to have been shipped by Iran and
meant for Hizbullah, to direct international pressure toward Iran.
Israeli diplomats were instructed to stress Iran's violation of U.N.
Security Council resolutions forbidding it from supplying weapons to
Syria or Hizbullah. Major media quoted PM Benjamin Netanyahu as
saying last night in a statement: "Those who needed further proof
that Iran is continuing to supply weapons to terror organizations
got it today." Netanyahu added: QIran is sending these weapons to
terror groups with the aim of hurting Israel and killing civilians.
It is high time that the international community apply significant
pressure on Iran to stop this criminal activity and support Israel
as it defends itself against terrorists and their sponsors." Maariv
and Israel Radio quoted Syrian FM Walid Muallem as saying that
QpiratesQ have commandeered a Qcommercial ship.Q Israel Radio
quoted Arab politicians and media as saying that IsraelQs action was
a fabrication meant to coincide with the UNGA debate on the
Goldstone Report.

Ynet and Israel Radio reported that Sweden's Ambassador to the UN
Anders Liden, representing the European Union, called on both Israel
and the Palestinians to "take responsibility for the crimes
perpetrated," stressing that any violation of human rights must be
investigated. Leading media reported that yesterday Israel's
Ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, attacked both the Goldstone
Report and the UN General Assembly (UNGA) as being "irreparably
tainted" and "bending both fact and law." The Ambassador also said
the report, which accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes during
their war in the Gaza Strip in January, was "born in hate and
prepared in sin." "[The] report and this debate do not promote
peace; they damage any effort to revitalize negotiations in our
region," added Shalev. The ambassador said the report ignored "the
reality of terror" and the complexities of urban warfare against
terrorists. She also dismissed the Goldstone panel as "a
politicized body with predetermined conclusions." Shalev reminded
the General Assembly that Israel had suffered eight years of rocket
attacks from Gaza, which violated the human rights of Israeli
civilians. "[But] rather than discuss how to better stop terrorist
groups who deliberately target civilians, this body launches yet
another campaign against the victims of terrorism, the people of
Israel," she said. Time and again, Shalev charged, the report
turned Israel's unprecedented efforts to save civilian lives against
it, using them as proof that any civilian casualties were therefore
deliberate. Leading media reported that last night former
Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Gillerman left for New York to assist
IsraelQs efforts at the UNGA, at the behest of PM Netanyahu and FM
Avigdor Lieberman. The Jerusalem Post reported that on Tuesday the
Israeli human rights organization published details of 13 criminal
investigations currently being conducted by the Southern District
Military Police Investigations Unit.

HaQaretz reported that yesterday President Shimon Peres called PA
President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss efforts to restart the peace
process. The daily quoted unnamed sources as saying that Peres
asked Abbas to agree to resume negotiations with Israel and to meet
with PM Netanyahu. The media reported that Netanyahu told the
security cabinet yesterday that Israel aims to resume talks shortly,
despite obstacles such as the possibility of Palestinian elections
in the near future. He said the race is radicalizing the
Palestinian Authority position on Irael and making it difficult to
renew talks. Media reported that yesterday Secretary Clinton met
with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and asked him to pressure
Abbas to resume negotiations with Israel. Yediot reported that
President Abbas is expected to deliver a QdramaticQ speech in
Ramallah today. The daily cited assessments in Ramallah that Abbas
will announce that he will not run in the PAQs January elections.
Yediot wrote that AbbasQ anger and disappointment over the American
behavior surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are
causing him to exacerbate personal steps. The Jerusalem Post
reported that yesterday the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb
Erekat, warned that the Palestinians would not Qrule out other
options if the peace process failed.

Maariv reported that for the first time the GOI has included
Islamist groups operating in Indonesia in its list of terror
organizations.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the rift between the International
Federation of Journalists and the National Federation of Israeli
Journalists following the Israeli unionQs expulsion from the
international group in June has been mended by an agreement reached
at an emergency meeting held in Tel Aviv this week.

Yediot hinted that members of the Israeli security forces could know
the same fate as the 23 American intelligence agents who were jailed
in Italy.

Yediot printed an article by Tuvia Tenenbaum, an Israeli-born
American journalist, who tells about his attendance of the Qatar
Film Festival, where anti-Israeli films were shown.

Yediot and Israel Radio reported that QObamaQs rabbi,Q Reform Rabbi
Capers Funnye, who is Michelle ObamaQs cousin, is visiting Israel
with 15 senior African-Americans from Illinois.

All media reported on the Democratic losses in Virginia and New
Jersey elections. A Yediot headline reads: QA Year Has Gone [since
ObamaQs Election], Everything Has Changed.Q Maariv: QBeginning of a
Makeover? The DemocratsQ Losses.


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1. Mideast:
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Block Quotes:
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I. QMofaz in the Footsteps of Sharon

Senior commentator Ari Shavit wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (11/5): Q[Former Defense Minister Shaul] Mofaz's basic
assumptions are those of [Ariel] Sharon: On one hand, at this point
in time, there is little chance of reaching a final-status
agreement. On the other hand, Israel must urgently effect a change
that will produce a two-state solution. The way to do this is via
an interim solution -- an agreement that will create a Palestinian
state in two years in about 60 percent of the territory of the West
Bank.... Once 99 percent of the Palestinians are citizens of a free
Palestine, the Israeli-Palestinian situation will look different.
Once the evacuation-compensation law is implemented, Israel will
gradually converge within its own borders. Even if the conflict
does not come to an end immediately, it will be stabilized. Just as
in Sharon's vision, Israelis and Palestinians will live side by side
in relative calm until peace arrives.... The plan that [Mofaz] has
prepared is not flawless and is not free of risks. But it is the
most serious and practical plan any Israeli leader has prepared in
years. It is backed by Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres, and has a
chance of interesting the Americans and the moderate Arabs. The
plan may also restore Kadima to its lost path. Therefore, it is
worth listening to the former chief of staff, and it would be
appropriate to extend him credit with which to launch his
initiative. It would not be surprising if this move by Mofaz once
again rearranges the shape of Israeli politics.

II. QThe Shield Was Confiscated

Attorney Michael Sfard, legal advisor to the Israeli human rights
group Yesh Din, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (11/5): QOver recent years Israeli human rights
organizations have published particularly harsh reports [about IDF
soldiersQ suspected law violations against Palestinians], but -- to
this day -- there has been no significant criticism by an
international professional legal body on this issue. It is
important to understand that serious local law enforcement, beyond
carrying a moral ... obligation, is a shield from international law
enforcement. International law recognizes the superiority of local
legal proceedings and grants them a preference over foreign or
international investigation and judgment. IsraelQs law enforcement
systems have long enjoyed high esteem and a professional and
independent imagine Q sometimes beyond what they deserve....
[Attorney General Menachem] Mazuz, who in the past rejected a demand
by Israeli human rights organizations to conduct an external
investigation into the Gaza events, supports it today. He
apparently grasps the mistake he made. The IDF Advocate General,
the Chief of Staff, and the Defense Minister, who oppose it, are
pushing the IDF soldiers and themselves into the arms of the foreign
legal systems.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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