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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #2535/01 3281020
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P 241020Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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HQ USAF FOR XOXX
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: 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 media this morning is still dominated by reports of a possible
and imminent prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel in
which Gilad Shalit will be released. In light of strict censorship
imposed on the impending deal, the Israeli media are still mostly
basing their information on the foreign media outlets, mainly
Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera, which provide a breakdown of which
prisoners and other demands are said to be the last obstacles to
finalizing the deal.

Ma'ariv reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu made efforts to lower
expectations yesterday and also promised that the cabinet would have
final say on approving the deal. The newspapers point out that there
already appears to be a majority of 16 members in the cabinet in
favor of a deal, even though its details are not yet known, with
four opposed and nine ministers still uncommitted. Alex Fishman in
Yediot Ahronot points out that after the cabinet approves the deal
and the list of prisoners is made public, it will be possible to
petition the High Court of Justice against the release of one
prisoner or another over the course of 48 hours. He notes that in
the past, the High Court tended to reject such petitions on the
grounds that it does not meddle in government decisions on this
subject.

Israel Hayom provides articles in favor of and against the expected
deal. Opposing the deal is former director of the POW department in
the Mossad, Rami Igra, who calls it "a massive release of all the
greatest murderers in the last and present century and, on the other
hand, a shameless and bottomless surrender to Hamas's demands."
Writing in favor of a deal, Amos Regev opines that since it was
impossible to free Gilad Shalit by means of a rescue operation, a
deal is the only option left.

Barak Ravid in Haaretz reports this morning that Prime Minister
Netanyahu has decided to freeze construction in the settlements for
10 months and is considering bringing the matter up for a cabinet
vote. The report says that Netanyahu informed the U.S.
administration of his position and is hopeful that such a statement
would bring to renewed talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Block Quotes:
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--------
Mideast:
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I. "A Painful Test that We Will Pass"

Amos Regev, Editor-in-Chief of the independent Israel Hayom opined
(11/24): Gilad Shalit must return home to the bosom of his family.
Period. It would have been better had this happened by means of a
bold rescue operation. But that didn't happen. And that's why we
have to bring him home in a deal. I have no information to judge
whether the non-execution of a rescue operation was due to the lack
of intelligence information... I also don't know the distance that
IDF soldiers were from the place of Gilad Shalit's captivity during
Operation Cast Lead... And that's why only the option of a deal is
left. [This deal] is not the best option in the whole world... In
contrast to arguments made yesterday, setting a few hundred
despicable terrorists free will not change the balance of forces in
the Middle East. The deal will be a painful test. We will pass it.

II. "The Deal that Will Change the Region"

Rami Igra, former director of the POW department in the Mossad wrote
in the independent Israel Hayom (11/24): "The deal being worked
out... includes a number of components on which we should focus a
bit more with more profound judgment. On the one hand... there will
be a massive release of all the greatest murderers. On the other
hand, this is shameless and bottomless surrender to Hamas's demands.
The deal can lead to the following: It restores to the combat ranks
the greatest murderers, [who] will return to activity and that the
price will be hundreds of people killed in the future. The deal
teaches the Palestinians that the only way to deal with Israel is by
using force, and in their view, this is the winning method... We are
giving an ideological seal of approval to extremists and damaging
the Palestinian peace seekers. The Shalit deal is... a strategic
step that will affect future events in the region. Netanyahu... must
take an example from Olmert, who was not seduced by a momentary and
populist approach. By the time of the next elections, the results of
this deal will be known, and Netanyahu will not be able to latch
onto the glory of the present."

III. "Act and be heard"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (11/24):
"Reports of significant progress toward a deal for exchanging Gilad
Shalit have multiplied recently. All these reports, however, come
from foreign sources... Behind the delicate term "blackout" stands
some serious censorship. Perhaps it is best to conduct the
negotiations... in secret to prevent the chorus of naysayers from
paralyzing the government and halting a deal. But the details that
have leaked out and the vigorous rumor mill surrounding the issue
keep that scenario from happening and the potential damage caused by
secrecy is great... it seems that a large majority of Israelis...
are willing... to set free even the most heinous of murderers to end
Shalit's suffering... It is unclear why Netanyahu, Barak, and other
ministers... refrain from disclosing the data without which public
debate on the subject is pointless... It's difficult to accept
comprehensive censorship whose purpose - or at least its result - is
to influence the public's position on a deal... The Israeli public
carries a burden and responsibility. It must not settle for faits
accomplis. It must hear, know, and make a considered decision before
action is taken."

IV. "The Shame of Capitulation"

Conservative Op-Ed Page Editor Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in the popular,
pluralist Maariv (11/24): "Dear ministers, after a long
brainwashing, the decision now moves to you. It is said that there
will be an automatic majority in the cabinet. Indeed? Will you also
lend a hand to the disgrace? The proposal on the cabinet's table
should be called by its real name: surrender. The Israeli government
wishes to kneel before Hamas and to surrender to all its whims. The
anti-Semitic terror organization will dictate the terms of surrender
to the State of Israel... This won't happen next time, they try to
tell you and us. Israel will set new rules. New rules? Why is the
blood of the next soldier to be kidnapped worth less than the blood
of Gilad Shalit?... We can understand the family. But Gilad
Shalit has long since stopped being a matter of one family. That is
precisely the reason why his price went up... You, dear ministers,
can stop the madness. You are there in order to serve the national
interest. Not to surrender to emotional whims... Honorable
ministers, Gilad Shalit's release is a supreme interest, deserving
of every effort. But there is an abyss of difference between "every
effort" and "any price." If you have any independent thinking
ability left, then please do not confuse between the two, when you
go to vote.
CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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