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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2715/01 3491343
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151343Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4611
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
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RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0037
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2949
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 6995
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7205
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6446
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 5103
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7305
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4063
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2280
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0941
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8460
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3472
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 7445
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 9526
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 2266
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002715

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: 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 leading Hebrew-language newspapers this morning highlighted
several major stories. At the top of the agenda was the arrest
warrant issued by a British court against Opposition Head Tzipi
Livni for alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. Also making
headlines were Finance Minister Steinitz's remarks against the
Israeli judicial system.

Ma'ariv reported that the warrant against Livni was subsequently
withdrawn after it became evident that the former Israeli foreign
minister was not on British soil, as suspected. Yediot Aharonot
reports about a furious reaction by Israeli officials to the news,
quoting an unnamed senior political official as saying: "The British
legal system, with the support of the British Government, have
created an absurd situation in which senior Israeli officials cannot
visit Britain any longer...By so doing, Britain has disqualified
itself from playing a decisive role in the peace process in the
Middle East. Furthermore, despite clear promises that were made by
senior British politicians that they would not allow Israeli
personages to be harassed by pro-Palestinian elements, it now has
become clear that those were empty promises." According to that
report, Israeli Ambassador to the UK Ron Prosor sought an urgent
meeting last night with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in
order to convey the gravity with which Israel views this
development.

All newspapers highlighted the remarks made by Finance Minister
Yuval Steinitz yesterday, who criticized the Israeli High Court of
Justice for issuing rulings that are financially crippling for the
Israeli economy, suggesting that a different ruling process should
be implemented.

In a follow-up story from yesterday's decision, Yediot Aharonot
reports on the practical implications of the decision to remove the
Har Bracha yeshiva from the special integrative program, noting that
current and prospective students will now be informed that if they
choose to stay at Har Bracha they will be obliged to serve three
full and consecutive years of military service. If they wish to
integrate yeshiva studies with their military service by means of
the hesder program, it will be incumbent upon them to register with
one of the other seminaries.

The Jerusalem Post reported this morning that a fifth battalion of
Palestinian security forces, trained in Jordan under United States
sponsorship, will return to the West Bank next week to beef up PA
forces in cracking down on Hamas infrastructure.


Block Quotes:
-----------
--------
Mideast:
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I. "Netanyahu and Barak must stand strong against right-wing
yeshiva"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (12/15):
"Barak's decision ... does not release the IDF from its problematic
arrangement with the yeshivas, which have become a right-wing
bastion in combat units and whose students view their rabbis as a
parallel source of authority to their commanding officers.... This
is the first time the defense establishment ... has set a "price
tag" for rabbis who undermine the foundations of democracy and tell
their students which orders to obey and which to refuse. The support
for Melamed among the heads of other hesder yeshivas ... shows the
grave danger of creating within the army a private militia of the
extreme right, subservient to the directives of the rabbis. Barak
must therefore stand strong. He must not give in to pressure or be
enticed into compromises and mediation. The cancellation of the
arrangement ... must be a precedent and a warning to other yeshivas
and their heads. But this battle cannot be left solely to the
defense minister and the army. The prime minister must make it clear
that he will not accept breaches of discipline or of the army's
subservience to the elected civilian leadership - not even in the
name of the ideology of the greater land of Israel. If he hesitates,
he will do fatal damage to Israeli democracy."

II. "Hamas at 22"

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/14):
"Time flies when you're spilling blood. Tens of thousands of
Palestinians packed a Gaza City square yesterday to mark the
anniversary and heard Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh pledge... that
Hamas would never make peace with Israel. All in all, it has been a
decent year for Hamas. Much of its leadership survived Operation
Cast Lead.... It did not find it too hard to replace tons of lost
weapons ... and reconstitute its cadre of commanders. Egypt is
plainly unable ... to stop the smuggling.... Hamas also managed to
keep Gilad Schalit's whereabouts secret from IDF intelligence....
The military setbacks suffered by Hamas ... were more than offset by
a cornucopia of diplomatic benefits thanks to the Goldstone
Report.... Divided between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian polity
is immobilized.... If the Netanyahu government assents to a
lop-sided prisoner release, Hamas's strength and Fatah's weakness
will become even more pronounced. Given that Israel is not prepared
to seize the Gaza Strip ... and that neither Palestinian elections
nor a Palestinian unity government would solve the Hamas problem,
... Nathan Brown of the Carnegie Middle East Center wonders if
perhaps Israel should not explore a Machiavellian modus vivendi with
the Islamists. It is an approach some Israeli strategists ... would
be prepared to consider ... if only Hamas would stop reminding us
... that "the liberation of the Strip is just a step to liberating
all of Palestine."
CUNNINGHAM

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