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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2725/01 3511006
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171006Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4627
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEADWD/DA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0045
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2957
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 7003
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7213
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6454
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 5112
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7314
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4071
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2288
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0949
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8468
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3480
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 7453
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 9534
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 2274
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 3360
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002725

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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Maariv reports today on a meeting that took place yesterday between
Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Chairman of hesder yeshiva
deans, Rabbi Haim Druckman, in an attempt to reach an understanding
between the parties on the issue of the Har Bracha yeshiva. The
meeting, which was described as difficult, apparently bore no
results. A rabbi whom Maariv describes as known for his moderate
views, was quoted as saying, "We have no idea what the defense
minister wants. He slammed the door on all our proposals to bring
this affair to rest, even when he learned that Rabbi Melamed was
willing to sign that he opposes protest in the IDF. At this rate he
will push us towards unraveling the entire package. The majority of
hesder yeshiva directors oppose insubordination and support service
in the IDF." Rabbi Melamed is apparently still deliberating as to
whether to add his signature to a letter by all hesder yeshiva
rabbis opposing demonstrations in the IDF. In his column in the
national religious newspaper Besheva, Melamed wrote, among other
things: "Though I knew that because of the defense minister's
imperiousness, things could come to the termination of the
arrangement with the Har Bracha Yeshiva, with all the consequences
this entails, I am committed to maintaining the Torah principle of
independent judgment, without succumbing to his tyranny. For this
reason neither did I agree to report to a 'hearing' or a 'summons'
under an ultimatum, words that fail to honor those who are entitled
and committed to freedom of thought and expression."

On the front page of Ha'aretz this morning, senior correspondent
Aluf Benn reveals the last offer presented by former Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the borders
of a Palestinian state. The report includes a map of territories and
settlements that would be annexed to Israel and areas that would be
handed over to the Palestinians in exchange.

Yediot reports that nearly 50 Knesset members have signed an unusual
parliamentary petition calling for a boycott of British products in
response to the recommendation of British officials that products
made in the West Bank and on the Golan Heights be marked in order to
assist those who wish to boycott such products.

Block Quotes:
-----------
--------
Mideast:
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I. "Abbas now"

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (12/17): "As
could have been expected, the limited construction freeze in the
settlements has not brought the Palestinian leaders back to the
negotiating table.... The decision to give incentives to ...
settlements will not contribute to building trust between Netanyahu
and Abbas. Netanyahu is continuing to walk a tightrope between ... a
two-state solution and his desire to placate the settlers ... and
the governing coalition. Abbas [is] in a bind, hoping to end the
occupation but fearing that a retreat from principles such as Jewish
construction in East Jerusalem would play into the hands of his
Hamas rivals. Abbas suggested a way out of the dilemma: freezing
Jewish construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for six
months without making a public declaration to that effect.... If
Netanyahu and Barak truly wish to preserve the two-state option and
avoid the collapse of the Palestinian leadership that supports it,
they must respond positively to Abbas' proposal.... The bitter
lesson of Netanyahu and Barak's previous terms in office should have
taught them that a leader who tries to advance the peace process and
maintain Israel's standing in the world while reconciling with the
extreme right loses in the end. This time their acrobatics could end
in the loss of an important partner for peace and a deterioration in
Israel's foreign relations."

II. "Hamas still wants to liberate 'all of Palestine'"

Senior commentator Ari Shavit wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (12/17): "The cat is out of the bag: Palestine, all of
Palestine.... Ismail Haniyeh this week declared the objective of the
Hamas movement.... The ultimate solution is not the total liberation
of the Gaza Strip or a Palestinian state. It is the liberation of
all of Palestine. In recent years, quite a number of experts have
promised us that Hamas does not really mean it. PA Chairman Abbas is
an alternative to Hamas. Two days ago Abbas told Haaretz
correspondent Avi Issacharoff that an agreement could be reached
within six months.... But every time an Israeli leader takes another
significant step toward Abbas, Abbas becomes evasive. Minister Benny
Begin says the reason is that Fatah is also a Greater Palestine
movement.... [Abbas]has been talking about two states for the past
21 years, without being willing to pay the price. Both Hamas and
Fatah are making it very difficult to end the occupation. The
alternative is an Israeli initiative. MK Shaul Mofaz's plan is one
possibility; a second disengagement is another. Whatever the case,
Israel must deal with the existential threat of the occupation on
its own. Time is running out and the writing is on the wall.
'Palestine,' the wall is blaring, 'all of Palestine.'"


III. "Three States for Two Peoples"

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (12/17): "In the
original plan ... Hamas and Abu Mazen worked on a four-stage
scenario: reconciliation between the camps, a joint police force in
Rafah, opening the border crossings, and only then an exchange deal
that would lead to the release of Gilad Shalit. Meanwhile, there is
no reconciliation, the police of Ramallah cannot set foot in the
Gaza Strip, Gaza is closed completely, and there is no deal.... The
vocal declarations about the unilateral establishment of a
Palestinian state vanished all at once. In a creeping process,
people in Gaza and the ... West Bank are working on two separate
states for the same people. Down in Gaza ... the government runs the
tunnel economy together with the military wing, which prevents
terror attacks almost entirely. Suddenly a terrorist group shouts
... that it has no intention of recognizing Israel, yet makes a
great deal of effort to maintain calm. Even the delineation of
borders ... the right of return for Palestinian refugees ... and the
trucks of cement and concrete for the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip
are stuck without an expiration date. Abu Mazen will not go wild for
the good of Gaza, and Hamas, for its part, does not intend to give
Israel an excuse to call in the Air Force. Meanwhile, there is calm.
No one is raising his head to complain. No one is standing up with a
plan for a high-speed train or an elevated bridge between Gaza and
the West Bank, either. Yasser Arafat may turn over three times in
his grave: once for the State of Israel, a second time for the state
of Gaza, and a third time in a wide circle around his gravesite in
Ramallah."

IV. "The Weak Link"

Intelligence affairs writer and television anchor Ronen Bergman
opined in the mass-circulation pluralist Yediot Aharonot
(12/17):"Cooperation between the extremist elements (Syria, Iran,
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah) which has
skyrocketed over the past year, constitutes a strategic threat to
Israel. None of this is taken for granted. Sheikh Yassin [had]
refused Iranian offers of funding and training. But Mashal was noted
... for his close ties with Iran. Hizbullah's accomplishments during
the war in 2006 and the series of blows that all the members of the
axis took afterwards ... made the cooperation between them truly
amazing. Israeli intelligence has reported [that weapons]
development takes place in Iran [and]manufacturing goes on in Syria.
The smuggling of the weapons is carried out along routes that are
common to all the members - towards Lebanon, Syria, or Gaza and the
West Bank. But director of IDF Intelligence Amos Yadlin raised
another matter: Syria is actually the weak link. He and IDF
Intelligence Research Department Director Yossi Baidatz believe that
Syria can be uprooted from the axis and that a peace treaty may be
signed with it. They believe that cutting Syria off from the axis
will lead to the dissolution of the entire front, or at least to a
dramatic weakening. The director of the Mossad Meir Dagan believes
that Assad would agree to sign, but would not leave the axis.
Netanyahu has not yet decided between them.
CUNNINGHAM

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