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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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P 311234Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0097
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 3008
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 7064
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7268
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6505
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 5173
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7365
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4122
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2347
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 1000
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8519
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3531
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 7504
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 9591
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 2325
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 3428
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RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002851

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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1. Mideast

2. Anti-Terrorism Efforts

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Key stories in the media:
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Israel Hayom reported that U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace
Senator George Mitchell is slated to arrive in Israel next Thursday.
The reported purpose of his visit, which the newspaper says will
also include Cairo and Ramallah, is to make PM Benjamin Netanyahu
and PA President Mahmoud Abbas renew the negotiations. The
Jerusalem Post reported that Mitchell is expected to declare a
framework for peace talks aimed at reconciling the Palestinian
demand for a state based on the 1967 lines, with Israel's goal of a
Jewish state with secure and recognized borders. The Jerusalem
Post quoted diplomatic officials as saying that Israel is very close
to agreeing with the U.S. on terms of reference for the talks that
will be very close to guidelines spelled out by Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton in her statement following Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu's announcement in late November of a 10-month settlement
moratorium. In the statement, which The Jerusalem Post says is
Qexpected to be the touchstone for the diplomatic process for some
time,Q Clinton said, "We believe that through good-faith
negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends
the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent
and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the
Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders
that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security
requirements."

All media (banners in Israel Hayom and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe) quoted
a Hamas-affiliated Web site that cited a claim by Abu Abdullah, the
head of Hamas intelligence in Gaza, that Israel attempted to kidnap
a senior Hamas official in order to obtain information about Gilad
ShalitQs detention the place and convey it to Shin Bet. Israel
Radio reported that a Hamas delegation is supposed to convey to
Egypt its response to IsraelQs offer regarding the Shalit deal.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli defense officials as saying
yesterday, a day after the High Court of Justice ordered the IDF to
open Route 443 to Palestinian traffic, that the Defense Ministry is
preparing legal arguments against an expected spate of court
petitions to open other roads currently only open to Israeli cars
because of security concerns. Yediot reported that PM Netanyahu
told associates that the ruling endangers peopleQs lives. HaQaretz
and Maariv quoted right-wing Knesset members as saying that the
Supreme CourtQs ruling is proof that the courtQs composition must be
altered.

Maariv cited the assessment of Western diplomats that U.S.
intelligence, which Qhas understoodQ that it had erred in its
determined 2007 assertion that Iran is not driving to procure
nuclear weapons. The newspaper reported that the international
intelligence community and the Mossad are awaiting the publication
of the new U.S. report on the subject. A headline in the daily
reads: QThe United StatesQ Moral Stock-Taking.Q The Jerusalem Post
reported that Canadian human rights activist and former Justice
Minister and Attorney-General Irwin Cotler revealed at a Jerusalem
press conference yesterday a petition he is spearheading that calls
on governments and the U.N. to take immediate and massive diplomatic
and economic action against Iran. Cotler accused the Iranian
government of violating international law regarding nuclear weapons
development, incitement to genocide, state-sponsored terrorism and
human rights.

Maariv reported that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva
is initiating a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Jerusalem PostQs Web page quoted Israeli officials as saying
yesterday that the government plans today to update its decision to
freeze settlement construction and thereby return some of the
decision-making powers to the local settlement councils. Under the
current decision, made last month by the government, all
construction is forbidden in the 150 settlements and outposts in the
West Bank. A revision of the order is currently underway and will
give local councils in the West Bank the authority to approve
projects related to public infrastructure and small repairs on
existing homes.

HaQaretz reported that outgoing Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is
expected to decide whether Israeli-Arab actor and director Mohammed
Bacri should be indicted for his controversial film QJenin, Jenin,
the subject of which is war crimes possibly committed by IDF troops
in Operation Defensive Shield in April 2002.


Maariv quoted associates of Kadima head Tzipi Livni as saying that
she will agree to Knesset Member Shaul MofazQs suggestions that the
party primaries be moved up. The associates explained that
opposition within the party will thus be eliminated.

Echoed by The Jerusalem PostQs Web site, Israel Radio reported that
Zeev Baran, PolandQs Honorary Consul in Jerusalem, has complained
that ultra-Orthodox harassed Christian clergy and vandalized
monasteries. Baran warned that these acts could lead to anti-Jewish
deeds abroad. The radio reported that Baran met this week with
Christian and ultra-Orthodox representatives in the Jerusalem
Municipality to try and put a stop to the phenomena without
involving the police, and it was agreed that the ultra-Orthodox
representatives would act to curb the attacks. An adviser on
ultra-Orthodox affairs to the Jerusalem Mayor condemned the
harassment, saying: "These acts are similar to anti-Semitic attacks
abroad."

Leading media reported that, in a precedent-setting appointment,
Jamal Hakrush, Israel PoliceQs highest-ranking Muslim police
officer, will become the deputy commander of the coastal region.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
took the Catholic Church to task this week, disputing "historical
evidence" cited by Church officials as proof that World War II-era
Pope Pius XII had worked to save Jews from the Holocaust. The
Jerusalem Post reported that Abraham Foxman, the ADLQs National
(U.S.) Director, called the claim an Qapparent campaign of
misinformation,Q saying that it is crucial for the Vatican to open
Holocaust-era archives now.

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1. Mideast:
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Block Quotes:
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I. QThere Is No Deluxe Occupation

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (12/31): QThe
High Court of Justice's decision, in a panel headed by Supreme Court
President Dorit Beinisch, to end the ban on Palestinians using Route
443 is one of the most correct and just decisions the court has made
in recent years.... Over the course of 42 years of occupation, an
approach has taken root which holds that the security and even
convenience of the settlers take precedence over the property rights
and welfare of the Palestinians.... As was to be expected, Knesset
members from the right attacked the Supreme Court with the
questionable assertion that removing the roadblocks at the entrance
of the villages near the road would undermine the security of
travelers. These Knesset members ignore the principle behind the
court's ruling and the rules of international law, which enable the
military administration to violate property rights only if this is
done for the benefit of the local population.... The barring of
Palestinians from Route 443 was one of the ugliest aspects of a
deluxe occupation. Real security cannot be achieved by roadblocks,
fences and separate roads, but only by a fair peace accord that will
bring an end to the occupation.

II. QCreate a Dilemma for Hamas

Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (12/31): QHamas has no interest in a prisoner
exchange deal, and the ongoing negotiations only intensify the
psychological warfare that it uses on Israeli society and magnifies
its strength.... So how is Gilad Shalit to be released at this
stage? By using the mind, by thinking and by employing dilemma
tactics.... The first dilemma we would be creating for Hamas: we
would be revealing whom they want released, and even worse for it:
whom they didnQt ask to be released. This in itself would create
chaos for Hamas with the families and the Palestinian public. Let
them drown in an act of their own causing. The second dilemma:
because Hamas has no interest in a deal but only in never-ending
negotiations, it will face a terrible dilemma.... The families of
the prisoners will put heavy pressure on it to wrap up the deal and
to accept it, and it is liable to be perceived as a failure in
Palestinian eyes, as a loser who was unable to achieve anything.
With its own hands it will have lost all its achievements. True,
such an Israeli position requires courage and determination,
something that I am not certain that all our leaders, and our
public, have, but that is how negotiations are conducted in the
Middle East. The other side must be put into a dilemma and given
the sense that tomorrow it will get a lot less than today. Such a
dilemma will force it to agree to the conditions.

III. QJourney to Nowhere
Far left columnist Gideon Levy wrote in Ha'aretz (12/31): QGeorge
Mitchell will be here soon, Benjamin Netanyahu has already been to
Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas is on his way. In the end there will be a
summit. In Washington they'll be elated, in Europe they'll be
exhilarated, the settlers will fulminate, and the leftists will
somnambulate. Yet another scene in the theater of the absurd,
another act in the endless grotesque burlesque. Here we are again:
The season of negotiations is upon us, negotiations that amount to
nothing.... It's been a horrifyingly dreary tale of sterile
diplomacy, a 40-year journey to nowhere.... The time for words is
over. Stop negotiating, start doing. Lifting the blockade on Gaza
and declaring a perpetual freeze on building in the settlements
would do more than a thousand formulations. Someone who wants two
states doesn't build even one more balcony. This is the litmus test
of Israel's true intentions. Without taking these steps, everything
else is a waste of time, the time of the negotiators and of all of
us. Does Netanyahu mean to take any of these steps? That is very
doubtful, troublingly so.

IV. QImagined Deterrence

Gabi Sheffer, a liberal political science professor at the Hebrew
University, wrote in Ha'aretz (12/31): QThe prevalent assumption
[among IsraelQs political and military leaderships] is that the
Second Lebanon War, the bombing of the nuclear facility in Syria,
and Operation Cast Lead have greatly strengthened Israeli
deterrence. The proof is the present quiet on the borders. But
then, almost in the same breath and without explaining the inherent
contradiction, they all say this quiet won't last forever. The
conclusion: Israel must prepare energetically for the possibility of
a military or terrorist outbreak, and even thwart it with a
preventive strike. The calls for such an offensive primarily refer,
of course, to Iran.... Israeli leaders must stop spreading the idea
that Israel has the ability to take decisive deterrent action and
must initiate a military operation every few years to preserve that
ability. Instead of preparing for an attack on Iran, Syria,
Hizbullah, and Hamas, the government should be investing a lot more
in direct attempts to resolve -- by negotiations -- the conflicts
with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians. This would also reduce
the fear of Iran to a large extent.

V. QA Taboo Question for Israelis

Liberal columnist Larry Derfner wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (12/31): QThe question we have to ask
ourselves is this: if anybody treated us like we're treating the
people in Gaza, what would we do?.... During the 2008 U.S.
presidential campaign, Barack Obama visited Sderot, saying, QIf
missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do
everything in order to stop that.Q Absolutely right. I wonder,
though, what sort of empathetic reaction he might have had if he'd
also visited the Jabalya refugee camp that summer. I wonder how
he'd react if he visited Jabalya now. And how would we react? If
we Israelis could go to Gaza and see in person what we've done to
that place and its people, would we be capable of empathy? If we
thought of our children living in a country that was just like
postwar Gaza, would we allow ourselves to think what we might do?
We can't go to Gaza, but we have to start using our imagination. We
have to dare to put ourselves in those people's place. And we have
to stop doing to them what we would never allow anyone to do to us.
Otherwise, we Israelis have no conscience, and little by little we
become capable of anything.

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

Block Quotes:
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QAmerican Anxiety

The ultra-Orthodox Yated NeQeman editorialized (12/31): QPresident
Obama admitted this week that the [American] intelligence and
defense systems suffered Qsystemic failureQ.... The massive
terrorist attacks have put to a test the limits of American power
and the fact that the strongest and richest army in the world cannot
always protect its citizens. America is vulnerable to an attack.
Since that day [9/11] America has abandoned its invincibility and
started to feel that even the greatest superpower cannot provide
full security to its citizens.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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