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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
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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:
--------------------------------

1. Aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti

2. Mideast

3. Israel-Turkey Relations:

-------------------------
Key stories in the media:
-------------------------

All media continued to report extensively on the aftermath of the
Haiti earthquake and the successful activity of the Israeli field
hospital in Port-au-Prince.

The Jerusalem Post reported that sources close to Jordan's General
Intelligence Department (GID) revealed yesterday that last week's
failed attempt on the lives of Israeli diplomats in Jordan was
apparently carried out on instructions from Tehran. The sources
were quoted as saying that the GID was investigating the possibility
that the explosives used in the attack had been smuggled into the
kingdom by Iranian diplomats. The sources said that the attack
itself was apparently carried out by local al-Qaida supporters who
received money and explosives from Iran. On Monday, Al-Arabiya
reported that an Amman taxi driver was arrested on suspicion of
involvement in the bombing. According to the sources, the GID
believes that the attack came in response to the killing of Iranian
scientist Professor Massoud Ali Muhammadi in Teheran last week. On
Monday, Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Muhammad Najjar vowed to
take revenge on Israel over Ali Muhammadi's assassination.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Israel of being behind the
assassination, which he said had been carried out in "Zionist
style."

On 1/17 Israel Hayom reported that Dennis Ross, who served as
President Bill ClintonQs special envoy to the Middle East and who
currently serves as an adviser to President Obama, visited Israel
secretly last week and met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The newspaper stressed that Ross advises the President on the
Iranian nuclear program.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday hard-line Likud Knesset
Member Danny Danon told the daily that Israelis do not regard
President Obama as a fair negotiator and that he would give the
President a Qfailing gradeQ for his first year in office. Danon is
about to leave for a four-day visit to the U.S.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and
Mary is in Israel to promote Operation Respect, which seeks to
foster a compassionate learning environment for kids. Yarrow was
quoted as saying on Sunday: QIQve never been prouder of being
American than because of what the American Embassy is doing here.

On Sunday HaQaretz reported that in October Shin Bet head Yuval
Diskin told PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that Israel would turn the
West Bank into a Qsecond GazaQ if the latter did not ask for a
postponement of the vote on the Goldstone report at the U.N. Human
Rights Council.

The media reported that yesterday police forces and Shin Bet agents
raided the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem with the goal of
arresting suspects connected to the arson attack at the mosque in
the West Bank village Yasuf on December 11. Meanwhile, additional
suspects were arrested from the yeshiva in the Yitzhar settlement.

Leading media reported that the IDF has begun to take more stringent
steps against acts of insubordination and that it decided yesterday
for the first time to discharge from military service a soldier who
supported insubordination. The soldier in question is one of the
soldiers who raised the placard calling for insubordination in the
Shimshon Battalion.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli defense officials as saying
yesterday that the Defense Ministry is working on allocating the
funding to manufacture seven Iron Dome missile defense batteries
over the next two years.

Leading media reported that on 1/17 Infrastructure Minister Uzi
Landau (Yisrael Beiteinu) visited Abu Dhabi, the capital of the
United Arab Emirates -- the first Israeli minister to visit one of
the Gulf states. Landau attended an international conference on
alternative energy alongside representatives of Arab states such as
Syria and Lebanon. LandauQs visit, which took place with the
agreement of the UAE, is the result of a decision by the
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) that Israel would
participate and have full access to the organizationQs center in Abu
Dhabi. Maariv reported that recently, IsraelQs standing in the
organization as also upgraded to the level of a Qstate with
significant involvement.

HaQaretz reported that a Libyan delegation visited Bethlehem three
weeks ago, as part of the PAQs plan to woo the next host nation of
the Arab League summit.

The media reported that yesterday, during the historic joint
Israeli-German Cabinet session in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela
Merkel backed tough sanctions on Iran. PM Benjamin Netanyahu called
for the imposition of crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday Foreign Ministry
Director-General Yossi Gal flew to Turkey to take part in the
biannual Turkish-Israeli strategic dialogue session -- according to
the newspaper, a further sign (along with DM Ehud BarakQs visit to
Ankara on Sunday) that ties with Turkey have not collapsed.

Israel Hayom reported that next week a delegation of top executives
from Lockheed-Martin, which is developing the future F-35 combat
jet, will be coming to Israel for meetings with government and
military officials. The deal in which Israel will purchase the
future stealth bombers is expected to be signed either at the end of
March or in early April. The differences between the parties
currently revolve mainly around the cost of the plane and the
AmericansQ objections to IsraelQs desire to install Israeli
electronic warfare systems in the planes. That said, Israeli
officials were quoted as saying that progress has been made in the
talks. Israel will receive the planes in 2014 or 2016. In the
initial stage, Israel will purchase 25 planes, with an option for
purchasing an additional 50. Israeli officials said that while the
security establishment was interested in purchasing the planes, it
would not do so Qat any price.Q In 2002 Israel joined the
multi-national project to build the combat jet of the future as an
Qobserver,Q and not as an active partner. Israel Hayom quoted Qsome
peopleQ as saying that the decision not to become a full-fledged
participant in the project was a very bad mistake.

Major media reported that Shas has become the first ultra-Orthodox
party to ask to join the World Zionist Organization.

Leading media reported that Angel Gurria, the Secretary-General of
the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
begins a two-day visit in Israel today, ahead of the countryQs
possible admission to the organization. HaQaretz reported that
confidence is mounting Qin the Jerusalem corridorsQ that Israel will
join the organization this May, becoming its 32nd member. The final
decision will be made by the OECD ministerial committee. Some media
reported that Gurria has raised some reservations about IsraelQs
entry into the OECD.

The Jerusalem Post and other media reported that Jewish religious
manuscripts rescued by U.S. troops from Iraq are being restored in
Maryland.

-----------------------------------------
1. Aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti:
-----------------------------------------

Block Quotes:
-------------

I. QValiant in Disaster

Senior columnist and longtime peace advocate Yoel Marcus wrote in
the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (1/19): QEvery time disaster
strikes anywhere in the world, I am filled anew with admiration at
how ready and willing we are to assist and how speedy, effective,
organized, and wholehearted that assistance is. We did not rush aid
to Haiti because there is a Jewish community there. We went there
for humanitarian reasons. As a nation that has experienced
disasters and bereavement for generations, other nations' disasters
do not leave us indifferent. Our photographers and reporters
hurried over there not to humiliate some Turkish ambassador, but
because they want to show -- and rightly so -- an attractive side of
Israel, for a change. It is easier for us to organize rescue
operations outside Israel than do all that is necessary to advance
peace inside it and thus prevent deadly attacks on our home front.
There is no need to wait for an Qearthquake,Q as the Yom Kippur War
was dubbed, to achieve a Qpeace of the brave.

II. QIsrael - a Leader among the Community of Nations

Gershon Baskin, Co-Director of the Israel/Palestine Center for
Research and Information, wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (1/19): QHumanitarian disasters around the world
bring out the best in Israel and in Israelis.... [But] our high
level of morality demonstrated in Haiti will not cover up our
immorality in Gaza nor will it postpone the collision course that we
are on with the rest of the world. Only real movement toward real
peace, which is the morally right thing to do and also serves our
interests, will place Israel where it needs to be and where it can
easily be -- as a welcome member of the community of nations and
even, perhaps, as a light unto nations.

III. QGood Intentions but Slow and Cumbersome Implementation

Avraham Ben-Zvi, visiting Professor of Political Science at Haifa
University and an expert in U.S.-Israel relations, wrote in the
independent Israel Hayom (1/17): QThe tragedy that struck Haiti
presented a challenge to Obama: to try to demonstrate to the United
States and the world that the might of the American superpower is
not directed only at military goals, but that it is also meant for
noble humanitarian purposes. [But] despite the good intentions, the
impression has been formed that the American giant has not yet
learned the secret of improvisation and inventiveness and that the
rescue operations started slowly and in a cumbersome fashion.
Instead of devoting initial attention to urgent tasks -- including
the immediate running of the airportQs control tower and the
creation of a logistic infrastructure to receive the incoming aid --
[U.S.] activity dispersed to less vital domains. It can only be
hoped that the crouching giant will learn in the future how to
combine an abundance of resources and advanced technology with some
mind speed.

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Block Quotes:
-------------


I. QIn Order to Vanquish the Other

Former Meretz leader, former Justice Minister, and chief Israeli
promoter of the Geneva Initiative, Yossi Beilin, wrote in the
independent Israel Hayom (1/18): QIt is not enough that both Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
have agreed to reach a permanent-status agreement or that that they
have agreed in principle to adopt a two-state solution, as long as
both sides view negotiations between them as a zero-sum game....
Progress will come through thinking that an agreement is one that
only has two winners. I believe that we proved the possibility of
mutual victory in the Geneva Imitative that [Benjamin Netanyahu]
agreed upon six years ago.

II. QThe Gaza Quagmire

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (1/19):
QWere Hamas to begin to lose its grip, it is far from clear that the
joint Israeli and Egyptian hope of the return of secular Fatah rule
to Gaza and enabling a new stability is well-founded.... Although
al-Qaida has long chastised Hamas for failing to look beyond Israel
and link up with bin Laden's global war, it is also skeptical over
the survivability and ideological commitment of global jihadis in
Gaza. The jihadis remain hopeful, however, and claim to be plotting
large-scale attacks in a bid to earn al-Qaida's approval. Al-Qaida
has proven its ability to move into the vacuum left behind by failed
states and convert territories with no sovereignty into bases for
global jihad. For now, Hamas retains a firm grip on Gaza, and the
prospect of its replacement by an even more radical entity, made up
of a coalition of al-Qaida-affiliated organizations dedicated to bin
Laden's global war, is remote. But the ambition is certainly there.
And the existence of so dark a scenario only underlines the
escalated complexity of attempting to resolve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict when the Palestinian people are divided
into two distinct, mutually hostile, geographic, and political
entities.


III. QIsrael Is in the Picture, Too

Arab affairs correspondent Smadar Perry wrote in the
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (1/19): QThis week Dr.
Mustafa Fiki, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the
[Egyptian] Parliament, entered the debate [over his countryQs
Presidential elections]. He has been closely associated with
[Hosni] Mubarak since the time when he served as Qinformation
secretaryQ.... According to the veteran politician, QLike it or not,
only the candidate who will earn American support, only the one
whose nomination will not be disapproved by Israel, will be able to
be elected EgyptQs next president.Q In other words: the period of
interrogation is over. Behind the scenes, Washington and Jerusalem
have entered the picture and are strongly involved in the process of
the launching and smooth entry of the heir in his role.. From

IsraelQs angle there is not room for consequences or homework.
Those who need can study Gamal [Mubarak]. He, himself, will be wary
of coming close to Israel in order not to be scratched at home.
This is the plan, this is the man, and everything is ready. Still,
an experienced fox in Israel is warning that the story isnQt over.

----------------------------
3. Israel-Turkey Relations:
----------------------------

Block Quotes:
-------------

QFacing Turkey

Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., former President of Tel Aviv
University, and former Chief Israeli Negotiator with Syria Professor
Itamar Rabinovich, wrote in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(1/19): QThe strained relations between Ankara and Jerusalem affect
the balance of power in the entire region. A decade ago, Turkey was
an ally of the United States and maintained varied and extensive
relations with Israel. In recent years, it has been sliding toward
Syria and Iran and away from America, and has become a venomous
critic of Israel. If it slides any further, Turkey could become
part of an Iranian-Syrian-Turkish triangle that would be a key
element in Middle Eastern politics -- to the detriment of
Washington, Israel and the moderate Arab states.... There is not
much Israel can do under these circumstances.... [But] The Turkish
leadership realizes that to mediate between Syria and Israel or to
help the Palestinians it must maintain a dialogue with Israel. To
take advantage of its assets, Israel has to make a concerted effort,
managed by the top governmental echelon. A considerable part of the
damage caused last week would have been averted if the Prime
Minister had intervened earlier.... Having already made bitter
enemies of the Greeks and the Armenians, [the Turks] certainly don't
want to do the same with the Jewish people. It is a difficult and
complex task, whose fruits will not be immediately evident. The
Prime Minister must place it high on his agenda.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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