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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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SECDEF WASHDC FOR USDP/ASD-PA/ASD-ISA
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JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
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PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

1. Mideast

2. Anniversary of President ObamaQs Swearing-In:

3. Aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti

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

Leading media reported that yesterday U.S. Special Envoy for Middle
East Peace Senator George Mitchell came to the region in another
attempt to jump-start between Israel and the Palestinians. Ha'aretz
reported that, at a meeting at President Shimon PeresQ residence on
Sunday, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store told Peres that
Israel should take more steps to support PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Peres reportedly told him about his meetings with Abbas and Saeb
Erekat. According to Palestinian sources, Erekat comes to the
President's Residence every few weeks for meetings with Peres. "I
am a friend of Abu Mazen. He says the Americans put him in a high
tree and took the ladder away. Some of the mistakes were made by
him. His expectations of Obama were created by him. He thought
that Obama would take the Palestinian side.... I can understand his
feelings of disappointment," Peres was quoted as saying. Peres
added he told Abbas at one point that "postponing peace negotiations
is playing with fire. He says that he has time. Something will
happen to start an intifada and the two sides will have lost an
opportunity." Peres said he told Abbas he should resume the
negotiations, as he had nothing to lose.

HaQaretz quoted the AP as saying yesterday that Abbas suggested the
U.S. administration negotiate the borders aspect of the agreement
with Israel on the PA's behalf. The agency quoted a Palestinian
official as saying that Abbas made the offer in talks with gyptian
President Hosni Mubarak. The official ws quoted as saying that the
Americans would be gven clear guidelines on the Palestinian
position. However, other Palestinian sources told HaQaretz that
Abbas had no intention of authorizing the U.S. to conduct talks on
his behalf. They said Abbas made a general statement to the effect
that the U.S. must get Israel to agree to retreat to pre-1967
borders. According to HaQaretz, Mitchell reportedly is not carrying
any guarantees or assurances from the United States or Israel that
could persuade the Palestinians and Abbas to return to the
negotiating table.

All media reported that yesterday PM Benjamin Netanyahu told
reporters that Israel must have a presence in the West Bank to stop
rockets from being imported even after a peace agreement is
achieved, in the first time he has spelled out such a demand. He
was quoted as saying that the experience of rocket attacks from the
Lebanese and Gaza borders means Israel must be able to prevent such
weapons from being brought into any future Palestinian entity in the
West Bank. Israel Radio quoted senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb
Erekat as saying that his people will not renounce the Jordan
Valley, which belongs to them.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Aziz Dwaik, HamasQ most senior
representative in the West Bank -- the elected speaker of the
Palestinian Legislative Council -- as saying yesterday that Hamas
has accepted IsraelQs right to exist and would be prepared to
nullify its charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel.
Dwaik was released a few months ago after spending nearly three
years in an Israeli prison.

All media reported that yesterday DM Ehud Barak announced that the
status of Ariel College in the West Bank will be upgraded to a
university. Media reported that Barak acted under pressure by FM
Avigdor Lieberman. The move won applause from the right, but
campaigners against an academic boycott of Israel said that it is
like a Qred rag to a bull.

HaQaretz reported that new documents presented in federal court in
Washington, D.C. reveal deep ties (more than was known) between
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Dr. Stewart David Nozette, a
Jewish American astronomer accused of spying for Israel. HaQaretz
noted that the Israeli media covered his arrest on October 19, 2009
and then interest waned, though the American media are still
monitoring the case.

HaQaretz reported that American journalist Jared Malsin, the
English-language editor for the Palestinian news agency MaQan,
returned to the U.S. yesterday, after spending a week in a detention
cell at Ben-Gurion Airport. Malsin had been detained with his
girlfriend after returning from a holiday abroad last Tuesday. He
was questioned and the interrogator recommended not allowing him
into Israel, commenting on his "critical reporting" on events in the
territories. The interrogator also noted: "We believe he used his
Jewishness to secure a visa." The Interior Ministry claimed Malsin
refused to cooperate with his interrogators, even though he knew he
could be deported as a result. The Jerusalem Post, which also
reported on the case, printed a photograph of Malsin shaking hands
with U.S. Consul-General in Jerusalem Daniel Rubinstein at the MaQan
office in Bethlehem earlier this month. In an unrelated
development, The Jerusalem Post reported that the Government Press
Office is pushing for the introduction of a U.S.-style journalist
visa for foreign reporters, as part of a bid to filter out political
activists posing as media employees.

HaQaretz reported that Israeli immigration police were involved in
the arrest and deportation earlier this month of a Czech,
pro-Palestinian activist living in Ramallah, despite the
government's denial. The newspaperQs source is a highly placed
source familiar with the case.

Yediot reported that settlers may have vandalized tombstones in the
cemetery in Awarta, a village near Nablus. The Israeli human rights
group BQTselem has demanded that the army and police investigate the
incident and prosecute the criminals.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday at the International
Tourism Trade Fair in Madrid, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov
(Yisrael Beiteinu) shook hands with his Iranian counterpart.

Yediot reported that, in a bid to attract Israeli visitors, Turkey
will launch a number of events that are going to be held at the
IMTM, the tourism fair that is scheduled be held at the Exhibition
Grounds in Tel Aviv.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the High Court of Justice accepted
the state's admission that is ignoring illegal construction,
including an argument to the effect that the army was devoting all
its energies to enforcing the government-ordered building freeze in
the Jewish settlements and outposts in the West Bank and that the
illegal Palestinian building was a low priority matter.

Electronic media quoted PM Netanyahu as saying this morning at a
Manufacturers Association assembly that "infiltrators cause [Israel]
cultural, social and economic damage, and pull us towards the Third
World." "We suffer from a problem that actually stems from Israel's
economic success," he added, explaining the problems that arise from
the breached border with Egypt. "We have become almost the only
First World country that can be reached by foot from the Third
World. We are flooded with surge of refugees who threaten to wash
away our achievements and damage our existence as a Jewish
democratic state," Netanyahu said. He reiterated his intention to
erect a physical barrier along the border with Egypt to prevent this
"flood" of migrants.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Tel Aviv University academic Dr.
Anat Matar will call for a boycott of Israel, speaking at a London
university next month to commemorate Qone year since IsraelQs
attackQ on Gaza.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday a Jordanian prosecutor
agreed to hear a lawsuit against two Israeli lawmakers -- Knesset
Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (National
Union) -- after they called for turning Jordan into a Palestinian
state. The lawyers accused the Israeli parliamentarians of
threatening JordanQs sovereignty and security.

Maariv extensively reported on a conflict between the Druze people
and the state over QillegalQ construction in the Golan.

Media reported that the U.N. has requested Israel to send police to
Haiti to help maintain order. Israel is reportedly considering
agreeing to dispatch a small force.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, NBC correspondent Martin
Fletcher reflects on how being the son of Holocaust survivors has
affected his life as a journalist covering war-torn countries.

Yediot reported that this week President Obama attended a musical
event in Washington featuring Israeli singer Idan Raichel, who
conveys a message of tolerance in his concerts.

------------
1. Mideast:
------------

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


I. QObamaQs Loss Is NetanyahuQs Gain

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning HaQaretz (1/21): QThe Republican win in the fight for
the U.S. Senate seat of the late Edward Kennedy represents a major
victory for opponents of U.S. President Barack Obama and for Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. For nine months, Netanyahu held his
ground against pressure by Obama, who enjoys a Democratic majority
in both houses of Congress. From now on, Obama will be much more
dependent on support from his Republican adversaries, who are
supporters and friends of Netanyahu.... The results of the elections
in Massachusetts, one of the most liberal states in the union, are
already making things difficult for Obama. Those who support the
peace process see Obama as having missed a historic opportunity by
wasting his first year in office on empty diplomatic moves, unable
even to jump-start talks between Israel and the Palestinians. From
now on it will be even more difficult: Congressional support is
essential for every diplomatic move and in the current political
atmosphere in the United States -- polarization and serious conflict
between the two parties -- Netanyahu can depend on Republican
support to thwart any attempts to pressure Israel. If Obama's
popularity continues to plummet and the Republicans retake at least
one of the houses of Congress in November then Netanyahu and his
partners on the right can breathe easy and continue to expand the
West Bank settlements and the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem.

II. QBarakQs Boomerang

Settler leader Israel Harel wrote in HaQaretz (1/21): QAfter three
months of concentrated propaganda against Qright-wing refusal to
serveQ -- or in other words (with sweeping generalization), against
the hesder yeshivas, which combine Torah study with army service --
one of the two soldiers who held up a sign saying QShimshon
[Battalion] won't evacuate HomeshQ has been ousted from the Israel
Defense Forces. A vigorous protest against his ouster is essential.
His demonstrative act of protest, which was clearly unacceptable
(the soldier was rightly sent to jail), did not in any way amount to
refusal to serve. A mere protest does not warrant such grave injury
to a soldier's honor, the honor of his family and the honor of his
social and spiritual milieu.... Those who were tolerant of, and in
some cases even sympathetic to, the phenomenon of refusing orders in
the midst of battle -- in Lebanon, for instance -- have stigmatized
precisely those who are most highly motivated, by tarring them with
the brush of refusal to serve.

III. QLegitimizing the Evils of Occupation

Columnist and former Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Sarid, who started
his political life in the Labor Party, wrote on page one of the
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (1/21): QThe Labor Party has
always been the great legitimizer of the occupation's evils. This
is the historical mission it has taken on, and no other party could
have done it better. Now Labor is legitimizing another evil.
Having once served as chairman of the Council for Higher Education,
I can assert: there is no academic justification for recognizing
Ariel College as a university. Nor as a Quniversity centerQ -- a
smart-aleck term trying to bypass the rules. Barak always believes
he can build a new career with tricks and ruses but ends up tripping
himself with his ploys.... Now those boycotting Israeli universities
have a case -- proof of the tightening knot between the occupation,
military administration and academe. No doubt, Barak's move will
raise more calls to boycott Israeli universities and academics. We
can only hope the Council for Higher Education will not cooperate
with this outrageous move. Otherwise, it would betray the public's
trust and do irreparable damage to all the universities and colleges
under its charge.

IV. QRight-Wing Extremists Remain Immune

Advocate Dr. Shlomo Cohen, former President of the Israel Bar
Association, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (1/21): Q[Outgoing Attorney-General Menachem] Mazuz has
protected an apartheid policy that expressed itself in the Israeli
authoritiesQ decision to prevent movement of Palestinians on Route
443, despite the fact that land confiscation was justified by the
need to build a road that would serve local residents. During
MazuzQs term, the state repeatedly infringed [High Court laws
mainly those dealing with the locations of the [separation] fence,
but also other ones. IDF forces killed around 4,700 Palestinian
civilians. Only legal 170 files were opened; only around 30
soldiers were put on trial. Hundreds of Palestinians were maimed.
Settlers damaged the property of thousands of them. Only a small
minority of cases was investigated; only ten indictments were
presented. Israeli democracy, which is largely based on the
principle of rule of law, represents an extraordinary achievement in
universal and historical terms Q especially considering the
constraints, tests, and hardships with which Israel had to contend
all along. But this achievement is overshadowed by the failure of
the Israeli judicial system, which teats the territories as a black
hole. The outgoing Attorney-General shares this responsibility.

V. QMore Free Speech in Israeli and Palestinian than U.S. Media
Palestinian-American journalist Ray Hanania, the coordinator of the
National Arab American Journalists Association, wrote in the
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (1/21): QWhy the near-total
silence from American leaders and muted coverage in the American
press now over the arrest and detention [by Israel] of [American
journalist and English-language editor of the Palestinian news
agency MaQan, Jared] Malsin? It is a testament to the confidence of
Israel's media that they, more than anyone else, have written and
followed the Malsin story. In fact, if it wasn't for the Israeli
media and the MaQan News Agency, few others would be covering the
story.... While the Israeli media sees this as a story about a
government agency violating free speech, the American media and the
elected officials in the U.S. view it as a reason to bash Israel.
In a way, that puts the mainstream American press and American
politicians in the same boat with those Palestinian and Arab media
which see the issue not as one of principle but as an opportunity to
attack Israel.... Most of the Israeli and Palestinian media did a
better job of covering his case than the mainstream news media in
America, the country that claims to set the bar for the rest of the
world when it comes to free speech. Have the mainstream American
media and American officials failed in doing their jobs, or are they
just afraid to get on Israel's bad side? Whatever the reason, many
in the Israeli and Palestinian press are keeping the story on the
front burner in a way that helps guarantee that Malsin's
journalistic rights will eventually be protected, while putting the
Qfree mediaQ in America to shame.

--------------------------------------------- ----
2. Anniversary of President ObamaQs Swearing-In:
--------------------------------------------- ----

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

"Unhappy Obamaversary"

Contributor Gil Troy, a professor of history at McGill University on
leave in Jerusalem, wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post (1/21): QIn fairness, being president in 2009 was not easy.
When Obama started running, he, like most people, assumed the good
times would continue. Bill Clinton can tell his successor that it
is a lot more fun to preside over prosperity than manage a
recession. But many of Obama's problems are Obama's fault. In
2008, candidate Obama promised to lead from the center. He sang a
song of modern American nationalism, a Qyes we canQ credo of working
together, seeking the national sweet spot where most Americans could
agree.... Alas, in his big push for health care reform, Obama
deputized the partisan, ideologically-charged Democrats in Congress
to draft the legislation, and accepted pushing for a marginal
victory rather than nurturing a broad-based bipartisan coalition.
The Republicans share the blame. The party of Ronald Reagan and
George H.W. Bush has become the party of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn
Beck, shrill, demagogic, adolescent, obstructionist. Quick to
criticize but slow to envision constructive alternatives, the
Republicans have been the party of Qno we won'tQ to Obama's Qyes we
canQ.... Just as his Qyes we canQ campaign broke free of the
shackles of the past, in this, his sophomore year, America's rookie
president must break free from the shackles of liberal Democratic
orthodoxy.

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

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

QThe Pride and the Shame

Liberal columnist Larry Derfner wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (1/21): QWhen it's a matter of life or
death, [Israelis] have the biggest hearts. So the IDF field
hospital in Haiti is a reflection of something very deep in the
national character. But so is everything that's summed up in the
name Gaza.Q It's the Haiti side of Israel that makes the Gaza side
so inexpressibly tragic. And more and more, the Haiti part of the
national character has been dwarfed by the Gaza part. Gaza, too, is
a matter of life and death -- not just for the people who were
trapped in the rubble there not long ago, but for Israel. When will
this big-hearted nation stop being heartless to the people in
Gaza?

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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