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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0199
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 3110
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 7174
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7375
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6608
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 5290
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7472
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4225
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2450
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 1102
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8637
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3634
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000175

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. Anniversary of President ObamaQs Swearing-In:

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Key stories in the media:
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All media quoted the German weekly Der Spiegel as saying that Iran
will produce an atomic weapon within a year and that it is trying to
reduce the size of the weapon so that it can mount it on a missile.
Israel Radio quoted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying
that IranQs time of decision has arrived. The radio reported that
Israel is trying to have a deal between Iran and a German gas firm
canceled and that another contract was annulled. IDF Radio quoted
DM Ehud Barak as saying that lack of peace is IsraelQs greatest
threat, not IranQs nuclear program.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the PA is QstudyingQ U.S. Special
Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George MitchellQs proposal to
restart talks at a ministerial level. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted
leading Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat as saying that reports on
the resumption of the negotiations are inaccurate. IDF Radio quoted
PA President Mahmoud Abbas that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is
pressuring him to renew the talks.

Information and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein said in an interview
from New York with Israel Radio that Israel does not intend to draft
a document of its own to counter the Goldstone Report. Several
major media had discussed this possibility.

HaQaretz cited a Foreign Ministry report that the humiliation of the
Turkish Ambassador to Israel has worked and that Ankara got the
message; the dossier points a finger at Turkish PM Recep Tayyip
Erdogan for anti-Semitic remarks.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe quoted associates of DM Barak as saying that
the comment the Minister made yesterday at a session of the Labor
PartyQs Knesset faction about Qvoices in the Israeli Left that,
instead of encouraging the parties, are strengthening doubts among
the Palestinians,Q referred to former Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin.

HaQaretz reported that IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi is
heading to Brussels for a NATO military conference.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Congressman Howard Berman, Chairman
of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, defended PM Benjamin
Netanyahu and placed the onus for restarting peace talks on the
Palestinians.

Yediot reported that Tim Laas, a U.S. security officer at the
Consulate-General in Jerusalem, told representatives of the foreign
and defense ministries that the U.S. does not agree to let Israeli
security staff inspect its vehicles in the country.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira,
head of the Old Yosef Chai yehiva in the Yitzhar settlement near
Nablus, was clled for questioning by police over the alleged
nvolvement of six of his students in the arson of West Bank
mosque on December 11.

All media rported that yesterday PM Benjamin Netanyahu's wifeSara
sued Maariv, its editor-in-chief Yoav Tzur, nd journalist Ben
Caspit for libel and defamatio of character, claiming that the
daily newspaper "is maliciously trying to humiliate her."
Sara Netanyahu seeks damages of one million shekels (around
$250,000) from Maariv. Last Friday the paper wrongly reported that
she had fired a 70-year-old gardener at the Prime Minister's
Residence. In another development, the media reported that the
former employee of the PMQs wife at the Netanyahu residence in
Caesarea, who accused her of bad treatment and low remuneration,
filed a complaint with the police, saying that someone had
threatened to kill her children.

All media reported that yesterday the Knesset approved by a large
majority a comprehensive pardon bill for hundreds of right-wing
people who transgressed the law during the disengagement from Gaza
and the northern West Bank.

Some Israeli commentators speculated, counter to the view of the
Lebanese Government, that the explosion of the Ethiopian Airlines
plane off the coast of Beirut was caused by malice.

Leading media reported that current visits to Poland, Hungary, and
Slovakia by Israeli leaders are meant to return Eastern EuropeQs
diplomatic support for Israel.

Israel Radio reported that Knesset Member Said Naffaa (Balad
National Democratic Assembly) has asked the KnessetQs House
Committee to grant him immunity from prosecution over his trip to
Syria in 2007. Naffaa claims that his trip was part of his duties
to the public that elected him. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz
rejected the attempt to turn the indictment into an issue pertaining
to the entire Druze community in Israel. Mazuz was quoted as saying
that this case most clearly represents a contact of the severest
type with a foreign agent.

Media quoted Polish Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek as saying in an
interview with an Italian Catholic news website, Pontifex Roma, that
Jews had "stolen" the tragedy of the Holocaust for propaganda
purposes. He later recanted his comment.

The media reported that last night the field hospital opened by
Israel in Haiti closed its doors. The Jerusalem Post wrote that as
of yesterday, 1,102 Haitians had been treated at the facility.
Among that number, 13 women gave birth naturally, three babies were
delivered using Caesarian sections, and 314 operations were
performed. Fifteen people remained hospitalized at the facility and
they will continue to receive treatment over the next few days until
the Qpull-outQ of IDF forces is complete.

Israel Hayom notes that, contrary to the OECD, The Wall Street
Journal praises IsraelQs economic policy. Channel 10-TV reported
that the International Monetary Fund has urged Bank of Israel
Governor Stanley Fischer to stop buying U.S. dollars.


--------
Mideast:
--------

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


I. QThe Bulldozers ArenQt Dozing

Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in Ha'aretz (1/26): QTwo
months after the government decision on November 26 to freeze
construction in Jewish settlements for 10 months, you'd have to be
blind, an idiot, or a member of the Yesha Council of Jewish
Settlements in the Territories to use the term QfreezeQ to describe
the real estate situation in Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank].
Two days ago, when Netanyahu planted a tree in Gush Etzion, he
promised to place many more trees in the Ariel bloc as well, which
is 20 kilometers east of the Green Line. In the case of Ariel,
Netanyahu kept his word even before he gave it; as he was speaking
yellow bulldozers were feverishly working on a new site for Ariel's
industrial zone.... Two days ago HaQaretz documented bulldozers at
work [in that region] (and also in the Barkan industrial zone). The
spokesman of the Civil Administration [which depends on the
IDF/Defense Ministry] explained that the Qenforcement efforts and
issuing of injunctions is done in accordance with all the relevant
considerations and priorities.Q It seems that the freeze on the
construction of new industrial zones in national priority zones of
the government in the heart of the West Bank is not at the top of
the Defense Minister's list of priorities. He apparently was busy
upgrading the status of Ariel University Center of Samaria.
Netanyahu's colleagues will probably explain to the Americans that
aside from the settlers, factories also experience natural growth.


II. QA Nutty State

Senior columnist and longtime peace advocate Yoel Marcus wrote in
the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (1/26): QThere is no doubt
that the settlers and Likud extremists are pleased with Obama's
admission of failure. But as far as the state's real interests are
concerned, there is no cause for rejoicing. In any case, sooner or
later we will have to end the occupation. The only question is
under what circumstances. When a Republican is elected instead of
the Democratic candidate in Massachusetts -- home to the Kennedy
clan and a Democratic bastion -- reducing the Democratic-aligned
majority in the Senate from 60 to 59, this is not good news to Obama
ahead of the November elections. As Israelis we should not jump for
joy when a Democratic administration weakens. For better or worse
we gain from America not only defense assistance, but backing on the
world stage. Many states court us because of these special
relations. Strategically we need a strong, leading America. On the
other hand, America needs us too. Obama has positioned us as a
central pawn on his peace chessboard with Islam. In the tangle of
Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Iranian threat, he sees the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a snarl that must be untangled....
Before the President finds the timing for imposing a
deadlock-breaking move, Netanyahu would do well to come up with his
own initiative to break the impasse.

III. QThe Resurrection of the Allon Plan

David Newman, Professor of Political Geography at Ben-Gurion
University and Editor of the International Journal of Geopolitics,
wrote in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (1/26): QPrime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments last week to foreign
journalists that whatever the final outcome of a peace solution
(assuming there is ever one), Israel would insist on retaining
control of the border between a Palestinian state and Jordan
signaled a return to a way of thinking about the future borders of
the country thought to have disappeared over a decade ago.... The
idea of retaining control over the border with Jordan is a throwback
to the period immediately following the Six Day War.... The Allon
Plan, after its author, former Palmah commander, foreign minister,
and deputy prime minister Yigal Allon, could best be described as a
pragmatic security plan. Recognizing the demographic implications
of long-term control of the region, Allon did not want Israel to
retain such control over the interior mountainous areas of the West
Bank, densely occupied even then by Palestinians. At the same time,
he wanted to ensure that the autonomous region remain isolated from
direct contact with its Arab neighbors to the east.... Did Netanyahu
make his statement based on real security expertise or was it just
another attempt to hammer the nails even more strongly into the
coffin of peace?

IV. QNorthern Code

Defense commentator Amir Oren wrote in the independent, left-leaning
Ha'aretz (1/26): QIf [Syrian President Bashar] Assad decides to
imitate Anwar Sadat, who was his father's partner in 1973, and to
strike Israel in order to wound it, its air bases, infrastructure
and pride, Israel will not be able to prevent him from gaining a
psychological and political victory, however heavy a military and
economic price he must pay. This is the code of the north that our
commanders there are refusing to decipher for the public, who will
suffer the consequences. To their credit, it may be said that the
generals are unwilling to encroach on the no-man's-land between the
military and political echelons, and that they fear divulging to the
Syrians the IDF commanders' thinking. But on the negative side,
they are shirking their supreme duty -- preventing an unnecessary
war.

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

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

I. QGive the Man a Break

Michael Sussman, a former special assistant to the Critic of
International Cooperation in the Canadian House of Commons, who is
now completing a thesis about modern reform in the Arab Middle East
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (1/26): QIn a world where actions speak
louder than words, Obama has made significant efforts to advance the
moral principles we aspire to.... Obama claims that Qchange will not
come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are
the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
However, our views of freedom and the rule of law are far from being
universally accepted. Convincing people to give way to our beliefs
will not come with the click of a pen. To turn our ideals into
reality we must undertake the difficult task of understanding the
way our adversaries think. We must work hard to show them how
freedom, human rights and democracy should prevail. We must not
allow the goodness of our principles to be used against us. Change
is possible; but it involves hard work.


II. QItQs Not Just Israel : How Obama Undermines U.S. Allies

Abraham Katsman, an American attorney and political commentator
currently living in Jerusalem, wrote in The Jerusalem Post (1/26):
QFor those worried that U.S. President Barack Obama is particularly
antagonistic toward Israel, there's good news and bad news: the good
news is that Israel is hardly Obama's obsession; the bad news is
that his administration's conduct toward it is consistent with its
pattern of backing away from embattled American allies -- a
predictable byproduct of Obama's approach to foreign policy through
dictator outreach. Obama, more than any recent president, has made
his own personality and identity cornerstones of American
diplomacy.... Obama's one-sided pressure against Israel has earned
him, according to a Jerusalem Post poll published in June, the
assessment of only 6 percent of Jewish Israelis that his
administration is pro-Israel. But it's not just Israel.... Is there
a threatened ally he has ever stood up for? If I were Taiwan, IQd
be worried.... With nothing to show for his efforts, Obama's
continued belief in his ability to pacify adversaries by personal
appeal is as delusional as it is dangerous. Nations don't have
personal friends; they have interests. And American interests are
not advanced by presidential groveling, but by creating the right
mix of carrots and sticks to induce desired behavior. Obama's
willingness to sacrifice embattled allies to appease hostile regimes
ultimately weakens America. As Bernard Lewis has said: QA nation
can make few mistakes worse than this: to be harmless as an enemy
and treacherous as a friend.Q Especially when that nation gets
nothing in return.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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