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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0025/01 0061558
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P 061558Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4867
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 0117
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 3028
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 7084
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7288
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6525
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 5197
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7386
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4142
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2367
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 1020
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8539
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3551
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 7524
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 9612
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 2345
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 3455
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000025

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:
--------------------------------

1. Mideast

2. Islamist Aims

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Key stories in the media:
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Yediot reported that a few weeks ago White House Chief of Staff Rahm
Emanuel told IsraelQs Consul-General in Los Angeles, Yaki Dayan,
that the U.S. administration is Qfed upQ with the Israelis and the
Palestinians, and that the administration will leave them alone with
the unending conflict.

The media reported that yesterday a letter containing a death threat
on DM Ehud Barak was received at the Defense Ministry. The media
reported that Barak and other officials recently received dozens of
such threats following the governmentQs decision to freeze
settlement construction for 10 months. Maariv reported that the
religious ZionistsQ moderate leader, Rabbi Chaim Druckman, has
decided to change his mind and support opposition to serving in the
army among religious hesder soldiers (who combine military service
and religious studies).

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday a State Department
official told the newspaper that Israel damaged the peace process
when it approved the construction of four new buildings next to the
Beit Orot Yeshiva in a Palestinian area on East Jerusalem's Mount of
Olives a day earlier. The Jerusalem Post quoted the official as
saying: "We have noted that these types of announcements and
activity harm peace efforts." Nonetheless, the newspaper noted that
the harsh response was more measured than several previous U.S.
criticisms of plans to build in East Jerusalem. The official added,
"We believe it is important to resume negotiations between the
parties in order to resolve all permanent-status issues, including
Jerusalem." Yediot quoted State Department officials in Washington
as saying that the project harms the peace process. Yediot also
quoted AbbasQ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh as saying that the move
proves lack of seriousness on the part of the Israeli Government
concerning the resumption of negotiations. Maariv briefly noted
U.S. and Palestinian condemnations of the Israeli action.

HaQaretz reported that IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi
has issued an order requiring the IDF to consult with the army's
legal advisers while military operations are underway and not just
when they are being planned. Ashkenazi imposed the stricter
regulations despite opposition by several commanders, including
members of the General Staff. HaQaretz says that the policy comes
after international criticism of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The media quoted President Obama as saying last night that U.S.
intelligence agencies had enough information to potentially disrupt
a NigerianQs attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound plane, but failed to
connect the dots. The media also quoted the President as saying
that is determined to fight al-Qaida. The Israeli media reported on
the gradual introduction at Ben Gurion Airport of a biometric system
(QUnipassQ) that is meant to replace the questioning of Israelis by
security agents prior to check in.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday PM Benjamin Netanyahu
told a visiting U.S. congressional delegation that the international
community must stop QcoddlingQ the Palestinians and tell them to
return to the negotiating table.

HaQaretz and other media reported that Saudi Arabia is adopting an
Egyptian plan for the resumption of talks between Israel and the
Palestinians, and that it is trying to rally Syrian support for the
continuation of the negotiations process. Egyptian sources told
HaQaretz yesterday that PA President Mahmoud Abbas "has expressed
willingness to accept the Egyptian plan on condition that it will
also enjoy the support of Arab leaders, which is the reason of the
Egyptian and Saudi effort to rally broader Arab support so that
Abbas will have the necessary backing."

The media reported that last night the IAF struck a terrorist cell
in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip. Leading media reported that a
leader of the Popular Resistance Committees was killed in the
attack. Israel Radio reported that Palestinians called for
revenge.

HaQaretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday Deputy
Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon met with Britain's Attorney General
Patricia Janet Scotland, who is on a private visit to Israel, to
protest the issuing of arrest warrants in Britain for senior Israeli
officials. Major media reported that later yesterday, in a speech
at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she noted that the British
government "is looking urgently at ways in which the U.K. system
might be changed to avoid this situation arising again, and is
determined that Israel's leaders should always be able to travel
freely to the U.K." Ayalon said the warrants "make it difficult for
the two countries to maintain a normal relationship," and stressed
that the majority of Israeli citizens have served in the IDF, and as
such would be unable to visit the U.K., which Ayalon said would
damage British interests as well. Scotland characterized the use of
arrest warrants in these circumstances as "essentially a political
campaign in which any and every tactic can be used," but at the same
time stressed that Britain would continue to permit war crimes
prosecutions so as "not to allow safe haven for those who have
carried out heinous crimes." At the same time, she stressed that
care must be taken to ensure that the tool is "effective and used
for the purpose of prosecution, not for political or other
purposes."

Maariv reported that Israel is negotiating with the German
Government the purchase of an additional Dolphin-class submarine to
improve the Qcapability of a second strike.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that the Israeli building company Neot
Hapisga demands millions of shekels in compensation from the state
over losses it incurred due to the construction freeze in the West
Bank.

HaQaretz reported that the IDFQs Civil Administration ordered
Palestinian residents of the West Bank this week to stop erecting
tents and building animal enclosures in the Bir el-Eid area -- even
though the state allowed them access to the site only two months
ago, after a 10-year enforced absence and a protracted legal effort.
Tomorrow, the Civil Administration's supervisory committee is to
discuss the next step, which could involve demolition of the tents
and restoration of the site to its prior condition. The site, which
is in the southern Hebron Hills, is in Area C, meaning that since
the Oslo Accords, it remains under full Israel control.

Citing the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The Jerusalem Post reported
that the State Department has expressed Qcomplete supportQ for its
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal
and encouraged Qbroad dialogueQ toward Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
Rosenthal had criticized IsraelQs Ambassador to the U.S., Michael
Oren, for snubbing the liberal pro-Israel lobby J Street.

The Jerusalem Post social column reported that tomorrow Tel Aviv
Univerity (TAU) will host a discussion on QPeace Parks onIsraelQs
Borders.Q The newspaper noted the Fred Hof, deputy to U.S. Special
Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell has expressed
profound interest in advancing the idea of a peace park on the
Golan. The Jerusalem Post quoted Shahar Sadeh of TAUQs Porter
School of Environmental Studies as saying that this is Qnot merely a
theoretical issue.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the PA is forming a Qnational team
to drive the bid to gain membership in the World Trade
Organization.

The Jerusalem Post cited the results of a survey conducted in early
December by the Kelim Shluvim Research Institute at the behest of
Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs that 91 percent of
Israelis believe that Israel has an QacuteQ or Qvery acuteQ image
problem in the world, with 51% saying Qvery acute.

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

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


I. QLieberman Is Right

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning HaQaretz (1/6): QForeign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is
right: during the next two years Israel will not reach a permanent
status agreement with the Palestinians. Lieberman is also right in
the importance he attributes to national honor. Like the Foreign
Minister, I, too, get annoyed when my country is attacked in the
foreign media, and I am proud of Israelis who win the Nobel Prize or
Olympic medals.... A country's strength is measured in comparison to
its foes, and its justness is determined in the international mind.
Israel has weakened because of Iran's strengthening, and its
justness has been undermined because of Operation Cast Lead and the
settlements. Lieberman is right in his assessment of the situation
and wrong in his conclusion: precisely because the conflict
continues, Israel needs recognition and support -- and therefore it
must mollify the world and gradually move forward in the peace
process instead of unnecessarily irritating the gentiles.
II. QJoin the Court

Ha'aretz editorialized (1/6): QFormer [Israeli] Supreme Court
President Aharon Barak has recommended that Israel join the
International Criminal Court at The Hague that tries those indicted
for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Barak, who spoke on
Monday at a legal conference in Jerusalem, says that Israel will
benefit from its participation in the court despite the risk that
IDF soldiers and officers, and even Israeli politicians, may be
brought to trial.... A country that believes in the morality of its
actions and those of its soldiers should not behave like a permanent
suspect and boycott institutions of international law. On the
contrary: it must fight within those institutions for its positions
and justice. Joining the International Criminal Court at The Hague
will place Israel on the side of the enlightened nations, and will
contribute to restraining forceful and harmful actions. Barak's
recommendation deserves to be adopted.

III. QEurope DoesnQt Understand

Shimon Stein, a former Israeli Ambassador to Germany, wrote in
HaQaretz (1/6): QThe arrest order issued in Britain against Kadima
chairwoman Tzipi Livni is nothing but one of many symptoms of a deep
and long-running problem that is unlikely to be solved as long as
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues. The apology by British
Prime Minister Gordon Brown (whose own government would be well
advised to deal with the issue, of which it has long been aware) and
his government's plan to tackle the problem through legislation,
will not solve our troubles with the European Union. The root of
the problems lies in the fundamental disagreements between Israel
and the E.U. regarding the manner in which the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict should be resolved and our conduct vis-a-vis the
Palestinians.... After observing the situation for many years it is
hard to escape the conclusion that Israel and the Europeans are
conducting not a dialogue, but rather two monologues. A solution to
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could lay the foundations for a new
stage in our relations with Europe. Until that happens we must get
used to reality, the expressions of which we have been witness to in
recent weeks.

IV. QCivil Responsibility Should Not Be Optional

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset
Member Daniel (Danny) Ayalon wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (1/6): QWhile significant numbers in the [Israeli]
Arab community are seeking greater integration, their supposed
representatives in the Knesset are falling over themselves to play
to a different constituency. During a recent rally at the Erez
crossing, Balad [National Democratic Assembly] Knesset Member Jamal
Zahalka hurled disgraceful abuse at Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who
he said enjoys Qclassical music and killing children in Gaza.Q He
then reiterated these remarks in an interview with Dan Margalit on
the New Evening TV show until Margalit became so incensed with this
blood libel that he ordered Zahalka to leave. Earlier at the same
rally, Knesset Member Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List-Ta'al) allowed
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to use his cell phone as a speaker to
direct his torrent of abuse against Israel to the assembled crowd.
Sanaa is an employee of the state and thus receives certain benefits
like a cell phone, which means that our taxes were being used by a
member of an organization sworn to destroy our state. This is
unacceptable and should be a matter of concern for all. Can one
imagine a scenario where an American congressman relayed the rants
of Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri to a crowd in the U.S. using
a state-funded communications device? No nation on earth would
accept this situation, and this is why Public Security Minister [and
Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset Member] Yitzhak Aharonovitch has rightly
demanded that Sanaa be charged with supporting a terrorist
organization. It has long been clear to us that the public
declarations of many Arab Knesset members are primarily for foreign
consumption, where they seek the approval of extreme elements in the
wider Arab world.

------------------
2. Islamist Aims:
------------------

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


QQTurningQ Islamists

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (1/6):
QDuring the Cold War, Westerners consoled themselves in the belief
that most people behind the Iron Curtain did not believe in
Communism; they were simply entrapped by a morally bankrupt system
driven by a moribund ideology. It was not so much the allure of
capitalism that ultimately won over the people of Eastern Europe; it
was the failure of Communism. What will it take to QturnQ vast
numbers of Muslims now enthralled with extremist Islam, and convince
those uncommitted, not to follow the path of the Islamists? Much
depends on the outcome of the ongoing battle within Islamic
civilization between those promoting jihad against the West and
those who say Islam does not need to tear down the West in order to
thrive.... Clearly, some Islamists are irredeemable. But others are
not. If the West recognizes the scale of the challenge and
confronts it effectively, and if there are enough courageous men the
caliber of [the slain Jordanian pro-U.S. agent] Sharif Ali bin Zeid
working to preserve Islam from within, we can be reasonably hopeful
that the jihadis will one day find themselves relegated to the
dustbin of history. If...

CUNNINGHAM

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