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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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JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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Mideast

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Key stories in the media:
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Major media reported that Israel/PM Benjamin Netanyahu will no
longer demonstrate flexibility in the negotiations over Gilad
ShalitQs release. Israel Radio quoted a senior Israeli diplomatic
source as saying that Israel is not prepared to release some
Palestinian prisoners and that it will not compromise on this
issue.

The media reported that last night the IDF launched a series of air
strikes overnight against targets in Gaza, hours after a Katyusha
rocket fired from the Strip hit an area south of Ashkelon. The
media reported that at least three Palestinians were killed. Four
others are missing. The IDF Spokesman's Office said IAF aircraft
bombed four Gaza targets: a tunnel linking the Strip to Israel, a
weaponry workshop in Gaza City, and two smuggling tunnels linking
the southern Strip to Egypt. The Jerusalem Post cited IsraelQs
concern that Iran and Hizbullah may be forging a Fatah terror
splinter group.

HaQaretz reported that a high-level American delegation is visiting
Israel this week, headed by Assistant Secretary of State for Human
Rights Michael Posner. The delegation arrived on Sunday and has met
with cabinet ministers, senior civil servants, and IDF officers as
well as representatives of Israeli human rights organizations.
Posner was quoted as saying that his delegation wants to help Israel
remove the Goldstone report on last year's war in Gaza from the
international agenda. He said this should be accomplished through
an Israeli investigation of the five most serious incidents
described in the report, all of which involved civilian deaths.

HaQaretz reported that Washington is now considering the possibility
of launching "proximity talks" between Israel and the Palestinians,
as PA President Mahmoud Abbas continues to object to direct talks.
Under this plan, U.S. Special Envoy Senator George Mitchell and his
staff would meet separately with both parties, present each side's
positions to the other and then try to bridge the gaps. This is the

same system both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton used
(unsuccessfully) for Israeli-Syrian talks. HaQaretz says that the
idea arose after Abbas made it clear to both the U.S. and Egypt that
he would not meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unless Israel
pledged to completely freeze all construction in the West Bank and
East Jerusalem for five months after the talks began. Israel refuses
to do so. The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel does not want to
see deadlines imposed on the negotiating process with the
Palestinians, even as the U.S. is endorsing the idea of a two-year
time frame. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren told The
Jerusalem Post: QIn the past, attempts to impose time frameworks
have not proved either realizable or helpful. Oren talked hours
before Mitchell touted his idea that peace with the Palestinians can
be reached within two years.

All media reported that yesterday Labor Knesset Member Ophir
Pines-Paz announced his resignation from the Knesset and departure
from his party. He was quoted as saying: QI have no faction and no
leader.Q Pines-Paz stated that his party had abandoned its values
over the past 15 years. Einat Wilf, an associate of DM and Labor
Chairman Ehud Barak, will succeed him in the Knesset. The media
agree that the resignation dashes the rebels' hopes of splitting
from Labor to form a separate faction, a move requiring at least a
third of the party's MKs. DM Barak, who expressed his regret over
Pines-PazQs departure, was quoted as saying: QEveryone is
replaceable, even myself.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, as saying yesterday during an appearance at the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy that the U.S. does not
want to see confrontation with Iran but that it is still preparing
its military for that possibility.

Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin has
secretly met with President Abbas. The newspaper quoted senior
Palestinian officials as saying that the two discussed the new
diplomatic initiative that Egypt is leading with WashingtonQs
approval.

HaQaretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that the Prime Minister's
Office issued a complaint to the White House several days ago
lamenting ongoing incitement against Israel by Palestinian leaders.
In the complaint, senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office
urged their American counterparts to demand that PA President
Mahmoud Abbas cease to glorify the memory of terrorists who murdered
Israelis. The complaint went on to insist that the Palestinians
live alongside Israelis peacefully and spread peace. This complaint
is the first of its kind against Palestinian incitement to gain
media attention in Israel, after many years during which Israel
largely refrained from making official complaints, or delivered
these complaints discreetly to the Palestinian President.

Maariv and other media reported that DM Barak has instructed to ease
building instructions for settlers in the West Bank.

Media quoted some Israeli defense officials as saying that the Iron
Dome missile defense system cannot give complete protection.

Maariv and Israel Radio reported that Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon has
recommended to FM Avigdor Lieberman not to extend the mandate of
TIPH (Temporary International Presence in Hebron) which expires at
the end of this month because, according to Ayalon, TIPH has
produced distorted and one-sided reports.

A Yediot feature compares the attitude of Israelis to Gilad Shalit
to that of Americans to Qlittle knownQ U.S. Taliban prisoner Pfc.
Bowe Bergdahl. In another article, Yediot features Gen. Stanley
McChrystalQs activity in Afghanistan.

Yediot, Maariv, and The Jerusalem PostQs web site reported that
yesterday the Koret Foundation (KIEDF) and the Overseas Private
Corporation (OPIC) launched a 600-million shekel (around $150
million) campaign to support the Negev and Gilboa regions.
Ambassador Cunningham attended the ceremony at President Shimon
PeresQ residence.


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Mideast:
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Block Quotes:
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I. QStarting from the End

Senior columnist and longtime peace advocate Yoel Marcus wrote in
the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (1/8): QIn the past few
weeks, a number of threatening messages have arrived in Jerusalem
from the White House. The U.S. President's top adviser, Rahm
Emanuel, was quoted by our diplomats in Washington as having said
that Obama was tired of both the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Emanuel reportedly told them something to the effect that they were
wasting precious time and missing the opportunity to reach peace.
Eventually the United States will simply give up, stop dealing with
this interminable conflict and we leave Israel alone, he reportedly
said.... There are people who believe that the only person among us
at this time who is capable of giving up territory and moving the
settlers is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who, like Begin, would
enjoy massive support if he were to make concessions in return for
peace. However, nothing will move without an American plan, without
a massive push, even a forced one, from Obama. We were always wary
of a forced solution but it is most likely that there are greater
dangers than that -- the continuation of terrorism and Palestinian
demographic dominance. Instead of broadcasting to us weariness and
anger, it would be better if Obama would initiate a mediation
proposal or obligatory arbitration so as to achieve peace and
permanent borders between the two peoples.

II. QMeanwhile, Netanyahu Is in an Evasive Mood

Diplomatic correspondent and television anchor Ben Caspit wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv (1/8): QIn the final analysis, he is
cheating. It is not yet clear whom. Are the cheated ones
Obama-Peres-Barak-Mubarak, or [senior Likud members]
Benny-Bogie-Tzipi (Hotovely), Kahlon, and Livnat? Netanyahu is
simultaneously holding both ends of a very long stick. The problem
is that he is walking on a tight rope over an abyss. He wonQt get
far when he has at most nine months until the end of the
[construction] freeze.... He may be behind the initiatives ... to
launch real negotiations with the Palestinians with a clear deadline
(two years).... Or he may want to waste time, exhaust everyone, and
return to the warm lap of [his wife and patrons].... On the other
hand there may be a condition such as [a plan providing for a
withdrawal to the 1967 lines], he could be wriggling and itQs
impossible to know but it is possible to understand heQs in a bind,
and that Qright nowQ thereQs nothing, but should there be something,
weQll know what to do -- or we wonQt.

III. QProvocation in East Jerusalem

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (1/8) :
Netanyahu's encouragement -- albeit silent -- to the variety of
government, municipal, and private blueprints to populate East
Jerusalem with Jews is casting doubt over his enthusiastic calls to
resume the talks with the Palestinians. Accelerating Israeli
construction in the east of the city, which the international
community sees as the capital of the future Palestine, is regarded
as provocation, intended to sabotage the negotiations even before
they begin. Like his predecessors, Netanyahu agreed to negotiate
over Jerusalem's status as part of the final status agreement. But
his acts foil any possible compromise, deepen the conflict in the
city and destroy the chance to implement the two-state solution.

IV. QWhy No QViva Somalia ?

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (1/8) :
QWhat could be worse than being forgotten in the rubble of war? As
The New York Times reported this week, Gazans feel forsaken. The
constant flow of humanitarian aid is staving off hunger and disease,
but a pall of listlessness besets the Strip.... There's a revealing
comparison to be made between the QsiegeQ of Gaza and what is
happening in Somalia, where the World Food Program this week was
forced to abandon one million tormented people because Islamist
gunmen have made it impossible for its staff to operate.... The
difference between Somalia and Gaza is that the people of Somalia
are not only forgotten in the rubble, their desperation is... simply
not interesting. They are people without options. Those
responsible for their plight are Islamists, not Zionists or
Westerners -- though, for the Euro-Left, it's all America's fault
somehow. In stark contrast, the people of Gaza do have options that
would end their misery. They could stop supporting Hamas, which has
mobilized their polity against coexistence with Israel; they could
make peace among themselves and allow the comparatively moderate
West Bank Palestinian leadership -- which is recognized by the
international community -- back into the Strip. They could free IDF
soldier Gilad Shalit whom they kidnapped in 2006. They could stop
launching mortars against Israel's civilian population, as they
repeatedly did this week. They could choose a two-state solution
and accept that Jews also have a right to a homeland. They could
end the Qsiege.Q They could build instead of reveling in the rubble
and in their victimization.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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