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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

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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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1. Mideast

2. Israel-Turkey Relations

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Key stories in the media:
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All media continued to report on, and most led with the aftermath of
the earthquake in Haiti. Following a five-hour hike across
decimated Port-au-Prince. Non-resident Israeli Ambassador to Haiti
Amos Radian told The Jerusalem Post and other media that he has
witnessed horrors the likes of which he has never seen in his life.
The Israeli rescue delegation counts 230 persons. Major Israeli
media sent envoys to the devastated capital. The daughter of the
late Israeli peace activist Abe Nathan is among the missing people
in Haiti. Leading media reported that the U.S. has taken command of
operations at Port-au-Prince Airport.

The media reported that yesterday a roadside explosive device went
off near a convoy of cars carrying three Israeli diplomats traveling
from Jordan toward Israel. (Yediot headlined: QAn attack
foretold.Q) The blast occurred at around 6 p.m. close to the
Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. No one
was hurt. Branches of al-Qaida or World Jihad are believed to be
behind the attack. Leading media reported that Jordanian FM Nasser
Judeh subsequently called Israel's Ambassador to Jordan Daniel Nevo.
Judeh stressed in his conversation with Nevo that Jordanian
authorities were investigating the incident and that every effort
was being made to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack as soon
as possible. HaQaretz cited the Foreign MinistryQs emphasis that
Nevo was not in the convoy, and was never in any danger. HaQaretz
and other media quoted Al Arabiya-TV as saying that Jordanian
authorities arrested overnight in Amman a taxi driver suspected of
involvement in the assault.

Israel Hayom reported that Israel is not ruling out indirect, U.S.
brokered negotiations with the Palestinians.

In an interview with Maariv, liberal Professor Zeev Sternhell, who
was targeted by QJewish terroristQ Yaakov QJackQ Teitel, says that
the left wing has been waiting for years for an QIsraeli De Gaulle,
and that Netanyahu has such potential.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Gilad ShalitQs father Noam is
expected to fly to Turkey next week to raise support among key
Muslim clerics for his sonQs release. All media reported that on
Wednesday, Brazilian-American energy tycoon Guma Aguiar, the chief
sponsor of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, told the Jerusalem
weekly Kol Ha'ir that he had recently visited Gaza in a one-man
attempt to bring Gilad Shalit back home. According to media
reports, Aguiar attempted to enter Gaza via the Erez Crossing but
was turned back by soldiers. He was later admitted in a psychiatric
hospital.

Maariv reported that former Shas leader Arye DerQi removed any doubt
that he is preparing his political comeback last week when he tried
to persuade Knesset Member Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) not to run for his
partQs leadership.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post , outgoing Director-General
of the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements in the Territories, said
that Palestinian statehood must be prevented, but not through
violence against the IDF or innocent Palestinians.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday the Supreme Court
accepted an appeal by Yitzhak Mondrovich against his extradition, 25
years after he arrived in Israel and 24 years after U.S. authorities
indicted him on suspicion of committing 13 sexual crimes against
five boys aged nine to 13. The newspaper noted that it took 23
years for the extradition request to arrive.

Every Friday starting February 24, HaQaretz will add a weekly insert
of the Jewish American newspaper The Forward to its English
edition.

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

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

I. QGambling over U.S. Support

Senior columnist and longtime peace advocate Yoel Marcus wrote in
the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (1/15): QThe likelihood of
Congress supporting dramatic sanctions against Israel is slim. So
it seems [Senator MitchellQs remark on a possible withdrawal of loan
guarantees] was not a threat, but rather a to-the-point answer to a
question -- namely, what the President can and cannot do on his own
authority. However, it turns out that in addition to [Deputy
Foreign Minister Daniel] Ayalon, we have another macho in our midst
-- Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who immediately responded
arrogantly that we don't need the American guarantees at all.
Really? And what if that sanction were to be only part of a larger
removal of the U.S. security and diplomatic umbrella over Israel?
The Israeli braggart neither sleeps nor slumbers.

II. QFailure to Relaunch

Daniel Levy, a key Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative, wrote
in HaQaretz (1/15): QThe main wild card in [resuming
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations] is the Obama administration. Year
One combined early engagement and a strong declarative commitment to
Israeli-Palestinian peace with a frustrating lack of new thinking or
political daring from the George Mitchell team, while the President
was not personally involved and did not take ownership of the issue.
The U.S. may be satisfied with a convenient and showy re-launch of
negotiations, followed by the plodding predictability of process
over substance. President Obama may, however, take seriously his
own admonition that this issue matters to American strategic
interests. That would translate into U.S. leadership in shaping a
breakthrough, preferably with E.U. and Quartet support, creating
real choices and deploying new incentives and disincentives with the
parties, notably Israel. Ultimately, for all the noise and
speculation regarding their resumption, Israeli-Palestinian
negotiations are likely to prove rather inconsequential. Success or
failure in achieving de-occupation and two states will depend
primarily on the conversation between Obama and Netanyahu, their
political calculations, priorities and persistence. And that
conversation has barely begun.

III. QDebunking Anti-Zionist Myths

Amnon Rubinstein, Law Professor at the Interdisciplinary Center and
a former education minister from Meretz, wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (1/15): QFor Israel, the only alternative
to being Jewish is not an enlightened Western multicultural society,
but to be dominated by the Muslim ocean in which it lives as a
menaced island. If this happens, the only democracy in the Middle
East would have disappeared, and the Jews of Israel would be forced
into another exile from their historical homeland.... Jews, like
other peoples of the world, have a right to their own narrative and
their own state. This right exists despite the ramblings from
IsraelQs anti-Zionist brigade.

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2. Israel-Turkey Relations:
----------------------------

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

QDiplomacy Is not a Circus

The independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (1/15): QThe
problem [in this weekQs official Israeli treatment of Turkey] was
not a slip of the tongue or a comment leaked from a closed meeting.
It was a deliberate act by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and
his deputy Ayalon, and the finale is far from happy. We have to
turn it into the beginning of something else: the removal of
Lieberman and Ayalon from the rickety flagship of Israeli
diplomacy.... The anchor of Turkish-Israeli strategic ties is the
Turkish army, which has seen itself as the constitutional keeper of
the seal since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk established the modern Turkish
regime after World War I. For the past 50 years the two countries'
defense establishments have had a useful relationship.... Israel has
a justified argument with Erdogan's stance on Iran and Hamas. An
argument should be carried out using educated reasoning, without
hyperbole. In the same spirit, Erdogan's proposal to resume
mediation between Israel and Syria should be reexamined. Diplomacy
should not become a circus.... There is a substantive difference
between being steadfast and aggressive. In their foreign policy,
Lieberman and Ayalon are displaying this second quality. If
Netanyahu leaves them in their posts, it means they are setting
Israeli policy, not he.

CUNNINGHAM

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