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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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1. Iran

2. Mideast

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

All major media led with news that several assassins of senior Hamas
operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh used the identities of British-born
Israelis for the Dubai hit. HaQaretz reported that British
Government sources told the Daily Telegraph yesterday that the Irish
passport-holders were most likely Mossad agents carrying false
documentation. Media reported that the U.K. authorities are
investigating the illegal use of Brutish passports in the Dubai
operation. Leading media reported that Syria has arrested a senior
Hamas official on suspicion of having assisted in the murder.

Major media quoted PM Benjamin Netanyahu as saying yesterday during
talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that Israel has
no intention of initiating a war against any regional player in the
Middle East. Netanyahu was responding to Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's recent prediction that Israel would launch military
strikes against Iran either in the spring or summer of this year.
During his two-hour meeting with Netanyahu, Putin stressed that
Russia would refrain from selling any arms to Syria and Iran that
would tilt the strategic balance in the region. "Israel is not
planning any sort of war," Netanyahu said at a joint news conference
with Putin. "It was the Iranians who began talks with Syria on this
issue and they are using all sorts of manipulations." "It would not
surprise me if Iran's behavior is a direct result of the growing
international debate at the UN Security Council on sanctions against
Iran," the PM added. Israel Radio quoted a senior Russian official
as saying that the sale of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran is
being held up for technical reasons.

Citing the AP, The Jerusalem Post reported that Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton told Saudi students yesterday that Iran could
trigger a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East.

HaQaretz and Israel Radio quoted Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan
Nasrallah as saying that his group will hit vital Israeli targets,
such as Ben-Gurion Airport, if Israel bombs Beirut. He reiterated
his intention to avenge the death of senior Hizbullah operative Imad
Mughniyah.

HaQaretz reported that yesterday the High Court of Justice ruled
that the state must demolish settler outposts within 60 days.

HaQaretz and other media reported that, during a meeting of the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations,
Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon likened Israeli Arab Knesset members to U.S.
congressmen who Qwould advise the Taliban.Q Ayalon was referring to
those parliamentariansQ contacts with the PA. Ayalon also attacked
the American lobby group, J Street. The Jerusalem Post quoted Alan
Solow, the chairman of the Conference, who the daily says is a Qkey
Obama backer,Q as saying that the Qadministration has learned some
lessonsQ from the mistakes of the past year. In other news, Yediot
reported that Ayalon has decided to boycott meetings with U.S.
Congress members because their visits to Israel were sponsored by
organizations that criticize the country -- J Street and the
Churches for Middle East Peace. Maariv said that it was the Foreign
Ministry that instructed President Shimon Peres and Ayalon to
boycott Congress members.

The Jerusalem Post and other media reported that yesterday members
of the KnessetQs Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee visited the
controversial Beit Yehoshua building in East Jerusalem. Right-wing
parliamentarians called the demolition order Qdiscriminatory.

The Jerusalem Post quoted rightist Likud Knesset Member Tzipi
Hotovely as saying yesterday that West Bank Palestinians should be
granted Israeli citizenship.

The Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday the Simon Wiesenthal
Center accused opponents of its plans to build a museum near a
historic Muslim cemetery in central West Jerusalem of Qsheer
hypocrisyQ after the center obtained information showing that the
Supreme Muslim Council of British Mandate Palestine had planned to
build a large commercial center on top of the cemetery in 1945.

Maariv reported that the Dawn Media Group, a British company, ranked
Israel in 17th place among countries at risk of terror attacks.
Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia top the list.

Yediot and The Jerusalem Post reported that the Information and
Diaspora Ministry has produced a booklet to turn Israeli tourists
abroad into goodwill ambassadors for their country -- among other
facts, Israeli travelers are urged to tell foreigners that Israelis
want peace, that Palestine has not always been an Arab country, and
that U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 does not state that Israel
must return to the 1967 borders. A poll commissioned by the
ministry found that 85% of Israelis are willing to represent the
state abroad.

Israel Radio reported that Israel and Russia agreed on the
construction of two memorials -- one in Israel for the Russian
soldiers in World War II and the second in Moscow devoted to the
Holocaust. The media reported that Israel's desire to retrieve the
historic Guenzburg collection of ancient Jewish manuscripts from
Russia was discussed during Netanyahu's meeting on Monday with
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Israeli officials said afterward
that due to the improved relations between Jerusalem and Moscow,
Russian officials will "positively consider" Israel's request.
Netanyahu personally raised the subject of the collection, which is
thought to be the world's second-largest anthology of ancient Hebrew
literature, after the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Citing the AP, HaQaretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that the
Vatican plans to post some of its World War II archives online to
calm the controversy over Pope Pius XII's actions during the
Holocaust. The Vatican's newspaper announced the plan, saying it
will render service to the historic truth and officials said
yesterday the material will be accessible soon. However, a panel of
Jewish and Catholic scholars who examined the 11 volumes of material
a decade ago concluded that more information was required to decide
whether Pius did everything he could to head off the Nazis' efforts
to exterminate European Jews.

Over the past few days the media has mentioned allegations that
noted Zionist-Religious Rabbi Mordechai (Moti) Elon made sexual
advances to yeshiva students over several years. Elon, who denies
the charges, is the brother of Benjamin (Benny) Elon, a former
right-wing politician. Their father, Menachem Elon, was the former
Deputy Chief Justice of Israel. HaQaretz dubbed the family the
QKennedys of the religious Zionist camp.Q Many voices in that camp,
including the daily Makor Rishon-Hatzofe, support Mordechai Elon.
Some media speculated on a possible rift of the camp.

---------
1. Iran:
---------

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

I. QPartners against Iran

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (2/17):
QIsrael has been publicly supportive of the American effort at
engagement with Iran, even as it has privately complained about the
lack of firm parameters guiding that engagement, the fudging of
deadlines, the apparent capacity for Iran to exploit a well-meaning
presidentQs desire for a diplomatic solution in order to buy time
and close in on the nuclear weapons goal. Ultimately, Israel must
and will take the decisions it feels necessary to safeguard its
basic security interests. Ultimately, Israel will gauge the risks,
assess the consequences, and act accordingly. Today, in
mid-February 2010, the U.S. and Israel remain shoulder-to-shoulder
in seeking biting sanctions against Teheran, to obviate the recourse
to the use of force. It is encouraging to see the succession of
candid, straight-talking, high-level visits bolstering that
coordination. It is a partnership that needs to be maintained at
the very highest level as well.

II. QWhat a Spectacle

Anne Bayefsky, the Director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights
and the Holocaust, and a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute, wrote in
The Jerusalem Post (2/17): QAssistant Secretary of State for
Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner gave a speech [at
the U.N. Human Rights Council] on Monday critical of various Iranian
abominations -- for a grand total of two minutes.... Iran is not the
slightest bit concerned that the council will translate PosnerQs two
minutes into anything that bites. The council has never adopted a
resolution worried about human rights in Iran; itQs too busy
condemning Israel more often than all the other 191 U.N. states
combined. Back in 2002, the former commission eliminated the
position of U.N. human rights investigator on Iran, and the chance
of it reappearing as a consequence of these proceedings are zero.
So when the Obama administration touts its 120-second speech as
evidence of its effort to get serious about Iran, or as an excuse
for having joined the U.N.Qs viciously anti-Israel Human Rights
Council, be warned.

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

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

I. QTime for a Change in U.S. Mideast Strategy

Kenneth J. Bialkin, a former chair of the Conference of Presidents
of Major American Jewish Organizations, wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (2/17): QThe Obama administration is
widely perceived as favoring the Palestinian side in seeking
unilateral concessions from Israel. In taking this position, the
administration is not deviating from the policy orientations
established by the U.S. State Department since 1948.... A peace
process that rests on IsraelQs unilateral concessions is doomed to
fail unless and until the world also demands that the Arab world
recognizes that the Arab-Israel conflict can be resolved only if and
when IsraelQs legitimacy and sovereignty is openly recognized and
accepted.... The most important reason for change in strategy is
that history and the march of time make it the right thing to do.
For too long, IsraelQs right to be recognized and accepted by the
Arab world has been ignored by the international community. The
U.N. should be ashamed that each year it countenances General
Assembly resolutions advocating the expulsion of a member state and
similar outrages by states whose societies deny their own citizens
fundamental human rights. The U.S. should lead the U.N. and the
international community to correct the long-term injustice and lack
of respect for the legitimacy of the state of Israel and the
historical contributions of the Jewish people.

II. QWhy the Mossad Chief Must Go

Defense commentator Amir Oren wrote on page one of the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (2/17): QThe State of Israel did not claim
responsibility for the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.
The entire matter is treated as AFMR Q Qaccording to foreign media
reportsQ.... The anticipated diplomatic crisis is not, so far, with
Dubai, but with the countries whose passports were used by the
assassins. The United Kingdom and Ireland were used once again, and
this time, a French connection topped it off. It is as if Israeli
governments had never apologized to London for using British
documentation; as if they had not promised solemnly, when passports
of Her Majesty's subjects were found in a certain phone booth, that
this would never happen again.... Netanyahu played deaf to warnings
by [former Mossad head Ephraim Halevy and others] and extended
[Mossad chief Meir] DaganQs tenure for an eighth year, a decision as
hasty as it was unnecessary. But the Mossad ... cannot hinge upon
one man, without whom everything would collapse. What is needed now
is a swift decision to terminate DaganQs contract and appoint a new
Mossad chief.

III. QA Trinational State

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in HaQaretz (2/17): QIsrael
is in the midst of an unprecedented social change that, unlike in
the past, stems from internal developments rather than from a wave
of immigration. A different, multicultural society is developing
here -- a trinational state of secular Jews, ultra-Orthodox, and
Arabs, with a small minority of religious Zionists.... Today,
developing a broad national ethos that would include Arabs and
ultra-Orthodox seems like mission impossible. It is obvious that a
rightist government headed by Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman is not
built for this. Therefore, we must concentrate on change from the
bottom up. Everyone must ask himself or herself how he or she can
contribute to integration: buying in shops that employ Arabs and
ultra-Orthodox, hiring workers from these communities, renting
apartments to them, or simply watching television programs and
channels that represent our multicultural mosaic -- and get to know
an Arab or an ultra-Orthodox instead of fearing them. If we open
our doors to them and give them opportunities, we will all benefit.
And if we continue to shut ourselves off, we will all crash.

IV. QIn Favor of the Right of Return

Karni Eldad, settler daughter of right-wing Knesset Member Arieh
Eldad, wrote in HaQaretz (2/17): QIn 1948, scores of families were
expelled from their homes in Jerusalem. The city was divided and
squatters took over their houses and built on their properties.
These refugees prayed to return to the homes they purchased legally
in the 1920s and 1930s.... In 2009, the High Court of Justice had
its say: the squatters must be evicted and they must also pay
compensation to the owners of the land for all the years they made
use of it.... Jewish? What? Yes, yes. These are families that are
now purchasing, for the full price, their own properties in the
Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood, better known as Sheikh Jarrah. Is
anyone on the left standing by the side of these robbed families and
against the Arab squatters? Not a single one of them.

V. QGoldstoneQs Mandate
E

Dr. Muhammad Watad, a senior law lecturer at the Safed Academic
College, wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv (2/17): + Is a Jew
expected to rule in favor of Jews just because they are Jews?....
[Judge Richard] Goldstone received a mandate to investigate. He
came to the region to probe possible violations of laws of war and
human rights during Operation Cast Lead. Treating the Goldstone
Report as Qlegal terrorQ Q a characterization used by people who are
reportedly enlightened an s experts in international law Q is
nothing but an insult to intelligence. I am a proud Israeli; I am a
proud jurist; but I am not childish -- I am a professional. As a
citizen of the state, as a son of this state, I am concerned about
its future. Israel is a state of law; it is a democratic state; and
it is a constitutional state. An enlightened state investigates
itself. Israel monitors itself a lot; it therefore deserves every
praise. Regarding Goldstone, Israel behaved childishly; it erred in
doing so.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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