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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:
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Leading media reported that Deputy Secretary of State James B.
Steinberg will arrive in Israel today, leading an important
delegation of officials from the Pentagon, the National Security
Council, and U.S. intelligence agencies. Media reported that the
meetings will focus on bilateral strategic issues, mainly Iran.
Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon is scheduled to head the Israeli side, with
the head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau Amos
Gilad, the head of the National Security Council Uzi Arad, and
Foreign Ministry Director-General Yossi Gal participating.

The Jerusalem Post led with DM Ehud BarakQs visit to Washington.
The Yediot-associated Web site Ynet reported that the talks will
focus on the Iranian nuclear threat; however, another issue that
will likely be raised is the indirect talks between Israel and the
Palestinians. The Defense Minister is expected to lean mainly on
the most recent report issued by the International Atomic Energy
Agency that asserted that Iran is actively seeking nuclear warheads.
According to Ynet, Barak will deliberate with Secretaries Clinton
and Gates regarding the manner in which the international community
should be goaded into imposing sanctions on Tehran. In addition, he
will speak with Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the U.S. Joint
Chiefs of Staff, about cooperation between the U.S. and Israel as
well as Iran's nuclear aspirations. Yediot (Shimon Shiffer)
reported that PM Benjamin NetanyahuQs bureau has initiated contacts
for a meeting between President Obama and the PM, who will visit
Washington soon for the AIPAC convention. Israel Hayom reported
that the QWhite House and even Europe are fed up with Iran.Q (Major
media cited White House Press Secretary Robert GibbsQ warning that
the United States' "time and patience is running out" over Iran's
nuclear program. Gibbs was quoted as saying that Iran will face
QconsequencesQ if it continues uranium enrichment.)

Israel Hayom, Maariv, and other leading media reported that PA
President Mahmoud Abbas responded with a strong speech at the
European Parliament in Brussels yesterday to the Israeli
GovernmentQs decision to include the QCave of the PatriarchsQ in
Hebron and QRachelQs TombQ on the outskirts of Bethlehem, saying
that it amounted to a declaration of a Qwar of religion.Q Hamas
Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh called for starting a third
Intifada. Hizbullah stated that the decision was Qyet another
example of QIsraeli haughtiness.Q The Prime MinisterQs Office in
Jerusalem called the Arab responses a Qhypocritical and false
campaign,Q as these are tombs of the forefathers of Jewish people
dating back 3,500 years. Israel Hayom quoted Likud Knesset Member
Ofir Akonis, who is considered a close associate of Netanyahu, as
saying: QIsrael preserves a heritage; the PalestiniansQ heritage is
one of blood, fire, and pillars of smoke.Q Speaking on Israel Radio
this morning, Jewish HomeQNew National Religious Party Knesset
Member and former cabinet minister Zevulun Orlev cited the PAQs
ongoing denial of the Jewish past in the country, whereas United
Arab List Knesset Member Talab El-Sana pointed at the gravity of the
GovernmentQs move. Maariv reported that Hebron settlers wrote
Netanyahu, requesting that two more sites -- the tombs of Otniel
Ben-Knaz, a Biblical judge who ruled from 1228 to 1188 BCE, and Ruth
the Moabite -- be included in the heritage list. In other news,
Maariv reported that the Education Ministry has devised a program
that has already been approved by the cabinet: all university and
college students will soon be required to take a compulsory course
in the Qheritage of the Jewish people and the Zionist project.

HaQaretz reported that Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of the Hamas
founder in the West Bank, who now lives in California, was a top
Shin Bet agent for over a decade. Saying that the Palestinian
Qdeserves the Israel Defense Prize,Q Israel Radio called the story a
Qgiant scoop.

Yediot cited assessments in Beijing that Bank of Israel Governor
Stanley Fischer and Minister Moshe QBoogieQ YaQalon will not be able
to convince the Chinese Government to join sanctions on Iran.

Leading media quoted former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz as saying
yesterday at a Tel Aviv University conference dealing with Israeli
deterrence that anyone like Mahmoud al-Mabhouh will from now on
think twice before carrying out any action. Israel Hayom reported
that al-MabhouhQs closest aide was arrested in Damascus on suspicion
of involvement in his assassination. Maariv quoted the Irish daily,
The Irish Times, as saying that QKevin DeveronQ (sp.), who the Dubai
police chief says headed the assassination team, listed his address
as the family home of former Irish PM Albert Reynolds. The
Jerusalem Post reported that yesterday Kadima chair and opposition
leader Tzipi Livni called on the international community to support
IsraelQs effort to fight terrorism, alluding for the first time to
the Dubai assassination. Speaking at the closing plenary of the
Jewish Agency Board of GovernorsQ meeting in Jerusalem, she said
that any comparison between terrorism and those fighting it is
immoral. Noting that U.S. forces in Afghanistan accidentally killed
27 civilians on Monday, Livni said it must be clear that that the
world supports armies that are fighting terrorists and not
terrorists who target innocent civilians.

Yediot reported that data relating to Israel and Taiwan have been
removed from an official presentation of the U.N.Qs International
Telecommunication Union. The newspaper cited the amazement of
Israeli Foreign Ministry sources over the fact that their ministry
is not responding to this move.

Yediot reported that Israel has asked Indonesia to facilitate the
granting of visas to Israelis. The newspaper also reported that
Israel will open an embassy in New Zealand and that a bilateral
agreement to be signed next week will allow Israeli travelers to
find employment in that country.

Beneath the headline, QLook WhoQs Talking about Human Rights,
Yediot reported that Moazzam Begg, a British/Pakistani Muslim and an
enthusiastic Taliban fan, who was held in extrajudicial detention in
the Bagram Theater Internment Facility and the Guantanamo Bay
detainment camp is now Amnesty InternationalQs spokesman.

Israel Hayom reported that yesterday former Chief Justice Aharon
Barak told foreign ambassadors assembled at the Knesset that
democracy in Israel is not self-understood. Makor Rishon-Hatzofe
quoted Justice Barak as saying that Israel is the only party to pay
the price of a double moral standard and that the stateQs security
does not constitute an unlimited license to harm human rights and
that the balance between them is complex but necessary. Media
quoted Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) as saying that
according to the Goldstone Report, Churchill was a war criminal
too.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli-founded technology firm
GreenRoad announced on Monday that it had received $10 million in
investment funds from former U.S. Vice President Al GoreQs
Generation IM Climate Solutions Fund to accelerate the deployment of
its GreenRoad 360 service. GreenRoadQs product provides drivers and
fleet managers with smart analysis of driving behavior and coaches
them on how to improve fuel efficiency. In an interview with The
Jerusalem Post, founder and safety chief Hod Fleishman spoke about
the companyQs product and his pride in the association with GoreQs
fund.

Leading media reported that a 70-storey skyscraper will soon be
built in the west of the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim and become
IsraelQs tallest structure. The surface of its offices, commercial
areas, and convention center will be 84,000 sq. m.

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

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

I. QThe Weight of the Iranian Peacock

Senior columnist, veteran journalist, and television anchor Dan
Margalit wrote in the independent Israel Hayom (2/24): QAn
impoverished countryQs ability to allow itself to affront the world
helped North Korea get American presents in exchange for dismantling
(or not?) its nuclear project.... Iran is applying the same
principle with all its might.... Israel faces two alternatives: to
prove that the Iranian peacock is nothing but pretense empty of
contents, or to prevent the U.S. from heeding U.S. Admiral MullenQs
fainthearted advice.


II. QDonQt Look at their Neckties

Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the late Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin, opined in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (2/24): Q[If the Americans] -- Obama and his
subordinates -- [believe that an Israeli attack on Iran would delay
that countryQs nuclear capability by only two to three years,] and
this seems to be their stance, the smiles and winks dispensed by
some administration officials, who hint that Israel has the right to
defend itself, re valueless. What can now be understood is that the
Americans will not allow us to act.

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

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

I. QDonQt Eulogize Obama

Gabi Sheffer, a liberal political science professor at the Hebrew
University, wrote in the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (2/24):
QMost Israelis, including the heads of the defense establishment and
politicians led by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister,
categorically state that U.S. President Barack Obama will never
solve the Israeli-Arab conflict. This lack of confidence in and
sympathy for Obama have accompanied him, unjustifiably, since the
day he began campaigning for the presidency -- and has only
intensified following his election. The disrespect toward him and
his administration is unwarranted; there is no doubt that it is
connected to Obama's ethnic background.... [But,] as no other
existing power holds such extensive strength and influence, Obama's
ability to act in the world in general and the Middle East in
particular has not been eliminated. Russia, China, and the European
Union have not surpassed the United States in terms of their
capability.... Above all, the relations between the Obama
administration and the Arab states and the Palestinians are not
cooling. The appointment of a new U.S. ambassador to Syria as well
as the Obama administration's close ties with the Kings of Jordan
and Saudi Arabia, with the Egyptian President, and with Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, should arouse the attention of
the Israeli authorities who wish to freeze talks on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Like administrations in the past,
Obama will still play a role in numerous political and economic
affairs that relate to Israel. Instead of eulogizing Obama,
ignoring the conflict and investing everything in the Iranian issue,
Israel must immediately resume the task of solving the
Israeli-Arab-Palestinian conflict.

II. QNetanyahuQs Dire Straits

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in HaQaretz (2/24):
QNetanyahu is in dire straits. His box of tricks is running out.
The Palestinians and settlers are exploiting his weakness. The
world does not believe him and questions his control on the ground.
Unless he surprises everyone with a daring initiative that will
restore control to his agenda, the Prime Minister will be facing a
double intifada from [Palestinian Prime Minister Salam] Fayyad and
the settler hilltop youth.

III. QFrom Dubai to the West Bank and back

Dov Weisglass, who was former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's top
diplomatic advisor, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (2/24): QPrevalent doubts in the world regarding the
justness of IsraelQs overall position are manifested in the attitude
to the war against terror. The supporters of the policy advocating
the continuation of the Israeli occupation of Judea and Samaria
[i.e. the West Bank] should take into account that it will come at
the price of damage to the war against terror.

III. QWhipping Up the Winds of War

Military correspondent Amos Harel and Palestinian affairs
correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote in HaQaretz (2/24): Q The
reports of tension between Israel, Lebanon and Syria are coming at a
time when there is a daily torrent of assessments, threats and
forecasts concerning the progress of Iran's nuclear program. The
two subjects are linked.... Several times during the past two years
Israel knew how to draw red lines, such as when it suspected Syria
was about to make the mistake of passing on dangerous weapons. It's
possible the issue of red lines will reemerge in the near future.

IV. QNetanyahu Did Not Learn From the Western Wall Tunnel

Diplomatic correspondent and television anchor Ben Caspit wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv (2/24): QClearly, Benjamin Netanyahu
is right. The Tomb of the Patriarchs and RachelQs Tomb are key
heritage sites in the history of the Jewish people.... [But] our
region has more than a few professional party-poopers who are just
looking for a reason to start a fight and create a crisis. This is
exactly what happened. After all, Netanyahu has already been in
this story with the Western Wall tunnel [in 1996]. Then too, it was
symbolic, pompous and unnecessary. Bloody riots broke out, and
Netanyahu hurried to crawl quickly to Washington, Qdiscover a new
friend in the White HouseQ named Yasser Arafat, and make a mockery
of himself (and also bury 17 dead at the same opportunity).... At
this rate, [a religious war] may erupt in the end. And then we will
have to work hard to restore the heritage.

V. QWhy Hit the Most Sensitive Spot?
Former Meretz leader, former Justice Minister, and chief Israeli
promoter of the Geneva Initiative, Yossi Beilin, wrote in the
independent Israel Hayom (2/24): QThe Government has now decided on
improvements and renovations in the most sensitive spot: The holy
places in the West Bank. All the diplomatic considerations collapse
in the face of an empty political threat. So perhaps a responsible
adult will stand up in Jerusalem and announce (which will happen in
any case) that any work on the holy places will be done with the
consent of the Palestinian Authority? Perhaps someone will channel
national pride elsewhere, and not into inciting the next
confrontation?

VI. QAn Unnecessary Explosive Mix

The ultra-Orthodox HamodiQa editorialized (2/24): QThe entire debate
between Jews and Arabs [over holy sites in Palestine] would have
been different -- even radically so -- had there been an interfaith
dialogue. The fact is that the Arab nation, which was anyway never
friwendly to its Jewish cousins, burst out with wars and terrorism
since the beginning of the Zionist revolution.... [The Arabs] know
that the Jewish faith preceded Islam and that the sites holy [to
Judaism] were built during the heyday and the splendor of the Jewish
nation in the era of the First and Second Temples.

VII. QBash Israel (and Your Brain)

Amnon Rubinstein, Law Professor at the Interdisciplinary Center and
a former education minister from Meretz, wrote in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (2/24): QThe latest product in the
flourishing bash-Israel literature is Iranophobia. The book debunks
Israeli and Western anxieties about the Iranian dangers. The
author, Prof. Haggai Ram of Ben-Gurion University ... holds that
Israel has to demonize Iran so as to identify the Islamic Republic
with its suppressed minorities in Israel: the Mizrahi [Oriental
Jewish] and the haredi [ultra-Orthodox] communities. Iran, on this
theory, is the hated Qrole modelQ with which these suppressed
minorities can be associated.... As is common in bash-Israel
literature, the author adduces no real evidence for these
allegations.... But the most significant aspect of this book is the
fact that it published by Stanford University Press.... [In another
instance, British psychoanalyst and academic Jacqueline Rose put out
the tome QThe Question of ZionQ].... Her book is full of allegations
against Zionism, comparing it to mental illness. Her evidence is
typical: its founders were mentally sick.... Here, too, the
significant part is not the concoction of imaginary facts and
accusations by the author but the fact that Princeton [University
Press] published it. Indeed, when it comes to Israel-bashing,
anything goes.

VIII. QMideast Drama Starring Danny Ayalon

Palestinian-American columnist and peace activist Ray Hanania wrote
in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (2/24): Q[Deputy
Israeli Foreign Minister Danny] Ayalon's snub of the [Turkish]
Ambassador [to Israel] represents more than just one man's failings.
His actions symbolize the fundamental shortcomings common to
rejectionists and shared by the Arabs, too.... In the end, although
Israeli rejectionists are similar to Palestinian rejectionists,
there is one glaring difference. Palestinians never apologize for
anything or admit they are wrong. Apologizing means compromise.
Apologizing recognizes a mistake. Palestinian rejectionists live in
a pretend world where their mistakes don't exist and their failures
are not debatable. War crimes committed on their behalf are never
addressed, only the war crimes of others. Danny Ayalon may be a
poor diplomat but at least he knows when to apologize and recognize
when he is wrong. When Israelis and Arabs can apologize and
recognize when they are wrong together, and stop denying everything
as they often do, maybe, just maybe, we might see the day when
genuine peace is achieved.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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