INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

Published: Wed 27 Jul 2005 10:30 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TEL AVIV 004659
SIPDIS
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR NEA STAFF
JERUSALEM ALSO FOR ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: IS KMDR MEDIA REACTION REPORT
SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION
--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------
1. Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank, and Lebanon
2. Mideast
3. Iraq
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Key stories in the media:
-------------------------
Israel Radio cited a White House announcement,
according to which Richard Jones has been appointed
U.S. ambassador to Israel.
Ha'aretz (Akiva Eldar) says that PM Sharon is worried
about papers circulated recently among members of the
Quartet, under the heading "The day after the
disengagement," which allegedly call for a conference
that would "begin the process that would lead to the
establishment of an independent Palestinian state in
temporary borders."
Ha'aretz, Yediot, and Israel Radio bannered IDF
preparations towards the disengagement move. Leading
media reported that the IDF have constructed a
"settlement" at the Tse'elim army base in the Negev,
where Ha'aretz says there once was a Palestinian
village. On Sunday, Maariv reported that the defense
establishment intends to merge the four planned stages
of disengagement into a single, gradual evacuation,
because a more protracted move would make the
withdrawal more difficult and endanger soldiers.
Today, the newspaper cites ministers Binyamin Netanyahu
and Limor Livnat's opposition to the change.
On Monday, Netanyahu told Israel Radio that the Gaza
Strip would turn into a base for terror operations
after the disengagement.
Jerusalem Post reported that the settler leaders plan
to stage next week a prolonged sequel to last week's
march, in a move that disengagement opponents hope will
siphon away enough security forces to disrupt the Gaza
pullout. All media reported that on Monday, dozens of
settlers attacked the IDF Chaplain General, Brig. Gen.
Rabbi Israel Weiss, who came to the Gush Katif
settlement of Neve Dekalim to coordinate the transfer
of graves from the local cemetery to Israel before the
disengagement. Ha'aretz quoted a spokesman for
residents of Sa-Nur, one of the West Bank settlements
slated for evacuation, as saying on Monday that
residents recently identified two suspected Shin Bet
security service "provocateurs" who tried to infiltrate
their ranks, and a third man whom residents also
suspected was a Shin Bet agent and who suspended
contact and left the community.
Maariv reported that on Monday, Jerusalem's local
council for planning and construction approved a plan
to build a Jewish neighborhood -- 30 housing units and
a synagogue -- opposite Herod's Gate (Flower Gate)
inside the Old City's Muslim Quarter. The newspaper
reported that Knesset Member Ran Cohen (Yahad-Meretz)
wrote Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Herzog,
saying that the plan is akin to gunpowder that could
ignite.
The Arutz-7 (Arutz Sheva) radio, followed by Hatzofe,
reported that Sharon's friend, South African
businessman Cyril Kern, in partnership with Israeli
businessman Shmuel Flatto-Sharon and Saudi billionaire
Mahmoud Elabad (phon.), is planning to build a casino
in Elei Sinai, now a Gaza Strip settlement. Hatzofe
reported that Knesset Member Uri Ariel (National Union)
has requested that Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz
investigate the motive for the transfer of northern
Gaza Strip settlements to the PA. Yediot reported that
Hamas is opposed to the construction of such a casino.
Israel Radio quoted Sofian Abu Zaida, the Palestinian
Minister of Prisoner Affairs, as saying, in an
interview with the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, that the
PA has requested that Israel release Palestinian
prisoners originating from the Gaza Strip after the
disengagement, but that Israel has not responded to the
request.
All media reported that Sharon will leave for a three-
day visit to France today. Ha'aretz writes that the
French attitude vis-a-vis Israel softened after
European leaders became convinced that Sharon was
determined to evacuate the Gaza Strip and after French
President Jacques Chirac lost the vote to ratify the
European constitution.
All media reported that, in the biggest economic deal
in Israeli history, the pharmaceutical giant Teva
announced Monday that it had signed an agreement to
purchase the U.S.-based Ivax for USD 7.4 billion. Teva
will thus become the world's largest generic drug maker
once again.
Ha'aretz quoted official Palestinian sources as saying
that on Monday, the PA set new dates for completing the
local authority elections -- September 29 and December
8.
Yediot cited a report published in the German weekly
Der Spiegel, which reveals a secret Iranian nuclear
plan that makes use of material surreptitiously bought
from South Korean and French companies. Israel Radio
cited a report in the London-based Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat
that Iran has started a training program for suicide
bombers who will operate in Western countries and
Israel.
Ha'aretz cited a recent announcement by the state
prosecution, according to which the Civil
Administration in the territories is to place signs in
Canada Park, near Latrun, to commemorate the
Palestinian villages of Imwas and Yalu, which were
destroyed in 1967.
Leading media reported that the Vatican envoy was
summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Monday as Israel
expressed its outrage that Pope Benedict XVI failed to
condemn terror against Israelis.
Maariv cited the results of a poll conducted among
settlers by Haifa University's National Security
Studies Center:
-40 percent of respondents believe that isolated
settlements should be conceded in order to keep large
settlement blocs.
-51.8 percent believe that extremist [Jewish] elements
in the territories harm the settlement drive.
-12.8 percent believe that the creation of a Jewish
underground that would fight the evacuation of Jewish
settlements is legitimate within the struggle over the
entire Land of Israel [i.e. Israel, including the
territories].
-0.2 percent are ready to make use of firearms against
elected officials or security forces in order to
prevent the evacuation of settlements.
--------------------------------------------- --------
1. Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank, and Lebanon:
--------------------------------------------- --------
Summary:
--------
Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Since the U.S.
administration is doing the asking, Israel must help
Abu Mazen to help himself."
Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in
Ha'aretz: "Lebanon can very justly view as historic the
day of the Secretary of State's visit.... [But] Syria
still has means of its own to deal with Lebanon."
Block Quotes:
-------------
I. "Leader Remodeling Inc."
Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (July 26): "This
time, Rice's demands did not go through the filtering
system of [top Sharon aide Dov] Weisglass. There was no
sugar to sweeten the pill or make it easier to swallow.
There was no beating around the bush.... When she
visited the Palestinians, she praised Abu Mazen's
leadership abilities and his 'war on terror.' In
Israel, she went on about how weak and frail he is, and
urged us to strengthen him. As if Israel were Leader
Remodeling Inc.... The Bush administration wants to
strengthen him because of his commitment to democratize
the PA, whereas all we see is a man incapable of
carrying out his most elementary obligation -- cracking
down and disarming the terrorist organizations. With
Israel taking its first historic step to leave the
territories, one might expect something different....
But since the U.S. administration is doing the asking,
Israel must help Abu Mazen to help himself. If he
needs a blood transfusion, we can donate some. After
all, we do want a strong and credible partner. But we
can't replace all his blood for him. If he is really
so weak that he can't curb terror, can't discuss
compromise and can't come up with any painful
concessions on his side, then he is not a worthy
partner."
II. "U.S.-Lebanon Relations are Warmer Despite
Hizbullah in Government"
Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in
Ha'aretz (July 26): "Lebanon can very justly view as
historic the day of the Secretary of State's visit,
when for the first time she neither visited Syria
first, nor coordinated the visit with Bashar Assad, nor
reported to him about that visit's results....
According to [Lebanese] sources, Rice was asked [by her
Lebanese hosts] to pressure Israel to withdraw from the
Sheba Farms, so that the Lebanese government can
uncompromisingly demand Hizbullah's disarming.... But
[Secretary Rice] asked what guarantees Israel would get
as to Hizbullah's being satisfied with that pullout....
No less important was the message Rice conveyed to
Syria. A Syrian president hasn't received such an
affront for years, although it is difficult to know
what it'll serve. Syria still has means of its own to
deal with Lebanon."
------------
2. Mideast:
------------
Summary:
--------
Veteran print and TV journalist Dan Margalit wrote in
popular, pluralist Maariv: "This is an opportune moment
[for Israel].... The formula needs to be: anyone who
crosses the [West Bank security] fence is placing his
life at risk."
Block Quotes:
-------------
"An Opportune Moment"
Veteran print and TV journalist Dan Margalit wrote in
popular, pluralist Maariv (July 26): "The Queen of
England is angry that the [British] legal establishment
is investigating its troops but is treating the
terrorists gently. It won't be long before billions
will know how to say 'kill confirm' in English.... The
Americans have been in that place for a long time
already. This is evinced in their laws and in the
violent interrogations to which they subject suspected
terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. To put things in simple
terms, one could say Guantanamo Bay is 'in' while the
International Court of Justice at The Hague is
'out'.... There is an international atmosphere that
divides the world into 'ours' and 'theirs,' and into
'good guys' and 'bad guys'.... Al-Qaida, Hizbullah and
Palestinian terrorism are all on the far side of that
divide. This is an opportune moment; we do not know
how long it will last.... The formula needs to be:
anyone who crosses the [West Bank security] fence is
placing his life at risk. It would be best to apply
these terms of engagement while [Israeli Representative
Danny] Gillerman's life in the UN Security Council is
still comfortable."
---------
3. Iraq:
---------
Summary:
--------
The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global
Research in International Affairs Center, columnist
Barry Rubin, wrote in conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post: "Iraqis should not be surprised at Arab
indifference to their suffering, since the same
quarters celebrated former Iraqi dictator Saddam
Hussein as a great Arab hero."
Block Quotes:
-------------
"Terrorists For Occupation"
The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global
Research in International Affairs Center, columnist
Barry Rubin, wrote in conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (July 26): "We have become used to much
of the world's willingness to accept, excuse and even
sympathize with Arab nationalist and radical Islamist
terrorism against Israel. In this case, the situation
is distorted so that the victims become the accused.
But when the same thing happens regarding the mass
murder of Arab Muslims, it gets really scary.... Israel
has been remarkably restrained given the ordeal it has
faced, notwithstanding the misinformed perceptions of
much of the world. Iraqi Shi'ites may act differently
when they are eventually unleashed on their foes as the
Americans start to leave.... Iraqis should not be
surprised at Arab indifference to their suffering,
since the same quarters celebrated former Iraqi
dictator Saddam Hussein as a great Arab hero while he
was torturing and murdering millions of his
countrymen.... Who are the new murderers being
glorified as Arab and Islamic heroes? They are a
combination of Saddam loyalists, Sunni communal
nationalists who view killing Shi'ites as their highest
duty, and radical Islamists who want to plunge Iraq
into still another hell. Then there are the many young
men being lured to their deaths by inebriation on a
steady diet of propaganda from those who make a good
living from such deception. What hope can there be for
progress in the Arab world, or peace in the region,
when such things are happening at an increased pace and
the voices of sanity are so few and far between?"
KURTZER
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