INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

Published: Wed 17 Aug 2005 11:42 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
171142Z Aug 05
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TEL AVIV 005091
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
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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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Gaza and Northern West Bank Disengagement
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Key stories in the media:
-------------------------
All media, including the electronic ones, which
broadcast at unusual hours, reported that the forced
eviction of the Gaza settlers has begun. Early this
afternoon, Jerusalem Post's web site reported that ten
settlements are being evacuated, with a focus on Morag
and Neve Dekalim. Security forces poured into Neve
Dekalim on Tuesday, convincing several dozen families
to leave. On Tuesday and today, there were several
violent incidents in clashes between security forces,
and settlers and their supporters. Speaking soon after
an incident in which a female soldier who entered Morag
was stabbed and lightly wounded, PM Sharon beseeched
settlers during a joint press conference with President
Moshe Katsav not to attack soldiers and police removing
them from their homes, declaring that opponents of the
disengagement plan should "not hurt them, rather hurt
me."
Jerusalem Post quoted a "White House spokeswoman" in
Crawford, Tex. as saying that President Bush "supports
Prime Minister Sharon in this bold initiative and
believes this will strengthen Israel." The newspaper
reported that Sharon received messages of praise from
British PM Tony Blair and Turkish PM Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, while Malaysia described the withdrawal as a
"first small step."
Ha'aretz reported that U.S. security coordinator Lt.
Gen. William Ward met on Tuesday at the Gaza Strip's
Karni Crossing with the heads of the PA security forces
deployed near settlements. Ha'aretz reported that PA
Interior Ministry spokesman Tawfiq Abu Husa told the
newspaper that at the meeting, Ward looked at "the
deployment of the forces and their capabilities, down
to the smallest details," and their readiness. The
newspaper quoted Abu Husa and other Palestinian
security figures as saying Tuesday that the Palestinian
police have deployed most of their forces in the
central and southern Gaza Strip where most of the
disengagement process is underway. Ha'aretz notes that
the Palestinians also have 400 security men stationed
in the northern Strip. Leading media reported that the
PA and Hamas are preparing for a struggle for control
over the Gush Katif area. Yediot reported that A/S
David Welch "secretly" visited Gaza, where he told the
heads of the PA security forces that they must
cooperate with Israel during the disengagement move.
Yediot also quoted a senior State Department official
as conveying a similar idea Tuesday in Washington:
"Welch's message is very important: the Palestinians
must cooperate with the Israeli security branches in
order for the disengagement to be implemented without
hitches or violence."
PA Civilian Affairs Minister Muhammad Dahlan was quoted
as saying in an interview with Maariv that he perceives
optimism among the Palestinian population. He
dismissed the settlers' pain, praised Sharon's courage,
and asked Israelis to free themselves of their
"occupation mentality."
Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday, Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak told a visiting delegation from the Labor
Party, including former PM Ehud Barak, and Knesset
Members Danny Yatom and Colette Avital, that he hoped
the pullout from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank
would end peacefully, adding that disengagement would
favorably affect not only relations between Israel and
the Palestinians, but also Israel's relations with the
international community. The newspaper quoted Mubarak
as saying at the meeting that Egypt will do all it can
to prevent arms smuggling along the Philadelphi route,
but that the closure could not be "hermetic." Mubarak
was quoted as saying in an interview with Yediot that
he understands the difficulty inherent in leaving one's
home. Israel Radio quoted Jordan's King Abdullah II as
saying in Moscow that Israel is acting in earnest.
Citing AP, Ha'aretz quoted the King as saying on
Tuesday, before he left for Russia, that he opposes
settling more Palestinian refugees in his country amid
Arab fears that Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip
may not extend to the West Bank.
Jerusalem Post and Hatzofe quoted IDF Intelligence
chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash as saying Tuesday
before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense
Committee that the Palestinians might resume terror
activities in the spring of 2006 if they do not see a
diplomatic horizon and if Israel insists on the
dismantling of the terror infrastructure. Jerusalem
Post reported that Abu Abeer, a spokesman for the
Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) told the newspaper
at a PRC meeting in Gaza City that the PRC will not
continue attacks after the withdrawal. The PRC, an
alliance of various armed militias, were responsible
for attacks on Sderot and on soldiers and settlers in
the Gaza Strip.
All major media reported that on Tuesday, U.S. Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Minister Shaul
SIPDIS
Mofaz signed a joint statement that says: "The
strategic alliance between the United States and Israel
reflects common understandings of the global security
environment. In this cooperative relationship, the
United States and Israel share information and consult
on possible threats to U.S. and Israeli defense
interests. The U.S. Department of Defense and the
Israeli Ministry of Defense have signed an
understanding that is designed to remedy problems of
the past that seriously affected the technology
security relationship between their defense
establishments and begins to restore confidence in the
technology security area. In the coming months,
additional steps will be taken to restore confidence
fully." The joint statement adds that the "signing of
this understanding underscores the commitment of the
U.S. and Israel to work together to address global
security challenges. Cooperation between the U.S. and
Israel is important to the security of the Middle East
and we expect that cooperation to continue." Israel
Radio notes that the understanding does not grant a
right of veto to the U.S., which will however be
informed about Israel's arms deals. The station says
that the full document is confidential and that its
details will not be released to the media. Ha'aretz
reported that the U.S. will continue to blacklist
Defense Ministry D-G Amos Yaron.
Jerusalem Post reported that France has threatened to
halt financial and humanitarian aid to the PA unless a
French journalist who was kidnapped in Gaza City
earlier this week is freed unharmed.
Citing Reuters, Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday,
Hizbullah hailed Israel's evacuation of settlements as
another victory for armed resistance.
Yediot and Jerusalem Post reported that the court
hearings in the matter of Pentagon "mole" Larry
Franklin and former AIPAC staff members Steve Rosen and
Keith Weissman began on Tuesday in Alexandria, Va.
Jerusalem Post reported that Rosen and Weissman pleaded
not guilty to charges of unlawfully receiving
classified defense information.
Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post printed an AP story,
according to which nearly 125 Israeli and Arab former
Seeds of Peace campers, now in their twenties, have
gathered in Otisfield, Maine, for the first reunion in
the camp's 13-year history.
------------------------------------------
Gaza and Northern West Bank Disengagement:
------------------------------------------
Summary:
--------
Veteran op-ed writer and the late prime minister
Yitzhak Rabin's assistant Eytan Haber opined in the
lead editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot: "We should wholeheartedly wish [the evacuated
settlers] success in their new lives, under the shadow
and management of Israeli governments that don't behave
stupidly."
Deputy Editor-in-Chief Avi Bettelheim wrote in popular,
pluralist Maariv: "The settlers deserve warm gratitude
... from all Israeli citizens.... But it is now over --
although this came very, very late."
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized:
"After two days of excessive consideration, in which
degraded police officers were conducting negotiations
over leaving the area in exchange for momentary quiet,
the time has come for a reversal. All future
expressions of weakness will cause the entire operation
to fail."
Senior op-ed writer Uzi Benziman commented in Ha'aretz:
"Violent eccentrics crop up on the margins of every
society, and if many from the mainstream of the settler
public join forces with them, Israel will find itself
in a heap of trouble."
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"Though our enemies are rejoicing at the suffering of
the settlers, they will rejoice even more if we decide
to tear ourselves apart."
European Union Representative in Israel Ramiro Cibrian-
Uzal wrote in Maariv: "While the disengagement's
security aspects are still highly important, Mr. James
Wolfensohn is leading the civilian and economic front
in the name of the Quartet and with the European
Union's full support."
Block Quotes:
-------------
I. "H-Hour With a Torn Heart"
Veteran op-ed writer and the late prime minister
Yitzhak Rabin's assistant Eytan Haber opined in the
lead editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (August 17): "Encouraged by [successive]
Israeli governments, devout and enthusiastic people
came to a barren region; for a generation, they built
houses, planted trees, created a blooming garden with
their sweat -- and blood. They were always told that
they were the 'salt of the earth'; they are now being
humiliated like the lowliest members of society, and
are required to smile in front of the cameras. As far
as they are concerned, today will be a fateful day. In
army lingo, this is the 'H-Hour' of evacuation. We
should wholeheartedly wish them success in their new
lives, under the shadow and management of Israeli
governments that don't behave stupidly."
II. "A Time For Sobering Up"
Deputy Editor-in-Chief Avi Bettelheim wrote in popular,
pluralist Maariv (August 17): "Gush Katif was born in
sin.... [But] the settlers deserve warm gratitude ...
from all Israeli citizens. They were there, endangered
their lives, but weren't despondent. They endured
thousands of mortar shells that landed next to them or
on their ground, and didn't flee. They lost relatives,
friends, and neighbors, but they didn't lose their
mental strength.... But it is now over -- although this
came very, very late."
III. "And Now, Determination"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(August 17): "It is not reasonable to arrive at August
17 while most of the resident population of Gush Katif
is still sitting at home. It is not reasonable to
complain to the Disengagement Administration for not
proposing solutions to the residents, when most Gush
Katif residents avoided all contact with the
administration for months.... When people say the
settlers, up to the last minute, have not internalized
the evacuation, what they are essentially saying is
that they have done well at internalizing the fact that
all their desires are usually fulfilled, and rightly
believed that this time too they would have the upper
hand. They do not hang their hopes on the heavens, but
on the weakness of the government in contrast to their
own determination. After two days of excessive
consideration, in which degraded police officers were
conducting negotiations over leaving the area in
exchange for momentary quiet, the time has come for a
reversal. All future expressions of weakness will
cause the entire operation to fail."
IV. "It Doesn't Stop at Orange"
Senior op-ed writer Uzi Benziman commented in Ha'aretz
(August 17): "Today the extent of the violent
opposition to the implementation of the disengagement
plan will become clear: are we talking about a minority
of youngsters, or a sizable ideological camp motivated
by the power of fanatic religious faith? If the first
option proves correct, it will be possible to heave a
sigh of relief, despite the flammable potential it,
too, contains: violent eccentrics crop up on the
margins of every society, and if many from the
mainstream of the settler public join forces with them,
Israel will find itself in a heap of trouble. In any
event, the entire Israeli society will have to give
some thought to the day after: how will those who
believe with every fiber of their being that withdrawal
from the territories is tantamount to pulverizing the
Zionist foundation on which the state lives go on
living together with those who are convinced that
continued occupation destroys the Zionist vision?"
V. "A Test of Our Society"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(August 17): "Today will be a painful day, no matter
how it and the next few days turn out. Today the
police and soldiers will knock on the doors of the
residents of Gush Katif, citizens who have withstood
almost five years of terrorism only to be evicted by
their own government. As each settlement is emptied of
its inhabitants, we should have no sense of victory....
We assume that the vast majority of the residents of
Gush Katif who remain would not think of physically
harming a soldier or policeman.... It would be better
if they did not take out their anger on the security
forces.... As difficult as it is to put the genie back
in the bottle once entire communities have rejected the
legitimacy of government decisions and even equated the
government with the worst enemies of the Jewish people,
we nevertheless hope that the line against violence
will be sharply drawn. It is not too late for every
rabbi, community leader and family to appeal to those
apocalyptically inclined, like the Jewish IDF deserter
who murdered four people in Shfaram, to reject
violence.... Indeed, though our enemies are rejoicing
at the suffering of the settlers, they will rejoice
even more if we decide to tear ourselves apart."
VI. "Europe Believes in Prosperity"
European Union Representative in Israel Ramiro Cibrian-
Uzal wrote in Maariv (August 17): "As an observer of
the events that have occurred in recent weeks, I
believe that the State of Israel is undergoing one of
the hardest and most challenging periods in its
history.... The international Quartet, in which the
European Union plays a key role, is acting
energetically to ensure that the 'day after'
[disengagement] won't be a day of chaos and anxiety,
but one that contains a promise for both Israelis and
Palestinians.... While the disengagement's security
aspects are still highly important, Mr. James
Wolfensohn is leading the civilian and economic front
in the name of the Quartet and with the European
Union's full support.... Confidence-building measures
will help both sides regain the trust needed in order
to return to the full implementation of commitments
they undertook at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, and meet
their obligations under the 'road map' -- with all the
difficulties this entails."
KURTZER
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