INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

Published: Wed 30 Nov 2005 11:45 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 05 TEL AVIV 006708
SIPDIS
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR NEA STAFF
SECDEF WASHDC FOR USDP/ASD-PA/ASD-ISA
HQ USAF FOR XOXX
DA WASHDC FOR SASA
JOINT STAFF WASHDC FOR PA
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL FOR POLAD/USIA ADVISOR
COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE FOR PAO/POLAD
COMSIXTHFLT FOR 019
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:
--------------------------------
1. Mideast
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Key stories in the media:
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All Israeli media led with pre-election stories on the
movement of key figures between political parties and
on public opinion polls.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Professor Uriel
Reichman, Shinui founder, decided to join PM Sharon's
Kadima party, that Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom's
campaign for Likud leader was off to a slow start
yesterday, and that former prime minister and Labor
chairman Shimon Peres is expected to formally announce
his decision today to leave the Labor Party after 61
years in the party and its forerunners and not to run
for re-election to the Knesset after a record 46 years
in the parliament. The Post also reported that Peres
would announce that he has accepted an offer from
Sharon to serve as a minister in charge of peace talks
with the Palestinians and developing the Negev and the
Galilee. Peres will not join Kadima, but he will
endorse Sharon.
In a related report, the Post adds that after
attracting 19 MKs to his new Kadima party, Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon shifted his attention on Tuesday
to seeking support from mayors from across the country.
Seventy-two mayors affiliated with Likud, Labor, the
National Union, Arab, Druze and Bedouin parties
attended a festive dinner at Sharon's official
residence in Jerusalem. Sharon asked the mayors for
support in building Kadima into a permanent fixture on
the Israeli political scene. "The fact that you came
is proof that that the steps we have taken have
unprecedented public support from the entire country,"
Sharon told the mayors. Agriculture Minister Yisrael
Katz (Likud) said that Sharon was unfairly taking
advantage of the Prime Minister's Office to advance his
political party, the Post added. Ha'aretz reports that
several mayors and Likud members in attendance said
they would work to prevent the election of Binyamin
Netanyahu as Likud chairman so that Sharon could form a
coalition with his former party should Shalom or Shaul
Mofaz be elected Likud leaders. In a related report,
several Kadima members were cited as saying yesterday
that the new Kadima party is "beginning to look too
leftist."
Ma'ariv reports that a poll conducted yesterday among
Likud members shows Netanyahu leading with 39%,
followed by Mofaz (19%) and Shalom (12%). Ma'ariv and
Yedi'ot Aharonot carry the same results of telephone
polls (of a representative sample of Israelis)
conducted yesterday, showing Likud, Shinui, and Labor
falling further, while Kadima is seen gaining. The
poll question was: "Were elections held today, for
which of the following parties would you vote?" The
results are given in Knesset seats, and last week's
results are given in brackets: Kadima: 34 (33), Labor:
27 (26), SHAS: 11 (10), Likud: 10 (13), ultra-Orthodox
parties: 6 (5), Shinui: 5 (6), Yisrael Beiteinu: 5 (5),
Yahad-Meretz: 5 (5), National Union Party: 5 (5), NRP:
4 (3), Arab parties: 8 (9).
Ha'aretz reports that the religious parties stopped
deliberations on a potential merger as public opinion
polls they commissioned revealed that a united list
would score less votes than if the parties run
separately.
The Post reports that the defense establishment
presented Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Tuesday with a
plan to halt smuggling from the Sinai by building a
robust security fence along the Egyptian border.
Sharon said he would bring the plan, expected to cost
some NIS 1.5 billion, to the cabinet "in the coming
weeks." Yedi'ot Aharonot reports that, touring the
border area yesterday, PM Sharon was told by security
officials that more than 4,000 people illegally entered
Israel across the "porous border" last year. Sharon
instructed that this must be stopped, saying that there
is no difference between criminal and terror-related
smuggling.
The Jerusalem Post reports that settler leaders on
Tuesday launched an open-ended sit down strike opposite
the government compound in Jerusalem to protest the
government "neglect" and "obtuseness" in dealing with
the thousands of Israeli evacuees. The demonstration
got off to a slow start with "a mere dozen participants
in the huge white tent" erected opposite the foreign
ministry.
The army radio reported that the Supreme Court has
decided to allow the extradition of Ze'ev Rosenstein,
the Israel Police's number one intelligence target, to
the United States. He is suspected of involvement in
worldwide drug deals worth tens of millions of dollars.
A three-judge panel ruled unanimously that Rosenstein's
extradition was the correct course of action and
stemmed from the recognition of the US's natural right
to defend itself against people who rise up against it.
Rosenstein's request to be tried in Israel was
rejected.
Ma'ariv reports that last week, three tenders for the
construction of new separation fence segments -
totaling 71km -- were issued. The tenders are expected
to total more than 700 million shekels, and work will
be done in 17 different sectors, with tender results
expected by the end of December. Work is to begin in
January and end around December 2006.
Citing an AP report, The Jerusalem Post reported that
the United States acknowledged Tuesday that reports of
secret US-run terror prisons have raised an outcry
SIPDIS
among European allies, and said the US will account for
its actions. Without confirming that any CIA detention
sites exist in Europe, a State Department spokesman
said the US has not violated either its own laws or
international treaties. "The United States in its
actions does not break US law," spokesman Sean
McCormack said. "All its actions comply with the (US)
Constitution and we abide by our international
obligations.
The Jerusalem Post reported that, speaking at a
November 24 rally in Damascus, white supremacist and
former US State Representative from Louisiana David
Duke called the US a land "occupied" by Zionists. "The
Zionists occupy most of the American media and now
control much of American government. It is not just the
West Bank of Palestine, it is not just the Golan
Heights that are occupied by the Zionists, but
Washington DC, and New York, and London, and many other
capitals in the world," the former KKK member said.
The Jerusalem Post reported that as the United Nations
began its annual debate on the Palestinian issue
Tuesday, Israeli officials expected less criticism
against Israel than in former years. Israeli diplomats
at the UN have managed to take off the agenda one of
the anti-Israeli resolutions and are negotiating a
weaker language for other resolutions condemning
Israel.
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1. Mideast
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Summary:
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Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "In
the illegal outposts that the Israeli Government is not
dismantling live outlaws who not only seize others'
lands, but also cause damage to Palestinian persons and
property.. Needless to say that no government
authority is doing anything to change this reality."
Senior military affairs analyst Reuven Pedatzur writes
in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "If we were to
accept the conclusions of the analysis presented by the
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Israel's strategic
situation has never been better.. If things are so
good, why does Israel keep investing so many resources
in security? This is from where much money can be
taken to solve much of Israel's poverty problems, that
make the defense minister lose sleep."
Block Quotes:
-------------
I. "Who Will Deal With Choppers Of Trees?"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "In
the illegal outposts that the Israeli Government is not
dismantling live outlaws who not only seize others'
lands, but also cause damage to Palestinian persons and
property, assuming that the law cannot touch them. The
olive picking season has in recent years turned into
fun season for some of the outpost dwellers and the
damage they cause - undisturbed - to Palestinian olive
plantations is inconceivable.. The Samaria and Judea
District police say 672 cases were opened against
Israelis who attacked Palestinians, but this is no
indication of results. Most of the cases are closed
with time, investigations are not conducted seriously,
the police are not investing resources in the district,
the police stations are inside settlements and the
Palestinians are afraid to come there and report, and
the police officers are themselves settlers. Needless
to say that no government authority is doing anything
to change this reality."
II. "Our Situation is Better Than Ever"
Senior military affairs analyst Reuven Pedatzur writes
in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "If we were to
accept the conclusions of the analysis presented by the
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies last week, Israel's
strategic situation has never been better.. As its
power of deterrence grew, Israel faces no real danger.
The threat of terror indeed remained, but it poses no
existential threat. The future potentially holds an
Iranian nuclear threat, but it seems that it will be
years before it becomes real. Syria is weaker and
isolated., relations with Egypt improved., the peace
accord with Jordan is stable., the occupation of Iraq
completely eliminated the age-long threat of the
eastern front., the disengagement started a positive
era in Israel's relations with Europe., the strategic
relations with the United States are better than ever,
and the Bush administration. is actually giving Israel
a free reign in its war against terror. Even the
developments in the PA territories helped improve
Israel's security situation.. If things are so good,
why does Israel keep investing so many resources in
security, much more than all of its neighbors? The
Jaffee Center report does not ask that.. The situation
should have led to a decision on substantial cuts in
the security budget and the formulation of a new
security concept that would cost much less than the
current one. Regrettably, this is not happening, and
the defense minister is advised to read the report to
remind himself of things he probably knows well. This
is from where a lot of money can be taken to solve much
of Israel's poverty problems, which make the defense
minister lose sleep."
CRETZ
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