INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

Published: Wed 14 Jun 2006 02:39 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 TEL AVIV 002307
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
CDR USCENTCOM 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
--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------
1. Mideast
2. US-Israel Relations
-------------------------
Key stories in the media:
-------------------------
Leading media reported on President Bush's surprise
visit to Baghdad on Tuesday. Maariv cited a Pew poll
held in various European and Muslim countries,
according to which French, German, Spanish, and Russian
respondents said that the presence of US troops in Iraq
represents a greater threat than the Iranian
administration.
Ha'aretz reported that on Tuesday in London, PM Ehud
Olmert told a group of British parliamentarians that
Israel will never withdraw from the entire West Bank,
because the pre-1967 borders are not defensible.
Leading media reported that Olmert told the
parliamentarians that on Monday, he authorized the IDF
to dispatch to the PA 375 rifles to help establish the
Palestinian presidential guard, which is supposed to
bolster Abbas. Ha'aretz's website reported that PLO
chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told the Palestinian daily
Al-Ayyam that PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas has
rejected an Israeli plan (first revealed by Ha'aretz on
Tuesday) for a Palestinian state with provisional
borders.
All media led with the violence in the Gaza Strip.
Depending on the outlets, the media reported that seven
or eight Palestinian civilians were killed along with
three members of an Islamic Jihad cell in the IAF
double missile attack on the northern outskirts of Gaza
City. The van carrying the militants contained GRAD
Katyusha rockets apparently intended to be fired into
Israel. Maariv bannered: "Assassinations Preventing
Katyusha Rocket Launching Into Israel." The media
reported that shortly before the strike, Defense
Minister Amir Peretz told reporters that Israel's
restraint had ended. Media reported that Abbas called
the attack "state terrorism." Israel Radio quoted
former PA National Security Adviser Muhammad Dahlan as
saying that Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip
constituted "genocide." The station quoted State
Department Spokesman Sean McCormack as saying: "It
would appear that Israel was engaging in its right to
defend itself. Of course, whenever it does so, we urge
them to take into ... consideration the consequences of
what it is that they do."
All media reported that the IDF investigation team
examining the incident the incident in which seven
Palestinians were killed on a Gaza beach Friday
concluded "beyond all doubt" that they were not hurt as
a result of Israeli shelling. The head of the
investigation, Maj. Meir Kalifi, was quoted as saying
last night that it is likely the blast stemmed from a
bomb placed by the Palestinians at the site or "some
form of unexploded ordnance." This morning, Israel
Radio quoted Kalifi as saying that the Palestinians
took care to remove the shrapnel from the bodies of the
people killed in the incident and from the bodies of
those who are bring treated in Israel, so that it
cannot be identified. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan
Halutz was quoted as saying that Israel continues to
express its regrets over the incident, but that it does
not accept responsibility for it. Israel Radio
reported that the Hamas government placed
responsibility for the attack on Israel, and that Abbas
is demanding an international investigation on the
matter. Israel Radio reported that UN Secretary-
General Kofi Annan expressed doubts about the
conclusions of the IDF investigation and that he is
dispatching a representative to check the Palestinians'
allegations in the matter.
Maariv quoted an unnamed senior Israeli defense
establishment official assaying on Tuesday that one of
Hamas's motives in its resumption of Qassam rocket
launchings is Israel's policy that relentlessly acts to
thwart any attempt by the new Palestinian government to
succeed in its tasks. The official was quoted as
saying that the Gaza beach disaster only accelerated
Hamas's move.
Ha'aretz quoted Ahmed Yusef, Palestinian PM Ismail
Haniyeh's political adviser, as saying in an interview
with the newspaper that Hamas is prepared to offer a 50-
year to 60-year cease-fire if Israel withdraws to the
1967 lines, and is leaving open the possibility of an
Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement in the distant
future. However, Yusef was quoted as saying that such
a peace deal has no urgency.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Hamas officials as saying
Tuesday that the bank accounts of Hamas ministers and
legislators have been frozen by Palestinian banks in
the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the request of Abbas's
office. The Jerusalem Post quoted NGO officials as
saying that international non-governmental
organizations operating in Palestinian areas are
increasingly worried that the Palestinian health system
will collapse as funding runs out due to the
international community's boycott of the Hamas
government. Maariv cited a UNICEF report released on
Tuesday, according to which one in three sick
Palestinian newborns are dying in Gaza hospitals due to
poor care and lack of basic medicines.
The Jerusalem Post printed an AP story quoting FM Tzipi
Livni as saying after meeting with EU officials in
Luxembourg that it was "too early" to know if the EU
could rally aid to ease the economic and financial
plight of Palestinians while staying clear of the PA.
Ha'aretz reported that the State Prosecutor's Office
told the High Court of Justice this week that political
considerations did not determine the route of the
separation fence, but that its construction may have
"political implications."
Ha'aretz reported that some 45 olive trees belonging to
a Palestinian farmer from the West Bank village of
Salem have been damaged, apparently by settlers,
according to witnesses. Several media reported that 20
settlers were arrested in Hebron on Tuesday after they
hurled stones and concrete blocks at policemen and IDF
troops in the city's Avraham Avinu neighborhood. The
clashes erupted when security forces arrived to secure
the site where repair work was due to be carried out on
a fence surrounding a Palestinian house in the
neighborhood.
Ha'aretz and Maariv reported that the Knesset's
Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved the
conditions for exceptions to the "Intifada law,"
clearing the way for some 2,000 Palestinians asking for
Israeli compensation over damage caused during the
conflict.
Israel Radio and other media reported that this
morning, Hamas gunmen on Wednesday shot and moderately
wounded PA Preventive Security Service chief Rifat
Kulab in the Gaza town of Khan Yunis. The media
reported that a Hamas militant was later shot and
killed outside his home in the town in a possible
retaliation.
Yediot reported that 12 carefully vetted Israeli and
Palestinian children will soon leave for a summer camp
in Finland, where they will found the joint children's
parliament of Israel and the PA. The role of the child
members of parliament will be to sit around a
discussion table and raise new ideas for peace in the
region. The initiator of the idea is the Children's
United Parliament of the World (CUPW), an independent
organization based in Finland. This is a non-
governmental organization, which currently includes 50
member states. Yediot reported that the Israeli
Foreign Ministry has agreed to sponsor the project and
quoted Foreign Ministry officials as saying that they
attribute great importance to Israel's participation in
the project of the children's parliament.
Maariv reported that four envelopes conspicuously
marked "anthrax" and containing a substance suspected
of being anthrax arrived at four addresses in Israel: a
company in central Tel Aviv, a foreign embassy in Tel
Aviv, a bank branch in Tel Aviv, and the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem. Maariv reported that the
Israeli defense establishment is checking who is behind
this attempt to sow panic. Israel Radio reported that
this morning, the Prime Minister's Office was evacuated
due to a suspect envelope received in the mail, which
was subsequently checked and did not contain
explosives.
Maariv reported that the Jewish Agency, the Foreign
Ministry, and the IDF have initiated an operation to
return Israelis residing in Los Angeles to Israel.
Maariv quoted a Foreign Ministry source as saying that
many inductees joining the IDF in August will be
Israelis who had left the country for the US with their
parents.
Ha'aretz reported on a discussion among academics and
activists in Washington regarding an expected USD 20-
million donation to Georgetown University by Sheldon
Adelson, allegedly the richest Jew in the world. The
newspaper reported that Adelson is considering whether
to donate the money to expand the University's Program
for Jewish Civilization, part of its School of Foreign
Service, into a full-fledged Center for Jewish
Civilization. The move would involve hiring three more
professors, and possibly a new building. Ha'aretz
quoted a participant in the discussions as saying that
the Jewish and Israeli presence at Georgetown, a Jesuit
university that sends its graduates into the heart of
the American political establishment, would reach a
totally different level. Ha'aretz quoted the Rabbi of
Georgetown University, Harold White, as saying that a
Jewish center would balance out the University's Arab
center.
Leading media reported that on Tuesday, the High Court
of Justice ruled that Yigal Amir, who is serving a life
sentence for assassinating then-PM Yitzhak Rabin in
1995, is allowed to artificially inseminate his partner
Larissa Trimbovler. Media quoted Justice Ayala
Procaccia as saying that like all prisoners, Amir has
"basic human rights that were not appropriated from him
when he went to prison." Ha'aretz reported that Peace
Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer called the High
Court decision "shocking and outrageous."
Yediot reported that a New York City commission found
that one third of the city's Jews lives along or under
the poverty line. The commission was cited as saying
that those poor are ultra-Orthodox, elderly, immigrants
from Russia, or illegal Israeli residents in the US.
------------
1. Mideast:
------------
Summary:
--------
Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote on page one
of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The
Hamas-led PA needed a tragedy [on the Gaza beach] like
a breath of fresh air. This incident gave it a chance
to extricate itself from the highly difficult situation
it had become mired in."
Military correspondent Amos Harel and Palestinian
affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote on page one
of independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The attempt to
wage a political public relations battle to justify
Israel's moves is doomed to failure."
Military correspondent Amir Rappaport wrote on page one
of pluralist, popular Maariv: "The Israeli-Palestinian
conflict has deteriorated into a civil war, but not in
the conventional sense of the word. This is a war
where the missiles and the Qassam rockets land in the
heart of crowded population centers on both sides of
the fence around the Gaza Strip, and as a result,
innocent civilians pay a bloody price."
Senior columnist Haggai Huberman wrote in the editorial
of nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe: "Olmert is returning
precisely to Clinton's proposal from six years ago,
while not demanding Ehud Barak's ultimate condition:
the 'end of the conflict.'"
Block Quotes:
-------------
I. "Hamas Found an Excuse"
Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote on page one
of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/14):
"Now we know that we're right. We were told that the
army was all right, that we were not the ones who
killed the Ghalia family, and we certainly agree. Even
the Defense Minister (who is currently undergoing a
process of militarization) agrees with the army that we
are right. We all agree with each other, and
everyone's conscience is as white as driven snow. So
what? The defense establishment is playing PR games
with itself. It needs this game to receive legitimacy
from the public for the continuation of its security
policy versus the Hamas-led PA in Gaza. So it has
legitimacy. But where is the policy? The only policy
that it has is, at best, is a reactive policy that
ensures instability in the long term. What currently
separates us between tense coexistence and
deterioration and chaos is one Qassam rocket that will
fall in the wrong spot, and not a coherent security
doctrine from the participants of last night's [IDF]
press conference. The tragedy of the Ghalia family did
not lead to a search for justice or for culprits. From
the outset, it served as a cynical instrument in the
hands of the PA to speed up processes that were already
on the ground in any case. Therefore, in the
Palestinian view, Tuesday's press conference will not
change a thing. Certainly not four days after the
tragedy. The Ghalia family is already a myth that
flows deep in the veins. The Hamas-led PA needed a
tragedy of this sort like a breath of fresh air. This
incident gave it a chance to extricate itself from the
highly difficult situation it had become mired in."
II. "Preventing Terror or Killing Civilians"
Military correspondent Amos Harel and Palestinian
affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote on page one
of independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (6/14): "The
attempt to wage a political public relations battle to
justify Israel's moves is doomed to failure. It
appears that, in any case, the average observer in the
West sees the post-disengagement conflict here as a
bloodbath in which assassinations are indistinguishable
from acts of revenge. Israel makes a distinction
between its approach -- we attack terrorists and, as an
incidental result, Palestinian civilians occasionally
get hurt -- and the Palestinian terrorists' approach of
targeting civilians. But this differentiation falls on
apathetic ears.... [Even so,] the fact that Israeli
attacks are taking place in the midst of the infighting
between Hamas and Fatah has only increased the distress
of the Gaza population. Despite the internal disputes,
both groups agreed on the appropriate response to the
Gaza casualties: No Fatah leader criticized the Hamas
declaration that it is renewing suicide bombings."
III. "Civil War"
Military correspondent Amir Rappaport wrote on page one
of pluralist, popular Maariv (6/14): "The Israeli-
Palestinian conflict has deteriorated into a civil war,
but not in the conventional sense of the word. This is
a war where the missiles and the Qassam rockets land in
the heart of crowded population centers on both sides
of the fence around the Gaza Strip, and as a result,
innocent civilians pay a bloody price.... As for
Tuesday's [IDF} press conference, few people in the
world will believe that Israel is not to blame, and
instinctively it is also hard to believe the IDF's
version, but the evidence indicates that it is almost
certainly true. It should be assessed that the seven
members of the Ghalia family were hit by a bomb that
Hamas placed on the beach to target naval commandos who
stage raids on Qassam rocket launching grounds. If
Hamas's plan had succeeded, this would have recreated
the 1997 naval commando disaster in Lebanon [in which
11 IDF soldiers lost their lives]."
IV. "Heading for the Next Palestinian Victory"
Senior columnist Haggai Huberman wrote in the editorial
of nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe (6/14): "On Tuesday,
Ha'aretz published a report by Akiva Eldar that
following regional and international opposition to
unilateral Israeli moves, the [Israeli] government has
begun to prepare an alternative plan, which will
effectively turn Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's
realignment plan into a bilateral initiative, to which
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) would be a
partner.... According to the plan, which has been
prepared covertly, after the referendum Israel will
offer Abu Mazen to reach an arrangement for
establishing a Palestinian state that will include the
Gaza Strip and 90 percent of Judea and Samaria [i.e.
the West Bank].... If this proposal by Olmert is
implemented, the Palestinians will be able to argue,
and with complete justification from their viewpoint,
that they won the war: Olmert is returning precisely to
Clinton's proposal from six years ago, while not
demanding Ehud Barak's ultimate condition: the 'end of
the conflict.' The Palestinians will receive their
main wish -- an independent Palestinian state on an
absolute majority of the territory of Judea and
Samaria, without providing minimal recompense in the
form of halting the violence. The conflict will
continue after the Israeli withdrawal as well,
including all types of violence: Rocket fire, suicide
bombers, and more."
------------------------
2. US-Israel Relations:
------------------------
Summary:
--------
Columnist Yonatan Rosenblum wrote in pluralist, popular
Maariv: "The American Jews' identification with Israel
... has dropped considerably."
Block Quotes:
-------------
"No Longer a 'Chosen People'"
Columnist Yonatan Rosenblum wrote in pluralist, popular
Maariv (6/14): "The June edition of [the US monthly]
Commentary is entitled 'Whatever Happened to the Jewish
People?' and describes the plummeting ethnic identity
of America's Jews. The findings of sociologist Steven
[M.] Cohen and historian Jack Wertheimer have important
repercussions on Israel-Diaspora relations and on the
future of non-ultra-Orthodox Jews in the world....
Unsurprisingly, the American Jews' identification with
Israel, as well as contributions for Israel (among non-
ultra-Orthodox), has dropped considerably.... Young
Jews in Israel and America resemble each other in the
insignificance they attribute to their Judaism -- only
one element of identity among many others. As a
result, the connection between them will dwindle
increasingly.... The true tragedy is that most Jews are
unaware that Judaism has a message, and that they are
its carriers."
JONES
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