INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

Published: Thu 8 Nov 2007 11:13 AM
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RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 9654
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3127
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3759
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 3003
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1079
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0592
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1058
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 7635
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 003244
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 ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS
SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION
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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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1. Iran
2. Mideast
3. Global Democracy
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Key stories in the media:
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Israel Radio reported that on Wednesday Transportation Minister
Shaul Mofaz, who is in charge of the strategic dialogue with the US,
met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Under Secretary of
State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns. The radio reported that
Israel presented the US with intelligence on Iran. Mofaz told the
radio that Iran's nuclear program has not yet reached the point of
"no return" and that IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei's attitude is
"endangering the world." Israel Radio also reported that Mofaz told
the administration officials that the PA is not honoring its
commitments under the Roadmap. The Jerusalem Post reported that
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told a Labor Party forum that a military
operation is a viable option for dealing with the Iranian nuclear
threat.
Ha'aretz reported that the PA wants the preface to the joint
statement at Annapolis to say that a final-status arrangement will
be completed within six months. The newspaper noted that Secretary
Rice has already informed PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas that
the US will not support his time line for a final-status agreement.
The Palestinian negotiating team recommends that the preface
indicate that both parties are to fulfill their mutual obligations
under the first stage of the road map within six months. The
proposal, if adopted, would require Israel to dismantle illegal
outposts and halt construction in the West Bank settlements. The PA
claims it has already fulfilled its obligations for the first stage:
creating an independent government, rejecting terror and violence
and acting to dismantle terror infrastructures. Ha'aretz said that
the PA team even advised Erekat not to link the statement to
implementing the first stage of the road map in order to head off an
Israeli attempt to condition the implementation of the Annapolis
document on the roadmap.
Yediot Washington correspondent Orly Azolai reported that the US
administration is shaping a formula that will ensure Syria's
participation in the Annapolis meeting. Azolai said that the US is
preparing two follow-up conferences to Annapolis: one between Israel
and the Palestinians, and the other between Israel and Syria.
Azolai reported that Secretary Rice will return to Israel next week
to discuss the Syrian initiative. Israel Radio and other media
reported that Syrian Ambassador to the US Imad Mustafa has
recommended against participating in the Annapolis meeting, which he
said would be a waste of time and money. Yediot also reported that
North Korean experts are arming Syria with ballistic missiles and
advanced sea vessels.
Ha'aretz reported that the perceived undermining of PM Ehud Olmert's
peace drive by Defense Minister and Labor leader Ehud Barak is
drawing increasing fire from within his own party ranks. Labor left
wingers were the first to accuse Barak of sabotaging the peace
effort and the Annapolis conference, but now central figures like
MKs Ophir Pines-Paz, Ephraim Sneh and Amir Peretz have joined the
chorus of criticism. Ha'aretz reported that Barak has supposedly
noted that the cabinet has not conducted a thorough debate on
Annapolis, including the implications of failure. Ha'aretz also
reported that Barak is troubled over the numerous channels in which
the peace process is being conducted. According to Barak, this
enables the Palestinians to spot the weaknesses in the Israeli
system, such as Vice PM Haim Ramon's frenzied swoop into the peace
process. Ha'aretz reported that Barak's third concern is that the
Annapolis meeting has set a bar of expectations that would be
difficult to live up to.
In its lead story, Ha'aretz quoted reserve-duty paratroopers who
completed a month of duty in the Gaza Strip last week as saying that
facing militant groups such as Hamas was like taking part in a
"mini-war." One reservist was quoted as saying: "We are facing an
army, not gangs." Major media (banner in Maariv) reported that on
Wednesday celebrated author David Grossman, whose son Uri died in
last year's Lebanon War, snubbed PM Olmert at an award ceremony.
Major media reported that on Wednesday Interpol issued wanted
notices for six Iranians in connection with the 1994 bombing of the
Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (Argentine Israelite Mutual
Association) Jewish center in Buenos Aires in which 85 people were
killed. Despite heavy diplomatic pressure from Iran, delegates at
Interpol's annual general assembly in Morocco voted by 66 percent in
favor to issue "Red Notices" seeking the extradition of these
people. The media noted that Iran has repeatedly denied any link to
the bombing.
Maariv reported that on Wednesday IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
surreptitiously visited the Gaza Strip with other officers.
Maariv reported that the two houses of Congress have passed the US
defense budget, which includes USD 155 million for Israel to equip
itself with missile interception systems. The newspaper cited the
extreme satisfaction of Israeli sources over the report.
The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday the Yisrael Beiteinu
and Shas parties coordinated their "red lines" before Annapolis.
The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday the High Court of
Justice gave the state one week to present data backing up its
assertion that the newest sanctions against the Hamas-controlled
Gaza Strip will not cause unreasonable damage to Gaza residents.
The justices also demanded that the state demonstrate how it will
ensure, on an ongoing basis, that the electric cuts are not harming
the civilian population.
Ha'aretz reported that PA Chairman Abbas slammed Israeli military
activity around Nablus. In a conversation on Wednesday with MK
Nadia Hilu (Labor) at his Ramallah office, Abbas said that IDF
activity in the Balata refugee camp on Tuesday night undermined PA
efforts to impose order.
Yediot reported that Egypt is delaying passage to the Gaza Strip of
over 100 Hamas members who underwent training in Iran
Ha'aretz reported that on Wednesday Strategic Affairs Minister
Avigdor Lieberman demanded that Defense Minister Barak outlaw the
Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, the senior leadership body of
Israel's Arab citizens, although its official recognition is
limited.
Maariv reported that a few weeks ago US military officers discovered
that U.S. ammunition stockpiles in Israel have disappeared.
The Jerusalem Post reported that National Infrastructure Minister
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has appointed a team of experts to advance the
negotiations for an undersea infrastructure corridor to ship oil,
natural gas, water, and electricity from Turkey to Israel. The
Jerusalem Post reported that a thwarted terrorist plot in Azerbaijan
showed the shakiness of that country's oil supplies to Israel.
Yediot reported that Israel has secretly pledged to Morocco to
support its hosting of the prestigious Expo exhibition in 2012 at
the expense of South Korea and Poland. The newspaper reported that
Israel's decision has caused diplomatic tension with South Korea.
The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that Israel has
contributed USD 10,000 to Mexico and a similar sum to the Dominican
Republic following the damage caused by the tropical storm Noel.
Yediot reported that since 2000, 40,000 Israelis have moved from the
Galilee and the Negev to central Israel.
All media reported that on Wednesday the rate of the US dollar in
Israel was 3.923 shekels -- the lowest in nine years.
Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post reported that PM Olmert was judged
the most corrupt member of government for the second year in a row
according to the Sderot Conference. According to the poll, Israelis
believe that FM Tzipi Livni to be the Knesset's "most honest"
minister, as they did in last year's poll.
---------
1. Iran:
---------
Summary:
--------
Professor Eyal Zisser, the Chairman of the Department of Middle
Eastern History at Tel Aviv University, wrote in the independent
Israel Hayom: "The problem does not necessarily lie with
Ahmadinejad, it lies with the Iranian regime.... Iran -- as a
state, regime and society -- has decided to move forward on the path
to nuclear weapons, and all that remains to see is how determined
the international community will be to stop it."
Intelligence affairs correspondent Yossi Melman wrote on page one of
the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The importance of the oil
emirates, which are located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, is
growing as it becomes less likely that the United Nations Security
Council will impose additional sanctions against Iran."
Block Quotes:
-------------
I. "Pressure on Tehran Ineffective"
Professor Eyal Zisser, the Chairman of the Department of Middle
Eastern History at Tel Aviv University, wrote in the independent
Israel Hayom (11/8): "There is nothing new in the declaration by the
Iranian president that his country is fully operating 3,000
centrifuges.... It is not the accuracy of these declarations that
should trouble Israel. After all, whether Tehran is currently
operating 3,000 centrifuges or only 2,000, what is clear -- and this
is demonstrated by AhmadinejadQs statements -- is that Tehran is
determined to continue to move ahead full speed, and at all costs,
on the road to developing nuclear weapons. Indeed, the importance
of Ahmadinejad's statements does not necessarily lie in their
content, it lies in the fact that they were made. More than this,
it lies in the fact that the Iranian President takes care to repeat
these statements at every opportunity and occasion, despite the
growing international pressure on Iran. Apparently, this
international pressure is proving to be ineffective. His statements
also hold a veiled threat that Iran will not cease from these
efforts, no matter what the cost, and anyone who tries to stop Iran
in this path will pay a high price. We should remember that the
problem does not necessarily lie with Ahmadinejad, it lies with the
Iranian regime, including all its leaders. Iran -- as a state,
regime and society -- has decided to move forward on the path to
nuclear weapons, and all that remains to see is how determined the
international community will be to stop it."
II. "The Race against the Bomb"
Intelligence affairs correspondent Yossi Melman wrote on page one of
the independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (11/8): "The United Arab
Emirates has assumed a central place in the United States' strategy
to tighten an economic siege against Iran. The importance of the
oil emirates, which are located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, is
growing as it becomes less likely that the United Nations Security
Council will impose additional sanctions against Iran.... What makes
the UAE one of the key players in the worldwide struggle being led
by Washington against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime is the
fact that it serves as a transfer point for Iranian business -- more
importantly, its clandestine business affairs.... The UAE is a
particular favorite of companies and offices operated by the
Revolutionary Guards.... But the Guards is not only a military
force. In fact, it is a financial empire, with hundreds of
companies catering to every facet of life in Iran.... It is still a
long way before the sanctions and the punitive measures - both those
of the Security Council and the unilateral ones - will lead to
Iran's surrender."
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2. Mideast:
------------
Summary:
--------
Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot: "Nothing Hamas does today in the Gaza Strip
succeeds, as if a spell has been cast on it.... The method is to
tighten the blockade and not to let up on the terror from the Gaza
Strip."
Block Quotes:
-------------
"Hamas Has Lost"
Middle East affairs commentator Dr. Guy Bechor, a lecturer at the
Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (11/8): "Gaza has cursed all those who ruled it....
Nothing Hamas does today in the Gaza Strip succeeds, as if a spell
has been cast on it. The Hamas leadership has willingly imprisoned
itself in a narrow prison, isolated from Israel, the PA and Egypt,
and from all Arab parties. This is a victory inside a stopped-up
capsule.... The relationship with Iran is proving to bring more harm
than benefit. It brings in several dozen millions of dollars every
year, but makes Hamas look bad in the eyes of the Arab world and in
the eyes of some of the Palestinians themselves.... The Qassam
rockets being fired by cells and gangs in Gaza boomerang back at the
Hamas leadership. When they fire at Israel, it is blamed by the
world. Even when the IDF operates in Gaza, Hamas is blamed, because
it is perceived as a provocateur.... Embarrassingly enough, Hamas
thought that a completely-dependent entity such as the Gaza Strip
could detach itself from Israel, which supports and nourishes it.
Now they are paying the terrible price.... If we were to launch a
large ground operation, Hamas and Islamic Jihad would only gain from
it, since this would mean a complete reshuffle of the deck. It
would be enough for us to have a great many fatalities or for the
cities of the south to enter their shelters, for Hamas to be able to
assert victory and achievements, as Hizbullah did [in the Second
Lebanon War]. The method is to tighten the blockade and not to let
up on the terror from the Gaza Strip. A new war would be a kind of
reconnection, while we are lucky enough to have disengaged from Gaza
and its curse. We have already suffered enough in this terrible
place. Let the curse of Gaza rest on others."
---------------------
3. Global Democracy:
---------------------
Summary:
--------
Foreign News Editor Arik Bachar wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv: "The US must condemn, even if faintly, all withdrawals from
democracy.... But the option of losing Pakistan to the camp of
radical Islam and the return to power of Moscow's cronies in Georgia
now seems a price that the Americans are not prepared to pay."
Block Quotes:
-------------
"America's Troubles"
Foreign News Editor Arik Bachar wrote in the popular, pluralist
Maariv (11/8): "On Wednesday Georgia joined the ever-longer list of
America's troubles.... Over the past few years the West has been
busy nurturing Georgia and has even talked about it joining NATO.
The Russians do not like the belt that the US is trying to fasten
around them from all sides, by positioning advanced missiles in the
Czech Republic and Poland, and certainly not the expansion of the
North Atlantic alliance in the direction of the Caucasus. All this
is happening only days after the proclamation of the state of
emergency in Pakistan, a nuclear state whose role in fighting terror
[the US has praised].... The US must condemn, even if faintly, all
withdrawals from democracy.... But the option of losing Pakistan to
the camp of radical Islam and the return to power of Moscow's
cronies in Georgia now seems a price that the Americans are not
prepared to pay."
JONES
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