INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

Published: Wed 5 Mar 2008 05:47 AM
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RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1714
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 4265
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1102
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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
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JOINT STAFF WASHDC FOR PA
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COMSIXTHFLT FOR 019
JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS
SUBJECT: SPECIAL ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION
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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
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Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank, March 4-5, 2008
SIPDIS
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Key stories in the media:
-------------------------
All media reported on the arrival of Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice in the region. Ha'aretz quoted the Secretary as saying on
Tuesday that Israel and the Palestinians can still reach a peace
agreement by the end of the year, despite recent violence in Gaza.
Makor Rishon-Hatzofe reported that PM Olmert told Secretary Rice
that Israel will continue to act forcefully against Hamas. Maariv
reported that PM Ehud Olmert said that it will be impossible to
reach an agreement in 2008 and that Secretary Rice expressed concern
about the suffering of civilians in Gaza..
Ha'aretz and Israel Hayom quoted PA President Mahmoud Abbas as
saying that "peace and negotiations are our strategic choice."
Ha'aretz reported that he fell short of announcing a resumption of
peace talks. The Jerusalem Post quoted PA officials in Ramallah as
saying that Abbas rejected Washington's demand to return immediately
and unconditionally to the negotiating table. The officials told
The Jerusalem Post that while Abbas was ready to resume peace talks,
he was seeking assurances that Israel would refrain from further
military operations in Gaza. Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post quoted
Palestinian sources as saying that Abbas's discussion with Rice
centered on the idea of a comprehensive cease-fire in the West Bank
and Gaza. Ha'aretz quoted Hamas as saying that Rice's visit was
unwanted and was intended to cover up the "crimes of the
occupation."
Ha'aretz and Israel Radio reported that this morning PM Ehud Olmert
will convene the diplomatic-security cabinet to discuss Gaza. The
media reported that the meeting will not rule out any actions,
including a large-scale military operation. Maariv quoted the IDF
as saying that Hamas fighters are less organized than Hizbullah's
and that Ashdod has started preparations to brace for attacks by
enhanced Grad rockets. As part of a diplomatic offensive, the
Foreign Ministry will arrange for foreign delegations to visit to
Sderot. Major media reported that important demonstrations
condemning the Gaza operation took place among Israeli Arabs.
Leading media reported that during her visit to Cairo, the Secretary
announced that she had waived the Congressional restrictions
withholding $100 million in military aid to Egypt.
Major media reported that last night IDF troops killed Yusuf Samiri,
the commander of Islamic Jihad in the central Gaza Strip, and at
least three other armed militants. Israel Radio and other media
quoted Palestinian sources as saying that a baby was also killed in
the operation.
Leading media quoted PM Olmert as saying on Tuesday in a school in
the Druze village of Julys that Israel will not accept a nuclear
Iran and that it has the strength to protect itself from any
threat.
The Jerusalem Post's Internet site quoted a Foreign Ministry
officials as saying that Foreign Ministry spokespeople are refusing
requests to appear on Aljazeera-TV because of what the ministry
deems heavily biased coverage of the situation in the Gaza Strip.
The ministry statement came a day after FM Tzipi Livni ripped into
the satellite station at a meeting with ambassadors posted here,
saying that "when depicting Israeli attacks, Aljazeera-TV abuses the
situation on the ground by telling lies. Unfortunately, during these
attacks, civilians were killed. I am not trying to change facts.
But, of course, when it comes to Aljazeera-TV, everything is
exaggerated." A Foreign Ministry statement specifically cited
praises of Aljazeera-TV by senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar.
Yediot reported that security sources are opposed to allowing two
French lawyers representing the family of Gilad Shalit to enter
Gaza.
The Jerusalem Post reported that a group of American and Israeli
lawmakers -- the latter including Benny Elon (National
Union-National Religious Party) and Orit Noked (Labor) -- are
planning to establish a U.S.-Israel joint study group to prepare
foreign policy recommendations for the next U.S. administration.
The Jerusalem Post reported that police on Tuesday stopped Waqf
Muslim trust officials from performing unauthorized construction
work on the Temple Mount.
Leading media reported that a U.S. missile strike on Monday
eliminated Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who was behind the November 28,
2002 attack on the Paradise Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, in which 15
people, including three Israelis, were killed, and the failed
shooting down of an Arkia airliner on the same day.
--------------------------------------------- --------
Secretary Rice to Israel, West Bank, March 4-5, 2008:
SIPDIS
--------------------------------------------- --------
Summary:
--------
Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Instead of focusing on Iranian and Syrian
efforts to take control of Lebanon, the [upcoming Arab League]
summit will deal with the burring issue of the occupied territories.
Israel, not Hamas, will be forced to pay the bill."
Veteran journalist and former justice minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid
wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv: "Talking with Hamas means
breaking the international boycott being imposed on Hamas.... I
believe that we have no choice but to hit them hard."
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized:
"Democracies the world over need to internalize what is taking place
here, to pin blame where it is due, and to condemn Hamas for its
heartlessness toward its own people."
Ha'aretz editorialized: "Cooperation on environmental problems, as
well as on water and health problems, should move forward regardless
of the diplomatic negotiations."
Block Quotes:
-------------
I. "He Who Pays Last Pays Best"
Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in the independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (3/5): "Since the Prime Minister's
announcement that a two-state solution is an existential necessity
for Israel, or in his own words, that without it 'Israel is
finished,' then the price list [for Palestinians] has become more
complex.... The Arab peace initiative, launched six yeas ago at the
Arab League summit in Beirut and ratified in Riyadh last March, was
aimed at isolating radical elements in the Arab and Muslim world.
These same elements seek to exploit the escalation in Gaza in order
to bury Israel's offer of normalized relations in exchange for
withdrawal from the territories. It would appear, however, that the
leaders of Egypt and Jordan, when asked to report on the progress in
the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, say that all
of the outposts are still in place and that one rabbi, who heads a
medium-sized party, has removed Jerusalem from the talks. Instead
of focusing on Iranian and Syrian efforts to take control of
Lebanon, the [upcoming Arab League] summit will deal with the
burring issue of the occupied territories. Israel, not Hamas, will
be forced to pay the bill."
II. If This Is War, then Let It Be War"
Veteran journalist and former justice minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid
wrote in the popular, pluralist Maariv (3/5): "Talking with Hamas
means impicit recognition of Hamas. Talking with Hamas means
recognizing the effectiveness of the pressure they are placing on
Israel. Talking with Hamas means breaking the international boycott
being imposed on Hamas.... I believe that we have no choice but to
hit them hard. If this doesn't work, so let's do it harder -- no
conquest of Gaza, but bombarding it.... Some will say that this
isn't worth the hefty price we're going to pay for tranquility. I'm
afraid we have no other choice."
III. "Hamas's Human Shields"
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (3/5):
"Hamas's brazen use of human shields is directly facilitated by the
international community's reluctance to address the issue and
denounce the premeditated endangerment of ordinary people.... By
staying silent on this fundamental moral issue, the international
community becomes an accomplice to bloodshed both among the directly
targeted Israelis and the unintentionally harmed Gazans. Principled
despite its vilified reputation, Israel wrestles with a wrenching
quandary callously imposed upon it. But Israel shouldn't be the
only one to grapple with the ruthlessness of terrorists toward their
human shields. Democracies the world over need to internalize what
is taking place here, to pin blame where it is due, and to condemn
Hamas for its heartlessness toward its own people."
IV. "Apart from the Security Problems"
Ha'aretz editorialized (3/5): "Dealing with the building waste is a
measure of Israel's success in dealing with its environmental
problems. It should also serve as a test case for the joint
treatment by Israel and the Palestinians of environmental
problems.... Cooperation on environmental problems, as well as on
water and health problems, should move forward regardless of the
diplomatic negotiations.... The effort that has been made recently
by Palestinian and Israeli experts, along with environmental
organization activists, to formulate an extensive and detailed
agreement on dealing with environmental problems as part of a
comprehensive diplomatic agreement is also worthy of encouragement.
The treatment of waste must become a key element in any future
negotiations."
JONES
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