INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

Published: Fri 4 Dec 2009 10:52 AM
VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB
DE RUEHTV #2603/01 3381052
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041052Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4441
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEADWD/DA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 6332
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 2899
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 6943
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7154
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6392
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 5049
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7251
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4013
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2230
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0891
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8410
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3422
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 7395
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 9474
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 2216
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 3286
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY
UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002603
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
--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------
1. Mideast
2. Iran
-------------------------
Key stories in the media:
-------------------------
The media reported that yesterday PM Netanyahu told a group of more
than 20 members of the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements in the
Territories that he is not their enemy, but that he will not revoke
the building freeze. Netanyahu stressed that the Qlaw must be
respected and cabinet decisions must be carried out." Media quoted
Netanyahu as saying: "There is one thing that is out of the
question," he said. "You are allowed to demonstrate and protest, but
you cannot show disrespect for a decision that was made lawfully.
The solution is dialogue. We need to work together during this
period and cooperate." The PM added: "The decision made by the
cabinet is the best for Israel under the complicated diplomatic
circumstances Israel is in and in view of the multifaceted
challenges facing us. We made a difficult decision in order to
advance the broader interests of Israel. This move makes it clear
to key players around the world that Israel is serious in its
intentions to achieve peace, while the Palestinians refuse to enter
negotiations for peace. There is a side that wants to [talk] and
another that does not. This move has made clear [which side] is
refusing peace." Trying to appease the settlers, Netanyahu asked
for their patience and promised to resume construction after the
10-month hiatus was over. He also promised that the implementation
of the order banning construction would "be carried out in the least
intrusive way possible for the public and where there are
unnecessary difficulties, we shall make them go away." The PM also
blamed the Palestinian Authority for not responding to Israel's
decision to freeze settlement construction and for refusing to
return to the negotiating table. Netanyahu called PA President
Mahmoud Abbas "someone who refuses peace."
Major media reported that right-wing activists are planning to block
major traffic arteries throughout the country next week as part of
an escalating protest of the government decision to freeze
settlement construction in the West Bank for 10 months. The
Jerusalem Post reported that setters are gearing up for a mass
protest rally outside the PMQs official residence in Jerusalem.
HaQaretz reported that IDF officers in the West Bank have expressed
concerned that settlers may escalate their acts of opposition to the
freeze on settlement construction by targeting the Palestinian
population.
Yediot led with a report by its correspondent Gad Lior, who spent 48
hours in Dubai. Lior brings an eyewitness account of the financial
collapse there.
HaQaretz reported that the U.S. fell short in its efforts to gain a
declaration of international support for Israel's temporary
settlement construction freeze. The Americans were hoping that its
partners in the Quartet would agree to such a declaration, but
Moscow expressed a series of reservations and foiled Washington's
effort. HaQaretz reported that a senior U.S. administration
official told the newspaper that without a consensus among the
members of the Quartet, it would be impossible to issue a statement
for the whole group. The Arabic-language Assennara quoted Marc
Otte, E.U. special representative for the Middle East peace process,
as saying that the basis of any solution is the Q67 borders and that
Jerusalem must be the capital for both countries.
HaQaretz and Israel Radio quoted Arab newspapers as saying that
Hamas has rejected IsraelQs latest deal offer for the release of
Gilad Shalit. Several media quoted the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida
as saying that Shalit was secretly moved to Egypt. The Jerusalem
Post cited a denial of the story by Osama Hamdan, Hamas
representative in Lebanon. HaQaretz reported that high-ranking
political and defense officials in Jerusalem have decided that the
Shalit deal will not bring about a change to IsraelQs siege policy
in Gaza and its ban of personnel and goods movements between the
West Bank and Gaza.
HaQaretz reported that the U.S. and several Arab states are pressing
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to remain in office
until new PA elections are called, in order to prevent a power
vacuum that could result in the West Bank falling to Hamas.
HaQaretz noted that if a deal for Shalit in fact goes through, it
would include the release of many Hamas legislators -- enough to
restore Hamas' parliamentary majority and enable it to dictate the
rules of the next election, which would presumably be designed to
facilitate its chances of winning. HaQaretz reported that an
Israeli security official predicted yesterday that Abbas "would not
abandon the field to Hamas," but added that the possibility of his
resigning could not be ruled out.
Leading media reported that yesterday Jordan summoned Israeli
Ambassador Danny Nevo to demand a halt to "unilateral" work carried
out by Israel on the outer walls of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy
Sepulcher.
The media reported that yesterday White House Pres Secretary Robert
Gibbs warned Iran that it has less than a month to respond to the
compromise offer by world powers. The Jerusalem Post reported that
a senior Israeli diplomatic official told the newspaper yesterday
that Israeli officials believe the international community is
"starting to come to the understanding that Iran has been lying to
everybody" about its nuclear intentions. The statement followed
news of a U.N. agency completing a nuclear test detection station in
Turkmenistan, just a few kilometers from the Iranian border.
"Luckily, Iran itself is decimating the efforts of even its most
vociferous defenders to help it avoid international criticism," the
Israeli official was further quoted as saying.
Senior U.S. diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad was quoted as saying in an
interview with Yediot that Israel must contribute to the sapping of
Islamist radicals and reach a just, reasonable agreement with the
Palestinians.
HaQaretz reported that Jewish conservatives in the U.S. are fighting
against appointments of Qanti-IsraelisQ to the U.S. administration.
Media reported that Hollywood QheavyweightsQ Steven Spielberg and
Phil Rosenthal will film a medical drama series at JerusalemQs
Shaare Zedek Hospital. The show is slated to run on the Sundance
Channel in the U.S. in 2011.
The Jerusalem Post reported that a poll taken by Independent Media
Review Analysis on December 1-2 found that an overwhelming majority
of Israelis believe that Israel's policy of redeeming captives
should only be toughened after Shalit's release. Of the respondents
who expressed an opinion, 55% were in favor of setting the new
policies only after the Shalit deal. Just 23% said the criteria
should be changed before the deal and 22% said the guidelines should
not be changed at all. The poll also found that a huge majority of
Israelis believe that PM Netanyahu decided to freeze settlement
construction in Judea and Samaria due to pressure from President
Obama, but that the freeze would only increase international
pressure for further concessions. Asked whether Netanyahu decided
on the freeze because he thought it would advance the peace process
with the Palestinians or to satisfy Obama, 77% of respondents who
expressed an opinion agreed with the latter and just 23% with the
former statements. More than two-thirds of respondents said
Netanyahu broke campaign promises with the freeze, that he violated
his principle of reciprocity, and that he had to bring the freeze to
a vote in the Knesset.
------------
1. Mideast:
------------
Block Quotes:
-------------
I. QThe Likud-West Bank Partnership
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (12/4):
QThat Netanyahu assented to the moratorium even at settlements where
Israel expects to ultimately expand sovereignty can only reflect the
intensity of the pressure he is facing -- not only from Washington,
but from most of the international community, emphatically including
self-perceived strong supporters of Israel in Western Europe. The
dismay in the Qnational campQ is understandable. A moratorium, even
with all its caveats and the promise of a resumption of building 10
months from now, is not what it anticipated from a Likud prime
minister. And yet, his hawkish critics may want to reflect ,
Netanyahu, acting today with the support of ministers like Bennie
Begin and Moshe Ya'alon, determined to preserve as much of the
settlement enterprise as he can and wary about the prospects of
peacemaking, is the best defender of the settlers' interests they
are likely to see in the Prime Minister's Office.
II. QThe Battle of Wills
Editor-in-Chief David Horovitz wrote in the Jerusalem Post (12/4):
Q[Many defenders of the ultimately moderate Israel] have stressed
that successive Israeli peace offers have explicitly involved the
dismantling of the overwhelming proportion of settlements and that
the disengagement from Gaza and a small part of Samaria [i.e. the
northern West Bank] in 2005 demonstrated IsraelQs capacity to carry
out such traumatic reverses -- a capacity that, were the day to
come, could be replicated, albeit still more wrenchingly, in parts,
even most, of Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank]. As of this
week, those assertions are being put to the test.... For now, itQs a
freeze, not a demolition program, that has been ordered. But by
consenting to a freeze even at those settlements whose continued
existence is supported by the Israeli mainstream, Netanyahu has
empowered a wider swathe of domestic opposition than may have been
necessary. And because the Prime Minister is so plainly being
squeezed between the angry Israeli Right and the frustrated
international community Q and is so plainly susceptible to that
pressure -- the battle of wills over Judea and Samaria is already
being joined in earnest.
III. QNetanyahuQs Way Out
Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in the independent,
left-leaning HaQaretz (12/4): QWashington ... is making do with
Qconstructive ambiguity.Q Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
declared last week that the goal should be an independent
Palestinian state Qbased on the 1967 lines and agreed swaps.Q This,
she added, would grant Israel Qsecure and recognized borders that
reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security
requirements.Q Translation: she is saying nothing and is not
putting forward an approach. The problem with the plans for a
final-status settlement is that it's difficult to obtain an
agreement on issues relating to each side's national identity and
even more difficult to implement such agreements. Here are three
reasons: the Fatah-Hamas split, Israel's right-wing government, and
Obama's weakness.... The settlers are waging the battle against the
freeze in part to deter the Government against thoughts of another
evacuation. They apparently understand that Abbas' rejection is
drawing Netanyahu closer to a decision on an interim move in the
West Bank.
IV. QThe End of the Diplomatic Process
Editor-in-Chief Amnon Lord wrote in the nationalist, Orthodox Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe (12/4): QIn the interim freeze period, Israel has a
chance of presenting its principles anew regarding an agreement with
the Palestinians. The Prime Minister would be well-advised to
present at the Knesset a series of principles that the legislative
body will approve. Since Israel is not part of a Qdiplomatic
processQ but of a vital battle currently being fought in the
diplomatic arena, it must determine that it has well-known
territorial interests in Judea, Samaria [i.e. the West Bank], and
the Jordan Valley, which it will neither concede nor negotiate on.
This is the farthest one can go without unilateral annexation.... At
the same time, it would be good for Israel to tell the Americans
that it is displeased by the spying and surveillance carried out by
U.S. agents and officials in greater Jerusalem -- in violation of
Israeli sovereignty.
V. QA Bus Blows Up in Damascus : Exploding Tire or Terror
Strike ?
Jonathan Spyer, a senior researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center,
wrote on page one of The Jerusalem Post (12/4): QThe Syrian
authorities are currently trying to attribute the blast Thursday on
a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims near the Saida Zeinab mosque in
Damascus to an exploding tire.... The tire story, on the face of it,
looks like a somewhat ludicrous attempt by the Syrian authorities to
explain away an alarming episode for the regime. If what took place
in the Saida Zeinab quarter was in fact a bombing rather than an
exploding tire, then it may be assumed that the perpetrators were
intending to deliver a series of calculated insults. First, and
perhaps most importantly, such an act would constitute an attack on
the Islamic Republic of Iran. The explosion took place as Saeed
Jalili, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, was visiting Damascus. The
targeted bus contained Iranian citizens, at least one of whom is
reported dead.... Second, such a bombing would be a slap in the face
for the Assad regime. Syria has been emerging smartly from
international isolation in recent years. Its practice of fomenting
trouble for its neighbors -- Israel, Iraq and Lebanon -- and then
offering to help solve the problems it is largely responsible for
creating, has been paying dividends. But a security-state such as
BaQathist Syria holds power because of its ability to inspire quiet
at home.... Syria's relations with Sunni Islamists are complex.
Damascus has offered support and safe passage to Sunni jihadis on
their way to fight in Iraq. Yet the regime itself -- non-Sunni,
aligned with Shi'a Iran, and with a record of brutal suppression of
the Muslim Brotherhood -- is also a natural target of opposition for
devout Sunni Islamists. The world of extreme Sunni Islamism is
notoriously murky and riven, with many groups operated and/or
supplied by governments for their own aims. It can only be a matter
for speculation and theorizing (of which there will be much) as to
who might have had an interest in striking a blow at Iran, its
religion, and its allies in the heart of a regional capital. But
the latest events in Damascus offer further potent proof to Iran and
Syria that support for terrorism is a two-way street.
---------
2. Iran:
---------
Block Quotes:
-------------
QChurchill Is Ill
In a tongue-in-cheek article, former Editor-in-Chief Amnon Dankner
Qspeaks from within Churchill-admiring NetanyahuQs headQ in the
popular, pluralist Maariv (12/4): QFor a moment I had a terrible
thought: can Ahmadinejad be Churchill compared to me? Can he be
determined and self-confident and aware of what he wants, while I am
wavering?.... One day IQll wake up having missed [the danger signs
from Iran]. Because I was Chur and I was Chill, but I never was the
whole thing. In the final analysis I was just Bibi.
MORENO
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media