Viewing cable 04TELAVIV1698
Title: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04TELAVIV16982004-03-19 10:27:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tel Aviv
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 001698 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD 
 
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM 
NSC FOR NEA STAFF 
 
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. Iraq: Anniversary of War's Outbreak 
 
------------------------- 
Key stories in the media: 
------------------------- 
 
Jordanian King Abdullah paid a secret visit to Prime 
Minister's Ariel Sharon Shikmim ranch, Ha'aretz and 
Yediot reported.  The media noted that there are no 
details regarding the contents of the meeting but that 
most probably the two leaders discussed the Israeli 
disengagement plan and its possible implications on the 
implementation of the road map for an Israeli- 
Palestinian agreement. 
 
All media highlighted Pakistani belief that they have 
cornered and perhaps wounded Osama bin Laden's deputy, 
Ayman al-Zawahri, in a major battle near the Afghan 
border. 
 
The media quoted a GSS report released on Thursday in 
which it exposes that it thwarted 15 attempts by West 
Bank terror groups to commit terror activity against 
Israel, since the beginning of the year.  Among these 
attempts was a Tanzim led group's plan to hijack an 
Israeli bus and to hold the hostages in Bethlehem in 
order to get Palestinian prisoners released. The GSS 
officials also revealed that P.A. security forces 
members are involved in the exposed terror cells. 
 
Jerusalem Post cited Washington sources as saying that 
the U.S. may postpone its announcement of the sanctions 
it will impose on Syria until after the Arab League 
assembly in Tunis, so as not to anger Arab allies. 
 
Yated Ne'eman cited senior Palestinian officials as 
saying that the U.S., Britain and Egypt are preparing 
plans for the day after Yasser Arafat departs from 
ruling the Palestinian Authority.  The plans involve 
Jordan and Egypt so at the end of the process these two 
countries would open their gates for Palestinian 
workers. 
 
Ha'aretz reported that a commander of an Israeli 
Defense Forces tank battalion would be indicted for 
causing the deaths of four Palestinian through 
negligence in a 2002 incident. 
 
Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz reported that the daughters 
of Israeli Air Force Colonel Joe Alon, who was shot in 
Washington while serving there as assistant military 
attach, have filed a petition at the High Court of 
Justice against the Israeli government demanding all 
the information gathered about his death.  The 
daughters also filed a request for the FBI file on the 
case under America's Freedom of Information Act. 
 
Ha'aretz reported that Britain is refusing to sell 
military equipment to Israel.  The paper noted that the 
British excuse for the embargo is the Israeli 
government's policy towards the Palestinians. 
All media reported that Major General Dan Halutz is to 
be the next Deputy Chief of Staff. 
 
Ha'aretz reported that three Palestinians were lightly 
wounded on Thursday in clashes with IDF forces during a 
demonstration against the separation fence. Radio 
stations reported today that two Israeli soldiers were 
wounded when a bomb detonated by Hamas militants 
overturned an Israel Defense Forces tank during a 
military raid near the Gaza Strip settlement of 
Netzarim. 
 
Yediot and Maariv reported that several Hollywood stars 
such as Jennifer Aniston, Sharon Stone, Denzel 
Washington and more are slated to participate in an 
evening saluting Israel.  The main speaker of the 
evening will be Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. 
 
----------- 
¶1. Mideast: 
----------- 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in mass- 
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Sharon's 
great, Sisyphean task now is to achieve synchronization 
between Danny Ben Lulu's [a Likud Central Committee 
member] electoral aspirations and George Bush's 
electoral aspirations." 
 
Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote in mass- 
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The Americans 
listened and did not answer.  They will give thier 
answers -- if and when -- to the Prime Minister.  And 
it is unnecessary to say that if Sharon returns from 
Bush with empty hands, the move won't take place." 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------ 
 
¶1. "George Bush, Insurance Corp." 
 
Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in mass- 
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (March 19): "For 
Sharon to be able to pass the withdrawal plan in the 
government and the Likud, he needs a festive reception 
in the U.S., perhaps on the ranch in Texas, perhaps at 
Camp David, perhaps in a historic ceremony on the White 
House lawn.  Mainly he needs a presidential declaration 
that he can flourish.  But before the president makes 
his declaration, he needs to be sure that Sharon will 
make his plan pass in the Israeli political 
establishment.  Otherwise, his efforts will have been 
to no avail.  Sharon's great, Sisyphean task now is to 
achieve synchronization between Danny Ben Lulu's [a 
Likud Central Committee member] electoral aspirations 
and George Bush's electoral aspirations." 
 
¶2. "Waiting for an Invitation" 
 
Military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote in mass- 
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (March 19): 
"Even if the Americans are starting to digest the 
[disengagement plan] idea they are still withholding 
Sharon's invitation to Washington.  And the Prime 
Minister is impatiently waiting for this invitation in 
order to bring what Israel needs in order to begin the 
move: an American public support, an economic 
compensation and "back wind" against the majority in 
his government, who oppose the plan.  An American 
recognition, even a general one, for settlement blocks 
in the West Bank, would help him greatly.  The Minister 
of Defense [Shaul Mofaz] tried to satisfy the Americans 
by using a general formula: supporting the large 
settlement blocks does not contradict the traditional 
American policy, which talks about strategic depth and 
defensible borders....  The Americans listened and did 
not answer.  They will give thier answers -- if and 
when -- to the Prime Minister.  And it is unnecessary 
to say that if Sharon returns from Bush with empty 
hands, the move won't take place." 
 
--------------------------------------- 
¶2. Iraq: Anniversary of War's Outbreak: 
--------------------------------------- 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman wrote in 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: " A year after Bush 
started a war in order to bestow democracy on Iraq it 
is becoming clear to him that the world did not unite 
with him even after the victory." 
 
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "On 
balance, Bush's decision to make it impossible for 
Saddam to make war was justified, and even essential, 
for the future of the region." 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------ 
 
¶1. "Bush Imagined a Different Scenario" 
 
Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman wrote in 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (March 19): "A year 
after Bush started a war in order to bestow democracy 
on Iraq it is becoming clear to him that the world did 
not unite with him even after the victory.  If Bush and 
his men believed that from the moment Saddam Hussein's 
regime falls the countries of the world would 
understand their mistake and support the war, the 
elections in Spain, the polls in Europe and Arab 
countries position, proved to him that he was left 
alone.... The struggle for American public opinion over 
the war is at its height.... The war in Iraq did not 
succeed in building George Bush's image as a leading 
commander enjoying the American public's trust.... 
Opposite stands John Kerry and the Democrats, who talk 
about the mistaken information, the international 
isolation and the entanglement continuing on the 
ground.  So was it a good year fro Bush? The answer to 
that question will be given only on November 2 when the 
American public's voice is heard." 
 
¶2. "The Year of Iraq" 
 
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (March 
19): "One year ago today, the American assault on 
Saddam Hussein's regime began.  It has been a year of 
many ups and downs: The first strike on Saddam's hiding 
place failed; the military campaign to conquer Baghdad 
and overthrow the regime succeeded; the American effort 
to immediately establish a peaceful, democratic Iraq 
failed; the operation to capture Saddam succeeded; the 
effort to cope with acts of guerrilla warfare, 
terrorism and sabotage against the American occupation 
army and its allies failed.  Upon hearing the frequent 
reports of attacks in which Americans and Iraqis are 
killed, it is very tempting to label President George 
¶W. Bush's Iraqi adventure as an expensive entanglement 
that is likely to end badly.  But this would be to take 
the narrow-minded, short-range view.  On balance, 
Bush's decision to make it impossible for Saddam to 
make war was justified, and even essential, for the 
future of the region.... In the strategic context, 
Israel should benefit from the war in Iraq.  The 
eastern front has collapsed, in a manner that justifies 
updating our security concept and our defense 
budget.... The Middle East now lies at the heart of 
American policy, and one can only hope that after the 
November elections, the U.S. administration will find 
time to settle the Israeli-Arab conflict." 
KURTZER