Viewing cable 05TELAVIV5197
Title: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05TELAVIV51972005-08-23 11:13:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tel Aviv
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 TEL AVIV 005197 
 
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 
USCINCCENT 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.  Gaza and Northern West Bank Disengagement 
 
¶2.  Mubarak Presidential Campaign 
 
¶3.  Iraq 
 
------------------------- 
Key stories in the media: 
------------------------- 
 
All media reported that the evacuation of Netzarim on 
Monday concluded the departure of all Gaza settlers. 
 
At noon local time today, the electronic media were 
reporting on progress in the evacuation of the West 
Bank settlements of Homesh and Sa-Nur by security 
forces.  Maariv had cited the security forces' concern 
that Homesh would present the greater amount of 
resistance.  Yediot quoted IDF Chief of Staff Dan 
Halutz as saying that anybody who opens fire will be 
neutralized immediately.  The media quoted spokesmen 
for the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlers in the 
Territories and other right-wing leaders as saying that 
the idea that armed disengagement opponents are holed 
up in those settlements is a fabrication.  Maariv 
reported that September 8 has been set as the date of 
the final withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. 
 
Yediot, Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio quoted 
President Bush as saying Monday before the National 
Convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars, in Salt Lake 
City: "This past week, Prime Minister Sharon and the 
Israeli people took a courageous and painful step by 
beginning to remove settlements in Gaza and parts of 
the northern West Bank. The Israeli disengagement is an 
historic step that reflects the bold leadership of 
Prime Minister Sharon."  The President was also quoted 
as saying: "We remain fully committed to defending the 
security and well-being of our friend and ally, Israel, 
and we demand an end to terrorism and violence in every 
form, because we know that progress toward peace 
depends on an end to terror."  Yediot quoted Bush as 
saying: "We're helping the Palestinians to prepare for 
self-government."  Yaron Dekel, the radio's Washington 
correspondent, notes that Bush made a connection 
between the new Iraq and Israel/Palestine.  Jerusalem 
Post and Israel Radio reported that Secretary of State 
Condoleezza Rice has invited Vice PM and Finance 
Minister Ehud Olmert to visit her during his upcoming 
U.S. trip. 
 
Yediot, Jerusalem Post, and Israel Radio reported that 
PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas called Sharon 
Monday night to praise him for what he called a 
"courageous" and "historic" decision, and congratulated 
him for carrying out the disengagement plan.  The media 
reported that the two leaders have decided to meet. 
Jerusalem Post reported that PA Civilian Affairs 
Minister Muhammad Dahlan warned on Monday that "new 
violence" would erupt if Israel fails to relinquish 
control over the border crossings into the Gaza Strip. 
 
Jerusalem Post reported that a senior GOI official told 
the newspaper that Israel is likely to begin 
dismantling unauthorized settlements in the West Bank 
within 90 days of the evacuation of the northern West 
Bank settlements.  The official was quoted as saying 
that the evacuation of the Gaza settlements has 
"changed the rules of the game."  However, Israel Radio 
quoted a senior official at Sharon's bureau as saying 
that the disengagement, and not the dismantling of 
settler outposts, is presently on the agenda. 
 
Ha'aretz quoted Brig. Gen Yossi Kuperwasser, the 
director of IDF Intelligence's Research Department, as 
saying on Monday before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs 
and Defense Committee that the Palestinian terrorist 
organizations would try to increase their members' 
motivation by attacking soldiers after the settlers 
leave the Gaza Strip.  This morning, Israel Radio 
reported that IDF troops were fired at near Jenin. 
There were no casualties among the soldiers. 
 
Leading media reported on conciliatory talks 
Palestinian PM Ahmed Qurei held Monday with leaders of 
"rejectionist" Palestinian organizations in Damascus. 
Jerusalem Post reported that Hamas and Islamic Jihad 
announced Monday that they have reached an agreement 
with the PA according to which the two groups will not 
be disarmed. 
 
Israel Radio cited the Council for World Jewry as 
saying that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has 
accepted an invitation from the organization to deliver 
an address. 
Maariv quoted Sharon associates as saying that the PM 
is considering quitting the Likud and establishing a 
new Center/Right party. 
 
Yediot and Maariv reported that news web sites in 
Russia and Russian-language web sites in Israel spread 
false reports of Sharon's death. 
 
Maariv reported that the United Nations Development 
Program financed banners bearing the UN emblem, which 
were displayed in Gaza Strip streets, and which read: 
"Today Gaza, Tomorrow Jerusalem and the West Bank." 
The newspaper says that the signs angered the Foreign 
Ministry and international Jewish organizations. 
 
Ha'aretz reported that the Greek Orthodox Church in 
Jerusalem elected Theophilos III as a new patriarch on 
Monday, replacing Irineos I, who was dismissed over an 
alleged land deal with Jews in East Jerusalem that 
angered Palestinians and sparked a church crisis. 
 
Under the headline "The First Bedouin Diplomat," Maariv 
reported that Ismail Khaldi, an Israeli Bedouin, who 
completed the Foreign Ministry's cadet course this 
week, explained the disengagement on Abu Dhabi-TV. 
 
 
 
 
Channel 10-TV presented the results of a New Wave poll, 
which shows a trend reversal among registered Likud 
voters: 
-"If elections for Likud chairmanship were to take 
place today, for whom would you vote?"  Ariel Sharon: 
35.6 percent; Binyamin Netanyahu: 28.3 percent. 
Maariv and Jerusalem Post also printed the poll's 
results. 
 
--------------------------------------------- - 
¶1.  Gaza and Northern West Bank Disengagement: 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote on page one of 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The political 
formula accepted in recent years, in the plans laid out 
by Presidents Clinton and Bush, teach us that the 
'facts on the ground' are a function of the number of 
settlers." 
 
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: 
"[Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's] remarks send 
the wrong message.  America needs to stands firm, and 
publicly so, on Abbas's road map obligations to 
dismantle the terrorist infrastructure." 
 
Ha'aretz editorialized: "Israel explicitly committed 
itself to dismantling 24 outposts immediately after the 
disengagement....  The undertaking was given to U.S. 
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, without any 
 
SIPDIS 
connection to the road map." 
 
Senior columnist Dan Margalit wrote in popular, 
pluralist Maariv: "Some Israelis can't stand the tears 
of joy shared by soldiers, policemen, and settlers." 
 
Correspondent Yakov Shaus wrote in conservative, 
Russian-language daily Vesty: "Although the majority of 
Israelis support Ariel Sharon's [initiative], the 
demolition of settlements is a serious drama for 
them.... But some ... media feel happy about it -- and 
this is an obvious sign of a split in Israeli society." 
 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------- 
 
¶I.  "A Dream Undone" 
 
Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote on page one of 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (August 23): "With 
hindsight, the settlement movement in Gaza seems the 
futile delusion of 'a planner whose computer got 
unplugged in the middle,' as one senior source put 
it.... Sharon ... is correct when he speaks sadly about 
the shattering of the dream, and says that had the 
Jewish people settled a million settlers in the 
territories, instead of just a quarter of a million, 
things would have been different.  The political 
formula accepted in recent years, in the plans laid out 
by Presidents Clinton and Bush, teach us that the 
'facts on the ground' are a function of the number of 
settlers.  That's the factor that will determine what 
will remain and what will go. International law sees no 
distinction between Netzarim and Gush Katif, which were 
destroyed, and a thriving city like Ma'aleh Adumim or 
the Ramot neighborhood in Jerusalem." 
 
II.  "Spotlight on Abbas" 
 
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized 
(August 23): "Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has 
handed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas a rare 
opportunity.  He shouldn't blow it.... If Abbas 
succeeds in building, in his words, a 'civilized' 
Palestinian society, he will find many partners willing 
to help.... The U.S., Europe and Israel will be happy 
to support a forward-looking Gazan entity.... Rather 
than seeking to out-Hamas Hamas, it is imperative that 
Abbas, for the wellbeing of his own regime as well as 
the chance of moving forward in an accommodation with 
Israel, dismantle the various Islamic terrorist 
apparatuses and those that operate under his own Fatah 
umbrella.   The basic international demands of the PA 
have been repeated ad nauseam.... Meanwhile, Sharon is 
accurately gauging the mood in Israel when he promises 
that there will be no 'second disengagement' and that 
"consensus" settlements ought to be nurtured.  U.S. 
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has unfortunately 
 
SIPDIS 
chosen to stir the pot on this sensitive topic, telling 
The New York Times that she expected Israel to make 
additional West Bank concessions while paying mere lip- 
service to what America expected from Abbas.   Her 
remarks send the wrong message.  America needs to 
stands firm, and publicly so, on Abbas's road map 
obligations to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure. 
The onus is on Abbas to show his people how to make 
constructive use of the opportunity presented to them, 
at so painful a price, by Sharon." 
 
III.  "Time to Disengage From the Outposts" 
 
Ha'aretz editorialized (August 23): "The results of the 
evacuation of [the northern West Bank settlements of] 
Sa-Nur and Homesh are a forgone conclusion.... At least 
another 24 additional illegal outposts deserve to be 
evacuated in the same manner.  We are referring to some 
of the illegal outposts that attorney Talia Sasson 
mentioned in the report she presented to the government 
in March.... Israel explicitly committed itself to 
dismantling 24 outposts immediately after the 
disengagement -- ones that were put up during Prime 
Minister Ariel Sharon's term of office.  The 
undertaking was given to U.S. Secretary of State 
Condoleezza Rice, without any connection to the road 
map, and it is in Israel's interest to uphold it.... 
The illegal outposts are like magnets for the most 
negative elements among religious Zionism, and there is 
no reason to allow them to continue organizing 
themselves and to burgeon.... The Prime Minister has 
the right to decide on the next pullout, and he has no 
reasons or political constraints forcing him to 
dillydally." 
 
IV.  "Warmongers" 
 
Senior columnist Dan Margalit wrote in popular, 
pluralist Maariv (August 23): "Some Israelis can't 
stand the tears of joy shared by soldiers, policemen, 
and settlers.... When they see an Israeli being 
uprooted from his home, they immediately remember the 
bitter fate of Palestinian refugees in 1948.  They had 
a scenario, in which they envisioned that the settlers 
would infringe the rule of law, disintegrate democracy, 
attack soldiers and policemen with fists and sticks, 
perhaps even with machine-guns.  But this didn't take 
place.  How bad.... Ahead of the struggle over Sa-Nur 
today, [Ha'aretz] feared it would end with moderation, 
restraint, and responsibility.... Thus, [the newspaper 
editorialized on August 21]: 'In the coming conflict 
between the army and police and hundreds or thousands 
of zealots, there is no room for restraint or 
forbearance.'  Why isn't there room for this?.... Why 
conquer the target forcibly when this can be done 
reasonably?" 
 
¶V.  "Evacuation Is No Reason For Fraternizing With 
Terrorists" 
 
Correspondent Yakov Shaus wrote in conservative, 
Russian-language daily Vesty (August 22): "Although the 
majority of Israelis support Ariel Sharon's 
[initiative], the demolition of settlements is a 
serious drama for them.   Even if this decision was 
necessary because of the previous mistakes of the 
[Israeli government's] settlement policy, the scenes of 
clashes between soldiers and women and children are 
bound to traumatize people's hearts and consciences for 
a long time.  But some ... media feel happy about it -- 
and this is an obvious sign of a split in Israeli 
society.  This split is caused by different attitudes 
towards the disengagement.... After the unilateral 
disengagement is completed, [the left-wingers] would 
demand ... fraternity with the Palestinians.  The right- 
wing opposition is ... waiting for the Labor party to 
withdraw from the government in order to take revenge 
of Sharon's 'capitulation.'" 
 
---------------------------------- 
¶2.  Mubarak Presidential Campaign: 
---------------------------------- 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global 
Research in International Affairs Center, columnist 
Barry Rubin, wrote in conservative, independent 
Jerusalem Post: " Has the moment come when change is 
unavoidable?  No, not during Mubarak's reign, at 
least." 
 
 
 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------- 
 
"Mr. Mubarak Goes to the Polls" 
 
The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global 
Research in International Affairs Center, columnist 
Barry Rubin, wrote in conservative, independent 
Jerusalem Post (August 23): "Mubarak can ... take real 
credit for Egypt's performance under his rule.  Things 
could have been a lot worse, as Syria (more repressive, 
imperialist in Lebanon), Iran (Islamist regime), 
Algeria (disastrous civil war), and Iraq (foreign 
aggression and a bloodthirsty tyrant) have shown.  The 
majority of people in Egypt seem to understand this 
fact, which is why they are not so eager to support 
either Islamist or democratic alternatives.  Has the 
moment come when change is unavoidable?  No, not during 
Mubarak's reign, at least.  As for the future, he has 
not named a successor.  The door has been left open for 
his son, Gamal, who now poses as a reformer himself. 
Yet Mubarak seems to understand how controversial, and 
potentially destabilizing, such a decision would be and 
has not come close to indicating that a family 
succession is his plan.  There are plenty of ex- 
generals who have served as cabinet ministers, or 
governors who could be candidates when the real 
election -- just before or after Mubarak's death -- 
takes place." 
 
--------- 
¶3.  Iraq: 
--------- 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and 
former Foreign Ministry director-general Shlomo Avineri 
wrote in conservative, independent Jerusalem Post: 
"There is no way of putting Humpty-Dumpty together 
again.... It would be advisable to think outside the 
box and realize that Iraq is not a country anymore." 
 
 
 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------- 
 
"Iraq Is Not a State Anymore" 
 
Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and 
former Foreign Ministry director-general Shlomo Avineri 
wrote in conservative, independent Jerusalem Post 
(August 23): "There is no way of putting Humpty-Dumpty 
together again.  The Kurds and the Shi'ites will go 
their separate ways, and both entities have the 
paramilitary capability to do so.  There is no Iraqi 
army capable of maintaining the unity of the country. 
And, just as in the former Yugoslavia, the separate 
countries -- Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia -- have a better 
chance of creating coherent and democratic systems than 
the old coercive Yugoslavia, the same may apply to 
Iraq.... The U.S. will obviously have to change its 
policy over Iraq -- maybe this is what President George 
¶W. Bush is devoting his vacation to.  It would be 
advisable to think outside the box and realize that 
Iraq is not a country anymore.  This is not the end of 
the world, but it calls for courageous and creative 
thinking about alternatives." 
 
KURTZER