Viewing cable 05TELAVIV5426
Title: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05TELAVIV54262005-09-06 11:01:00 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.

061101Z Sep 05
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 TEL AVIV 005426 
 
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.  Hurricane Katrina 
 
¶2.  U.S.-Israel Relations 
 
¶3.  Syrian-Lebanese Track 
 
¶4.  Israeli Arabs 
 
------------------------- 
Key stories in the media: 
------------------------- 
 
Ha'aretz notes that the international community is 
putting pressure on Israel to allow the Palestinians 
freedom of movement between Gaza and Egypt via the 
Rafah crossing.  The newspaper quoted a senior 
diplomatic official as saying that no one in the world 
will recognize Israel's withdrawal from Gaza without a 
solution for Rafah, and that the problem should be 
solved before PM Sharon leaves for the UN General 
Assembly, if he wants an enthusiastic welcome there. 
 
During the weekend, all media prominently featured the 
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Leading media reported 
that Israel is sending 80 tons of humanitarian aid to 
the disaster victims.  On Monday, Yediot reported that 
a delegation of Defense Ministry and Health Ministry 
staff was leaving that evening for the U.S., in order 
to coordinate with the U.S. administration the Israeli 
aid for victims of the hurricane.  Yediot reported that 
top U.S. administration officials have asked Israeli 
Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon for tents, 
blankets, pillows, food, beds and medical equipment. 
Yediot writes that the Americans also need generators, 
plastic sheeting, wheel chairs, bedding, K-rations, 
first aid kits, cleaning materials, shaving kits, 
pillows and water containers.  Various organizations 
have called on Israelis to donate funds.  Yediot 
reported that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has 
instructed the IDF to prepare for the dispatching of a 
large military delegation comprising Home Front 
personnel, divers, psychologists, public health 
specialists, and victim identification specialists. 
The newspaper reported that some American sources favor 
such help, but that others are opposed.  On Sunday, 
Jerusalem Post reported that Tel Aviv University's 
school of medicine is offering slots to medical 
students unable to attend classes at Tulane University 
in New Orleans.   Leading media reported that an 
Israeli man and an AmCit of Israeli origin are missing. 
 
Ha'aretz reported that GOI and security sources denied 
reports that appeared on Monday, according to which 
3,000 new housing units were to be built in the West 
Bank town of Ariel.  The sources said that last month, 
Mofaz approved the marketing of only 117 new units. 
Education Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) was quoted as 
saying in interviews with various media that Israel has 
paid a hefty tribute during the disengagement and that 
Israel should build the E-1 area between Jerusalem and 
Ma'aleh Adumim even at the cost of as confrontation 
with the U.S.  Ha'aretz cited a portion of the State 
Comptroller's annual report that says that the 
authorities turn a blind eye to land grabs in the 
territories. 
 
Maariv reported that the Israeli Embassy in Washington 
has asked the GOI not to remove its assistance request 
from the U.S. from the agenda, despite the heavy cost 
of Hurricane Katrina to the USG.  Maariv cited an 
Israeli Embassy estimate that disengagement-related 
U.S. aid to Israel will amount to hundreds of thousands 
of dollars over two years. 
 
Jerusalem Post quoted diplomatic officials as saying 
that a trilateral meeting headed by Quartet envoy James 
Wolfensohn to deal with the Rafah crossing issue that 
was scheduled for Monday was postponed because of 
"scheduling problems" and will be held before the end 
of the week.  The meeting was to include Mofaz, 
Wolfensohn and a PA minister.  Leading media reported 
that on Monday, for the first time, Palestinian 
officers visited Gush Katif areas that were evacuated. 
 
On Sunday, leading media reported that PA Chairman 
[President] Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday called to resume 
the peace talks with Israel immediately after the IDF 
completes its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and that 
he hoped that a Palestinian state would be established 
by next year. 
 
All media quoted FM Silvan Shalom as saying Monday that 
it is "quite likely" that President Hosni Mubarak will 
come to Israel in November for ceremonies to mark the 
10th anniversary of former prime minister Yitzhak 
Rabin's assassination.  Israel Radio cited an official 
Egyptian denial of the report.  Leading media reported 
that Jordan's King Abdullah II canceled his visit to 
Israel and he will meet Sharon only at the UN General 
Assembly next week in New York.  On Sunday, various 
media cited a statement by the Pakistani Foreign 
Ministry that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will 
not meet with Sharon when the two are in New York later 
this month.  The media cited the possibility of Sharon 
meeting Abbas during or after the UN General Assembly 
convention. 
 
Ha'aretz cited an official announcement by the Foreign 
Ministry of the United Arab Emirates denying reports 
that Israel has diplomatic envoys in Dubai, saying they 
are "false rumors."  Leading media reported that Israel 
is continuing to reap diplomatic benefits in the Arab 
and Muslim worlds from the Gaza pullout.  Hatzofe 
reported that two senior Foreign Ministry officials 
have recently made a secret visit to Morocco to explore 
the possibility of renewing relations with that 
country. 
 
During the weekend, leading media quoted Hizbullah 
leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah as saying on Friday that 
he would consider disarming his organization in return 
for certain international, but not American, 
assurances. 
 
Citing AP, Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday that a 
U.S. district judge in New York upheld three lawsuits 
Friday accusing the Jordan-based Arab Bank of promoting 
Palestinian suicide attacks by funneling Saudi money to 
bombers' families. 
 
On Sunday, Jerusalem Post cited the U.S. Congressional 
Research Service's annual report, according to which 
Egypt has become the largest buyer of weapons in the 
Middle East over the last four years. 
 
All media reported that President Bush has nominated 
John Roberts to be chief justice of the U.S. Supreme 
Court. 
 
Ha'aretz reported that Israel, the EU, and the European 
Space Agency will sign an agreement today allowing 
Israel to join the European alliance's Galileo space 
program. 
Ha'aretz published the results of a Dialogue Institute 
survey conducted Sunday and Monday among Likud party 
members, which shows that support for MK Binyamin 
Netanyahu in the party is lessening: 
-"If party primaries were held tomorrow, whom would you 
vote for as party chair?"  Sharon: 36 percent; 
Netanyahu: 24 percent; "chief rebel" Knesset Member Uzi 
Landau: 19 percent; and Moshe Feiglin (far-Right Likud 
faction): 8 percent. 
 
---------------------- 
¶1.  Hurricane Katrina: 
---------------------- 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: 
"In the painful weeks ahead for the American people and 
its leadership, Israel should concentrate on offering 
its finest in the search and rescue field and providing 
disaster assistance for the refugees." 
 
Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in popular, 
pluralist Maariv: "This is ... an opportunity [for 
Israelis] to skip over the administration in Washington 
-- to connect for the first time, with the people, 
without mediation, without politicians." 
 
Novelist and contributor Yitzhak Laor wrote in 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The vision of 
Robinson Crusoe has been reborn: a society in which no 
one is responsible for anyone else.... What about the 
poor?  Let them die." 
 
Veteran columnist Yaron London wrote in mass- 
circulation Yediot Aharonot: "America is determined to 
spread democracy, but it denies life, as simply as 
that.  Perhaps now its eyes will open." 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------- 
 
¶I.  "Helping America" 
 
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized 
(September 6): "[Global financial] burdens do not 
diminish the American interest in showing support for 
Israel, including in the form of military and economic 
assistance.  Such support remains integral to advancing 
American values and strategy, all the more so in the 
context of the global struggle against militant 
Islamism and the extraordinary risks and sacrifices 
Israel has just taken for peace.  In the longer term, 
U.S. assistance for Israel is still in America's 
interest.  But in the painful weeks ahead for the 
American people and its leadership, Israel should 
concentrate on offering its finest in the search and 
rescue field and providing disaster assistance for the 
refugees.  Even superpowers, especially this 
superpower, deserve a helping hand in their hour of 
need." 
 
II.  "Friends in Time of Need" 
 
Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in popular, 
pluralist Maariv (September 4): "For over 30 years, the 
U.S. has been the primary, often vital, support for our 
existence here.... Now, the American taxpayer needs us. 
True, the help we can offer is insignificant.  The aid 
we can offer is symbolic.  The Americans must see and 
realize that people in Israel are attentive to them, 
and that their souls reach out to them in their 
distress.  We must open our hearts, our pockets, and 
our souls.  This is the time and this is the test of 
whether we can prove that beyond disputes, arguments, 
and outposts, there is an eternal covenant, a covenant 
of blood between the Americans and us.  This is also an 
opportunity to skip over the administration in 
Washington -- to connect for the first time, with the 
people, without mediation, without politicians.  Heart 
to heart, people to people, because friends are 
measured in times of distress, and the distress is 
here." 
 
III.  "No Noah's Ark in New Orleans" 
 
Veteran columnist Yaron London wrote in mass- 
circulation Yediot Aharonot (September 4): "The 
disaster in the southern states of the U.S. 
reverberates not only because it is the most terrible 
of natural disasters to occur in recent years, but 
because it is taking place in the most developed county 
in the world.... Few doubts remain as to the link 
between the caprices of nature and the effect of 
greenhouse gases.  America is the main reason that we 
do not do enough to curb their emission into the 
atmosphere.  Its citizens, who number no more than 3 
percent of the world's population, consume a fifth of 
the energy used by humanity and are unwilling to 
curtail their greed.  America is determined to spread 
democracy, but it denies life, as simply as that. 
Perhaps now its eyes will open." 
 
IV.  "Let the Poor Die" 
 
Novelist and contributor Yitzhak Laor wrote in 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (September 6): "Ever 
since Ronald Reagan became president of the United 
States, politics in the West has been flourishing under 
the motto attributed to former British prime minister 
Margaret Thatcher: there is no society, there are only 
individuals.... From within all this, the vision of 
Robinson Crusoe has been reborn: a society in which no 
one is responsible for anyone else. In the South, where 
the struggles for riding on 'integrated buses' marked 
the beginning of the struggle for equality in the U.S., 
the world has discovered that there are no buses, there 
are no trains, and there are no public services.  The 
state mechanism, which had been the greatest democratic 
achievement of all -- not the army, but rather the 
public services -- was depicted in all the temples of 
the new religion as one of the attributes of the Devil, 
who must be overcome.  What about the poor?  Let them 
die." 
 
-------------------------- 
¶2.  U.S.-Israel Relations: 
-------------------------- 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Senior columnist Dan Margalit wrote in popular, 
pluralist Maariv: "The shadows are spreading, even 
though 'never was our relationship with the U.S. so 
good.'" 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------- 
 
"Truly a Wonderful Relationship?" 
 
Senior columnist Dan Margalit wrote in popular, 
pluralist Maariv (September 6): "In the same way that 
the universe as seen from the telescopes of space 
researchers is always expanding, so Israeli governments 
throughout the generations describe the relationship 
with the U.S. as constantly improving.... It is 
therefore only natural that the Prime Minister and his 
close team highlight [Sharon's] achievement, which is 
real, but sweep the difficulties under the rug.... 
After disengagement, an American trend is evident of 
preferring the chances of Abu Mazen's political 
survival to any other political issue.  Sharon and 
Shaul Mofaz and Dov Weisglass know this, but when an 
election year starts, no government wants to hear such 
discordant notes, and certainly not inform the public. 
If we are indeed a 'mature' people ... then there is a 
democratic obligation to provide the public with a 
variety of information on the most important and 
delicate relationship with the U.S., including any 
warning signals.  There are still good reasons to adopt 
the government's assessment that the relationship that 
it has developed with Bush and his administration is a 
considerable achievement, but the jubilation over them 
for election needs is out of place.  The shadows are 
spreading, even though 'never was our relationship with 
the U.S. so good.'" 
 
-------------------------- 
¶3.  Syrian-Lebanese Track: 
-------------------------- 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: 
"Developments in Lebanon and Syria ... could bode well 
for the Syrian and Lebanese peoples, as well as for 
their southern neighbor.  Israel must refrain from any 
involvement that would prevent this scenario from being 
realized." 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------- 
 
"Movement in Syria and Lebanon" 
 
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized 
(September 5): "Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan 
Nasrallah delivered a surprise this weekend when he 
declared that his organization would agree to disarm if 
it received guarantees of security in Lebanon from an 
international party (other than the United States). 
Although it conditioned its disarmament on the end of 
Israel's occupation of 'Lebanese territory,' that is, 
the Sheba Farms, this is the first time that Nasrallah 
has made such a declaration.  This declaration is 
obviously very interesting to Israel, even though it 
was not meant primarily for Israel's ears: Hizbullah is 
one of the main focuses of the struggle now taking 
place in Lebanon.... [Other] developments in Lebanon 
and Syria -- the progress in the investigation of 
Hariri's murder and the increasing international 
pressure on Assad -- could bode well for the Syrian and 
Lebanese peoples, as well as for their southern 
neighbor.  Israel must refrain from any involvement 
that would prevent this scenario from being realized." 
 
 
 
 
 
------------------ 
¶4.  Israeli Arabs: 
------------------ 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Editor-in-Chief Lutfi Mashour wrote in independent, 
moderate Arabic-language Assennara: " What is left for 
[the government] to say is that being an Arab you can't 
be a victim." 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------- 
 
"Killing Them All Over Again" 
 
Editor-in-Chief Lutfi Mashour wrote in independent, 
moderate Arabic-language Assennara (September 2): "The 
decision [of the interministerial committee headed by a 
Defense Ministry official] not to consider the victims 
of the Shfaram [terrorist attack] as victims of terror 
[under the Victims of Enemy Action Law] is like killing 
them all over again.  This is a grave assault to our 
dignity and legitimacy.... Is the Jew immunized and 
infallible from terror?  What is left for [the 
government] to say is that being an Arab you can't be a 
victim.... However, the truth should be told: the Prime 
Minister's Office has asked Attorney General Mazuz to 
reexamine the committee's decision, which is a good 
move that we hope will succeed.... However as I said 
before, we can never forget and accept such a hideous 
decision and attitude." 
 
KURTZER