Viewing cable 05TELAVIV6297

05TELAVIV62972005-11-03 13:02:00 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.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶1.  Mideast 
¶2.  Syria 
¶3.  Iran 
Key stories in the media: 
Israel Radio quoted Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz as 
saying in Washington Wednesday, at a meeting with 
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, that Israel will 
not frustrate the PA's legislative elections, despite 
Hamas's participation in them.  The radio quoted 
Secretary Rice as saying that Israel should facilitate 
a solution to the border crossing issue at Rafah.  The 
radio also reported that Mofaz met with U.S. National 
Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.  The Jerusalem Post 
reported that on Wednesday, in a meeting with the 
leadership of the Israel Policy Forum (a pro-Israel, 
pro-peace advocacy group), Secretary Rice put the onus 
of moving forward on the PA and said she would like to 
see PA Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas act against 
terrorism even before the January PA elections. 
All media reported that an Israeli civilian was lightly 
wounded and five others treated for shock on Wednesday 
evening when a mortar shell exploded after striking a 
house in Netiv Ha'asara, a moshav located near the 
northern Gaza border.  Israel Radio reported that the 
IDF used artillery fire against areas in the Gaza Strip 
where the Palestinian fire originated.  In its lead 
story, Ha'aretz quoted many residents in the western 
Negev communities as saying recently that they want to 
leave the area, in view of continued rocket and mortar 
fire from the Gaza Strip.  Israel Radio cited 
Palestinian claims that a 12-year-old Palestinian boy 
was killed by IDF fire in the West Bank this morning. 
Citing the London-based Al-Hayat, Israel Radio quoted 
senior Palestinian sources as saying that the PA has 
acceded to Israel's demand that foreign citizens enter 
and leave the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom 
crossing instead of through the Rafah crossing.  The 
radio said that Israel and the PA agreed that the 
Palestinian civilians would use the Rafah crossing and 
that goods would pass through the Kerem Shalom 
crossing.  Ha'aretz cited the EU's executive commission 
as saying, in a statement issued on Wednesday, that the 
EU was sending senior officials to the Middle East to 
evaluate a possible role in helping monitor the Rafah 
crossing.  Ha'aretz reported that the commission said 
it "stands ready to play its part" should Israel and 
the Palestinians both request an EU role on the border. 
Ha'aretz reported that Mofaz has for several months 
contravened a cabinet decision aimed at making it more 
difficult to establish illegal settler outposts and 
easier to punish offenders.  The cabinet decision was 
taken on March 10 following completion of a report on 
illegal outposts by former senior state prosecutor 
Talia Sasson. 
The Jerusalem Post interviewed Ammar Abdulhamid, a 
Damascus resident who openly criticizes his "stupid" 
The Jerusalem Post reported that President Moshe Katsav 
issued a public invitation to King Mohamed VI of 
Morocco on Wednesday night to come to Israel on an 
official visit and to help sow the seeds of peace in 
the region. 
Ha'aretz reported that Jewish-American millionaire 
Irwin Moskowitz is behind a plan to establish a new 
Jewish neighborhood in the Sheikh Jarrah quarter of 
East Jerusalem. 
Leading media reported that on Wednesday, Israeli and 
Palestinian human rights groups -- Physicians For Human 
Rights-Israel and the Gaza Community Mental Health 
Program -- petitioned the High Court of Justice to 
compel the IAF to stop causing sonic booms over Gaza, 
citing psychological damage and calling the practice 
"collective punishment." 
Ha'aretz reported that residents of the Gush Etzion 
settlements are divided over the planned security 
fence, which, some residents say, would slice the 
settlement bloc in two. 
Ha'aretz reported that, addressing the Knesset on 
Wednesday on the matter of Iranian President Mahmoud 
Ahmadinejad's statement that "Israel must be wiped off 
the map," FM Silvan Shalom said: "With this 
antagonizing and scandalous announcement, the president 
of Iran lowered the facade of rationalism and normalcy 
that Iran tries to don in its dealings with the West 
and showed the whole world exactly what sort of 
ideological party the world is dealing with."  Leading 
media reported that pro-Israel demonstrations were held 
in front of the Iranian embassies in Paris and Rome on 
Leading media reported that events marking the 10th 
anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination will begin 
this morning with the lighting of the "Yitzhak Candle" 
at President Moshe Katsav's residence.  Leading media 
reported that the head of the Education Committee of 
the Elkana local council in the West Bank has suggested 
that educational institutions in his council condemn 
Rabin, who "was the man who acted to achieve the vision 
of our enemies."  Israel Radio and other media quoted 
Vice PM Ehud Olmert as saying this morning at a 
memorial for Rabin: "From the distance of time and 
perspective, Yitzhak Rabin's Oslo Agreement brought on 
a process of disillusionment by the Israel public and 
the formation of a more realistic, sober and balanced 
perception of the moves Israel has to make." 
Ha'aretz quoted Vice Premier Shimon Peres as saying 
Wednesday that members of the Israeli-Arab public will 
take part in drawing up a strategic plan for developing 
the Galilee. 
Israel Radio reported that Sen. Hillary Clinton will 
come to Israel next week to discuss bilateral relations 
and meet with PM Sharon. 
Yediot quoted Prof. Mina Teicher, the Science and 
Technology Ministry's chief scientist, as saying on 
Wednesday that the number of Israeli-born Israeli 
scientists who immigrated to the U.S. is almost equal 
to that of the senior academics on the staffs of all 
Israeli universities. 
Yediot reported that the Israeli airline Israir has 
fired senior employees who had demanded that Israir 
pilots lie about a near-accident that involved one of 
the company's airliners at New York's JFK airport 
almost four months ago. 
All media (banners in Yediot and Maariv) reported that 
on Wednesday, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss 
announced that he is investigating seven cases of 
corruption, which he has not yet disclosed.  However, 
Yediot reported that Education Minister Limor Livnat's 
husband is allegedly involved in one of the cases, and 
Maariv wrote that the acquisition of part of the 
company Elisra by Israel Aircraft Industries.  The 
media also cited former Israel Electric Corporation 
chairman Eli Landau's alleged conflict of interests in 
the natural gas deal with Egypt. 
Yediot reported that the Pakistani rock band Haro 
(phon.) wants to visit Israel and to cooperate with an 
Israeli band.  The newspaper says that Prof. Judah 
Pearl, the father of Jewish-American journalist and 
musician Daniel Pearl, who was assassinated in 
Pakistan, told Israel's Consul General in New York Arye 
Mekel and FM Shalom about the Pakistani band's wishes. 
Yediot reported that the American singer Madonna has 
expressed her desire to visit Israel again during the 
Chanukah holiday in December. 
Ha'aretz, Yediot, Maariv, and Israel Radio cited the 
results of the Democracy Index 2005 survey, conducted 
by the Israel Democracy Institute, which found that: 
-84 percent of Israelis believe that a political murder 
could occur again, in the wake of the disengagement 
-42 percent believe that a civil war could take place 
in Israel over the fate of the territories. 
A Yediot/Mina Zemach (Dahaf Institute) poll conducted 
on Wednesday among Labor Party members found that in 
the race for the party leadership, the gap between 
Shimon Peres and Histadrut Labor Federation Secretary- 
General Knesset Member Amir Peretz is narrowing.  Peres 
would garner 37 percent of the votes in the party's 
primaries; Peretz 34 percent; Minister-without- 
Portfolio Matan Vilnai 15 percent; Infrastructure 
Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer 11 percent. 
¶1.  Mideast: 
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: 
"Positive [Israeli] actions will bring the world 
closer; negative actions will distance it." 
Liberal columnist Yael Paz-Melamed wrote in popular, 
pluralist Maariv: "When a targeted killing operation, 
which is going to be followed by revenge, is carried 
out ... that is negligence towards the [Israeli] 
Nationalist writer Uri Dan wrote in Maariv: "This week, 
senior Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub 
dubbed the Israeli cabinet a 'government of crazies.' 
Rajoub couldn't have given a more pleasant compliment 
to the Jerusalem government." 
                     Block Quotes: 
¶I.  "Changed Attitude at the World Body" 
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized 
(November 3): "The UN General Assembly this week 
unanimously approved Israel's proposal to mark an 
annual international remembrance day for the Holocaust 
and its victims on January 27.... The latest decision 
joins a series of positive UN events and activities 
from Israel's standpoint over the past two years.... 
The improvement in Israel's relations with the UN stems 
from a change in the Foreign Ministry's policy toward 
the organization, the supportive position of Secretary- 
General Kofi Annan, and a reward for the withdrawal 
from the Gaza Strip.... Maintaining membership in the 
UN and joining forces with states with which Israel 
wishes to establish ties mean that Israel must adopt 
appropriate behavioral norms, make progress in the 
peace process, and improve its attitude toward human 
rights in the occupied territories.  Positive actions 
will bring the world closer; negative actions will 
distance it." 
II.  "Closed-Circuit Assassinations" 
Liberal columnist Yael Paz-Melamed wrote in popular, 
pluralist Maariv (November 3): "There is no moral 
question here.  It is clear that anyone who sends 
suicide bombers or car bombs on their way should be 
assassinated.  The only question is how much human life 
will the decision to assassinate him cost.  If once 
upon a time Israel used to assassinate senior activists 
from the murderous groups once every few weeks, now 
this has become a far more frequent event, almost 
daily.  In other words, this is the main tool used 
against the terror organizations.  Hence, we can expect 
a renewal of terrorism on a scope we had hoped never to 
see again.  God help us.... When a targeted killing 
operation, which is going to be followed by revenge, is 
carried out -- even though parts of the fence are still 
breached and the crossings are still not sealed -- that 
is negligence towards the public.  As long as the 
security forces cannot ensure that our border with the 
Palestinians is sealed, the leaders need to calculate 
far more carefully the chances that Israeli civilians 
are going to be hurt as a result of the targeted 
killing operation.... We keep killing and killing, and 
the revenge and terror attacks keep on coming.  Could 
it be that the time has come to begin to look for other 
III.  "Thanks to 'Madness'" 
Nationalist writer Uri Dan wrote in Maariv (November 
3): "In an interview to an Arab television station this 
week, senior Palestinian Authority official Jibril 
Rajoub dubbed the Israeli cabinet a 'government of 
crazies.'  Rajoub couldn't have given a more pleasant 
compliment to the Jerusalem government for conducting a 
very sane and normal policy of raids in Judea and 
Samaria [i.e. the West Bank] and assassinations in Gaza 
against Palestinian terrorists.... According to Rajoub 
and his friends in the PA, 'normalcy' is expressed 
through Israel's make-believe, delusion or self- 
delusion, when the 'peace' process continues despite 
the terror.  Peace is not dead, because it has never 
been alive between Israelis and Palestinians." 
¶2.  Syria: 
Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor, a lecturer 
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in mass- 
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "The United 
States must understand that the Middle East won't 
achieve conditions of stability if the Syrian regime is 
left in place." 
                     Block Quotes: 
"What's To Be Done With Assad?" 
Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor, a lecturer 
at the Interdisciplinary Center, wrote in mass- 
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (November 3): 
"Should Assad feel that Washington has decided to leave 
him in power just because of the chaos in Iraq, he 
would do whatever he could to increasingly sow anarchy 
there.  Iraq's destruction would turn into a guarantee 
of his success.  This is how Washington would dig its 
own chasm -- through fear of being entangled again in 
Syria, it would increasingly deepen its predicament in 
Iraq.  The United States must understand that the 
Middle East won't achieve conditions of stability if 
the Syrian regime is left in place -- neither in Iraq, 
nor in Lebanon, nor in the Palestinian context, nor in 
Jordan, and neither in the contest of Israeli Arabs. 
Syrian intelligence is involved in all those.... A new 
regional order and the achievement of Middle Eastern 
stability, democracy, and human rights make necessary 
the termination of the second Ba'ath regime [after 
Saddam's].  In Iraq and Syria, Ba'ath dictatorships 
constitute the problem, not the solution." 
¶3.  Iran: 
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post 
editorialized: "The UN did good Tuesday; Annan 
shouldn't dilute it by going ahead with his misguided 
trip [to Iran]. " 
                     Block Quotes: 
"The UN Vote" 
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post 
editorialized (November 3): "Let's start by saying up 
front that the United Nations did a good thing Tuesday 
by adopting a resolution instituting January 27 as 
worldwide Holocaust Awareness Day.  Not only did it do 
good, but it went a distance toward washing out one of 
the world body's long-standing stains -- up until now 
there had not been one substantive UN resolution or 
document dealing with the Holocaust.... The anti- 
Israeli animus that infected the UN during [former UN 
secretary-general Kurt] Waldheim's reign did not crawl 
out of Turtle Bay when he left.... Much work, 
obviously, does remain to be done.  UN Secretary- 
General Kofi Annan would be wise to start the ball 
rolling by canceling his upcoming visit to Iran.  Annan 
said last week he was dismayed by Ahmadinejad's 
comments.  But he should do much more than just issue a 
statement.  He should refuse to go to Iran and shake 
hands, thereby lending legitimacy, to a man who says 
proudly and publicly that he wants to do to Israel 
today what Hitler wanted to do to the Jewish people 65 
years ago -- wipe it off the map.  The UN did good 
Tuesday; Annan shouldn't dilute it by going ahead with 
his misguided trip. "