Viewing cable 06TELAVIV2112
Title: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06TELAVIV21122006-06-01 12:48:00 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 08 TEL AVIV 002112 
 
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 
CDR USCENTCOM 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.  Iran 
 
¶2.  Mideast 
 
------------------------- 
Key stories in the media: 
------------------------- 
 
All media reported that on Wednesday, Secretary of 
State Condoleezza Rice announced that the US is willing 
to enter multilateral direct talks with Iran, if Tehran 
agrees to halt its nuclear enrichment activity.  Israel 
Radio reported that Iran announced that it does not 
accept the United States' condition.  Maariv, The 
Jerusalem Post, and Israel Radio reported that 
President Bush informed PM Ehud Olmert of his impending 
move during Olmert's visit to Washington.  The 
Jerusalem Post and Israel Radio said that President 
Bush called Olmert on Wednesday to bring him up to 
date, and that Secretary Rice called FM Tzipi Livni 
before making her announcement.  Israel Radio quoted 
sources in Jerusalem as saying that Secretary Rice's 
announcement shortens the UN Security Council's 
response time and increases the chances of 
international pressure against Iran, which is a very 
positive development. 
 
Yediot and Ha'aretz reported that PM Olmert is opposed 
to the implementation of the convergence plan in 
gradual steps and prefers that it be carried out in one 
action.  Olmert conveyed this in an interview with 
Yediot.  Ha'aretz wrote that the rate at which the 
convergence plan will be carried out is a matter that 
the government has not yet discussed, but is at the 
center of planning for both Olmert and senior 
ministers, including Vice PM Shimon Peres.  Ha'aretz 
said that the issue of the rate of convergence is not 
likely to be finalized prior to a meeting between PA 
Chairman [President] Mahmoud Abbas and Olmert.  Olmert 
was quoted as saying in his interview with Yediot that 
he is determined to carry out the convergence plan and 
that he is confident that Israelis will accept it. 
 
Ha'aretz reported that talks between Fatah and the 
ruling Hamas on a compromise solution over the National 
Reconciliation Document appear to have faltered.   The 
newspaper wrote that two days before the deadline set 
by Abbas, it appears that the Chairman himself is not 
in a hurry to reach a compromise with Hamas.  The 
Jerusalem Post quoted European officials as saying on 
Wednesday that differences of opinion have emerged in 
Europe over the "funding mechanism" the European 
Commission has been asked to develop to transfer funds 
to the PA.  Maariv and The Jerusalem Post cited the 
official Iranian press agency IRNA that Palestinian PM 
Ismail Haniyeh called the US an enemy of all Muslims 
and quoted him as saying that Washington -- under the 
influence of the Zionist lobby -- was making every 
effort to bring about the failure of the Hamas-led PA 
government.  Israel Radio reported that Arab League 
Secretary-General criticized the conditions imposed by 
 
SIPDIS 
Western countries for talks with Hamas. 
 
The Jerusalem Post reported that left-wing groups plan 
to demonstrate in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to urge 
Israel to talk with the PA government.  The newspaper 
reported that Peace Now does not intend to participate 
in the rally, as its spokesman Yariv Oppenheimer said 
that the demonstration should also call on Hamas to 
recognize Israel. 
 
Maariv reported on a proposal put forward by Lebanese 
PM Fuad Siniora: The UN would mark the Lebanese-Syrian 
border, determining with precision which country the 
Sheba Farms belong to; in a second stage, Syria would 
publicly announce that it renounces sovereignty over 
the Sheba Farms, as they are on Lebanese territory; 
lastly, the Lebanese army would deploy along the 
Lebanese-Israeli border.  Maariv reported that senior 
Israeli defense officials, who had feared that the 
Golan issue would eventually be raised as well, have 
started showing interest in the proposal. 
 
Israel Radio reported that two IDF soldiers were 
wounded in Jenin when a charge exploded next to their 
vehicle.  The radio reported that the IDF arrested 12 
Palestinians in the West Bank.  Leading media quoted 
Palestinian sources as saying that on Wednesday, the 
IDF failed to kill a Palestinian militant in an air 
strike in the Gaza Strip. 
 
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz was quoted as 
saying in an interview with The Jerusalem Post that 
ongoing cuts such as this week's 510-million shekel 
(around USD 110 million) reduction in the defense 
budget will turn the IDF into a mediocre military. 
Halutz added that this is something that Israel cannot 
afford. 
 
Ha'aretz reported that the Hebrew University has 
decided to postpone a program approved last month to 
grant undergraduate degrees to Shin Bet personnel.  The 
newspaper said that in practice, the program would be 
canceled. 
 
Yediot reported that President Bush and former Israeli 
cabinet minister Natan Sharansky have been 
corresponding for a year on various topics.  The 
newspaper reported that in his latest letter to 
Sharansky, the President wrote: "I am proud to be your 
twin soul." 
 
Ha'aretz reported that the largest labor union in the 
Canadian province of Ontario -- the Ontario division of 
the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which 
has 450,000 members nationwide -- has voted unanimously 
to boycott Israel "until it recognizes the 
Palestinians' right of self-determination" and accepts 
all UN resolutions including the right of return. The 
newspaper wrote that the Anti-Defamation League harshly 
condemned the decision, calling it "deplorable and 
offensive." 
 
Maariv reported that the IDF has just completed its 
research on the Beaufort battle in the early days of 
the Lebanon War (June 1982).  The study determines that 
then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon did not lie to then- 
PM Menachem Begin when he told him that no Israeli 
soldiers were killed in the battle.  According to the 
survey, Sharon was actually not told of the deaths. 
The issue was a strong point of contention during the 
war. 
 
Ha'aretz (English Ed.) reported that in Jerusalem on 
Wednesday, Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East 
Forum and a frequent columnist known for his 
neoconservative views, received the "Guardian of Zion" 
award from Bar-Ilan University.  According to a 
statement issued by the University, Pipes "is one of 
the first analysts to understand the threat of radical 
Islam." 
 
Maariv reported that American software giant Oracle is 
expected to buy the Israeli startup Demantra in a few 
days for USD 45 million. 
 
Ha'aretz (English Ed.) reported that this week, 
visiting American actor and equestrian William Shatner 
announced a USD 10-million campaign in partnership with 
the Jewish National Fund to support therapeutic riding 
programs in Israel. 
 
Yediot reported that Scottish authorities suspect 
Israeli chemist Hanan Rabin of smuggling millions of 
dollars worth of date-rape drugs from Scotland to the 
US. 
 
--------- 
¶1.  Iran: 
--------- 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one 
of popular, pluralist Maariv: "'Iran will not have a 
nuclear bomb, period,' Bush promised Olmert, and -- on 
Wednesday -- also the world.  What remains for him to 
do now is to keep his word." 
 
Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "Rice's 
announcement brings decision time closer." 
 
Washington correspondent Orly Azolai wrote in mass- 
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "On Wednesday, 
Iran, which was defined by Bush as a major country in 
the 'axis of evil,' became a worthy partner for 
negotiations.  And after all, that is what Ahmadinejad 
has wanted since coming to power." 
 
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post 
editorialized: "[Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear 
weapons] is more achievable than it may seem, even 
without resorting to military force, but only if the 
United States and Europe show unity and determination 
on a level that arguably has not been seen since World 
War II." 
 
Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman wrote in The 
Jerusalem Post: "If direct negotiations only help 
Tehran gain more time to achieve its nuclear 
aspirations, Israel will be there to remind the US that 
the clock is ticking." 
 
Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev 
Schiff wrote in Ha'aretz: "Headlines about presidential 
promises to defend Israel in the case of an attack 
should not suffice." 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------- 
 
¶I.  "Lip Service" 
 
Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one 
of popular, pluralist Maariv (6/1): "On Wednesday, the 
Americans, for a change, did the right thing.... [But] 
the distance between the American announcement of 
Wednesday to negotiating with Iran tomorrow, is still 
very great. The chances that such negotiations will 
take place, and if they do that they will progress, and 
if they progress will bear fruit and stop Iran's 
nuclear efforts, are close to nil. And then, only then, 
the Americans can prove to the world that they tried 
every possible way and turned over every stone with 
their diplomatic efforts. And then, only then, can we 
move on....  [Whatever happens], Iran truly wants the 
bomb.  When the negotiations fail, the Americans will 
be able to say they tried everything.... 'Iran will not 
have a nuclear bomb, period,' Bush promised Olmert, and 
-- on Wednesday -- also the world.  What remains for 
him to do now is to keep his word." 
 
II.  "Returning the Ball to the Iranian Court" 
 
Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (6/1): "[Secretary 
of State Condoleezza] Rice's move on Wednesday is first 
and foremost meant to return the ball to two courts 
from which it was kicked out ... not long ago -- the 
Iranian and the Russian ones.  The US is prepared and 
even willing to talk.  Iranian willingness will now be 
tested with the proper measuring tape.  Will Iran agree 
to freeze its program so that it can meet the 
Americans?  The Russians will be tested, too: Should 
Iran again refuse, which pretext would they find this 
time to prevent a decision on sanctions at the Security 
Council?  The possible positive outcome of this move is 
perceptible: Either Iran rejects the sanctions and 
Russia accepts them, or Iran accepts them, and the 
sanctions will produce an agreement over a deal whose 
conclusion will be the end of the crisis.... Some [US 
administration officials] also see an accumulating 
negative result: The Iranians will reject, the Russians 
will dodge, and the Americans will be humiliated.  In 
any case, Rice's announcement brings decision time 
closer." 
 
III.  "Ahmadinejad Got What He Wanted" 
 
Washington correspondent Orly Azolai wrote in mass- 
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/1): "Since 
his election, [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] 
has wished to achieve two goals: to cause the US to 
speak to him directly and to obtain US recognition of 
the fact that Iran is entitled to manufacture nuclear 
energy for civilian purposes.  On Wednesday, the US 
granted him his wish.... Now Ahmadinejad can raise the 
stakes and pose his own conditions for entering into 
negotiations.  After the US recognized Iran's right to 
nuclear energy, he has become the leader -- not the one 
who is being led.  For 27 years the US boycotted Iran, 
even when it was headed by a moderate president like 
Khatami.  On Wednesday, Washington extended a hand to 
Tehran, while it is headed by an unpredictable leader, 
who both threatened to wipe Israel off the map and 
argued passionately that the Holocaust is a Zionist 
invention.  It is not clear if Ahmadinejad is so 
sophisticated that he created his mad strategy in order 
to make the US fold -- or whether it happened by 
accident.  Either way, victory is his.  On Wednesday, 
Iran, which was defined by Bush as a major country in 
the 'axis of evil,' became a worthy partner for 
negotiations.  And after all, that is what Ahmadinejad 
has wanted since coming to power." 
 
IV.  "Washington's Iran Gambit" 
 
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post 
editorialized (6/1): "The US offer to talk to Tehran is 
a risky gambit since it could, particularly if talks 
actually take place, relieve pressure on the regime and 
demoralize the growing Iranian opposition.  Such an 
offer would only be worth this risk if it succeeded in 
bringing Russia and China aboard the US approach.... 
The international community must keep in mind that the 
goal is not just to express condemnation, but to force 
the Iranian regime to capitulate on what has become -- 
despite frequent denials -- Tehran's obvious 
objectives: obtaining the capability to build a nuclear 
arsenal.  This goal is more achievable than it may 
seem, even without resorting to military force, but 
only if the United States and Europe show unity and 
determination on a level that arguably has not been 
seen since World War II." 
 
¶V.  "Direct Dialing" 
 
Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman wrote in The 
Jerusalem Post (6/1): "Israel, which is seen as the 
country that has the most to lose from an Iranian 
nuclear bomb, is staying out of the debate going on in 
Washington.  For Israel, what is important is the final 
result.  If direct talks were to stop the Iranian 
nuclear project, Israel would welcome them.  But if 
direct negotiations only help Tehran gain more time to 
achieve its nuclear aspirations, Israel will be there 
to remind the US that the clock is ticking." 
 
 
VI.  "To Fulfill the American Promise" 
 
Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev 
Schiff wrote in Ha'aretz (6/1): "Headlines about 
presidential promises to defend Israel in the case of 
an attack should not suffice.  Israel must strive to 
reach an agreement with Washington about how to 
increase its deterrent capabilities, including against 
long-range threats.... From the offensive perspective, 
it seems Israel should strengthen its abilities in the 
realm of long-distance cruise missiles.... From the 
defense aspect there are also ways to strengthen 
Israel.  The country wants to step up its ability to 
develop unmanned long range weapons systems and is 
weighing additions to its Arrow anti-missile defense 
system.  The country is also examining its ability to 
defend itself from the kinds of rockets used by the 
terror organizations and Hizbullah. Israel must receive 
aid in all of these realms, because if it does not, all 
it will have is pretty headlines." 
 
------------ 
¶2.  Mideast: 
------------ 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in Ha'aretz: 
"[US diplomats] recommended to American reporters that 
they not get carried away by the 'convergence plan joy' 
of their Israeli colleagues." 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------- 
 
"The Americans Knew, Too" 
 
Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar commented in Ha'aretz 
(6/1): "We can assume that the friends of [Internal 
Security Minister and former Shin Bet head Avi] Dichter 
in the Shin Bet reported to Olmert that the Palestinian 
President made sure to let the Americans in on the 
secret [of his ultimatum initiative].  Twenty-four 
 
SIPDIS 
hours before he presented the Hamas leaders with the 
ultimatum regarding the national referendum, Abu Mazen 
met with the US Consul-General in Jerusalem, Jack 
Walles. He informed the American diplomat, who probably 
reported to Washington immediately.  His colleagues at 
the State Department recommended to American reporters 
that they not get carried away by the 'convergence plan 
joy' of their Israeli colleagues and by their 
enthusiasm at the cheers in Congress.  They knew that 
the 'there is no partner' label that Sharon worked so 
hard to pin on Abu Mazen is in danger." 
 
JONES