Viewing cable 06TELAVIV2750
Title: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06TELAVIV27502006-07-11 12:28:00 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 002750 
 
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 
 
 
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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT: 
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Mideast 
 
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Key stories in the media: 
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The Jerusalem Post quoted American officials as saying 
that the US is attempting to renew talks between the 
Israeli and Palestinian leadership despite the crisis 
in Gaza.  The Jerusalem Post reported that a senior US 
administration official told the newspaper Monday: "The 
Israeli Prime Minister met briefly with Abu Mazen in 
Amman and spoke about opening a bilateral process.  We 
would like to see such a process moving forward."  The 
official reportedly stressed that the main immediate 
objective concerning the situation in the Gaza Strip is 
"to get Shalit released" referring to Cpl. Gilad Shalit 
who was kidnapped by Palestinians over two weeks ago. 
 
Reporting on the United States' criticism of a comment 
by Khaled Mashal, the head of Hamas's political bureau 
comment, that Cpl. Shalit will not be released without 
Israel giving something in exchange, Israel Radio 
quoted State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack as 
saying Monday: "The root cause of this current 
situation is the fact that a group of terrorists 
tunneled into Israeli territory, killed two soldiers, 
and took this individual hostage."  The radio also 
quoted McCormack as saying: "It might be easy for him 
to dictate from Damascus and to speak on behalf of the 
Palestinian people, but it is really the Palestinian 
people themselves who suffer as a result of the fact 
that Khaled Mashal and Hamas are now head of the PA 
that is not a negotiating partner for the Israeli 
government or the rest of the world." 
 
All media reported that Mashal stressed at a press 
conference in Damascus Monday the Cpl. Shalit would be 
freed only as part of a prisoner-release deal.  Mashal 
was quoted as saying that all mediation initiatives had 
failed because Israel was prepared only to promise to 
release prisoners, but not to fully commit to it. 
Leading media said that Mashal focused on the unity of 
the Palestinian people.  Maariv reported that the IDF 
knows that Palestinian FM Mahmoud Zahar was aware of 
Shalit's planned abduction before it happened, which 
Maariv says turns him into an assassination target. 
Israel Radio reported that Egyptian President Hosni 
Mubarak demands that Syrian President Bashar Assad 
expel Mashal from Damascus because of Mashal's refusal 
to release Shalit.  Israel Radio quoted Arab sources as 
saying that Mubarak sent a message to Assad, saying 
that Hamas and Mashal will ruin the entire Middle East, 
including the Damascus regime.  Israel Radio reported 
that Arab League Secretary-General met with Mashal 
Monday and tried to soften his views.  The radio quoted 
Arab sources as saying that Mashal demanded guarantees 
that Israel would free thousands of Palestinian 
prisoners in exchange for Shalit's release.  Israel 
Radio cited the Saudi newspaper Okaz as saying that 
Israel sent Mashal a message, saying that it would 
release all senior Hamas officials it detained in 
exchange for Shalit's release.  Ha'aretz and The 
Jerusalem Post reported that on Monday in London, a 
delegation of the British Jewish community, including 
MPs, met with the Syrian Ambassador to the UK, 
presenting him with a letter to Assad in which he was 
urged to press Hamas representatives in Damascus to act 
in favor of Shalit's release.  Ha'aretz and The 
Jerusalem Post reported that demonstrations calling for 
Shalit's release took place Monday next to Syrian 
embassies in various Western capitals under the 
auspices of the Zionist Organization and the Jewish 
Agency. 
 
In its lead story, Yediot reported that the IDF 
operation might fail because of a humanitarian crisis 
in the Gaza Strip.  The newspaper, which bannered: 
"They Have No More Food."  Yediot cited the assessments 
of Israel's intelligence agencies that the supply of 
food and basic necessities in Gaza is adequate only for 
a few days.  Ha'aretz and other media reported that on 
Monday, eight Palestinians were killed in IDF offensive 
in the Gaza Strip.  Ha'aretz reported that in addition, 
an 18-month-old baby who was wounded in the IDF's 
bombing of Khan Yunis last month, died at a Gaza 
hospital Monday. 
 
Ha'aretz, Maariv, and Hatzofe reported on disagreement 
among the leaders of PM Ehud Olmert's Kadima party over 
the feasibility of a unilateral withdrawal in the West 
Bank.  "The chances of implementing the convergence 
plan at the moment are very slight," Housing and 
Construction Minister Meir Sheetrit told the Knesset-TV 
channel yesterday.  "There are many doubts, my own 
among them. I do not believe in unilateral 
disengagement."  FM Tzipi Livni, who responded on 
behalf of the government on Monday to no-confidence 
motions, told the Knesset that Israel needs to protect 
its security interests during the convergence, and 
warned against a hasty unilateral move.  Ha'aretz 
reported that Avi Dichter, a former Shin Bet chief and 
current Internal Security Minister, told the newspaper 
over the weekend that the IDF must stay "everywhere" in 
the West Bank even after dismantling settlements there, 
"until a Palestinian entity is found that can take 
responsibility." 
 
Leading media reported that Palestinian groups Al Aqsa 
Martyrs Brigades of Fatah and the Jerusalem Brigades of 
Islamic Jihad announced jointly on Monday night that 
they had successfully launched a Qassam rocket from 
Jenin in the northern West Bank toward the community of 
Ram-On in northern Israel.  The Jerusalem Post cited 
the Palestinian groups as saying that the rocket landed 
in the Palestinian autonomous area.  In its lead story, 
The Jerusalem Post reported that IDF sources rejected 
the Palestinian report, saying that not only had the 
rocket not landed in the Palestinian autonomous area, 
but that it had never even been fired.  Ha'aretz, 
Yediot, and Maariv filed similar reports. 
 
All media reported that on Monday, Maj. Gen (res.) 
Giora Eiland presented to Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Dan 
Halutz the findings from his investigation into the 
circumstances surrounding the Kerem Shalom terrorist 
attack two weeks ago, in which Cpl. Gilad Shalit was 
abducted.  The committee described the attack as an 
"operational failure," as opposed to the thwarting of 
61 infiltration attempts for Gaza into Israel since the 
disengagement.  The media reported that the committee 
refrained from recommending sanctions against officers 
in the Gaza Division. 
 
The Jerusalem Post quoted a spokeswoman of the Al Aqsa 
Martyrs Brigades, who identified herself as Um-al-Abed, 
as saying Monday in Gaza that the group had recruited 
100 Palestinian suicide bombers to launch suicide 
attacks against Israel. 
 
Ha'aretz, Maariv, and Israel Radio reported that 
outgoing Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi will arrive in 
Israel this evening on his first visit to Israel and 
the PA.  He is scheduled to meet with the principal 
Israeli leaders on Wednesday and with PA Chairman 
[President] Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday.  Ha'aretz wrote 
that Koizumi "wishes to increase his country's 
involvement in the Middle East.  As the biggest donor 
to the PA after the EU, Japan feels it is time to cash 
in on its investment by becoming a mediator between the 
two sides." 
 
Ha'aretz reported that academic degrees awarded by 
Yeshiva University are recognized by Harvard and Yale 
Universities, but not by the Israeli Education 
Ministry, which claims that they do not meet Israeli 
criteria.  Ha'aretz noted that it first raised this 
issue one-and-a-half years ago, but that nothing has 
changed since then. 
 
All media continued to report on developments related 
to the alleged extortion of Israeli President Moshe 
Katsav by a former employee of the President's 
Residence who threatened to file a criminal complaint 
of sexual harassment against Katsav. 
 
-------- 
Mideast: 
-------- 
 
                       Summary: 
                       -------- 
 
Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the 
late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, opined in the lead 
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot 
Aharonot: "The determination  of the Prime Minister ... 
promises Israel, the Palestinians, and the regional 
states more long days of talks behind the scenes in 
order to eventually reach a formula that would satisfy 
the wolf and leave the sheep intact." 
 
Senior Middle ast affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in 
Ha'aretz: " What moved Khaled Meshal to hold a press 
conference yesterday, of all days, without saying 
anything new? The answer is that after the recent flood 
of statements, Meshal wanted to make it very clear that 
he was Hamas' sole political architect. Such public 
displays usually take place after the failure of secret 
negotiations or when someone wants to take credit for 
an expected success..." 
 
Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "The fiercer the 
attacks on the rocket-launchers and their bosses in 
Gaza, the more the captured soldier has gone from being 
an asset to a liability for Hamas. It is no coincidence 
that Ismail Haniyeh proposed a cease-fire and offered 
to release Shalit in exchange for Israel's release of 
thousands of Palestinian prisoners. Olmert was right to 
turn down that offer. Israel should not grant this 
murderous terror organization recognition and 
legitimacy..." 
 
Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in popular, 
pluralist Maariv: "Tehran's inclusion in this equation, 
i.e.  solving of the mystery of Ron Arad after so very 
many years, could shuffle the cards and change the 
rules that the Prime Minister declares three times a 
day." 
 
 
                     Block Quotes: 
                     ------------- 
 
¶I.  "The Wolf and the Sheep" 
 
Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the 
late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, opined in the lead 
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot 
Aharonot (7/11): "At this stage it important that Hamas 
take great care of the abducted soldier, since he 
constitutes the major asset it has had over the past 
few years.  The IDF should take care not to put Gilad 
[Shalit's] life at risk in a random operation.  On the 
Israeli side, the determination  of the Prime Minister, 
who on Monday reiterated his declaration that Israel 
will not negotiate or release prisoners, promises 
Israel, the Palestinians, and the regional states more 
long days of talks behind the scenes in order to 
eventually reach a formula that would satisfy the wolf 
and leave the sheep intact." 
 
II.  "Arm-wrestling within Hamas" 
Senior Arab affairs writer Zvi Bar'el opined in 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (7/11): " What moved 
Khaled Meshal to hold a press conference yesterday, of 
all days, without saying anything new? ...The answer is 
that after the recent flood of statements, Meshal 
wanted to make it very clear that he was Hamas' sole 
political architect. Such public displays usually take 
place after the failure of secret negotiations or when 
someone wants to take credit for an expected 
success..... Meshal is apparently guided by the fear 
that the Hamas leadership in the territories could take 
initiative, with regard to the terms for Shalit's 
release, and deprive him of control over the political 
event. ...This theory is supported by the fact that in 
the two weeks that Abbas spent in the Gaza Strip, he 
managed to create a political liaison body with Hamas, 
which hammered out the final details of the new and 
improved prisoners' document in preparation of its 
implementation.....Meshal believes he still has enough 
time to force Israel into a prisoner exchange. In the 
meantime, however, the Saudi-Egyptian initiative is 
developing. This is a comprehensive proposal to be 
submitted to Washington that is to include a full cease- 
fire, the release of Shalit and the Palestinian 
prisoners and the adoption of the national document in 
order to remove the boycott of Hamas. If this is 
adopted - and that depends mainly on Israel - it will 
take the ball out of Meshal's court and return it to 
the PA under broader Arab patronage 
 
 
 
 
III.  "With A Billy-club in hand" 
 
Senior columnist Yoel Marcus opined in independent , 
left-leaning Haaretz 7/11: "Ehud Olmert did good .... 
when he got a grip on himself and provided 
encouragement and backing for Summer Rains. Summer 
Rains is a "rolling operation," without a completion 
date but with two clearly defined objectives - to put 
an end to the Qassam attacks on towns and cities in 
Israel, and bring about the release of Corporal Shalit. 
...It is wrong to stand over the army with a stopwatch 
in hand when a multi-task operation is in process. 
Complex operations like Summer Rains in which all 
branches of the military work together - going in, 
striking, retreating and then starting over again, so 
as not to become sitting ducks a la Lebanon - do not 
end overnight.... The fiercer the attacks on the rocket- 
launchers and their bosses in Gaza, the more the 
captured soldier has gone from being an asset to a 
liability for Hamas. It is no coincidence that Ismail 
Haniyeh proposed a cease-fire and offered to release 
Shalit in exchange for Israel's release of thousands of 
Palestinian prisoners. Olmert was right to turn down 
that offer. Israel should not grant this murderous 
terror organization recognition and 
legitimacy....Firstly, because it is impossible to 
trust an organization with so many branches, each doing 
whatever it likes. Secondly, we cannot negotiate with a 
prime minister who is not prepared to recognize 
Israel's existence. Thirdly, we cannot strengthen Hamas 
at the expense of Abbas, the only reasonable partner we 
have, even if he is a weak one. And most importantly, 
Hamas cannot be allowed to emerge from Summer Rains 
claiming any kind of strategic victory. ...Israel 
cannot refuse to negotiate for the release of the 
kidnapped soldier, but there can be no formal talks 
with governments that grant recognition to Hamas. Those 
who fire rockets day after day at civilian populations 
deserve to watch their houses go up in smoke and their 
supporters bleed. The purpose of Israel's military 
actions is to force them to end the rocket fire and 
return the abducted soldier. ...If Haniyeh says he is 
prepared for a hudna and negotiations, one can only 
assume that Summer Rains is starting to put pressure on 
him. At the same time, Israel should not be turning 
away those who have expressed goodwill, like Hosni 
Mubarak, who are doing what they can to mediate 
secretly for Shalit's release and an end to the Qassam 
 
SIPDIS 
attacks. In war, dialogue is also an option - provided 
we keep a billy-club in hand." 
 
 
IV.  "Between Gilad and Ron Arad" 
 
Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote in popular, 
pluralist Maariv (7/11): "What we saw on Monday from 
Khaled Mashal in Damascus was another stage in the 
negotiations that Hamas is conducting, through 
mediators, with Israel.  A battle of nerves is going on 
here, psychological warfare, deception and obfuscation, 
and all the maneuvers that have been written in, or 
erased from, the book of dirty tricks.  Israel is being 
careful not to touch the talks with a ten-foot pole. 
Therefore, Olmert can continue to deny their existence, 
on the one hand, while receiving detailed reports about 
their progress (or setbacks) on the other, and 
survive....  The inclusive circular deal that the 
parties are now discussing (and denying) is branching 
out. Jerusalem officials are now talking about 
continuing the Sisyphean effort to solve the case of 
navigator Ron Arad.  It is likely that an effort is 
under way to introduce this factor into the deal. 
Tehran's inclusion in this equation, i.e.  solving of 
the mystery of Ron Arad after so very many years, could 
shuffle the cards and change the rules that the Prime 
Minister declares three times a day.  As noted, this is 
a shot in the dark, but diplomatic sources in Jerusalem 
said this week: "The effort in the case of Ron Arad is 
continuing all the time, and more intensively." 
 
JONES