Viewing cable 06TELAVIV313

06TELAVIV3132006-01-24 15:32:00 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.  Iran: Nuclear Program 
¶3.  Israel-U.S. Relations 
Key stories in the media: 
Israel Radio reported that on Monday, Secretary of 
State Condoleezza Rice cautioned Palestinian voters 
ahead of Wednesday's elections for the Palestinian 
Legislative Council (PLC) that terrorism is not a 
pathway to peace.  Leading media published the results 
of polls in the PA that predict a 10-percent gap in 
Fatah's favor.  Ha'aretz quoted U.S. Ambassador to 
Israel Richard Jones as saying Monday that the USG 
would have preferred to see Hamas only in the PLC and 
not in the PA's government.  He reportedly made a 
comparison between the situation in the P.A. and in 
Lebanon: "We talk to the Lebanese government, but not 
to ministers from the Hizbullah and a similar mechanism 
can be formed in the Palestinian Authority."  Jones 
spoke at a reception held by Meretz Chairman, Yossi 
Beilin, in honor of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, 
who is heading a team of observers, who arrived to 
supervise the Palestinian elections.  The Ambassador 
was quoted as saying that Hamas would be judged by its 
actions after the elections. 
The Jerusalem Post quoted diplomatic officials as 
saying Monday that the U.S. will not deal with Hamas 
ministers in a future PA government, but also that it 
will not cut off ties with the PA as a result of 
Hamas's inclusion.  The newspaper quoted the officials 
as saying that the U.S. formula for dealing with a PA 
government following the elections would be based on 
the "Lebanese model."  Sheikh Muhammad Abu Tier, 
Hamas's No.2 candidate in the PLC elections in 
Jerusalem, was quoted as saying in an interview with 
Israel Radio that civilians should be kept away from 
violence on both sides.   During the interview, Abu 
Tier conveyed a conciliatory message to the Jews.  The 
radio noted that he refrained from saying whether he 
favored peace with Israel.  Other Israeli media also 
interviewed Abu Tier.  Maariv reported that on Monday, 
two senior Hamas leaders -- Mahmoud Zahar and Khaled 
Mashal -- hinted that they are not ruling out 
negotiations with Israel under certain circumstances. 
Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra was quoted as 
saying in an interview with The Jerusalem Post that the 
government will not allow jailed Fatah leader Marwan 
Barghouti to serve as a minister in the PA following 
the PLC elections. 
Maariv quoted political commentators, politicians, and 
Jewish leaders in the U.S. as saying the White House 
has recently decided to support Olmert as Washington's 
favorite candidate for the Israeli premiership.  Maariv 
cited the belief of American political commentators 
that the "adoption" of Olmert by the White House will 
not be public and open.  Both Yediot and Maariv led 
with predictions about what Acting PM Ehud Olmert will 
say at his speech to the Herzliya Conference today. 
Yediot wrote that Olmert is expected to state that 
another disengagement would be a mistake, but that 
Israel would have to concede further land in order to 
maintain a Jewish majority.  Maariv said that Olmert 
will say that he does not fear Hamas and that Israel is 
too strong to be afraid of the PA elections.  Maariv 
wrote that Olmert will refrain from vowing there would 
not be another disengagement. 
Leading media reported that in his speech at the 
Herzliya Conference on Monday, Labor Party Chairman 
Amir Peretz called for political negotiations between 
Israel and the Palestinians with the goal of reaching a 
peace agreement with the Palestinians by 2010, in 
contrast to his statement immediately after his 
election to head the Labor Party, when he said he 
believed an agreement could be reached in a year. 
Media quoted Peretz as saying that if a diplomatic 
freeze results from a Hamas victory in the upcoming PLC 
elections, he would take unilateral steps to separate 
from the Palestinians in the West Bank.  Peretz was 
quoted as saying that he believed that in Jerusalem, 
Israel should retain only its Jewish neighborhoods. 
The Jerusalem Post quoted U.S. Permanent Representative 
to the UN Ambassador John Bolton as saying on Monday 
that President Bush will not accept a nuclear Iran. 
Bolton was speaking from New York via video hook-up to 
the Herzliya Conference. 
Major media quoted FM Tzipi Livni as saying Monday at 
the Herzliya Conference that the question of 
Palestinian refugees and the right of return is the 
most central problem threatening Israel as a nation 
state.  Several media quoted her as saying that the 
establishment of a Palestinian nation state is the 
solution to the refugee problem.  Leading media quoted 
former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon as saying 
Monday at the conference that the disengagement has 
turned the Gaza Strip into an "Al-Qaidastan." 
The Jerusalem Post reported that former national 
security adviser Uzi Dayan, who heads the new Tafnit 
party, presented the newspaper with a diplomatic plan 
in which settlement blocs, the Jordan Valley, and 
Jerusalem would remain in Israel's hands.  The 
Jerusalem Post quoted Dayan as saying: "What I want is 
for the U.S. to understand that this is the best we can 
do given the alternatives we have now." 
Israel Radio reported that last night, IDF troops 
arrested Islamic Jihad activists, including Mahmoud Abu 
Rob, a key militant, in Qabatiyeh near Jenin.  The 
radio also reported that in Ramallah, IDF troops 
arrested Abdullah Arar, a Hamas activist who was 
allegedly involved in the murder of the Israeli taxi 
driver Sasson Nuriel in September 2005. 
Citing the German press agency DPA, Ha'aretz quoted a 
German government spokesman, Thomas Steg, as saying on 
Monday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will 
visit Israel and the PA on Sunday and Monday, plans to 
make Iran's nuclear program a major issue for her talks 
in the region.  Ha'aretz cited a report that appeared 
Monday on Farda News, a conservative Iranian web site 
considered to be closely aligned with President Mahmoud 
Ahmadinejad, according to which an agent working for 
the Mossad was arrested while crossing the border 
between Iran and Turkey. 
Hatzofe reported that on Sunday, a close associate of 
Libyan ruler Muammar Qadhafi told Dr. Farouk Mouassi, 
an Arab Israeli, that Libya intends to declare 
normalization of relations with Israel, and even said 
that the announcement would be made this week.  The 
newspaper quoted Israeli Foreign Ministry official Lior 
Ben David, who is in charge of communications with Arab 
countries, as saying: "When Libya wants to signal to 
Israel that it intends to establish relations with us, 
it will know how to let us know that they are ready. At 
present their solution is the establishment of a state 
called Isratine, meaning Israel and Palestine 
Yediot reported that this week, 36 Palestinian medical 
staff --16 doctors and 20 nurses -- attended a three- 
day course in trauma medicine at the Sheba Medical 
Center in Tel Hashomer in central Israel.  The 
organization Physicians For Human Rights was among the 
program's initiators. 
Israel Radio reported that Israeli filmmaker Yoav 
Shamir's documentary "5 Days," which chronicles IDF 
operations during the evacuation of 8,000 Jewish 
settlers from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, is 
enjoying tremendous success at the Sundance Film 
Festival in Park City, Utah.  The radio notes that 
while Shamir's 2003 documentary, "Checkpoint," which 
depicted the roadblocks that the IDF mans in the 
territories, was criticized by the Right, "5 Days" 
seems to arouse the audience's sympathy for IDF troops. 
Ha'aretz reported that after PM Sharon's first stroke, 
his doctors concealed his condition from the public. 
The newspaper wrote that Sharon was suffering from 
cardiac and cerebral diseases -- beyond what was 
disclosed at the time. 
Yediot reported that for the first time since the 
establishment of Israel, the Knesset has readied a 
draft constitution for the country, which leaves aside 
the resolution of sensitive issues such as "religion 
and state." 
Ha'aretz bannered a rise of the number of Israelis 
living in poverty (one quarter of the population), 
according to a report released on Monday by the 
National Insurance Institute -- the Israeli equivalent 
of the Social Security Administration -- on Monday. 
The issue is covered by all media. 
Yediot featured a lengthy article on lobbyist Jack 
Abramoff's possible acquaintance and deals with 
President Bush. 
Ha'aretz published the results of a Dahaf Institute 
poll, which was commissioned by the Jewish Agency and 
which will be presented today at the Herzliya 
Conference: more that three-quarters (77 percent) of 
the Israeli public are pessimistic about the Israeli- 
Palestinian conflict.  Nearly half the respondents -- 
48 percent -- said they think there will be no change 
in the next 20 years, with only one in five Israelis 
saying they expect Israel and the Palestinians to reach 
a peace agreement by 2025.  Some 29 percent of the 
respondents said the conflict would worsen, while 22 
percent expect it to be resolved.  Ha'aretz wrote that 
the poll will be discussed at a session led by Jewish 
Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski, with the participation of 
former U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross and renowned 
lawyer Alan Dershowitz. 
¶1.  Mideast: 
Liberal op-ed writer Ofer Shelach commented in the 
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot 
Aharonot: "The analyses as to who wants to hold 
negotiations with us but cannot and whether those who 
can do so ever will, leave the Israeli public totally 
Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar opined in left-leaning, 
independent Ha'aretz: "Kadima and Hamas are virulent 
mutations of unilateral insanity." 
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post 
editorialized: "The political positions of Fatah and 
Hamas seem to have converged along with their joint 
participation in terror attacks." 
                     Block Quotes: 
¶I.  "Elections Behind the Wall" 
Liberal op-ed writer Ofer Shelach commented in the 
editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot 
Aharonot (January 24): "The [Israeli] politicians are 
clutching at Hamas's participation in the elections 
[for the Palestinian Legislative Council] as a drowning 
man clutches at a straw.... All this political fury is 
passing right over the heads of the public.  Israelis 
have long since realized what the more sober 
politicians also know, namely that the die is cast. 
The decision on the future borders of the State of 
Israel is already upon us, and it is accepted by a very 
large percentage of Israelis, and that is that there 
will be a Palestinian state, and its capital will be 
Jerusalem, in one guise or another.  The borders will 
be very close to those of 1967 if not identical, and in 
spite of all our high-flown rhetoric and sundry 
delusions of disengagement, it is not we who will 
choose the time and place at which this inevitable 
process will become a reality.... Most Israelis have no 
empathy for the Palestinians.  For them, the difference 
between Fatah and Hamas is about as convincing as the 
ritual declaration by Israeli leaders that [the 
Palestinian Authority] must  'accept responsibility' 
after terrorist attacks.  The analyses as to who wants 
to hold negotiations with us but cannot and whether 
those who can do so ever will, leave the Israeli public 
totally apathetic.  Like the majority of Palestinians, 
as reflected in the polls, the Israeli political center 
knows that the election will not make much difference 
to the condition of those living in the territories." 
II.  "Kadima and Hamas -- Virulent Mutations of 
Unilateral Insanity" 
Senior op-ed writer Akiva Eldar opined in left-leaning, 
independent Ha'aretz (January 24): "A guest from afar, 
now visiting Israel and the occupied territories, might 
conclude that a deadly virus afflicts the political 
opinion of both peoples.  One side throngs to join an 
instant party, directed by a substitute for a leader on 
sick leave.  The other puts its trust in a religious 
party that entices small children to achieve celestial 
union with 70 virgins.  With a bit of effort, such a 
visitor might unearth the source of the affliction. 
This is neither a heavenly decree nor a deus ex 
machina.  This is 'chaos ex machina' by the hand of 
man.  Kadima and Hamas are virulent mutations of 
unilateral insanity.  Kadima is constructed on the 
ruins of the Israeli public's belief in the prospect of 
solving the conflict -- and on the growing belief in 
the option of managing it according to the public will: 
not negotiation but more unilateral withdrawals, more 
separation fence, more assassinations and more curfews. 
Hamas has risen atop the same ruins among the 
Palestinian public, and the belief in the option of 
managing it according to that public's will: not 
negotiation but more acts of terror, more Qassam 
missiles, more control of local authorities and more 
seats on the Legislative Council." 
III.  "The Alternative to Wishful Thinking" 
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post 
editorialized (January 24): "The U.S. reportedly 
pressured Israel to allow [Marwan] Barghouti to be 
interviewed, but it is not clear that much pressure was 
necessary, given that the jailed Fatah leader seems to 
have become the latest Israeli candidate -- after 
Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas -- for the position of 
the Palestinian leader with whom we can 'do 
business'.... Barghouti's main message was to endorse 
Hamas's participation in the elections and call for a 
unity government.  Indeed, the political positions of 
Fatah and Hamas seem to have converged along with their 
joint participation in terror attacks.  Fatah 
emphasizes its support for negotiations, Hamas its 
support for 'resistance,' but both parties support both 
tactics.... The refusal of supposed moderates, like 
Barghouti, to abandon either the 'right to resist' or 
the 'right to return' demonstrates that they have not 
given up the quest to destroy Israel.  The refusal of 
Israeli and American policy makers to recognize this 
and say so, far from advancing the cause of peace, 
contributes directly toward the perpetuation of the 
¶2.  Iran: Nuclear Program: 
Defense and foreign affairs columnist Amir Oren wrote 
in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "It would appear 
that the Israelis and Americans would reluctantly 
accept a nuclear Iran, should a secular regime take 
power in Tehran, one that supports the West and abjures 
                     Block Quotes: 
"The Real Conflict With Iran" 
Defense and foreign affairs columnist Amir Oren wrote 
in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (January 24): 
"The most difficult dimension for Israel in the matter 
[of the global implications of the Iranian crisis] is 
not the Iranian nuclear program, but rather the Israeli 
one -- the claim that Washington is biased in this 
matter, and that after it pressured Israel in the 1960s 
to limit its nuclear program, it discontinued this 
pressure and has accepted the circumspect situation in 
Dimona.  While there are counterarguments (Israel did 
not deceive the authorities, because it is not a 
signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; it 
has not called for the destruction of Iran or any other 
country), they will not suffice should the political 
prevention plans fail and if Bush is faced with a cruel 
choice -- to wage an expensive war on Iran or to do 
away with the affirmative action toward Israel's 
nuclear situation, at the cost of stopping Iran from 
arming itself with nuclear weapons.  In order to escape 
having to pay this price, it would appear that the 
Israelis and Americans would reluctantly accept a 
nuclear Iran, should a secular regime take power in 
Tehran, one that supports the West and abjures 
¶3.  Israel-U.S. Relations: 
Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "How long will it 
be before the Christian leaders who are put on trial 
point the finger at 'the Jew' who betrayed them?" 
                     Block Quotes: 
"Sin and Absolution in Washington" 
Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in 
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (January 24): "In 
the Jewish communities [in the United States], some 
people are waiting for signs of anti-Semitism. 
[Lobbyist Jack] Abramoff is Jewish, as his name 
suggests.  He is observant, and he also helped to fund 
a private Jewish school in the U.S., as well as a 
target range in the West Bank  -- a man of the book and 
the sword, indeed.  Concerning his links with lawmakers 
and with the Christian Right, he also provided funding 
for an organization that promotes dialogue between Jews 
and Evangelists.  On the one hand, they were 
cooperating in support of Israel.  On the other hand, 
the permanent suspicion that the friendship would not 
withstand rocky times still exists.  How long will it 
be before the Christian leaders who are put on trial 
point the finger at 'the Jew' who betrayed them?"