Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07TELAVIV1094
2007-04-16 10:44:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

Tags:  OPRC KMDR IS 
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UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001094

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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

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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All media highlighted Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day.

All media reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meet with P.A.
President Mahmud Abbas in Jerusalem on Sunday. The first part of the
meeting was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and
Minister of Defense Amir Peretz. According to Ha'aretz, which quotes
diplomatic sources, PM Olmert supports General Dayton's plan for the
training and arming of the Palestinian Presidential Guard. The paper
cited Palestinian sources as saying that the meeting was
unproductive.
According to the media PM Olmert promised Abbas that Israel will
accelerate the efforts to remove roadblocks in the West Bank. The
media highlighted that PM Olmert told PA Chairman Abbas that he was
willing to hold their next meeting in Jericho.

All media reported on Sunday that Israel is willing to meet with the
Arab League's committee for furthering the Saudi peace initiative
after the official appointment of the committee next week. Ha'aretz
quotes U.S. officials as saying that the expected dialogue between
Israel and the Arab League would be a move of historic significance.


The media reported that the Supreme Court is expected to rule on
Monday when the transcripts of the testimonies of the PM, Defense
Minister and Chief of Staff will be released to the public. The
media noted that the members of the Winograd Committee announced on
Sunday that the committee will release the testimonies two weeks
after the interim report is submitted to the government.

Ha'aretz reported that Syria announced on Sunday that the views of
Syrian-American businessman Ibrahim Suleiman, who appeared last week
in the Israeli Knesset do not represent those of Damascus.

All media reported that an unknown group of Palestinian militants
claimed that they have executed the kidnapped BBC reporter Alan

Johnston. These reports have been discredited by the Palestinian

Authority forces.

All media reported that the Magistrate Court refused on Monday to
shed light on the allegation against Balad MK Azmi Bishara.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli Navy and NATO are
conducting a week long naval exercise in Eilat.

The Jerusalem Post reported on the March 2007 Tel Aviv University
Peace Index that found that half of Israeli Jews think the Arab
League peace proposal could serve as a basis for negotiations on a
regional peace agreement and that half think it should be rejected.

The Jerusalem Post reports that despite a promise made to the US
nearly 18 months ago to drop its trade boycott against Israel, the
Saudis continue to enforce the Arab League boycott.

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Mideast:
--------------

Summary:
--------------

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: "It's impossible
to exaggerate the importance of the Arab initiative and the direct
Arab appeal to Israel.... The current process is one of
implementation, one that at least makes an active attempt to
persuade, rather than just to declare intentions. For the first
time, Arab states are offering their services as mediators."

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized: "At the end
of the day, the Arab states have to decide how important it is to
them to create a real peace process. The Palestinians cannot pull
themselves out of their spiral of radicalism and anarchy alone. The
Arab states, by taking meaningful steps toward opening contacts with
Israel, can do much more to point the Palestinians away from war and
terrorism than anything the international community or Israel can
do."

Block Quotes:
--------------


I. "A Nod to the Arab Plan"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (4/16): "Relations
between Israel and the Arab states are liable to undergo a historic
turning point when the delegation from the Arab League follow-up
committee requests a meeting with the Israeli government to discuss
the Arab initiative in the coming days.... It's impossible to
exaggerate the importance of the Arab initiative and the direct Arab
appeal to Israel.... The current process is one of implementation,
one that at least makes an active attempt to persuade, rather than
just to declare intentions. For the first time, Arab states are
offering their services as mediators, not just with respect to local
issues that stem from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead,
they have adopted a comprehensive approach that confronts regional
interests and is prepared to adopt Israel as part of the solution,
not just as part of the problem. This is the same approach that
Israel has hoped for since its establishment - and perhaps the time
has now come to realize it.... As such, the Israeli government must
not only be welcoming and make appropriate statements. It must also
provide a practical response, describing how it plans to implement
the political negotiations.... Israeli and Arab readiness to turn a
new diplomatic leaf must be accompanied by an immediate and tangible
change in the reality of the occupation. At the same time, Israel
also has the right to ask the Arab states that are promoting the
initiative to clarify what their practical contribution will be to
the negotiations."


II. "The Arab's Choice"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (4/16):
"Yesterday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met for the first of an indefinite series of
biweekly meetings announced during Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice's last visit. Before the meeting, Olmert reacted positively to
reports that the Arab League might set up a working group of its
more moderate states to flesh out the recently revived Arab peace
initiative. The question is, does all this diplomatic movement
amount to anything?.... Though some Palestinians claim that nothing
will happen because Israel's government is weak, this is the pot
calling the kettle black. Olmert is far from popular, but he is
indisputably the prime minister and the government he leads is, at
least on paper, stable. Abbas, by contrast, proved unable to rein
in Hamas even when he was in charge, before the elections that
handed Hamas the government.... Under such circumstances,
Olmert-Abbas meetings must be considered a curiosity that is,
through a momentary alignment of the diplomatic firmament,
ostensibly in the marginal interest of all parties. It is not a
venue that, in and of itself, will produce anything of significance.
It would be understandable to dismiss potential meetings under Arab
League auspices with Israel as similarly insubstantial. Yet this
would be a mistake, and it is good that Olmert has already expressed
Israel's willingness to participate without conditions.... At the
end of the day, the Arab states have to decide how important it is
to them to create a real peace process. The Palestinians cannot pull
themselves out of their spiral of radicalism and anarchy alone. The
Arab states, by taking meaningful steps toward opening contacts with
Israel, can do much more to point the Palestinians away from war and
terrorism than anything the international community or Israel can
do."
JONES