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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reaction to Wikileaks in Israel: Relief and vindication

Some of you may have noticed that I'm not getting all worked up about Wikileaks even though I am running a lot of posts about it. Here's why.
The morning after the first disclosures of WikiLeaks' trove of diplomatic cables, buzz in Israel was somewhere between relief and vindication, and officials were being thankful by keeping quiet. Relations between Israel and the U.S. are based on a tight weave of shared interests, not local incidents, said deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon.

Gradually, more official voices were heard. The revelations show what some of us knew, said President Shimon Peres -- that the Arab countries know they have an enemy, "and it's not Israel."

A headline in Haaretz was more direct: "Everybody hates Iran."

If WikiLeaks didn't exist, Israel would have had to invent it, wrote Sever Plocker, noting the big leak backed Israel's foreign and defense policy and revealed "the shame" that many agree with Israel but "won't admit it openly."

"Sorry we were right," wrote columnist Dan Margalit.

Israel wasn't embarrassed "one bit" by the fiasco, writes Aluf Benn.
OK, so the U.S. Embassy in Cairo said that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he found Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "elegant and charming" but felt Netanyahu never kept his promises. And defense official Amos Gilad thinks Mubarak lives in the past more than the present. Worse things have been said in public.

It's a tempest in a teapot for Israel, for now, according to finance minister Yuval Steinitz.

In a radio interview Monday, former national security adviser Giora Eiland, said Israel can be satisfied that so far no security secrets, operational plans or intelligence capabilities were revealed. Many agree the main victim is diplomacy, which may not have been exposed entirely naked but is stripped down to its flowered boxer shorts, as one radio reporter put it Monday morning.

Diplomatic cables, even classified, aren't where "the real action" happens, says analyst Amir Oren. Even secure phone lines in embassies aren't trusted for important stuff, as a former Israeli diplomat explains here. Netanyahu, who said Israel wasn't damaged by the leaks, confirmed that important things were discussed in small forums, in person or by encrypted phone calls.

Still, the documents relating to Israel contained some very interesting stuff.
I would say that's about as fair a description as I've seen anywhere of the attitude here.



At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These WikiLeaks show that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with an open and honest foreign policy: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/wikileaks-and-israel/ . A lesson which we should keep in mind for further Middle East negotiations.


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