Arab Media Wonder: Where Are the WikiLeaks Cables Critical of Israel?

Arab Media Wonder: Where Are the WikiLeaks Cables Critical of Israel?

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Arab media are growing more suspicious of WikiLeaks’s selection process of the released U.S cables. Many Arab journalists are wondering why none of these cables are critical of Israel, despite the controversy surrounding its wars in Lebanon and Gaza.

According to Wikileaks official website, the organization has acquired about 4,000 U.S cables that originated from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. Yet the website has released only 22 cables so far, none of which damages the credibility of Israel. To the contrary, the leaked U.S. cables have forced Arab states in the Gulf to publicly take stronger positions against Iran and have strengthened Israel’s position against the Palestinian Authority.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could not find better support for his decision to go public with the classified U.S. diplomatic cables than remarks made by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

In Time magazine, Assange quoted Netanyahu in an attempt to show that the publication of the U.S. cables “will result in some new kind of harmonization.  "And we can see [Netanyahu] coming out with a very interesting statement that leaders should speak in public like they do in private whenever they can. He [Netanyahu] believes that the result of this publication, which makes the sentiments of many privately held beliefs public, are promising …".

Assange was referring to statements made by Netanyahu at the end of November to a group of reporters in Tel Aviv, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. "Israel has not been damaged at all by the WikiLeaks publications,” Netanyahu reportedly said. “ The documents show many sources backing Israel's assessments, particularly of Iran."

He added, “For the first time in history, there is agreement that Iran is the threat. If Middle East leaders start saying openly what they have long been saying behind closed doors, we can make a real breakthrough on the road to peace."

Despite strong U.S criticism of the Wikileaks release, at least one senior American official reportedly agrees with Netanyahu’s assessment.

David Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, said on NPR’s “Fresh Air:  “Just last week, a very senior American official from the State Department said to me, you know, this ultimately may be helpful because it may free up the Arab press, which takes its signals from Arab leaders, to write about Iran's nuclear program which by large, they have not done.”

For the longest time, Arab media—which are owned and controlled by Arab rulers—have mainly focused on Israeli violations against Palestinians and refrained from criticizing Iran's nuclear program or perceived threats.

Arab regimes sought to avoid confrontation with Iran, which is much stronger militarily than they are. They wanted the United States to attack Iran without becoming targets of Iran themselves.

Abdel Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of the London-based daily newspaper Al-Quds Al Arabi, criticized Arab rulers who urged the United States to attack Iran: “We did not read in one single cable that an Arab leader has the courage or the desire to protect his country from the alleged Iranian threat. All of them want the U.S. and Israel to perform this role on their behalf.”

Arab regimes also avoided taking strong positions against Iran's nuclear program because this would make them look like hypocrites. Arab masses expect their leaders to criticize Israel’s nuclear program, not Iran, which is seen as a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause.

State-sponsored Arab media mainly criticized Israel, because this made Arab rulers appear to back the Palestinians, which enhanced their popularity despite their corruption.

However, they no longer can play this game because their animosity and mistrust of Iran have been exposed. They now have to explain to their people why they view Iran as the region’s biggest menace.

Netanyahu was quick in pointing this out. "Our region has been hostage to a narrative that is the result of 60 years of propaganda, which paints Israel as the greatest threat,” he said. "In reality, leaders understand that that view is bankrupt. For the first time in history, there is agreement that Iran is the threat.”

The leaked U.S. cables show that Arab states in the Gulf actually view Israel as an asset in their quest to weaken Iran and stop it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Arab rulers can rely on Israel to prevent any future rapprochement between Iran and the United State, especially if reformers take power in Iran. Atwan, the Al-Quds Al Arabi editor, put it this way: “What if an American-Israeli attack on Iran topples the current regime and brings to power a nationalist Iranian regime that is friendly to both Israel and the U.S.?”

Before the 1979 revolution, Iran was on very friendly terms with both the U.S. and Israel, and Iran was viewed as an important and strategic ally for Washington.

The possible return of such a scenario threatens Arab states in the Gulf because they fear Iran’s territorial ambitions would be emboldened. Iran refuses to give back the three islands that it has taken over from the United Arab Emirates in the straits of Hermoz during the Shah era. Iran has also taken advantage of the ongoing war in Iraq by spreading its influence there, and it is trying to take over Iraqi oil fields in the south. Iran may also demand a bigger share in the huge offshore natural gas fields in the Gulf, which it shares with Qatar.

In addition, the perceived Iranian threat has strengthened the Israel position vis a vis the Palestinian Authority. The U.S diplomatic cables show that Gulf states are much more concerned about the potential Iranian threat than the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

This has deprived the Palestinian cause of even the verbal support of these Arab states, as reflected in their non- reaction to the Obama administration’s recent dropping of demands that Israel extend the settlement freeze— a major Palestinian condition for resuming peace negotiations.

As a result, the Palestinian Authority has started asking more countries to recognize their state. So far Argentina and Brazil have agreed, but even if many more nations were to follow suit, Israel is still in a stronger position and it can do whatever it wants, especially amidst the absence of tangible Arab opposition.

Before the release of the U.S. diplomatic cables, there was a widespread belief that Arabs states—especially the oil rich ones, which have strong bonds with the United States— were exerting pressure on Washington to demand that Israel extend the settlement freeze. This view, however, turned out to be wrong—which explains why Arab states did not even protest Obama’s decision.

Israel will continue to be Wikileaks’s biggest winner, as long as Wikileaks refrains from releasing U.S. cables that potentially can be damaging to it. But one must ask how long can the rest of the 4,000 or so U.S. cables that originated from Tel Aviv remain classified in our whistle-blowing age.
 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Dec 13 2010

Well said! I agree totally. This whole leak thing may well be a setup to take pressure off of the Obama administration's failure to take action against Israel in support of the Palestinian people.

Such a champion for democracy is the U.S. as it freezes the funds of the Palestinian people, because Washington doesn't want Hamas, the duly elected representatives. You must have free elections, but you can't have Hamas,..... even if they win!
Without Hamas, their would be no Palestinians left! Left to the un-humanitarian treatment afforded by the US State Department, and failure to mussel Israel.

It's not like what Israel is doing is legal. It is not! The international tribunal in England has found so. The next step is the convening in South Africa to determine if Israel is committing Apartheid. (I think the American Jews owe Pres. Jimmy Carter an apology for his book "Palestine Peace not Apartheid" was right on the mark!

Anonymous

Posted Dec 13 2010

How amazingly close minded should someone be if he/she sees the only problem in Israel... I am sick when I hear about "Zionist sharks"... or "land for peace" initiative... This is complete BS, because if one side (Arabs living in Palestine) doesn't accept Israel... excuse me, what kind of negotiations can it be? Their only goal is to destroy the state of Israel. What is the reason of negotiating? I would never negotiate if I were Israel... More than that. Please show me the country which would return anything... 10 yards of land if this country won the war. I didn't hear US returning land to Mexico, or Russia to Japan or Poland to Germany... Why would Israel return the land if Arabs started all wars and lost all of them? USA and some other countries stopped Israel from entering Cairo in 1967, they stopped it again and again...Why?
The person who said "Without Hamas, their would be no Palestinians left! " is definitely supporting terrorist organization. He ignores what Hamas is doing to Arabs, how it executes them without proper trial, he ignores tortures, hiding behind children back. He tries to make Hamas legitimate organization. I know how this "democracy" works. If you have someone with gun who tells you what to do and whom to chose... well, you most likely will follow the order or you face the death.

Anonymous

Posted Dec 13 2010

How amazingly close minded should someone be if he/she sees the only problem in Israel... I am sick when I hear about "Zionist sharks"... or "land for peace" initiative... This is complete BS, because if one side (Arabs living in Palestine) doesn't accept Israel... excuse me, what kind of negotiations can it be? Their only goal is to destroy the state of Israel. What is the reason of negotiating? I would never negotiate if I were Israel... More than that. Please show me the country which would return anything... 10 yards of land if this country won the war. I didn't hear US returning land to Mexico, or Russia to Japan or Poland to Germany... Why would Israel return the land if Arabs started all wars and lost all of them? USA and some other countries stopped Israel from entering Cairo in 1967, they stopped it again and again...Why?
The person who said "Without Hamas, their would be no Palestinians left! " is definitely supporting terrorist organization. He ignores what Hamas is doing to Arabs, how it executes them without proper trial, he ignores tortures, hiding behind children back. He tries to make Hamas legitimate organization. I know how this "democracy" works. If you have someone with gun who tells you what to do and whom to chose... well, you most likely will follow the order or you face the death.

Anonymous

Posted Dec 13 2010

Speaking of un-humanitarian treatment... Who treats Arabs in Palestine worse than Hamas? Nobody. Every Arab in Palestine gets more money per capita from international society and organizations (including those in Israel) than ANYONE else in the world. Children suffering from hunger in African don't get that much. Arabs do. Some of them are forced to do things which they would never do, but Hamas forces people and they obey. Even Arabs who live in the US and who have relatives there have to obey because they are SCARED, but not by Israelis... they are scared for the lives of those who live in Gaza and who are under Hamas. Hamas is brutal gang, terrorist organization and don't bullshit us with this crap. Not every American is trying to hide the head in the sand. The goal of radical Islam is to build new khalifat, kingdom, to distribute shariah law everywhere. We do not want it. We will not allow this to happen. We don't come to Islam countries with our rules, and don't come here with yours.

Anonymous

Posted Dec 14 2010

I'd like to see more Wikileaks cables from corrupt, murderous Arab regimes. Stop picking on Israel. Get a new hobby, NAM.

Anonymous

Posted Dec 14 2010

I am thinking how fast somebody from Arab world will advocate for Hamas as Nobel prize winner (peace, of course, peace, what else?). I am thinking why Hamas advocates and civil rights defenders don't think about Hamas' victims among Arabs... why they ignore women stoned to death, men murdered without proper trial, kids used as human shields& O, I guess why... Few reasons: 1. Hamas hates his own people... 2. it doesn't make Hamas nice guys, it shows Hamas REAL FACE.. Why these "defenders" ignore how many Arabs get treatment in Israeli hospitals? O, I know why... It makes Israelis humans. This contradiction bothers defenders: how come that "evil Israelis" help Arabs in need with food, treatment, electricity, etc. and "good Hamas" kills their own people? Strange, isn't it?
And how long do you guys think American public will be buying this lie? Do you really think that you can outsmart all world?

Anonymous

Posted Dec 14 2010

I am also thinking that some intelligent people (who used to read books, if you know what I am talking about...) should think twice before they support oppressive dictators' regimes in Arab world... Even if these "intelligent" people happen to hate Jews, they should think twice before blaming Israel for every bad thing happened in the world, because what they do to Israel (all accusations, lies, "zionist sharks, all this BS) will come back to them as boomerang. Israel makes mistakes, but different mistakes. It should not negotiate with countries around whose goal is to destroy the state of Israel and kill all people. US should not tie Israel's hands which so called president of the US is doing now.

Anonymous

Posted Dec 14 2010

I am also thinking that some intelligent people (who used to read books, if you know what I am talking about...) should think twice before they support oppressive dictators' regimes in Arab world... Even if these "intelligent" people happen to hate Jews, they should think twice before blaming Israel for every bad thing happened in the world, because what they do to Israel (all accusations, lies, "zionist sharks, all this BS) will come back to them as boomerang. Israel makes mistakes, but different mistakes. It should not negotiate with countries around whose goal is to destroy the state of Israel and kill all people. US should not tie Israel's hands which so called president of the US is doing now.

Anonymous

Posted Dec 14 2010

My understanding is that slogan "Peace for the land" often used in M. East sounds obscene, almost like "love for money". Any normal, logical person understands that peace can be only for peace (as love for love), not for anything else. Arab countries have huge amount of unoccupied land and let's try to understand why they don't resolve the "refugees' problem" which had been created by them in 1948 when ARABS started the first war and not only they didn't deny it. They were proud of it. They asked Arabs to leave for a week or two while they will destroy new state - Israel... Well, they were wrong. Whose fault is this? Why they can't help people who were in refugees camps for years? Because they DIDN'T want to help... Why? Because they didn't care about their own people. All they care is destruction of Israel. Negotiation in this region is impossible, because one side (Arabs) is not saying the truth about their goals. Peace will come there only IF Arabs will understand one thing: Israel is there, and it's not gonna disappear... when Arabs will give up hope to kill every Jew, then it will be peace there, not before... So don't blind yourself, don't put on pink glasses: no land for peace. NO LAND FOR PEACE as it's no love for money.

Anonymous

Posted Dec 14 2010

My guess that Arab world doesn't accept Israel because Israel was able to create a lot on the land without any oil, gold, or other resources. Arabs feel they are behind in every field: education, medicine, technology... Is this Israel's fault? Nope. Totalitarian regimes (which is the case in almost every Arab country) understand only one language and unfortunately this is the language of force. So if Israel wants peace he should take this into consideration and should not send wrong message about negotiation with those whose intention is to kill every Israeli citizen.Israel won all wars which Arabs started and Israel never was allowed to end the war the way he wants... When Israel had to fight for his freedom and life, he was on his own. But when he won...well, here came big brothers who told them to stop. These big brothers send wrong message to Arabs also, because this message creates feelings about Arabs impunity: whatever their leaders do - it's ok, finally someone will save their face, their army and somebody will even give them more arms... When West will understand it, it will be big help to ordinary people everywhere including M. East. I still believe that there are some people out there whose dream is to send their kids to university at 18, not to meet virgins in heaven...

Anonymous

Posted Dec 15 2010

THE ARAB-MUSLIM GOVERNMENTS AND MEDIA MAFIA WHO ARE CONTINUALLY CONTINUALLY FORGING FALSE ACCUSATIONS AND DIFFMAMING ISRAEL CAN'T ACCEPT
THAT AT LEAST ONCE ISRAEL IS NOT ACCUSED..
IT WOULD NEED AT LEAST THE SAME NUMBER OF WIKILEAKS TO DESCRIBE A PART OF THE
ARAB-MUSLIM ISLAMIST PLOTS AND TERROR ACTS .

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