Haaretz (Editorial)
April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

WikiLeaks' "Israel file," parts of which appear in detail in today's newspaper, makes an important contribution to public discourse in Israel. The publication makes it clear that senior Israeli officials and public figures have presented positions to American officials different from those they voiced in public.

Exposing the reports of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and general consulate in Jerusalem removes the masks of hypocrisy and doublespeak and contributes to political transparency and cleanliness.

The chairman of the Yesha Council of settlements, Danny Dayan, who takes uncompromising stances against the evacuation of settlers and outposts in public, displayed much greater moderation and flexibility in his talks with American diplomats. In the WikiLeaks documents exposed by Yossi Melman and Ofer Aderet in yesterday's Haaretz, Dayan said he knows some settlers would agree to move out "if the price is right" and somewhat agreed to evacuating small outposts in the West Bank.

He showed understanding to the feelings of his Palestinian neighbors and their attachment to their land and even supported removing roadblocks in the West Bank.

In his talks with American officials, Dayan spoke out sharply against the settlers' violence and attacks on Palestinian property as retribution for Israeli government efforts against settlement construction, calling such acts "morally horrific."

Dayan's sentiments were echoed by Elyakim Haetzni, a founder of the Yesha Council. What a pity Dayan and Haetzni are willing to express such positions in closed meetings with foreign officials, but not to the Israeli public.

Apparently, the settler leadership wants to have the best of both worlds - use violence as a means of pressure against the government to deter and thwart outposts' evacuation, while presenting themselves as moderate and responsible to the American administration.

The exposure will certainly raise a debate on what to believe - the public statements or those whispered in diplomats' ears. Was Dayan telling the truth on the radio's morning news shows, or to the American consul? There is no definite answer to this question and the doublespeak of politicians and senior officials won't cease following this publication.

It is only clear that WikiLeaks' exposures broaden the debate, revealing hues that have so far been concealed from the public. Hence their importance.


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