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Pundit: Did Haaretz Make Up Crisis with Britain?

Uri Elitzur of Makor Rishon asks if report Britain may cancel trade agreements with Israel was Haaretz's idea.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/8/2012, 9:01 PM

Israeli press
Israeli press
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Uri Elitzur, a deputy editor and writer at the Hebrew newspaper Makor Rishon whose columns also appear on Maariv, has speculated that reports regarding a possible cancellation of the British-Israeli trade agreement were made up by Haaretz.

The reports followed the news that the government had decided to build homes in the E1 area just outside Jerusalem. They said that Britain was considering recalling its ambassador to Israel or breaking off its trade agreement with Israel in protest of that decision.

"The British foreign secretary was quick to inform Parliament that there was no truth in the reports published in [Haaretz] that Britain would supposedly recall its ambassador or that it was supposedly considering cancelling the trade agreements with Israel," Elitzur wrote

"I will not fall off my chair if it turns out that the mouth that denied is also the one that leaked [the rumor], and that the minister himself told some official or diplomat to sell the Israeli reporters the scare news that he would later deny, because it is all a game," he wrote.

"I will also not fall of my chair if it turns out that the opposite was true; that no British source ever existed, and that an Israeli reporter made up these ridiculous rumors out of his feverish imagination, because it is all a game."

The report did not deserve to be published in a large headline, he added, without being thoroughly checked first, because it makes as much sense as a report "that aliens from Mars came to dip in the ritual baths of [the ultra-hareidi Jerusalem neighborhood] of Me'ah She'arim."

Britain, he explained, needs the trade agreements with Israel no less than Israel needs them. It is not doing Israel any favors and "not giving us charity." Israel is a very important market and the volume of trade between it and Britain is NIS 10 billion. "So? Would the British throw this into the garbage can because Netanyahu annoyed them at Maaleh Adumim? Does that sound reasonable? Connected to reality?"

"No, it is only in line with the secret yearnings of some [leftist] Israelis who wholeheartedly want the world to come and kill Netanyahu for them," Elitzur opined.