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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (02/05): Suicide Bombings - "A

O 051132Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0436
WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
WHITE HOUSE NSC
REUJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
DIA WASHDC
CIA WASHDC
DA WASHINGTON DC//DAS-ZD/DACS-ZK//
CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
CMC WASHINGTON DC
CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY TUNIS
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMEMBASSY NICOSIA
AMEMBASSY ROME
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 000196

SIPDIS


STATE PASS BBG
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR ABRAMS
CMC WASHINGTON DC FOR POLAD

JERUSALEM ALSO FOR ICD
LONDON FOR HKANONA AND POL - TSOU
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (02/05): SUICIDE BOMBINGS - "A
GIFT TO THE ISRAELI RIGHT"


-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
The bombing of a shopping mall in the southern Israeli city of
Dimona was front page news in all the dailies. Factual reports
noted that an Israeli woman was killed in the attack and photos of
the crime scene appeared on all front pages. Given equal prominence
was coverage of the funeral in the northern West Bank town of
Qabatiya of two members of the Fatah- affiliated Al Aqsa brigades.
The men were killed on February 4 in an Israeli "targeted
assassination," papers noted. Related front page reports
highlighted a statement issued by the Palestinian President's
office, expressing official Palestinian Authority condemnation of
both the Israeli "military operation" in Qabatiya as well as the
"operation" against Israeli civilians in Dimona. The statement
asserted that the Palestinian Authority opposes any operation
targeting civilians, whether Palestinian or Israeli, according to
the same reports.

Front page photos in Al-Ayaam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida show clashes
between Palestinian militants and Egyptian security forces near the
Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza. The dailies reported
that one Palestinian was killed and fifty were injured in the
January 4 clashes. Related coverage highlighted remarks by
Palestinian President Abbas asserting that the Palestinian Authority
rejects any acts "that challenge Egyptian sovereignty".

"Israel has no right to impose a siege on the Gaza strip," according
to a January 4 statement by Palestinian President Abbas as reported
in the dailies. Abbas further called the Israeli measures
collective punishment, according to the coverage of his comments
that were made during a Ramallah meeting with groups from the
northern West Bank city of Nablus. Abbas expressed satisfaction
during the meeting with the progress of a Palestinian Authority
security plan that was implemented last year to impose law and order
in the city of Nablus. Abbas further underscored that, "security is
the key element towards building a better economic, social and
political life" in the Palestinian Territories.

As part of a wider effort to revitalize and restructure the PLO, a
meeting of the National Palestinian Council will be called for in
the next few months, Al Quds reports in their lead story. The
meeting is expected to take place in Amman, Jordan.

Ma'an online news agency reported that Hamas claimed that
"Fatah-allied Palestinian security forces seized nine Hamas members"
on January 4 in the West Bank. Hamas released a statement saying
that seven of the arrested members were from the Nablus area in the
northern West Bank and the other two were from the northern towns of
Salfit and Qalqilia.

Under the title "even condolences are forbidden," the front page of
Al-Quds reported that Israeli police "forcibly entered" the YWCA
building in Jerusalem and prevented the family of George Habash,
founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
from receiving the public who came to pay their condolences for
Habash's death last month.

Citing the Israeli daily Maariv, the front page of Al-Quds reported
that "rich Jews donated money for settlement construction activities
in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem and Jerusalem's Old
City.

Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs Jamal Bawatna condemned
both Israeli excavations near the Haram Al Sharif (Temple Mount) in
the Old City of Jerusalem and the international silence regarding


the issue, according to inside stories in the dailies. Al Qud's
runs their coverage on 2/3 of the second page, noting, however, that
Bawatna appeared "optimistic" about the ability of the "American-
European vision" to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------

1) Al-Quds independent carried its daily editorial entitled, "Best
Wishes for Egypt and its role" (02/05):"We [Palestinians] oppose
anything that might affect the dignity of Egypt and its soldiers.
Egypt was and will remain the castle of Arab nationalism and the
closest friend to the Palestinian people. It will also be among the
leading nations for showing concern for... [the Palestinian
people]... even when armored men blew up the [Gaza Rafah] border
wall, Egypt interpreted this act in an objective way. And we
remember that Egyptian President Mubarak has said more than once,
that 'Egypt will not allow for the starvation of the Palestinian
people'... therefore what happened yesterday [January 05] is
unbelievable. When clashes took place [at the borders between Gaza
and Egypt, between Palestinian militants and Egyptian security
forces], and we saw Palestinians throwing stones at the Egyptian
forces... this event was shameful and sad, and we completely reject
such actions for which there can be no justification."

2) Al-Quds independent carried another daily editorial entitled,
"Questions from Dimona" (02/05): "yesterday, the name of Dimona
city, where the Israeli nuclear facilities is located, was linked to
the operation carried out by two Palestinians. This bombing
resulted in extensive media coverage of Israeli reactions to the
bombing. The operation came at the perfect time from an Israeli
perspective and at the worst of times for the Palestinians... Israel
can now feel completely free to take any countermeasures in Gaza and
the West Bank. Israel will find understanding throughout the world
for any such measures, because they can be justified as self
defense..., On the other hand, we [Palestinians], who have been
living under occupation for 40 years, appear [to the world] as
terrorists who deserve to be punished and live under siege... we
might not be exaggerating when we say that many Israelis on the
extreme right see this [bombing] as a gift that they have waited
for, for a long time, and sadly, a few of us [Palestinians] gave it
to them."

DUFFY

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