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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (04/17): The Importance Of

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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3914
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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

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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (04/17): THE IMPORTANCE OF
CARTER'S REGIONAL VISIT


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Main Stories:
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Black and red Dramatic black and red banner headlines on all front
pages indicate crisis reporting on the killing of up to 20
Palestinians in Gaza on April 16. All papers lead with graphic
photos of the injured, dead bodies including a Reuters cameraman and
a destroyed mosque. Lead stories highlight that most of the victims
are children. Coverage expresses anger over the killing of the
cameraman, with Al Hayat Al Jadida running a photo showing the
Reuters vehicle clearly marked "TV". The dailies report that
Palestinian President Abbas, "strongly condemned the attack," and
called upon Israel to, "immediately stop its aggression on our
people." Speaking to the Voice of Palestine radio, PLO negotiator
Erekat said that, "escalation will only lead to further
deterioration in the situation and violence." He added that the
attack happened at a time when there were, "great chances of
achieving a truce and calm in Gaza." The dailies also report on the
killing of three Israeli soldiers during clashes with, "Palestinian
fighters" in Gaza during an early morning Israeli incursion in the
Strip on April 16.

Wafa News Agency reports that PLO negotiator Erekat called upon the
American administration on April 16 to investigate the accuracy of
Israeli claims about the removal of checkpoints and settler outposts
in the West Bank, stressing that these claims should be viewed as
part of a, "public relations" campaign. Another WAFA news report
runs April 16 comments by the Saudi and Jordanian kings calling upon
Israel to immediately halt "violations" against the Palestinian
people and stop settlement activities and lift the "siege" imposed
on the Gaza Strip.

On inside pages, the three dailies report that PLO negotiator Erekat
met with NSC advisors Hadley and Abrams and Consul General Walles on
April 16. Attendees discussed the agenda for Palestinian President
Abbas' meeting at the White House next week. Erekat repeated
well-known demands for greater US pressure on Israel to implement
first phase obligations of the road map.

The dailies report that senior Hamas leaders Mahmoud Zahhar and
Sa'id Siyam headed to Egypt on April 16 to meet with former US
president Jimmy Carter. The dailies note further that Isma'il
Haniyah was also invited to meet with Carter but that he declines
for, "private reasons." Ma'an news agency reports that discussions
with Carter will address the blockade of the Gaza Strip and a
potential ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians.

The dailies carried extensive coverage of West Bank activities,
"honoring Prisoners Day." Activities included public parades and
rallies sponsored by relatives of prisoners and political parties.
Related reports in all papers highlight Israeli Foreign Minister
Livni, "criticizing" Palestinian President Abbas's plans to, "honor
six imprisoned Palestinian women," at a ceremony at the Ramallah
Presidential compound on April 17.

The dailies highlight that Palestinian President Abbas is conducting
"important" talks with Russian officials. According to the dailies,
Abbas will focus on, "developments after Annapolis." Presidential
spokesperson Abu Rudaynah explained that Abbas's visit will include
"in-depth talks" on all issues, especially the status of
negotiations with Israelis as well as Palestinian-Russian relations.


Al-Quds' front page reprints a letter sent by jailed Fatah leader

JERUSALEM 00000674 002 OF 002


Marwan Barghouti to Palestinian President Abbas and to the Fatah
Central Committee and Preparations Committee for the sixth Fatah
conference. The letter includes 20 points for Fatah to follow that
will, according to Barghouti, allow Fatah "to survive and return
hope to the Palestinians of freedom, independence and justice."
Related reports in the dailies highlight the Israeli refusal to
allow former president Carter to meet with Barghouti.

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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1. Independent Al-Ayyam carries an op-ed by veteran columnist Talal
Okal entitled, "There is only one exit... (04/17): "It is clear to
everyone that the situation in Gaza is miserable. It has spiraled
down into the heart of catastrophe where life has become
unbearable... two years have passed since the siege [of Gaza] began
after the formation of the Hamas Government following Palestinian
elections. Ten months after the Hamas coup [of Gaza], the siege has
intensified to become complete isolation. Over [the last 10
months], Gaza has experienced comprehensive operations of
destruction that have violated the most basic of human rights, the
right to life... the unemployment rate has reached 40% and the
poverty rate has exceeded 75%... in political science [theory] it is
permissible to consider solving one crisis by creating others, but
this strategy will not work in [Gaza] because any new crisis will
only serve to deepen the current one."

2. Official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida prints a piece by regular columnist
Yahia Rabah entitled, "Jimmy Carter!" (04/17): "During his
presidency, former president Jimmy Carter created one of the most
dangerous and important storms in the Middle East - the
Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement that allowed Egypt to regain the
Sinai and allowed Israel to raise its flag atop the Israeli Embassy
in Cairo. Jimmy Carter has returned to the region 30 years later to
create a lesser storm by laying a wreath at the tomb of Yasir Arafat
and criticizing Israeli discriminatory policies and by meeting with
Hamas officials in Cairo and Damascus. Carter intends to convince
Khalid Mash'al, head of the Hamas polit bureau, to accept a peaceful
resolution with Israel and a peaceful resolution to the conflict
between Hamas and Fatah. Regardless of Israeli and the American
official attempts to insist that the man has no official
responsibilities, his visit to the region remains important. It is
very important, because a man like Carter can transmit his beliefs
to the American public and influence public opinion... His visit is
very important to Hamas. I think that Hamas will not miss this
valuable chance after years of isolation and frozen relations [to
get their message out]. [They should take] maximum advantage of this
chance."

Walles

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