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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (04/24): Abbas Demands That Usg

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OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #0713/01 1150923
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 240923Z APR 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1291
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEADWD/DA WASHINGTON DC//DAS-ZD/DACS-ZK//
RUEAHQA/CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
RHMFIUU/CMC WASHINGTON DC
RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7078
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4069
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3925
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5423
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3833
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2398

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 000713

SIPDIS

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 (04/24): ABBAS DEMANDS THAT USG
TAKE "FIRM STAND" IN NEGOTIATIONS
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Main Stories:
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All the Palestinian dailies carried prominent and extensive coverage
of President Abbas's meetings in Washington on their front pages.
In a front-page article appearing under a large photo of Abbas
meeting with Secretary Rice, Abbas was quoted as saying "the gap
between the Palestinian and the Israeli stands is still wide. We
demand that the American administration take a firm stand to make
2008 a year of peace." The dailies highlighted that Abbas will be
meeting with President Bush today, April 24, and Al-Ayyam also
reported that according to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat,
Secretary Rice will visit the region at the beginning of next month.

SIPDIS
Related reports on the front pages of all the dailies focused on
discussions between the King of Jordan and President Bush regarding
the peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Comments made by deposed Hamas PM Isma'il Haniyeh on April 23
received front page coverage in all dailies, where he was reported
as saying that Hamas will only agree to a ceasefire with Israel if
it is bilateral, adding that "the ball is in Israel's court." In
contrast, related coverage on the front page of Al-Quds quoted
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki as saying "a ceasefire in
Gaza will be declared very soon. We are very close to calling a
truce that will end the rocket fire on Israel, the Israeli strikes
and the Gaza siege." Al-Quds also reported on Egyptian negotiations
with Israel about resuming fuel deliveries for the Gaza Strip's
power plant and quoted an Egyptian official as saying "we succeeded
in convincing Israel to resume supplying gasoline to the power plant
[note: which Israel has done], after reports said the plant would be
shut down due to lack of fuel." The dailies reported that the United
Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) halted its food distribution
program in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, and would not resume the
program until Israel supplied fuel to the Gaza Strip.

The dailies continue to carry reports on the visit of former US
President Carter. The front page of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported that
"Carter accused Rice of lying, denying that the State Department had
asked him to refrain from meeting with Hamas." Al-Quds reported that
Carter's office issued a press release summarizing his tour in the
Middle East.

On the Syrian peace path, the leading story in Al-Quds reported that
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan informed Damascus that the Israeli
Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, agreed to withdraw from the occupied
Golan Heights in return for peace with Syria. This claim reportedly
caused uproar among several members of the Israeli Knesset.

Inside pages of Al-Quds and Al-Ayyam carried coverage about the
visit of Public Affairs Officer Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm to Miftah,
the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and
Democracy. Al-Ayyam carried a photo of the meeting and reported that
Ms. Schweitzer-Bluhm gave a very useful and comprehensive lecture on
the "race to the White House". Related coverage on the front page
of Al-Quds reported on the ongoing elections campaign in the US.

Wafa News Agency carried a very positive and lengthy article on the
briefing conducted by Howard Sumka, director of USAID for the West
bank and Gaza, with the local press in Ramallah on April 23. The
report included coverage of projects implemented by USAID in the
Palestinian Territories.

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BLOCK QUOTES:

JERUSALEM 00000713 002 OF 002

Main Stories:
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1. Independent Al-Ayyam carries an op-ed by regular columnist Talal
Okal entitled "There is only one way out" (4/24): "The outcome of
the visit of former US president [Carter] does not deserve the media
uproar that it created regarding its possible effects and
consequences ... Carter asked Hamas to recognize Israel, denounce
violence and terrorism, and show commitment to all treaties signed
by the Palestinian Liberation Organization. He also asked Hamas to
initiate a truce and to accept Israel's conditions regarding the
release of Israeli soldier Shalit. Hamas' announcement that it will
accept the outcome of a Palestinian public referendum on any
agreement reached through negotiations between the Palestinian
Authority (PA) and Israel was conditioned on first achieving
internal Palestinian reconciliation, which we all know will be hard
to achieve. In the midst of all this, the big question in the minds
of the Palestinian people regards the future of the situation,
especially if Hamas continues to oppose the PA, since this can head
towards an explosion that no one will be able to predict the limits
of..."

2. Independent Al-Ayyam carries an op-ed by regular columnist, Dr.
Abd Al-Majeed Swailm entitled "The visit of President Abu Mazen to
Washington" (4/24): "It had been said that the visit of our
president to the United States came after an American request, and
is not part of the regular pilgrimage that the leaders of this
region make to Washington whenever it is close to the time of any US
president to leave the White House. It also been said that President
Bush wants to hear directly from President Abbas on what had been
achieved in ongoing negotiations with the Israel, so that Bush can
have an achievement or breakthrough to talk about and present to the
Republican Party ... in short, the United States wants to sell us
words, promises, dreams, wishes, and imaginations for a new vision
or an old vision which might be implemented or postponed..."

DUFFY

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