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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (04/25): Potential for Palestinian

VZCZCXRO7757
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #0716/01 1160748
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 250748Z APR 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1300
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 7080
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4071
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3927
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5425
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3835
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2402

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 000716

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 (04/25): POTENTIAL FOR PALESTINIAN
RECONCILIATION AND ISRAELI SUMMER ACTIONS


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Main Stories:
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The meeting between President Bush and Palestinian President Abbas
captures the headlines in all Palestinian media reporting. Photos
of the two men shaking hands accompany reports that President Bush
reaffirmed that "the establishment of a Palestinian state is one top
of my priorities." Al-Quds reports that Bush said "I will work
strongly to reach a peace agreement before the end of the year."
Bush is also quoted saying that achieving peace is in the interest
of the two sides. In exclusive comments to Al-Quds, Palestinian
negotiator Sa'eb Erekat said "Bush asserted that security is the
common ground for peace." A photo of Secretary Rice sitting with
Ahmad Qurai and Sa'eb Erekat appears on the inside pages of Al-Quds.


The dailies highlight Hamas claims that it has agreed to a ceasefire
with Israel that would start in the Gaza Strip and later extend to
the West Bank. Al Quds quotes Egyptian officials that discussions
will take place with all the Palestinian factions to try to reach
agreement on the ceasefire. The report also notes that Hamas told
the Egyptians that excluding Hamas from any future Palestinian
government is not acceptable.

The situation in the Gaza Strip is a "dangerous" humanitarian
crisis, Palestinian media reports. UNRWA halted its humanitarian
food distribution to 650,000 refugees in Gaza because of fuel
shortages, the dailies report, while European Union officials called
on Israel to allow the shipment of fuel into Gaza. Meanwhile,
Al-Quds reports Hamas called on the Gaza public to take to the
streets on April 25, and march towards the Gaza border crossings.
Al-Quds front-paged a photo of an elderly man blind-folded and being
led away by an Israeli soldier after being arrested in Gaza. In
separate reports, all dailies highlight comments by the Libyan
representative to the UN Security Council likening the situation in
Gaza to that in Nazi camps.

Al-Ayyam and Al Quds report that the World Bank has decided to
provide $92 million to support projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

Only Al-Ayyam carries coverage, though under a red banner, of
information from Washington that revealed Israel destroyed a nuclear
reactor in Syria built with assistance from the North Koreans.
Al-Ayyam carried photos of the site before and after it was
destroyed.

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

1. Al-Quds carried an op-ed by Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zahri
entitled "The American role in the Palestinian-Palestinian talks"
(4/25) that stated: "Ending the Palestinian internal conflict is a
dream for each and every honest Palestinian and Arab. Therefore it
is not strange to see ongoing calls to exit the current Palestinian
state of affairs. We cannot understand the on-going [internal]
division without remembering the background that caused it, which
all basically connected to American interference. This is because
the American government took it upon itself, side by side with the
Israelis and other international parties, to fail the democratic
process that brought Hamas to power. It also took many steps in this
regard, the most important of which was the plan of Dayton to train
Palestinians and to give them weapons and money to carry a coup

JERUSALEM 00000716 002 OF 002


against Hamas. But the power and cautiousness of Hamas caused this
plan to fail.... The only explanation for halting internal talks is
that Abbas is following an American - Israeli decision and no longer
decisions made by Abu Mazen or the Fatah movement, which cannot sit
with Hamas at one table if America objects..."

2. Al-Ayyam carried an op-ed by veteran columnist Samih Shbaib
entitled "Horizons for a coming regional war" (4/25) that opined:
"...It is very clear from the latest Israeli official statements
that there are preparations underway for Israel to spend another hot
summer that will target Syria and Hezbollah. Their plans might also
expand to Iran and Gaza at the same time. Israeli strategists see
the upcoming end of Bush's term in office and the lack of progress
on the negotiation front as an ideal time to carry out a regional
war. Let us wait and see the outcome of the visit of [Turkish Prime
Minister] Erdogan to Damascus and what details it will reveal. Let's
also wait until hearing the response of Damascus on these details,
and wait and see the chapters of this hot summer!"

DUFFY

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