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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (5/02): In Praise of Fayyad's

VZCZCXRO3826
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #0747/01 1230958
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020958Z MAY 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1363
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 7091
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4085
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3938
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5436
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3846
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2415

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 000747

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 (5/02): IN PRAISE OF FAYYAD'S
ECONOMIC PLAN


-------------
Main Stories:
-------------

The dailies report that Palestinian President Abbas underwent
angioplasty at a Jordanian hospital on April 01. Palestinian
Presidency Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudayna confirmed that Abbas is
doing fine and will return to the Palestinian Territories on May 2.
Related coverage on the front pages, highlights Abbas' comments to
official Palestinian TV that, "we support all Egyptian efforts
[regarding a truce and internal reconciliation] without
reservation." Citing AFP, the dailies highlight that Abbas received
a telephone call from senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, who
wanted to, "make sure that Abbas is doing well." The dailies said
that no further details were revealed about their conversation.

Positive coverage appears on the front pages regarding the May 2
donors' conference in London. Al-Quds headlines that Secretary Rice
stated en route to London that, "Israel should present painful and
difficult compromises in the interest of its security [sic]." The
dailies highlight that Rice confirmed that efforts are being made to
attract American business investment to East Jerusalem and the West
Bank.

Separate coverage on the front pages of the dailies highlight three
new Israeli conditions for a proposed truce with the Palestinians.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that the new conditions could torpedo the
truce. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mekel listed the conditions as:
militant organizations must stop firing rockets and mortars at
southern Israel, attacks inside Israel and along the Israeli-Gaza
border must cease and weapons smuggling into Gaza must end.
According to Al-Ayyam, Israeli Interior Minister Shitreet said, "We
refuse any truce with Hamas." The dailies report that Egyptian
President Mubarak discussed with Israeli Premier Olmert, on May 2,
ongoing efforts for a truce.

Citing Haaretz, the front page of Al-Quds reported that Israeli
Minister of Infrastructure gave the "green light" for five new water
projects in West Bank settlements.

The dailies reported that an Al-Qassam Hamas activist and an elderly
man were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. According to the
coverage, the Israeli military conducted a wide-scale operation in
Gaza on May 1 that resulted in extensive agricultural damage.
Related coverage on Al Quds front page highlights that Israeli
authorities have tightened the closure on the West Bank.

The front pages of the dailies report on protests and gatherings
throughout the West Bank and Gaza marking "Worker's Day". Al Quds
and Al Hayat Al Jadida run photos of flag-waving demonstrators in
Ramallah and demonstrators in Gaza holding banners calling for an
end to the Israeli blockade and blaming the "occupation" for high
unemployment. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida further reports that Palestinian
President Abbas has called for a general workers conference.

According to an opinion poll conducted by Near East Consulting,
Fatah's popularity among Palestinians is rising. Most Palestinians
also support a truce with Israel. Moreover, most Palestinians
support early presidential and legislative elections.

The front pages of the three dailies report that Israeli Prime
Minister Olmert will be questioned by police regarding allegations
of bribery. Olmert is a suspect in several corruption scandals
involving property deals and questionable political appointments,

JERUSALEM 00000747 002 OF 002


but has never been charged, according to the dailies.

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

1. Independent Al-Quds runs its daily editorial entitled
"Palestinian workers on their day" (5/02): "It is important during
the celebration of international workers' day to recommit to the
importance of development projects for industry, agriculture,
tourism and infrastructure that allow our people new opportunities
for the employment of thousands of unemployed Palestinians. It is
not enough to give small amounts of monthly aid to families. Rather
they should be brought back into the work force to provide them with
continuous work that ensures dignity. This is a core duty that
should be among the top priorities of the Palestinian
Authorities'... future economic plans. In this regard, we should
value the development plan that has been adopted by the government
of Dr. Salam Fayyad, and we wait to see its outcome..."

2. Independent Al-Ayyam runs an op-ed by veteran columnist Samih
Shbaib, entitled "The [nakba's] catastrophes' sixth anniversary"
(5/02): "...the commemoration of the catastrophe, is for us,
Palestinians, a marker of the separation of human beings from their
land and creation of a new situation where most Palestinians have
become refugees in Arab states and the diaspora... Israel is a state
that was established by international law, and by a clear violation
of the principles of human rights... Israel has also created laws
that aggravate the refugee problem and have eroded refugee's basic
rights..."

WALLES

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