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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (5/05):

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DE RUEHJM #0751/01 1261059
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 051059Z MAY 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1375
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 7093
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4087
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3940
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5438
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3848
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2417

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 000751

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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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (5/05):
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Main Stories:
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Factual coverage of the visit by Secretary Rice to Ramallah and her
meetings with Palestinian Authority officials appears on all front
pages. The three dailies open with photos of Secretary Rice and
President Abbas at the Ramallah press availability. Al-Quds leads
with the headline, "Abbas: Negotiations with Israel are racing
against time and we hope to establish a Palestinian state before the
end of this year." Al-Quds quotes Secretary Rice saying, "we
support secret negotiations and we are pushing for the issuance of a
joint document." Palestinian presidency spokesperson Abu Rudaynah
stated that, "the gap in the negotiations with Israel is wide." The
dailies also report that an unnamed Palestinians official commented
that, "the American Administration is working on a definition for
the state of Palestine." The dailies also highlight that Secretary
Rice pushed for a statement regarding progress in negotiations, but
that Palestinian and Israeli sources excluded the possibility of
issuing such a "progress document" or framework agreement."

Positive coverage of the visit of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad to the West Bank city of Jenin for meetings with the
Palestinian security forces, one a day after Israel allowed 600
Palestinian security officers to enter the West Bank city, expresses
optimism over the forces upcoming mission. The dailies report that
Fayyad described the May 3 deployment to Jenin as a, "significant
step towards imposing law and order, and a major pillar of the
security plan." He added that, "priority should be given to
restoring a sense of security among Palestinian citizens." Ma'an
News Agency reports that the Palestinian Premier felt encouraged by
the warm welcome that residents of Jenin had given the
newly-deployed forces. Photos show a smiling Fayyad during his
visit.

On the ground, the front pages of the three dailies report that in
Gaza, one Palestinian was killed and six were injured after Israeli
military shelled their house on May 4. Related reports on the front
page of Al-Ayyam highlight a second halt to UNRWA food assistance to
Gaza refugees because of the fuel shortage. Other reports in the
dailies highlight the closing of the Nahal Oz and Karni Gaza border
crossings by Israeli authorities.

The expected visit to Israel by the chief of Egyptian intelligence
Suleiman receives front page billing in all dailies. The dailies
report that Egyptian President Mubarak stated on May 4 that Suleiman
will be in Israel soon to discuss the truce between Palestinian
parties and Israel.

Investigations into possible corruption charges of Israeli Premier
Olmert continue to capture front page headlines in the dailies. For
a second day, the dailies raise the possibility of Olmert's
resignation.

---------------
Weekend Review
---------------

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The lead story in all dailies focuses on comments made by Secretary
Rice on the eve of her visit to Ramallah. Rice is quoted saying,
"We want to make sure that checkpoints have been removed."
According to the lead story in Al-Quds, Rice urged Israel not to
"weaken" the Palestinian Authority. All dailies highlight that Rice
as concerned that life for Palestinians be made easier. Related

JERUSALEM 00000751 002 OF 003

Main Stories:
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coverage on the front page of Al-Quds, states that, "Israel welcomes
Rice with new settlement expansion near Nablus." On the other hand,
the front pages of the dailies quote Palestinian President Abbas'
advisor Nimr Hammad stating that, "There are no indicators to
suggest a possibility of reaching an agreement with the Israelis
this year."

The front pages of the three dailies report positively on the
deployment of 600 Palestinian security forces to the West Bank town
of Jenin on May 3. The dailies report that city residents welcomed
them, "with roses and sweets." According to Al-Ayyam, the mission
of the security forces is, "to bring back happiness and hope to the
citizens of the city." All dailies state that the forces will be
under the authority of Palestinian President Abbas and aim to
strengthen law and order in the city. Al Quds shows a photo of a
long line of military vehicles with Palestinian flags entering the
city, while Al Ayyam and Al Hayat Al Jadida run a picture of smiling
residents greeting the forces.

US General Fraser examines the situation on the ground in the
northern West Bank city of Qalqilya where he met with the mayor on
May 3, according to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida's front page. The story
reports in a neutral tone that the mayor explained to Fraser the
effects of the separation barrier on agricultural lands and the
effects of frequent Israeli military incursions into the city.

Saturday, May 04, 2008

Pessimism accompanies coverage of the ongoing peace process and
related negotiations. Al-Quds daily opened with "[PA Prime Minister]
Fayyad warns of a collapse in negotiations if Israel does not change
its path and show commitment to Annapolis." Citing various news
agencies, Al-Ayyam reported that Secretary Rice "warned" Israel
against settlement expansion and quoted her saying, "The two-state
solution will not remain a possible solution forever." Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida quoted Secretary Rice saying, "The window for the
two-state solution is getting narrower day by day." The dailies
focused on calls by the Quartet urging Israel to stop West Bank
settlements.

An "attack" by settlers on a motorcade carrying General Fraser
received front page coverage in the three dailies. The dailies
reported that settlers prevented the American envoy from entering
the old city.

A letter from the American Public Affairs Officer at the Consulate
General in Jerusalem to Palestinian journalists in commemoration of
World Press Freedom Day on May 2 appeared in Al-Quds along with a
photo of PAO Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm.

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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1. Independent Al-Quds runs its daily editorial entitled "What is
wanted is core Israeli changes on the ground" (5/05): "Once again,
Secretary Rice returned to the region and we heard her say... [the]

SIPDIS
exact same comments that we heard her say during her many previous
visits. She talked about the necessity of creating an appropriate
atmosphere for the peace process, not prejudicing final status
issues, [the fact] that settlements destroy trust between the two
parties and American efforts to implement Bush's vision of a

JERUSALEM 00000751 003 OF 003

Main Stories:
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Palestinian state. Rice also reconfirmed her commitment to working
towards improving the life of the Palestinian people and working
with the two sides to discuss implementation of the first stage of
the Road Map... we do not know how Rice's comments and her desire to
push forward the peace process and Road Map implementations can go
hand by hand with Israeli [actions that ignore commitments made in]
Annapolis and Paris... the [U.S.] overlooks ongoing Israeli
violations on the ground that serve only to raise tensions and
deepen mistrust between the two sides as will as close the door on
any possible progress in negotiations..."

2. Independent Al-Ayyam runs an op-ed by veteran columnist Talal
Okal, entitled "End of the line and the start of a new one..."
(5/05): "...the fourth visit of Secretary Rice since the launching
of negotiations last January might have been the last chance to
convince the Israeli Government that it must initiate significant
movement in the troubled negotiations with the Palestinians. Rice
has not stopped working towards an achievement that will save
President Bush and the dignity of the United States... Rice has only
one week to succeed in achieving something, before the arrival of
President Bush to the region, therefore, her options are very
limited. The United States and the Quartet did not succeed in
ensuring an appropriate atmosphere for negotiations... and they
should have expected the need to force both sides [to meet their
obligations]. They should have pushed Israel to stop settlements,
remove checkpoints which have increased to almost 620, stop the
daily Israeli aggression on Palestinians and halt [Israeli] efforts
to undermine the Palestinian Authority's [security and economic
programs]..."

WALLES

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