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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (5/19): Palestinians: Bush

VZCZCXRO7357
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #0845/01 1400847
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 190847Z MAY 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1553
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 7121
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4108
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3961
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5459
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3877
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2439

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 000845

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 (5/19): PALESTINIANS: BUSH
IGNORING ISRAELI VIOLATIONS


-------------
Main Stories:
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For a third day, the dailies extensively report on Palestinian
"disappointment" regarding remarks made by President Bush before the
Israeli Knesset on May 15. The dailies report President Abbas
commenting, "We are not satisfied with Bush's speech and it made us
angry." Al-Hayat Al-Jadida opens with a red banner headline
reading: President Abbas says, "Neither Washington nor others can
give the green light for surrendering Jerusalem." Al-Ayyam's lead
story quotes Abbas stating, "there are no understandings [with the
Israelis], it is more of an exchange of opinions... distances
[between positions] are still great."

The dailies summarize the visit of President Bush by saying that he
left the region in a state of more "frustration". The papers also
note that Bush's May 17 speech before the World Economic Forum in
Sharm el Sheikh did not live up to Arab expectations and did not
make mention that Palestinian statehood nor the conclusion of a
final agreement would happen soon. The dailies particularly focus
on comments made by Egyptian President Mubarak that, "whoever thinks
that Arabs will agree to any agreement that does not fulfill the
hopes of the Palestinian people, is mistaken." Mubarak added that
Palestinian President, "Abbas needs a just and honorable solution,"
continuing, "not solving the Palestinians' issue will encourage
terrorism."

Front page related coverage of President Bush's regional visit,
highlights Secretary Rice's expectations that peace negotiations
will be "extensive." Al-Quds carries an AFP report with Rice
confirming that, "Israeli and Palestinian negotiators unofficially
discussed a peace agreement." The dailies report that Israeli
Foreign Minster Livni said, "it is best not to rush an agreement
between the Palestinians and Israelis." White House spokesperson
Stephen Hadley is quoted in dailies admitting that, "Bush has
nothing to announce regarding notable progress in the peace
process."

Dailies report on the meeting of President Bush and Palestinian
Premier Fayyad in Egypt on May 18. Al-Ayyam reports that Fayyad
explained to Bush steps that he feels are necessary for the success
of the political [negotiation] process. Fayyad listed the need to
resolve the following issues in order of priority: Israeli
settlement activity, Israeli security [military] action and the
removal of checkpoints and freedom of movement. Fayyad added that,
"everything is meaningless if settlement activity continues."

Palestinian Presidential spokesperson Abu Rudaynah denies rumors
that Palestinian President Abbas intends to resign if peace efforts
do not succeed, front pages announce. Abu Rudaynah states that,
"this news is baseless, and President Abbas is determined to
continue working on achieving the Palestinian dream of an
independent state."

Negative coverage dominates front pages concerning Israeli
intentions to conduct a military operation in the Gaza Strip.
Al-Ayyam reports under a red banner that Israeli Premier Olmert will
make a decision regarding a Gaza operation, "very soon." Linked
reports highlight that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is deepening
because of fuel shortages. Other Gaza reporting focuses on a call
by Hamas leader Ismael Haniyah on Egypt to re-open the Rafah border
crossing in the event that Israel fails to approve a Gaza truce.
Reporting is rounded out by all dailies with an AFP story about a

JERUSALEM 00000845 002 OF 003


call by Osama bin Laden to lift the "siege" on Gaza.

Preparations for the Palestinian Authority's (PA) Palestine
Investment Conference in Bethlehem wins positive coverage in all
dailies. The dailies note that more than 400 Arab businessmen
received permits to participate in the conference. Weekend coverage
on the conference highlighted the role of PA security forces in
ensuring the security of conference participants. Al-Ayyam
front-paged a weekend report featuring the White House press release
of the names of the US Presidential Delegation members traveling to
Bethlehem to participate in the investment conference.

----------------
Sunday, May 18
----------------

Front pages dedicated extensive coverage to the meeting of President
Bush with Palestinian President Abbas on May 17 in Egypt. Al-Quds
opened with, "Bush pledges to Abbas that he will work on achieving
the dream of a Palestinian state." According to Al-Ayyam, Abbas
insisted that, "any agreement should include all [final status]
issues." The dailies also ran comments by PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat
revealing that,"President Abbas expressed to Bush his disappointment
over Bush's remarks in front of the Knesset." Al-Quds reported that
Bush replied by saying, "I am the first American president who
talked about a Palestinians state, and I am absolutely determined to
achieve this during my term."

Ma'an news agency reported that the Israeli military removed a
roadblock which previously closed off the southern entrance of the
West Bank city of Hebron. The removal had been postponed several
times before because of protests by Israeli settlers claiming that
removal threatens their security. The road, which links the city of
Hebron to a nearby industrial zone, has been closed since the
beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada.
----------------
Saturday, May 17
----------------

Pessimism accompanied coverage of the visit of President Bush to
Israel and his remarks before the Israeli Knesset. Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida opened with, "Palestinian disappointment following Bush's
Remarks." The dailies reported that Palestinian negotiator Saeb
Erekat told Reuters: "Bush should have told the Israelis that, 1
mile from where he was speaking, there is a nation that has lived in
disaster for 60 years. He should have told the Israelis no one could
be free at the expense of others. He missed this opportunity and we
are disappointed." Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front-paged an AFP story
entitled "the diplomacy of Bush left tremendous disappointment in
the region."

Efforts for a truce between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza received
front-page coverage in the dailies. All dailies reported that Hamas
spokesperson Aiman Taha confirmed on May 16 that Hamas has delayed
their visit to Cairo until next week. On the other hand, the
dailies reported that Tel Aviv has asked Cairo to resume mediation
on the issue of the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. In
other Gaza news, coverage highlighted that unidentified gunmen blew
off the door of the Rosary Sister's school in the center of Gaza
city.

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

JERUSALEM 00000845 003 OF 003

1. Independent Al-Quds carried its daily editorial entitled
"Important dots above many words!" (5/19): "...The American
President repeated in his speech [May 18], in Sharm Al-Sheikh that a
solution is possible before the end of the year. He called upon
Israel to ease the suffering of Palestinians and to work against
what he described as 'terrorism'. As if the only obstacles to
reaching a peace agreement are Israeli military checkpoints. Again,
Bush ignored all [other] Israeli violations that destroy peace
efforts. Violations like settlements, the wall, isolating
Jerusalem, the siege, and military campaigns as will as extreme
Israeli positions in negotiations with Palestinians... In the end,
all that Israel and the United states need to understand is that
Arabs and Palestinians will not accept that the current situation
continues. Israel is hiding behind peace slogans that have never
been implemented. And the United States is taking a biased stand
towards Israel without pressuring it to respond to the peace
efforts. It is not logical to keep talking about peace while the
vision of two states is at a stalemate with no real steps towards
making peace."

WALLES

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