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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (5/23): "Unlikely but Necessary

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OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #0907/01 1441019
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231019Z MAY 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1651
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 7131
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4118
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3971
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5469
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3887
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2449

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 000907

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 (5/23): "UNLIKELY BUT NECESSARY
TRUCE"

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

Coverage of the Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem
dominates coverage in the dailies. Al-Quds' lead story reports that
the second day of the conference witnessed the signing of 11
partnership agreements, including three with US government agencies
for communication, housing and insurance support. The dailies
highlight that work will begin "soon" on projects to build
industrial zones in the Palestinian Territories. In related
coverage of the May 22 meeting between Palestinian President Abbas
and French Foreign Minister Kouchner in Ramallah, Al Quds quotes
Abbas stating, "Europe has an economic role, but we also want it to
play a wider political role [in the peace process]." Kouchner is
quoted stating that, "Israel should stop settlement activities."

American participation at the Palestine Investment Conference
generated prominent and positive coverage in all the dailies and
online news agencies, including Ma'an and Wafa News Agency.
Al-Jazeera Arabic aired an interview with Consul General Jake Walles
also highlighting American participation at the conference.
According to the dailies, the Americans participated at, "a high
level" in an effort to support the Palestinian economy and
investment. The dailies quote, Consul General Jake Walles noting
that, "the size and composition of the Presidential Delegation
reflects the strong U.S commitment to support the Palestinian
Authority's efforts to strengthen the private sector." The Consul
General added that this participation, "underscores our commitment
to support the process of political negotiations with tangible
economic improvements in the lives of Palestinians." Related
reports in the dailies, stated that Palestinian President Abbas
received a telephone call from Secretary Rice and discussed, "the
latest developments."

The dailies report on the killing of two Palestinians in Gaza by the
Israeli Defense Forces on May 22. According to front pages, Israeli
sources confirm that the situation in Gaza is very likely to
"escalate." Related news in all papers about a possible truce
between Gaza and Israel highlights that the Hamas delegation has
departed Cairo because the truce proposal did not include an
understanding about the Rafah Gaza/Egypt border crossing. Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida reports that Palestinian President Abbas commented that,
"the latest news about the truce is not encouraging."

Syrian-Israeli negotiations capture front page coverage in the
dailies. Al-Quds reports that the first stage of the negotiations
has ended. The dailies highlight that Damascus affirms that Israel
has provided assurances of the return of the Golan Heights. The
paper quotes Israeli Premier Olmert stating, "Israel is willing to
make painful compromises for peace."

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

1. Regular columnist of independent Al-Ayyam, Mohammed Yaghi,
argues under the headline, "Quick Notes on an Unsuccessful Policy"
(05/23/08); "This [Bush] Administration is completely different from
all of its predecessors. It has considerably damaged the
international standing of the United States and undermined the
effectiveness of its foreign policy and willingly given up its
influence to the benefit of other countries in the region.
America's friends were actually stunned by what Bush said at the

JERUSALEM 00000907 002 OF 002


Knesset, so much so that even [the son of Egypt's president] Jamal
Mubarak publicly denounced the May 15] speech. No one imagined
that Bush's vision of the birth of a Palestinian State during his
tenure would instead become a vision of a state to be established
only after another 60 years, after the disappearance of Hamas and
Hezbollah... Everyone realizes the special nature of the
American-Israeli relationship... but any American President, who is
a friend of Israel, fully understands that the future of Israel is
dependent on its ability to reach a peace agreement with its
neighbors, especially the Palestinians. What the Palestinians
expect from any American President is not concern for their
well-being, but rather an active, objective diplomacy that supports
international resolutions, and the courage to launch initiatives and
convince Israel to accept them and then demand implementation, which
is the very role that the current Administration gave up so
willingly, in favor of ideas full of deceitful ideology."

2. Under the headline, "The Lebanese Model of Reconciliation...for
Palestinians" (05,23,08), independnt Al-Quds' main editorial
opined, "All evidenceindicates that Israel, after having rejected
all erms of the truce to which Palestinian factions inthe Gaza
Strip had agreed, may very likely resor to the use of military
power and invade the [Gaa] Strip. This is a reckless plan... but
the deision makers in Israel have not always invoked wisdm,
foresight and sound judgment to guide their ations whenever the
goal has been to appease the adical parties that have controlled a
series of oalition governments and consequently controlled te
survival or collapse of Israeli governments. Wthin this context,
concealing implicit dangers dspite the outward appearance of calm
and explici, public negotiations, the Lebanese model of
recnciliation must be proposed to Palestinians if the are to end
the current state of division and sepration between the West Bank
and the [Gaza]Strip"

WALLES

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