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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (5/27): The Peace Process - A

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DE RUEHJM #0909/01 1481005
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271005Z MAY 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1654
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 7133
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4120
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3973
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5471
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3889
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2451

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 000909

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 (5/27): The Peace Process - a
Process, but no Peace?


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Main Stories:
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Reports about a "comprehensive prisoner swap" between Hezbollah and
Israel dominated coverage in all dailies. The dailies highlighted
that the expected truce will include "large numbers" of Lebanese and
Palestinians in Israeli jails. According to coverage in all dailies,
the exchange is "coming soon." Related reports on a truce between
Hamas and Israel also generated front page coverage in all dailies.
According to reports, "Amos Gilad, a senior aide to Defense Minister
Ehud Barak, is due to return to Cairo next week for talks in an
attempt to reach calm in the Gaza Strip." Al-Quds quoted an Israeli
official saying, "it is too early to talk about the failure of a
truce." All dailies highlighted that Egypt is "exerting efforts to
achieve calm."

The dailies highlighted comments made by Palestinian Prime Minister
Fayyad during a session for the Council of Ministers in Ramallah on
May 26. All dailies quoted Fayyad "praising" the success of the
Bethlehem Investment conference and describing it as "a glorious
success," adding that "the conference sent a message to the whole
world that the Palestinian Authority is able to build government
institutions." Related coverage on the front page of Al-Ayyam
reported that 2.5 million dollars in American assistance will be
announced in Jenin on May 28 through USAID projects.

Ma'an News Agency reported that Fatah's Revolutionary Council (the
party's political leadership body) is divided in opinion about the
performance of the "caretaker" government of Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad. A formal evaluation of the current government is on the
body's meeting agenda. Fayyad's critics, who believe that the
government has not followed the Fatah party line, are expected to
demand changes in the ministerial cabinet. Others are said to
support the current cabinet.

Ma'an News Agency reported that Baha Atiyya, a member of the Muslim
Brotherhood in the Egyptian Parliament, criticized comments by the
Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt, Nabil Amr, against Hamas. Atiyya
called on the Egyptian government to expel Amr, saying that he could
not legitimately represent the Palestinian people. Atiyya called
Amr's remarks "sectarian," saying that his words did not represent
the voice of Palestinian resistance, but rather the narrow interests
of the Fatah movement.

The dailies reported that former US President Jimmy Carter on May 25
urged European governments to break with US policy and lift the
international boycott of Hamas and the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
In an interview with the British daily The Guardian published on May
26, Carter also claimed that Israel has 150 nuclear weapons.
Related coverage in all dailies quoted King Abdullah II saying in a
meeting with a U.S. Congressional delegation that the region will
remain in disorder until the Palestinian issue is solved.

The dailies and online news agencies reported that Israel halted the
implementation of a plan to open 20 Palestinian police stations in
the West Bank.

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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1. Under the headline, "Carter's Statements" (05/27), the daily
editorial in the independent Al-Quds opined, "Former U.S. President

JERUSALEM 00000909 002 OF 002


Jimmy Carter will be remembered in history as the Godfather of the
first Arab-Israeli peace process, for which he won a Nobel Peace
Prize. In recent years, Carter has continued to issue statements
that oppose Israeli stands - starting with his recent famous book,
to his recent visit to the region, his meeting in Damascus with the
leader of Hamas' political bureau Khaled Meshal, and Israel
forbidding him from entering Gaza. Yesterday Carter said that the
siege of Gaza is "one of the greatest human rights crimes now
existing on Earth." Moreover, he declared that Israel possesses more
than 150 nuclear weapons. Carter also said the United States had to
begin holding direct talks with Iran about its nuclear program
instead of starting a cycle of punishment and boycott. One only has
to applaud Carter for his courage, and keep in mind that American
presidents usually find out the facts after they finish their term
in the office, once they have no desire to serve another term."

2. Independent daily Al-Ayyam carried an op-ed by veteran columnist
Hani Al-Masri titled "Continuing with the Negotiations: the Worst or
the Best of Two Evils?" (05/27): "... The failure of the Annapolis
Conference caused a Palestinian and Arab depression and resulted in
losing the bet they placed on a losing horse - that the Bush
administration would actually try to be an objective power.
Unfortunately, they are continuing to bet on yet another losing
horse, i.e. the bet on the negotiation for a peace process, when it
is becoming clear that it is a process devoid of any peace. As a
matter of fact, the process is a big obstacle to peace because it
gives the illusion that something is being done with the multiple
political and economic conferences that have happened (Annapolis,
Paris, Moscow, Berlin, and Bethlehem,) which undermines other
initiatives and makes the peace process a process about negotiation
only... Suspending the negotiations, if it happens, would not be a
strategic step going back to armed resistance, but a strategic step
towards negotiations. Suspending the negotiations would provoke
international intervention, which would stop this process from going
in an empty circular motion... After the many failures that the
American administration has faced in the Middle East, it now needs a
success, and it can't afford any more disappointment. It is
important to keep the negotiations going, and [the American
administration] would not seriously consider punishing the
Palestinian leadership [for strategically suspending
negotiations]... especially since the only alternative to the
current [Palestinian] leadership is Hamas..."


WALLES

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