Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (6/16): Settlements - "An
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SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (6/16): SETTLEMENTS - "AN
OBSTACLE TO PEACE"
The three dailies lead with coverage meetings between Secretary Rice
and President Abbas in Ramallah on June 15. Al-Quds opens with a
quote of Abbas stressing that settlements are the main obstacle to
peace. The paper quotes Secretary Rice stating that settlement
activities will hurt negotiations, but not affect final status
issues. The dailies highlight that the issue of settlements
dominated meetings between Rice and Abbas. The dailies also note
that Rice participated in a trilateral meeting with Israeli Foreign
Minister Livni and Palestinian negotiator Quray in Jerusalem after
meeting with Abbas.
Israeli plans to build 40,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem
over the next ten years are front page news in all dailies.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida quotes PLO negotiator Sa'eb Erekat stating that
since Annapolis, Israel has announced plans for 1,731 new housing
units in settlements. The paper also quotes Palestinian
presidential spokesperson Abu Rudayna, stating that the peace
process is "dying" because of continued settlement activity.
Ongoing efforts at internal reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas
continue to capture headlines. According to all front pages, Fatah
and Hamas are willing to "turn the page, following a year of
division." Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that some progress has been
made on this front.
The front page of Al-Ayyam runs an AFP story quoting Israeli Defense
Minister Barak stating that, "maintaining checkpoints in the West
Bank is important due to the increasing threat of rocket attacks
from the West Bank." Related coverage in all dailies reports that
Israel continues to consider a military "invasion" of Gaza.
The front page of Al-Quds reports that a researcher from Dale
Carnegie suggested that the future U.S. president should consider a,
"one-state solution with dual nationalities," as an alternative
solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Citing different wires, the dailies highlight that Syria and Israel
have begun "direct" negotiations under Turkish sponsorship
Al-Ayyam carries an inside story by Reuters regarding Fulbright
students in Gaza. The story quotes Secretary Rice confirming the
importance of Israel allowing students to leave the Gaza Strip.
Rice is also seen reassuring readers that efforts will continue to
help the students exit Gaza as long as there are no "obvious Israeli
security concerns regarding their departure."
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The visit by Secretary Rice to the region and her planned meetings
with Israeli and Palestinian officials wins extensive coverage on
the front pages of the three dailies. According to the lead story
in official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Rice described settlements as
a "problem" in her remarks to traveling press en route to Tel Aviv.
Al-Quds reports that Rice stated that, "settlement expansion in
Jerusalem is an obstacle to the peace process." Related stories
positively cover June 14 comments by President Bush about the,
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"importance of creating a Palestinian state." According to the
front page coverage, Bush insisted upon the importance of
establishing a Palestinian state soon as a model for others in the
region to emulate. Separate coverage in the dailies reports that
Palestinian Premier Fayyad "accused" Israel of obstructing the peace
process by expanding settlements. Al-Ayyam also highlights that
Rice stated that Israel has not done enough to ease restrictions on
movement for Palestinians in the West Bank.
Photos of Israeli soldiers clashing with Palestinian protesters in
Bethlehem lead coverage in the three dailies. According to linked
reporting, 15 Palestinians were injured during an anti-wall protest
in the city on June 14.
In Gaza, reports in all dailies note that Hamas has designated two
million dollars in assistance to, "victims of Israeli operations in
Gaza." Related coverage in all papers highlights that Egypt will
share with Hamas, the Israeli response to a truce proposal.
Citing Israeli sources, the dailies report that the United States
has accused Israel of secretly buying 20 million dollars worth of
food imports from Iran.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The dailies reported that PLO negotiator Sa'eb Erekat confirmed
that, "there is no agreement with the Israelis regarding a land
swap." His comments responded to a statement by Ami Ayalon, an
Israeli minister-without-portfolio, who indicated the existence of
such an agreement between Israeli Foreign Minister Livni and chief
Palestinian negotiator Quray.
The dailies led with photos of international activists being
"attacked" by Israeli soldiers during "anti- wall protests" in
Ramallah and Bethlehem. The dailies reported that dozens of
Palestinians and international activists were injured during the
protests that took place on June 13. Related coverage in all dailies
shows photos of "brutal" attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian
farmers. The photos were released to the press by the Israeli NGO
Betselem as part of their new campaign to document, "settler attacks
1. Independent Al-Ayyam carries its daily editorial under the
title, "Waiting for the analysis of Rice's statement" (6/16):
"Comments by Secretary Rice after hermeeting with President Abbas
included statementsthat the time has come to establish a
Palestinianstate, and that settlements are an obstacle to peae,
and that the United States is concerned aboutthese activities. She
also said that she will dscuss the issue [of settlements] with the
Israel Premier and gave her assurance that Washington wil make
every effort to accomplish an agreement tht will lead to the
establishment of a Palestinias state by the end of this year.
These are important, pioneering statements ..."
2. Independent Al-Quds runs an editorial by veteran columnist Samih
Sh'bayb entitled, "Rice's visit!" (6/16): "This is her sixth visit
since the Annapolis conference, which at the time, generated
positive expectations [about a resolution of] the Palestinian
question in general, and the settlements issue in specific ...
settlement activities have continued since Annapolis like never been
before, especially in the Jerusalem area. Official Israeli
JERUSALEM 00001015 003 OF 003
statements call discussions on Jerusalem 'out of the question', and
[we see] serious Israeli steps to change and create new realities on
the ground to make Jerusalem the de facto united capital of
Israel... This visit by Rice was meant to underscore that settlement
activities are a problem when building bridges of trust between
Palestinians and Israelis. However, she did not define any clear
position regarding ongoing settlement construction in Jerusalem.
What is clear is that the United States is committed to the same
position of not pressuring Israel ... what Rice really wants is to
just continue holding meetings and negotiations as a sign that the
peace process still exists..."