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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (6/18): Will the Hamas - Israel

VZCZCXRO2145
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1026/01 1700955
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180955Z JUN 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1823
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 7165
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4152
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4005
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5503
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3921
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2483

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001026

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 (6/18): WILL THE HAMAS - ISRAEL
TRUCE HOLD?

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Main Stories:
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The front pages of the three dailies lead with reports about a truce
agreement between Hamas and Israel. The papers report that the
truce will take effect on the morning of June 19. Al-Quds
highlights that the crossing points will reopen for short periods
and that, "the siege will be lifted." The same report quotes Hamas
leader Mahmud Al-Zahhar stating that all parties approved and
praised the agreement before it was announced. The dailies also
report that Palestinian Presidency spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaynah
confirmed that Palestinian President Abbas played a major role in
the successful conclusion of the truce agreement. Related coverage
notes that Washington is waiting for final confirmation of the
truce, with Al-Ayyam reporting on American skepticism regarding the
news. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida opens with, "Barak thinks it is too early
to talk about a cease fire." All dailies remind readers that the
Israeli military stands ready to launch a military operation in Gaza
should the truce fail. On the ground, papers record the deaths of
six Palestinians in a June 17 Israeli air strike on Gaza.

Al-Quds runs an above-the-fold, exclusive interview with Consul
General Walles, granted on June 17. The headline highlights Walles'
comments that, "the goal of Rice's visit was to deal with the most
important issues, and settlements is one of them." A sub-headline
further quotes Walles stating that, "the United States does not
differentiate between the West Bank and Jerusalem in regards to the
settlement issue." The above-the-fold article, continues on two,
lengthy columns on an inside page. The report adds little comment
to what is essentially a transcription of the interview that touched
on U.S. policy regarding Palestinian security training, settlements,
Gaza, a possible Hamas-Israel truce and prospects for an agreement
this year. The journalist concludes that the Consul General remains
"very optimistic" about the possibility for a Palestinian-Israeli
agreement by 2009. In separate reporting, Al-Quds quotes chief
Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Quray, stating that, "settlements will
kill the peace process, and any efforts towards reaching an
agreement."

The June 17 meeting of Palestinian President Abbas and Kuwaiti
Prince Al-Sabah in Kuwait is front page news.
The two leaders discussed current issues related to Palestinian
issues and other issues of common interest in the regional and
international arenas, according to all dailies.

Turkish mediated contacts between Israel and Syria are a topic on
all front pages. According to the dailies, Syria and Israel are
"relaxed" about the progress of negotiations. The papers also
highlight that France is pushing for a meeting between Syrian
President Al-Asad and Israeli Premier Olmert in Paris at a mid-July
conference organized by French President Sarkozy to establish a
Mediterranean Union.

Israeli forces seized seven civilians during an overnight raid in
the West Bank city of Nablus and surrounding villages on June 17,
according to headlines.

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

1. Independent Al-Quds carries its daily editorial under the title,
"East Jerusalem was also occupied in 1967" (6/18): "The logic used

JERUSALEM 00001026 002 OF 002


by Israeli officials when talking about settlements in East
Jerusalem is a strange logic that makes no sense, especially when
they contrast [E. Jerusalem settlements] to settlements in the West
Bank. They claim that they have the right to build settlements in
East Jerusalem and that this does not contradict [obligations linked
to] peace negotiations. They are also claim that there is no
settlement expansion in the West Bank. Yet, the entire
international community knows that East Jerusalem is an integral
part of the West Bank. It is, in fact, the heart of the West Bank
that has been strangled by Israeli authorities and isolated from its
Palestinian environment. East Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 like
the West Bank and was then absorbed into the Jerusalem municipality
a few weeks after the war. This was a unilateral move [by Israel]
that has not been recognized by the international community. Even
the status of West Jerusalem remains a topic of discussion at the
international level. Settlements in Arabic Jerusalem are illegal
just as the settlements in the West Bank are..."

2. Independent Al-Ayyam runs an op-ed by columnist Hani Habib
entitled, "Will there be a truce this time?" (6/18): "Cairo is
supposed to mark the zero hour on [June 19] for the beginning of a
truce that was agreed upon between Israel and the Hamas movement
through Egyptian sponsorship. ... This time Israel might fulfill its
pledge, if things go well the first two weeks: No rockets and a
comprehensive calm on the borders with Gaza. Two weeks will be the
Israeli test for the Hamas movement, according to [Israeli daily]
Yidot Ahront, to determine if [Hamas] is serious about... a real
truce... We as citizens who do not partake in [the game of]
political calculations, know that the truce is a needed step to pave
the road toward national Palestinian dialogue."

WALLES

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