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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (6/24): "American Whispering That

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OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1073/01 1761116
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241116Z JUN 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1886
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
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RUEAHQA/CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
RHMFIUU/CMC WASHINGTON DC
RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7174
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4161
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4014
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5512
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3930
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2494

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001073

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 (6/24): "AMERICAN WHISPERING THAT
ISRAEL DOES NOT HEAR"

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Main Stories:
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French President Sarkozy's visit to Israel attracts front page
headlines in the three dailies. In his speech before the Knesset on
June 23, Sarkozy emphasized the need for the establishment of an
independent Palestinian state, freezing settlement activities,
resolution of the refugee question and recognition of Jerusalem as
the capital of the two states. He also stressed his country's
support for Israel and its security. During his meeting with
Jerusalem leaders, Sarkozy underscored that Jerusalem should be a
city where residents live in peace. In related coverage,
Palestinian presidency spokesperson Abu Rudaynah comments that,
"Palestinian Authority President Abbas praised Sarkozy's attitude
towards the state [Palestine], Jerusalem and settlements."

All dailies report that Israeli Premier Olmert and Egyptian
President Mubarak will meet on June 24 in Cairo to discuss the
Hamas/Israel truce in the Gaza Strip and Cairo's efforts to mediate
a prisoners' exchange deal between Hamas and Israel. Separate
reports note that French President Sarkozy has called on Hamas to
release captured Israeli soldier Shalit. The papers also highlight
that Israel has postponed its decision to act on a prisoner exchange
deal with Hizbollah. In related coverage, all dailies report on
Israeli efforts to reopen the Gaza crossing points of Nahel Oz and
Sofa.

All dailies express outrage over the work of Israeli bulldozers in
East Jerusalem's Beit Hanina neighborhood to break ground for a new
section of the separation barrier that will allow for the
construction of 1,300 new settlement housing units. Hatim Abdul
Qadir, advisor to the Palestinian Prime Minister for Jerusalem
Affairs, reported confrontations between residents and Israeli
soldiers which led to the injury of the head of the local council of
Beit Hanina. In separate reporting, Al- Ayyam's front page notes
that the Palestinian Government is planning new projects to assist
Palestinians in regions that have been adversely affected by the
separation barrier.

The results of the Palestinian Authority's Ministerial Council June
23 meeting in Ramallah is front page news. Al-Quds reports that the
Council, "asserted that Israel should reopen the crossing points,
end the siege and expand the truce [to the West Bank]." The paper
also highlights that the June 24 donors conference in Berlin, "is
expected to raise $178 million dollars towards Palestinian security
programs and other priorities." Al- Hayat Al- Jadida adds that the
Council expressed concern over failure to make "true progress" in
peace negotiations with Israel.
News from the Nahr al-Barid international donor conference in Vienna
on June 23 also captures headlines. European and Western countries
pledged $122 million towards reconstruction of the refugee camp
while Arab countries pledged to contribute 50% of rehabilitation
costs at a later time.

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

1. Independent Al-Ayyam carries its daily editorial under the
title, "The truce may help to achieve unity or may deepen
division"(6/24): The truce may help to make comprehensive national
dialogue successful, end division and restore unity. It may also
lead to a deepening and perpetuation of division... this depends...

JERUSALEM 00001073 002 OF 002


on the way the fighting Palestinian opponents behave. Will they
grant victory to the higher national interest and common
denominators over their personal, factional, and group interests?
Then, the truce may be a positive factor. If, however, the opposite
happens, in other words, if Hamas perceives of the truce as
strengthening its movement and giving it a stronger position in
national talks they may... not show the necessary flexibility to
start a comprehensive national dialogue and make [talks]
successful... The question is: How will Hamas use its power? In
the direction of national partnership or towards autocracy, control
and exclusion?

2. Independent Al-Quds runs an editorial by Muhammad Shakir
Abdullah entitled, "The American whispering that Israel does not
hear" (6/24): The subject of settlements was the focus of
negotiations between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and
Palestinian officials during her last visit to the region. A
Palestinian source said that 60% of these negotiations were spent
discussing the intensive settlement activities in the West Bank, in
particular, and in Jerusalem, in general. Following these talks,
Rice spoke 'strongly' about settlement activities which violate
agreements regarding Israeli- Palestinian negotiations and prejudice
[the negotiations'] outcome. [She] pointed out that the United
States, on this issue, does not differentiate between Jerusalem and
the West Bank because settlements are settlements anywhere in the
lands occupied in 1967. However, Rice's 'strong' speech did not
move any hairs on the heads of Israeli officials who did not retreat
from their plans. On the contrary, they stuck by them... halting
settlement activities will require a loud and stern American voice
similar to that of former Foreign Minister James Baker...

Duffy

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