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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (6/30): The Positive Effects Of

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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

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LONDON FOR HKANONA AND POL - TSOU
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (6/30): THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF
THE HIZBOLLAH-ISRAEL PRISONER EXCHANGE DEAL

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-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
The approval of a prisoners' exchange deal with Hizbollah by an
overwhelming majority of the Israeli Government leads all dailies.
Factual coverage outlines the details of the exchange including
neutral comment that the deal includes the release of Lebanese Samir
Kuntar who killed a Nahariya family in 1979, and the possible
release of Palestinian prisoners at a later date. Coverage further
notes that Israeli Premier Olmert confirmed for the first time that
the two Israeli soldiers to be exchanged are believed dead.

The partial reopening of the Sufa and Nahal Oz Gaza crossing points
to allow fuel deliveries into the Strip is front page news. All
papers note that the Al-Mintar crossing point used for commercial
goods will remain closed. Jamal Al-Khudary, Head of the Popular
Committee for the Resistance of the Siege and Member of the
Palestinian Legislative Council commented that current operations at
the Gaza Strip crossing points do not inspire, "a positive or
encouraging image of what is to come," alluding to a promise by
Israelis to fully lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip as part of the
cease-fire agreement with Hamas.

Hamas has answered the Egyptian call for indirect negotiations with
Israel regarding a prisoners' exchange deal for captured Israeli
soldier Shalit, front pages reveal. Hamas leader Al- Muzayny denied
having set a date for the start of negotiations, saying that Hamas
will not begin talks unless it is sure that Israel remains
completely committed to the truce agreement, especially as concerns
the promise to lift the blockade of Gaza.

Al-Quds highlights news about the United States blocking a U.N.
Security Council resolution to require Israel to immediately halt
all settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem. U.S.
Permanent Representative to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad defended the
U.S. position and called the resolution imbalanced and biased
towards one party [Palestinians] only, Al Quds reports.

All dailies report on the Israeli incursion into Tubas on June 29,
during which a special unit of undercover soldiers "assassinated" a
17 year old Palestinian and "kidnapped" another. The boy was
accused of attempting to throw Molotov cocktails. In related
coverage, all dailies continue weekend coverage of clashes between
Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian, Israeli and foreign
demonstrators against the separation barrier in the West Bank
community Ni'lin. Seventeen people were reported injured, papers
note.

---------------
Weekend stories
---------------

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Al-Ayyam printed statements by Islamic Jihad leader Al-Batsh
commenting that the truce between Hamas and Israel will eventually
collapse if the Gaza crossing points remain closed. Al-Batsh
emphasized that no disputes exist between Islamic Jihad and Hamas
and that Hamas needs the truce to prepare for future confrontations.
Al-Batsh is also quoted promising to retaliate for any future
Israeli violations of the Gaza Strip truce. In related news,
Al-Quds prints on its front page the results of a recent opinion
poll conducted by Near East Consulting, that shows that the majority
of Palestinian favors the truce with Israel. The oll showed that

JERUSALEM 00001109 002.2 OF 002


60% support direct negotiations between Hamas and Israel, while 40%
oppose such action. 62% of Fatah supporters welcome Hamas'
participation in negotiations while 53% of Hamas supporters rejected
participation.

All dailies report on Palestinian head negotiator Quray's press
conference after his June 28 meeting with the Norwegian Minister of
Foreign Affairs. Quray confirmed that the negotiation team has
received an invitation from the United States to hold a new round of
negotiations in yet another attempt to conclude an agreement on the
establishment of a Palestinian State before President Bush departs
the White House. The invitation from Secretary Rice invited the
team to Washington in July. Quray said that ongoing negotiations
are intense because the issues being discussed are difficult. He
continued that there is determination to continue negotiations in
the hope that they will bear fruit by the end of the year.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Death of an elderly Palestinian prisoner in a Hamas Gaza jail
made the front pages of the dailies. The 72-year old prisoner, a
retired Ministry Of Health employee, was arrested by the former
Palestinian government June 25. The prisoner reportedly died of a
heart attack. The Family told the press that signs of torture were
evident on the feet of the deceased.

Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported on the G-8 Japan meeting
and the groups' call on Israel to freeze settlement activity, ease
travel restrictions and stop violence on Palestinians. The dailies
reprinted the entire statement.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front paged news about the U.S. Congress
approving a decision to increase American assistance for Israeli
security by $170 million dollars.

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

1. Al- Quds prints its daily editorial entitled, "the prisoners'
swap...and the negotiations trip": "...it is obvious that the
[Hizbollah] prisoners' swap that Israel approved [includes]
prisoners with blood on their hands... so, it is now possible to say
that this major obstacle [to the prisoner exchange deal with Hamas]
is gone. What is left now, is Israeli bargaining over the number
[of prisoner's to be released]... resuming the swap agreement
reinforces the [Hamas-Israel] truce; and vice-versa. These
developments will positively influence the general atmosphere in the
region and reinforce peace efforts and serve the interests of all
parties involved."

2. Under the headline, "The truce and its political
underpinning!!!" veteran columnist Samih Shbayb writes in
independent Al-Ayyam (06/30/08): "The truce needs a political
underpinning and an overall organizational framework. In this
regard, there is absolutely no substitute for the PLO. Hamas is an
acceptable Palestinian party to the truce [with Israel]... but
reinforcing this truce and sustaining it... requires a unified
Palestinian position within one framework which is the Palestinian
National Authority and... the PLO."

Walles

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