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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (6/05): Israeli and Us Elections

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DE RUEHJM #0923/01 1541056
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021056Z JUN 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1680
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 7141
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4128
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3981
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5479
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3897
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2459

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 000923

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 (6/05): ISRAELI AND US ELECTIONS
"FREEZE" PEACE PROCESS


-------------
Main Stories:
-------------

All front pages carry negative reports about Israeli plans to,
"renew [Israel's] settlement campaign in Jerusalem." Al-Quds
reports that the timing of the "settlement campaign" is meant to
come just before the June 2 meeting of Palestinian President Abbas
and Israeli Premier Olmert. Angry comments by Palestinian Authority
(PA) officials appear in the dailies: Palestinian Presidency
spokesperson Abu Rudaynah states, "This is a real threat to the
peace process." Al-Ayyam calls the plans a, "settlement attack on
Jerusalem." All dailies quote PLO negotiator Sa'eb Erekat
announcing that, "settlements, negotiations and the truce will all
be on the agenda of [the June 2] meeting between Olmert and Abbas."

Violence grabs headlines: 12 Palestinians were injured during a
protest, "against the wall" in N'ilin village near the West Bank
city of Ramallah, according to the dailies. The papers also
highlight the injuring of three Palestinians and an Israeli soldier
during an Israeli military operation in Gaza on May 1. Papers also
report that Israeli police have, "heightened the security alert" in
Jerusalem because of activities linked to the Israeli celebration
of, "Jerusalem day," a national holiday celebrating the
"reunification" of the city in 1967. Related coverage highlights an
"attack" by Israeli authorities on Palestinians gathered in East
Jerusalem at a June 2 commemoration ceremony for deceased
Palestinian Authority advisor on Jerusalem affairs, Faisal
Al-Hussayn.

Front pages devote extensive, positive coverage to the homecoming of
Lebanese civilian Nassim Nasr on June 1, following his release from
an Israeli jail. Nasr served a six-year prison term on charges of
spying for Hezbollah Reports note that Palestinian prisoners in
Israeli jails are encouraged by the action, hoping that a prisoner
exchange deal may happen soon. Photos of Lebanese celebrating the
release also appear on the front pages.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida's front page reports that PLO member Yaser Abd
Rabbo confirmed that the appointment of a vice president to the
Palestinian Authority and the PLO is a proposal currently under
consideration.

Reports about a truce between Hamas and Israel continue to attract
front page headlines. Al-Quds reports that Hamas denied receiving
any, "official Israeli response" to a truce proposal. Hamas also
announced its readiness to start immediate national talks with Fatah
and other Palestinian parties. Meanwhile Hamas repeated its threats
to end the "siege" on Gaza. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoom
commented that, "the breaking of the siege could come at any moment
and the world will be caught off guard." At the same time, Hamas
denied reports that Egyptian authorities would soon reopen the
Gaza-Egypt Rafah crossing.

Al-Ayyam's front page reports that former American diplomats met
with former Hamas Premier Haniyya in Gaza on June 1. Al Quds
carries an inside story. The stories note the visiting Americans
confirming that they did not, "ask anyone's permission," to travel
to Gaza and that they had, "serious and open negotiations," with
Haniyya.

Ma'an New agency reports that German Foreign Minister Steinmeier is
scheduled to visit Jenin district on June 2, together with a
high-level Palestinian delegation including Palestinian Prime

JERUSALEM 00000923 002 OF 003


Minister Salam Fayyad. Related coverage in the dailies, reports on
a June 1 meeting between Fayyad and a European Union delegation in
Ramallah. According to reports, Fayyad discussed Israeli measures
and settlement expansion.

The dailies reported on the visit of US General Fraser to Nablus.
The dailies positively highlighted that General Fraser met with
local businessmen and was given a briefing by Nablus Governor Jamal
Muhaysin on economic, political and security issues.

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

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The front pages of the three dailies carried extensive coverage on
Israeli "settlement plans" for Jerusalem continuing coverage from
May 31 about building tenders announced by Israeli Housing Minister
Boim on May 30. Al-Quds reported that 1,420 new units will be added
to the Jerusalem area settlements of Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev.
Al-Ayyam reported the number of new housing at 820. Related coverage
on Al-Ayyam's front page also revealed statistics from an Israeli
study showing that the number of, "Palestinians is increasing in
Jerusalem. They form 34% of its population."

The dailies reported that a "storm" erupted over celebrity U.S. chef
Rachael Ray wearing a kaffiyah. The front page of Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida reported that Dunkin' Donuts has pulled an online
advertisement featuring Ray after criticism from conservative groups
in the U.S. over her choice of scarf.

Saturday May 31, 2008

The front pages carried a neutral to positive article responding to
the New York Times article about Fulbright grants being withdrawn
from Gaza students. The dailies highlighted that Secretary Rice is
"investigating" a decision that was made by the State Department on
this issue. All dailies highlighted Washington's, "pressure to
secure," the traveling of seven students from Gaza to study in the
United States. Al-Quds reported in a red box that the State
Department will resume Fulbright scholarships for Gaza students. All
dailies carried the full text of the May 30 NY Times article. The
dailies reported that the State Department issued a statement saying
that, "the United States will not give up on innocent people living
in Gaza," adding that, "communications will continue with the
Israeli Government to enable these students to travel."

All dailies carried the US Consulate General Jerusalem's press
release about the donation of 700 books and 100 magazines to the
Community Center in Salfit on inside pages. The dailies quoted
Public Diplomacy Officer Jacqueline Deley stating that, "we are
delighted to provide these books that came entirely from the private
collections of staff and families of the U.S. Consulate." The
Deputy Governor, Mr. Souf, thanked the U.S. Consulate for its
generosity and support for the people of Salfit, according to the
reports.

The front page of Al-Quds carried the results of an opinion poll
that shows that 73% of respondents trust Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas. The poll was conducted by the Near East Company for
Consultation in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. The poll also
showed that 65% of respondents oppose the resignation of the
President; 37% support Fatah; 13% support Hamas; 6% support other

JERUSALEM 00000923 003 OF 003


Palestinian factions; 75% of respondents support signing a final
peace agreement with Israel.

------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------
1. Independent daily Al-Ayyam runs an op-ed by veteran columnist
Talal Okal entitled, "After Barak... Olmert loses his chance"
(6/02): "...Olmert cannot go to Washington and ask for its support
in the middle of his current crisis unless he achieves some progress
in his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Abbas... Bush
showed unlimited support to Israel when he visited to celebrate its
60th anniversary, which was also a show of [U.S.] support for
Olmert... But the question is, can Olmert, who is weak... really
pull off a historic or significant break-through while he is losing
the confidence [of everyone] everywhere he goes..."

2. Independent daily Al-Ayyam runs an op-ed by veteran columnist
Samih Shbaib entitled, "Early elections and the contours of the
Israeli political map!" (6/02): "It is practically an established
fact that early Israeli elections will take place soon. As a
result, political Israeli parties have begun preliminary moves
towards elections including the Kadima party... we can infer that
the current state of the Israeli political map, after Olmert's
scandals and his preliminary surrender, is very tentative and likely
to change... Israel will experience a string of changing... foreign
policy. It will not be able to negotiate neither with the
Palestinians nor the Syrians. This situation will be accompanied by
a frozen U.S. foreign policy until the beginning of next year. This
raises very serious questions about how to deal with Palestinian
negotiations and realign Palestinian national efforts with the
national interest."

WALLES

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