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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (6/03): Palestinian Pessimism In

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DE RUEHJM #0932/01 1551116
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031116Z JUN 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1692
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 7144
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4131
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3984
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5482
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3900
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2462

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 000932

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 (6/03): PALESTINIAN PESSIMISM IN
LIGHT OF ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS AND POLITICAL CRISIS


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Main Stories:
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The dailies devote extensive coverage with photos to the June 2
meeting of Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Premier Olmert in
Jerusalem. The dailies characterize the meeting as "difficult."
The lead story in Al-Quds reports that Abbas told Olmert,
"negotiations and settlements do not mix." Al-Ayyam reports that
the meeting ended, "without results."

Upon his departure to Washington, the dailies note Israeli Premier
Olmert's comments that, "Jerusalem will forever remain under Israeli
control." Related negative coverage about settlement expansion in
the Jerusalem area also appears on all front pages. Papers run
statements from the White House and the United Nations showing
"concern" over the Israeli plan to build 844 new homes in "occupied
East Jerusalem." Al-Quds reports that Palestinian Prime Minister
Fayyad declared himself, "pessimistic" in an interview with AP about
negotiations with Israel in light of accelerating settlement
activities.

Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad has signed an agreement with the
German Foreign Minister to provide funding for ten development
projects in Jenin, the dailies note. Separate reports in all papers
highlight that Israeli authorities have allowed "Arabs living inside
the green line" to go shopping in Jenin for the first time in eight
years. The papers declare the action a positive step that will help
Jenin's economy.

Headlines highlight that Palestinian President Abbas announced that
his government is, "thinking of calling for Arab and international
intervention to end the miserable situation in Gaza." Related
coverage in all dailies carries "threats" by the Israeli Government
to conduct a "wide-scale military operation" in Gaza.

Ma'an News Agency reports that, "The U.S. Consulate [on June 1] told
Fulbright candidates from Gaza that it is restoring funding for the
prestigious scholarship program and is 'working closely' with the
Government of Israel to secure permits for the students to leave
Gaza in order to attend visa interviews at the U.S. Consulate in
Jerusalem and thereafter leave Gaza for travel to the United
States."

Citing wires, the front page of Al-Ayyam reports that presidential
candidate John McCain has promised to, "provide more support to
Israel." Al-Ayyam quotes McCain stating that threats against Israel
are escalating so American support to Israeli should also increase.


Citing different news agencies, the front page of Al-Ayyam reports
that the Syrian President has asked for American sponsorship of
Syrian negotiations with Israel.

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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1. Independent daily Al-Ayyam runs an op-ed by veteran columnist
Muhannid Abd-Alhamid entitled, "Do we have other options?" (6/03):
"After the American and Israeli performance, who dares be optimistic
about reaching a political solution that will end the Israeli
occupation and bring international legitimacy? Anyone who takes a
closer look at what has been announced and what is still hidden in
the details on the negotiation table, and at the situation on the

JERUSALEM 00000932 002 OF 002


ground, will conclude that there is no solution! Moderate and
extremists agree on this point. Bush's administration and several
Israeli governments succeeded in convincing the world, including
Arab countries and the Palestinian elite, that [former Palestinian
President] Arafat was the obstacle to reaching an agreement at Camp
David in 2000. But this [analysis] has been proven wrong after the
death of Arafat and the election of [Palestinian President] Abbas
who is totally committed to the road map without reservation.
[Abbas] surrendered to negotiations as the one and only means [of
achieving peace]. Nevertheless, the Israelis continued to repeat:
There is no Palestinian partner..."

2. Independent daily Al-Quds runs an op-ed by columnist Rasim
Obaidat entitled, "Stopping the vicious circle." (6/03): "... it is
not true that what is happening in Israel is an internal Israeli
issue; it is an issue that has direct influence on Palestinian
issues and Palestinian rights. Under no circumstances should
Israeli political reshuffling be used as a justification to escalate
Israeli aggression against our people. We remain under an
occupation that is growing worse and we should not place our hope
[for improvement] in the international community. Previous
experience has taught us that the world does not respect weak people
and discounts them... given current Israeli settlement policy and
their rejection of peace, the Palestinian team should... declare
[negotiations] a failed mechanism."

WALLES

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