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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (7/16): "Has the World Become

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2139
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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4045
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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

JERUSALEM ALSO FOR ICD
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 (7/16): "HAS THE WORLD BECOME
RESIGNED TO PALESTINIAN SUFFERING?"

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Main Stories:
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The prisoners' exchange deal between Hizbollah and Israel dominates
front page coverage in all dailies. All papers run over-sized lead
photos: Al-Quds shows Lebanese trucks decorated with flowers,
standing ready to receive the remains of Lebanese prisoners along
with an in-set photo of Palestinian fighter Dalal Al-Mughraby in
military dress; Al-Ayyam highlights a photo of a man hanging a
poster of Al-Mughraby in southern Lebanon; Al-Hayat Al-Jadida runs
the same photo, next to a poster of Lebanese prisoner, Samir
Al-Kuntar. The papers outline the details of the exchange and note
that Al-Mughraby may be returned as one of the "unidentified
bodies." Coverage says that Lebanon has declared July 16 as a
national holiday to welcome the return of the prisoners.

All front pages highlight reactions to the July 14 decision by the
Israeli Supreme Court to evict Palestinian tenants from a home in
the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The Palestinian
Authority President's office complained on July 15 to the Quartet
and Washington about the decision which comes after a protracted
legal battle, according to coverage. Al Quds quotes a Palestinian
official stating that the United States sent U.S. Consulate General
staff to the neighborhood to review the situation. The Palestinian
official also confirmed that the Consulate representative was given
a letter by residents addressed to President Bush, requesting that
Bush stop, "the humanitarian disaster."

The cancellation of Quartet Representative Tony Blair's July 15
visit to Gaza is front page news. Blair said in an interview with
Al-Quds that he has decided to delay, not cancel, his visit because
of several credible security threats against him. Blair added that
the political situation in Israel will make it difficult for parties
to reach a peace agreement by the end of the year. Blair also
confirmed that he has discussed recent Israeli Defense Force
operations in the West Bank cities of Nablus and Janin with Israeli
officials.
Al-Quds highlights news that Chief Palestinian negotiator, Ahmad
Quray and PLO negotiator Sa'eb Erekat have departed for Washington
to meet with Secretary Rice. The two Palestinian officials intend
to brief Rice about, "the latest developments in the Palestinian
Territories."

Israeli authorities have begun the transformation of a historically
Islamic cemetery in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Bab-Al-Rahma
into a public garden, according to Al Quds' front page. The paper
quotes Sheikh Abu Sheikhah, head of the Al Aqsa institution which
works for the restoration of Jerusalem Islamic Holy sites, who
warns, "against this Israeli attack [and] ... judaization plan."
Controversy over the plans began more than 1 and half years ago when
Muslims were barred by Israeli authorities from entering the
cemetery to visit relatives' graves. Israel claims that the site
contains historic Jewish ruins that will be incorporated into the
garden that is situated near the Al Aqsa mosque compound, Al Quds
reports.

Al-Ayyam continues coverage on Palestinian national dialogue: The
paper's front page quotes Fatah representative Jibril Al-Rjub in an
exclusive July 15 interview, confirming that dialogue will begin
under Arab sponsorship in Egypt in August 2008. In related
coverage, the paper reports that Hamas leader, Mahmud Al-Zahhar
emphasized that Palestinian national dialogue will be delayed,
"until further notice due to external pressures." Al-Zahhar added

JERUSALEM 00001259 002 OF 002


that priority should instead be given to the issues of reopening the
Gaza-Egypt Rafah crossing point, the possible prisoners' exchange
deal between Hamas and Israel, and stabilizing the truce in the Gaza
Strip.

Al-Quds runs the full text of Democratic presidential candidate
Barak Obama's, "My Plan for Iraq" on page two. Citing the New York
Times, the paper runs the piece next to a photo of Obama. U.S.
policy towards Iraq is also the topic of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida's
political cartoon which shows Iraq personified as a headless man in
a black suit, handing his head on a platter to Uncle Sam. The
cartoon is entitled, "the Iraqi Government allows investment in
Iraq's oil sector."

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

1. Al- Quds prints its daily editorial entitled, "A call on the
international community to halt Israeli actions." Everyday Israel
performs acts of tyranny [against Palestinians] such as destroying
houses, confiscating land or insisting on building barriers in the
middle of farming villages that prevent people from reaching their
fields and from communicating with their relatives... and all of
this happens right in front of the international 'family',
especially our brothers, the Arab countries... The 'siege' on the
Gaza Strip continues and dozens of sick Palestinians are dying
because of a lack of medicine or from being barred from treatment
abroad. This does not faze Arab or foreign officials, while the act
of detaining one prisoner in any of the other five continents shakes
the consciousness of the world... The question is: Have the
international community and our Arab brothers become apathetic and
resigned to... continued Israeli tyranny against the
Palestinians?... [Even though] it is the role of the international
community and our Arab brothers to push Israel to stop its actions
and end the occupation and settlement activities..."

2. Al-Ayyam runs an editorial by Hamada Fara'nah, entitled, "Syrian
success in employing regional issues [to increase diplomatic clout]"
(7/15):"...Syria [openly] seeks to continue negotiations with Tel
Aviv under U.S. sponsorship. Syria has also contributed to the
success of the Qatari mediation at the Doha conference [on
Palestinian reunification] and facilitated the election of the
Lebanese president and thereby the Paris Mediterranean summit, with
the participation of Al-Assad, Sulayman, the Qatari prince and
Sarkozy... Damascus has welcomed Abu Mazin and the truce agreement
between Hamas and Israel... so, Syria [is clearly skilled at
leveraging its diplomatic clout].

Lapenn

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