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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (7/18): Prisoner Exchange - First

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DE RUEHJM #1277/01 2001055
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 181055Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2166
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA 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 7211
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4196
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4049
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5547
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3965
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2530

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001277

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 (7/18): PRISONER EXCHANGE - FIRST
INDICATION THAT ISRAEL IS SERIOUS ABOUT PEACE

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Main Stories:
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For a third day, dailies lead with the Hizbollah/Israel prisoners'
exchange. Al-Quds reports on Israeli fears that Hizbollah is now
preparing a new battle technique in which rockets will target
Israeli planes flying over Lebanon as well as Israeli warships. All
dailies highlight an Israeli official's "threats" made during a July
17 print interview, to assassinate "liberated Lebanese prisoner"
Samir Qintar. The papers also remind readers of the Israeli concern
that Hizbollah will now seek revenge for the February assassination
of Hizbollah leader Imad Mughniyah. Al-Quds leads with a photo of a
truck, decorated with flowers, transporting the remains of
Palestinian prisoners through a welcoming crowd in Beirut.
Al-Ayyam's lead photo shows rows of caskets adorned in Palestinian
and Lebanese flags, awaiting the opening of an official ceremony in
Beirut. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida leads with a photo of Samir Qintar
hugging his mother at his house in Beirut, "moments after his
arrival."

The visit of Palestinian Authority Premier Salam Fayyad to the
Palestinian Bureau of Statistics on July 17 in Ramallah is
highlighted in the three dailies. During his visit, Fayyad
emphasized that Palestinian internal division and Israeli "attacks"
require Palestinians to reconsider the need for national unity
immediately. Al-Ayyam reports that Fayyad called on all Palestinian
factions to accept Palestinian Authority President Abbas' initiative
for national dialogue and stressed that ending internal division
should not be linked to reaching comprehensive agreement on other
matters.

Israeli actions in Jerusalem and the West Bank capture front page
headlines daily: The papers detail July 17 Israeli Defense Force
operations that resulted in injuries in refugee camps near the West
Bank city of Nablus, injuries to peace activists near Ramallah and
the confiscation of land near Hebron. In Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa
Institution, which works for the restoration of the city's Islamic
sites, reported that Israeli police removed a sign carrying the name
"Babul-Rahmah Cemetery," as part of the transformation of the
cemetery into a public garden. The transformation comes after
almost two years of controversy over the Israeli plans.

In more Jerusalem news, all dailies report that the Office of the
Palestinian Authority President briefed the delegation of
Palestinian negotiators in Washington on Israeli attempts to
"occupy" the house of a family in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah
neighborhood. Al Ayyam reports that the negotiators subsequently
called on Washington to intervene and halt all Israeli actions in
Jerusalem.

Al-Ayyam, in an exclusive July 17 interview with Hamas leader, Fawzi
Barhum, reports that Hamas believes that Israel continues to violate
the truce in the Gaza Strip, due to the absence of Egyptian
pressure.

U.S. Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Glassman is quoted extensively in an article by Al-Quds' Washington
correspondent on page 2 of the paper. The article, which draws
heavily on Glassman's recent editorial, is positive in tone, despite
a lead paragraph which highlights that Glassman "admits" that the
U.S. provides financial support to media outlets and
non-governmental organizations in Arab and Muslim countries to
improve its image. Glassman is quoted underscoring U.S. respect for
Islam while also emphasizing the administration's efforts to counter

JERUSALEM 00001277 002 OF 002


extremism and confront terrorist groups.

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BLOCK QUOTESQ
------------

1. Al- Quds prints its daily editorial entitled, "And what about
the 11,000 Palestinian Prisoners?" (7/18): "...the prisoners'
exchange deal which took place a couple of days ago between
Hizbollah and Israel was the successful result of difficult
negotiations conducted under United Nations sponsorship and the help
of mysterious German mediation. In addition to the happiness over
the exchange, feelings of sadness also prevailed in memory of the
large number of Palestinian and Arab martyrs who have been shot by
Israeli Defense Forces over the past four decades... One cause
remains a top priority for Palestinians - the 11,000 Palestinian
prisoners still in the Israeli prisons, and Israel's insistence on
keeping them there for several years to come despite on-going peace
negotiations with the Palestinian National Authority... the release
of these prisoners is the first and most important indication that
Israel is really serious [about peace]... what is needed now is for
the international community to keep this matter alive..."

2. Al-Ayyam runs an editorial by Muhammad Yaghi entitled, "Fourth
place, in terms of importance" (7/18): "...the Palestinian cause
will probably not be a foreign policy priority for the new U.S.
President... because it seems that the destruction in the Middle
East caused by the current American administration will not provide
enough [political] space... the first priority [for the new
president] will be evaluating the American military presence in
Iraq...the second... will be the Iranian file... because America
does not want to see a nuclear state...after Iran will come
Afghanistan... To the U.S., these three issues will be too important
to delay for the sake of dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict...
the U.S. administration will not waste its diplomatic clout on a
matter where the possibility of failure is much greater than
success..."

Lapenn

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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