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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (7/25): Differing Views On

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DE RUEHJM #1349/01 2071046
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251046Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2270
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
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RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4210
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4063
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5561
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3979
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2544

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 001349

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 (7/25): DIFFERING VIEWS ON
OBAMA'S WILLINGNESS TO CONSIDER PALESTINIAN POINT OF VIEW
-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
The Israeli decision to establish a new settlement called Maskiot
dominates the front pages of all dailies. According to Dr. Sa'eb

Erekat, chief of the Palestinian Negotiations Unit, the Palestinian
Authority (PA) made phone calls to the Quartet, the U.S.
administration, and the European Union to complain about the
establishment of this new settlement and warn about the consequences
of Israel's intensifying settlement activities and incursions into
the Palestinian Territories. Al Quds also reports that U.N
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed concern regarding these
developments and reiterated his call on Israel to stop all
settlement activities.

Israeli actions in the West Bank and Jerusalem continue to grab
front-page headlines in all the dailies. According to the coverage,
Israeli forces "invaded" several regions in the West Bank on July
24, including the Beit Ummar, Hussan, and Al- Minya villages near
Hebron, where Israeli soldiers reportedly clashed with local
residents and inspected houses. The articles in the dailies also
mention that a curfew was imposed on Bayt Fajjar village next to
Bethlehem on July 24 and that Israeli forces confiscated machines
and industrial equipment from Palestinian factories there. Finally,
all the dailies report that injuries were suffered by Palestinians
in Ni'lin village near Ramallah during a peaceful protest against
the separation wall on July 24, but differ on the number of
casualties: Al Quds reports that 12 Palestinians were injured,
while Al Hayat Al Jadida claims there were 16.

Al Quds notes that Egypt permitted official Hamas member Maryam
Farhat to enter Egypt from the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing for
urgent medical treatment following a heart attack, citing a report
by official Hamas member Salah Al- Brodwil. The same article
reports that Hamas asked Egypt on July 24 to keep the Rafah crossing
point open to allow the passage of people requiring medical
treatment. In related coverage in Al- Quds, there is mention of a
letter sent to the U.S. Administration and the State Department by
members of the U.S. Congress, the Peace Forum in the Middle East,
human rights organizations in Ohio City, and American Jewish
activists, asking that Palestinian students from the Gaza Strip be
allowed to travel to continue their studies. In the letter, they
reportedly also wrote, "we thank the U.S. Consulate General and its
staff for their understanding and for their efforts in facilitating
the issuance of visas for the Palestinian students from the Gaza
Strip who obtained American scholarships, and especially its
willingness to send members of the U.S. Consulate to the Hanoun
crossing point in the Gaza Strip to interview the students who did
not get permits from Israel to enter Jerusalem for an interview."
The letter also reportedly urged the American Administration to play
an active role in ending the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Coverage in all dailies mentions that presumptive Democratic
candidate Barack Obama began a tour in Europe on July 24, reporting
that in a speech in Berlin, Obama called on a "new generation" to
destroy divisive barriers and confront the planet's challenges. In
related coverage, Al- Quds reports that Israeli media held a series
of interviews with Obama during his visit to Israel on July 23.
Israeli media is said to have concluded from these interviews that
Obama does not intend to run away from the Middle East problems, and
will on the contrary prioritize them. In a related report in Al-
Quds, both Palestinians and Israelis are said to feel that during
his visit, Obama told each side of the conflict what it wanted to
hear, and that neither side was convinced that its stance is
wholeheartedly embraced by Obama.

JERUSALEM 00001349 002 OF 003

Main Stories:
-------------
The Israeli decision to establish a new settlement called Maskiot
dominates the front pages of all dailies. According to Dr. Sa'eb
Erekat, chief of the Palestinian Negotiations Unit, the Palestinian
Authority (PA) made phone calls to the Quartet, the U.S.
administration, and the European Union to complain about the
establishment of this new settlement and warn about the consequences
of Israel's intensifying settlement activities and incursions into
the Palestinian Territories. Al Quds also reports that U.N
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed concern regarding these
developments and reiterated his call on Israel to stop all
settlement activities.


Al Quds reports that the Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt, Nabil
Amro, announced during an interview with its correspondent in Cairo
that a Palestinian- Egyptian summit will take place on July 27. The
Palestinian Authority President will reportedly brief the Egyptian
President on the latest developments in the Palestinian Territories
and on negotiations with Israel. Al- Ayyam claims that this summit
will take place a day earlier, on July 26.

Al- Ayyam and Al- Hayat Al- Jadida report that the EU has pledged
4.7 million euros to the PA so that it can pay the salaries of its
employees, according to a statement made by the EU on July 24.

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

1. Independent Al- Ayyam runs an editorial by Rajab Abu Sirriyyeh
entitled, "Barack Obama: the journey in search of the Jewish voice"
(7/25): "...Obama's attitude towards the Israeli side...has become
clearer and more practical. [His visit to Sderot]...aims to portray
Israel as a victim of Palestinian "terrorism." In addition, he
refrained from referring to the separation wall or the settlements,
thus adopting an imbalanced policy [in favor of Israel] ... he
became closer to Israel...and the two candidates for the U.S.
presidency do not see anyone except Israel. And by the way, usually
those who reach the White House are first committed to the
continuity of American policy towards Israel...more than that, they
let Israel determine their policies regarding the Middle East
according to what is convenient for Israel...If the Palestinians do
not solve their problems with internal unity, and if the Arab
countries do not stand by the Palestinians, the coming American
Administration will be equally or even more biased towards
Israel..."


2. A second editorial in the same newspaper by Muhammad Yaghi
entitled "Obama learns to sail in the Middle East" (7/25) expresses
a different point of view: "...Obama's declarations in Israel and
his visit to Sderot, the Wailing Wall, the Holocaust Museum and his
meeting with the [Israeli] leader of the opposition party, Benyamin
Netanyahu, were dedicated to the Jewish voters and to the Israeli
groups who can influence the results of the American elections. In
the Middle East...Obama's eyes were focused on the American
elections and on his opponent. However, this did not make him lose
his balance which his opponent McCain lost when he [McCain] said
with indifference, 'let the Palestinians say whatever they like' as
if the Arab and Islamic world were worthless."

3. Al- Quds runs its daily editorial entitled, "Until when will the

JERUSALEM 00001349 003 OF 003

Main Stories:
-------------
The Israeli decision to establish a new settlement called Maskiot
dominates the front pages of all dailies. According to Dr. Sa'eb
Erekat, chief of the Palestinian Negotiations Unit, the Palestinian
Authority (PA) made phone calls to the Quartet, the U.S.
administration, and the European Union to complain about the
establishment of this new settlement and warn about the consequences
of Israel's intensifying settlement activities and incursions into
the Palestinian Territories. Al Quds also reports that U.N
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed concern regarding these
developments and reiterated his call on Israel to stop all
settlement activities.

Rafah crossing point be closed?" (7/25) "...besieging one and a half
million Palestinians in order to punish Hamas is a kind of
collective punishment that violates international laws. Saying that
opening the Rafah crossing point will empower Hamas is a hypothesis
that lacks logic and objectivity. The question that arises in this
context: will the closure of the crossing continue as long as Hamas
is in control of the Gaza Strip? And what if Hamas' control of the
Gaza Strip lasts a long time?...Gazan people...have the right to ask
that all the involved parties...especially the Palestinian
Authority, the EU, Egypt, and Israel, deal with the question of
opening the crossing from the humanitarian point of view, regardless
of the political factors, and quickly move to end the unfair siege
by opening all the crossings, especially Rafah...to enable the
Gazans to move and travel for treatment, and in order to revive the
economy and trade. And Hamas has to be willing to re-embrace
national unity and constitutional legislation. But opening the
crossings is a top priority because it is the most urgent and
sensitive Palestinian, Arab and international demand."

Walles

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