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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (7/28): "Bush...Seeks to Achieve

VZCZCXRO7556
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1355/01 2101035
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281035Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2285
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 7228
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4213
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4066
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5564
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3982
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2547

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 JERUSALEM 001355

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 (7/28): "Bush...seeks to achieve
an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians in order to urge
Jewish pressure groups to vote for McCain."

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
All dailies lead with news about the launching of a Palestinian
national dialogue in Cairo under Egyptian sponsorship on July 27.
Al-Quds quotes the Palestinian Authority President, Abu Mazen, as
saying "we [Palestinians] will continue the [internal] negotiations
even if the chance of success is only 1%" and reports that Abu Mazen
agrees with Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, about inviting all
Palestinian factions for talks in Cairo. Al-Ayyam reports that Abu
Mazen and Mubarak have discussed the latest developments in the
negotiations with Israel and the truce in the Gaza Strip. All the
dailies report that in a press conference held between the two
presidents in Cairo, Abu Mazen denied accusations that Fatah was
involved in the recent chaos in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Quds highlights news about the ongoing campaign of arrests of
Fatah members in the Gaza Strip by Hamas. All dailies report that
Hamas began this campaign against Fatah members on July 26,
including incursions into Fatah offices and charitable societies.
Al-Quds leads with a photo of Hamas security men checking a car in
the Gaza Strip on July 27. In related coverage, all dailies report
that on July 27, Hamas invaded the Gaza-based Media Development
Center of Bir Zeit University and either destroyed or stole its
contents. These actions are in response to the explosion which took
place next to a car used by the armed wing of Hamas on a Gaza beach
on July 25, causing the death of six people, including a child.

Coverage reports on continuing Israeli actions in the West Bank and
Jerusalem. Al-Quds reports the killing of a Hamas leader in Hebron
on July 27 by Israeli forces. In related coverage in Al-Quds, 15
Palestinian youths are reported as injured in clashes with Israeli
soldiers in Ni'lin village near Ramallah on July 27, during a
demonstration against Israelis who were constructing part of the
separation wall on Palestinian farmland. Al-Quds further cites a
member of Ni'lin village as saying in an interview on July 27 that
if the barrier is established on the remaining lands, 2500 dunums of
Ni'lin's lands will be lost in addition to 1000 olive tress. He
added that many farmers will lose their jobs on the lands from which
they earn money. In Jerusalem, Al-Quds reports on the
precedent-setting Israeli campaign of Palestinian house demolition.
On July 27, the Jerusalem municipality reiterated its intention of
destroying the five-storey house of the Palestinian Abu Eisha family
in Beit Hanina. The Palestinian Prime Minister's Counselor for
Jerusalem Affairs, Hatem Abdul Qader, warned on July 27 in an
exclusive interview with Al-Quds against the Israeli demolition
campaign against the houses of Palestinian Jerusalemites, and he
called on all Jerusalemites to start a sit-in at the Abu Eisha house
in Beit Hanina as of July 28.

Al-Quds covers the visit of a group of Palestinian negotiators to
Washington on July 30 to discuss the developments in
Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, as reported by the Palestinian
Chief Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, in an interview with Palestine
Radio on July 27. Erekat added that the peace process and the
ongoing negotiations are facing a serious crisis and should continue
without any obstacle, a reference to the latest Israeli settlement
activities.

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


JERUSALEM 00001355 002 OF 004


Sunday, July 27, 2008

The aftermath of the Gaza bombings dominates coverage in all
Palestinian dailies. Describing Hamas' reaction and its crackdown
on Fatah institutions in the Strip as an "unprecedented onslaught,"
and a "campaign of repression and arrests," the dailies ran lead
headlines criticizing the Hamas security apparatuses for the
haphazard arrests of dozens of Fatah members and the shutting down
of PLO and Fatah institutions. The dailies highlight coverage of a
statement issued by President Abbas' office, stating that despite
Hamas' actions in Gaza and its "insistence on dividing the nation,"
President Abbas will continue his efforts to "ensure the unity" of
the Palestinian Territories and "ease the suffering" of Palestinians
in Gaza. The coverage cites another statement issued by the Fatah
Central Committee bashing Hamas for the "destructive chaos" going on
in Gaza. Al-Quds front-pages an AFP report quoting Palestinian
analysts that the recent violence in Gaza will further deepen the
division and tension between Fatah and Hamas. For their part,
spokespeople for the Hamas government are quoted as saying that the
real aim of the bombings is to spoil the "state of quiet and
security that has prevailed in Gaza" in the past year.

Al-Quds front-pages an article underlining the "dismay" and "deep
disappointment" of Palestinian leaders concerning remarks by
Republican presidential nominee John McCain about Jerusalem, in
which he reportedly promised to move the American Embassy to
Jerusalem soon after he is elected. "The Jerusalem issue is bigger
than the U.S. and all its nominees," says President Abbas' advisor
Adnan Husseini, adding that the Palestinians "don't bet much on the
American policy." The same article cites Ahmad Ruweidi, also of
President Abbas' office, as saying that no American President has
the authority to rule on the status of Jerusalem. For his part,
Hatem Abdel Qader, advisor to Prime Minister Fayyad, is reported as
saying that McCain's "unfortunate" and "dangerous" statement about
Jerusalem reflects the nominee's attempt to "appease the Jewish
lobby in the U.S."


Saturday, July 26, 2008

The series of bombings that took place in Gaza on July 25, killing
at least five people---four Hamas militants and a 5-year-old
child---lead coverage in all the Palestinian dailies. While Hamas
leaders are quoted as accusing "external parties" of being behind
the attacks, front-page articles cite statements by the offices of
the PA President and Fatah, stressing that the "mysterious" bombings
were perpetrated by Hamas individuals as a result of infighting
within the movement, and that Fatah has nothing to do with this
violence.

Secretary Rice's statement that "there is still time for Israelis
and Palestinians to reach a peace agreement by the end of 2008"
receives front-page coverage in all dailies. Al-Quds cites the
Secretary as saying that the upcoming trilateral talks in Washington
between the U.S., Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) should
take place behind closed doors in order to offer the best chance for
success. Al-Ayyam quotes Deputy NSA Elliot Abrams as "disagreeing"
with Secretary Rice's optimism and instead expressing doubt about
the possibility of forging such an agreement this year, citing
Israeli PM Olmert's "weakness" as a reason. Abrams is further
quoted as saying that the current Administration is focusing on
ensuring a "smooth transition" of the negotiations file to the next
American administration.

JERUSALEM 00001355 003 OF 004

Describing it as an "unprecedented" campaign by Israel to demolish
Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, Al-Ayyam front-pages an article
highlighting the Israeli authorities' issuance of a record number of
demolition orders for Palestinian properties in several Jerusalem
neighborhoods. Al-Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida run the same story.
The coverage also includes front-page stories about the Palestinian
family Al-Kurd's efforts to save their home in Sheikh Jarrah from
being taken over by Jewish settlers. In related coverage, Al-Quds
front-pages a report citing a Ha'aretz story that the U.S. has
officially raised an objection with Israel concerning the plight of
the Al-Kurd family. In a separate article on page two, Al-Quds
quotes State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos criticizing
Israel's intention to build a new settlement in the West Bank as
"unhelpful." The EU's "displeasure" over Israel's announcement
about the new settlement also receives front-page attention in
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.

Citing a report by the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper,
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida runs a front-page story that the Palestinian
Authority is considering three options to deal with the impasse in
the peace talks with Israel. The paper states that if Israel
continues its settlement activities and the construction of the
separation barrier, the PA may take the following three decisions by
September: ceasing all contacts with Israel; unilaterally declaring
a Palestinian state; and withdrawing all Palestinian security forces
from the West Bank cities, while handing over the security
responsibility of the areas to Israel. The article cites the PLO's
Saleh Ra'fat as asserting that all these options are open and are
being seriously studied.

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

1. Al-Quds runs an editorial by Faysal Abu Khadra entitled,
"Obama...and the Miracle of Israel" (7/28): "It is sad to hear and
read that the African-American Senator whose father is a Muslim and
whose mother is a white American Christian has a tendency towards
[miraculously supporting Israel] rather than [supporting] justice
... As far as we know, Mr. Obama prays to and knows God and has
called for the respect for the Islamic, Christian and Jewish
teachings, but at the same time, he does not mention at all the
Israeli violations against the besieged Palestinian people ... We
[Palestinians] want to tell the Senator [Obama] who wishes to enter
the White House with the support of the Jewish lobby that of all the
peoples on Earth, it is the Palestinians who are the most connected
to religion and to religious teachings. So, Mr. Obama should
sympathize with the Palestinian people and approve of the justice
that they deserve by alleviating the Israeli tyranny ... We
[Palestinians] wish that the new American Administration would learn
from history and give people back their rights because it an
illusion to believe that you [Americans] and Israel will win over
the will of the Palestinian people, because this people learnt from
the past and will not move at all from their and their grandfathers'
lands and the [Palestinian people] will achieve their rights no
matter how long this will take."

2. Independent Al-Ayyam runs its daily editorial by Jawad Al-Bashiti
entitled, "Rice's Optimism!" (7/28): "[The American, Palestinian,
and Israel negotiators] still have enough time to reach a peace
agreement by the end of 2008 if they are committed to the secrecy of
the complicated and difficult negotiations going on in Washington,

JERUSALEM 00001355 004 OF 004


hosted by the U.S. Secretary of State Rice on July 30. This is what
Rice said and confirmed regarding the Israeli-Palestinian-American
talks that are to start soon ... If we suppose that the Bush
Administration wishes to show off in its final days...its interest
can be achieved if the two parties [Israelis and Palestinians] reach
an agreement despite the short time left for Bush ...
[Moreover],this administration has an interest in employing all of
its foreign policies to serve the presidential candidate McCain, and
the [hoped-for] success of McCain over Obama is what makes the
American Administration busy, especially Rice. This means that the
Bush Administration seeks to achieve an agreement between Israelis
and Palestinians in order to urge Jewish pressure groups to vote for
McCain ... If the Palestinian negotiators do not succeed in making
this paper agreement fail, then the Palestinians will be the losers
... [Therefore], Washington and July 30 are the worst place and time
for the Palestinians to hold negotiations with Israel. These
negotiations will not succeed...and will not fail...unless they
serve Israel and the election campaign of McCain run by Bush and
specifically by Rice."

WALLES

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