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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (8/11): Mourning Over the Death

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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4099
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 001482

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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 (8/11): Mourning over the death
of Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish

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Main Stories:
-------------
All dailies focus on the passing away of the Palestinian national
poet, Mahmoud Darwish, on August 9. Al-Quds writes in a prominent
black headline, "Sadness and mourning over the passing away of
Darwish unites us. The [Palestinian Authority (PA)] President sends
[PA Chief of Staff] Al-Husseini to Washington to arrange the
procedure of transferring the body [to Ramallah]." Al-Ayyam's sole
headline on the front page reads, "Darwish's body will be buried in
Ramallah." Al-Hayat Al-Jadida writes, "The homeland is preparing for
the funeral of Mahmoud Darwish in Ramallah tomorrow." In related
coverage, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that PA President Abbas
received letters of condolence from several leaders and officials,
including the King of Morocco, the President of Tunisia, the Prime
Minister of Lebanon, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, the
U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem, and the Minister of Culture, Youth
and Sports of the United Arab Emirates.

Al-Quds reports that thousands of people participated in a sit-in
organized by Hamas at the Rafah crossing point on August 10, in
order to ask the Egyptian authorities to make a serious effort to
open the crossing and end the Israeli "siege" on the Gaza Strip. At
the same time, Islamists held a demonstration in front of the
Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo, asking for official
Egyptian intervention to lift the "siege." An Egyptian official
reportedly told AFP that Egypt has intensified its security presence
on the border to resist any Gazan attempts to enter by force. In
related coverage, Al-Quds cites findings from a poll conducted by
Near East Consulting on July 29-30, according to which 40% of Gazans
are thinking of emigrating.

Citing DBA, Al-Quds writes on its front page that the leader of
Hamas, Ismail Haniyyah, met with a recently-released prisoner from
an Israeli jail and told the media that Hamas would hold firm in its
demands regarding any prisoner exchange deal with Israel involving
the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Al-Quds highlights news, cited from DBA, that the Arab League has
welcomed the August 8 statement issued by the European Union
criticizing Israel's decision to establish new settlements in the
West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as a similar statement issued by
Russia on August 10. In related coverage in Al-Quds, the Regional
and International Relations Department of the PLO is said to have
asked UNESCO to withdraw its decision, made during a recent meeting
in Canada, granting Israel responsibility and supervision over the
Al-Maghrabi Gate in Jerusalem's Old City.

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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The death of the Palestinian national poet, Mahmoud Darwish,
dominates the headlines in all the dailies. Darwish died in a Texas
hospital on August 9 from complications after undergoing open-heart
surgery on August 7. The dailies carry expressions of condolence
from Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and the Minister of Culture.

Al-Quds also leads with news that Fatah and Hamas agreed in
principle on August 9 to cease their politically-motivated arrests
of one another's members and to release all those who have been

JERUSALEM 00001482 002 OF 003


arrested since the Gaza beach explosion on July 25. The agreement
does not reportedly specify dates or procedures and the Islamic
Jihad leader, Sheikh Nafez Azzam, announced to the press that Hamas
will close their "political arrest file" in the Gaza Strip and the
West Bank once Fatah demonstrates its readiness to do the same.

All dailies cover Prime Minister Fayyad's meeting with Yemeni
president Ali Abdallah Saleh in Sana'a on August 9. The dailies
report that Fayyad praised both the Yemeni initiative and President
Abbas' initiative to achieve Palestinian national unity. Fayyad
reportedly suggested the formation of a transitional national
reconciliation government, run by neither Fatah nor Hamas. Fayyad
is also said to have briefed the Yemeni president on the latest
developments in the Palestinian Territories and the efforts that
have been made to restore Palestinian national unity, as well as the
suffering caused by Israeli policies, including the "escalation" of
attacks in Palestinian areas and the expansion of settlements.

Al-Ayyam carries a story reported by the Ma'an news agency,
according to which Israel will allow 1000 Palestinians living abroad
to return to the West Bank on the basis of family reunification.
Hussein Al-Sheikh, head of the PA's Civil Affairs Committee, has
reportedly asked these individuals to apply for visitor's permits
through the Civil Affairs Committee to guarantee their return to the
West Bank, where they will then be able to obtain national identity
cards.

Al-Quds carries a press release on p. 2 from the Palestinian NGO
Ta'oun, announcing the signing of an agreement with the U.S.
Consulate General in Jerusalem and MEPI which aims at developing the
capacity of local civil society, law, and government institutions in
Nablus.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

All dailies lead with different remarks made by Palestinian Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad during his trip to Yemen on August 8. Al-Quds
writes that Fayyad asked the Arab countries to make good on monetary
pledges they made to the Palestinian Authority (PA), given the PA's
critical financial situation. Al-Ayyam focuses on Fayyad's
statement that his current government position will be his last in
the PA. Citing the official Palestine News Agency WAFA, Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida carries Fayyad's remark that the revolution in Gaza has
allowed Israel to act freely in the West Bank in terms of settlement
and security activities.

A lead story in Al-Quds focuses on the "Arab failure" to prevent
Israeli involvement in a Jordanian project aimed at protecting the
Al-Maghrabi Gate in Jerusalem's Old City. Citing remarks made by
the head of the Al-Aqsa Reconstruction Committee, Ra'ef Nijem, in an
interview with the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur on August 7,
Al-Quds writes that the recent decision of the "International
Folklore Committee," made during meetings in Canada at which a
Jordanian delegation was present, allows the Israeli authorities to
share in the responsibility for Al Aqsa. No other details about
this decision are provided.

All dailies report on Israeli actions in the West Bank and Jerusalem
on August 8. Al-Quds writes that Israeli soldiers attacked
demonstrators during their weekly peaceful demonstrations against
the separation barrier in Ni'lin and Be'lin villages outside of
Ramallah, and in Al Ma'sara village near Bethlehem. Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida reports that Israeli soldiers used large water hoses to

JERUSALEM 00001482 003 OF 003


disperse the demonstrators in Be'lin and Ni'lin, and Al-Ayyam states
that dozens of demonstrators were injured.

Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida carry remarks made by the U.S.
Security Coordinator, General Dayton, in an interview with the
Israeli daily Ha'aretz that Israel will allow 200 bullet-proof vests
and 145 cars destined for Palestinian security forces to enter the
Palestinian Territories from Jordan.

According to Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the Palestinian owner
of a house in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, was arrested on August
8 and sentenced to 3 months in jail for refusing to give the keys of
his house to a Jewish Committee and an Israeli court who intend to
establish a settlement in the area.

Al-Quds writes on p. 2 that the U.S. Consul General, Jake Walles,
called the Nablus-based Palestinian businessman Ziad Anabtawi,
Executive Manager of the Anabtawi Companies for Investment and
Development, to congratulate him on his release from an Israeli
prison and to confirm his support for the Palestinian private sector
in Nablus.

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

1. Independent Al-Ayyam runs its daily editorial by Hamada Fara'neh
entitled, "Advice for the Palestinian President" (08/11): "More than
ever before, President Mahmoud Abbas needs the solidarity of the
Fatah movement. The movement, as a political struggle organization,
is the mother that delivered Abu Mazen and made him president, as it
did the late Arafat before him, and Ahmad Qureia after [Arafat].
Without Fatah, these leaders and others would not have had the
chance to be in the position of decision-maker, and they would not
have had the national respect ... Abu Mazen wishes to re-run for the
Palestinian Authority elections, and this will not be accomplished,
will not happen, and will not be successful without the solidarity
and unity of the Fatah movement...in order for this to happen, Abu
Mazen must have his main responsibility, his main effort and his
main initiative towards his colleagues and brothers in the [Fatah]
movement. He will be grand in their eyes when he takes the
[national] reconciliation initiative...because this is the way to
overcome the revolution [note: it is unclear whether the writer
refers to a revolution within Fatah, or between Fatah and Hamas]...
Without taking this road, the Palestinian national movement will not
prevail over Israel; without this option, the national project will
not succeed in facing the expanding Israeli settlement project. So,
will Abu Mazen do it [reunite Fatah]? Can anyone advise him to do
this, for his sake in the first place, and for the sake of the
Palestinian people in the second and last place? He is known to be
a man of freedom...and democracy, and this is why he succeeded in
becoming president and gained the support of the Palestinian people.
In order for him to continue, he has to fulfill his duties, which
no one can do in his place...since he is the president, the
candidate and the leader."

WALLES

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