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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (8/14): "Dangerous Signs In

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2503
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4106
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5600
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4020
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2587

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001499

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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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (8/14): "Dangerous Signs in
Jerusalem"

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Main Stories:
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The funeral of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish in Ramallah on
August 13 dominates the front pages of all dailies. Al-Quds writes,
"In an official ceremony attended by the public, Palestine bade
farewell to Mahmoud Darwish. [Palestinian Authority (PA)] President:
'You will remain with us, Mahmoud, because you left us something
that makes us say 'see you' and not 'goodbye''". Al-Ayyam writes in
large white letters against a black border, "After an official
farewell in Amman and a crowded funeral led by the President [Abbas]
in Ramallah, 'Palestine' bids farewell to Mahmoud Darwish."
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida leads with a large two-sentence headline:
"Palestine pays its last honors to the poet of its resistance and
cause, Mahmoud Darwish. PA President--'August 9 [the date of
Darwish's death] is a pivotal day in the history of Palestinian and
human culture.'"

All dailies highlight news about Cairo's invitation to the
Palestinian factions to launch a national dialogue. Al-Quds carries
several statements by Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar, including his
announcement that Hamas has not yet received this invitation.
Al-Zahar added that Hamas will answer the three questions
[previously posed by Egypt] regarding the movement's opinion of the
national dialogue agenda. Al-Zahar also expressed doubts about
Fatah's seriousness in achieving national reconciliation. Dr. Rabah
Mhanna, a member of the Central Committee of the PFLP, asserted that
there are some leaders in Fatah and Hamas who are not making any
effort to pursue a Palestinian dialogue to end the internal
division.

All dailies cover news on the explosion that took place in Tripoli,
in Lebanon, on August 13. The explosion reportedly caused 18 deaths
and 45 injuries. According to the dailies, Syrian and Lebanese
officials believe that the explosion was intended to hinder the
relations between the two countries.

The dailies carry a story about Israeli Defense Minister Ehud
Barak's speech during a Labor Party conference in Demona, first
reported in the Israeli daily, The Jerusalem Post. According to the
story, Barak said that Israel must make a difficult decision in
order to guarantee the release and safe return of its captive
soldier, Gilad Shalit. He added that Israel must make use of the
truce with Hamas to push forward the negotiations on Shalit.

Al-Ayyam cites WAFA's coverage about Israeli actions in East
Jerusalem on August 13, reporting that Israeli bulldozers demolished
three houses in Beit Hanina and the Al-Eisawiya village in East
Jerusalem under the "pretext" that the houses had been built a
license. In other coverage in Al-Ayyam, the Israeli NGO "Peace Now"
revealed that the Israeli government has issued bids to establish
1761 housing units in East Jerusalem settlements since the Annapolis
Conference took place in November 2007.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida cites Reuters as reporting that Israeli gave
Washington the green light to supply the Palestinian security forces
with flak jackets. Al-Quds carries the same story on an inside
page. According to the report, Palestinian officials asked the U.S.
Consulate in Jerusalem whether Israel would attempt to alter the
equipment, but the U.S. Consulate declined to comment on the issue.


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BLOCK QUOTES:

JERUSALEM 00001499 002 OF 002


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Al-Quds runs its daily editorial entitled, "Dangerous Signs in
Jerusalem" (8/14): "Since the very beginning, they [the Israelis]
were planning something special for Jerusalem. They announced its
reunification [after the 1967 Six-Day War] and began practical steps
towards Judaizing it. Then, the Oslo agreements came and postponed
the question of Jerusalem to a later stage. Finally, from the
Israeli side, the peace talks, negotiations and proposals excluded
Jerusalem while the Palestinians have insisted that Jerusalem is an
issue that cannot be ignored...and that Jerusalem is the heart of
Palestine and its permanent capital. In the past few days, the
Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported that Olmert presented proposals
regarding the final status issues but excluded Jerusalem again,
claiming that raising the issue of Jerusalem may lead to problems in
the [Israeli] government. The former Israeli governments ignored
all Palestinian demands and all international calls and decisions
regarding Jerusalem. And they [Israeli governments] continued their
policies of Judaization and control and claimed that the settlement
activities in Jerusalem and its surroundings were taking place
'inside Israeli borders' and were therefore not considered
settlements or violations of agreements. In the past few weeks, new
developments have taken place. These new developments indicate that
there are more dangerous plans that threaten not only Jerusalem in
general, but also the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular, starting from
the Al-Maghrabi Gate ... The new plans include two parts: the first,
building a synagogue and an iron bridge in the area, which some
describe as a military bridge that would allow Israeli forces and
vehicles to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque space at will. The second,
more seemingly dangerous part, which was revealed by Sheikh Ra'ed
Salah, head of the Islamic Movement, and is based on official
Israeli documents and plans ... These documents are issued by the
Israeli government and consider that the area around the Al-Aqsa
Mosque is a public space, and that the holy sites do not exceed the
actual buildings of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock ...
The signs are very big and dangerous and a political move on all
levels should be made rapidly in order to confront these dangers and
prevent the Israeli activities from taking place..."

WALLES

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