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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (8/15): The Status of Palestinians

VZCZCXRO1544
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1511/01 2281003
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151003Z AUG 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2518
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 7266
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4255
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4108
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5602
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4022
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2589

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 001511

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 (8/15): The status of Palestinians
in the future Middle East?

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
Al-Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida lead with news about Israeli actions
in the West Bank. Al-Quds reports that the Land Registration Office
at Beit El announced on August 14 the confiscation of 92 dunums of
land from the Al-Khudar village near Bethlehem, claiming that these
lands either belong to Israel or to Palestinians living abroad. This
land confiscation will reportedly allow the expansion of the Israeli
Efrat settlement built on Al-Khudar village. In a similar vein, the
Israeli authorities reportedly issued an order to confiscate lands
in Hebron for "military purposes." According to related coverage,
Israeli bulldozers continued to damage farms and rip out olive trees
for the third consecutive day in Al-Rumana village, near Jenin, in
order to expand an Israeli military training base. Al-Quds and
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida report the injury of 15 Palestinians and foreign
peace activists, and the arrest of three others, during a peaceful
demonstration in Ni'lin village near Ramallah on August 14.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that Israeli forces also injured two
Palestinians in the Al-Dheisheh Refugee Camp and arrested ten others
in locations across the West Bank on August 14.

All dailies highlight Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's statement
that Israeli would refuse to allow the return of 20,000 Palestinian
refugees in any peace deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The dailies write that the PA Presidency has rejected this
declaration and cited a statement by the PA's official spokesperson,
published by the official Palestine news agency WAFA, that Olmert's
declarations are not acceptable, including those involving Jerusalem
and the future Palestinian borders. He added that these
declarations are a maneuver to mislead public opinion and hold the
Palestinians responsible for any failure in the peace talks.
Al-Ayyam quotes the Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Dr. Sa'eb Erekat,
as having said in an interview with its correspondent that "we [the
Palestinian Authority] have not received any official Israeli
proposals regarding the refugees and we insist on a solution based
on the Arab initiative."

The three dailies cover news about the visit of PA President Mahmoud
Abbas to the memorial site of the recently deceased Palestinian
poet, Mahmoud Darwish, at the Cultural Palace in Ramallah on August
14. Dailies report that Abbas continues to receive condolence
letters following the death of Darwish.

Al-Ayyam cites Ma'an in reporting that Fatah accepted on August 14 a
proposal made by Palestinian left-wing parties to form a national
committee to end the politically-motivated arrest campaign [between
Fatah and Hamas]. The agreement was reached following a meeting in
the Gaza Strip between Fatah and three left-wing parties: the
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic
Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and the Palestinian
People's Party (PPP). A member of the Central Committee of the
DFLP, Mahmoud Khalaf, announced that Fatah demonstrated readiness to
participate in a national committee to end these
politically-motivated arrests in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,
and that Hamas and other Palestinian factions would be invited to
participate in this committee.

Al-Ayyam carries a story first published in the Israeli paper Yediot
Ahronot, in which Israeli sources claim that Egypt wishes to broker
a deal between Israel and Hamas in November 2008 that would involve
the release of the captive Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. The
Israeli sources said that Hamas continues to insist that its demands
be met in any such deal and also demands that Israel re-open the

JERUSALEM 00001511 002 OF 003


Rafah crossing point.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that the Israeli Deputy Minister for Army
Affairs, Matan Vilna'i, announced on August 14 the reopening of the
Karam Abu Salem crossing point in the Gaza Strip on August 17. He
added that the Sofa crossing point will be gradually closed.


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

1. Independent Al-Quds runs its daily editorial by Azzam Tawfiq Abu
Al-Su'oud entitled, "Will there be a New Middle East?" (8/15):
"Since the beginning of [Bush's] presence in the White House, we
have heard about American plans for a new Middle East ... We are
accustomed to the idea that the American strategy does not change
according to who runs the U.S.A ... So, we do not expect any changes
as a result of the coming presidential elections. So, the American
attempts to create a new Middle East will continue... but, let's
look at the preparatory American steps taken in the past few years
to start or to pave the way to start changing the Middle East into a
new Middle East, more moderate, less restless and more loyal to the
United States. So, the war in Afghanistan did not achieve a great
deal after years ... The Iraqi war succeeded in removing the
previous dictatorial system, but it did not bring a better system
... The ruling system in Libya has become more yielding ... In
Sudan, there are attempts at division. Whenever Sudan solves one
problem, another problem occurs ... In Palestine, there is internal
corruption and division which has weakened the two local political
powers and has caused the Palestinian people to lose confidence in
both ... And in Lebanon, an American retrogression, which might be
temporary, has paralyzed the Lebanese for two years and occupied
them with recovering from the destruction caused by the war [with
Israel] which America supported ... In Syria, [the Americans] opened
doors to calm it down, and tempted it to sever its relations with
their [the Americans'] enemy, Iran ... As for Iran, it forms the
biggest problem which hinders the implementation of the new Middle
East plan. The Iranians try to gain time by postponing negotiations
regarding the nuclear file ... As for Turkey...the Americans tried
to satisfy it under the pretext of maintaining its secular
system...they deal with it carefully now but their [military] bases
are ready there to implement any plan [the Americans] want ... It
seems that the Americans are not happy with any of the current
systems in the Middle East, whether these systems are secular,
revolutionary, religious or even moderate and upon which it can rely
in implementing its plan. And its previous attempts to break the
Middle East countries into multiple and weaker ones did not really
succeed till now ... As for our status as Palestinians in this new
Middle East, we still do not know, will it be above or under the
soil?..."

2. Independent Al-Ayyam carries an editorial by Muhammad Yaghi
entitled, "On the Idea of Declaring the [Gaza] Strip a Revolutionary
Region" (8/15): "Every now and then, crazy ideas occur such as
'declaring Gaza a revolutionary region and calling on the United
Nations to issue a decision to make Arab and international forces
enter the Gaza Strip.' This call means firstly that there are people
who are convinced that the conflict is no longer between the
Palestinian people and the [Israeli] occupation ... It is a call to
make the occupation permanent and to reinstate it in the Gaza Strip
instead of getting rid of it. Secondly, this call paves the way to
absolving Israeli of its 'siege' on the Gaza Strip and of its daily
crimes in the West Bank, such as killing, arresting, closing

JERUSALEM 00001511 003 OF 003


[checkpoints and borders] and establishing settlements ... Thirdly,
it is a call to cancel the Palestinian national movement because it
cannot be 'national' when it throws away half of its people and part
of its land for which it has fought for a long time ... In any case,
it is a call that contradicts the reality which says that the main
beneficiary of the division from which our people suffer is the
occupation ... The Palestinian people are the ones who choose their
leadership of their own free will ... It seems to me [the writer]
that the first mistake...was depriving the Palestinian people of
their right to be ruled by Hamas ... The solution is to enable the
Palestinian people and empower them and give them confidence to
overcome this crisis ... This can be done if the [well-known and
traditionally-appointed] leaders retire, and the [Palestinian]
national factions select entirely new leaderships..."

WALLES

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