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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (8/19): Palestinian National

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
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FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2545
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
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RUEAHQA/CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
RHMFIUU/CMC WASHINGTON DC
RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7273
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4262
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4115
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5609
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4029
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2596

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001529

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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 (8/19): Palestinian national
dialogue needs political will and active Arab role

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Main Stories:
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All dailies lead with news about the decision of the Israeli
Ministerial Committee of Prisoners' Affairs, announced on August 18,
to release 199 Palestinian prisoners. The decision is intended as a
goodwill gesture towards the Palestinian Authority (PA) President,
Mahmoud Abbas. The list of prisoners to be released includes two
Palestinians who have been imprisoned for more than 25 years. The
dailies report that the PA government welcomed this decision,
quoting the Palestinian Minister of Information, Dr. Riyad Al-Malki,
in a press conference following the cabinet's weekly meeting on
August 18. During the same press conference, Al-Malki condemned the
Israeli excavations around Al-Aqsa Mosque and called on the
Organization of the Islamic Conference to pressure Israeli to stop
its plans to establish a synagogue and a bridge in that area.
Al-Malki also said that President Abbas will head to Saudi Arabia on
August 19 to brief the Saudi king about the latest developments in
the Palestinian arena, the negotiations with Israel, and the
Palestinian internal dialogue.

All dailies report that the PA cabinet decided during its weekly
session in Ramallah on August 18 to allocate $4.5 million to provide
needy students in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with back-to-school
supplies. The government also decided to allocate $1 million to pay
the first-semester tuition fees at local universities for students
with high grades.

Dailies highlight news about the latest developments in the
Palestinian national dialogue. According to an Al-Quds report,
reliable Egyptian sources have confirmed that Cairo will host two
dialogues for the Palestinian factions, most probably after the Eid
Al-Fitr holiday [i.e. after Ramadan]. The same sources said that
this serious dialogue will include the main factions: Fatah, Hamas,
Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
(PFLP). The Hamas leader, Fawzi Barhoum, confirmed that Hamas will
respect the outcome of the national dialogue. Al-Quds also cites a
DBA report that the Khaled Abdul Majid, the Secretary General of the
Palestinian Popular Struggle who currently lives in Damascus,
confirmed that the Palestinian factions are ready to respond to
Cairo's invitation and start dialogue. According to related coverage
in Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the Palestinian factions met in
Gaza on August 18 and agreed that the aim of the dialogue is to end
internal division and regain national unity. They also decided that
it will be a comprehensive national dialogue based on the general
national reconciliation document issued in 2006, the Cairo
declaration in 2005, and the Yemeni initiative. The dialogue will
cover: the formation of a national reconciliation government, the
rebuilding of security systems at both a national and professional
level, the activation of the Palestinian Legislative Council
according to the basic law, and the implementation of the Cairo
agreement to activate the PLO and to re-establish its institutions
on the basis of democracy and elections. The preparatory steps
would be: the immediate cessation of the politically-motivated
arrest campaigns and the negative media campaigns between factions,
the release of political prisoners, and the formation of a national
committee to end the internal division, in which both Fatah and
Hamas would participate.

Al-Ayyam spotlights statements made by Islamic Jihad leader Ibrahim
Al-Najjar concerning the truce between Israel and Hamas. In a press
statement distributed on August 18, Al-Najjar criticized the
Palestinian's iron commitment to the truce, compared with Israeli's
broken promises. He said that Israel is the sole beneficiary of the

JERUSALEM 00001529 002 OF 002


truce, as it is guaranteeing security on Israeli borders and is
reinforcing and deepening the internal division among the
Palestinian factions.


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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1. Independent Al-Quds carries an editorial by Walid Al-Awad, Member
of the Political Bureau of the Palestinian People's Party, entitled,
"the Palestinian National Dialogue Needs Palestinian Political Will
and an Active Arab Role" (8/19): "Despite the increasing talks and
press statements claiming that the Palestinian national dialogue
will be launched soon, many signs indicate that this is still far
away from happening and will require redoubled Palestinian efforts
and a more serious Arab role ... It seems that the [internal
Palestinian] conflict will not remain exclusively in the Gaza Strip,
but will extend to the West Bank in different forms. In this
context, the political concern of Hamas to repair its relations with
Jordan can be explained...by saying that Hamas is not yet ready to
submit to what has been requested from it [by Cairo] to guarantee
the success of the national dialogue ... On the other hand, despite
President Abbas' July 4th call for dialogue and his subsequent tour
of the Arab countries...and despite all his seriousness, there are
attempts to put obstacles in the path of dialogue...and Hamas'
attitudes and actions...such as political arrests, illegal closure
of institutions, and delaying the implementation of President Abbas'
order to release all the prisoners arrested following the Gaza beach
explosion...reinforce these obstacles ... From the aforementioned,
one can say that the desire for dialogue is one thing, while the
existence of a political will and the readiness to submit
requirements for its success is a completely different thing ...
This painful attitude requires Palestinian efforts, especially from
the left-wing parties..."

2. Independent Al-Ayyam runs an editorial by Hasan Asfour entitled,
"Arab Agreement is a Condition for Palestinian Agreement" (8/19):
"...Arab agreement, which should be based on the Arab-regional
parties and countries with special influence...is an essential
condition to reach what is needed [for Palestinian agreement]. Any
agreement [note: it is ambiguous whether author is referring here to
Arab or Palestinian agreement] should be based on two main things:
the context of the agreement and the mechanisms that will guarantee
its success, including the Arab security force. This is the path
that has no alternative if there is still 'an Arab desire' to end
'the big crisis'...and this requires not paying much attention to
the individual attitudes of any party...because everything is
clear...this [internal Palestinian division] has became a pure
Israeli demand ... No doubt Egypt will be capable of finding a
solution [to the internal Palestinian division], especially given
the latest Arab moves, and the creation of a positive atmosphere
particularly with Syria and other parties, in addition to Jordan's
re-engagement with individuals from Hamas..."

WALLES

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