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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (8/26): A First Step Towards Full

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DE RUEHJM #1562/01 2390640
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 260640Z AUG 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2589
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA 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 7283
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4272
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4125
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5619
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4039
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2606

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001562

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 (8/26): A First Step towards Full
Release of all Palestinian Prisoners?

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Main Stories:
-------------
The three dailies lead with news about the huge popular reception
organized on August 25 in the Presidential Compound in Ramallah for
the 199 Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails. Carrying
large, above-the-fold photos of the released prisoners with
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, the dailies
report that Abbas confirmed at the reception that the Palestinians
want peace and that peace will be achieved only if all prisoners are
released. The dailies report that the released prisoners also
visited the tomb of the late Yasser Arafat.

All the dailies highlight news about the visit of the U.S. Secretary
of State, Condoleezza Rice, to the region on August 25. They report
that in her meetings with Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem,
Rice confirmed the Bush administration's commitment to achieving a
two-state solution. The Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Ahmed Qureia,
stressed that the continuing Israeli settlement activities, the
establishment of walls, the erection of checkpoints, and the West
Bank closures will not lead to peace.

The dailies also front-page news of the Fatah Central Committee's
preparations to hold their sixth General Conference. The dailies
report that PA President Abbas held three meetings on August 23 and
24 in Ramallah and announced on August 25 that the preparations for
the sixth General Conference will soon be finalized.

Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida highlight news about the Palestinian
factions' talks in Cairo. Citing a DBA report, Al-Ayyam writes that
the Hamas leader, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, denied in an interview with the
Egyptian daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi on August 25 that the Hamas leader
Khaled Mish'al had arrived in Cairo to discuss Egyptian efforts to
launch the Palestinian national dialogue. Al-Zahar asserted that it
was the Islamic Jihad movement that had arrived, not Mish'al.
Al-Zahar confirmed that the chances of the national dialogue
succeeding were "difficult" due to the "American veto on
reconciliation." In addition, he rejected the notion of allowing
Arab forces to enter the Gaza Strip. In related coverage in
Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida cited from Reuters, unnamed
officials said that the new round of Egyptian efforts for
reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah that was launched on August
25 will not be able to achieve reconciliation. One of the officials
said that Egypt is not satisfied with Hamas because the latter is
hindering the talks with their insistence on conditions for a
prisoner exchange deal with Israeli that would include the captive
Israeli soldier, Shalit.

Al-Ayyam cites DBA that Islamic Jihad confirmed on August 25 in
Cairo that it is committed to the Hamas-Israel truce in the Gaza
Strip despite Israel's "lack of commitment."


------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------
1. Under the headline "Congratulations on the Prisoners' Release,
What's next..!" (8/26), Independent Al-Quds opined in its main
editorial: "This is a first step, and Israel should consider it as
such, towards the comprehensive release of thousands of Palestinian
prisoners crowding Israeli jails and detentions camps, most of whom

JERUSALEM 00001562 002 OF 002


have been thrown there without undergoing a fair trial or through
administrative detention orders or due to confidential evidence that
was never revealed. In any case, the release of ALL the prisoners,
without categorizing or classifying them or applying irrational and
illegal standards, is a national Palestinian demand that should have
been accomplished a long time ago, despite the objections of the
extremists in Israeli society ... Everybody realizes by observing
the experiences of global liberation movements that the release of
prisoners is the first step in any peace agreement, whether
transitional or permanent, because only through this can evidence of
good intentions and complete seriousness be illustrated ... The
international community and its legal and humanitarian institutions
have an obligation to close the [prisoners] file and do away with
all its negative and frustrating implications for the Palestinians
and the peace process in general."

2. Independent Al-Ayyam runs a daily editorial by Hani Al-Masri
entitled, "Regarding the Idea of Bringing Arab Forces into the Gaza
Strip" (8/26): "... [T]he danger of getting assistance from Arab
forces, even in the Gaza Strip, is that firstly, it requires
approval from Israel because in order for this idea to take place,
the items of the 1979 agreement between Israel and Egypt must be
reviewed, especially the items regarding the demilitarized areas.
Secondly, this idea affects the temporary crossing agreement from
2005. This agreement stipulates Israeli approval on any procedures,
moves, or transportation taking place at the Israeli-Palestinian
crossings and borders."

WALLES

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