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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (8/28): Will Cairo Talks Achieve A

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2638
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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4129
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PARIS ALSO FOR POL
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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (8/28): WILL CAIRO TALKS ACHIEVE A
MIRACLE?

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Main Stories:
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The dailies highlight and Al-Quds leads with reports of escalations
in tension between Israel and Iran concerning the latter's
possession of nuclear weapons. In an interview with the Israeli
Radio on August 27 Deputy Israeli Minister of Defense Matan Vilnai
is quoted as saying that Israel's enemies have established missile
systems to attack Israel, for they know they cannot defeat Israel in
the battlefield.

Al-Quds reports that a high-ranking Palestinian official in the
Palestinian Presidency revealed that for the first time during her
discussions with President Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah, U.S. Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice referred to the need to establish a
Palestinian state within the June 1967 borders. The source added
that, "This is considered a qualitative and clear development on
part of the American administration vis-a-vis the peace process
between Palestinians and Israelis." The source confirmed that Rice
asked both sides to agree on changes to the 1967 borders, and that
they work on the issue of Jerusalem and try to reach an
understanding on the religious sites in the city and on the security
and administrative arrangements for the eastern and western parts of
the city. The source added that Rice has informed both sides that
the American administration will try to compile an understanding
that includes an international mechanism to compensate Palestinian
refugees, as part of resolving the conflict.

Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida cite an AFP story about Israel's
intention to ease restrictions on the release of Palestinian
prisoners in any future exchange deal with Hamas on the release of
Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Al-Quds highlights a report quoting unnamed diplomatic sources in
East Jerusalem on August 27 that diplomatic missions in Jerusalem
have complained to Israel about settlement activities in the Sheikh
Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The same sources told Al-Quds
that two diplomatic missions have officially addressed the Israeli
authorities in order to stop the settlement project at Karam
Al-Mufti area, located near consulates and representative offices.

The three dailies report that the PA Ministerial Council expressed
its support for steps taken by the General Teachers' Union and the
unions of the health and public employees sectors in the Gaza Strip
to protest the Hamas government's "practices and measures" against
the employees in these unions.

The three dailies report that Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
gave orders to reopen the crossing points between Israel and the
Gaza Strip on August 28 after two days of closure. In addition, the
Egyptian authorities decided to reopen the Rafah Crossing on August
30 and August 31 to allow the passage of special cases, including
people in need of medical care.

All dailies report that the peace activists who arrived in the Gaza
Strip on the "Free Gaza" boats will leave Gaza on August 28 to
return to Cyprus. Palestinian Legislator Jamal Al-Khudari is quoted
saying in a press conference on August 27 in Gaza that the peace
activists will be accompanied by a number of Palestinians, including
medical patients, who have been unable to leave the Gaza Strip.

Developments in the Palestinian factional dialogue in Egypt receive
front-page coverage in all dailies. Al-Quds reports that Palestinian
Ambassador to Egypt Nabil Amr stated on August 27 that in order for

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the national dialogue to succeed, there cannot be two authorities
for one homeland. He added that Gaza and the West Bank must be
geographically, politically, and administratively united. Hamas
leader Ismail Haniyeh is quoted as saying the dialogue is facing
serious difficulties.

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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1. Independent Al-Quds runs an editorial entitled, "The National
Dialogue as Target and not as Logo" (8/28): "[I]nternal and external
factors, such as competition between the Palestinian factions and
Arab and international pressure, hinder the achievement of
Palestinian national unity. These factors should be the focus of
official Palestinian statements and declarations. Fatah and Hamas
and all other Palestinian factions must join their efforts under
Arab sponsorship to overcome [these factors]. This is not an
impossible mission if the intentions were true and if the higher
national interest was considered above any group or private
interest..."

2. Al-Ayyam runs an editorial by regular columnist, Dr. Abdul Majid
Sweilem, entitled, "Cairo Dialogues and Awaiting a Miracle" (8/28):
"[T]he issues of security, PLO, political program, means of
struggle, election mechanisms, and the focal points of the political
system are all big and important issues that are capable of
developing. Awaiting the miracle of agreement [between the
Palestinian factions in Cairo], we must be aware that all those who
consider the unity of the Palestinian cause, people and destiny are
requested to be ready to deal with a national and popular work
organized to change facts into a true national and struggle program
which might be the strategic outlet of the country's crisis..."

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