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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (9/29): International Pressure On

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OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1809/01 2731059
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291059Z SEP 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2913
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 7341
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4321
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4174
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5668
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4090
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2655

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 001809

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 (9/29): INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE ON
ISRAEL - "LIP SERVICE"

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
Al-Ayyam leads with news that Israeli Premier Olmert is "trying
hard" to push through an interim agreement with the Palestinians in
which the issue of Jerusalem will not be included. Citing unnamed
Israeli and Palestinian sources, the story states that the Israeli
proposal includes a land trade of 7.6 percent of West Bank land,
including major settlement blocks, in exchange for full Palestinian
control of the Jordan Valley.

Al Hayat Al Jadida reported on its front page that Palestinian
Authority President Abbas, "resisted strong pressure" exerted by
Israel and the US administration to sign a declaration of
principles. The two dailies quoted a "source close to the
President" who revealed that the American administration has
intensified contacts with Abbas and chief Palestinian Authority
negotiator Ahmad Quray in an effort to persuade them to sign a
declaration before President Bush and Israel Premier Olmert leave
office.

A statement by Fatah leader Nabil Sha'ath about Cairo's efforts to
end internal Palestinian division receives front-page coverage in
all dailies. Sha'ath is quoted saying that a one-day session among
the various Palestinian factions will be held in Cairo on November
4. Al-Quds, which leads with the story, remarks that Hamas has
shown unprecedented flexibility regarding the formation of a
national consensus government, in which Hamas will give up its
demand for controlling "sovereign" ministries.

The dailies highlight remarks by Fatah Central Committee member
Hakam Bil'awi refuting press reports that Fatah will use military
action against Hamas in the Gaza Strip should internal Palestinian
dialogue in Cairo fail. Bil'awi stressed that such action would be
contrary to the Fatah's policy, according to the Al-Quds' report. In
related reporting, Al-Ayyam notes that Hamas released 30 leaders and
members of Fatah in Gaza on September 28.

All three dailies front-page reports that the U.S. has provided
Israel with an advanced radar system to detect potential Iranian
missile attacks.

The dailies report that Israel has imposed a full closure on West
Bank crossing points on the occasion of the Jewish holiday, Rosh
Hashanah. The reports note that the closure started on September 28
and will remain in force until November 1. In related news,
Al-Ayyam quotes Israeli Prime Minister Olmert warning against the
emergence of a new, secret Jewish group in Israel, who are
responsible for the recent injuring of an Israeli anti-settlement
activist. In other news, the paper reports that an attempt by
Jewish settlers to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was thwarted by
Muslim worshipers on September 28.

---------------
Weekend stories
---------------

Sunday, September 21, 2008
Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida led with the headline, "Settlers
execute young man with twenty bullets in Akraba and attack village
of Kuf Al-Dayk." Reporting also noted that in Salfit, four
individuals were injured when settlers accompanied by Israeli
Defense Forces, entered the town and destroyed property in three
Palestinian homes. In addition, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported that

JERUSALEM 00001809 002 OF 003


settler attacks against Palestinian women in Hebron have continued
over the past four weeks.
The televised debate between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama
received front-page coverage in Al-Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.
Al-Quds ran a front page article under the headline,"Amid the worst
economic crisis of the Bush administration, Obama wins his first
presidential debate over McCain." Al-Quds continues that the
greatest difference between the two candidates was obvious in
looking at the two candidates appearing next to each other:
Four-term senator, seventy-two year old McCain with extensive
foreign policy experience, next to 47 year old, first term,
"fresh-blooded" African-American Senator Obama. The debate left
Americans still wondering who the next President would be, the paper
concluded.
Al Ayyam quoted Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David
Welch on its front page, stating that, "Washington is focusing on
four tracks to move the Middle East peace process forward."
Asserting that there has been progress in moving forward, Welch
outlined the four tracks implemented since Annapolis and highlighted
that Annapolis was the first major peace conference to be held since
the Madrid Conference in 1991 and the only conference on US soil to
include the participation of senior-level officials from several
countries.
Saturday, September 20, 2008

President Abbas' speech to the UN General Assembly received
highlighted coverage in all dailies. President Abbas called for a
comprehensive and true solution that would end Israeli occupation
and allow for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State,
next to Israel. He added that the solution would require
international involvement. Abbas pledged to continue peace efforts
with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's successor.

In a related article, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayyat Al-Jadida reported that
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Reuters that she still
thinks it possible, despite obstacles, to reach a peace deal by
years-end. The deal would include agreement on the creation of a
Palestinian state. According to the article, Secretary Rice is
especially hopeful, in view of Israeli Foreign Minister Livni's
recent meeting with Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Ahmad
Quray, held shortly after she was tasked with forming a new
government.

Al-Quds ran an exclusive interview with Ahmad Quray stating that
"Israel is trying to unilaterally draw the borders for a final
settlement: making Jerusalem a Jewish city and clearing out its
Arab residents." He also warned Jerusalemites against taking
disputes over absentee property or land before the Israeli courts
insisting that, "Israeli courts will lay its hands on the property
under the guise of State protection and eventually transfer it to
Jewish ownership." Quray concluded that, "building a separation
wall, a synagogue, or taking control of Christian property at
[Jerusalem's Old City] Jaffa Gate, will not persuade Palestinians to
give up one inch of Jerusalem, the future capital of Palestine."

The economic crisis in world markets continued to attract front-page
wire coverage, especially on-going debate between Congress and the
White House regarding a bail-out.

------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------
1. Under the title "So that we don't drown in shallow water,"
regular columnist Talal Okal opines in independent Al-Ayyam (9/29):

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"Does Bush have the ability to make decisions in the time remaining
before January of next year? Or, will he and his administration go
into an election campaign coma?... There are some who believe that
the current Israeli settlement policy will reduce the Palestinian
question to ink on paper ... [Arab League Secretary General Amr
Musa]asked: Will the US administration allow the UN Security
Council to adopt a resolution that compels Israel to stop its
settlement policy? The US has already supported resolutions that
consider settlements in the Occupied Territories to be illegal." ...
He also wonders what international officials mean when they say that
settlements are an obstacle to negotiations and agreement. Can't
they do something to force Israel to stop the policy, or maybe their
statements are just lip service? ... As a matter of fact, the
international effort to support Israeli peace negotiations can be
categorized as ineffective and [operating under the shadow of]...
American hegemony... Nobody expects the negotiation process to move
forward until the gap between the two parties' positions is smaller.
Each party will use the remaining time... to reorganize its
position and papers in preparation of a resumption of negotiations
when there is a new, U.S. administration next year."

2. "Bilal Al Hasan wrote in Al Quds under the title, "The political
basis for Palestinian dialogue" (9/29): "Talks cannot be held about
upcoming presidential elections if at the same time, heads of
security threaten to solve the Gaza issue through military action.
Those who criticize what happened in Gaza because of [Hamas'] use of
military force, cannot now threaten to employ the same tactics and
expect to be immune to criticism... especially when U.S. policy is
biased against the Arab resolution against Israeli] settlements...
unbalanced dialogue [will not] lead to a new international move that
pushes Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in the right direction..."

Marchese

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