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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (10/06): "What Is Left of Peace

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2953
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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4181
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5675
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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

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LONDON FOR HKANONA AND POL - TSOU
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (10/06): "WHAT IS LEFT OF PEACE
EFFORTS?"

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
The lead photo in all dailies shows two "Jewish settlers" lighting
celebratory lamps after moving into a previously Palestinian-owned
home in the Old City of Jerusalem. Al Quds runs a front page photo
of the Mufti of Jerusalem next to quotes of the Mufti declaring the
sale or turn-over of Palestinian real estate to Israeli groups as
tantamount to, "treason against God." All front pages highlight
reporting about settlement activities in Jerusalem, noting that the
"extremist Jewish society" Atirit Khohanim will organize a
celebration for a separate, recent move by a Jewish family into a,
"Muslim neighborhood of East Jerusalem." The stories report that
more than 900 Jews are now living in houses bought by Atirit
Khohanim.

Separate settlement reporting leads in Al Ayyam and Al Quds. The
two papers, and Al Hayat Al Jadida's front page run statements by
the Arab League warning of "unprecedented" Israeli efforts to
judaize Jerusalem and take over land in the West Bank. Reports
explain that Israeli settlers are "smuggling" mobile homes into the
West Bank to establish thousands of new settlement units. The
dailies highlight the assertion by Israeli daily Maariv that,
despite official Israeli commitments made by the Israeli Prime
Minister and his deputy, nearly 15,000 new settlers have moved to
the West Bank, according to the Israeli director general of the
settlement council.

Al Ayyam's front page reports that Israel has issued an ultimatum to
dozens of Palestinian Bedouin families to leave their houses in
preparation of demolition. The families, whose members number 250,
are from the Mlihat clan near Mali Mukhmas in the East Jerusalem
area.

All dailies highlight an in-depth interview with visiting French
Foreign Minister Kouchner. Al Ayyam runs the news under the
headline: Respecting the Road Map Peace Plan. Kouchner is quoted
stating that he is, "not denying having semi-official contacts with
Hamas. Kouchner adds that he considers a freeze on Israeli
settlement activities to be a priority, in accordance with
commitments pledged at Annapolis. Kouchner also notes that,
"economic activity cannot make a real start under current Israeli
limitations," and calls for the reopening of Palestinian
institutions in Jerusalem, starting with the Chamber of Commerce and
the Housing Council. He states that the idea of deploying
international forces to the Palestinian Territories would facilitate
Israeli withdrawal and bolster Palestinian security efforts.
According to reports, he concludes that it is an idea worth
considering as part of a political agreement between Israel and
Palestinians.

Comments by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad about
internal affairs and the peace process make above-the-fold, front
page reporting in all dailies. Al Quds highlights Fayyad calling
for the establishment of a national consensus government and warning
that the two-state solution is endangered by Israeli settlement
activities. Al Ayyam highlights Fayyad stating that, "it is time
refocus the peace process by focusing on the Palestinian peace
initiative of 1988." In a related front page article, Al Ayyam
quotes Israeli Foreign Minister and Kadima party chief Livni stating
that she remains committed to peace talks with the Palestinians,
stating, "Annapolis continues."

The three dailies, Maan and Wafa headline quotes by Egypt's

JERUSALEM 00001845 002 OF 003


President Mubarak stating that Egypt will not dictate positions to
any Palestinian parties regarding upcoming Palestinian talks in
Cairo. Al Quds reports that several Arab and Islamic countries
would support an extension of Palestinian Authority President Abbas'
term in office if "unity dialogue" in Cairo fails. Maan and Al Quds
quote Walid Al Awad, Peoples Party Secretary General, stating that
the "new" government would be more than a technocrat government and
would be tasked with uniting Palestinian institutions,
reconstruction, and preparing for presidential and legislative
elections in 2009, within the first 6-9 months. Al Awad adds that a
proposal is on the table to deploy civil police to Gaza and
establish a strong security council. An Arab security committee
would oversee the reform of security services in the West Bank and
Gaza, according to Al Awad's comments to the press. The comments
come after reporting from the weekend that Hamas has rejected the
idea of forming a technocrat government.

Front page reports in all dailies announce an expected economic
recession and collapse of the stock market in Israel. The
newspapers comment that the American recession will eventually cause
a recession in Israel and that the American bailout plan cannot
"rescue" the American economy. Stories on the fall-out of the U.S.
economic crisis appear daily on front pages.

Al Ayyam runs a Reuters story about U.S. policy towards Syria on its
front page. The story notes that the U.S. Administration is
reconsidering its policies regarding relations with Syria in light
of the close relationship between Syria and France.

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

Sunday, October 5, 2008
Al Quds' front page announced that Secretary Rice has asked Egypt to
host a meeting with Israeli, Palestinian, and Quartet
representatives to discuss the status of peace talks before
President Bush ends his term in office. Egypt responded with
support for the request, the paper reports, and adds that French
sources disclosed on September 20, that the US Administration is
exerting pressure on Israelis and Palestinians to release a
memorandum of understanding summarizing achievements made in talks.


Citing Wafa, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida led with a story about Palestinian
Authority President Abbas' call on the EU to work with the U.S. to
consolidate its political role in the peace process. Abbas stressed
the importance of the return of Gaza to the "homeland," highlighting
Egypt's role in achieving national unity and dialogue, the paper
reported.

Al Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported that Secretary Rice will
make a tour of the region in the middle of October in a new bid to
push forward talks between Israelis and Palestinians. She will also
explore whether it is possible for the two sides to reach an
agreement on final status issues, according to reporting. In
related news, Al Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida quote Palestinian
Authority (PA) Presidency spokesperson Abu Rudaynah asserting that
the coming weeks and months will be critical for and leave a great,
lasting impact on the internal Palestinian situation and the peace
process. For his part, PA Prime Minister Fayyad commented on
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida's front page that Palestinians are adamant about
establishing a Palestinian state, the blueprints of which, "shall
rise from the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem and Nablus."

JERUSALEM 00001845 003 OF 003

Saturday, October 4, 2008

"President Abbas to visit India and Syria soon," Al Ayyam's front
page announced. Abbas' media advisor announced that Abbas will
begin a tour of Arab and Asian capitals soon and will meet with
Secretary of State Rice in Ramallah in the next two weeks.

Clashes over olive harvesting in villages near Hebron were front
page news in Al Ayyam. Settlers near Ramallah and Hebron clashed
with Palestinians and peace activists as Palestinians sought, "to
harvest olives from areas confiscated by Israel." Al Quds' front
page noted injuries of protesters by the Israeli military during the
weekly anti separation-wall marches in the West Bank towns of
Ni'lin, Bil'in and Al Ma'sara.

------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------
1. Al Ayyam publishes an opinion piece by columnist Samih Shbib
under the title, "A dialogue waiting to be clarified" (10/06):
"Hamas has its own agenda [that does not include] the PA and PLO...
such an agenda bets on the success of Iranian expansion and
consequently, the resurgence of regional Islamic extremist
factions... [however,] developments are not in favor of Hamas
betting... the goals behind Hamas' use of arbitrary rocket attacks
and killing are now clear to everyone. They were meant to destroy
the Palestinian Authority (PA), undermine its policies and sabotage
any serious progress between Palestinians and the Israelis... to
show that the PA is surrendering while Hamas is depicted as the
resistance... After Hamas assumed office, they stopped all the
bombing and killing, so all is now revealed and they have used force
to end all opposition... What will Hamas do now after all its
pretexts have fallen away?"


2. Al Quds editorial was titled, "What is left of peace
efforts?"(10/06): "While Egypt was announcing that... Rice asked
Cairo to host an Israeli-Palestinian meeting with Quartet members...
and while French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was announcing
that Europe will continue support for peace efforts and the
establishment of a Palestinian state, it was declared in Israel that
the number of [West Bank Israeli] settlers has increased by 15,000
during Olmert's tenure and that [settlers] have moved 400 mobile
homes into settlements since the beginning of this year... At the
same time senior members of Israel's Kadima party are ignoring
statements made by Olmert regarding [the need for] Israeli
withdrawal from almost all of the occupied territories in order to
achieve peace, and [Kadima] stressed that these statements do not
represent Kadima policy nor the policies of the other two major
parties, Likud and Labor... If Europe and America really want to
revitalize the peace process, what is required is to realize
conditions for peace, not just hold more conferences and launch
slogans that Israel ignores as [they have since] Madrid, Oslo and
finally Annapolis and Paris, in addition to innumerable other
summits..."

Walles

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