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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (10/20): The Gaza Calm: "In

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FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3039
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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4197
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 001911

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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 (10/20): THE GAZA CALM: "IN
ISRAEL'S INTEREST ONLY"

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------

Al Ayyam and Al Hayat Al Jadida lead with news that Egypt has
delivered to Palestinian "officials", invitations for a summit with
all Palestinian factions, and a draft plan for ending the
Palestinian "political crisis." The "comprehensive national
dialogue" meeting is set for November 9 in Cairo. Al Quds quotes
Palestinian Authority President Abbas in its front page story
pledging to, "adhere to any Arab League decision about [unity]
talks" and stressing the need for: Arab oversight of security
service reform, formation of a national unity government and
commitment to PLO-signed agreements.

Al Quds runs a lead story on "extremist Jews" illegally entering the
Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem under heavy Israeli police
protection on October 19, and injuring three mosque guards.
Articles appear on inside pages calling for greater protection of
the mosque and holding Israel responsible for any, "triggered
reactions" by Palestinians to the mosque breeches. The other two
dailies also run front page stories on the incident, with Al Ayyam
including news about Israeli West Bank settler violence against
Palestinian farmers in the same story. A photo of settlers guarded
by Israeli soldiers near Nablus in the West Bank, appears on the
front pages of Al Ayyam and Al Hayat Al Jadida.

All front pages report on statements by Israeli President Shimon
Perez and Defense Minister Ehud Barak about the need to shift the
peace process to include negotiations between Israel and all Arab
countries, as well as the Arab League. Barak is quoted calling for
an Israeli peace initiative similar to the Arab one. Reporting does
not reveal any details about Barak's plan.

Al Quds' front page reports on Hamas' statements about the "calm"
with Israel quoting Hamas spokesman Abu Obayda saying, "Israel has
not adhered to the calm agreement, which is not a permanent one. We
have no confirmation of Israel's request that Egypt resume efforts
to extend the calm." Al Quds adds that the Popular Liberation Front
and Islamic Jihad factions also believe that Israel has not abided
by the conditions of the calm. Another front page story about Gaza
in Al Quds reports that Israeli protesters blocked the Kerem Shalom
crossing to Gaza on October 19, calling for the release of kidnapped
Israeli soldier Shalit. Protesters threatened to stop food supplies
to Gaza until they had updated news of Shalit. Finally, Al Hayat Al
Jadida reports on its front page that UNRWA has called for a lifting
of Gaza crossing closures immediately. UNRWA's Operations Director
John Ging is quoted stating, "poverty has reached unprecedented
levels in the Gaza Strip."

Al Ayyam and Al Quds report on inside pages that Israel has begun
expansion of the Kharsina settlement in eastern Hebron in the West
Bank. The paper, citing Wafa, reports that Israel has built three
new buildings and constructed infrastructure in the settlement.

Al Quds reports on an inside page that U.S. Consulate General and EU
delegations visited the police academy in the West Bank city of
Jericho on October 19 and expressed satisfaction over Palestinian
Authority police computer and IT skills.

Al Quds and Al Ayyam run a front page AFP wire story about former
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell "abandoning" John McCain by
endorsing Barack Obama for president. Another wire story (DPA) on
Al Ayyam's front page states that credit cards could cause another

JERUSALEM 00001911 002 OF 003


financial crisis in the U.S. because of credit agreements cancelled
by banks.

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

Sunday, October 19

All dailies ran similar headlines that, "Jewish settlers disrupt the
Palestinian olive harvest." The papers reported on settler attacks
on Palestinian and international activists throughout the West Bank.
The latest attacks took place in Hebron during which one journalist
and a foreign activist were injured and Israeli soldiers arrested 19
activists. All dailies feature the clashes, especially the attack
on journalists, in front page photo coverage.

A front page photo of Consul General Jake Walles and Palestinian
Authority President Abbas introduced reporting on a meeting between
the two officials to discuss, "latest developments," in Al Hayat Al
Jadida. Walles and Abbas met in Ramallah on October 18 to, "discuss
efforts aimed at pushing the peace process forward."

The Jordanian King feels pessimistic about the peace process, "for
the first time," according to headlines in all three dailies. The
reporting came a day after Secretary General of the Arab League
Mousa's comments appeared on all front pages, giving a read out of
recent New York meetings and characterizing the peace process as,
"chasing illusions."

Al Quds' front page reported news about a "verbal letter" sent by
Secretary Rice to Hamas requesting that Hamas, "look at the changes
taking place around" them. Hamas member Mahmud Al Zahar responded
during an October 18 press conference in Damascus that Hamas,
"always looks around, and we are always reassured of our political
convictions. We stress that what we hear from the Americans is not
sacred and has only brought disaster upon our nation." In October
18 reporting in Al Hayat Al Jadida and Al Ayyam, Hamas leader
Haniyyah was quoted calling the economic crisis, "divine punishment
of America."

Al Ayyam's front page reported comments made by Hamas leader Said
Siyam stating that, "nobody, not any of the PLO factions, nor the
regional or international powers, can give [Palestinian Authority
President] Abbas legitimacy [after January 9, the date Hamas
contends Abbas' term ends.] In Fatah news, all dailies reported on
the successful completion of preparations for the sixth general
party conference to be held by the end of the year.

Saturday, October 18

Scores of anti-separation barrier protesters were injured in the
weekly protests in the West Bank communities of Bilin, Nalin, Al
Ma'sara and Im Salmona, according to all front pages. The coverage
highlighted that Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets and stun
granades at protestors.

Al Quds led with the headline, "Announced last August 22 by Israeli
newspapers, but largely unnoticed: New Israeli plans put a freeze
on East Jerusalem construction and development, while allowing for
the continuation of drilling and digging activities in the Old City
and underneath Al- Aqsa Mosque." The story quoted Mohammad Al
Qaymery, an engineer and city planner who filed a request to extend
the period to appeal the Jerusalem municipality "Plan 2020," noting

JERUSALEM 00001911 003 OF 003


that it will make development in the Old City and East Jerusalem,
"extremely complicated if not impossible because of unreasonably
stringent rules and regulations."

------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------
1. Bilal Al Hasan opines in Al Quds under the title "Acre events:
Omen for a third Palestinian intifada"(10/20): "If the impetus for
the two Palestinian intifadas came from the Israeli-Arab conflict...
then a [third] Palestinian intifada launched from within the state
of Israel will be based on different issues... related to equality
and racial discrimination... Lawyer Hasan Jabarin asks if Israel can
be brought before a UN international court... The answer is no,
because Israel has not signed the Rome document authorizing the
court... [Conflict between Arabs and the state of Israel] continues
to grow in a new violent dimension, strengthened by Israeli
intransigence and a growth in extremist political movements inside
Israeli society. The elements of confrontation are gathering
together as dark clouds gather before a storm."

2. Regular columnist Talal Okal opines in Al Ayyam under the title,
"Calm - a cost-benefit analysis" (10/20): "Only the naive believe
that the calm [in Gaza] served Palestinian interests, since Israel
alone has benefited from it, [taking the opportunity to] escalate
aggression against the West Bank... To date, Israel has refused to
abide by its commitments under the calm agreement, specifically the
lifting of all restrictions on the flow of goods into Gaza... For
some time now we have been reading and hearing statements made by
leaders of different [Palestinians] factions, including Hamas,
indicating... the need to reconsider [renewing the calm]...
extending the agreement should be based on new conditions and
ensured guarantees."

Walles

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