Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (10/31): Bilateral Negotiations:
DE RUEHJM #1983/01 3051134
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 311134Z OCT 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7382
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4362
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4215
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5709
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2696
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001983
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 (10/31): BILATERAL NEGOTIATIONS:
"AN OUTDATED PARADIGM"
Al Hayat Al Jadida leads and other front pages report that Secretary
of State Rice will visit the region the first week of November to,
"follow up on efforts to reach a framework agreement for peace
between Israel and the Palestinians." All front pages report that
the Middle East Quartet will meet in Cairo on November 9 to discuss
the peace process. In other U.S.-related news, Al Quds' front page
reports on "overwhelming international condemnation" of the recent
U.S. strike on Syria and anti-American protest rallies in Damascus.
Al Quds leads with upbeat coverage about an atmosphere of optimism
surrounding expectations for upcoming Palestinian talks in Cairo.
Al-Ayyam's front page reports that Cairo continues to refuse changes
to its proposal for Palestinian national unity, while Hamas
expresses a desire to discuss the proposal further. All papers
report that heads of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Palestinian Authority
(PA) President Abbas are planning to attend the opening session,
noting that Abbas will participate in his capacity as PLO Chairman,
not Fatah party leader. In linked reporting, Al Quds and Al Hayat
Al Jadida publish a front page photo showing Fatah activists being
released from a Hamas detention facility in Gaza on October 30, as a
goodwill gesture ahead of the Cairo talks.
Al Quds' front page reports that the PLO Executive Committee has
almost finished drafting the election law for the Palestinian
National Council. Al Quds also runs an interview with Democratic
Front for the Liberation of Palestine party chief Hawatmih.
Hawatmih comments that discussion on, "the length of the term of the
office of Palestinian Authority President should remain clear of any
In Gaza news, the front pages report that Israel closed Gaza
commercial crossings, following "alleged reports" of a rocket attack
from Gaza on the Israeli town of Sderot. In separate reporting, all
front pages note that Egyptian President Mubarak threatened to halt
all efforts concerning a prisoners exchange deal between Israel and
Hamas, citing the absence of an Israeli decision-maker at this time.
Finally, Al Ayyam front pages comments by UNRWA Commissioner
General Karen Abu Zayid warning against the negative effects of any
cut in assistance to UNRWA, adding that 90% of small businesses in
Gaza went out of business last year, and unemployment has surged to
Al Quds front-pages a report that Israeli military arrested 15
students from the Palestine Technical College near Hebron and
demolished housing barracks belonging to 250 Bedouin families near
Ramallah on October 30.
On inside page, Al Quds reports on "rising Muslim and Palestinian
anger" over the "Tolerance Museum" project, to be built on an
Islamic graveyard in Jerusalem. The article states that the
"American-Israeli" projects will cost $200 million and is
coordinated and overseen by the Governor of California. Sheikh Rayd
Salah, Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, is quoted blasting
the Israeli Court's decision to allow the "destruction of Muslim
tombs in order to build a museum."
Al Quds' front page highlights an increase in Israeli settler
attacks on Palestinian farmers near Bethlehem. The report quotes
Israeli Defense Forces legal advisor stating that the Israeli police
force, not the Israeli military, should confront Israeli settlers.
JERUSALEM 00001983 002 OF 002
Al Quds and Al Ayyam cite an AFP wire story on their front pages
when reporting that Barak Obama is leading in the polls.
1) Jawad Bashiti editorializes in Al Ayyam under the title "What is
behind Abu Kamal" (10/31): "Even a child has the political
awareness to understand that the strike [on Syria] was the worst
possible service the [Bush] administration could have performed for
the Al Maliki Government in its efforts to pass the security
agreement in parliament. If the U.S. shows no hesitation in
attacking Iraq's neighbors before the agreement is signed, how will
it behave after signing it?... I believe that the U.S. wanted to
deter Syria from contributing to Russia's growing military might."
2) Al Quds editorial "Dialogue and ending the siege" (10/31): "The
suffocating siege on the Gaza Strip should compel Palestinian
factions to work seriously towards ending the suffering of the one
and a half million Palestinians living in a big prison [Gaza]...
People are hoping that the Palestinian Authority and Arabs,
particularly Egypt, will open the crossing points ... since those
under siege are not all Hamas members, but also citizens."
3) Regular contributor Mohamad Yaghi opines in Al Ayyam under the
title, "A bilateral end to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations"
(10/31): "[Israel's President] Peres says let's negotiate with all
Arabs. [the statement is] an acknowledgment that bilateral
negotiations with [the Palestinian Authority] belong to an outdated
paradigm... the Palestinian Authority President's meetings with
[Israeli Premier] Olmert mean nothing to Israel except proving to
the U.S. that the peace process still exists."