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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (11/07): No Peace Agreement

VZCZCXRO5254
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2004/01 3120630
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 070630Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3186
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 7392
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4372
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4225
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5719
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4141
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2706

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 002004

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 (11/07): NO PEACE AGREEMENT
POSSIBLE THIS YEAR

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Main Stories:
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The three papers lead with news that the White House and Secretary
of State Rice no longer believe that the conclusion of a peace
agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is possible before the
end of the year. Quoting Rice from statements made en route to Tel
Aviv, the dailies note that Rice hopes, "the Annapolis process has
laid the groundwork which should make possible the establishment of
a Palestinian state when the political circumstances permit." The
dailies add that Rice stressed the importance of documenting what
has been achieved, "since the launch of this process with the
encouragement of the American President." Al Ayyam adds that Rice
is preparing a detailed document for president-elect Obama's
administration, outlining the points of agreement and disagreement
in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. All front
pages note comments by PLO official Yasir Abd Rabbo that, "the best
thing we have received from Rice" is the establishment of a
committee to document these areas of agreement and disagreement.

Al Quds' inside page reports on Secretary Rice's schedule of
meetings in the Palestinian Territories, including her meeting with
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abbas in Ramallah and PA
officials in Jenin for a "briefing on security developments." The
paper adds that Rice's visit to Jenin is meant to draw attention to
the establishment of Palestinian state institutions, "one of the
things that is rarely noticed." Front pages also take note of the
Middle East Quartet meeting on November 9 to discuss, "developments
in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations."

On an inside page, Al Hayat Al Jadida reports that PLO Chief
negotiator Sa'eb Erekat met with Assistant Secretary of State for
Near Eastern Affairs David Welch and Consul General Jake Walles on
November 6 in Jericho. Erekat is quoted reasserting the need for a
peace agreement that is "comprehensive and includes all issues."
Erekat expressed concerns that the political transition periods in
the U.S. and Israel could be exploited by Israeli to escalate
settlement activities and military "aggression."

The three papers front-page photos of thousands of Palestinians
demonstrating in Jerusalem against Israel's planned construction of
a "tolerance" museum on the grounds of an Islamic cemetery.

The three papers report on front pages that serious obstacles face
the "national reconciliation conference" in Cairo. Hamas has
threatened to boycott the conference if its demands for the release
of Hamas prisoners from Palestinian Authority prisons is not met.
Reporting also notes Hamas "militia" arrests of Fatah members in
Gaza and prevented a rally organized by Fatah, to commemorate the
death of Yasir Arafat. Meanwhile Al Hayat Al Jadida's front page
reports that Islamic Jihad is skeptical about the success of the
Cairo talks. In related news, all front pages report that the PLO's
Executive Committee declared its commitment to the Egyptian proposal
for Palestinian unity and warned Hamas of making pre-conditions to
their acceptance of the proposal. The committee also says it is
ready for legislative and presidential Palestinian Authority
elections, according to reporting.

Al Quds' front page highlights that Israeli military opened fire on
Palestinian farmers and a foreign delegation near Khan Yunis in Gaza
on November 6. The paper adds that a committee of Arab foreign
ministers has completed a report that documents Israeli
"aggressions" in the Palestinian Territories. In related reporting,

JERUSALEM 00002004 002 OF 002


Al Quds' front page reports that the Israeli Defense Forces' West
Bank Commander charged with the portfolio of "absentee property" has
taken the unprecedented step of filing a petition to stop Israeli
settlers from taking over land without producing ownership
documents.

In Gaza news, Al Quds' front page reports that Israel and Hamas have
expressed willingness to extend the ceasefire agreement in Gaza.
Efforts via Egyptian intermediaries are underway, according to the
report.

Al Quds' front page reports that president-elect Obama has begun the
selection of his team by appointing Rahm Emanuel as White House
Chief of Staff. The appointment was met with satisfaction in
Israel, the paper comments. The paper further observes that Emanuel
served in the Israeli Defense Forces and that his father was a
member of the Irgun "militia."

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BLOCK QUOTES:
------------

1) Al Quds' editorial opines under the title, "Rice finally
acknowledged the truth" (11/07): "Rice's statements [no peace
agreement possible this year] are an acknowledgment of the outgoing
U.S. administration's failure to achieve something that could have
relieved us of the heavy legacy left behind by the Bush
administration of catastrophes, wars, financial and economic
collapse... [when the current administration] leaves the White
House, it will pave the way for the new administration to be more
committed and responsible, at least, that is what the Americans and
all the world are hoping will be the case."

2) Taysy Zabri opines in Al Quds under the title, "Despite
satisfaction... we don't have any illusions" (11/07): "Maybe Obama
won't act in the same way as Clinton, but the content will remain
the same. [However] since the Obama administration will insist that
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations remain in American hands, the
crisis will continue unless regional developments occur [to end the
crisis] or the Palestinians adopt a new, unified policy."

Walles

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