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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (11/19): Palestinians See New

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DE RUEHJM #2058/01 3241027
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191027Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3266
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 7409
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4389
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4242
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5736
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4158
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2724

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 002058

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 (11/19): PALESTINIANS SEE NEW
OPPORTUNITIES IN OBAMA'S "PARTNERSHIP" POLICIES

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Main Stories:
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Coverage of tensions in Gaza dominates front pages. Al Quds and Al
Ayyam lead with news of Israel arresting three foreign human rights
activists and 16 Palestinian fishermen. Coverage also highlights
that Gaza crossings remain closed, while homemade Palestinian
rockets continue to fall on the Israeli town of Sderot, following a
November 18 Israeli incursion into Rafah in the Gaza Strip. Al Quds
adds that Hamas has called on Palestinian factions to meet
"immediately" to review the truce with Israel and runs front page
statements by UN human rights chief Navi Pillay calling for an
immediate end to the Israeli "blockade" of Gaza. Al Ayyam cites
Israeli daily Ma'ariv in news that the Israeli military has issued a
one week ultimatum to Hamas to halt the fire of homemade rockets on
Israel. Al Hayat Al Jadida's front page focuses on humanitarian
suffering in Gaza and notes that Gazans lined up to receive UNRWA
assistance, after Israel allowed some U.N. supplies to enter the
Strip on November 18.

Photo coverage on front pages includes a photo in Al Quds of
Palestinian women receiving kidney dialysis in a Gaza hospital via
electric generator power, due to fuel shortages. Al Ayyam's lead
photo shows a Gazan woman waiting for her share of a humanitarian
distribution. Al Hayat Al Jadida's front page shows an Israeli
bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian house in the East Jerusalem
neighborhood of Essawiya, noting that a second demolition order for
a Palestinian home in Jerusalem's Jabal Al Mukaber neighborhood has
been postponed. The same page carries a photo of Palestinian
Authority President Abbas and Consul General Jake Walles meeting in
Ramallah on November 18 to discuss the peace process.

The three papers front page news of a November 18 telephone call
from president-elect Obama to Palestinian Authority President Abbas.
Obama assured continued U.S. commitment to the Palestinian-Israel
peace process and thanked Abbas for his letter of congratulations on
his election as U.S. President, the papers note. According to
coverage, PLO chief negotiator Sa'eb Erekat commented on November 18
that Obama has been in contact with Abbas even before U.S.
elections, showing Obama's, "strong commitment to solving the Middle
East conflict."

Al Ayyam leads with five conditions set by Hamas to resume dialogue
with Fatah in Cairo. The paper cites Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum
stating, in a Gaza press conference on November 18, that Hamas would
resume dialogue if 1) its comments regarding Egypt's proposal are
accepted; 2) Palestinian Authority(PA) President Abbas attends
dialogue sessions; 3) the Hamas West Bank delegation can join the
dialogue; 4) Hamas activists are released from PA prisons, 5) "equal
protocol arrangements" are made for Fatah and Hamas in Cairo.

Al Quds and Al Hayat Al Jadida front page official British
statements from November 18, denying that the UK has had contact
with Hamas, but adding British readiness to dialogue with the group
if it denounces violence and accepts the peace process. The
statements also call for Palestinian unity, describe Israeli
settlements as an obstacle to peace and demand the reopening of Gaza
crossings by Israel.

Al Quds front pages statements made by Deputy Speaker of the EU
Parliament Luisa Morgantini calling for a freeze of the EU-Israeli
partnership agreement in the wake of Israel's forced eviction of a
Palestinian family from their Jerusalem home. The daily continues
that Israeli demolitions of Palestinian houses and settlement

JERUSALEM 00002058 002 OF 002


construction continue on a daily basis in the Palestinian
Territories.

Al Hayat Al Jadida's front page and inside pages of Al Ayyam and Al
Quds, report on a USAID-Palestinian Authority (PA) inauguration of a
public park and cornerstone laying for a multi-purpose hall in
Zababda village near Jenin on November 18. USAID Director Sumka is
quoted stating that USAID carries out these projects with the vision
of empowering the Palestinian people and organizations to establish
an independent state of Palestine. Sumka reminded listeners that
two weeks ago Secretary Rice visited a Palestinian government
hospital that was renovated by USAID. Al Quds and Al Ayyam run
photos of the inauguration that was also attended by PA Premier
Fayyad.

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

1) George Jaqaman of Birzeit University writes in Al Ayyam under
the title, "Is there a new role for the Arabs and Europe in the
Middle East, now that Obama is here?"(11/19): The international
financial crisis that started in the U.S.... resulted in European
demands for greater "partnership" in decision making, including
economic decisions that might impact political decisions related to
the Middle East... in light of Obama's declared policy calling for
greater partnership with Europe... there is still time for Arab
states... to condition their financial contributions to solving the
Euro-American economic crisis on political demands related the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Clearly, this is a golden opportunity
- will Arabs take advantage of it? Herein lies the future of
solving or not solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict... will Arab
weakness, once again, be one of the reasons for the continuing
conflict?"

2) Columnist Hani Habib writes in Al Ayyam under the title, "The
lost dialogue"(11/19): "Without the creation of a supportive Arab
environment, the Palestinian national dialogue will remain tied to
the political interests and polarizing effects of one Arab regional
party or another. The Arab League Secretary General, if he wants to
prepare well for the League's Council meeting on Palestinian
dialogue, should remember that, above all else, this issue is not an
internal Palestinian one, but rather, a purely Arab issue with
regional and international implications."

Walles

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