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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (11/24): Resisting "Soft" U.S.

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OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2103/01 3291208
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241208Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3332
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 7415
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4397
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4248
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5742
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4164
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2730

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 002103

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 (11/24): RESISTING "SOFT" U.S.
PRESSSURE ON ABBAS

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Main Stories:
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The three papers lead with detailed reports and photos documenting
the November 23 PLO Central Council meeting in Ramallah. The body
held its periodic, symbolic vote electing Palestinian Authority (PA)
President Abbas to the post of "Palestinian State President,"
according to headlines. Addressing the gathering, Abbas declared
his intentions to call PA presidential and legislative elections
early next year, should national dialogue between PLO factions and
Hamas fail. Al Hayat Al Jadida adds that Hamas leader Zahhar
rejects early elections and has called for the Palestinian
Legislative Council (PLC) to serve out its term until 2010. In
statements, Zahhar and Abbas traded blame for the failure of
Palestinian talks in Cairo. In related news, Al Hayat Al Jadida's
front page cites Israel's Haaretz newspaper revealing a classified
Israeli security document that recommends blocking PA elections,
"even at the cost of differences with the U.S." out of fears of a
weakened PA and stronger Hamas.

On its front page, Al Quds cites DPA in quoting Hamas leader Ayman
Taha confirming on November 23 that Hamas has achieved agreement
with other Palestinian factions on halting rocket attacks on Israel
in return for a reopening of Gaza crossings. Taha stated that it
was too early to discuss extending the ceasefire with Israel that
expires next month. However, Al Quds reports that London-based
daily Al Hayat noted that Egypt has already secured an agreement
with all parties to extend the ceasefire in return for reopening
crossings.

Reporting on the suffering of Gaza civilians continues. UNRWA chief
Abu Said repeats on Al Ayyam's front page, calls from the weekend
that Israel allow the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Jordan's
King Abdullah calls on Israel to lift the Gaza "siege" and warns of
a humanitarian crisis in the Strip, on an inside page of Al Quds.
Over the weekend, Al Quds reported that Israel reassured the King
that it has no intention of launching a full-scale attack on Gaza in
an effort to remove Hamas rule. In other Gaza news, Al Quds' inside
page reports that Israel barred Catholic Church clerics from
entering Gaza. The clerics were en route to celebrate mass, "to
highlight that the Holy See is close to the people in Gaza and its
Christian communities in these difficult days." Reporting notes that
three churches serve Gaza's 2,000 Christians, who are mainly
Catholic and Greek Orthodox.

Al Quds' front page cites "media sources" revealing president-elect
Obama's plan for solving the Middle East conflict. The paper
reports that his plan is based on the following points: Israeli
withdrawal to the 1967 borders with certain adjustments,
compensation for Palestinian refugees instead of the right to
return, and a united Jerusalem as a capital for two states. The
paper expects there to be active U.S. engagement in the Middle East
peace process once Hilary Clinton assumes office as Secretary of
State and General James Jones assumes the post of National Security
Council chief. In related reporting, papers note comments by
Palestinian Authority President Abbas to the PLO Central Council
addressing the "impasse" of Israeli-Palestinian final status talks.
"We insisted on participating in negotiations so as not to give
Israel, the U.S. or the Quartet any pretext for saying that we do
not want to negotiate, however; we do not go to those negotiations
only to negotiate [but to get results]," Abbas stated.

Al Quds' front page reports that Palestinians in the West Bank city
of Hebron are suffering continued attacks by Israeli settlers and

JERUSALEM 00002103 002 OF 003


that the Hebron Municipal Council has called for a lifting of the
Israeli closure of the Hebron Old City. Al Hayat Al Jadida's front
page reports that Israeli settlers occupying a dispQd Palestinian
house in Hebron, have been joined by 150 additional settlers who
have barricaded themselves inside the house to prevent eviction, in
accordance with an Israeli court order. In related news, Al Quds'
inside page reports that Israeli Defense Minister Barak is
considering a cut-off of electricity and water supplies to West Bank
outposts.

Al Hayat Al Qida's front page reports that President Bush and
Israel's Premier OlmertQll hold a farewell meeting at the White
House on November 24. The paper adds that Olmert is seeking
last-minute promises from Bush regarding Iran policy. Another
report appears on the same page stating that president-elect Obama
will announce his economic team on November 24.

---------------
Weekend stories
---------------
Sunday, November 23
Front pages led with news from the second Palestine Investment
Conference, opened in Nablus on November 21. Al Hayat Al Jadida's
headline reads, [Palestinian Authority (PA)] "President Abbas: No
sustainable development under occupation, and no economic, social,
or political life without security." Al Quds' headline also
highlighted a message from PA Prime Minister Fayyad that, "We are
committed to creating an environment conducive to investment and
attractive to investors." Papers reported extensively on Abbas'
remarks which included an explanation of the role of government in
stimulating economic investment, Palestinian national dialogue, and
the peace process. The conference "endorsed" a package of important
projects valued at $490 million.
Al Hayat Al Jadida and Al Ayyam reported on front pages that Israeli
Army radio announced on November 22 that an advanced American
anti-missile radar system, set up by the U.S. in southern Israel,
will become operational in mid-December. Reporting notes that the
installation of the radar system comes on the backdrop of increased
Israeli concerns over Iran's nucleaQrogram.

Saturday, November 22
Al Quds' lead headline read, "Israel establishes a network of West
Bank streets and roads to seize as much land as possible ahead of a
peace settlement." Quoting Israeli daily Haaretz, the report
continued that Israel is spending 250 million Shekels on the,
"settlement roads to nowhere." In related news, the dailies reveQd
that the Israeli military has issued an order to "seize" four
PalestiQn houses in Hebron for use as military barracks. The
barracks will serve to restrict the movement of Palestinians living
near the Israeli Qiryat A'rba settlement, north of Hebron, according
to reporting.

"An official secret Israeli document allows Israeli interrogators to
use torture and psychological techniques on Palestinian detainees,"
Al Quds' front page reported.

All dailies frontpaged news with photos about the injuring of
several Palestinians and international solidarity activists,
including a Nobel peace laureate, on November 21, during the weekly
anti-wall and anti-settlement protests in the West Bank villages of
Ni'lin, Bi'lin, and Ma'sara. Israeli military fired rubber bullets
and tear gas on the protestors. Clashes broke out in Ni'lin when
protestors threw stones and clashes lasted for more than four hours
in Bi'lin, according to reporting.

JERUSALEM 00002103 003 OF 003

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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1) Al Quds daily editorial is titled, "The national and
international duty to immediately end Gaza suffering" (11/24): It
is no longer possible to put off ending the suffering of one and a
half million Palestinians in Gaza, regardless of Israeli, Arab or
international pretexts that remain insensitive to the death, illness
and hunger of children, the elderly and women... Any Israeli plans
for a massive military offensive will come at a high price,
especially in humanitarian terms, and they will change many facts at
the regional and international levels."

2) Regular columnist Hasan Al Batal opines in Al Ayyam under the
title, "A soft political siege on Abbas' authority!"(11/24): "[PA]
President Abbas... in his speech in Nablus the other day... [clearly
alluded to the] American side pressuring him not to attend a U.N.
Security Council session... to discuss Jewish settlement activities
in the West Bank. The President didn't respond to the pressure and
attended the [September] session... without explicitly naming
General Fraser, President Abbas wondered about a "classified report"
written by this... [General] in charge of the Road Map peace plan,
after the Annapolis conference. Why should this report remain
"secret" or "top secret" and be given only to Ms. Condoleezza
Rice...?"

Walles

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