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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (11/25): "A National Unity

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DE RUEHJM #2117/01 3301511
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251511Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3347
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
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RUEAHQA/CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
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RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7418
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4400
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4251
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5745
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4167
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2733

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 002117

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 (11/25): "A NATIONAL UNITY
GOVERNMENT - A SOLUTION TO DIVISION?"

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
The dailies lead with coverage of the "inauguration" speech by
Palestinian Authority President Abbas, the second Palestinian to be
symbolically voted "President of State" on November 23. Abbas
pledged to establish a free and independent Palestinian state and
work towards ending the Gaza "siege" in his November 24 remarks. He
criticized Israel for expanding settlements and seeking to "Judaize"
Jerusalem. He also criticized Hamas' de facto rule of Gaza. In
related reporting Al Ayyam's front page runs a response to Abbas'
recent call for early elections, should internal Palestinian
division persist. Hamas leader Zahhar insisted on November 24 that
Abbas cannot call early parliamentary elections without the approval
of the Hamas-controlled parliament, adding, "Abbas is facing a
serious political crisis and is trying to find a way out."

Al Hayat Al Jadida and Al Ayyam publish front page reports and
photos from Gaza where Israel allowed 30 truckloads of food and
230,000 liters of diesel fuel into the Gaza Strip on November 24.
The photos show flour sacks arriving into Gaza, and workers pumping
diesel fuel into the electricity plant. Al Ayyam also frontpages
news that Egypt has increased its military forces along the Gaza
borders, in response to a crowd of Gazans gathered at the crossings,
demanding entry to Egypt. In other news, Al Ayyam's inside page
reports that Hamas prevented Muslim pilgrims from leaving the Gaza
Strip for Saudi Arabia, but has charged them approximately $1,000
anyway, despite Hamas' failure to secure visas to Saudi Arabia.
Finally, Al Quds' front page runs an AP article about Gaza banks
running out of cash and reports on an inside page that foreign
journalists have brought their protest on the ban denying entry by
journalists into Gaza, before the Israeli High Court.

Al Quds' front page cites Israel's Yedeot Aharanot daily when
revealing that an official Israeli document legalized the use of
"violence" when interrogating Palestinian detainees. The three
papers also publish a front page story about a video released by
Israel's BTselem human rights organization, showing an Israeli
policeman ramming a Palestinian woman and man from Jerusalem's
Silwan neighborhood with his metal helmet, as the Israeli military
demolished a Palestinian house in the background.

Al Ayyam's front page reports that Israeli military demolished the
Palestinian home of an 11-member family in the East Jerusalem
neighborhood of Al-Azariyya on November 24, according to witnesses
and international observers. The Ma'an network notes that the
building was the sixth Palestinian house to be demolished in East
Jerusalem in the last three weeks. Al Quds inside page reports that
Jewish Israeli religious students demolished a wall and destroyed
tombs in a Muslim cemetery belonging to the Palestinian Dajani
family in Jerusalem.
Al Quds' front page runs an AFP story reporting that President Bush
and Israel's Premier Ehud Olmert confirmed, at their farewell White
House meeting on November 24, that peace efforts will continue after
they leave office, and that Israel would benefit from the
establishment of a Palestinian state.
Al Ayyam's front page cites Israel's Haaretz newspaper reporting
that an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) report shows that the cost of
reoccupying Gaza would be $125 million per month. The paper noted
that the IDF command does not intend to launch a mass offensive on
Gaza, but rather is convinced that Hamas will remain committed to
the truce. In another front page article, the paper cites Reuters
when quoting Israel's Interior Minister Shitrit calling for the
adoption of the Arab peace initiative as the, "best channel for

JERUSALEM 00002117 002 OF 002


realizing peace in the Middle East."

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

1) Hani Masri opines in Al Ayyam under the title, "The President's
[Abbas'] call for elections: A tactic or recognition of
division?"(11/25): "If the necessary agreement [between Fatah and
Hamas] isn't possible, then the... alternative to continuing and
deepening division is... temporarily putting up with division by
establishing a national consensus government. [That government]
would halt current deterioration and work towards creating an
atmosphere conducive to... national unity and ... holding
presidential and legislative elections in mid 2009;[the timing
]falls in the middle of the supposed end of the President's term
[Abbas] in December 2008 and the agreed-upon end of the Legislative
Council's term on December 5 2010... There is no alternative to
reforming and improving the PLO, whether Hamas joins the
organization or not."

2) Rajab Abu Saraya writes in Al Ayyam under the title "Last minute
choices" (11/25): "[Israel] continues to blackmail the Gaza
authorities with the 'food for security' scheme... Israel [seems to
be] succeeding for the first time in negotiating with 'local'
Palestinians on specific issues instead of bundling all final
agreement issues into one package. The last minute choices are
difficult and rather dangerous... the best solution remains crafting
an internal unity miracle..."

Walles

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