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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (12/01): Palestinians See No

VZCZCXRO2882
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2169/01 3361140
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011140Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3412
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 7425
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4407
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4258
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5752
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4174
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2740

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 002169

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 (12/01): PALESTINIANS SEE NO
ISRAELI GOODWILL

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
Al Quds' front page reports that Secretary Rice called Palestinian
Authority (PA) President Abbas in Qatar on November 29 to discuss
the Middle East peace process. The paper quotes Abbas spokesman
Nabil Abu Rudaynah telling press that Rice promised Abbas to pass
the peace negotiations file on to the Obama administration. A
second front page article in Al Quds runs November 26 statements by
Rice about the Arab peace initiative, noting that it provides a
framework for peace, not only between Israel and the Palestinians,
but also for a comprehensive, regional peace. Rice also revealed
that discussions are underway about implementing the Arab peace
initiative. Rice noted that PA President Abbas and Israeli Premier
Olmert continue holding their meetings to bridge gaps on final
agreement issues. The paper also adds that Olmert has decided to
release 250 Palestinian prisoners, while the Palestinians are "very
positively" working on training and deploying security forces. Both
sides are working hard to achieve Annapolis goals, the paper
concludes.

Al Quds and Al Ayyam lead with the wounding of three Palestinian
militants on November 29 in eastern Gaza by an Israeli mortar. The
men were wounded as they attempted to detonate a roadside bomb. Al
Quds adds that the Israeli navy opened fire at Palestinian fishing
boats near Gaza and that the electricity plant has shut down after
running out of fuel. Al Ayyam reports that Israel has decided to
continue the closure of Gaza crossings and that the Israeli Minister
of Transportation has called for attacking Hamas and key
infrastructure in Gaza.
In other front page stories, Al Ayyam cites DPA when quoting an
Israeli security official stating that Hamas-fired projectiles are
becoming more lethal and more accurate. The paper also cites AFP in
quoting an Egyptian security official revealing that the Egyptian
police uncovered on November 29, hidden arms and explosives in the
Sinai, "apparently meant to be smuggled into Gaza."
Citing the Israeli daily Haaretz, Al Hayat Al Jadida leads with, and
others front page, the Israeli decision to release 250 Palestinian
prisoners in the coming days; including most Hamas-affiliated
prisoners detained in 2006, including legislators and former
ministers. Except for Al Quds, the other papers report that the
prisoner release is not linked to the Shalit prisoner exchange deal
with Hamas. Al Hayat Al Jadida's front page adds that Israeli
Premier Olmert is pressuring his cabinet to approve a prisoner
exchange deal with Hamas to secure the release of kidnapped soldier
Shalit before Israeli elections.
Al Quds' front page reports that a Libyan ship carrying humanitarian
assistance is expected to arrive in Gaza on December 1, while a
Turkish boat will soon set sail for Gaza. Al Hayat Al Jadida's
front page cites Israel's daily Ma'ariv when quoting Israeli
security officials stating that Israel will intercept and block the
Libyan ship from entering Gaza.
In another front page story, Al Quds reports that Hamas militants
continued for the second day to block and attack Muslim pilgrims
attempting to leave the Gaza Strip for travel to Saudi Arabia. The
Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, processed their pilgrimage
registration and visas, the paper notes. The paper also reports
that Hamas militants attacked and killed a poultry shopkeeper in
Gaza - onlookers responded by attacking Hamas militants with stones
and shoes. Al Quds' front page further reports that Hamas plans to
hold a meeting with Palestinian factions to discuss extending the
truce with Israel.
Al Quds' front page reports on an Israeli order to have Israeli
authorities question Palestinian Authority President Bureau Chief

JERUSALEM 00002169 002 OF 003


Dr. Rafiq Hussayni after he conducted a tour for Arab ambassadors to
the Palestinian Territories of Jerusalem areas that are threatened
by Israeli settlement activities and property confiscation.
Al Ayyam's inside page reports that Palestinian Authority (PA) Jenin
security chief Rady Asida confirmed that his forces on November 29,
foiled a terrorist attack by Israeli settlers on Jenin. Settlers
riding in two vehicles attempted to attack civilians in Jenin
markets, but were forced to leave after PA police arrived on the
scene. The PA contacted the the Isreali Defense Forces who arrested
the settlers after, "a long PA police chase," near Jenin.
On an inside page, Al Quds cites Reuters in reporting that
President-elect Obama is expected to reveal his national security
team on December 1. Obama will appoint Hillary Clinton as Secretary
of State and keep Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the Pentagon,
according to the report.
In another inside page report, Al Quds reports on violations against
Palestinian journalists by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas
in Gaza and the West Bank. The paper cites the Gaza-based Al Mizan
human rights organization, saying that violations have become so bad
that the Ramattan news agency has announced closing its offices in
Gaza and Ramallah, due to arrests and harassment of journalists.
Ramattan also faulted the PA President's office for preventing its
journalists from covering events at the compound. The report quotes
a journalist narrating how he was attacked by Hamas militants in
Gaza.

---------------
Weekend stories
---------------
Sunday, November 30
All dailies reported that Israeli Deputy Defense Minister announced
on November 29 that Israel is rapidly nearing a wide-scale military
operation in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile Gilad Arden, a Likud Knesset
Member, proposed using Hamas and Islamic Jihad affiliated prisoners
as human shields to protect Israeli targets from rockets being
launched from Gaza Strip.
"President Abbas states, 'The situation in Gaza is an unprecedented
humanitarian disaster'" according to Al Ayyam's and Al Hayat Al
Jadida's front pages. Speaking in Doha, Abbas added that the
international community should not accept nor remain silent about
the "siege" on Gaza which might,"lead to the end of the peace
process and a return to violence and chaos throughout the region."

Saturday, November 29

All dailies reported that eight Israeli soldiers were wounded on
November 28, after mortars fired by Gaza Strip militants hit a
military base near Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the western Negev.
Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Salah Adin
Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Popular Resistance
Committees, according to reporting.
All front pages reported that Lebanon has decided to establish
diplomatic relations with the State of Palestine and that the
Palestinian Authority (PA) will open an embassy to replace the
office of the PLO that currently exists in Beirut. PA President
Abbas called Lebanese President Sulayman and the Lebanese Prime
Minister to thank them for the decision.
Al Quds' front page highlighted the November 29 International Day
for solidarity with the Palestinian people, which also commemorates
the issuing of UN Resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine into
two states (Palestinian and Jewish) that allowed for the
establishment of the State of Israel. The paper added that the
Palestinian state has yet to be established, "due to the Israeli
occupation."

JERUSALEM 00002169 003 OF 003


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

1) Al Quds' editorial is titled, "In order to show authentic
goodwill"(12/01): "The Israeli decision to release 250 Palestinian
prisoners in a so-called 'goodwill gesture'... However, keeping one
and a half million Palestinians hostages under the Israeli siege
amidst hunger, darkness and sickness, along with the Israeli West
Bank policies of settlement activities, military roadblocks,
restricting movement, segregating Jerusalem, shows the real face of
Israeli policy. It indicates no goodwill, but rather leads to an
escalation of tensions. It would be better for the Israeli
Government to reconsider all its policy so that we can start
believing that there is authentic goodwill towards the Palestinian
people."

2) Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General for the Palestinian
National Initiative opines in Al Hayat Al Jadida under the title,
"Obama, [the Palestinians] and who is taking the initiative?"
(12/01): "At a time when many people are busy predicting and
analyzing what the Obama Middle East policy will look like, the
stereotype of Arab policy waiting along the sidelines holds true...
So far not there is not a single indication to suggest that [Obama's
policies will differ from previous ones]... and the early
appointments of the new [US] administration do not give us much
optimism for a new approach."
Walles

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