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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (12/04): Palestinians: Israel

VZCZCXRO8296
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2194/01 3391048
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041048Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3443
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 7432
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4414
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4265
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5759
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4181
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2751

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 002194

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 (12/04): PALESTINIANS: ISRAEL
"SOLELY RESPONSIBLE" FOR SETTLER VIOLENCE

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Main Stories:
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Citing Israeli daily Maariv, Al Quds leads with recommendations from
U.S. foreign policy experts to president-elect Obama, including:
freezing Israeli settlement activity; recognizing Hamas within the
Palestinian political system by assisting Egypt and Saudi Arabia in
forming a Fatah-Hamas Palestinian Authority coalition government;
focusing on the Syrian peace track; accepting a nuclear Iran via
direct U.S.-Iran negotiations. The report reveals that the 233-page
document was developed by a team of experts including the head of
the Saban Center, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk and
Richard Haass, head of the Council on Foreign Relations.

All front pages cite Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post in reporting
that the Israeli army rejects the idea, promoted by NSC chief
nominee General Jones, that NATO troops deploy to the West Bank
after an Israeli withdrawal. The article notes that Israel has long
argued that the Palestinian Authority must contain militants, while
Palestinians complain that they cannot in good faith ask militias to
disarm as long as Israel occupies the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
A NATO force, Obama's advisors argue, would bridge the impasse, the
article concludes.
Al Quds' and Al Ayyam's front pages report that Hamas and other
Palestinian factions in Gaza are not leaning towards extending the
truce with Israel that ends on December 19. The paper adds, citing
Israeli daily Maariv, that a senior Israeli source describes the
situation in Gaza as "very volatile" and warns that if a Palestinian
rocket attack inflicts Israeli causalities, a massive Israeli
military offensive into the Gaza Strip would be inevitable.
Al Quds' front page reports that Palestinian Authority salaries
could not be disbursed by banks in Gaza on December 4. Banks were
closed, due to lack of funds caused by Israel's block on dollar and
shekel transfers to the banks. All papers note that Gaza crossings
remain closed for the fourth consecutive week. Al Quds quotes
UNRWA's Operations Director John Ging commenting that those in the
international community, "not helping us, should feel ashamed."
Al Ayyam's front page reports that British Prime Minister Brown
announced on December 3 that he will meet with Israeli Premier
Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Abbas in London on
December 15th to discuss making progress in the peace process in
2009. The paper adds, citing Reuters, that Middle East Quartet
Envoy Tony Blair stated that president-elect Obama has formed a
strong national security team and that he is confident that Obama
will waste no time in dealing with the Middle East peace issue.
Blair noted that as long as Gaza remains separate from the West
Bank, the peace process cannot move forward and the West Bank and
Gaza must form one Palestinian state.
Al Ayyam leads and all dailies front page news on continued Israeli
settler violence in Hebron, where a Palestinian woman and her child
were injured and attempts were made to set fire to three Palestinian
homes. Al Ayyam runs a lead photo of Hebron settlers being guarded
by Israeli military, while Al Hayat Al Jadida leads with a photo of
a Hebron Palestinian youth kicking a burning tire in protest of the
settler occupied Rajabi house in Hebron. In related news, Al Hayat
Al Jadida's front page reports that Fatah legislator Hatim Abdul
Qader fears that a terrorist organization run by Israeli settlers in
the West Bank now exists. In Jerusalem, all papers report that a
Palestinian youth was seriously wounded by "settlers" in a December
3 stabbing attack in Jerusalem.
All dailies front page official reactions to settler violence.
Palestinian Authority(PA) President Abbas reiterates calls on Israel
to stop settler attacks, asserting that Israel is solely responsible
for settler vandalism. Abbas reveals that the PA is lobbying

JERUSALEM 00002194 002 OF 002


several countries to halt settler "aggression" that continues, "not
only in Hebron, but throughout the West Bank." Al Ayyam adds that
Israeli Premier Olmert and President Peres criticized settler
attacks, while the Israeli Foreign Minister stated that Israel
cannot tolerate settlers turning Hebron into a, "wild west." Al
Ayyam's inside page reports that diplomatic mission chiefs and
representatives of 22 European countries paid a solidarity visit to
Hebron on December 3 and met with the Hebron Mayor.

Al Ayyam's front page reports that the Israeli military demolished
the Palestinian home of a family of five in the East Jerusalem
neighborhood of Silwan and attacked an elderly woman living in the
house, putting her in the hospital. The paper runs a front page
photo of the house being demolished.

Al Hayat Al Jadida leads with, and all papers front page AFP news
about EU legislators postponing a vote on upgrading Israel-EU
relations, in protest of the Israeli "siege" on Gaza. The papers
quote EU Parliament Vice President Morgantini stating, "it's time
for Israel to stop thinking that it is above [international]
legitimacy." The papers also quote Palestinian Authority Premier
Fayyad expressing satisfaction over the EU protest.

The dailies carry brief front page coverage on the signing of an
economic and technical cooperation agreement between China and the
Palestinian Authority in the amount of $5 million on December 3.
Citing a WAFA story, the coverage also notes a meeting between
President Abbas and Liu Yunshan, member of the Communist Party of
China, and a separate meeting between Fayyad and the Chinese
official.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
------------

1) Al Quds' editorial is titled, "The Israeli Government is
responsible for the settlers' acts"(12/04): "No one believes that
the Israeli Government is unable, if it really wants to, to stop
these [settler] acts and bullying... European public opinion, in
particular, is expected to shift [more pro-Palestinian], while the
U.S. is preoccupied with the change in administrations... the
Israeli Government must play a more responsible role, as it has
tried to do by arresting 20 settlers when they tried to occupy a
[Palestinian] house in Hebron."
2) Abdullah Awwad opines in Al Ayyam under the title, "The third
war... the settlers' war"(12/04): "Many [Palestinian] decision
makers don't have a map of the West Bank on their desks, and if they
do have one, they don't have any pencils to trace what is left of
Palestinian land as they make the painful discovery that there is no
land left on which to establish a state, not to mention implement
autonomous rule... all that is left [of the land] is a geographic
and demographic mosaic connected by tunnels and roads. But don't
look through your car windows to your right or to your left, for you
will need a permit to look at the passing Israeli Territories!!!"
Walles

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