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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (12/12): "Gaza Siege - Prelude To

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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4422
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4272
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5766
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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
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LONDON FOR HKANONA AND POL - TSOU
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (12/12): "GAZA SIEGE - PRELUDE TO
INVASION"

Please note that only Al Quds and Al Ayyam resumed print today.

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Main Stories:
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Al Quds leads with news that Israel again closed Gaza crossings
after they were briefly opened on December 11 to allow for the entry
of cash and humanitarian goods. Al Ayyam's front page covers the
same news and runs a lead photo of Gazans crowding around ATM
machines, while Al Quds' front page shows a photo of a very happy
Gazan with a fist full of cash. Israel allowed $25 million to be
transfered to Gaza banks and allowed for the entry of 55 trucks
carrying humanitarian assistance, reporting notes. The papers add
that the U.N. Human Rights Council urged Israel on December 11 to
adopt 99 measures to improve its human rights record, including the
lifting of the Gaza "siege", the release of Palestinian prisoners in
Israel and a halt in settlement activities.
In an above the fold front page article, Al Quds reveals that
Palestinian Authority President Abbas will pay a "farewell visit" on
President Bush in Washington late this month. The paper quotes
Palestinian sources, stating that it would be important for the U.S.
to use the visit as an opportunity to applaud Palestinians for the
role they have played in the peace process. Al Quds' front page
also reports that President Bush has again delayed the relocation of
the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem for another six months. Bush
justified his decision in a letter to Secretary Rice as being in,
"the U.S. national interest," the paper reports.
Al Quds and Al Ayyam front page December 11 statements made by the
Jerusalem British Consul General calling Israeli settlements,
including those in Jerusalem, illegal. He added that the U.K. is
ensuring that no preference is given to the import of Israeli
settlement products.
Al Ayyam's front page reports on a letter sent from Arab leaders to
president-elect Obama, expressing a readiness to make peace in
accordance with the Arab peace initiative. The letter, which also
gets coverage on Al Quds' front page, was signed by Saudi Foreign
Minister Al Faysal and Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa.
Citing Reuters and AFP, the paper discloses that the letter was
handed to one of Obama's political advisors a few days ago.
In a front page item, Al Quds and Al Ayyam cite Israeli daily
Haaretz in reporting that president-elect Obama will offer Israel a
nuclear protection umbrella in return for the acceptance of a
nuclear Iran. Under that plan, any Iranian nuclear attack on Israel
would immediately be followed by a destructive U.S. nuclear attack
on Iran. Citing news agencies, the papers also reveal that Obama,
during his first 100 days in office, will address Muslims from an
Islamic capital, most probably Rabat, in an effort to improve the
U.S. image in the Islamic world. Papers note that Obama will use
his middle name, Hussein, when sworn in as president.
Al Quds' inside page cites an Israeli daily Jerusalem Post interview
published on December 11, when quoting U.S. Security Coordinator
General Dayton applauding the performance of the Palestinian
security forces. Dayton noted that they are a key component to the
establishment of a Palestinian state and he urged Israel to, "let
the training continue uninterrupted," according to reporting.
Al Quds' front page quotes Palestinian Authority President Abbas
telling Arab press on December 11 that no peace can be made without
the release of all Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Abbas also
called for a halt to settler "aggressions." The paper also front
pages statements from Abbas' office denouncing Israeli Foreign
Minister Livni's call for Israeli Arabs to relocate to a future
Palestinian state. In related news, Al Quds runs front page quotes
by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad, stating that the key
to regional security, stability and peace is an end to Israeli

JERUSALEM 00002233 002 OF 002


occupation and settlement activity and the guarantee of the right to
self determination for the Palestinians. Al Ayyam's front page
highlights Fayyad's comment that the recent EU decision to upgrade
relations with Israel sends, "a negative message." Fayyad made his
remarks during a December 11 ceremony inaugurating 39 development
projects in northern West Bank towns.
Al Quds and Al Ayyam publish the results of a poll conducted by the
Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research on inside pages.
The poll was conducted on December 3, 4, 5 and asserts that, "while
Hamas maintains its popularity despite its boycott of reconciliation
talks, and while two-thirds believe that Abbas's term ends in
January 2009, three quarters of Palestinians support Abbas's call
for new elections early next year if reconciliation efforts fail and
if elections can be held in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."

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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1) Regular contributor Mohammad Yaghi opines in Al Ayyam under the
title, "Gaza Strip siege is a long prelude to invasion"(12/12):
"This siege and the continuation of its ugliness, is a prelude it
seems, to Israeli military action aimed at ending Hamas rule...
Bringing about the downfall of Hamas through military force will
transform it from a relatively moderate, political-religious
movement into an extremist, grassroots religious organization...
This is very dangerous and will not stop at the Gaza borders, but
will affect the West Bank and other places in the Arab world, where
Jordan and Egypt could become the stage for [related violence]."
2) Al Quds' editorial is titled,"Palestinians want freedom of
movement"(12/12): "The unrelenting [Israeli] insistence on
maintaining checkpoints, coupled with unprecedented settlement
expansion make for a effective prescription for undermining the
peace process... What is needed to boost both Israeli and
Palestinian security, is to remove these checkpoints and allow for
the freedom of movement for Palestinian citizens and goods, inside
their homeland."
Walles

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