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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (12/24): Reports On Abbas'

VZCZCXRO4562
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2289/01 3591136
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241136Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3580
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 7457
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4442
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4290
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5784
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4206
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2776

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 002289

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 (12/24): REPORTS ON ABBAS'
REGIONAL MEETINGS

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Main Stories:
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All papers lead with statements made by Palestinian Authority
President Abbas during a press conference following his meeting with
Egyptian President Mubarak in Cairo yesterday. Abbas is quoted as
blaming both Israel and Hamas for the Gaza siege, while noting that
Egypt is qualified to mediate to solve the Palestinian problems in
Gaza and is doing its best to help the Palestinians. Abbas
reiterated his rejection of any potential Israeli offensive against
Gaza as well as his rejection of Hamas' "futile" rocket attacks on
Israel. Abbas also denied that there are any political prisoners in
Palestinian Authority prisons. Al Quds and Al Ayyam report on Abbas'
meeting yesterday with Jordanian Foreign Minister Al Basheer in
Ramallah. Abbas stated during the press conference following the
meeting that the two had discussed his recent visit to Washington
and his meeting with President Bush.
All the papers run statements by Palestinian Authority Prime
Minister Fayyad yesterday calling for reuniting the Palestinian
homeland. Al-Ayyam runs an undated Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper
interview with Fayyad from his stay in London for an economic
conference. Fayyad says that chaos in the Palestinian Territories
resulted in the emigration of around 50,000 Palestinians in
2006-2007. He also added that the Palestinian Authority money
transfers to Gaza have so far prevented the collapse of the Gaza
Strip. Finally, he denied that there is any Fatah opposition to his
government.
All the papers report on the end of the 24-hour truce in Gaza, with
the news that Palestinian factions resumed firing projectiles at
Israel and the Israeli military killed three Palestinian militants
who were attempting to plant a bomb near the Israeli border fence.
The papers report that Hamas is demanding Israel commit to its
"obligations" from the original six month truce in order for it to
be renewed. The papers also report that Israel partially opened
three Gaza crossings to allow for the entry of humanitarian
assistance loaded onto 40 trucks, 20 of which were for UNRWA and the
rest for the private sector.
Al Ayyam quotes the French Consul General Alain Remy, from his
interview yesterday with Palestinian media, saying that there are no
contacts between France and Hamas. Remy remarked that donor
countries have provided three billion USD in assistance to the
Palestinians since the Paris conference. Remy also said that there
is no French peace plan per se, but that there is an EU working
paper which was crafted in order to keep the peace process alive, as
the Annapolis process has not succeeded in achieving in its desired
objective of reaching a signed agreement by the end of 2008. Remy
added that the working paper was still an internal EU one and has
not yet been sent officially to either of the parties. Remy hoped
that the next US administration would continue the momentum of
Annapolis and consider the Middle East peace process a priority from
the moment it assumes office in late January. He further added that,
"We think we can provide the Palestinian Authority with financial
assistance of Euro 25 million in early 2009, as we did last year".
Finally, he revealed that the EU would be ready to participate in a
military force deployed in the Palestinian Territories following a
peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Al Quds front page runs the results of a poll conducted by the
Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showing that most
Palestinians want legislative and presidential elections in early
2009 to end the Fatah-Hamas conflict, and most also want to see a
stronger intervention from the Obama administration for resolving
the conflict with Israel. The results show that Hamas' popularity is
no longer on the wane, while Fatah's popularity remains stable,

JERUSALEM 00002289 002 OF 002


despite the Hamas boycott of the national dialogue. The poll shows
that a majority of Palestinians blame both Hamas and Fatah equally
for the failure of the national dialogue and that a majority of
Palestinians support Hamas' stand on the end of PA President Abbas'
term in January 2009.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
-------------

1. Al Quds editorial "The complicated crisis in Gaza" opines: "The
worst scenario that could happen [in Gaza], is the use of military
force, especially the Israeli one, in an attempt to topple the Hamas
movement, because such an attempt is a definite prescription for
bloodshed, extreme loss of life, and great destruction to
infrastructure ... Considering this option [military force] is a
form of recklessness and miscalculation given the catastrophic
implications such a massive offensive would wreak in Gaza, which
could have in turn have regional and international repercussions.
The solution to the crisis is in the hands of Hamas, which should
reconsider its calculations and take into consideration the
suffering of the citizens of Gaza. Through dialogue and
understanding, Hamas should come closer to the Palestinian Authority
and end the prevailing divisiveness in the interests of the
Palestinian people and their cause".
2. Jawad Al Basheeti writes in Al Ayyam under the title "War is an
extension of elections": "The Gaza Strip has already become the
largest "polling booth" for Israel, where Netanyahu, Livni and Barak
compete to marshal the winds to propel their electoral boats...It is
extremely bad for the Palestinians, and Gazans in particular, to
constantly extend the truce [with Israel] in exchange for Israel
constantly extending the siege of the Gaza Strip...The Palestinian
controversy over the "two old options" - the "negotiated solution"
and the "solution through military resistance" - has in fact
produced a miserable third option, which is the "truce" option.
Both in theory and in practice, Palestinian policy has lost its
way."

Walles

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