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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (7/24): "Barak Obama Will Solve

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2258
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001339

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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 (7/24): "BARAK OBAMA WILL SOLVE
IT"

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Main Stories:
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Barak Obama's meeting with Palestinian Authority President Abbas on
July 23 in Ramallah dominates the front pages. Al- Quds reports
that Abbas briefed Obama on the peace process and obstacles
preventing its progress. Al- Quds' headline quotes Obama stating,
"peace is a top U.S. interest and we will not waste time when moving
towards the achievement of a two-state solution." Al- Ayyam reports
under a banner headline that Obama promises Abbas to be a
"constructive partner" in the peace process if he is elected U.S.
President. In Al- Hayat Al- Jadida, Obama confirms to Abbas that he
will work hard to continue the peace process, saying, "I will not go
back to zero, if I am elected President of the U.S.A." As for
Obama's visit to Sderot in southern Israel on July 23, all dailies
report that Obama told the press that a nuclear Iran would
constitute a major threat and the world must prevent that from
happening. He also criticized terrorist attacks on Israel,
according to coverage.

Palestinian Authority President Abbas celebrated Egyptian
"revolution day" with the Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian
Authority in Ramallah on July 23, according to front pages. Abbas
commented that Palestinian, "national dialogue will be based on the
Arab (Yemeni) initiative for reconciliation under Egyptian
sponsorship." Abbas also called on donor countries "to rush"
budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority, who the Palestinian
Minister of Planning says, may not be able to pay employee salaries
otherwise. Related reporting in all dailies notes that Hamas
refused to allow two Fatah leaders to leave Gaza on July 23 to
travel to Ramallah for Fatah meetings.

Al- Quds' front page reports on Israeli concern over the increase of
attacks [by Palestinians] in Jerusalem and Israeli plans to
accelerate the destruction of perpetrators' homes. Israel has also
implemented stringent procedures to monitor Palestinian workers in
Jerusalem following the July 22 bulldozer attack in downtown
Jerusalem, according to another Al Quds report. Coverage in all
papers highlights comments by the father of the July 23 bulldozer
attacker, in which he denies claims made by the Israeli media that
his son committed a suicide operation.

Front pages report that Israel will halt security operations in the
West Bank city of Nablus. Al Quds attributes the success to the
intense pressure on foreign countries and Israel exerted by the
Palestinian Authority, especially Palestinian Authority Premier
Salaam Fayyad. Al- Ayyam reports that Israeli Defense Minister
Barak informed Fayyad during a July 23 meeting, that Israel will
stop all operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In related
reporting, Al- Hayat Al- Jadida notes the Israeli arrest of the
father of a Palestinian girl who took video footage of two Israeli
soldiers shooting a bound and blind-folded Palestinian in the legs
near Ni'lin village near Ramallah. The footage has attracted
wide-spread international attention.

Israel is considering the release of long-time prisoner and Fatah
leader Marwan Al- Barghouti as part of an exchange deal with Hamas,
as a gesture of good will toward Palestinian Authority President
Abbas, Al- Hayat Al- Jadida reports. The exchange deal would
include the release of captured Israeli soldier Shalit, the paper
adds.

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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1. Independent Al- Ayyam runs an editorial by Abdullah Awwad
entitled, "Barak Obama will solve it" (7/24): "...the democratic
candidate is here promising that he will work to solve the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict, from his first moment in the White House ...
Bush promised that the two-state solution would be ready by the end
of 2005... ...now the end of 2008 is approaching fast and there is
nothing to show but an increase in settlement activities and
judaization... pretty dreams are a good thing... so let us dream
that Obama will solve [the conflict]. But how? This question awaits
his entrance into the White House and then we will know the
answer... just be sure that Obama's job, if he does win the
elections, will be to work on 'African' issues and nothing more."

2. Independent Al- Quds prints an editorial by official Fatah
spokesperson Ahmad Abdul Rahman, entitled, "Egypt is the only
strategic guarantee for the establishment of an independent
Palestinian state..." (7/24): "... Hamas is not aware that Israel
uses [their takeover of Gaza] to destroy the Palestinian national
project to free Palestinian land and establish a Palestinian state.
And Israel can put enormous pressure on the Strip and on Hamas to
push them in the opposite direction of national independence... in
fact, it is Egypt that has adopted the attitude that best serves the
establishment of a Palestinian state and the end to occupation.
This policy is based on: ending [internal Palestinian] division...
and implementing the Rafah crossing agreement of 2005..."

Walles

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