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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (8/06): National Dialogue Must Be

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RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7248
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4237
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4090
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UNCLAS JERUSALEM 001434

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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 (8/06): National dialogue must be
based on "attachment to Palestine"

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Main Stories:
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The dominant story in all the dailies is the threat made by Israeli
Defense Minister Ehud Barak to launch a widespread Israeli military
operation in the Gaza Strip. The threat, which Barak delivered in a
speech before the Labor party on August 5 in Jerusalem, was
broadcast on Israeli radio. All the dailies cover Hamas' subsequent
warning to Israeli to refrain from committing any violations of the
Hamas/Israel truce agreement. Al-Quds reports that in a press
conference held on August 5, following a meeting of the former Hamas
government in the Gaza Strip, Hamas leader Taher Al-Nunu confirmed
Hamas' commitment to the truce and strongly warned Israel against
violating it. Al-Ayyam quotes an unnamed Hamas leader as saying on
August 5 that, "Barak's threats are 'ridiculous' and we [Hamas] are
ready for all options." Al-Hayat Al-Jadida writes that Islamic
Jihad and Hamas dismissed Barak's declarations as election
propaganda.

Al-Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front-page news about the expected
meeting between Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas
and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on August 6 in Jerusalem.
According to an AFP story cited by both dailies, the Chief
Palestinian negotiator, Dr. Sa'eb Erekat, announced on August 5 that
Abbas and Olmert will discuss final status issues that were raised
"a year ago" under U.S. sponsorship. In addition, he said that they
would discuss the issue of checkpoints in the West Bank and the fate
of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. The dailies also cite
a story published in the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan, claiming that
during today's meeting, Abbas expects Olmert to provide an answer to
his request that Fatah leader Marwan Al-Barghouthi be released from
prison. Abbas reportedly made this request when he met with Olmert
in Paris.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida covers the August 5th meeting between President
Abbas and U.S. Consul General Jacob Walles in Ramallah, citing the
official Palestine news agency WAFA when writing that Abbas briefed
the Consul General on the latest developments in the Palestinian
Territories and on the efforts that have been made to push the peace
process forward. This article is accompanied by a large,
above-the-fold photo of Abbas and Walles during their meeting at the
Presidential Office. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that a "reliable
Palestinian source" said to AFP on August 5 that U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice will visit the Palestinian Territories and
Israel on August 20 to meet with Abbas and Olmert, and with Israeli
and Palestinian negotiators. The source added that a trilateral
Israeli/Palestinian/American meeting will be held to evaluate the
negotiations and push them forward.

All dailies report that Washington revoked the visas of four
students from the Gaza Strip who had received scholarships to study
in the U.S. Agencies report that according to an American official,
the visas of three Gazan students with Fulbright scholarships were
revoked after receiving "new information on them [the students]."
An official at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem said, "we found new
information which led us to revoke the visas prudentially."
Officials added that the visa of a fourth student from the Gaza
Strip, who had been granted a different scholarship, was also
cancelled.

Al-Quds reports that Abbas met with members of the Hilles family
from the Gaza Strip on August 5 at his office in Ramallah and
reportedly reiterated his support for them.


All dailies highlight meetings that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad held with various committees and institutions for the defense
of Palestinian land on August 5. Fayyad thanked the committees and
institutions for their hard work in dealing with the problems of the
separation barrier and of settlement activities. He also praised the
Palestinian people's tolerance of Israeli actions in Palestinian
villages and of the suffering they endure due to the separation
barrier and the settlements.

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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1. Independent Al-Quds runs its daily editorial entitled, "Dialogue
based on attachment to Palestine" (8/06): "Although [Palestinian]
parties [Fatah and Hamas] have closed their ears to the calls made
by both Palestinians and the wider Arab world for a serious and
effective dialogue for the sake of the lost Palestinian unity, it is
the duty of all those who are loyal to the Palestinian people, its
cause, and a Palestinian future on its own land, not to stop
repeating their calls because these calls might in the end reach
these two big parties [Fatah and Hamas] in the Gaza Strip and the
West Bank. The two parties might realize that there is no other way
except for dialogue and that dialogue is the only way to end the
division and the split between the two sides [the Gaza Strip and the
West Bank] of the homeland ... Only national dialogue based on an
attachment to Palestine...can draw a limit to the division and split
that we [Palestinians] have reached. The Palestinian leaderships
and the decision makers of all factions...are responsible for the
destiny of the [Palestinian] people and the Palestinian cause.
These leaderships must be well qualified to launch Palestinian
initiatives for reconciliation and end the division without the need
of external mediation ... The worsening situation in the Gaza Strip
reached the point where Fatah members took refuge in Israel after
the sad clashes in the Al-Shaja'iya neighborhood in Gaza. Such
deterioration in the situation is dangerous and is a warning for
everybody as to the severe condition which the Palestinian cause has
reached. The value of the Palestinian cause has become ridiculous in
the eyes of Arab and international countries, when once the
Palestinian struggle was an example of which all the world boasted.
The majority of Palestinians ask for an end to this catastrophic
situation, and again we say, and we will not tire of saying:
enough."

WALLES

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