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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (8/22): Doubt Concerning Hamas'

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001555

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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

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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (8/22): Doubt concerning Hamas'
commitment to Palestinian national dialogue

JERUSALEM 00001555 001.3 OF 002

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
All dailies lead with news of the Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi
Livni's doubts about the chances of reaching a peace agreement with
the Palestinians before the end of the year. In a meeting with the
foreign press on August 21, Livni said that reaching an incomplete
agreement with the Palestinians may cause clashes, misunderstanding
and violence, and that therefore any agreement between Israelis and
Palestinians must address all the points. She added that even if an
agreement is reached, it might not be implemented as long as Hamas
remains in control of the Gaza Strip.

The three dailies report on Israeli actions in the West Bank and
Jerusalem. Al-Quds reports that the Israeli authorities issued a
military order which allows Israel to occupy land in Hebron in order
to open an access road to a settlement and establish a military
base. All dailies report the injury of several Palestinians
(Al-Quds reports 7 injuries, while Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
report 9) in clashes with Israeli soldiers on August 21 in Ni'lin
village near Ramallah. In related coverage in all dailies, the
Israeli public prosecutor's office informed the Israeli Supreme
Court on August 21 that the Israeli Prime Minister and Defense
Minister decided to make a significant change in the path of the
separation barrier around the Ma'ale Adumim settlement, moving it
westward to release 4,000 dunums of land. In other coverage in
Al-Ayyam, the Israeli forces announced that as of August 21, the Bir
Nabala checkpoint which connects Ramallah with villages in
north-west Jerusalem will be removed to allow the free passage of
Palestinian foot and vehicle traffic. According to a statement made
by the Israeli forces, this is the third checkpoint removed this
month.

All dailies highlight developments in the Egyptian-sponsored
dialogue between Palestinian factions. Al-Quds and Al-Ayyam report
that seven Palestinian factions have called for the immediate start
of a comprehensive national dialogue in order to end the internal
crisis and the division of the Palestinian people. This call for
dialogue was made during a meeting held by the factions at the
office of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front in the Gaza Strip.
In related coverage in Al-Ayyam, the Palestinian Ambassador to
Cairo, Dr. Nabil Amro, announced in a phone interview with Al-Ayyam
that the dialogue between the Egyptians and the Palestinian factions
will start on Monday, August 25. He added that this dialogue may
include 14 Palestinian factions. He said that the launch date of
the Palestinian comprehensive dialogue depends on the results of
this dialogue between the Egyptians and the Palestinian factions.
In other related coverage in Al-Quds, reliable sources from Hamas
confirmed in a press statement on August 21 that there is a current
crisis between Hamas and Egypt and that this crisis might intensify
unless Egypt takes practical steps to open the Rafah crossing and
resolve the issue of the prisoner exchange deal involving the
Israeli solider Shalit. Egypt reportedly warned Hamas that Israel
might target Hamas leaders for assassination if Hamas continues to
insist on its conditions for the prisoner exchange deal.

Al-Quds carries a press statement made by the Popular Committee
against the Siege in Gaza, in which they assert that the Cypriot
ship will depart Cyprus on August 21 and will arrive at the Gaza
Strip on August 23 despite Israeli obstacles and threats.

Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida report that the Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas received the U.S. Consul General

JERUSALEM 00001555 002 OF 002


Jacob Walles at his office in Ramallah on August 21 to discuss the
latest developments in the Palestinian arena and in peace efforts.

------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------
1. Independent Al-Quds runs an editorial entitled, "Our Cause and
the Latest International Variables" (8/22): "Palestinians and Arabs
need to benefit from the latest international variables and
developments in order to advance the just peace process, taking into
consideration that the conditions of the Cold War and the time of
competition between the two greatest powers are definitively past,
since Russia has become part of the Western world and its sole
concern is its national interests and its strategic security.
Despite that, Moscow is capable, within the Quartet framework, of
playing an active and effective role in pushing the peace process
and implementing the two-state solution. In order [for Russia] to
play this role,...the Arab and Palestinian moves based on the latest
international developments and what might result from these
developments in the near and far future should be carried out
wisely."
2. Independent Al-Ayyam runs an editorial by regular columnist
Samih Shbeib, entitled "The Cairo Dialogues!!" (8/22): "[H]amas's
refusal to stop its revolution and to defer to the Palestinian
Liberation Organization will make the dialogue an open dialogue that
has a start but no end... Hamas' continued control over the Gaza
Strip ...will equally prevent early or late elections. What will
happen in Cairo during and after Ramadan will force the Palestinian
factions participating in the PLO framework to accelerate the
[Palestinian] national dialogue, and to find a means of solving the
internal crisis because if the dialogue remains where it is, the
Palestinian political existence will disappear, while Egypt is
working hard to make the dialogue-if it is held-successful!!!"

WALLES

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