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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (10/22): The Road Map "has Lost

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OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1919/01 2961204
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221204Z OCT 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3051
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
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RUEAHQA/CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
RHMFIUU/CMC WASHINGTON DC
RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7367
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4347
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4200
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5694
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4116
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2681

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001919

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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 (10/22): THE ROAD MAP "HAS LOST
ITS WAY"

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Main Stories:
-------------
Al Quds and Al Ayyam lead with Palestinian unity talks in Cairo,
reporting that all factions have accepted Egypt's proposal for
restoring unity, though Hamas has expressed some reservations. In
separate reporting, all front pages note that Palestinian Authority
President Abbas has dismissed top Palestinian intelligence official,
Tawfiq Tirawi. Press "sources" denied that the action was the
result of Hamas' demands made at the Cairo talks.

Al Hayat Al Jadida leads with a story on Palestinians remaining on
the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem to "defend" the mosque.
All front pages report that 17 Israeli Jews aborted an October 21
attempt to enter the compound after Palestinians shouted at them.
The stories run next to photos taken earlier this week of Israeli
Jews standing on the compound under Israeli police escort.

Al Ayyam's front page features the letter allegedly written by
Secretary Rice to Hamas Polit Bureau Chief Khalid Misha'al. Rice
writes, "I would like to inform you that keeping the calm [with
Israel] is of critical Palestinian interest... I feel it is
important for Hamas to be ready to abandon terrorism and be ready
for a peaceful coexistence between the two states," the paper notes.
In separate reporting, all front pages quote Assistant Secretary
for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch from an October 21 meeting in
Cairo with Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa. Welch encouraged
Arab states to establish relations with Israel and indicated that
there is a, "US-Egyptian understanding" regarding efforts to make
progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track, according to coverage.

Palestinians have "new ideas" regarding the peace process, according
to chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Quray, speaking at a Paris
joint press availability with French Foreign Minister Kushner on
October 21. Al Quds and Al Ayyam run front page stories on the
statements, also highlighting Quray's comments that the French
presidency of the EU might provide a good vehicle for explaining and
discussing these ideas.

Israel's Defense Minister Barak has ordered a complete closure of
Gaza crossing points after a projectile, "allegedly launched from
Gaza" landed in Israel, the front pages report. In linked
reporting, the front pages of Al Ayyam and Al Hayat Al Jadida
feature photos of a calf being hoisted up into Gaza via an
underground tunnel from Egypt. Finally, in Gaza/Hamas reporting, Al
Quds notes on an inside page that Hamas denies media reports that it
has lost $300 million in investments in the Lehman Brothers Bank.

Al Quds and Al Ayyam report on inside pages that Public Affairs
Officer Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm gave a presentation on U.S.
elections at a gathering organized by the Palestinian democracy and
human rights organization, Miftah in the West Bank city of Ramallah
on October 21. Al Ayyam also reports that Schweitzer-Bluhm met and
discussed U.S. elections with the Deputy Palestinian Authority
Minister of Youth and Sports and Palestinian Young Leadership
Council officials in Ramallah.

Israeli military arrested a camera crew of the Ramallah-based Watan
TV on October 21, according to an inside story in Al Quds. The
journalists were covering attacks by Israeli settlers on
Palestinians in Kufr Qadum near the West Bank city of Qalqiliya,
reporting noted, adding that Palestinian Authority Legislator
Mustafa Barghouthi condemned the arrest.


JERUSALEM 00001919 002 OF 002


The three papers report that Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad joined the Italian Consul General on October
21 to sign an agreement for a major grant to the PA. Italy will
provide 20 million Euros to the PA which will be spent in accordance
with the "European-Palestinian mechanism;" the traditional method of
aid distribution.

------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------
1. Al Quds editorial is titled "Palestinians embrace their olives
despite settler aggression" (10/22): "No one, regardless of his
barbarism and cruelty, can separate the Palestinian from his olive
tree, which he considers to be one of his sons... the world and
so-called international community should not be satisfied to stand
by and watch the hateful [Israeli] settler aggression prevent
farmers from accessing olive groves and cause attacks, beatings and
injuries. The international community must speak out loudly and
condemn settlement activities, the settlers and demand the
dismantling of settlements."

2. Columnist Hani Habib opines in Al Ayyam under the title "Rice
responds to Fayyad" (10/22): "Mrs. Condoleezza Rice said with pride
in an interview with the BBC that the Bush Administration was the
one that placed the formation of a Palestinian state among the
priorities for negotiations. Perhaps she was referring to the road
map peace plan that has lost its way... Mrs. Rice ignored that the
issue of the Palestinian state was proposed even before the
establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. We refer here to the
UN partition resolution of 1947... In her interview with the BBC,
Rice finds a chance to reiterate... the possibility of reaching an
Israeli-Palestinian agreement by the end of this year, as if she,
once again, is refuting [Palestinian Authority Prime Minister]
Fayyad's statements that Israel is to blame for blocking the peace
process and [the negative effects of] the policy of settlement
expansion... the American effort that Rice referred to, has done
nothing but weaken the Palestinian [peace] partner."

Walles

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