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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (10/24): Palestinian Pessimism

VZCZCXRO3246
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1947/01 2981033
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241033Z OCT 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3086
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 7371
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4351
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4204
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5698
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4120
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2685

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001947

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 (10/24): PALESTINIAN PESSIMISM
REGARDING PAST AND CURRENT PEACE EFFORTS

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Main Stories:
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Al Quds leads with news of a stabbing incident on October 23 in Gilo
in Jerusalem. All front pages report that a 20 year old Palestinian
from the Tuqu village south of Bethlehem, killed an Israeli man and
injured an Israeli policeman before himself being injured and taken
into custody by the Israeli military. The Israeli military later
"stormed" Tuqu village and demolished the perpetrator's house and
arrested his sister and another young man.

Al Ayyam leads with news of the expected deployment of 550
Palestinian Authority police to Hebron, in coordination with Israel.
The deployment, which is to begin in surrounding villages and later
move into the city, has been criticized by Israeli settlers who
claim that the Israeli "caretaker government" has no mandate to
approve the deployment. In related reporting, Al Quds reports on an
inside page that the Israeli military on October 23 confiscated
agricultural equipment used for a land reclamation project in
Hebron.

Al Quds and Al Ayyam quote Egypt's President Mubarak on their front
pages telling Israeli President Peres that the Arab peace initiative
is a complete package not subject to negotiation. Mubarak, who met
with Peres in Sharm al Sheikh on October 23, also highlighted his
intention to conclude a Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange deal. For
his part, Peres confirmed that Israel accepts the Arab initiative
and the two-state solution. In related reporting, Al Hayat Al
Jadida runs a front page quote by PLO negotiation chief Erekat
stating on October 23 in Tokyo that the next U.S. president will be
committed to [continuing] the peace process, immediately following
his election.

On inter-Palestinian dialogue, Al Quds' front page runs quotes by
Salih Zidan, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine polit
bureau member stating his expectation that the Cairo unity talks
will result in approval by all Palestinian factions of the Egyptian
proposal for unity, including a timetable for implementation.

Al Quds' front page reports that the, "largest-ever parliamentary
delegation," will visit Gaza in November and include Arab and
European legislators. The visit will be organized by the European
Campaign to Lift the Siege of Gaza. In related news, Al Hayat Al
Jadida reports on an inside page that Israel is preventing dozens of
experts from attending a conference in Gaza that will discuss mental
health issues related to the "siege" on the Strip.

The visit by a U.S. Consulate delegation to Jericho is highlighted
on an inside page in Al Quds. The delegation included American
officials from the Consulate's economic section who met with the
Mayor of Jericho. The Mayor thanked the U.S. government for
supporting the Palestinian people and explained the city's need for
a new sewage system. The mayor explained that the Jordan River,
which was once a tourist attraction and agricultural area, is being
turned into a garbage dump by Israel. He also called for the
removal of Israeli checkpoints around Jericho. A separate Al Quds'
inside page report notes that the U.S. delegation also met with
Kamil Sunnoqrot, Director of Tel Sultan Tourism Resort, who briefed
them on Jericho tourism and demanded the removal of an Israeli
checkpoint, north of Jericho, to facilitate tourists' access to the
city.

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BLOCK QUOTES:

JERUSALEM 00001947 002 OF 002


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1. Azmi Khawaja, Palestinian National Legislative Council Member,
opines in Al Ayyam under the title, "Cairo dialogues approach a
decisive moment"(10/24): "We must succeed in these talks, because
their failure would threaten the Palestinian cause... Successful
talks would mean an end to the Gaza siege... and the opening of
corridors for passage including between the West Bank and Gaza...
We need to understand that Israel does not want an independent
Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel only
wants an economic peace, not a political one... After the successful
conclusion of the talks, we will be standing before a crossroads,
either the Israelis accept Palestinian demands for establishing a
Palestinian state, the return Jerusalem, and the withdrawal to 1967
borders... or we are heading into a third Palestinian intifada that
will continue until the Israeli occupation is removed...
Palestinians have tried the Madrid peace conference, the Oslo
accords, the [Middle East] Quartet, the promises of George Bush, the
Annapolis conference, Tony Blair - all of them have failed. We have
not progressed one step forward towards a final agreement."

2. Lawyer Ibrahim Shaban writes in Al Quds under the title
"Palestinian municipal elections in Arab Jerusalem" (10/24): "What
prevents Palestinians from holding their own municipal elections and
electing a municipal council and a mayor [for Jerusalem] like they
do in Hebron or Nablus....is the occupation [really] the central
obstacle? Don't they [Palestinian Authority] hold negotiations at
all levels? Why don't they hold urgent negotiations on this
matter?"

Walles

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