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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (11/14): Arab Reluctance to Play

VZCZCXRO1009
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2042/01 3191112
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141112Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3240
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 7402
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4382
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4235
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5729
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4151
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2717

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 002042

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 (11/14): ARAB RELUCTANCE TO PLAY
GREATER ROLE IN PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI PEACE PROCESS

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Main Stories:
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All front pages run statements by Israeli Foreign Minister Livni
rejecting "extensive" engagement by president-elect Obama in the
Middle East peace process. The papers cite Reuters in quoting Livni
during a November 13 meeting with Jewish-Americans in New York,
where she also objected to the return of, "even one Palestinian
refugee." Livni is further quoted telling the audience, "please
don't interfere, this is a bilateral process. Don't try to bridge
gaps between us, and don't propose new ideas." In related news,
the front pages of Al Ayyam and Al Hayat Al Jadida report that
President Bush and Saudi King Abdullah met on the margins of the UN
sponsored interfaith conference and discussed the peace process and
international financial crisis.

Al Hayat Al Jadida front pages statements by former Israeli minister
Yussi Baylin asking Israel on November 13 to reach a settlement with
Palestinians on the West Bank only, excluding Hamas and the Gaza
Strip. The front page also runs statements by the Jordanian Foreign
Minister urging the incoming U.S. administration to actively engage
in the Middle East peace process.

The three dailies lead with news of the shutdown of power in Gaza
due to fuel shortages, showing pictures of children reading by the
light of candles and kerosene lamps. Al Quds notes that hospitals,
basic services and the water supply are threatened by the shutdown.
Al Quds and Al Ayyam report that UNRWA Commissioner General Abu Zayd
told Reuters on November 13 that she is concerned over Israel's
policy to only allow humanitarian assistance into the Strip, adding
that school supplies will be excluded from future UNRWA deliveries
to Gaza.

Al Quds' front page notes warnings by UN Peace Envoy Richard Myron
and Quartet Representative Tony Blair of a collapse of the Gaza
truce between Hamas and Israel. Blair called for the creation of
conditions that facilitate Palestinian unity and prevent the firing
of rockets into Israel, in order to deny Israel a "pretext" for
closing Gaza crossings, Al Quds continued.

The three papers front page statements by Palestinian Authority
Premier Fayyad, made in Paris on November 13. Fayyad is quoted
saying that Israel is endangering the peace process with its
continued settlement activity. Fayyad called for a halt to
settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories, including
Jerusalem, in order to begin to rebuild the credibility of the peace
process, the papers report.

Al Quds reveals on its front page the existence of an internal
document issued by the Hamas polit bureau that questions the
credibility of Egyptian efforts towards reuniting Palestinians. The
document also questions Fatah's motives for joining in the Cairo
dialogue and accuses Fatah of seeking to end Hamas control of the
Gaza Strip and launch new elections "tailored" to Fatah's needs. In
related news, Al Ayyam's front page quotes PLO Executive Committee
member Yasir Abid Rabbo confirming on November 13 that Palestinian
internal dialogue remains under the sponsorship of Egypt and will
not be transferred to the Arab League.

On an inside page, Al Hayat Al Jadida reports that USAID has signed
an agreement to support basic education in the Palestinian
Territories. The agreement was signed in Ramallah on November 13,
in the presence of USAID Director Sumka and Palestinian officials,
under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority Minister of

JERUSALEM 00002042 002 OF 002


Education.

------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------

1) Mohamad Yaghy opines in Al Ayyam under the title, "Obama is not
a replacement for Arab and Palestinian will" (11/14): "How can
[peace] negotiations succeed when Hamas rejects them outright?...
the problem isn't in the appointment of the Jewish Rahm [to White
House Chief of Staff] since he won't be the one drafting U.S.
foreign policy... the problem is and will remain Arab refusal to
take on their role [in the peace process] and their preference to
wait and see what comes from the other side of the ocean."

2) Al Quds editorial is titled, "No alternative to dialogue"
(11/14): "There is no alternative for the two parties [Fatah and
Hamas] but to pursue dialogue ... any other alternative, such as
those advanced by non-Palestinian agendas, will not lead to
anything, but more suffering and catastrophe... The Palestinian
people are optimistic about the success of a meeting among
Palestinian factions in general, and between Fatah and Hamas in
particular, because they believe that the Palestinian cause and
higher interests will trump all differences."

Walles

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