Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (12/16): "Extending Annapolis To
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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (12/16): "EXTENDING ANNAPOLIS TO
CUT A PATH FOR THE ISRAELI RIGHTWING"
All papers lead with photos and reporting on the release of 224
Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons on December 15 in an
Israeli gesture of goodwill towards Palestinian Authority President
Abbas. Abbas received the prisoners at the presidential complex in
Ramallah stating that he would continue work to gain the release of
all 11,000 Palestinians still in Israeli prisons. Al Hayat Al
Jadida's and Al Ayyam's front pages report that "Palestinian
Legislative Council Speaker" Aziz Dwayk of Hamas, currently detained
in Israel with other Hamas "legislators", will soon appear before an
Israeli court to learn the ruling on his continued imprisonment.
The papers also report that a former Hamas minister Omar Abdul
Raziq, who was released by Israel last August, turned himself in to
the Israeli military on December 15 after Israel ordered him to
serve a second term in Israeli prison.
The second lead story in all papers highlights statements by
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad and British Prime
Minister Brown made on December 15 in London at a conference on
investment in the Palestinian Territories. Fayyad is quoted urging
the E.U. to take measures against Israeli settlement expansion,
while Brown is quoted urging president-elect Obama to give Middle
East issues priority, and halt Israeli settlement activities. All
the papers front page references to a letter sent by Brown to Fayyad
on December 15, reiterating the E.U. stand on opposing Israeli
settlement activities and supporting the two-state solution.
Al Hayat Al Jadida's front page cites Reuters in reporting on a
December 15 joint statement by Middle East Quartet Representative
Tony Blair and the World Bank, calling on Israel to ease the cash
flow crisis in Gaza by facilitating the transfer of cash to Gaza
Al Ayyam's front page quotes PLO Executive Committee Member Yasir
Abd Rabbuh predicting that Palestinian legislative and presidential
elections, based on a fully proportional system, will be held in the
first half of 2009 in the West Bank and Gaza. Abd Rabbuh was
responding to a recent speech made by Hamas leader Haniyah rejecting
any extension to Palestinian Authority President Abbas' term, the
Al Ayyam's front page cites AFP when quoting Amos Gilad, advisor to
the Israeli Defense Minister, stating that the date when the truce
with Hamas expires is unclear. Gilad's statement was made on
December 15 in Cairo, where he also denied that the purpose of his
visit was to urge Egypt to mediate with Hamas to secure an extension
of the truce. The paper cites DPA in quoting a Hamas-affiliated Al
Qassam Brigades source announcing that the final decision on
extending the truce will be made in the next few days.
Al Quds' front page cites AFP in reporting on rallies held in Iraq
to push for the release of the Iraqi journalist who attacked
President Bush in Baghdad. The paper reports "wide-spread support"
for the journalist who "insulted" the President who is "unpopular"
in the Arab world. The paper quotes President Bush saying that he
did not feel insulted, and cites the Washington Post describing the
incident as the "goodbye kiss" that Bush deserved from the Iraqis.
Al Quds runs a full inside page feature dedicated to Arab reactions
to the shoe-throwing incident.
Al Hayat Al Jadida's front page cites news agencies in reporting on
Israel's decision to deny entry to U.N. Special Rapporteur on the
Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Richard
Falk who, according to coverage, has angered Israel in the past with
statements comparing the Israeli military to Nazi Germany's
military. In related news, the paper's front page reports
separately on death threats made against the U.N. General Assembly
Speaker and the head of the Nicaraguan delegation to the U.N., the
JERUSALEM 00002244 002 OF 002
latter of whom is known for being critical of Israel's behavior, the
Al Hayat Al Jadida runs an inside report on a visit by a delegation
from the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Consulate General in
Jerusalem to Jenin. The delegation met with the Jenin Governor at
the Chamber of Commerce to discuss the situation in the Governorate,
including projects for an industrial zone that would be operational
by 2011, and a new sewer system.
Al Ayyam's inside page reports on the Israeli military "storming"
Balata refugee camp near Nablus on December 15, where they arrested
four Palestinian youths. The paper adds that the Israeli military
also "stormed" the Zawata village near Nablus, entering Palestinian
homes and detaining Palestinians outside their houses.
1) Al Quds' editorial is titled, "Ending the rights of the Human
Rights Rapporteur" (12/16): "We appreciate Professor Falk's stand
and bravery in reporting on whatever he deems as true and necessary.
We believe that he has now personally experienced some of the same
practices that we do, when he was detained at the [Ben Gurion]
airport and denied entry. [His experience at the airport]... is the
most effective report that he could write..."
2) Hani Al Masry opines in Al Ayyam under the title "Extending the
Annapolis track to cut a path for the Israeli rightwing"(12/16):
"The end of 2008 and the new U.S. administration... constitute a
historic chance for Palestinians to demand the articulation of a new
political track that is serious and capable of ending the [Israeli]
occupation and realizing a minimal level of respect for Palestinian
rights... instead of clinging to the Annapolis track that has
dramatically failed and needs to be buried, not revived."