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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (12/19): The Truce Ends, What

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DE RUEHJM #2266/01 3540754
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O 190754Z DEC 08
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3550
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4433
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4283
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5777
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2769

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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 (12/19): THE TRUCE ENDS, WHAT
NEXT?

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Main Stories:
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All papers lead with reports that the Palestinian factions, Hamas,
Islamic Jihad, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine declared an end to
the truce with Israel. The announcement came following a joint
meeting of the factions in Gaza on December 18. Hamas
representative Ayman Taha is quoted saying the factions hold Israel
responsible for not respecting the truce. The papers add that seven
Palestinians were injured in two Israeli air strikes targeting the
northern and eastern areas of the Gaza Strip. Al Quds and Al Hayat
Al Jadeeda quote Palestinian Authority President Abbas, who arrived
in Washington for a meeting with President Bush today, stating that
maintaining the truce is important for protecting citizens.

Al Ayyam and Al Hayat Al Jadeeda front page a statement issued by
UNRWA yesterday that it has suspended distribution of food
assistance to 750,000 Palestinian refugees in Gaza because of a
flour shortage. The reports note UNRWA attributed this to the
Israeli closure of the Gaza crossings. Al Quds adds that the
government hospitals in Gaza are suffering a shortage of
disinfectants and detergents.

Al Quds, citing Le Figaro, reports that the French President Sarkozy
has proposed a new Middle East peace plan that includes keeping
Jerusalem an open joint capital for the states of Israel and
Palestine and calls for deploying EU forces in the West Bank areas
from which Israel would withdraw. The plan also reportedly includes
a proposal to solve the Palestinian refugee issue by means of
financial compensation. This would be done with a budget ranging
between 80 to 200 billion dollars to be paid by the EU and Arab Gulf
countries through a special international mechanism. Sarkozy
reportedly will present the plan to the EU president.

Al Quds reports on a "special" conference held in Jerusalem, which
was attended by a number of experts and officials representing local
and regional organizations. The paper quotes Palestinian Authority
Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Husseini expressing disappointment over
the European Union position on Israeli violations of rights of
Palestinians in Jerusalem and calling on all diplomats in Israel to
recognize these Israeli violations. The UN Humanitarian Affairs
office in Jerusalem attended the event.

In a front page report, Al Quds quotes Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert telling an Israeli National Security meeting on December 18
that "anyone with insight understands that the solution with the
PQestinians can only be to divide the country." The paper goes on
to note Olmert, objecting to plans by Israel's former PM Netanyahu,
stated that economic peace alone is not possible without political
peace, adding that, "Unfortunately we need to proceed with the
two-state solution, otherwise the alternative might be the
destruction of Zionism."

Al Hayat Al Jadeeda quotes Palestinian Authority Prime Minister
Fayyad, in a meeting with thQdonor countries in Ramallah, saying
Israel should be held accountable for meeting its commitments within
the framework of the peace process. The meeting, which was attended
by Quartet Envoy Tony Blair, was meant to assess financial needs of
the Palestinian Authority for 2009. In a separate report, the paper
cites a Reuters report that it is less likely Israel would adhere to
its commitments if Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu is elected and
this, combined with the likelihood of increased Hamas-Fatah

JERUSALEM 00002266 002 OF 002


division, makes a peace agreement with Israel less likely in 2009.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1. Al Quds, in its main editorial entitled: "Iran ... a
reconsideration of several stands is required" remarks that "It is
time for the Arabs and Palestinians, with all their factions and
movements, to realize that Iran has its own interests, including a
special interest in avoiding an attack on its nuclear sites and
using the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas to distract
[international] attention. As soon as Iran reaches an agreement with
the West [on its nuclear program] or when it obtains nuclear arms,
we believe it will not be interested, as it is now, in its
Palestinian or Lebanese allies. Rather it would turn to a new page,
[as a result] of its nuclear capabilities, [in relations] with the
West and America, and, expectedly, this would come at the expense of
today's Palestinian and Lebanese allies."

2. Mohamad Yaghi opines in Al Ayyam under the title "Will the truce
[with Israel] be renewed?" that "Renewal of the truce is coming, but
it might [happen only] after some bloody drama. The truce-willing
Israel might stage a limited invasion or could carry out
assassinations or even a series of [assassinations] to give the
impression that it has the upper hand, but this does not necessarily
mean that it would succeed in enforcing a truce according to its
terms. Israel's estimations are based on its adventurous mentality,
and not on any political rational. On the other hand, in the case
of a limited [Israeli] invasion or assassinations, the Palestinian
factions would not only be obliged to react, but would also find
themselves under a pressure from the public to require an acceptable
price from Israel in exchange for a truce. This opens the way for a
reciprocated escalation before returning to the truce."

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