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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (08/31): Indications of Progress

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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
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SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (08/31): Indications of progress
on a prisoner exchange deal

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Main Stories:
-------------

Al-Ayyam leads with news on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu denying news that a prisoner exchange deal has been
reached. Netanyahu is quoted as saying during the weekly cabinet
meeting on August 30, "we are not close to achieving a breakthrough
on [kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad] Shalit's release." Al-Quds runs
front page news citing a senior Egyptian official noting that the
prisoner exchange deal with Israel is almost done pending a few
issues, including the release of Marwan Barghouti and determining
where to send the released prisoners.

Al-Quds leads with news about an Israeli plan to build a new
settlement in East Jerusalem that will accommodate more than 2000
people in addition to building a new commercial center and cemetery.
According to coverage, the anticipated new settlement will be built
on land between the Shufat and Beit Hanina neighborhoods.

The local press report on Palestinian Authority (PA) President
Mahmoud Abbas's meeting with the Emir of Qatar Hamad Bin Khalifa in
Doha on August 30. The meeting focused on recent developments in the
Middle East and the Palestinian national dialogue. President Abbas
stated in an interview with Al-Jazeera that he is not willing to
meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu unless there is a settlement
freeze.

Al-Quds runs front page news citing Wafa News Agency on PA Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad reiterating on August 30 during his visit to
the Supreme Judicial Council in Ramallah that the PA is committed to
supporting the independence of the judicial authority in Palestine
as well as maintaining law and order for the Palestinian people.

----------------
Weekend Stories:
----------------

Sunday, August 30:

All dailies front page news citing the German newspaper Der Spiegel
that German mediators got an agreement from Israel for release of
kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in return for the release of
450 Palestinian prisoners. Israel has given Hamas until the
beginning of September to accept the offer. The Israeli government
also said it will later release another number of prisoners as a
"humanitarian gesture" if Hamas agrees to the deal.

Al Ayyam front pages a story citing well informed Palestinian
sources that US Envoy George Mitchell will arrive in the region
within the next two weeks to formulate a list of obligations that
the parties will be asked to implement to create a positive
atmosphere necessary for moving the peace process forward. According
to several sources, Mitchell will submit his conclusions to
President Barack Obama who will then determine the next steps in the
process.

Al Ayyam front pages a story that Egypt has conducted a number of
consultations with heads of the various Palestinian factions in
preparation for the next round of Palestinian national dialogue that
will take place after Eid Al Fitr in late September.

Al Quds front pages a story on Palestinian and international efforts

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to impose sanctions on foreign companies helping to build the light
rail transport system in Jerusalem. The Palestinian campaign is led
by a coalition of civil society organizations and the Popular
Campaign against the Wall. These efforts have contributed to the
recent announcement by French transport company Veolia of its
withdrawal from the project following divestments and other
sanctions that have cost the company approximately $7 billion in
losses, according to coverage.

Saturday, August 29:


Al Ayyam and Al Hayat Al Jadida carry front page news on Egyptian
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Aboul Gheit's announcement
yesterday from Stockholm that Egypt wants the "revival of
negotiations between Israel and Palestinians to take place
simultaneously with the freezing of settlements in the Palestinian
territories." Aboul Gheit added, "if Israelis said the freezing will
extend over a six-month period, the deadline for conducting the
negotiations should be six months too, and the deadlines should be
synchronized."

Al Hayat Al Jadida and Al Ayyam carry a front page story on US
Consul General Jake Walles announcing an $81 million grant to UNRWA
in support of its regional emergency program in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip during a ceremony that took place at the UNRWA school in
Ayda Refugee camp north of Bethlehem. Walles said that the grant
will provide necessary humanitarian assistance to one million
refugees in Gaza, including emergency food aid, assistance for the
creation of jobs, support for special health and education programs
for children, as well as for the rehabilitation of shelters, health
clinics, and schools that were damaged earlier this year. Walles
reiterated US support for the Road Map and the two-state solution
and urged the Palestinian people to maintain hope.

Al Quds front pages a story citing senior Palestinian officials
saying that President Abbas will issue a decree to the Central
Election Commission in October tasking them to take all needed
actions to prepare for conducting presidential and legislative
elections in January 2010. Sources added that President Abbas
believes that the Central Election Commission will find the legal
and technological means for guaranteeing the participation of voters
in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip in the elections.
-------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
-------------

1) Odeh Erikat opines in Al-Quds independent daily under the title
"Pursuing meaningful negotiations" (08/31): "If the
Palestinian-Israeli negotiations are left without international
support and without US intervention, the negotiations will not move
forward and there will be no tangible outcome, regardless of the
duration of negotiations ... This is especially so since Israel is
asking for normalizing relations with the Arab States and imposing
sanctions against Iran prior to pursuing negotiations, which is not
acceptable to the Arab states."

2) Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul opined in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida official daily
under the headline "When will the trilateral meeting take place?"
"
(08/31):"Nothing is prohibiting the trilateral meeting between
Netanyahu, Abbas and Obama in New York except the Israelis being
stubborn about refusing the two-state solution and rejecting the

JERUSALEM 00001565 003 OF 003


whole political reconciliation in general."

WALLES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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