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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (09/08): Relations Will Not

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081019Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5989
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
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RUEAHQA/CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
RHMFIUU/CMC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7848
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4820
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4668
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6161
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4587
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3166

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 JERUSALEM 001614

SIPDIS

STATE PASS BBG
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC
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 (09/08): Relations will not
normalize without a freeze on settlement construction.

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Main Stories:
-------------
The Israeli government's decision to proceed with settlements
activity in the West Bank despite pressure from the U.S. to halt
such activity receives prominent coverage in all front pages. The
Israeli Ministry of Defense spokesperson announced September 7 that
Israel's Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, will endorse today the
construction of 500 housing units in the West Bank settlements. All
front-page headlines highlight news that the Israeli government is
challenging demands from the international community and the U.S. to
stop all settlements activities. All dailies report that
Palestinian Authority Presidency spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeina is
calling on the US to take a decisive position against Israel, in
light of the continued settlements activity.

Al-Quds front pages report on a story appearing in Haaretz where
sources indicate that the U.S. received assurances from certain Arab
States that are willing to extend gestures of goodwill towards
Israel in an attempt to normalize relations, as a result of efforts
by the U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East, Sen. George Mitchell.

The front pages of all three dailies reported on the Palestinian
Authority's weekly cabinet meeting in Ramallah September 7. The
Prime Minister for the Palestinian Authority, Dr. Salam Fayyad,
condemned Israel's decision to expand and accelerate the
construction of settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and
reiterated the PA's commitment to achieving peace.

Al-Ayyam's front page reports on statements made by Israel's
Minister of Infrastructure Uzi Landau, which criticize Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's position regarding the settlement
freeze. Landau stated that it is the Palestinians who are the
occupiers, and that he considers any limitation to settlement
construction as "human rights violations."

Monday September 7

The local press highlights news of the Palestinian national unity
dialogue and national reconciliation efforts. The head of Hamas'
political bureau, Khaled Mishal, noted that Hamas agrees with
Egyptian officials on the importance of pursuing reconciliation, as
it is the only path that will lead to the presidential and
legislative elections scheduled for early-2010. Mishal also noted
to the press that elections cannot be held unless a national
consensus exists among all the Palestinian factions. Mishal also
pointed out that Egypt is preparing a document that outlines its
vision for ending the Palestinian division, and achieving national
reconciliation. The coverage notes that the document will be given
to the Palestinian factions by November 2009.
---------------
Weekend Stories
---------------

Sunday September 6

Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam, and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front-pages reported that
a prominent European official provided details on the elements of a
peace process under deliberation, that is expected to form the basis
of President Obama's peace initiative. The official, speaking under

JERUSALEM 00001614 002 OF 004


condition of anonymity, stated that the question of the Palestinian
refugees is the most difficult and most complicated issue in the
peace process, particularly those in Lebanon. The official revealed
several proposals for resolving that issue, including granting
refugees Palestinian citizenship, the right to vote in the future
Palestinian state, and the right to return, with time, to the future
state of Palestine. The proposals focus on three issues: borders,
refugees, and Jerusalem.

Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam, and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front-pages also reported
statements made by President Mahmoud Abbas that there would be "no
need for a meeting" with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu if
Netanyahu "continued to approve the acceleration of constructing
settlements... which means he does not want to do anything." These
statements were made during a press conference following Abbas'
meeting yesterday with President Mubarak. President Abbas commented
on a possible meeting with President Obama and Prime Minister
Netanyahu in New York before the end of this month, and that "if
it's a meeting intended for the sake of meeting, then of course it
would not be possible to hold it." Abbas stated, however, that "if
the meeting is for establishing a clear vision regarding settlements
and what should take place after that, then we have no objection
whatsoever to hold the meeting. But, we should know exactly and in
advance what the aim of the meeting will be."

Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam, and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front-pages reported on
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's interview with Lebanese newspaper
An-Nahar. Fayyad discussed the government's document for statehood,
and that the building of Palestinian institutions within the next
two years is a priority before any attempt to respond to the efforts
of the international community to end the occupation and establish a
Palestinian state. Fayyad also clarified that his economic plan
does not accommodate or simulate the "economic peace" that was
presented by Prime Minister Netanyahu, but rather gives a national
and political objective for these efforts.

Al Ayyam reported on statements made by Dr. Abdallah Abu Samahdaneh,
member of Fatah leadership in the Gaza Strip, concerning the names
of candidates for membership in Fatah's Central Committee.
According to Abu Samahdaneh, the names of candidates are still under
internal deliberations within the movement, in order to gauge the
extent of their acceptability by Fatah members, and to assess their
abilities to serve the movement. There will be three names chosen
by the Central Committee that will then be approved by the
Revolutionary Council.

Saturday September 5

Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam, and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front-pages reported that
despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statements about
his intention to "partially" freeze settlement activities in the
occupied Palestinian Territories for nine months, Israeli sources
announced yesterday that Netanyahu intends to approve (over the next
few days) several new settlement construction projects prior to any
freezing. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that
Israel's plan to expand settlements in the West Bank was
"regrettable" and "did not correspond" to the international peace
plan that aims at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meanwhile, Chief Negotiator for the Palestinians Saeb Ereikat
announced that Israel's plan is "totally unacceptable," and added
that the "only thing that will be suspended following these Israeli
announcements would be the peace process." The White House
spokesperson stated that the U.S. "regrets the announcement of

JERUSALEM 00001614 003 OF 004


Israel's plans to approve more settlements," and reiterated that the
U.S. does not accept the legitimacy of settlement expansion of
settlements, and demands its freezing.

Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam, and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front-pages reported that
President Abbas' reaction to Netanyahu's intention to approve the
construction of new units in West Bank settlements was that this
intention is "unacceptable." Abbas, following a meeting with French
President Sarkozy in Paris, stated that Palestinians want to see a
freezing of all settlement activities. Furthermore, Abbas commented
to journalists about a potential meeting with President Obama and
Prime Minister Netanyahu in New York, but that it would depend on
the steps taken in regards to freezing settlement activities.

Al Ayyam's front page reports that a senior Palestinian official
confirmed to Al Ayyam that any decision by the PLO to resume
negotiations will be taken in close coordination with the Arab
nations. The official stressed that President Abbas will be ready
to meet with Netanyahu in New York and resume final status
negotiations with Israel if the Israeli government announced openly
the freezing of all settlement activities in the Palestinian
Territories, and its commitment to the two-state solution.

Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam, and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front-pages reported on
statements made by Prime Minister for the Palestinian Authority
Salam Fayyad which stressed the need to continue the popular
resistance against the Israeli occupation, and expressed his
readiness to support this struggle by providing a way to maintain
its continuity. The Prime Minister's comments were made at an Iftar
in Bil'in Friday. Fayyad pointed out that the popular resistance in
Bil'in, Ni'lin, Al Ma'sara, and other places represents the actual
activation of The Hague Advisory Opinion (the ICJ Advisory Opinion
regarding the Wall) that was issued four years ago, that demanded
Israel to end its violations of the international law and stop the
construction of the Wall on occupied Palestinian Territories
including in East Jerusalem.

The Jewish weekly newspaper Yerushalayim reported that a conflict is
brewing in the Jewish settlement neighbourhoods located on
Jerusalem's 'green line.' According to the newspaper, a group of
Rabbis convened a conference in Pisgat Ze'ev settlement last week,
during which they decided to take all measures to prevent
neighbourhood residents from selling houses to Palestinians.
Meanwhile, a group from the Jewish settlement Mod'in Ellit
established a settlement outpost and declared it a religious school
under the name of "Giv'at Sefer," after the settlement "Kiryat
Sefer." This outpost is located close to The Wall near the village
of Bil'in. The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported yesterday that
this was the first time that such a group took the initiative to
establish a settlement outpost, and that this was in protest against
a decision by the Israeli High Court to freeze settlement activities
in a nearby neighbourhood.
-------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
-------------
1)Hassan Al-Batal, Al-Ayyam, "Obama...throw your stick away,"
(09/08): "President Obama made a big mistake when he connected the
settlements cessation with the Arab States taking steps towards
normalizing relations with Israel... Any Israeli promise to halt
settlement activities will be a deception against the international
community."

2) Al-Quds, "Settlements expansion leads to Carter's choice,"

JERUSALEM 00001614 004 OF 004


(09/08): " Through its determination to pursue the Judaization of
the West Bank, settlement expansion, and to challenge the efforts of
President Obama, we believe that the Israeli government pushes
towards the option that was presented by former US President
Carter... That the only solution for the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict is through establishing one democratic state in which
Muslims, Christians and Jews live equally, receive the same rights,
and have the same obligations".

RUBINSTEIN

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