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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (09/09): The Obama Peace

VZCZCXRO1350
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1618/01 2521002
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 091002Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5996
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
RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7852
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4824
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4672
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6165
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4591
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3170

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001618

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 (09/09): The Obama peace
initiative cannot offer Palestinians less than the Roadmap

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Main Stories:
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In its lead story, official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports on the
first meeting of the new U.S. Consul General, Daniel Rubinstein,
with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on
September 8. The report, which also appeared on the front pages of
Al-Quds (independent daily) and Al-Ayyam (independent daily) - notes
that the meeting focused on U.S.-led efforts to resume the peace
process in the Middle East. President Abbas raised the issue of
Israel's continued settlement activity, calling upon the U.S. to
continue exerting pressure on Israel to put a stop to measures that
"violate" the Road Map and the peace process. The dailies also
report about CG Rubinstein's meeting with PA Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad in Ramallah, in which they discussed the latest developments
in the Palestinian territories. Al-Quds also ran CG Rubinstein's
biography and photo in its inside page.

Citing well-informed sources in Cairo, Al-Ayyam reports that Chief
of Egyptian Intelligence Omar Sulaiman has reached agreement with PA
President Mahmoud Abbas and Chief of the Hamas Political Bureau
Khaled Mishal about what future steps are required in order to end
the internal Palestinian division. According to the report, Egypt
will be sending Fatah and Hamas a document outlining Egypt's plan
for ending the internal division and achieving national
reconciliation. Sources also noted that an Egyptian delegation will
be visiting Ramallah and Damascus in order to assess the positions
of Hamas and Fatah regarding this document, prior to extending
invitations for the Palestinian factions for a signing ceremony to
be held after Ramadan.

Reports on the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and
Jerusalem areas continue to receive prominent coverage in the local
press. Al-Quds reports on an article published in an Israeli daily
September 8 about the increased settlement construction - recently
endorsed by the Israeli government - in the Palestinian territories.
The reports note that this construction of new housing units will
exceed the annual settlement construction average. Furthermore, the
number of settlement units in the West Bank is expected to increase
by approximately 14,000.

Al-Quds and Al-Ayyam front page a statement issued by the European
Union in Brussels on September 8, condemning the Israeli
government's decision to endorse the construction of additional
housing units in West Bank settlements. In its statement, the EU
referred to the construction as "illegal," ading that it will hinder
any peace settlement.

Al-Ayyam's front-page also reports on statements made by Egyptian
Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit on September 8, in which he
reiterated that the normalization of relations between Israel and
the Arab states is possible only if Israel freezes all settlement
activity in the West Bank. Abu Al-Gheit also called on Israel to
renew peace talks with the Palestinians.
-------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
-------------

1) Al-Quds, "We need a clear US position" (09/09): "Can Israeli
Prime Minister Netanyahu challenge the US demands so boldly and so
proactively? Or does he have a hidden agreement with the US [about

JERUSALEM 00001618 002 OF 002


continuing with the settlements activity]? If he is challenging the
U.S. then we have a problem, but if he is coordinating with the
Americans then the problem is much bigger... In both cases,
President Obama will have to clarify the US position from these
actions."

2) Ali Badwan, Al-Quds, "Obama and the Upcoming Solution: A Reversal
of the Roadmap" (09/09): "It is apparent from recent developments
that the U.S. administration wants the Arab states to accept
solutions that are significantly less than what international laws
and legitimacy require; we fear that President Obama's anticipated
peace initiative will be much less than the Road map, itself full of
controversial issues."

RUBINSTEIN

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