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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (09/16): Palestinian Press Report

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161217Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6099
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 7860
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4832
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4682
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6173
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4599
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3184

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001695

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 (09/16): Palestinian press report
on efforts to move the peace process forward

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Main Stories:
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The local press highlights the meetings of Special Envoy George
Mitchell with Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials on
September 15. The coverage notes that Mitchell did not reach an
agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during
their meeting yesterday and that they will continue discussions
today. One headline reads, "Mitchell admits he failed to convince
Netanyahu to freeze settlements." After meeting with PA Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas, Mitchell stated
to the press that he had productive meetings and noted that he will
continue his talks with the Israelis today. Palestinian Liberation
Organization Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat stated that the PA will
not compromise on the issue of settlements and will not meet with
the Israelis unless settlement activity is completely stopped.
Referring to the proposed trilateral meeting between President
Obama, Abbas and Netanyahu, Erekat said that the PA will not meet
for the sake of meeting and that there should be a clear vision to
end the occupation.

In related news, the local press runs coverage on Erekat denying
news reports in the Israeli daily Haaretz that Erekat had a secret
meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres to discuss the
anticipated trilateral meeting in New York on the margins of the UN
General Assembly.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front pages news on Israeli Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman reiterating yesterday that the Israeli government
is ready to meet with Palestinian officials to revive the peace
process. Lieberman blamed the Palestinians for their refusal to
meet, according to coverage. He added that the issue of settlements
is not a real issue but rather a "misunderstanding."

The dailies report on the continued attacks by settlers against
Palestinian citizens. The reports note that one group attacked a
Palestinian farmer and slaughtered 15 of his sheep near the Yizhar
settlement south of Nablus on September 15. Al-Quds front pages a
photo of a settler throwing wine on a Palestinian woman yesterday in
the Old City of Hebron.

Al-Ayyam front pages news on Palestinian officials revealing to Maan
News Network that President Abbas will issue a presidential decree
by October 25 calling for presidential and legislative elections in
January 2010. The sources noted that Hamas is trying to postpone the
elections to continue the state of division.

News on the UN fact finding report on the recent conflict in Gaza
receives front page coverage in the three dailies. According to the
report by UN investigator Richard Goldstone, Israel and Hamas
committed war crimes during the January 2009 war. Both Israel and
Hamas have rejected the findings. The report recommends that the UN
bring the issue to the International Criminal Court.

The dailies report that Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing for
three days before the Eid holiday.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1) Al-Quds independent daily runs an editorial under the title "Open
Questions" (09/16): "Given the extensive talks that the US is
conducting with all parties to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

JERUSALEM 00001695 002 OF 002


... is Israeli really ready for peace when they refuse to freeze
settlement activity? On the contrary, what matters to Israel is
deepening the occupation and denying the Palestinians rights while
it misleads the entire world with peace slogans ... The most
important question that should be asked of the Americans and
Europeans is what has Israel left for the negotiations after all its
recent actions? What would we negotiate over?"

2) Hani Habib opines in Al-Ayyam independent daily under the title
"Mitchell's Fifth Visit ... and Obama's Options" (09/16):"From
Ireland to the Middle East, US Special Envoy George Mitchell
conducts one round of talks after another hoping to make the kind of
progress he achieved in Ireland, which doesn't seem to be easy to
repeat in the Middle East ... Here he conducts his fifth round of
talks, and the only new development is that his failure is more
obvious ... His meeting with Netanyahu today shows that there are
still questions to be answered."

RUBINSTEIN

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