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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (09/18): Normalization Will Not

VZCZCXRO8836
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1703/01 2610835
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180835Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6109
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 7863
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4835
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4685
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6176
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4602
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3188

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001703

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 (09/18): Normalization will not
proceed without first resolving the settlements issue.

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------Palestinian dailies continue reports on the visit of
Special Envoy George Mitchell. Al-Ayyam reports that in Sen.
Mitchell's meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sen.
Mitchell attempted to convince him to halt settlement activities,
and that "the destiny of the US envoy's mission [was] decided
today." Included in Al-Ayyam's front page is the headline "Arabs
and Europeans support the position of the Palestinian leaders."
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that Mitchell urged all parties to take
on their responsibilities, and that Netanyahu has hopes that Obama
will retreat from his position towards settlement activities.
Al-Hayat's front page highlights Mitchell's warning against Israel's
continued settlement activity, calling for a halt. Al-Quds reports
that during Sen. Mitchell's visit to Egypt, both the U.S. and Egypt
confirmed their commitment towards the two-state solution.

Al-Ayyam and Al-Quds report on a newly discovered tunnel-network
under Silwan, an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem. Reports warn of
the seriousness of continued tunneling activities, in light of
speculations that an earthquake will hit Jerusalem and may cause a
total collapse of the areas in and around the tunnels. According to
Al-Ayyam, the network of tunnels is 600 Meters long, and extends as
far as the Dung Gate "Bab Al-Maghariba" and Al-Buraq site (Wailing
wall site). Al-Quds reports that tunnels have also been discovered
under Al-Ain Mosque in Silwan.

All three dailies report on closures in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
(by the Israeli government), scheduled to end on Sunday evening
(September 20). These closures were ordered as a result of the
holiday for the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah). According to
spokespersons for the Israeli Defense Forces, these closures will
affect the entry of all citizens from the West Bank and Gaza into
Israel, except for "urgent humanitarian cases," and will not apply
to representatives of diplomatic missions. According to an IDF
spokesperson, men older that fifty years old and women older than 45
years old will be permitted to visit Al-Aqsa on the last Friday of
Ramadan (September 18).

In economic news, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida report on warnings
made by the World Bank, of fragile economic growth in the
Palestinian territories. According to Al-Ayyam, however, there is
also praise from the World Bank, concerning progress of civil
institutions-building by the Palestinian Authority. In regards to
reports that the Israeli government plans to remove one-hundred dust
barriers in the West Bank, the World Bank is reported to have stated
that talks about barrier removals are just "analgesic" measures, in
light of the conflict over continued settlement activities.

-------------------
Hamas Media Stories:
-------------------
Felasteen Daily's front page reports on Israel's total closure of
the West Bank. Also part of its front-page coverage is the story of
a Palestinian woman sexually harassed in an Israeli prison. Reports
also discuss the recently discovered tunnel-network in Jerusalem's
Arab neighborhood of Silwan. The papers also reports on
reservations expressed by Hamas regarding Egypt's "reconciliation
paper"; according to Hamas leader Ismael Radwan, Abbas and Fateh are
not interested in dialogue.

The homepage of the Palestinian Information Center website quotes
Hamas' description of events leading to the capture of Hamas leaders

JERUSALEM 00001703 002 OF 002


in the West Bank (capturing of Hamas leaders) an
"American-Zionist-Fateh attack to destroy Hamas."
-------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
-------------

Al-Quds, "Israel will bear the Consequences of the Failure of
Mitchell's Mission" (09/18): "Israel and its Prime Minister will
bear the dangerous consequences and implications, Arabic and
Islamic, of the failure of Mitchell's mission. All possibilities of
"normalization" will fade even before they start, if Netanyahu
insists on refusing to freeze settlement activities, and (continues)
challenging the US administration... This will elicit an adverse
reaction from the Gulf Countries, forcing them to move closer to an
alignment with the Iranians... They will not trust the seriousness
of the US administration and Washington's capability to execute its
policies -- especially considering that demanding a halt to
settlement activities is a small demand in relation to ending the
Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, for instance.

Hafez Al-Barghouthi, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, "A Positive Step" (09/18):
"Obama's recent decision regarding the Missile Defense Shield is the
closest way to end the tension with Russia and open a new page in
international relations. And now what's left is for Obama to show
the same seriousness in dealing with the settlement issue in Israel
- an issue that is affecting Obama's project for open dialogue. And
now Israel is perhaps jumping into Obama's lap -- to protect them
from the consequences of the UN report on the war crimes in Gaza."


RUBINSTEIN

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