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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (09/23): Palestinian Press Report

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DE RUEHJM #1713/01 2660621
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 230621Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6122
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 7865
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4837
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4687
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6178
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4604
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3191

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001713

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 (09/23): Palestinian press report
no change after yesterday's trilateral meeting in New York

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Main Stories:
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The trilateral meeting held yesterday in New York between President
Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian
Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas receives prominent coverage
in the local press. The dailies quote President Obama saying that
the talks between the Israelis and Palestinians concerning final
status issues must resume soon. President Obama also stated that the
US is committed to achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle
East, noting that "it is time to move forward." Obama called on
Israel to take serious measures to halt settlement activity, and at
the same time praised Israel's recent removal of over 100 dirt
barriers in the West Bank, easing movement and access for the
Palestinian people. President Abbas is quoted saying that Israel
must withdraw to the 1967 borders and end the occupation in order to
resume talks. Abbas also noted that Israel must respect all
previously signed agreements regarding borders and Jerusalem, and
called on the Israelis to halt all settlement activity, including
East Jerusalem.

Al-Ayyam front pages news quoting Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary
General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive
Committee, saying that there was no decision made during the
trilateral meeting to pursue talks between the Israelis and
Palestinians. He explained in a phone call with Al-Ayyam from New
York that the US will hold separate bilateral meetings with the two
parties to assess the best way to restart the Palestinian-Israeli
negotiations.

In related news, Palestinian officials including Prime Minister
Salam Fayyad and Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat talked to Al-Quds from
New York after the trilateral meeting, saying that the negotiations
cannot be re-started unless settlement activities are completely
halted. Erekat noted that Jerusalem must be one of the top
priorities for any negotiations and stressed that Israel must
withdraw to the 1967 borders. Erekat also stated that a clear time
frame for the negotiations must be set and that the international
community should support the establishment of an independent
Palestinian state.

Al-Quds front pages news citing DPA on Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
saying that Hamas will support any step that will result in the
establishment of an independent Palestinian state. These remarks
were stated in a letter Haniyeh sent to UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon prior to the General Assembly meeting. In the letter,
Haniyeh added that the "United States and Israel are responsible for
not achieving any progress in the peace process."

Al-Ayyam and Al Quds run stories citing the Israeli daily Haaretz
saying that the Israeli government recently endorsed the
construction of a new settlement in Beitar Elite, south of
Jerusalem.

In related news, Al-Ayyam front pages a report prepared by the PLO
that details the Israeli tunnels and excavation works surrounding
East Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City, along with a
map that displays all the new housing units and settlements in the
area.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
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JERUSALEM 00001713 002 OF 002


1) Al-Quds independent daily runs an editorial under the title "A
Summit or Courteous Diplomacy to the US?" (09/23): "The trilateral
summit was held yesterday ... however, any meeting of this type is
held only as a diplomatic gesture to the US. It will not have any
impact without a tangible change in Israeli positions. As long as
the Israelis continue settlement activities and ignore their road
map obligations, this meeting will be useless and will not serve the
purpose of negotiations."

2) Ashraf Ajrami opines in Al-Ayyam independent daily under the
title "The Trilateral Summit: The Only Choice in the Political Game"
(09/23):"President Abbas' participation in the trilateral meeting
can be justified, as Abu Mazen couldn't ignore the growing desire of
the US to hold this meeting ... it would have been unrealistic for
President Abbas not to give the US - and particularly President
Obama - the chance to see what US intervention could lead to."

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