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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (09/29): Palestinians Hope For

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
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FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6165
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7871
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4843
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4693
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6184
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4610
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3197

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 001742

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 (09/29): Palestinians hope for
positive movement on national reconciliation in the next few days

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Main Stories:
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News on the Palestinian factions reacting to the Egyptian plan for
national reconciliation receives prominent coverage in the local
press. Al-Quds leads with the head of the Hamas Political Bureau
Khaled Misha'l noting from Cairo yesterday that the gaps in the
Egyptian proposal have been bridged. Misha'l said that Egypt will
invite all the Palestinian factions to finalize and sign the
reconciliation paper in October, and stressed that Hamas is positive
about and seriously committed to reaching a reconciliation agreement
that will end the conflict. Misha'l condemned the incursions by
extremist Jewish groups on the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and called on
Arab and Muslim countries to defend the Mosque and to ignore the US
calls for normalizing relations with Israel. Misha'l also noted that
Hamas will not approve of holding the Presidential and legislative
elections in January unless national reconciliation is achieved.

The local press continues to report on the Arab states and
Palestinians condemning the incursions on the Al Aqsa Mosque
compound in the observance of Yom Kippur by extremist Jewish groups.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian
national council issued statements calling on Arab and Muslim
countries to save the Mosque from the Israeli attacks. The PLO
called on the UN and Middle East Quartet to intervene and stop the
Israeli actions. Additionally, Al-Quds front pages news on the
Palestinian Authority (PA) ministerial cabinet condemning the
attacks. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad noted that such attacks will
cultivate tension in the region and called on the international
community to force Israel to respect international laws. Morocco and
Jordan have also condemned the attack and said it is an obstacle to
achieving peace in the region.

In related news, Al Quds front pages news from government and
nongovernmental organizations in Hebron condemning the attack of
Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old city of Hebron by Israeli settlers,
and warning the Israeli government against pursuing such attacks,
saying they are "playing with fire."

Monday, September 28:

The local press highlights the incursions on the Al Aqsa Mosque
compound in observance of Yom Kippur by extremist Jewish groups.
Bloody confrontations took place that resulted in more than 20
Palestinians injured and 10 arrests. The reports note that the
Israelis were not allowed to get into the Mosque itself, but rather
the compound. The attack was condemned by all Palestinian factions
who called on the international community to intervene and stop
these provocative actions.

Weekend stories:

Sunday, September 27:

Al Quds, Al Ayyam, and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida run front page stories on
the White House refuting statements that described the trilateral
meeting between President Obama, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "a photo-opportunity
without any real content." The reports notes that President Obama's
Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told a group of American Jewish leaders

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that the meeting was an important launching point during which it
was agreed to finalize procedural issues as quickly as possible to
allow the start of core negotiations. Mr. Emanuel also stated that
the US did not change its position on the question of settlements
and considered continuation of settlement activities an obstacle to
the peace process. Mr. Emanuel added that President Obama told
President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu during their meeting
that he will grant the cause of peace in the Middle East all the
time and effort it needs, provided that they have the genuine
intention to move forward to achieve peace.

In related news, all three dailies highlight remarks by Jeffery
Feltman, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs,
saying that "we want to see tangible steps that indicate the
seriousness with which the Arab states view the peace process."
Feltman added that the US hopes that Arab states will find the means
to support President Abbas and his team when they engage in
negotiations, particularly financial support from Gulf Cooperation
Council countries. Feltman concluded by saying that the US believes
that everyone has the responsibility to create a positive climate
for negotiations."

Al Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida run front page stories on General
Dan Harel, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli
Army, saying that he expects Israel to launch new attacks against
Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The general said in an interview with
Israel's Channel 2 TV station that the Israel's actions in December
2008 and January 2009 were only "one round among others in the war
against Hamas." The general added that "these operations will take
various forms and may or may not involve the occupation of lands."

Al Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida carry front page news on Jewish
extremists plan to enter Al Aqsa Mosque today. While warnings were
made against such actions, reports note that Palestinians are being
asked to come to Al Aqsa Mosque to defend it.

Saturday, September 26:

All three dailies run front page stories on President Abbas' speech
to the UN General Assembly on September 25. He reiterated that
everyone agrees on the need for peace in the Middle East, to fight
extremism, and to have a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, but
added "the greatest tragedy is what our people have been facing
since the 'Nakbah' that started sixty years ago." President Abbas
noted that the Palestinian people are suffering from continued
settlement activities and occupation, saying that "we are facing a
particular situation whereby settlement policies will completely
undermine the aim of establishing a Palestinian state that enjoys
geographical congruity" and called upon the international community
to "uphold international law and international legitimacy and exert
pressure on Israel to stop its settlement activities, to abide by
signed agreements, to give up the occupation, and to release
Palestinian prisoners and detainees." He also stressed that
presidential and legislative elections will take place on time under
Arab, international, and UN supervision to establish democracy as a
constant way of life.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat denied that bilateral
talks with Israel have begun. Erekat said that US Special Envoy
George Mitchell started separate bilateral talks with Palestinian
and Israeli delegations in New York and that these bilateral talks
will continue in Washington starting next month. Palestinian sources
told Al Quds that Erekat will lead the Palestinian delegation and

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Itzhak Molkho will lead the Israeli delegation.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida runs a front page story on a new opinion poll
revealing that most Palestinians who want a Palestinian state want
to achieve it through a peace agreement with Israel. The poll was
conducted by New York based Charney Research for the International
Peace Institute. The International Peace Institute said that the
poll "revealed big changes in public opinion since 2000, when
Palestinians rejected the proposals made at Camp David." The report
continues to say that a clear majority of Palestinians (55%) prefer
a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, while only 11%
preferred one of the two alternatives proposed by the poll, a
bi-national state or a confederation with Jordan or Egypt, according
to coverage.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1) Al-Quds independent daily runs an editorial under the title "It
is hard to be optimistic about the national reconciliation" (09/29):
"All of the Palestinian factions have submitted their responses to
the Egyptian proposal for ending the inter-Palestinian conflict.
Every Arab and Muslim wishes to see the division end so that we can
concentrate on the new challenges that we are facing ... We won't be
very optimistic or pessimistic, we will wait to see if national
interests will now come first. We hope to see a real change in the
coming few days."


2) Hani Al-Masri opines in Al-Ayyam independent daily under the
title "After the trilateral meeting: Supporting the national
dialogue is the necessary action" (09/29):"Giving priority to ending
the division is the only logical response to the US and
international negligence of Palestinians' rights ... The
Palestinians have to agree on a strategy that enables them to pursue
their national goals apart from the factional selfishness."

RUBINSTEIN

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