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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (10/19): Palestinians Question

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DE RUEHJM #1897/01 2921002
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191002Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6400
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA 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 7900
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4872
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4722
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6213
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4644
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3236

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 001897

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 (10/19): Palestinians question
Hamas' reasons for delaying national reconciliation

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Main Stories:
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The dailies prominently report on Palestinian national
reconciliation efforts. The reports note that Egypt accused Hamas of
delaying and obstructing the signing of the national reconciliation
agreement. Egyptian officials noted that Hamas' excuses are
unrealistic and don't reflect good intentions. The officials implied
that by doing this, Hamas is serving the agendas of Iran and Syria.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hussam Zaki noted to
Al-Arabiya TV channel yesterday that Egypt will not wait forever to
achieve national reconciliation and added that the Egyptian plan is
not for negotiations but for signing. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, however,
reports that Hamas officials announced yesterday that they will sign
the agreement, saying that they still have a few questions but not
reservations. Hamas officials noted that the signing will be held
when the head of the Hamas political bureau Khaled Mishal returns to
Damascus.

The press reports on Israeli reaction to the UN Human Rights Council
vote on the Goldstone report on Friday. Israeli Minister of Finance
Yuval Steinitz is quoted in the dailies accusing the UNHRC's
endorsement of the report as "an anti-Semitic attempt to decide that
what is allowed for the United States in Afghanistan, Russia in
Chechnya and Turkey in northern Iraq isn't allowed for Israel, a
state that is trying to defend itself from the Gaza Strip."

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front pages results of a recent opinion poll
conducted by Tel Aviv University to assess Israelis view of the
peace process. The poll shows that 64% of those surveyed are in
favor of the two state solution, and 66% don't believe that the
continuation of settlement activities will jeopardize the two state
solution. Regarding the Goldstone report, 79% of the respondents
reject the findings of the report, and 6% say that the report is
biased against Israeli soldiers.

News on the Fatah Revolutionary Council endorsing the appointment of
19 new members receives prominent coverage in the press. The members
were nominated by the Fatah Central Committee. The reports note that
the Revolutionary Council will convene today to finalize the
appointments.

The local press report on the Palestinian Authority noting that
settlers started enlarging the settlement of Itma east Nablus city
through the land of Palestinian families residing in the villages of
Awarta and Beit Foureek.

Weekend stories:

Sunday, October 18:

The three dailies lead with Saturday's announcement by prominent
Hamas leader Izzat Ar Risheq that Hamas has comments regarding the
national reconciliation agreement, saying that these comments need
to be discussed with Cairo prior to approving the proposed
agreement. Ar Risheq said that they have not set a date to visit
Cairo to discuss these issues. According to the reports, senior
Egyptian officials have expressed to Hamas their resentment of the
way the movement has been dealing with the Egyptian efforts to end
the Palestinian divisions. Meanwhile, Yaser Abed Rabbo, Secretary
General of the PLO Executive Committee, stressed that the
Palestinian leadership will not accept "any comments, amendments, or
reservations to the Egyptian plan that Hamas might submit."

JERUSALEM 00001897 002 OF 003

Al Quds runs a front page story quoting PA President Mahmoud Abbas
saying that "we will announce on October 25 that elections will be
held on January 25, 2010." Abbas added that anyone who is capable of
going to Gaza should go, saying that "this is very important for
Fatah's presence there. We need everyone to go to protect our
movement there ... Fatah does not only exist in the West Bank. Fatah
exists in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and everywhere."

Al Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida cary front page news on the
Palestinian Liberation Organization's Friday announcement that it
has begun the establishment of a specialized committee to follow up
on the implementation of the Goldstone report at various
international bodies after its endorsement by the UN Human Rights
Council. Yaser Abed Rabbo said the committee will consist of
representatives from Palestinian, Arab, and international human
rights organizations and civil society groups. The reports quoted an
unnamed Israeli official saying that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu pledged to launch a diplomatic battle to "de-legitimize"
the accusations that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza.

Saturday, October 17:

The local press lead with news of the UN Human Rights Council
approving the recommendations in the Goldstone report. Palestinian
Ambassador to the UN Mission in Geneva Ibrahim Khreisheh told Al
Quds newspaper that "the adoption by the Council of the report's
recommendations is a first step on a long road to achieve justice
for the Palestinian people and bring criminals to justice." Senior
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said "the PA welcomes the UN
Human Rights Council's decision" and added "we hope that the
decision remains as such and that it will be pursued according to
the mechanisms and procedures of the UN Security Council ... to
ensure that these crimes will not be repeated." President Abbas said
that the adoption of Goldstone's report "gives justice to the
victims of the Israel aggression against the Gaza Strip and the
Palestinian people as a whole." The International Criminal Court
(ICC) announced that Palestinian officials requesting an
investigation against Israel presented additional documents that
support their request.

All three dailies ran front page stories on Egypt's announcement
that the signing of the national reconciliation agreement is
postponed until further notice. An Egyptian official told Reuters
that a new date for signing the agreement has not yet been
determined. The official also noted that "we will not let things
collapse. We will wait until the situation settles down before
reactivating our efforts." Meanwhile, Mousa Abu Marzouq, deputy head
of the Hamas political bureau, said that they have reservations
about the American demand that reconciliation should be based on the
Road Map and the Quartet principles, the need for guarantees that
election results will be respected, the status of Rafah crossing,
and the fate of Hamas prisoners in Egyptian jails.

Al Quds carries a front page story on Israel starting large-scale
construction work in 11 settlements in the West Bank. The
construction is not part of the 2500 units that the US agreed Israel
could complete. Additionally, construction works continued in
another 20 settlements and the Israeli Minister of Transportation
approved last Wednesday a series of transportation related projects
throughout the West Bank, according to coverage.
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BLOCK QUOTES:

JERUSALEM 00001897 003 OF 003


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1) Al-Quds independent daily runs an editorial under the title
"Vague excuses for deepening the division" (10/19): "It is hard to
understand the position of Hamas refusing to sign the national
reconciliation agreement after the PA exerted all efforts to
re-submit the Goldstone report. Hamas' position doesn't support
national reconciliation and the excuses are un-justified".

2) Talal Okal opines in Al-Ayyam independent daily under the title
"What's after the first step?" (10/19): "In order to push the
Goldstone report forward and benefit from the historic victory that
was achieved at the United Nations Human Rights Council,
Palestinians have to end the state of division to support the report
until the end."


RUBINSTEIN

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