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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (10/20): Palestinians Skeptical

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WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS

SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (10/20): Palestinians skeptical
about settlement freeze

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Main Stories:
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Al-Quds leads with news citing Israeli daily Ha'aretz on Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement that the negotiations
between Israel and the US regarding settlement construction have
concluded, saying "we have solved the issue of settlements with the
US. If you want to know more, you can ask the US." Palestinian
Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas noted that he has not
received any information about such an agreement and clarified that
he won't trust what is published in the Israeli press, but rather he
will wait to hear from the US. Al-Ayyam quotes Palestinian
Liberation Organization Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat saying "If I
see a complete cessation of settlement activity in the Palestinian
territories, including East Jerusalem, then I would say there is a
US plan. As long as we don't see this, then there is no plan." In
related news, the dailies report that Erekat travelled to the US
yesterday to discuss ways to re-start the peace process.

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The local press highlights news on Fatah Central Committee member
Muhammad Dahlan accusing Hamas of "being more dishonest than Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu." Dahlan said the Hamas
reservations on the Egyptian proposal are a "new lie" to evade
signing the agreement. Dahlan also accused Al-Jazeera of incitement.


Hamas newspaper Al-Resalah quotes legal experts stating that
President Abbas has no legal or legislative authority to issue a
decree for holding presidential and legislative elections, arguing
that he lost his presidential authority on January 9, 2009.

Al-Quds Hamas radio, airing from Gaza, reports on Secretary General
of the Hamas ministerial cabinet Mouhammad Awad denying news that
the Haniyeh government is facing a financial crisis. However, Awad
asked Arab and Muslim countries to support Hamas as it faces the
challenges and obstacles resulting from the siege.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1) Al-Quds independent daily runs an editorial under the title "What
agreement on settlement activity?" (10/20): "No doubt that there is
an agreement between Israel and the US regarding settlement activity
in light of the US reversing their position calling for a complete
settlement freeze. We have been watching the Israelis expand
settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank without fearing
anything."

2) Rajabu Abu Sirriyeh opines in Al-Ayyam independent daily under
the title "The solution is through the elections" (10/20): "All the
Palestinian factions, except Hamas, will be in favor of holding the
presidential and legislative elections on time because they believe
that this will be the only way to end the current state of
division."


RUBINSTEIN

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