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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (10/21): President Mahmoud Abbas

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6424
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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7904
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4879
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4729
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6217
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STATE PASS BBG
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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CMC WASHINGTON DC FOR POLAD

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LONDON FOR HKANONA AND POL - TSOU
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS

SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (10/21): President Mahmoud Abbas
will move ahead with elections if Hamas refuses to sign the national
reconciliation agreement

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Main Stories:
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The dailies report on Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud
Abbas's meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo
yesterday. Abbas stated that the PA remains committed to national
reconciliation, but reiterated that he will issue a presidential
decree to hold presidential and legislative elections in January,
2010 in case Hamas refuses to sign the agreement. Abbas also stated
that Hamas' decision to evade national reconciliation surprised him
and noted that the PA and Egypt will not accept any amendments to
the Egyptian reconciliation agreement.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports on the deputy chief of the Hamas
political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouq's interview with Al-Arabiya TV.
The report quotes Abu Marzouq saying that there is no harm in
further discussing the Egyptian proposal for national reconciliation
in order to integrate Hamas amendments to it. Abu Marzouq noted that
"some items were dropped from the original version which we agreed
to with Egypt." He also commented on President Abbas's announcement
that elections will be held in January 2010 by saying that "Abu
Mazen can't conduct the elections separately in the West Bank."

The dailies report on Palestinian Liberation Organization Chief
Negotiator Saeb Erekat's talks with US officials in Washington.
Erekat told Al-Ayyam in a phone interview that Secretary Hillary
Clinton and Special Envoy George Mitchell assured him that there is
no agreement between the US and Israel regarding settlements and
that there is no US peace plan. Erekat noted that he explained to
the US that the PA will not accept partial solutions regarding the
cessation of settlement activity and urged Israel to respect their
obligations under the road map in order to restart negotiations.

Al-Quds leads with news on the continued settlement activity in the
West Bank despite Israeli claims of freezing construction. The story
leads with news on an agreement between the Israeli Ministers of
Defense and Interior to facilitate the issuance of building permits
for constructing new settlements in the West Bank.

The dailies report on Israeli President Shimon Peres criticizing the
Goldstone report before the US Ambassador to the UN Suzan Rice
yesterday. Peres described the report as "shameful."

Hamas newspaper Al-Resalah reports on Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu
Zuhri noting yesterday that Hamas' prposed amendments on the
Egyptian reconciliation agreement are to ensure the successful
implementation of the plan after the agreement is signed. He noted
that a Hamas delegation will visit Cairo to discuss their
reservations. Abu Zuhi criticized President Abbas's announcement to
hold the elections in January 2010.

Al-Quds radio (Hamas outlet from Gaza) reports that Egypt gave Hamas
24 hours to determine its position on the national reconciliation
plan without any amendments. If they do not respond, Egypt will
publicly accuse Hamas of obstructing the reconciliation process.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
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1) Al-Quds independent daily runs an editorial under the title
"Announcing the elections date doesn't mean deepening the division"

JERUSALEM 00001915 002 OF 002


(10/21): "From the legal perspective, we should hold the
presidential and legislative elections before January 2010 ... but
the Palestinian factions have to sign the national reconciliation
proposal in order to agree on the date for holding the
elections[either January or June according to the Egyptian plan],
otherwise the state of division will leave Palestine with a
constitutional vacuum that will be rejected by the Palestinian
people."

2) Ashraf Al-Ajrami opines in Al-Ayyam daily independent under the
title "Unity and reconciliation are not considered by Hamas"
(10/21): "Hamas will not agree to national unity whether it signs
the reconciliation agreement or not ... The interests of Hamas,
Israel and Iran meet together to protect the Hamas empire in Gaza
and allow Hamas to ruin any chance at national unity ... Achieving
national unity is not a goal for Hamas, Israel, or the regional
powers."


RUBINSTEIN

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