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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (10/26): More Clashes Between

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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS

SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (10/26): More clashes between
Palestinians and Israeli police at Al Aqsa Mosque

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
The dailies prominently report on yesterday's confrontations at Al
Aqsa Mosque between Palestinians and the Israeli police. Reports
note that the Israeli police and soldiers entered the mosque in the
morning and closed all entrances to prevent Muslims from entering to
pray, and cut the electricity so that the mosque could not issue the
call to prayer. More than 20 Palestinians were injured and 20 people
were arrested, including the former Palestinian Authority (PA)
Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdel Qader. Among the injured
were photographers and reporters of local news agencies. The PA
Presidency spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeina condemned the Israeli
incursions and warned Israel of escalating the situation. According
to the reports, the Israeli police left the mosque after Egypt and
Jordan intervened.

Head of the Hamas Political Bureau Khaled Mishal's October 25 speech
receives front page coverage in the three dailies. Mishal reiterated
that Hamas is in favor of achieving national reconciliation and
urged all parties to carefully study the Egyptian plan before
blaming Hamas for not signing it. Additionally, Mishal condemned PA
President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to hold presidential and
legislative elections on January 24, 2010 describing the act as
"illegal and illegitimate." He noted that this decision will only
deepen the state of division.

Hamas newspaper Al-Resala reports that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud
Barak announced that he will not form a special committee to
investigate Israeli soldiers' behaviors during the recent conflict
in Gaza.

Gaza-based Al-Quds radio reports that Egypt heavily criticized Hamas
for its position on national reconciliation and accused them of
obstructing efforts. The report notes that the Arab League will
convene to discuss the implications of Hamas's position.

Weekend Stories:

Sunday October 25:

All three dailies lead with comments by President Abbas on Saturday
reiterating his insistence on achieving national unity, but noting
that elections must be held on time "because the elections are a
legal and constitutional obligation." Abbas added, "as we continue
to fulfil our constitutional obligation, we will continue with
reconciliation efforts, political work, and negotiations. We will
move forward and take all matters very seriously."

Al Quds runs a front page story quoting unnamed senior Palestinian
sources stating that Egyptian officials are angry with Hamas because
of its refusal to sign the national reconciliation agreement. The
sources added that Cairo is aware that the Hamas leadership is
subject to pressure by other countries to obstruct the
reconciliation efforts in order to negatively impact Egypt's role in
the region. An Egyptian official announced that Cairo will not
ignore comments made by the different factions on the Egyptian plan
for national reconciliation, but will take them into consideration
upon implementation of the agreement, once it is approved. The
source revealed that contacts are taking place between Egypt and
Hamas to clarify some of Hamas's concerns.

Al Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida run front page stories on Israeli

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police forces increasing their presence around Al Aqsa Mosque. The
Israel police said it will deploy large forces around Al Aqsa Mosque
and in Jerusalem neighbourhoods following calls for Palestinians to
protect the mosque against the Israeli occupation. The police said
it will respond firmly to any attempt to disrupt public order.
Meanwhile, Hatem Abdel Qader told Al Quds newspaper that extremist
Jewish groups broadcasted called on their followers to enter Al Aqsa
Mosque today and perform religious rituals. Abdel Qader added that
the Israeli police should learn from the events that took place
earlier this month and stressed that allowing extremists to enter
will create an explosive situation for which Israel will be held
responsible.

Saturday, October 24

All three dailies run front page stories on Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas issuing a decree on Friday calling for
presidential and legislative elections on January 24, 2010. In an
official statement, Fatah said this is a constitutional obligation,
while Hamas rejected the decree and said that it constitutes a harsh
blow to reconciliation efforts. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the Spokesperson
for the Office of the President, told Al Ayyam that President Abbas
agreed to the reconciliation agreement proposed by Egypt which
called for the elections on June 28, 2010, but Hamas did not accept
the Egyptian proposal. Therefore, Abu Rudeineh added, "since Hamas
did not accept the proposed agreement, President Abbas is complying
with the legal procedures stipulated by the Basic Law and has thus
signed the decree to conduct the elections on its constitutional
date." One Hamas official threatened to conduct elections separately
in Gaza on the same day.

The dailies also run front page stories on President Obama's phone
call to President Abbas on Friday during which they discussed issues
related to the peace process. President Obama reiterated his
personal commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state,
while President Abbas reiterated his commitment to a peace process
that has clear terms of reference that would lead to the
establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Nabil Abu
Rudeineh said that "the call was very important for the future of
the peace process and for the region as a whole."

Al Quds carries front page news that the Municipality of Jerusalem
will start implementing demolition orders for at least 59 buildings
in East Jerusalem, including 42 houses. Ahmad Rwaidy, head of the
Jerusalem Unit at the Office of the Palestinian President, said that
this is like a declaration of war on the Palestinian presence in
occupied Jerusalem. Rwaidy warned that this step will add fuel to an
already inflamed situation. Rwaidy also said that the Jerusalem
municipality and Ministry of Interior have distributed demolition
orders for 150 houses in Jerusalem over the past few days,
particularly in the Silwan and Al-Bustan neighbourhoods. Rwaidy
stressed that these measures are part of a policy of ethnic
cleansing to force Palestinians out of Jerusalem.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
-------------

1) Al-Quds independent daily runs an editorial under the title "Your
Statements Will Not Rescue Al-Aqsa" (10/26): "It is shameful that
the Palestinian Authority and its bodies do not have anything except
condemnation for the Israeli attacks against Muslims and the holy
sites. To all Arab leaders, your condemnation will not do us any
good ... we need serious measures."

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2) Talal Okal opines in Al-Ayyam independent daily under the title
"A Little Sense of Responsibility"(10/26): "The Palestinian
President is obliged to issue the decree for holding the elections
on time, he has no other choice ... If the president did not issue
such a decree, Palestine will suffer from constitutional vacuum that
no one will accept."


RUBINSTEIN

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