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Cablegate: Special Israel Media Reaction

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DE RUEHTV #2225/01 2821100
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P 091100Z OCT 09
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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR NEA STAFF

SECDEF WASHDC FOR USDP/ASD-PA/ASD-ISA
HQ USAF FOR XOXX
DA WASHDC FOR SASA
JOINT STAFF WASHDC FOR PA
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COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE FOR PAO/POLAD
COMSIXTHFLT FOR 019

JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: SPECIAL ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

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SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------
U.S. Special Envoy Senator Mitchell to Israel, West Bank October
7-11, 2009

High level of alert and tension ahead of Friday prayers in
Jerusalem

-------------------------
Key stories in the media
--------------------------
All newspapers reported on Sen. Mitchell meetings with President
Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman, noting that the visiting American official will
meet with Netanyahu on Friday and will travel to Ramallah for talks
with Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad over the
weekend. Haaretz quoted Special Envoy Mitchell as saying at the
start of his meeting with Peres, that the United States was making
efforts to restart the negotiations between Israel and the PA in the
near future.

The Jerusalem Post wrote that hopes among Israeli and American
officials are dim ahead of U.S. Middle East Envoy George Mitchell's
meeting on Friday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the
talks will yield a resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace
talks. However, Yediot quoted senior diplomatic sources as saying
that some progress was achieved during the latest round of talks,
but a scheme to enable the re-launching of talks has not yet been
found.

Ha'aretz reported this morning that last month's summit in New York
between Obama, Netanyahu, and Mahmoud Abbas also reduced
Washington's expectations of a speedy resumption of final-status
talks between Israel and the PA. While U.S. envoy George Mitchell
will meet Netanyahu again Friday, the meeting is not expected to
resolve the crisis in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

According to Ha'aretz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is
considering goodwill gestures that would bolster the Palestinian
Authority and would help PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been
suffering harsh criticism following a Palestinian decision not to
press for the UN Human Rights Council's adoption of the Goldstone
report on last winter's Gaza offensive. Netanyahu is considering
announcing a goodwill package during his meeting Friday with the
special U.S. envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell. According to
a senior political source in Jerusalem a number of ideas were raised
on goodwill gestures that would boost Abbas. The Prime Minister's
Bureau did not deny the existence of such proposals. Measures being
considered include authorization for setting up a second cellular
telephone network in the West Bank and releasing the necessary
frequency for use by the PA. Another idea is to stop opposing a
Palestinian request for building a new city near Ramallah. It is
also possible that more roadblocks will be lifted and other measures
will be put in place to help improve the Palestinian economy, a key
goal of Netanyahu.


All newspapers reported on the high level of security alertness in
Jerusalem following days of tension at the Temple Mount compound as
Palestinian protesters sporadically clashed with Israeli police. The
fear that clashes would break out during Friday's Muslim prayers
brought additional security and police forces to Jerusalem's Old
City. There is fear that violence will expand beyond Jerusalem,
into the West Bank and even within Israel's borders, into towns with
mixed populations of Jews and Arabs. Still, a senior police
commissioner said early Friday that he believes that violence and
disturbances will be under control in Jerusalem. On Thursday, the
Hamas declared Friday a "day of rage" and called on its supporters
to come out and demonstrate at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, on Temple Mount.


Ha'aretz quoted Democratic congressmen close to Obama, as saying to
an Israeli source who returned from a visit to Washington this
week,that the U.S. administration is furious over Israeli incitement
against President Barack Obama, also hinting that Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu has been personally involved. The source also
said that he was stunned by the level of anger over attempts to
portray Obama to the American public as an enemy of Israel because
of his efforts to restart peace talks and freeze settlement
construction. The source was quoted as saying that, "There are
people here who are playing with fire by damaging our relationship
with the U.S."

Ha'aretz reported that King Abdullah of Jordan warned Washington
recently that Israel's settlement policy in East Jerusalem is
undermining the stability of Israeli-Jordanian relations. He also
ordered the Jordanian embassy in Israel to submit an official
protest to the Foreign Ministry over a plan to build a new Jewish
neighborhood on lands belonging to the East Jerusalem village of
Walaja.

Ha'aretz reported that the Director of the Central Intelligence
Agency Leon Panetta told TIME magazine that Israel was involved in
uncovering Iran's nuclear facility near Qom. According to the TIME
article, Israeli intelligence was involved in editing and creating
the sanitized version of information about Iran's recently revealed
secret uranium enrichment facility.


------------
Block Quotes
------------

"Artificially Respirating Abbas
Senior Analyst Gil Hoffman wrote in the conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (10/9): "When American envoy George Mitchell meets
with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on
Friday, don't be surprised if the two get a little closer than they
normally would. The Americans believe that Abbas requires urgent
resuscitation, and Mitchell's separate meetings with Abbas and Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are intended for that purpose. Don't be
surprised if Netanyahu, in his meeting with Mitchell, is asked for
some kind of confidence-building measure to boost Abbas. The
American envoy already sent an associate to tell the media on
Wednesday that US President Barack Obama will still crack down on
settlement construction. But if Mitchell really wanted to boost
Abbas, perhaps he should get on a plane and go back to the United
States, because his mere presence in Ramallah harms Abbas at a
sensitive time for him... Obama raised expectations in the Arab
world when he insisted on the unrealistic demand of a complete
freeze in Israeli construction east of the 1949 armistice lines.
Abbas, who couldn't appear less anti-Israel than the president of
the Unites States, made this a new precondition for talks with
Israel. Then Obama forced Abbas to come to Washington to meet with
Netanyahu, despite his demand not being met. This humiliated Abbas,
who was so noticeably upset in his meeting with Netanyahu and
Defense Minister Ehud Barak that Barak had to butter him up by
telling him that his popularity on the Palestinian street surpassed
that of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, at his peak. Finally, in his
speech at that summit, Obama set a mid-October deadline for
significant progress on the peace process. This deadline,
immediately after three weeks of Israeli governmental officials
barely working due to the holidays, cannot and will not be met,
which will harm Abbas even more. If Abbas falls and Hamas wins the
election, no American envoy could succeed in reviving the peace
process. That's why it's so important for America that it acts
smartly in its renewed efforts to revive Abbas.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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