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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (11/16): The Palestinian Authority

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6656
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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4914
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4764
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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS

SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (11/16): The Palestinian Authority
considers declaring an independent state at the UN Security Council

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Main Stories:
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Al-Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida lead with news on Palestinian
officials reiterating that they will pursue a unilateral declaration
of a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council. The three dailies
report on Israel's reaction to this announcement, reporting that
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "Israel too can take on
unilateral actions" implying that Israel may reoccupy the West Bank
areas that are under the Palestinian Authority if such a move is
made. Al-Quds reports on Hamas criticizing the Palestinian
Authority's (PA) plan to resort to the UN Security Council for the
declaration of the Palestinian state.

The dailies quote US Senator Joseph Lieberman reaffirming America's
commitment to the two-state solution, applauding "the positive role
played by the Palestinian Authority and its efforts to build state
institutions" while visiting the West Bank on Sunday with a
Congressional delegation.

Al-Quds runs a lead photo of former President Clinton visiting
Al-Aqsa mosque yesterday. The report notes that Clinton urged Israel
to give President Obama a chance and stop dealing with him as an
"enemy." Clinton noted that it is possible to resolve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict during Obama's era.

Al-Ayyam leads with the Head of the Palestinian National Council
Salim Az Zanoun noting that the Palestinian Liberation Organization
(PLO) Central Committee will convene on December 15 to discuss the
constitutional vacuum that may occur by not holding the elections in
January 2010. Fatah leader Mohammad Dahlan is quoted as saying that
the Central Committee will extend President Abbas' term if the
elections are not held on time.

The dailies report that the Jerusalem municipality distributed
demolition orders for two houses in the Old City.

News on Egypt inviting the Palestinian factions to visit Cairo to
pursue the national dialogue next week is reported in all three
dailies.

----------------
Weekend stories:
-----------------

Sunday, November 15:

The three dailies lead with front page stories on the Palestinian
people celebrating the 21st anniversary of the declaration of
independence. On this occasion, President Abbas called upon the
international community to intensify their efforts to enable the
Palestinian people to end the occupation and achieve their rights
and national objectives. President Abbas added that without
realizing these rights on the basis of justice and fairness, the
entire region will not enjoy stability or prosperity. President
Abbas also stressed that national unity is the primary way to
guarantee success, according to coverage.

Al-Quds and Al-Ayyam report on Hamas accusing Israel of fabricating
information to lay the groundwork for a new military attack against
the Gaza Strip. Fawzi Barhoum, the spokesperson for Hamas in the
Gaza Strip, said in a statement to the press that Israel's claims
that Hamas conducted a second attempt to launch a long-range Iranian

JERUSALEM 00002047 002 OF 003


missile indicate Israel's intentions to escalate its aggression
against the strip. Barhoum called upon Arab and Muslim countries to
cut their ties and relations with Israel, adding "these claims are
part of the Israeli lies to justify a new aggression against Gaza."

Saturday, November 14:

The three dailies run front page stories on statements made by Under
Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns in an
interview with the Washington Post reaffirming the US commitment to
the two-state solution. Coverage notes that Burns added that the US
considers the Israeli offer to restrain settlement activities as a
potentially important step, but it falls short of fulfilling their
Road Map obligations. Burns also stressed that US pressure on Israel
and the Palestinians are necessary for success.

The dailies report that the US is now open to a conference on the
peace process in Moscow. According to unnamed French sources, the US
believes that holding a conference in Moscow coupled with the
postponement of the Palestinian elections will allow President Abbas
the chance to continue his duties until the elections are held.

Al-Ayyam runs a front page story on Saeb Erekat, head of the PLO
Negotiations Affairs Department, saying that the Palestinian
leadership is currently working on getting wide support for the idea
of going to the UN Security Council to gain international
recognition for the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East
Jerusalem as its capital. Erekat noted that the decision is "a huge
accomplishment with wide and unprecedented Arab consensus supporting
this idea." Erekat told Al-Ayyam that he discussed the idea several
times with the Americans and the Europeans, while President Abbas
raised the idea with the UN Secretary General and Russian officials,
both receiving positive reactions. Erekat added that President Abbas
will target Latin American countries next week in addition to
on-going discussions with European countries.

The three dailies run front page stories on reports in the Jerusalem
Post on Friday that settlement activities in East Jerusalem have not
stopped despite claims by the Israeli Minister of Housing that the
Israeli authorities have not authorized any construction project in
the West Bank or East Jerusalem since Netanyahu came into office.
According to reports, an Israeli NGO that works for equal rights for
Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem said that "there are more
than 20 new projects in East Jerusalem that await the municipality's
approval" and that "it is expected that almost all these projects
will be approved. The only remaining question is about the timing."


The three dailies run front page stories on Israeli Army Chief of
Staff Gabi Ashkenazi threatening to launch a military operation
against the Gaza Strip if rockets continue to be launched from the
territory. Ashkenazi added that Hamas suspended its rocket attacks
against Israel after the January war and is restraining the other
Palestinian factions from doing so. According to reports, the rare
Israeli admission about Hamas actions to restrain the launching of
rockets comes at a time when both sides continue their indirect
negotiations on the prisoners' exchange deal through Egyptian and
German mediators.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
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Al-Quds independent daily runs an editorial under the title "More

JERUSALEM 00002047 003 OF 003


Time Means Encouraging Israel" (11/16): "The recent statements by US
officials that the US doesn't want to push for Palestinian-Israeli
negotiations for the sake of negotiations, and that they prefer to
wait until the two parties are ready for such talks, proves that the
US policy is wrong. Waiting any longer will grant Israel more time
to construct settlements and commit more violations ... When the US
and the international community have the courage to say "enough" of
the occupation and stop the double standards when dealing with
Israel, only then will the US commitment to peace have a meaning."

RUBINSTEIN

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