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Cablegate: Jerusalem Special Media Reaction (11/26): Pa Rejects

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DE RUEHJM #2131/01 3301130
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261130Z NOV 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6779
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
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RUEAHQA/CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
RHMFIUU/CMC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7964
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4931
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4781
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6269
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4700
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3304

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 002131

SIPDIS

STATE PASS BBG
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC
CMC WASHINGTON DC FOR POLAD

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS

SUBJECT: JERUSALEM SPECIAL MEDIA REACTION (11/26): PA Rejects
Settlement Offer; Urges US to Intensify Efforts

--------
Summary
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1. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's announcement of a 10-month
moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank and the
Palestinian rejection of it as a deceitful and manipulative move
dominate the local media. (No immediate response to the proposal in
Hamas media.) The failure of Hamas and GOI to reach an agreement on
a prisoner exchange deal and Abbas' announcement that he will remain
in office until the next elections are overshadowed by local
reaction to the settlement freeze proposal.


--------------------------------------------- -------
Freeze Deceitful and Without Jerusalem Unacceptable
--------------------------------------------- -------


2. Independent daily Al-Ayyam headlines "Netanyahu announced a
10-month settlement freeze!!!!," reporting that Netanyahu's plan
continues Israel's existing policy of supporting settlement
construction in Jerusalem and construction in 3000 settlements units
in the West Bank. Dailies highlight U.S. reaction to the news,
quoting Secretary Clinton welcoming the GOI decision and noting that
it "helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict." Al-Quds headline reads "Clinton and Mitchell welcome the
announcement and believe it will support the resumption of
negotiations."

3. Nabil Abu Rudeina, Spokesperson for the PA Presidency, stated
that the PA rejects the proposed moratorium because it excludes
Jerusalem, noting "Jerusalem is a red line for the Palestinian and
Arabs and must not be touched." Abu Rudeina stressed that the
resumption of negotiations must be based on the complete cessation
of settlements in the West Bank including occupied Jerusalem.

4. In a press conference today from Ramallah, Yasser Abed Rabbou,
Secretary General of the PLO, reiterated that the 10-month
moratorium offers nothing new and instead is a manipulative attempt
by the GOI to gain more time to impose "facts on the ground" that
will ensure the separation of Jerusalem from the rest of the West
Bank. In comments to the press yesterday, Abed Rabbou said,
"Netanyahu and the whole world know that any exclusion of Jerusalem
will ruin any chances to start a real peace process." He added that
Netanyahu's announcement indicates that "we have not moved a single
step towards progress in the peace process."

5. Abed Rabbou stated that the PA will not engage in peace
negotiations prior to a full cessation of settlement activity. He
expressed willingness to continue working with the U.S.
administration and Envoy Mitchell and commended Clinton's and
Mitchell's statements recognizing that Israel's proposal will not
stop settlement construction. He voiced appreciation for the U.S.
rejection of any unilateral actions in Jerusalem and their
insistence that the Palestinian state must be established on the
1967 borders. He said, "the US can do more in order to ensure a
trusted and viable peace process that will end the Palestinian
Israeli conflict" and that there is still a chance to achieve such a
peace. He stated that the PA will continue to work with the Arab

JERUSALEM 00002131 002 OF 003


states and the United Nations to issue a resolution that recognizes
the 1967 as the borders of the Palestinian state.

6. Al Quds quotes Secretary General of the National Palestinian
Initiative "Al-Mubadara" Mustafa Barghouti saying that Netanyahu's
announcement is a "deceiving and a misleading attempt that cannot be
accepted." He added that the exclusion of Jerusalem proves that
Netanyahu is intent on separating Jerusalem from the West Bank.
Barghouti urged rejection of the proposal and accused Netanyahu of
lying twice: First, when he claimed that he had dismantled
checkpoints when 600 checkpoints continue to be operated by GOI
throughout the West Bank; and second, when he stated that Israel was
committed to ensuring religious freedom when the GOI does not permit
96% of Palestinians to travel freely to Jerusalem for religious
rituals.

7. Saeb Erekat, the PLO Chief Negotiator, refuted the claim that
Netanyahu's announcement was a true freeze in settlement expansion
since the GOI plans to continue construction of 3000 units in the
West bank and excludes Jerusalem. Erekat called on the U.S.
administration and international community to force Israel to accept
a full cessation of settlements and urged the United States not to
be deceived by the Israeli announcement. Erekat rhetorically
questioned how such an announcement could help the peace process
since in his opinion it does not represent any new offer from the
Israelis.

8. Maan reports that Mohammad Dahlan, member of Fatah's Central
Committee, accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of
pursuing a policy of deception. Dahlan said that 10-month was an
erstwhile initiative, and could not be considered a "standstill"
since it excludes East Jerusalem. He emphasized that ignoring
Jerusalem jeopardizes the peace process and warned the U.S.
administration not to support the proposal since, in his opinion, it
does not represent a real commitment to stop settlement activity.


--------------------------------------------- ----------
Abbas Will Stay Not Run; Prisoner Exchange Fails Again
--------------------------------------------- ----------


9. Dailies report on President Abbas' statements yesterday from
Chile that he will not run in upcoming elections but will remain in
his position until the elections take place. Abbas stated that
"...we have reached a point where we are unable to resume
negotiations because the Israelis plan to proceed with settlement
activities."

10. Dailies highlight the failure of the prisoner exchange deal and
Hamas Khalil Al-Hayat's accusations that Israel obstructed the deal.
Independent daily Al-Ayyam reports that exchange deal talks have
been postponed until after Adha Eid. According to press coverage,
the Israelis rejected Hamas' request to release Abdallah Barghouti
and Ibrahim Hamed.
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BLOCK QUOTES:
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11. Al-Quds runs an editorial entitled: "The Partial Settlement
Freeze" which discusses Israel's proposal and the Palestinian
rejection of it. The writer accuses Netanyahu of being a

JERUSALEM 00002131 003 OF 003


professional manipulator. "...Since he took office he [Netanyahu]
has publically supported the two state solution but laid out
extremely difficult pre-conditions which he knew the Palestinian
would never accept, now he approves a freeze but excludes Jerusalem
knowing the Palestinians would reject it. The writer opines, "It is
not enough for Palestinians to reject the proposal...Palestinians
must explain the reason for rejecting the proposal and must propose
alternatives to it."

12. Talal Okal opines in Al-Ayyam independent daily under the title
"Eid is back, nothing has changed" (11/26): "We have been hearing a
lot about how close the prisoner exchange deal was, but we were of
course disappointed. This is not the first time; we should have
remembered not to be optimistic, so that we don't face similar
disappointments from Israeli policies and fake promises".

RUBINSTEIN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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