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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (11/30):

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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4934
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4784
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 JERUSALEM 002144

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 MEDIA REACTION (11/30):
"A Holiday With No Deals" Reflects Lack of Progress on Many Fronts

Due to the Eid Al Adha holiday weekend, today's media reaction
covers Palestinian newspapers published Friday, November 27, stories
reported via online Palestinian media outlets, and today's edition
of independent, Al Ayyam, the only Palestinian daily to publish
today. Post's regular media reaction will return tomorrow, Tuesday,
December 1.


-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
Friday, November 27

All three dailies run front page stories detailing Palestinian
leadership's demands for a full cessation of settlement activities,
Israel's commitment to the 4th of June borders, and increased
pressure from the U.S. on Israel to completely halt settlement
construction in order to resume peace process negotiations.

The dailies report at length on the speech given Thursday by Yasser
Abed Rabbo, the secretary general of the PLO Executive Committee, in
which he characterized Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's temporary
moratorium on settlement expansion a "political manoeuvre" which did
not include anything new and called on the United States to
intensify its efforts towards achieving a full cessation of
settlement activities without exceptions and obtaining commitments
from both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to the 4th of June 1967
borders. Abed Rabbo opined that the U.S. administration is capable
of advancing a reliable peace process which everyone can trust,
Palestinians, Arabs, and all entities wishing to see an end to this
conflict, and an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian
and Arab territories. He reaffirmed the PA's desire that Senator
Mitchell continue his efforts to promote a peace process that is
capable of achieving the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th
of June borders.

Dailies quote a statement by Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
that the Israeli government's decision "could contribute to some
kind of a breakthrough if followed by other measures including the
full cessation of settlement activities." Dailies also report that
the Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Naser Joudeh, considered
Israel's decision to freeze settlement activities in the West Bank
for ten months "insufficient" and stressed the importance of
completely halting all settlement activities including in East
Jerusalem.

The dailies report that Israeli leadership believes that through its
temporary settlement freeze it has done its part to resume peace
negotiations. When asked about Palestinian leadership's rejection
of the settlement freeze, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs
Avigdor Liberman said, "Palestinians' concerns should be the least
of our worries. What we should care about are our friends in the
world... we talked with them and most of them told us: help us to
help you...The ball is now in the Palestinian court." Citing a
story in the Israeli Yediot Ahranot newspaper, the dailies report
that Netanyahu refused a request by the U.S. to consider
transferring more control in West Bank to PA security forces.

Palestinian Authority official daily Al Hayat Al Jadida front page a
story entitled "Mitchell: We Object to Any Pre-Emptive Action in
Jerusalem That Might Affect the Negotiations." The article quotes
Senator Mitchell that President Obama has said repeatedly "we

JERUSALEM 00002144 002 OF 004


believe that the two-state solution of the conflict is the best
means towards achieving the joint objective of Palestinians and
Israelis to live in peace and security...this is a question of U.S.
national security interest and there is an urgent need for a
solution." The daily reports Mitchell reiterated that U.S. policy
towards settlements remains unaffected and unchanged that "America
does not accept the legitimacy of the Israeli settlements" and that
"the status of Jerusalem and all final status issues should be
resolved by the relevant parties through negotiations."

Reporting on President Abbas' visit to Chile, the dailies quote
Abbas saying that Netanyahu "chose occupation over peace." Abbas
added that "faced with this Israeli position, we are consulting with
our Arab brothers, with the Latin American, African, European, and
Asian countries and groups, and in the future with the American
administration regarding the possibility of going to the UN Security
Council with the aim of demarcating the borders of the state of
Palestine on the 4th of June 19967 borders with its capital East
Jerusalem." Abbas stated that "our goal...is an independent and
sovereign Palestinian state with its capital East Jerusalem that
lives side by side with Israel in peace and security...after 61
years since the Nakbah, the time has come for the Palestinian people
to live in peace and security in its independent and sovereign
state."


Saturday, November 28

Independent news outlet Ma'an reported on Abbas' visit to Venezuela
during which he dismissed Israel's settlement free as "meaningless"
and that there would be no peace talks without a full freeze. Abbas
was accompanied by PLO chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who was quoted
saying "Without a settlement freeze, there can be no credible
negotiations and no credible peace process. Settlements are not only
illegal under international law. They pose the greatest threat to
the two-state solution and run counter to the formula of 'land for
peace' on which the entire Middle East peace process is built. And
without East Jerusalem as its capital, there can be no viable
Palestinian state...Time is running out for the two-state solution.
While hopes for peace based on the two-state solution continue to
fade, Palestinian demands for the restoration of our basic rights
and freedoms will not."


Sunday, November 29

Ma'an reports that President Abbas concluded his trip to Latin
America with a visit to Venezuela during which he signed a number of
agreements with President Chavez to promote bilateral relations
including initiatives to increase trade between Venezuela and the
Palestinian territories and student exchange programs. According to
the reports, Chavez emphasized that the agreements were signed
between the State of Palestine, recognized as a sovereign state, and
Caracas. Chavez stated, "Venezuela is Palestine; Palestine is
Venezuela, we have a common struggle..."We should devote the entire
force of our hearts and souls towards the creation of a Palestinian
state."

Ma'an reports on Prime Minister Fayyad's meeting with Costa Rican
President Oscar Arias in Bethlehem during which Fayyad urged the
international community to do more to stop Israel's settlement
enterprise and said that the PA would undertake efforts to declare a
Palestinian state. President Arias urged the resumption of peace

JERUSALEM 00002144 003 OF 004


negotiations as soon as possible and stated his support for the
Ramallah government.

Ma'an reports that according to Israel's State Attorney's Office,
Israel will release 980 Palestinians in exchange for Shalit.
According to the story, Hamas will select 450 names and Israel will
choose the rest "as a gesture to the Palestinian people" in a second
stage of the deal. Citing Al-Jazeera, the article reports that
"negotiations will be completed in Gaza, and that Hamas wants to
clarify certain safeguards required to complete the deal."

Ma'an reports on protests in Jerusalem on Saturday by secular
Israelis against the recent ultra-Orthodox Jewish campaign to shut
down businesses working on the Jewish Sabbath in the city.
According to the story, secular Israelis waved Israeli flags and
held banners proclaiming "We are sick of [religious] coercion." The
story notes that the rally comes after weeks of ultra-Orthodox
Jewish protests, which often turned violent, against the American
company Intel's Sabbath office hours and Jerusalem Municipality's
decision to allow a parking lot near the Old City to function on the
Jewish Sabbath.


Monday, November 30

Independent daily Al Ayyam's main headline story reports on Abbas'
trip to Venezuela and the PA intent to approach the UN Security
Council on the issue of establishing a Palestinian state on the June
4, 1967 borders. Abbas stated that the PA is currently discussing
the proposal with Arab, Latin American, African, Asian and European
states and plans to approach the United States about it soon.

Al Ayyam front pages, below the fold, the news that Special Envoy
Mitchell will continue to serve as the U.S. Special Envoy on Middle
East peace, that he plans to travel to the area in the near future,
and he hopes that a solution to the question of "borders" can be
reached soon.

Al Ayyam headlines a center article reporting that captured Israeli
prisoner Shalit will be transferred to Egypt in the coming days in
preparation for the anticipated Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange
deal.

-------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
-------------
Samih Shbib opines in independent daily Al-Ayyam (11/27) under the
headline "Settlement Speech," "We can consider this speech...a
settlement speech...not a speech on halting settlement activities...
this is a speech to legitimize settlements, to make settlements a
given part of political life; and, not an issue that requires
negotiations to stop." In Shbib's opinion, Netanyahu excluded
Jerusalem from the settlement freeze because it is Israel's "eternal
unified capital," and therefore not considered a final status issue.


Rajab Abu Seryeh writes in Al-Ayyam (11/27) under the headline "A
Holiday With No Deals" that "the purpose of the announcement
[10-month settlement moratorium] is to obstruct the Palestinian
diplomatic attack [seeking UN recognition of Palestinian state]."
According to Abu Seryeh, "The American Administration needs Israel's
settlement freeze announcement to justify its contradictory position
towards the PA proposed resolution [UN recognition of

JERUSALEM 00002144 004 OF 004


Palestine]...Israel also needs it in order to defend itself at the
UN when discussing the PA-proposed resolution." Abu Seryeh seemed
to blame Secretary Clinton for U.S. support of Israeli settlement
policy saying, "Although George Mitchell has stated that Israel's
decision does not rise to the level of a complete halt of
settlements, the U.S. Secretary of State has welcomed the Israeli
decision."


MARCHESE

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