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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (12/10): Abbas in Egypt And

VZCZCXRO2808
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2240/01 3441508
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 101508Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6940
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEADWD/DA WASHINGTON DC//DAS-ZD/DACS-ZK//
RUEAHQA/CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
RHMFIUU/CMC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7987
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4954
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4804
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6292
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4723
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3327

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 002240

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 (12/10): Abbas in Egypt and
Knesset Passage of "Continuity" Bill Make Headlines

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
--------------------------------------
Abbas Meets Mubarak in Sharm El-Sheikh
--------------------------------------

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abbas' meeting with Egyptian
President Mubarak was the main story in all three dailies.
Independent daily Al-Quds headlines Abbas' quote that the PA rejects
Israel's settlement moratorium and regrets the U.S. retreat on
settlement cessation. In regards to the EU statement on Jerusalem,
Abbas noted that although important it was less than what was
originally proposed.

Independent daily Al-Ayyam runs a headline reflecting Abbas'
statement regarding national reconciliation, "The Ball is in Hamas'
Court Now." PA official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida quotes Abbas
saying that agreement on the prisoner exchange deal has yet to be
reached.


--------------------------------------------- ---------
Continuity Bill Passes; PA Blamed for Lack of Progress
--------------------------------------------- ---------

Dailies and Ma'an report that the Israeli Knesset passed a
"continuity" bill on Wednesday to ensure that a measure calling for
a national referendum on the Israeli withdrawal from occupied
territories moves forward. The proposed legislation states that any
governmental decision to withdraw from the occupied Golan Heights
and East Jerusalem requires a national, public referendum.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and Ma'an report that Israeli Prime Minister
Netanyahu accused the PA of rejecting peace negotiations as a means
of avoiding concessions. Speaking to his Security Cabinet
yesterday, Netanyahu said, "It seems that the Palestinians have
adopted a strategy of rejecting negotiations with Israel in order to
avoid the demands of Israel and the international community which
require compromises on their [PA] part."


--------------------------------------------- ---
Local Media Largely Ignore Anti-Moratorium Rally
--------------------------------------------- ---

There was little coverage of the anti-settlement moratorium
demonstration in local Palestinian media. Independent daily
Al-Ayyam and PA official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida both ran stories.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, which has the smallest circulation of the
dailies, was the only local Palestinian paper that ran front page
coverage of the demonstration. Its article was placed below the
fold, at the bottom of the page, and mainly consisted of a photo
showing settlers holding banners that read "Stop the Freeze."
Independent daily, and largest in circulation, Al Quds, did not
cover the demonstration. Independent Palestinian news outlet Ma'an,
which prides itself in covering late-breaking news, posted only a
headline (no accompanying article), "Thousands of right-wing
Israelis protest settlement freeze in Jerusalem." Al Jazeera
International ran a brief photo spot on the demonstration.

JERUSALEM 00002240 002 OF 002


-------------
EU Statement
-------------

In an exclusive interview with independent Palestinian news outlet
Ma'an, Sweden's Consul General in Jerusalem, Nils Eliasson,
downplayed reports that the final EU statement on the Middle East
peace process had changed significantly from the original drafted
authored by Sweden, saying, "there are very few substantive
differences between the two."

PLO Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat is quoted in Ma'an welcoming EU
conclusions on the status of Jerusalem. In Erekat's opinion, "The
EU has released a basic blueprint for the resumption of meaningful
negotiations. If these principles are translated into reality,
negotiations should resume."


--------------------------------------------- --
Berlanty Denied Permission to Continue Studies
--------------------------------------------- --

Ma'an reports that a three-judge panel from the Israel's Supreme
Court ruled on Wednesday that Bethlehem University student Berlanty
Azzam will not be permitted to return to the West Bank to finish her
degree.


--------------------------------------------- --
Fayyad Meets Italian Foreign Minister
--------------------------------------------- --

In a joint press conference, in Ramallah, with Italian Foreign
Minister Franco Frattini, PA Prime Minister Fayyad stated that the
establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the lands
occupied by Israel since 1967 is the only possible way to achieve
peace. Frattini emphasized that the EU is working closely with the
United States to end the conflict and achieve peace in the Middle
East.

-------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
-------------
1) Rasem Ebidat, writing in Al-Quds under the title "The New EU
Statement: Did it Bring Anything New?" believes that "We
[Palestinians] should not be deceived by the EU statement ...what is
important is not the statement but implementation of the ideas
expressed in the statement."

2) Al-Quds runs an editorial entitled "The EU Statement: Is It for
Archiving or Implementing?" that questions whether Europe is serious
about its statement. The writer opines that if the EU is serious
about the conclusions it proposed in the statement then "...it [the
EU] has to take serious measures and tangible actions against
t
Israel...We [Palestinians] need more than statements, we need
actions."


RUBINSTEIN

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