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Cablegate: Corrected: Jerusalem Media Reaction (12/14): "Israel Has

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DE RUEHJM #2267/01 3481417
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141417Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6993
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA 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 7998
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4965
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4815
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6303
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4734
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3338

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 JERUSALEM 002267

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: CORRECTED: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (12/14): "Israel Has
Replaced the Road Map with the Settlement Map."

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------


------------------------------------$28 Million to West Bank
Settlements
------------------------------------


All three dailies lead with the Israeli Cabinet vote yesterday to
pump more than $28 million into West Bank settlements after passing
a new "national priority map" that sets priorities for government
attention and funding.
Palestinian Authority (PA) Presidency spokesperson Nabil Abu
Rudeinah condemned the decision saying, "The Israeli plan challenges
international efforts to revive the peace process."

Independent news outlet Ma'an reports that the Palestine Liberation
Organization's (PLO) chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, also condemned
the vote saying, "the national priority map presented at the cabinet
reveals the extent to which Israel's 'settlement moratorium' is a
sham. Instead of making peace its number one priority, Israel
continues to prioritize settlements and the relentless colonization
of occupied Palestinian land, rendering the two-state solution
politically and economically unviable."


-----------------------------------
Fatah Revolutionary Council Meeting
-----------------------------------

Dailies front page news that the Fatah Revolutionary Council held an
emergency session on Sunday, December 13 in Ramallah, to discuss the
latest Palestinian political developments as well as presidential
and legislative elections and in preparation for the Fatah Central
Council Meeting which starts on Tuesday. President Abbas and most
of the Fatah Central Committee members attended the meeting. During
the meeting, Abbas stressed that negotiations won't be resumed
unless Israel abides by the Road Map.


-----------------------------
Fatah Central Council Meeting
-----------------------------

Fatah Central Council will convene tomorrow, Tuesday, December 15
and will last three days. The main topic under consideration is
extending the terms of President Abbas and all PA bodies until the
next elections are held.

The Council will agree to hold elections in June based on the
Egyptian proposal. It will also support President Abbas' position
regarding the resumption of negotiations with the Israelis and will
agree on a plan to discuss the issue of borders at the UNSC.


------------
Yasuf Mosque
------------

JERUSALEM 00002267 002 OF 006

Dailies front page photos of PA Prime Minister Fayyad's visit
yesterday to the mosque in Yasuf, which was attacked by settlers
last Friday. Fayyad promised that the mosque will be repaired
immediately and ready for next Friday's prayers. Fayyad reiterated
that the settlers attack proves the Palestinian people's need for
international protection.


--------------------------------------
Prisoner Swap/ National Reconciliation
--------------------------------------

Citing Israeli daily Maariv, dailies report that President Abbas
urged Netanyahu to pursue the prisoner swap deal and to release
Palestinian prisoners that are serving long terms. According to
coverage, the message was conveyed through a third party and was
aimed at verifying the PA position on the deal and to counter Hamas'
claims that Abbas is obstructing the deal.

Independent daily Al-Quds front pages comments by Nabil Shaath,
member of Fatah central committee, that the national reconciliation
efforts have reached dead end due to Hamas' insistence not to sign
the Egyptian proposal and that the priority for Hamas now is a
successful conclusion to the prisoner exchange deal.


-------------
EU statement
-------------

Independent daily Al-Quds front pages an exclusive interview with
French Consul General in Jerusalem who defended the French position
regarding the EU statement calling for Jerusalem to be a capital for
two countries.


-------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
-------------

Al-Quds runs an editorial entitled "Settlement Priority Map" which
calls on the international community to take a clear position
regarding the Israeli announcement of allocating more funds to
national priority settlements. According to the writer, "Israel has
replaced the Road Map with the Settlement Map."


----------------
Weekend Stories:
----------------


-------------------
Sunday, December 13
-------------------


--------------------------------------------- ------
Palestinian Desire for Independence Will Not Waiver
--------------------------------------------- ------

All three dailies front page Prime Minister Fayyad's remarks at a

JERUSALEM 00002267 003 OF 006


national conference promoting popular action in confronting
settlement activities and the Separation Wall. Fayyad said that
the will of the Palestinian people and its leadership to achieve
freedom, independence, and protect the future of the peace in the
region has not and will not weaken or waiver regardless of barbaric
acts by settlements and settlers. Fayyad emphasized that the way to
end occupation and establish a state "...lies in building and
accumulating...achievements over time" and reflects the awareness of
Palestinians to formulate priorities in the framework of national
goals. He called on the international community to assume its
responsibility to end the "longest occupation in modern history and
guarantee the right of Palestinian people to self-determination, to
establish the independent state on the 1967 borders with its capital
Al Quds Al Sharif by implementing relevant international
resolutions."

--------------------------------------------- -
New U.S. Initiative to Re-launch Negotiations
--------------------------------------------- -

Al Ayyam front pages a report by London-based Al Hayat newspaper
that cites well-informed sources saying that the American
administration is preparing to launch a new initiative to resume
Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. According to the report, a team of
American experts in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, including both
Senator George Mitchell and Mr. Dennis Ross, and others are working
on the new initiative. The sources indicated that the initiative is
based on two main elements: 1) Define the terms of reference for the
peace process, and 2) Define the objective and function of the
negotiations. The terms of reference are said to be the
international resolutions that recognize the two-state solution on
the 4th of June 1967 borders, including the land swamp option.
According to the sources, the initiative is being designed to try to
satisfy both sides.


------------
Yasuf Mosque
------------

Al Hayat Al Jadida front pages the U.S. condemnation of the attack
on the mosque in Yasuf. Al Quds runs a story in its inside pages.
Both quote the press statement issued by the Consulate condemning
"in the strongest terms the attack of Yasuf mosque" and calling for
the perpetrators to be brought for justice. The articles report
that the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Jordan also
condemned the attack and the vandalism committed by settlers. A
Jordanian official characterized the attack as "a blatant violation
of the freedom of worship."

-------------
Prisoner Swap
-------------

Al Quds front pages the denial by Egyptian diplomatic sources that a
date has been set for concluding the prisoner swap. According to
the reports, the sources told the Lebanese Al Liwa newspaper that
discussions continue and are being carried out by Egypt and Germany.
Although some minor obstacles exist, they aren't expected to affect
the deal and the sources believe the swap would be completed within
the next two weeks.

JERUSALEM 00002267 004 OF 006


---------------------------
Fatah Revolutionary Council
---------------------------

Dailies report that according to Fahmi Za'areer, official
spokesperson for the Fatah movement and member of the movement's
Revolutionary Council, the Council will convene Sunday in an
extraordinary meeting of all its members to discuss the political
changes that have transpired since Abbas announced he will not seek
reelection and the implications of that decision. Za'areer noted
that the Council will discuss the positions of the international
community towards requesting the U.N. Security Council to demarcate
the borders of the Palestinian state on the lands occupied in 1967.
The Council will also discuss the recent statement issued by the EU,
the Israeli position on negotiations, internal reconciliation
efforts and elections in the lead up to the Central Council which
will begin on Tuesday, December 15.

---------------------
Saturday, December 12
---------------------


------------
Yasuf Mosque
------------

The major story in all the dailies was the settler attack on the
mosque in Yasuf Friday before morning prayers and the overall
escalation of settler attacks against Palestinians and
Palestinian-owned property. Abbas and Palestinian officials
condemned the attack and considered it a violation of the freedom of
worship and sanctity of holy places. According to reports, the fire
destroyed the mosque's library, which contained copies of the Quran
and other religious books, and the mosque's carpets, before
residents were able to get it under control. The attackers wrote
slogans in Hebrew including "Revenge to Banar Ivy" and "We will burn
you all." Abdel Rahim Musleh, head of Yassuf village council, told
reporters that the settlers involved in the attack snuck into the
village around four o'clock on Friday morning and destroyed the
doors of the new Hassan Khader mosque in the village's center,
pouring petrol inside it and setting the place on fire. Musleh
described the attack as a "grave crime" pointing out that settlers
from Tapuh settlement, built on the lands of Yassouf, carry out
attacks against the village, its residents, and their properties on
a daily basis. He called upon the PA to create committees to guard
the villages and prevent a repetition of similar attacks.


-----------------------------------
Anti-Wall Protests Lead to Injuries
-----------------------------------

In another incident the dailies reported that scores of protestors
were injured, by live ammunition and rubber coated steel bullets,
and suffered severe suffocation during weekly anti-Wall protests in
the villages of Ni'lin and Bil'in.

JERUSALEM 00002267 005 OF 006


--------------
East Jerusalem
--------------

Dailies reported that about 150 peaceful demonstrators marched in
the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem carrying banners
demanding that Israeli settlers leave the neighbourhood and that
Palestinian residents be allowed to return to homes they were forced
to leave by Israeli authorities. Eye-witnesses reported that "the
police arrested around 20 protestors after deploying special masked
units of officers who sprayed gas on the protestors who resisted
arrest."
-----------------------------------------
Municipality's Reaction to Shared Capital
-----------------------------------------

Al Quds front pages that the Jerusalem Municipality will seek to
strengthen its presence and effectiveness in East Jerusalem in the
aftermath of the Swedish initiative proposing Jerusalem as the
capital for the two states. The Municipality's leadership convened
an emergency meeting to develop a plan to counter the EU statement
including doubling efforts to remove Palestinian street vendors,
dispatching more police staff to monitor areas where cars are parked
and allocating additional staff to oversee construction activities.
According to reports by the Israeli weekly newspaper 'Yerushaliym,'
David Hidry, one of the municipality's deputy Mayors, recommended
that the municipality pressure merchants in East Jerusalem to
include on their shop signs in Hebrew.


----------------------
Settlement Moratorium
----------------------

Al Ayyam and Al Hayat Al Jadida front page comments by Beny Begin, a
minister in the Likud ruling party in Israel during a radio
interview that the moratorium was not intended to freeze life in the
settlements but rather to impose some limits on construction in the
West Bank. He stated that "over the next 10 months, an additional
ten thousand settlers will join the current 300,000 settlers living
there now." Mark Regev, spokesperson for the GOI, did not comment
on Begin's statements, responding that the announced freeze of
construction works remained valid. Begin, who represents the
extremist wing of the Likud Party headed by Prime Minister
Netanyahu, is one of the ministerial committee members assigned the
task of overseeing and implementing the decision to freeze
settlement activities.


------------------------
National Reconciliation
------------------------

Al Ayyam front pages a recent press roundtable with Prime Minister
Fayyad in which he said that "the occupation will not end and the
state will not be established as long as we remain in a state of
division." In his opinion, "we have never been closer to the
possibility of agreeing...on what is necessary and important for us
to have a unified Palestinian position as we have done today."
During the meeting Fayyad expressed the belief that "the next few
days will witness the dissipation of all doubts regarding the
Palestinian political regime and its ability to remain and continue
dealing with the current situation."

JERUSALEM 00002267 006 OF 006

RUBINSTEIN

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