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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (12/28): The Pa Continues To

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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4983
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4833
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6321
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STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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LONDON FOR HKANONA AND POL - TSOU
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
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SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (12/28): The PA continues to
condemn the killing of three Palestinians by Israeli forces in
Nablus

------------
Main Stories:
-------------
The three dailies lead with stories on the activities in the West
Bank and Gaza to commemorate the first anniversary of the Gaza war.
President Abbas reiterated that the PA will pursue "war criminals
and bring them to justice" and called on the Palestinian factions to
end the state of division and achieve national unity.

The local press continues to report on the Palestinian Authority
(PA) condemnation of the Israeli attack against Palestinians in
Nablus on Saturday. PA Presidency Secretary General Tayyeb Abdel
Rahim gave condolences to the families of the Palestinians who were
killed on behalf of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Independent daily
Al-Ayyam front pages news on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu congratulating his army for the operation in Nablus during
the ministerial cabinet meetiQyesterday. Citing an Israeli source,
Al-Ayyam and PA official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida report that
Washington is asking for more information from the Israeli
government regarding the incident.

The local press publishes contradictory reports regarding the
prisoner exchange deal. While independent daily Al-Quds quotes Prime
Minister Netanyahu saying that an agreement is still a long way off,
Al-Ayyam reports on Hamas and Egypt saying that 90% of the
disagreements over the deal have been resolved and that it is almost
complete. Israeli Radio reported on Egyptian Foreign Ministry
Spokesman Husam Zaki saying yesterday that Hamas agreed to the
expulsion of some of the released prisoners.

Citing Israeli TV Channel 10, the dailies report that the Israeli
Housing Ministry issued new construction tenders yesterday to build
692 housing units in Jerusalem settlements.

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

Sunday, December 27:

The three dailies lead with stories on Israeli forces killing six
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Saturday. The Israeli forces
killed three Fatah activists who were suspected of killing a settler
on Thursday. The men were unarmed and killed in front of their
families in their homes in Nablus, according to reports. A family
member of one of the targets was also killed by a fire that ignited
after shots were fired. The three Palestinians killed in Gaza were
workers collecting trash near the border fence. Nabil Abu Rudeineh,
Spokesperson for the PA Office of the President said in a press
release, "The Israeli escalation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and
Israel's return to the policies of assassinations and random
killings under lame excuses reveals that the occupation's government
has decided to destroy the security and stability of the Palestinian
people. Israel wants to drag our people into a cycle of violence to
avoid political pressures and obligations." Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad condemned the operation, calling it a grave escalation that
must be seen in the context of attempts to undermine the state of
security and stability that the PA was able to achieve. Prime
Minister Fayyad called for avoiding being dragged into a cycle of
violence and chaos.

Al-Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida run front page stories on

JERUSALEM 00002319 002 OF 003


confrontations that broke out Saturday morning in the East Jerusalem
neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah when settlers attacked the residents.
Eye-witnesses said that scores of settlers threw stones at the
families and beat a French solidarity activist on the head with
sticks, causing serious injuries. Three members of one family were
also injured by the settlers. Resident Amal Al Qassem said that the
Israeli police allowed the settlers to escape instead of arresting
them. Al Qassem added "All the settlers' attacks are carried out
under the protection of the Israeli police forces. Anyone from the
neighbourhood who complains is taken away and interrogated by the
police."

Al-Ayyam runs a front page story quoting well-informed sources
saying that contrary to reports, Hamas leader Dr. Mahmoud Az Zahhar
did not leave Gaza until Saturday, which some say signifies Hamas'
dissatisfaction with Israel's most recent proposal regarding the
prisoners' exchange deal. According to the sources, the recent
Israeli proposal included an approval to release 438 prisoners from
the list of 450 prisoners put forward by Hamas. The Israeli
government continues to have reservations about the release of 12
prisoners, including leaders from Fatah, Hamas and the Palestinian
Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front page news on Arab League
Secretary General Amr Moussa saying, in the first clear and public
criticism of Hamas since the 2007 coup, that Hamas must sign the
reconciliation agreement without any further delay since Fatah has
already signed it. While calling for accelerating the reconciliation
process and refraining from providing any excuses to delay it,
Moussa said "The Palestinian division has served a severe blow to
the Palestinian cause and we don't want the blow to be fatal." Hamas
spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri accused Moussa of "shunning his
responsibilities by making such statements," reiterating that Hamas
will not give in to any pressures or blackmailing attempts to change
its position.

Saturday, December 26:

The three dailies lead with stories quoting Izzat Risheq, a member
of the Hamas political bureau, confirming that Hamas will deliberate
the Israeli response regarding the prisoners' exchange deal in a
two-day meeting in Damascus before delivering its final response
through the German mediator. Khaled Abdel Majeed, the secretary
general of the coalition of Palestinian factions in Damascus stated
that the disagreement revolves around Israel's refusal to release
nine leaders who are serving long sentences and the Israeli
government's insistence to expel 123 prisoners, including 90 to the
Gaza Strip, 20 to Qatar, and 13 to other countries.

The three dailies also run front page stories on hundreds of
Palestinian, Israeli, and foreign solidarity activists participating
in a demonstration against settlement activities in Jerusalem.
Israeli police arrested eight Palestinians and peace activists while
soldiers and police forces attacked the protestors with clubs.

Al-Quds runs a front page story on Fatah Central Committee member
Azzam Al Ahmad saying that Fatah will not accept any attempt to
amend the national reconciliation document that was signed by Fatah.
Al Ahmad called on Hamas to sign the document as is and stressed
that they will not withdraw from the national dialogue unless Egypt
declares a new position in this regard. Al Ahmad added that Fatah
signed the paper, despite having comments and reservations and

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despite the tremendous pressure exerted by the US and some Arab
countries against signing it.

Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida carry front page stories on Hamas
criticizing Egypt's placement of underground metal barriers along
the Egyptian-Gaza border to prevent smuggling into Gaza through the
tunnels. During a rally held in Gaza, Hamas leader Hamad Raqab told
protestors "we expected the Egyptian army to support us, but
unfortunately, the steel moved towards Gaza to strangulate it, to
break it. But Gaza will not be broken." Meanwhile, Egyptian Minister
of Foreign Affairs Aboul Gheit denied media reports that Egypt will
stop the construction. Gheit said in a press release that "Egypt is
not ready to stop protecting its people and borders."

------------
BLOCK QUOTE:
------------
Al-Quds runs an editorial under the title "Without Conscious" that
criticizes the international community for not showing any sympathy
towards the crisis that resulted in Gaza after the war. The
editorial blames the Europeans and Americans for not doing anything
to punish Israel for its crimes against the people in Gaza while at
the same time promoting human rights and justice. The writer
concludes that the Western countries have to bear the responsibility
for the continued suffering of the people of Gaza.

RUBINSTEIN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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