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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (01/25): Local Press Report That

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O 250809Z JAN 10
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7369
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE 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 8064
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 5019
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4863
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6351
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4782
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3386

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

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

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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS

SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (01/25): Local press report that
no progress was made during Special Envoy Mitchell's visit

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------The dailies lead with news on Special Envoy George
Mitchell's meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud
Abbas in Amman yesterday. The headlines announce that nothing new
came out of the meeting. Independent daily Al-Quds' headline reads
that the PA refuses to resume negotiations without clear terms of
reference and without a full cessation of settlement activity. PA
official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that Mitchell reaffirmed
the US commitment to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East,
including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. The
PA President's Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh noted that it is too
early to talk about a breakthrough in the resumption of
negotiations.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that King Abdullah of Jordan met with
Special Envoy Mitchell yesterday and reiterated the importance of
continuing US efforts to resume peace talks between the Israelis and
the Palestinians.

The dailies report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
stated that the big settlements in the West Bank are an integral
part of Israel and will remain there forever.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front pages news that the Arab Information
Ministers said that the draft Congressional legislation to impose
sanctions on Arab satellite channels that promote incitement an
intrusion on the internal affairs of the Arab states. Additionally,
they called on the US to differentiate between incitement and the
right of the Palestinian people to defend their rights.

The dailies report on Hamas member Aziz Dweik announcing that the
PLC will continue working as usual despite the January 24 deadline
by which elections were supposed to be held. Dweik called for a
meeting of all PLC members and asked the President's office to
"facilitate the meeting in an effort toward national reconciliation
and creating a unified front against Israel."

The dailies report that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak criticized
Hamas yesterday regarding its position on the steel wall. Mubarak
accused Hamas of creating chaos on the Egyptian border and stressed
that Egypt has sovereignty over its land.

Al-Quds front pages a report that there is a serious crisis in
Israeli-Jordanian relations because of Israeli construction works in
Jerusalem. Al-Quds also runs news citing an Israeli source saying
that one of Netanyahu's aids visited Jordan twice this month and
conveyed messages that Israel wants Jordan to play a key role in
ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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

Sunday, January 24:

Al-Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida run front page stories on President
Abbas' meeting today in Amman with the Special Envoy Mitchell.
Reports cite Israeli government officials saying that President
Obama will continue his efforts to achieve progress in the peace
process, but at a different pace after admitting his mistaken
assessment of the level of Israeli and Palestinian's readiness to
return to negotiations. Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said that

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Israel is imposing pre-conditions on the resumption of negotiations
and is imposing the reality of a one state solution or the
bi-national state. The reports also note that Israeli sources claim
that Egypt is playing a negative role to prevent the resumption of
peace negotiations.

Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida run front page stories on Nabil Abu
Rudeineh, the Spokesperson for the Office of the President, calling
on Hamas to sign the Egyptian national reconciliation plan to allow
the conducting of general presidential and legislative elections.
Abu Rudeineh added "There is an important and maybe a last chance if
Hamas signs the Egyptian document to allow the conducting of
elections in June, thus allowing all matters to be addressed through
these elections."

The local press report on US National Security Council Spokesperson
Mike Hammer stating that the US is ready to provide security
assurances and guarantees to the Palestinians and Israelis if an
agreement is reached, stressing Washington's commitment to the peace
process. Hammer added, in an interview with the London-based Al
Sharq Al Awsat newspaper, "We hope to play the role of the fair
broker. We talk to the Israelis and the PA and they should know that
it's in their interest to get back to the negotiations and that
their security needs will be realized through the reaching of an
agreement. In this context, the US is ready to provide some
guarantees to reassure the parties that the agreement will hold and
that they can be confident that they will be in a better situation
as a result of the agreement."

Al-Quds front pages a story on Israeli MK Yisrael Hasson from
Kadima, an ex-senior official in the Israeli Shabak who took part in
the negotiations with the Palestinian side in the past, saying that
the question of Jerusalem should be resolved on the basis of
partnership without dividing up the city. Hasson also said that the
Palestinian leadership should have the courage to tell its people
that the historic agreement with Israel, once reached, will not
realize the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Saturday, January 23:

The three dailies lead with stories on Friday's meeting between
President Abbas and Special Envoy George Mitchell. Reports note that
the meeting ended with disagreements between the Palestinian and
American views, thus deepening an atmosphere of pessimism regarding
the possibility of resuming negotiations. The Spokesperson for the
Office of the President Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that Mitchell's
latest round in the region, despite its importance, has not achieved
a breakthrough as no agreement was reached to resume negotiations.

The three dailies also front page stories on a large demonstration
that took place in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem
on Friday by Palestinians, foreign solidarity activists, and members
of Israeli left wing movements protesting settlement activities and
house evictions. Israeli forces sealed off the entrances to the
neighbourhood and deployed hundreds of Israeli soldiers, police
forces, and special units preventing the protestors from reaching
the settlement outposts and the houses that were seized in the
neighbourhood. The Israeli forces arrested 13 protestors. A similar
demonstration took place in the Al Bustan neighbourhood in Silwan to
protest Israeli plans to demolish 88 houses there.

Al-Quds runs a front page story citing the Israeli army radio
station reporting that settlement activities continue in Kiryat

JERUSALEM 00000141 003 OF 003


Nataveem near Nablus despite the decision to temporarily freeze
settlement activities in the West Bank for ten months.
------------
BLOCK QUOTE:
------------
Talal Okal, writing in Al-Ayyam under the title "The US Reverse Will
Jeopardize the Whole Region" opines that in light of the
deteriorating US role in the Middle East peace process and the lack
of any other key player like the EU or UN, Israel will become
stronger and will implement harsher policies on the ground.
RUBINSTEIN

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