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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (01/11): Israelis and Palestinians

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DE RUEHJM #0045/01 0110900
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 110900Z JAN 10
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7221
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 8032
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 5003
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4849
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6337
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4768
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3372

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 000045

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 (01/11): Israelis and Palestinians
trade blame for the failure to resume negotiations

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------
The dailies lead with news on the death of five Palestinians from
Israeli attacks in central Gaza yesterday. The dailies also front
page news on Israeli forces demolishing shelters housing
approximately 150 Palestinians in Tana village near Nablus. A
spokesman for the Israeli authorities said that the 14 shelters were
"illegally constructed structures," adding that they had been built
on a military training ground, "endangering the lives of those
present."

PA official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that Israel is not
taking seriously Senator George Mitchell's statement that the US
could withhold loan guarantees to pressure Israel into making
compromises with the Palestinians.
The coverage quotes Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz saying
"We don't need to use these guarantees ... But several months ago we
agreed with the US Treasury on guarantees for 2010 and 2011, and
there were no conditions." Independent daily Al-Quds reports on
Senator Joe Lieberman saying that Congress will not allow the
Administration to withhold financial assistance to Israel.

Independent daily Al-Ayyam reports on the Palestinian Authority (PA)
Presidency Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeina refusing to accept that
the PA is to blame for obstructing any progress towards the two
state solution, as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated
yesterday. Netanyahu's office issued a statement on Sunday stating
that "Everyone realizes that the Palestinian Authority refuses to
renew peace talks, while Israel took significant steps to advance
the process."

All three dailies report on Berlanty Azzam, the Bethlehem University
student who was removed from the West Bank and returned to Gaza by
the Israeli authorities, receiving her university degree in Gaza.
Bethlehem University Vice President Brother Peter Bray gave Azzam
the certificate in a ceremony held in the Latin Patriarch in Gaza
yesterday.

The local press report on the head of the Hamas political bureau
Khaled Mishal noting that Hamas will submit its response to the
German mediator concerning the prisoner exchange deal in 2-3 days.
Reports note that Netanyahu refuses to release Palestinian prisoners
who are "terrorist figures" as part of the deal.

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

Sunday, January 10:

The three dailies run front page stories on Secretary of State
Clinton's meetings with the Jordanian and Egyptian Foreign Ministers
in Washington. Reports note that Clinton asked President Abbas to
give up his demand for a full cessation of settlement activities as
a condition for resuming negotiations. Chief PA Negotiator Saeb
Erekat said "we highly appreciated President Obama's call, on his
first day in office, to President Abbas. We also highly appreciated
the fact that he appointed Senator George Mitchell as an envoy to
the peace process during his first week in office." However, "it is
very unfortunate that the American administration failed to hold the
Israeli government responsible for obstructing President Obama's
effort to launch a genuine peace process." Palestinian political

JERUSALEM 00000045 002 OF 003


analyst Hani Al Masri said "President Obama started on a very
promising note, but the shock is reflected in the tremendous and
surprising change of position in the first round because he gave in
to the pressures of the Jewish lobby and moved from a position of
promising full cessation of settlement activities to a position
where partial freezing of these activities was considered an
unprecedented step, and ultimately moving towards exerting pressure
on the Palestinians."

In related news, Al-Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida run separate front
page stories on the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Aboul Gheit
saying that "the lack of common ground and the absence of proper
circumstances" make it impossible for PA President Abbas and Israeli
Prime Minister Netanyahu to start direct negotiations right now.

Al-Quds and Al-Ayyam front page news on Prime Minister Netanyahu's
office responding to statements by Special Envoy George Mitchell
that the US could withhold loan guarantees if Israel did not act on
moving negotiations with Palestinians forward. Netanyahu's office
said that "Israel, as well known to everyone, has taken significant
steps to move the peace process forward, while the Palestinian side
continues to refuse the resumption of negotiations."

Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida run front page stories on the
Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights reporting that more
than 125,000 Jerusalemites risk losing their residency rights in
Jerusalem because of the wall built around Jerusalem, rather than
50,000 as reported by the Jerusalem Municipality.

Saturday, January 9:

The dailies lead with stories on Special Envoy George Mitchell
stating that the US could withhold loan guarantees to Israel if the
latter did not take steps to move the peace process forward.
Mitchell added that the US will use incentives or sanctions with the
Israelis and the Palestinians alike in order to push the peace
process forward. Despite that, Mitchell said, a "slight progress"
has been achieved recently towards resuming peace negotiations and
the US will continue its efforts to achieve further progress.

Al-Quds and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida carry front page news on Israeli
sources revealing a plan to build a new settlement in the Ras Al
Amoud area in Jerusalem consisting of 100 units over an area of 11
dunnums. In related news, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak gave
settlement councils the power to approve any additions or changes to
existing buildings that do not entail building new residential
units.

The three dailies front page news on Israeli government sources
saying that Prime Minister Netanyahu's hardened position on the
prisoner exchange deal might force Hamas to close the door on this
subject. An Israeli official said that as the German mediator
resumed his efforts between Israel and Hamas after the Christmas
holidays, Netanyahu did not give him any room to negotiate. News
reports mentioned that Hamas rejected the most recent Israeli
offer.

Al-Ayyam front pages a story citing the Israeli newspaper Haaretz
reporting that the US might explore the possibility of launching
indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority
because President Abbas continues to refuse direct negotiations. The
newspaper added that according to this plan, Special Envoy George
Mitchell and his team will meet separately with both parties and

JERUSALEM 00000045 003 OF 003


present the position of each party to the other in an attempt to
bridge the gap between them. The report added that this is the same
unsuccessful approach used by Presidents Bush and Clinton in the
Israeli-Syrian negotiations.
------------
BLOCK QUOTE:
------------Abdel Rahim Malouh, Vice Chairman of the Popular
Front for Liberation of Palestine, writing in Al-Quds under the
title "We Need to Abide by International Rules and Resolutions,"
opines that President Obama must stick to his earlier position
ion
regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that both sides must
abide by international laws and resolutions ... Malouh believes that
Obama is very much like former US President Bush, as they both
defend the interests of Israel. Malouh concludes that neither the
Palestinian leadership nor the Palestinian people are responsible
for the stalemate in negotiations.


RUBINSTEIN

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