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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (02/08): President Abbas Meets

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INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 5032
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4876
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STATE PASS BBG
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
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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 (02/08): President Abbas meets
with several foreign governments to discuss the future of the peace
process

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------Independent daily Al-Quds leads with news on
Palestinian Autority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas' interview with
Der Speigel in which he reiterated that Israel has to stop all
settlement activities and recognize the 1967 borders as the borders
of a Palestinian state. He noted that these are not preconditions,
but rather obligations under the road map.
Abbas is quoted saying that it is not his duty to recognize Israel
as a Jewish state and expressed disappointment that the US retreated
from calling for a full settlement freeze.

The dailies report on President Abbas arriving Tokyo after visiting
Hiroshima yesterday. He will meet with Japanese officials to discuss
the peace process and bilateral relations.

Al-Quds reports that the Jerusalem municipality will implement 40
demolition orders against Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem this
year. The report notes that the Israeli Ministry of Interior has
more than 200 demolition orders against Palestinian houses in East
Jerusalem which will be implemented later.

Independent daily Al-Ayyam reports that Hamas will start making
goodwill gestures towards Fatah in Gaza starting tomorrow.

Al-Quds quotes PLO Executive committee member Ahmad Qurei noting
that he expects the next five years to see continued conflict
between the Palestinians and Israel, noting that Israel will not
recognize the rights of the Palestinians to have an independent
state.

Al-Ayyam reports on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
stating during the weekly cabinet meeting that Israel is willing to
pursue peace talks with the Palestinians and Syria without
preconditions.

The dailies report on PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah
launching the book "We All Have Names, We All Have a Homeland"
written by the national campaign to return Arab and Palestinian
martyrs from Israel.

----------------
Weekend stories:
----------------

Sunday, February 7:

The dailies run front page stories on President Abbas reiterating
yesterday from Cairo that Egypt will remain in charge of Palestinian
national reconciliation, and that he will not agree to transfer
these duties to any other party. When asked about the US proposal
for restarting peace negotiations, Abbas added "we have posed
questions to the US and they will get back to us with responses,
which will be discussed within the joint Arab framework. When we
receive the answers, we will announce our position." Abbas also
noted that he will meet with Khaled Misha'al only after Hamas signs
the reconciliation agreement.

The three dailies also run front page stories on Hatem Abdel Qader,
the PA official responsible for Jerusalem, warning Saturday that
15,000 residents in the Shayyah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem
might have their homes demolished under the pretext of lack of

JERUSALEM 00000226 002 OF 002


building permits. Abdel Qader said during a visit to the
neighbourhood that the Jerusalem Municipality issued more than 100
demolition orders for buildings and houses of 4,000 Palestinians. He
added that Israel is trying to isolate the neighbourhood from the
surrounding Arab areas because of its strategic importance in terms
of the demographic balance.

Al-Quds carries a front page story on Israeli sources confirming
that the US promised Israel it would "bury Goldstone's report at the
UN General Assembly and prevent it from reaching the UN Security
Council." According to the report, Israeli sources revealed this
week a series of meetings between Israel and the US regarding the
best ways to confront the Goldstone report. The report also stated
that the US asked Israel to establish a committee to investigate the
claims and alleviate the siege imposed on Gaza. The Israeli sources
reiterated that the US will not hesitate to use its veto in the
Security Council.

Saturday, FeQuary 6:

The three dailies run front page stories on FatQCentral Committee
member Nabil Shaath leaving Gaza on Friday after conQcting several
political meetings with Palestinian factions. Reports note that
well-informed Palestinian sources expect Hamas to sign the national
reconciliation agreement with the next few days.

The dailies carry separate front page stories on PreQdent Abbas'
meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo to discuss
the latest developments in the Palestinian Territories and the
re-launching of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. Palestinian
Ambassador to Egypt Al Farra said that President Abbas will discuss
the proposals that were put forward by Special Envoy George Mitchell
regarding the resumption of negotiations.
------------
BLOCK QUOTE:
------------
Under the title "Reconciliation Obstacle...Until When?" an editorial
in Al-Quds urges Fatah and Hamas to pursue the national
reconciliation and end the state of division. The author can't find
any justification for both parties to postpone national
reconciliation. The author believes that regardless of the
difference in ideologies between Hamas and Fatah, the plan has to be
signed as soon as possible to end the [Palestinian] people's
sufferings.

RUBINSTEIN

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