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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06JERUSALEM723 2006-02-17 11:22:00 UNCLASSIFIED Consulate Jerusalem
Cable title:  

JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (2/17): HAMAS IN A NEW

Tags:   PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS 
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O 171122Z FEB 06
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0446
WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
WHITE HOUSE NSC
SECDEF WASHDC
DIA WASHDC
CIA WASHDC
DA WASHINGTON DC//DAS-ZD/DACS-ZK//
CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
CMC WASHINGTON DC
CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY TUNIS 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
					  UNCLAS  JERUSALEM 000723 


STATE PASS BBG
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR ABRAMS
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 (2/17): HAMAS IN A NEW
PALESTINIAN GOVERNMENT

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MAIN STORIES
------------

The top story in the main three Palestinian dailies
concerned Israel's threat to impose strict economic
sanctions on Palestinians and their Hamas-led government.
Reports noted that Acting Israeli Prime Minister Olmert is
expected to decide Friday exactly which steps Israel will
take in response to Hamas's rise to power within the
Palestinian Authority (PA). One such measure would involve
freezing the transfer of tax revenues which Israel collects
for the PA.

Al-Quds also reported on its front page that the U.S. Senate
issued a decision to halt direct U.S. aid to the PA if it is
controlled by a Hamas-led government that continues to call
for the destruction of Israel. The report added the Bush
administration is currently re-assessing its aid programs to
Palestinians in light of Hamas's electoral victory.

All dailies reported that Hamas is in the process of
choosing its representatives to the new government, and has
not yet made any final decisions. Hamas leader Isma'il
Haniyeh denied rumors that he had been nominated as prime
minister, and said that "such an important position requires
consultations between leaders in the Palestinian
Territories, in prisons, and in exile." Haniyeh added that
an official decision will be made public once it is reached.
The papers also reported that a Hamas delegation is
currently visiting Ankara, but noted that according to a
Turkish press official, Turkish Prime Minister Ordogan is
not expected to meet with the delegation.

Pro-Hamas weekly Al-Risala gave top billing to news that
Hamas will refuse to recognize the Roadmap and insist on a
fully sovereign Palestinian state. The weekly quoted
Hamas's media spokesperson Salah Bardawil as saying that
Hamas has nominated Dr. Aziz Dweik from the West Bank to be
the next PLC speaker. According to Al-Risala, dozens of
Fatah-affiliated armed groups were enlisted to join the
Palestinian security forces.

Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida front-paged photos of PA
President Abbas in Ramallah during his meeting with EU
Foreign Policy Coordinator Solana. Solana was quoted as
saying that Europe will continue to support the Palestinian
economy but will not make any contact with Hamas.

Al-Ayyam reported that two U.S. officials -- Assistant
Secretary of State David Welch and Deputy National Security
Advisor Elliott Abrams -- will visit the area next week for
discussions with Palestinian and Israeli officials on the
next steps involved in dealing with the "new reality" of a
Hamas-led government.

------------
BLOCK QUOTES
------------



1. Columnist Samih Shbeib commented in independent Al-Ayyam
under the headline, "Following the Formation of the
[Palestinian] Legislative [Council]" (2/17): "Israel and the
United States do not view Hamas as a political party capable
of standing up to recent Middle East developments, and
according to the American vision, which is more serious, the
threat posed by Hamas's ascendance lies in its ability to
form part of an extremely dangerous axis [consisting] of
Iran, Iraqi Shi'ites, Syria, Hizbullah in Lebanon, and Hamas
in Palestine. This axis in particular, according to Israeli
and American views, quickly formed following Hamas's
electoral victory. Perhaps the most obvious sign of this
recent development, is Moscow's invitation to Hamas, the
Iranian position on uranium enrichment, Damascus's
invitation to [Shi'ite leader] Imam Sadr, and the
unprecedented events in Lebanon, which might all lead to
bloody clashes. The U.S.-supported Israeli position toward
Hamas...demonstrates Israel's exceptional obstinacy with
regard to the Palestinian situation in general."



2. Lawyer Ibrahim Sha'ban opined in independent Al-Quds
under the headline, "No Peace Partner on the Israeli Side"
(2/17): "Israeli greed has expanded to include even more
Palestinian land on the pretense that there is no
Palestinian partner. Now, it [Israel] will begin a new
phase of coercion, especially since it is not required to do
anything, whereas Hamas is. [As a matter of fact,] Israel
is obliged to do many things, including the recognition of
the Palestinian right to self determination, the release of
Palestinian prisoners, and the implementation of the Fourth
Geneva Convention."



3. Palestinian writer and researcher Ibrahim Abul Heija
wrote in the pro-Hamas weekly Al-Risala under the headline,
"Abu Mazen [PA President Abbas] and the Harvest of a One
Year Term" (2/16): "To understand the American relationship
with Abbas during his term, we recall the warm [American]
bond with the honest peace care-taker Abbas following the
discharging of the `maneuvering and deceptive Arafat,' as
the United States described him. According to Bush, Abbas
is the man who owns his people's will and is the source of
inspiration for its leaders. From another more formal
perspective, we noticed during Abbas's term that financial
support was mostly directed to the development of the
Palestinian security structure, which pours into Israel's
goal to strike the Palestinian resistance, and partly to fix
the infrastructure that the Israeli occupation has
destroyed. From a political standpoint, however, we sense a
contradiction...when the United States adopts the Roadmap
and eventually surrenders to the Bush-Sharon deal -- which
basically buried the Roadmap, except for some parts whereby
Palestinians have to provide protection for Israeli
security.... For his part, Bush has obviously disregarded
the right of return of Palestinian refugees, supports the
wall and the existence of major Israeli settlement blocs,
and does not advocate for a return to 1947 borders. In
return, Abbas did not get more than a few million dollars
from the United States, and his visits to Washington
remained formal. Moreover, he was denied verbal or official
promises by the U.S. administration as clarification to
those given to Sharon."


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