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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01BEIRUT1935 2001-08-06 15:06:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Beirut
Cable title:  

ANTI-ISRAELI AND ANTI-U.S. RHETORIC ON THE

Tags:   PGOV PREL KPAL PTER IS SY LE 
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P 061506Z AUG 01
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7141
ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 001935 

PARIS FOR OFRIEL, LONDON FOR GOLDRICH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/03/11
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPAL PTER IS SY LE
SUBJECT: ANTI-ISRAELI AND ANTI-U.S. RHETORIC ON THE
RISE

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE DAVID HALE. REASON 1.5 B&D



1. (C) SUMMARY. LAST WEEK'S UPSURGE IN VIOLENCE IN
ISRAEL DREW WIDESPREAD CONDEMNATION FROM GOL
OFFICIALS, THE MEDIA, HIZBALLAH, AND MUSLIM LEADERS.
THE JULY 31 ATTACK AT NABLUS INTENSIFIED ANTI-ISRAELI
RHETORIC, WHILE SPARKING CRITICISM OF THE U.S.
HIZBALLAH CONDEMNED THE ISRAELI ATTACKS AND CALLED
UPON ARAB STATES TO USE ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL
PRESSURE TO FORCE THE U.S. TO CHANGE ITS REGIONAL
POLICY. LEBANON'S MOST PROMINENT SUNNI RELIGIOUS
LEADER CALLED UPON THE ISLAMIC WORLD TO SUPPORT THE
PALESTINIANS WHILE WAGING JIHAD TO PROTECT THE HOLY
SITES IN JERUSALEM. FORCED TO WATCH THE INTIFADA FROM
THE SIDELINES, LEBANON'S PALESTINIANS VENTED THEIR
FRUSTRATIONS THOUGH A WEEK-LONG SERIES OF MARCHES AND
RALLIES IN REFUGEE CAMPS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THE AL-
AQSA MARTYRS BRIGADE, A RADICAL OFFSHOOT OF FATAH,
WARNED OF ATTACKS AGAINST ISRAELI AND U.S. TARGETS.
END SUMMARY.



2. (C) GOVERNMENT SPEAKS UP. KNOWN FOR EXPRESSING
ONLY THE MOST PERFUNCTORY SUPPORT FOR THE PALESTINIAN
CAUSE, THE LEBANESE GOVERNMENT FELT COMPELLED TO SPEAK
OUT AFTER LAST WEEK'S VIOLENCE IN JERUSALEM, THE WEST
BANK, AND GAZA. IN WHAT WAS FOR HIM A RARE PUBLIC
EXPRESSION ON THE MATTER, PM HARIRI KICKED OFF THE
WAVE OF GOL CRITICISM, CALLING ISRAEL'S JULY 29
"ASSAULT" ON THE AL-AQSA MOSQUE "AN ATTEMPT TO EXPUNGE
THE ARAB AND ISLAMIC IDENTITY" FROM THE SITE.
RETURNING TO A MORE MUTED TONE, PM HARIRI RESPONDED TO
THE JULY 31 ATTACK IN NABLUS BY WARNING, "THE FLOW OF
BLOOD IS ABOUT TO THREATEN THE WHOLE REGION," AND
CALLED ON THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO STOP THE
MASSACRE OF PALESTINIANS.



3. (U) SPEAKER/AMAL LEADER NABIH BERRI DELIVERED A
HARSHER DENUNCIATION, CALLING THE ISRAELI ACTION "THE
HIGHEST LEVEL OF STATE TERRORISM." SEEKING TO BOLSTER
AMALQS POSITION IN THE UPCOMING MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS IN
THE SOUTH, BERRI TOOK A SWIPE AT THE U.S., POINTEDLY
NOTING THAT THE ISRAELIS "USED THE MOST SOPHISTICATED
AMERICAN WEAPONS." ALONE OF THE TROIKA, PRESIDENT
LAHOUD MADE NO COMMENT ON THE NABLUS ATTACK.



4. (U) HIZBALLAH LASHES OUT AT U.S. HIZBALLAH
RESPONDED TO THE UPSURGE IN VIOLENCE WITH A VOLLEY OF
SUPPORT FOR THE PALESTINIANS. CALLING THE DEFENSE OF
JERUSALEM "A SACRED RESPONSIBILITY OF EVERY MUSLIM AND
ARAB," HIZBALLAH ARRANGED MARCHES AND PROTESTS ALONG
THE LEBANON-ISRAEL BORDER TO PRESS THEIR PONT HOME.
AFTER THE NABLUS KILLINGS, HOWEVER, HIZBALLAH LAUNCHED
A FIERY ASSAULT AGAINST THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION,
CLAIMING IT BEARS "DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY" FOR THE
KILLINGS "THROUGH THE SUPPORT IT EXTENDS TO THE
ZIONIST ENTITY, AND THE JUSTIFICATION IT PROVIDES FOR
THEIR CRIMES." ALTHOUGH ACKNOWLEDGING SECRETARY
POWELL'S CRITICISM OF ISRAEL'S POLICY OF TARGETED
KILLINGS, SHIA CLERIC HUSAYN FADLALLAH IMPLIED THAT
U.S. CONCERN WAS NOT GENUINE BECAUSE "U.S. VICE
PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY DESCRIBED THE MASSACRES AS SELF
DEFENSE BY THE ISRAELIS... AND PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH
CALLED FOR SELF-RESTRAINT AS IF THE PALESTINIANS WERE
EQUALLY THE SOURCE OF THE VIOLENCE." REITERATING HIS
CALL FOR AN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT ON THE U.S., FADLALLAH
ALSO CALLED UPON THE ARABS TO "EXERT PRSSURE ON
AMERICAN TROOPS IN THE GULF TO MAKE WASHINGTON
CONCERNED ABOUT ITS POLICIES AND INTERESTS IN THE ARAB
AND MUSLIM WORLDS."



5. (U) PUNDITS ALSO BLAME US, EXPECT WIDER CONFLICT.
CRITICIZING THE NABLUS ATTACK AS A "BLOODY MASSACRE"
MANY LEBANESE NEWSPAPERS CARRIED GRUESOME CLOSE-UP
PHOTOS OF THE CHILDREN KILLED IN THE ISRAELI
OPERATION. ALTHOUGH THE SECRETARY'S CRITICISM OF THE
ATTACK DREW FRONT-PAGE COVERAGE, EDITORIALISTS TENDED
TO BLAME THE U.S. FOR WHAT THEY SEE AS A WORSENING
CRISIS. IN AN EDITORIAL ENTITLED, "THE REGION IS
ABOUT TO EXPLODE" PRO-LAHOUD DAILY, AL-BAYRAQ WROTE,
"SHARON WILL BE SATISFIED WITH HIS JOB AS LONG AS HE
RECEIVES AMERICAQS BLESSING... THE ATMOSPHERE OF WAR
IS GETTING HEAVIER AND... SHARON IS PUSHING THE REGION
TOWARDS THE ABYSS... HOWEVER, ONLY WASHINGTON IS
RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS SITUATION."



6. (U) SUNNIS JOIN THE FRAY. AS THE WEEK DREW TO A
CLOSE, THE HIGHEST-RANKING SUNNI FIGURE IN LEBANON,
GRAND MUFTI SHAYKH MOHAMED RASHID QABBANI, ADDRESSED A
GROUP OF 500 DEMONSTRATORS TO GARNER SUPPORT FOR THE
PALESTINIANS. DEPICTING THE CURRENT VIOLENCE AS A
FIGHT FOR CONTROL OF MUSLIM SITES, QABBANI CALLED UPON
ALL MUSLIMS TO JOIN THE JIHAD AGAINST ISRAEL BECAUSE
IT "INTENDS TO DESTROY THE AL-AQSA MOSQUE IN ORDER TO
BUILD ITS ALLEGED TEMPLE ON TOP OF IT." QABBANI
PROMISED THAT "WHEN THE TIME COMES, WE WILL JOIN YOU
IN UPROOTING THE ISRAELI STATE. WHEN THAT DAY COMES,
NEITHER THEIR HELICOPTERS, NOR THEIR FLEETS NOR
SUPPORTING POWERS WILL BE ABLE TO SAVE THEM."



7. (U) PALESTINIAN PROTESTS. PALESTINIANS IN LEBANON
STAGED A SERIES OF PROTESTS AND SIT-INS THROUGHOUT THE
WEEK. THE OCCUPANTS OF THE AYN AL-HELWEH CAMP STAGED
THE LARGEST DEMONSTRATION ON AUGUST 1, WITH NEARLY
5,000 REFUGEES -- SOME 100 OF THEM REPORTEDLY ARMED --
TAKING TO THE STREETS OF THE CAMP. THEY CHANTED DEATH
THREATS TO SHARON, BURNT ISRAELI AND AMERICAN FLAGS,
AND CARRIED BANNERS THREATENING TO "LIQUIDATE"
PALESTINIAN COLLABORATORS. SMALLER DEMONSTRATIONS
WERE HELD IN SHATILA, BADDAWI AND RASHIDIYEH CAMPS,
WHERE PROTESTORS CALLED FOR AN ESCALATION OF THE
INTIFADA AND DEMANDED THAT THE ARAB STATES FULFILL
THEIR COMMITMENTS TO THE PALESTINIANS.



8. (U) RADICALS THREATEN THE U.S. THE AL-AQSA MARTYRS
BRIGADE, A RADICAL OFF-SHOOT OF FATAH, DELIVERED A
LETTER TO THE AFP OFFICES IN BEIRUT ON AUGUST 1
CLAIMING THEIR "FIGHTERS' WEAPONS WOULD BE POINTED
TOWARDS TARGETS INSIDE THE ZIONIST ENTITY AND IN ALL
PLACES WHERE ITS AMERICAN ALLIES ARE." THE GROUP
PROMISED TO INFLICT A "BLOODY INTERNATIONAL PUNISHMENT
ON PRESIDENT BUSH'S ZIONIST CLIQUE TO MAKE IT PAY FOR
ITS SUPPORT TO SHARON."



9. (C) COMMENT: WHILE SUPPORT FOR THE PALESTINIANS
REMAINS (AT BEST) LETHARGIC IN LEBANON, PUBLIC
SYMPATHY FOR THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE IS ON THE RISE
GIVEN THE PAST WEEK'S ENDLESS STREAMS OF MEDIA
COVERAGE DEPICTING THE VICTIMS OF ISRAELI ROCKET, TANK
AND SHOOTING ATTACKS. CONFLICT AT AL-AQSA ALSO HITS A
POPULAR CHORD IN THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY, RALLYING
POLITICIANS AND RELIGIOUS FIGURES TO TAKE A STRONG
PUBLIC STAND -- OR RISK BEING LEFT BEHIND.


HALE