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02AMMAN3461 2002-06-26 09:33:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

JORDAN MEDIA REACTION ON PRESIDENT'S MIDDLE

Tags:   KMDR JO 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  					
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 AMMAN 003461

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ARN, NEA/PA, NEA/AIA, INR/NESA, R/MR,
I/GNEA, B/BXN, B/BRN, NEA/PPD
USAID/ANE/MEA
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH
PARIS FOR O'FRIEL
USCINCCENT/CCPA, USCENTCOM REAR MACDILL AFB FL
NICOSIA FOR ILMG
STATE PASS TO AID

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KMDR JO
SUBJECT: JORDAN MEDIA REACTION ON PRESIDENT'S MIDDLE
EAST SPEECH, AMERICAN PRODUCTS BOYCOTT RALLY.

SUMMARY. NEWS REPORTS ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S MIDDLE
EAST SPEECH VARIED WIDELY IN THE JORDANIAN PRESS.
WHILE SEMI-OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI
AND ITS SISTER NEWSPAPER CENTRIST, INFLUENTIAL AMONG
THE ELITE ENGLISH DAILY JORDAN TIMES PRAISED IT AS
BEING COMPATIBLE WITH JORDAN'S VISION, THE CENTER-LEFT,
INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-DUSTOUR REPORTED
"INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM" AND LOCAL REJECTION OF THE
SPEECH. THE INDEPENDENT, MASS-APPEAL ARABIC DAILY AL-
ARAB AL-YAWM ONLY REPORTED BARE BONES COVERAGE OF THE
GOJ STATEMENT WELCOMING THE SPEECH. EDITORIAL
COMMENTARIES ALSO REFLECTED CONTRASTING VIEWS ABOUT THE
PRESIDENT'S SPEECH, FROM COMMENTS LIKE "THE WAY
FORWARD" IN THE JORDAN TIMES AND "BUSH'S VIEWS MEET THE
JORDANIAN VISION" IN AL-RAI, TO "BUSH ACTS AS
LIEUTENANT FOR SHARON" IN AL-DUSTOUR. INDIVIDUAL
COMMENTATORS WERE LARGELY CRITICAL OF THE SPEECH.
DAILIES ALSO VARIED IN THEIR COVERAGE OF THE
CANCELLATION OF A RALLY FOR THE BOYCOTT OF AMERICAN
PRODUCTS ORGANIZED BY THE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS,
WHICH WAS PLANNED TO TAKE PLACE YESTERDAY. END
SUMMARY.

NEWS REPORTS:

JORDANIAN DAILIES ON JUNE 26 WERE DOMINATED BY
REACTIONS TO PRESIDENT BUSH'S SPEECH ON THE MIDDLE
EAST. THERE WAS AN UNUSUALLY LARGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
THE TONE ADOPTED BY SEMI-OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC
DAILY AL-RAI AND ITS SISTER NEWSPAPER CENTRIST,
INFLUENTIAL AMONG THE ELITE ENGLISH DAILY JORDAN TIMES
ON ONE HAND, AND THAT OF CENTER-LEFT, INFLUENTIAL
ARABIC DAILY AL-DUSTOUR AND INDEPENDENT, MASS-APPEAL
ARABIC DAILY AL-ARAB AL-YAWM ON THE OTHER.

AL-RAI AND THE JORDAN TIMES LED WITH THE HEADLINE:
"JORDAN WELCOMES BUSH'S SPEECH AND CONSIDERS IT A
POSITIVE STEP TOWARDS CREATING A PALESTINIAN STATE." A
SECOND FRONT-PAGE STORY IN BOTH NEWSPAPERS ANNOUNCED:
"BUSH'S SPEECH WELCOMED IN THE ARAB WORLD AND
INTERNATIONALLY, BUT CAUSED DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE
PALESTINIAN STREET." THE LEAD STORY IN BOTH NEWSPAPERS
QUOTED THE STATEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF JORDAN, WHICH
SAID THAT: "THE SPEECH WAS COMPATIBLE WITH THE
JORDANIAN POSITION THAT CALLS FOR DEFINING THE OVERALL
FRAMEWORK FOR THE SOLUTION AND A TIME FRAME FOR
REVIVING THE PEACE PROCESS."

AL-DUSTOUR, ON THE OTHER HAND, LED WITH THE HEADLINE:
"INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM OF BUSH'S CALL FOR REPLACING
ARAFAT" ON TOP OF A PHOTO OF A MUTILATED BODY OF A
"MARTYR" KILLED IN HEBRON YESTERDAY. IN A RARE MOVE BY
THE JORDANIAN MEDIA, AL-DUSTOUR RELEGATED THE
GOVERNMENT'S STATEMENT TO A SECONDARY HEADLINE IN THE
THIRD STORY ON THE FRONT PAGE, WITH THE MAIN HEADLINE
OF THE STORY QUOTING THE FOREIGN MINISTER AS SAYING:
"BUSH'S SPEECH GOES BEYOND ISRAEL'S REQUEST FOR PHASED
SOLUTIONS."

THE CANCELLATION OF THE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS'
RALLY FOR BOYCOTTING AMERICAN PRODUCTS, PLANNED FOR
YESTERDAY, WAS TREATED WITH EQUALLY DISSIMILAR
COVERAGE. AL-RAI IGNORED THE EVENT COMPLETELY, AL-
DUSTOUR SAID IN A BRIEF REPORT THAT THE RALLY WAS
CANCELLED, AND AL-ARAB AL-YAWM REPORTED ON THE FRONT
PAGE THAT: "SECURITY AGENCIES PREVENTED THE
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS FROM HOLDING THE RALLY FOR
THE BOYCOTT OF AMERICAN PRODUCTS."

EDITORIAL COMMENTARIES:

-- BUSH'S IDEAS MEET WITH THE JORDANIAN VISION FOR A
SOLUTION TO THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT.
THE LEADING COMMENTARY IN SEMI-OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL
ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI ON JUNE 26 SAID: "THE JORDANIAN
WELCOME OF THE SPEECH CAME IN REACTION TO THE U.S.
PRESIDENT'S COMMITMENT TO CONTINUE PLAYING A ROLE,
SOMETHING THAT HIS MAJESTY KING ABDULLAH STRESSED ON
MORE THAN ONE OCCASION IN THE U.S. THE PRESIDENT ALSO
AFFIRMED THE PALESTINIANS' RIGHT TO AN INDEPENDENT
STATE IN WHICH THEY WOULD EXERCISE THEIR RIGHT TO SELF-
DETERMINATION. ONE SHOULD ALSO REMEMBER THAT JORDAN,
DURING THE PAST TWO YEARS, CALLED SETTING A TIME-FRAME
FOR ENDING THE OCCUPATION, AND HERE CAME THE
PRESIDENT'S SPEECH TO SET A THREE-YEAR DEADLINE FOR THE
END OF THE OCCUPATION, THEREBY CONFIRMING THE
CORRECTNESS OF JORDAN'S VISION."

-- BUSH'S SPEECH, A STEP BACKWARDS
MOST WIDELY-READ DAILY COLUMNIST FAHED AL-FANEK WROTE
IN SEMI-OFFICIAL INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI ON
JUNE 26: "PRESIDENT BUSH DID NOT UTTER WORDS SUCH AS
`OCCUPATION,' `WITHDRAWAL,' `THE 1967 BORDERS,' OR
`ISRAELI RAIDS ON PALESTINIAN TOWNS AND REFUGEE CAMPS.'
HE CONCENTRATED ON PALESTINIAN TERRORISM WHOLE IGNORING
ISRAELI TERRORISM, AND HE CALLED FOR REPLACING THE
PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT. IN SHORT, PRESIDENT BUSH GAVE A
SPEECH IN WHICH HE WENT FURTHER THAN SHARON WOULD HAVE
HAD HE WRITTEN THE SPEECH HIMSELF. AS FOR THE REFORMS
THAT BUSH DEMANDED, THEY ARE WORDS OF TRUTH INTENDED TO
COVER UP FOR MISCHIEF. THE TRUE INTENTION BEHIND THEM
IS TO OBFUSCATE AND BUY TIME FOR SHARON TO COMPLETE HIS
MISSION."

-- THE OCCUPATION GOVERNMENT WILL NOT RESPOND TO BUSH'S
SPEECH.
DAILY COLUMNIST MAHMOUD AL-RIMAWI WROTE IN SEMI-
OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI ON JUNE 26:
"THE PRESIDENT CALLED ON THE OCCUPATION GOVERNMENT TO
WITHDRAW TO ITS POSITIONS BEFORE SEPTEMBER 28, 2000.
SHARON'S GOVERNMENT WILL NOT DO SO. INSTEAD, IT WILL
CONTINUE DESTROYING WHAT REMAINS OF THE PALESTINIAN
INFRASTRUCTURE. THE PRESIDENT ALSO ASKED FOR A STOP TO
SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY. SHARON'S GOVERNMENT WILL NOT
ACCEPT TO DO SO EITHER. THE FEAR IS THAT THE
ADMINISTRATION WILL RESPOND TO THIS ISRAELI DISDAIN BY
LAUNCHING ANOTHER ATTACK AGAINST THE PALESTINIAN
AUTHORITY. THIS IS HOW IT HAS RESPONDED DURING THE
PAST YEAR."

-- BUSH ACTS AS SHARON'S LIEUTENANT.
THE LEADING COMMENTARY OF CENTER-LEFT, INFLUENTIAL
ARABIC DAILY AL-DUSTOUR ON JUNE 26 SAID: "PRESIDENT
BUSH'S SPEECH WAS NOT SURPRISING EXCEPT IN THE DEGREE
OF ITS BIAS FOR ISRAEL, THE FLAGRANCE OF ITS ENMITY TO
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY, AND ITS TOTAL DISMISSAL OF
ARAB DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS. THIS HAS DASHED ALL THE HOPES
THAT WERE PINNED ON THE U.S. HAVING A RESIDUE OF
JUSTICE AND INTEGRITY. THIS SPEECH WILL ONLY
CONSOLIDATE SHARON'S BELLIGERENCE, PROLONG THE
OCCUPATION, AND UNLEASH ANOTHER WAVE OF ZIONIST
EXTREMISM, WHICH WILL UNDOUBTEDLY BE MET WITH PARALLEL
PALESTINIAN REACTIONS. BY CONSEQUENCE, BUSH'S SPEECH
WILL ONLY HAVE USHERED IN MORE BLOODSHED, DESTRUCTION,
AND DEATH."

-- CHANCES OF IMPLEMENTING BUSH'S IDEAS.
TAHER AL-ADWAN, CHIEF EDITOR OF INDEPENDENT, MASS-
APPEAL ARABIC DAILY AL-ARAB AL-YAWM WROTE ON JUNE 26:
"I EXPECT THAT MOST ARAB STATES WILL ACCEPT BUSH'S
IDEAS, WHETHER PUBLICLY OR IN SECRET, NOT BECAUSE THEY
AGREE WITH ANYTHING IN THEM, BUT OUT OF FEAR OF A
CONFRONTATION WITH WASHINGTON. IN REALITY, BUSH'S
IDEAS MEET WITH SHARON'S STRATEGY IN A VITAL POINT,
THAT OF CHANGING THE PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP AND ALL
PALESTINIAN INSTITUTIONS. THIS AGREES WITH SHARON'S
STRATEGY TO WITHDRAW ISRAEL'S RECOGNITION OF THE
PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP, WHICH CAME AFTER THE OSLO
ACCORD. IN ADDITION, THE PRESIDENT GAVE SHARON
ADDITIONAL TIME TO CONTINUE HIS WAR AGAINST THE
PALESTINIAN PEOPLE. AS FOR PALESTINIAN ORGANIZATIONS,
BUSH'S DISMISSAL OF THEM WILL ONLY PUSH THEM TO FURTHER
RESISTANCE AND DAILY MARTYRDOM OPERATIONS, EVEN IF
ARAFAT CALLS ON THEM EVERY DAY TO STOP." GNEHM