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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03AMMAN5699 2003-09-07 16:39:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

JORDANIAN OFFICIALS SURPRISED BY ABU MAZEN'S

Tags:   PREL KPAL PTER JO 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L AMMAN 005699 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2013
TAGS: PREL KPAL PTER JO
SUBJECT: JORDANIAN OFFICIALS SURPRISED BY ABU MAZEN'S
RESIGNATION, CONDEMN ISRAELI ATTACK ON SHEIKH YASSIN

Classified By: Classified by: CDA David Hale for reasons 1.5 (B) and (D
)

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SUMMARY
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1. (C) Jordanian officials publicly and privately expressed
their concern about the fate of the roadmap after the
resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen and
subsequent Israeli assassination attempt against senior HAMAS
leaders in Gaza on Saturday. MFA officials appealed to the
United States to do more to rein in Israel to prevent further
deterioration of an already dismal situation. END SUMMARY.



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JORDANIAN OFFICIALS: ROAD MAP IN JEOPARDY


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1. (C) In the aftermath of Palestinian Prime Minister Abu
Mazen's resignation and the failed Israeli assassination
attempt of HAMAS leaders on Saturday, Jordanian officials
publicly and privately expressed their concern about
Palestinian disunity and the future of the roadmap. Foreign
Minister Marwan Mu'asher issued a statement on August 6
calling on the Palestinian leadership to mend differences and
to avoid providing Israel with an excuse to ignore its
obligations under the roadmap. Information Minister Nabil
Sharif said in an interview that Jordan hopes "the
Palestinians will put an end to their differences and close
ranks," because such disputes "do not serve their interests."
Meanwhile, Mu'asher condemned the attack against HAMAS
spiritual leader Sheikh Yassin in Gaza, describing it as a
"serious threat to the peace process" which is "rejected
regardless of the motives behind it."

2, (C) Privately, Mu'asher's Office Director, Ali al-Ayed,
told PolCouns and Poloff on September 7 that Jordanian
officials were "shocked" by Abu Mazen's resignation, noting
that it comes at a critical juncture in the peace process.
He said that Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragib talked over the
weekend with Abu Mazen, and that ForMin Mu'asher had called
Nabil Shaath and other Palestinian officials, emphasizing
that this development could jeopardize efforts to pursue the
roadmap process. He said that Jordan's message to the
Palestinian leadership has been consistent and blunt: it must
deliver on security. Mu'asher saw PLO "Foreign Minister"
Farouq Qaddumi in Amman on September 7. Al-Ayed noted wryly
that Qaddumi had provided a long historical review--"but he
only made it up to 1973"--instead of engaging on ways to
solve the current crisis.



3. (C) Reflecting the Foreign Minister's public comments,
al-Ayad deplored Israel's assassination attempt against HAMAS
spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, noting that such
attacks do not help Israel's security, much less the
Palestinian Authority's political position vis-a-vis HAMAS.
MFA official Ashraf Zeitoon, who follows peace process and
Israeli matters, said that many Jordanians perceive that
Sharon is ordering such provocative moves in order to
distract from his own internal political problems.



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JORDANIANS APPEAL FOR US ASSISTANCE TO REIN IN ISRAEL


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4. (C) Al-Ayad said the Ministry has not contacted Israeli
counterparts since the weekend's events, but that FM Mu'asher
emphasized to Israel's new ambassador to Jordan last week
(septel) that Israel must do more to sustain the roadmap and
support Abu Mazen with concrete concessions so that he can
adequately challenge HAMAS. Al-Ayad appealed for U.S.
assistance in encouraging the Israelis to stand down on
future provocative actions in order to calm the situation.



5. (C) Comment: Mu'asher's blunt and swift public
condemnation of Israel's assassination attempt against Sheikh
Yassin probably reflects the GOJ's anticipation of the
outrage from ordinary Jordanians--regardless of political
persuasion--about Israel's intensified assassination program.
While there certainly is no love lost in Jordan for HAMAS or
its violent agenda, many here will consider Israel's attack
on Yassin as deliberately provocative and reason to suspect
that Israel seeks to undermine, rather than support Abu Mazen
and other Palestinian opponents of violence.
HALE