DE RUEHJM #2509 1700819
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 190819Z JUN 06
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2862
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 002509
NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE, NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/LOGERFO
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/19/2016 TAGS: PREL PGOV KWBG KPAL KDEM IS SUBJECT: NABIL AMR ON REFERENDUM, ABU MAZEN
Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, per reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary. During a June 14 meeting in Ramallah with the Consul General, presidential media advisor Nabil Amr said that Abu Mazen was correct to proceed with the national referendum -- despite Amr's own objections to the prisoners' initiative -- in order to force the demise of the Hamas-led PA. Amr predicted that Palestinians in general, and Fatah in particular, would rally behind Abu Mazen. Amr warned that Hamas may resort to violence, particularly in Gaza, to scuttle the referendum. Amr said an infusion of money is needed to build up Abu Mazen's presidential office. End summary.
2. (C) Amr applauded Abu Mazen's efforts to force a political change through the holding of the national referendum. In doing so, Abu Mazen has raised Palestinian hopes that he will brin about an end to the international isolation of he Hamas-led PA. Despite Hamas objections and vrbal attacks on the referendum, Palestinians are gnerally supportive of the president, Amr said. ven Fatah officials, who were initially skepticalof the referendum, had begun to view it as a vehcle to end the political isolation. Amr emphasied that importance of rallying support, especially from Fatah, for Abu Mazen. Amr described to the Consul General several measures that are under consideration for promoting the referendum. As the president's media advisor, Amr said that he planned to coordinate the media outreach and work closely with a special committee, consisting of Fatah and other faction representatives, to promote the risoners' initiative.
3. (C) Amr said thatAbu Mazen's recent meetings with PM Isma'il Haniyah and other factions are intended to reduce neative reaction to the referendum. He did not expet Hamas to back away from its opposition to the pisoners' initiative and held out little hope tha the two sides would bridge their differences. mr admitted that he hoped Hamas would never agre to the initiative. Amr warned that ongoing Isreli military operations in Gaza play directly into he hands of Hamas, which Hamas would use to justfy its policies.
4. (C) Amr said Hamas could attemt to prevent the referendum through violence. Hmas could succeed in scuttling the vote in Gaza, but would face a more difficult challenge in the est Bank where Hamas has less influence. Amr arged that if Hamas violence scuttled the referendum,it would strengthen Abu Mazen's case to press fo new legislative elections. Once the referendum passes, Amr thought that Abu would proceed with frming a temporary emergency government. The govrnment would include four or five ministers apponted by Abu Mazen. Hamas would then be given anopportunity to accept Abu Mazen's political program, which Hamas would refuse to do. Amr expected a political standoff to last for several months.
Abu Mazen's Presidential Office
5. (C) Amr indicated that Abu Mazen's presidential office is undergoing significant changes. However, the office remains under-funded, placing constraints on Abu Mazen's ability to operate effectively. The office needs an infusion of funds, especially in the run-up to the referendum and if new elections are held.
TIM Near Completion
6. (C) The Consul General informed Amr that the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) for humanitarian assistance is nearing completion. The TIM will help alleviate the immediate economic crisis. The announcement will be coordinated with Abu Mazen to ensure that he receives maximum credit.