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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08AMMAN257 2008-01-23 15:00:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

JORDANIAN CONDEMNATION OF AND DEMONSTRATIONS

Tags:   PREL KWBG JO IS 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO9087
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHAM #0257/01 0231500
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 231500Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1585
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 000257 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2018
TAGS: PREL KWBG JO IS
SUBJECT: JORDANIAN CONDEMNATION OF AND DEMONSTRATIONS
AGAINST ISRAELI STEPS IN GAZA

REF: A. 07 AMMAN 04584

B. 07 AMMAN 04623

C. 07 AMMAN 04733

D. AMMAN 00149

Classified By: Ambassador David Hale for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) Summary: Jordanian officials up through King Abdullah
and the Queen have reacted with dismay - and portions of the
public (egged on by the Islamic Action Front) more angrily -
to the intensification of Israel's "siege" of the Gaza Strip.
The government has condemned Israeli policies and dispatched
an aid convoy to Gaza (unlikely to reach its destination),
while leaders of the IAF have used the developments as an
excuse to repeat their calls for abandoning the peace treaty
with Israel. End Summary.



--------------------------



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GOJ Reacts With Condemnations and Humanitarian Gestures


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (C) Responding to an exceptionally negative public mood,
the King has publicly condemned Israel's military
"violations" and raised his concern about the deteriorating
humanitarian conditions in Gaza. He ordered an aid convoy
bearing medicine and food to Gaza, while Queen Rania has made
high-profile visits to hospitalized Gazans receiving
treatment in Jordan, and called on the international
community to "stop the collective punishment of innocent
civilians."



3. (C) Senior ministers similarly have condemned the Israeli
actions in phone calls to their counterparts in Israel.
Prime Minister Nader Dahabi, after meeting this week with
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, expressed concern
over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, and
said Jordan is "focused at this stage on putting an end to
Israeli military violations in the Gaza Strip, which claimed
the lives of innocent civilians." The local media reported
that Foreign Minister Salaheddin al-Bashir called Israeli
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Monday to urge Israel to stop
its military operations in Gaza and to end "collective
punishment" against the Palestinian people. (Israeli
Ambassador Rosen told the Ambassador that the transcript of
the call showed a Foreign Minister far less aggressive than
he appeared in his press release.)



--------------------------


Commentariat Blames the U.S.


--------------------------





4. (SBU) In addition to significant treatment by the
respective news departments of the local media, the
commentariat has taken up the Gaza issue with a vengeance,
typically drawing a straight line between Israel's current
activities and a perceived lack of U.S. seriousness toward
the peace process. Editor-in-Chief of the Arab nationalist
al-Arab al-Yawm, Taher Odwan, viewed developments in Gaza as
a "flagrant headline of the failure of the ongoing approach
to the peace process with Israel." Columnist Oraib Rantawi
wrote in the pro-Palestinian Ad-Dustour that "Gaza's wound
dictates to the Palestinian and Arab leaderships a firm stand
vis-a-vis the Annapolis meeting which turned out to be
designed solely to buy time and provide a cover for
aggression and settlements." Also in Ad-Dustour, Ibrahim
al-Absi blamed the U.S. for Israel's "merciless war" on Gaza,
arguing that if Washington had "genuinely been serious about
the peace-making process, it would not have given Israel the
green light to commit such a crime." The English-language
Jordan Times editorialized that it is "an absolute joke, for
an American president to come and talk about peace in a year
when the American administration will not even lift a finger
to prevent the most egregious obstacles to such peace."



--------------------------



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IAF Makes Hay Slamming Israel ... and, by Extension, the GOJ


--------------------------



--------------------------





5. (C) Even before the latest Israeli actions to cut off
electricity and gas supplies to Gaza, the opposition (read:
the Islamic Action Front, political arm of the Muslim
Brotherhood) had been attacking Israel's military operations
in the Strip, to include repeating its perennial calls on the
government to break its ties with the "Zionist enemy."
Comment: Directing ire at Israel is probably a safe bet for
the Jordanian opposition, and provides a way to criticize
backhandedly the government; although not a new approach, it
is probably more palatable to the average Jordanian than was
the IAF's support for Hamas that some observers believe hurt
its performance in the 2007 elections (refs A-C). End

AMMAN 00000257 002 OF 002


Comment.



6. (SBU) The Israeli actions in Gaza also set off
demonstrations this week ranging in size - according to press
estimates - from several hundred to several thousand
protestors in refugee camps in and outside of Amman,
including Hittin, Al-Wihdat, and Al-Baq'ah. In each case,
IAF leaders were the forefront. Al-Jazirah broadcast IAF
Secretary General Zaki Bani Irsheid addressing demonstrators

SIPDIS
with barely veiled criticisms of the Jordanian government:
"Jordan . . . is not a Zionist police station. Jordan is not
a U.S. embassy." IAF parliamentary bloc leader Hamzah Mansur
proclaimed that Jordanians, as part of the Arab and Islamic
community, "are against the siege, blackout, and conspiracy
against Gaza." And IAF parliamentarian Muhammad Aqil
addressed protesters during a march of an estimated 3000
residents of Baq'ah camp, located northwest of Amman.
Separately, Members of Parliament called for the expulsion of
the Israeli and American Ambassadors to protest Israel's
actions in Gaza and perceived U.S. support.



7. (C) Comment: The Jordanian government, with the King at
the forefront, has and continues to be an enthusiastic
supporter of the resumed peace process, seeing its own vital
interests in a resolution of the Palestinian issue (ref D).
Senior officials privately blame Hamas for provoking Israel
at a hopeful diplomatic moment. But humanitarian conditions
in Gaza put them on the defensive with their own public.
Among our interlocutors, even those who are cautiously
optimistic about the revived peace process have been warning
that absent quick improvements in life for Palestinians the
peace process will founder and extremists will benefit. That
said, while the official consternation expressed toward the
recent Israeli steps is real, the public condemnations and
symbolic moves to aid the Palestinians are as much directed
at the Jordanian public and critics of the GOJ as they are at
Israel and the Palestinians. End Comment.


Visit Amman's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/amman/
Hale