Cablegate: Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria/Israel, Iraq
DE RUEHDM #0603/01 1651259
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141259Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3704
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6883
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4590
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3236
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7731
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1817
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5147
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1353
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7474
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000603
DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/R/MR:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, AZAIBACK, AND
AFERNANDEZ, IIP/G/NEA-SA MDAVIDSON
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria/Israel, Iraq
1. Summary: Syrian papers on June 14 quoted an official Syrian
source as saying on June 13 that the Syrian government and Syrian
people are concerned about intra-Palestinian fighting and violence.
"Fighting among the Palestinian brothers will only serve the
interests of the enemies of the Palestinian cause and the enemies of
the Arab nation," the source said. "Syria appeals to the
Palestinian brothers to stop the violence completely, calling upon
them to be fully aware that Palestinian national unity alone will be
their savior and is the only path to restoration of rights and
achievement of national goals," the source added.
On the assassination of Lebanese MP Walid Eido, pro-government
newspapers featured a brief SANA report about the assassination
without further comment. Government-owned Tishreen featured the
following statement by President Lahoud on June 13: "This heinous
crime, which has coincided with progress in the efforts and contacts
to find a solution to the current political crisis, makes us again
call persistently to unite ranks and deprive the enemies of Lebanon
of any chance, because they target the security and stability of
this country." Papers also cited a statement by Parliament Speaker
Birri calling on the Lebanese people to be alert and cautious of the
"fingers of sedition that are weaving their conspiracy."
Independent al-Watan accused the ruling majority in the Lebanese
parliament of assassinating MP Eido. Al-Watan's Chief Editor Waddah
Abd-Rabbo, in his daily commentary, stated five reasons behind the
Eido assassination (see editorial block quote below).
Papers also reported two phone calls received by FM Mouallem on July
13. One was from Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller on the
situation in the region, particularly in Palestine and Lebanon, and
ways to revive the Middle East peace process based on the Madrid
terms of reference and the land-for-peace principle to achieve
security and stability in the region. The second call came from
Jordanian FM Abd-al-Ilah al-Khatib on bilateral relations and
current developments in the Palestinian territories, reiterating the
need to stop intra-Palestinian fighting.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"The ruling majority in Lebanon sacrifices Walid Eido" (Independent
"Assassination of MP Eido in Beirut. Lahoud denounces the act.
Lahoud: The crime must unify Lebanese ranks. Berri and Hizbollah
warn against 'the fingers of sedition'" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
"Syrian official source: Syria follows with anxiety what is going
on among Palestinians: National unity is the savior"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 6/14)
"FM Mouallem receives two phone calls, from Danish FM Muller and
Jordanian FM Khatib, on developments in the region and revival of
the peace process" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 6/14)
"Arab foreign ministers will discuss developments in the Palestinian
territories in Cairo on July 16" (Government-owned Tishreen, 6/14)
"Abbas warns against a collapse in the Palestinian situation.
Scores of Palestinians killed and injured in clashes between Fateh
and Hamas. 40 Palestinian security troops cross border from Gaza,
seeking safety in Egypt" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 6/14)
"A UN report: Sanctions against Palestinians have destroyed
Palestinian society.... The International Quartet Committee is
complying fully with Washington's will" (Government-owned Al-a'th,
"Italian FM Prodi calls for an effective European role in the Middle
East peace process" (Government-owned Tishreen, 6/14)
"Bombing of the Shrine of the two Imams in Sammurra. Iraqi figures:
The occupation is held responsible... The occupation aims to create
sedition" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 6/14)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"Reasons for Assassinating Eido"
Waddah Abd Rabbo, chief editor of independent al-Watan, wrote
(6/14): "I personally accuse the ruling majority in Lebanon of
victimizing Eido to proceed with its destructive scheme to
internationalize Lebanon. There are many reasons for this:
"First the Terje Roed-Larsen report to the UN Security Council
accusing Damascus of smuggling arms to Lebanon and violating
resolution 1559 according to information Larsen received from his
"The second factor is the visit to Lebanon by French envoy Jean
Claude Cosron and Paris' call on the Lebanese parties to sit at the
negotiating table, which the al-Hariri Block rejects and Washington
is disturbed about....
"To foil French envoy Cosron's mission and block any French move in
Lebanon, it was necessary to victimize a Lebanese figure to
reshuffle the cards....
"The third factor was news about a visit scheduled to Tehran by the
Saudi Foreign Minister and talk about a reconciliation plan to form
a national unity government in Lebanon with Saudi-Iranian support,
which was neither unwelcome by the ruling Lebanese majority nor by
the White House....
"With the endorsement of the International Tribunal the ruling
majority felt greatly confused, as it has lost its excuses and
accusations against the opposition. It needed a new act of
assassination to reinstate its criticisms of the opposition as being
loyal to Syria and Iran so as to enflame the domestic crisis and
block a national unity government.
"The fifth reason was to divert attention from events in Nahr
al-Bared, especially in the wake of the many reports incriminating
Saed al-Hariri in the financing of Fath al-Islam to form a Sunni
army to fight Hizbollah...."
"The Magic Recipe for Peace"
Isam Dari, Chief Editor of government-owned Tishreen, wrote (6/14):
"It is said that there is now a debate in Israel between two
political trends, one calling for dialogue with Syria and the other
standing exactly on the opposite side....
"It is as if they want to convince us of two things: The first is
that there is a trend in favor of peace and another expressing
reservations. The second is that Israel is seriously inclined
toward dialogue, negotiations, and peace.
"But no matter how much we lie to ourselves, we are unable to accept
that the Tel Aviv leaders are serious in their proposals or that
they really know the true translation of the word 'peace.' "Without
going into detail, we point out that after 1973 Israel began to
pursue a new deceptive policy based on accepting peace in form and
theory and rejecting it in practice and action. Relying on
strategic allies, it used all its power and influence to thwart
every international effort or initiative that could lead to peace or
to a settlement, unless this settlement fulfilled its ambitions and
was a fragile settlement incapable of withstanding any test....
"Let us recall Rabin's pledge [to withdraw from the Golan] and the
evasion of the requirements of peace by Barak, Peres, Netanyahu,
Sharon, Olmert, and all the leaders of the Israeli
military-political establishment. And let us ask: Why did Israel
torpedo the understandings that were reached on the Syrian track,
when about 80 percent of the 'peace agreement' was accomplished?
"If Israel is serious, the first thing it must do is abandon
deception and acknowledge Rabin's pledge, which is a suitable
foundation for the resumption of the peace proces
s and the
accomplishment of the remaining 20 percent of the 'peace agreement'
in a way that returns land and rights to their owners and ends the
state of war and aggression that has existed for six decades. This
does not need a divine miracle....
"This is the magic peace recipe for those who want peace. Unless
the contrary has been proven, what Israel is proposing is nothing
but vague and meaningless talk, nothing more than trial balloons and
a new attempt to portray Israel as a peace-loving country seeking
"Who Is the Beneficiary?"
Umar Jaftali, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(6/14): "There is no doubt that nothing pleases Israel more than
this futile intra-Palestinian fight, which is destroying everything
Palestinians have built through the bitter struggle against the
occupation and the various political activities that brought the
Palestinian cause to international fora, especially the United
"This fighting is very serious, as it crosses all the red lines that
prevent the shedding of Palestinian blood at the hands of
Palestinians themselves. It is also serious in terms of its
reflection on the international political position toward the
Palestinian people, a position that has begun to sense the injustice
done to Palestinians as a result of the occupation and Israeli
practices. This is shown through the demonstrations that were
staged in Washington and London two days ago, where the
demonstrators stressed their solidarity with the Palestinians and
their condemnation of Israel's racism....
"It is really regrettable that brothers are killing each other while
the Israeli enemy plans to kill those who survive the fighting from
the two sides. What is happening gives the enemy a chance to rest
and enjoy this fighting, which helps it save effort and money and
perhaps spares it human losses if all the Palestinians unite in the
face of Israeli practices.
It is really regrettable that things have reached this point.
Everyone must be alert to the need for cohesion, consolidation of
national solidarity, and unity behind the elected government so that
it can address the important issues, primarily the occupation and
"A Stage Ends, Another Is To Start"
Mahdi Dakhlallah, former Information Minister, commented in
government-owned Tishreen, (6/14): "The stage that began with the
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has ended and the signs of a new one
have begun to appear....
"No one can predict where events will be heading in the near future.
All possibilities are open. But there is a clear fact: The
arbitrary and arrogant policies that the region and the rest of the
world have witnessed in the past few years have proven a failure,
and the symbols of the past stage have started to collapse one after
"The new leaders in London, Paris, and the US Congress are showing
more objectivity and rationalism, not because of their love for
justice, but because of the new reality in the region, which was
created by the resistance in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine and by the
challenge of countries that reject hegemony, such as Syria and
"The next stage will still be difficult, but the most difficult
thing the region can witness is now behind us."