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Cablegate: Moroccans Simmering Over Gaza Situation

VZCZCXYZ3577
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRB #0195 0631137
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031137Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8213
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 3926

UNCLAS RABAT 000195

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ASEC MO IS PA
SUBJECT: MOROCCANS SIMMERING OVER GAZA SITUATION

1. (SBU) The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued on
March 1 a strong and relatively unusual condemnation of the
Israeli government for the IDF's military operations in Gaza.
The official Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) agency reported that
the MFA "strongly denounced the 'horrible acts committed by
the Israeli forces in Gaza against the civil population,
mainly women and children.'" The MFA also condemned the
"unfair blockade imposed on the Palestinian population ... in
breach of international conventions and human values." MAP
also reported that the MFA called upon all parties to
"refrain from any reprisals that affect civilians, shatter
hopes for peace, and breed violence."

2. (SBU) Images of the latest Gaza violence, particularly as
carried by Al-Jazeera and other pan-Arab media, appear to
have inflamed Moroccan public opinion. Most coverage in the
Moroccan press has been characterized by a tone of outrage.
Patrons in a Rabat barbershop observed by PolOff on March 2
were visibly agitated by images shown on Al-Jazeera as they
waited for haircuts. In the bazaar, sales of kafiyehs, the
Palestinian headdress, have reportedly boomed.

3. (SBU) Also on March 2, Abdelilah Benkirane, a leader of
the Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD), and
Khaled Sofiyani, chair of Morocco's Palestine Solidarity
Committee, led a demonstration in Rabat of about 100 persons.
In remarks to the press, Sofiyani condemned what he called a
"Zionist holocaust." Benkirane slammed Arab governments for
their inactivity in response to Israeli "aggression" and
promised that this would be the first of a series of
protests. On February 29, Al-Adl Wal-Ihsane, (Justice and
Spirituality) the large, unrecognized Islamist organization,
organized a demonstration attended by hundreds Casablanca to
condemn Israeli actions. More demonstrations are in the
works, some potentially targeted at Consulate General
Casablanca or the Embassy, but we would expect the
authorities will keep them well away.


*****************************************
Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/rabat
*****************************************

Riley

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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