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Cablegate: Palestinian Icons: Most Prominent Images/Figures

VZCZCXRO9950
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1274 1991522
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171522Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2158
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 001274

SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE AND IPA, NSC FOR ABRAMS/PASCUAL/SINGH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG PGOV PTER IS KMDR KPAO
SUBJECT: PALESTINIAN ICONS: MOST PROMINENT IMAGES/FIGURES
ASSOCIATED WITH PRISONER EXCHANGE COMMEMORATIONS

1. (SBU) Summary. The most prominent images that West Bank
Palestinians displayed in prisoner exchange rallies and
celebrations in Ramallah on July 16 were of Dalal al-Mughrabi
(female terrorist who hijacked an Israeli bus in 1978), freed
PLF terrorist Samir Quntar, Yasir Arafat and Hizbullah leader
Hasan Nasrallah. Palestinian dailies and rally participants
carried few images of PA President Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen)
or jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghuthi. End summary.

Ramallah Fatah Rally Plays Up
Arafat/al-Mughrabi, Not PA Leaders
----------------------------------

2. (SBU) Posters with dual images of Arafat and al-Mughrabi
dominated the July 16 Ramallah rally attended by 1200
Palestinians and centered at Manara Square and Arafat's
mausoleum. Some Quntar and Nasrallah images were also posted
at the rally site. Quntar was celebrated for his political
identity as a Palestinian fighter and prisoner and his
Lebanese ethnic origins downplayed. There were few if any
pictures of President Abbas. The rally, planned by Fatah's
Mobilization Committee (dominated by Fatah Central Committee
(FCC) members Ahmad Quraya' and Hakam Bala'wi), lacked any
images of or references to jailed Fatah leader Marwan
Barghuthi, who is regarded as a central threat to FCC
members' power, even from prison.

Media Commentaries, Contacts Credit
Hizbullah, Ignore PA/Fatah Leadership
-------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Palestinian press commentators uniformly credited
Hizbullah for the prisoner release, and did not ascribe any
meaningful role to the PA or Fatah in achieving return of the
remains of Palestinian militants to Lebanon. Palestinian
dailies commented that the deal with Hizbullah broke the
Israeli taboo on releasing prisoners "with blood on their
hands," set an important precedent for future deals to
release Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and
demonstrated that the use of force and kidnapping is the most
effective way to secure prisoner releases.
LAPENN

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