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Cablegate: Bahrainis Condemn Israeli Airstrikes

VZCZCXRO7012
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHMK #0839 3651138
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301138Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8330
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS MANAMA 000839

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

BAGHDAD FOR AMBASSADOR ERELI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAL BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAINIS CONDEMN ISRAELI AIRSTRIKES

1. (U) Summary: Local media and Embassy contacts were angry
at Israel, the U.S., and moderate Arab governments. There
were several orderly demonstrations, the largest drawing
3,000 protesters. End summary.

2. (U) Bahrainis reacted angrily but without violence to news
from Gaza. Contacts and local media focused on the allegedly
disproportionate Israeli response to Hamas rockets,
criticized the U.S. as unconditionally supportive of Israel,
and complained that Arab governments (including by
implication Bahrain's) were collaborating with the U.S. and
Israel. Several editorials claimed the U.S. had pressured
moderate Arab governments to remain silent.

3. (SBU) Like almost everything in Bahrain, reaction to Gaza
reflects sectarian division. The mainstream Shi'a opposition
party, Al Wifaq, organized an orderly rally in support of
Gaza Palestinians on December 29 which drew approximately
3,000 marchers. Participants chanted anti-Israel and
anti-U.S. slogans. Hizballah flags, and photographs of
Hassan Nasrallah were openly displayed, and Israeli and U.S.
flags were burned. Simultaneously, the local Muslim
Brotherhood party staged a competing demonstration across
town. That event drew several hundred participants and was
also non-violent.

4. (SBU) December 30 Emergency Action Committee meeting
reported septel.


********************************************* ********
Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/manama/
********************************************* ********
HENZEL

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