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Cablegate: Gaza/Arab League Demarche Delivered to Gom

VZCZCXRO7271
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHRB #1202 3651631
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301631Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9501
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 3556
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA PRIORITY 4436
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0879
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1108

UNCLAS RABAT 001202

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/IPA - PAYTON KNOPF, NEA/MAG AND IO/UNP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM MOPS ASEC KPAL KWBG MO
SUBJECT: GAZA/ARAB LEAGUE DEMARCHE DELIVERED TO GOM

REF: STATE 134964

1. (SBU) With Minister of Foreign Affairs and
Cooperation Taieb Fassi Fihri and Secretary General
Youssef Amrani both out of Morocco, the Ambassador
delivered reftel demarche to MFA Chief of Staff
Nassir Bourita on December 30. The Ambassador
particularly emphasized the need to modulate
rhetoric to avoid further enflaming sensibilities.
Bourita said he would pass the message on to the
Minister but offered no further thoughts on the
events in Gaza.

2. (U) Local media continued to carry widespread
broadcast and print coverage in both French and
Arabic of Israeli attacks on Gaza, and calls for
immediate cessation of hostilities. Most major
dailies featured half or full-page photos of bloody
corpses on the front pages. Moderate media outlets
carried unusually strong and emotional editorials
and news coverage, using terms such as "barbarism,"
"carnage," and "holocaust against Palestinians," and
publishing shocking photos, e.g. bodies of children.

3. (U) Opinion focused on the alleged
disproportionate response of Israeli military to
Hamas rocket attacks (of which little mention is
made), and the need for intervention to bring a
cessation to hostilities and bring parties back to
the negotiation table. "L'Opinion," the ruling
Istiqlal party's daily, and others had explicit
criticism of the heads of Arab and European states
and of the U.S. for failing to act, with strong
criticism of Egypt and the Mubarak regime most
prominent. Several editorials criticized the U.S.
administration's tacit or implicit support of
Israel's actions. The Pro-palace French-language
daily, "Le Matin," said Israel's action took advantage
of the transition period between U.S.
Administrations and said the action "constitutes a
clear warning to President-elect Obama." Islamist
Arabic-language daily "Attajdid" says "Gaza's
resistance is a message to the U.S. Administration,
which should [already] have learned the lesson of
its support to Israel." Other articles and one
political cartoon criticize a perceived U.S. double
standard.

4. (U) Arabic and French language print media also
covered the Moroccan Foreign Ministry's press
communique, stressing "Morocco's official strong
condemnation of the Israeli aggression in Gaza" and
Morocco's "call for an immediate stop to this
aggression." The communique included King Mohammed
VI's appeal to the UN Security Council to take
responsibility for ensuring a stop to the aggression
and resumption of negotiations.

5. (U) Peaceful demonstrations by up to 1,000
protestors took place in Casablanca on December 28
and Rabat on December 29.

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

Riley

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