Cablegate: Baqa'a Refugee Camp Leaders Tell Staffdel Israel's

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary and comment: GOJ-appointed leaders from
Baqa'a refugee camp told staffdel Nordquist January 13 that
construction of the security barrier in the West Bank is a
"mockery" of the peace process and a direct threat to U.S.
plans for a two-state solution. They warned that current
Israeli policies would engender more hatred; the only
solution is for Israel to end the occupation. In comparison
to previous conversations with Baqa'a leaders, these
Palestinian refugees' confidence in the U.S. ability to make
peace in the region seems shaken by Israel's construction of
the security barrier and the concomitant new "facts on the
ground." End summary and comment.

2. (U) During a January 13 meeting with staffdel Nordquist,
leaders from the GOJ-appointed Baqa'a refugee camp
improvement committee repeated a familiar plea for a
"legitimate solution" to the Palestinian refugee problem,
based on UN resolutions 181, 194, 242 and 338. The camp
committee told the staffel Palestinian refugees have "high
hopes" that the U.S. will push for a more equitable, fair
approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and praised
President Bush's plan for a two-state solution by 2005 as the
"crown" of a legitimate solution.

3. (U) Camp leaders nevertheless expressed great concern
that the Israeli security barrier under construction in the
West Bank would derail U.S. plans for a two-state solution,
characterizing the barrier as a "mockery" of the peace
process. If the barrier were being erected on Israeli
territory, one committee member said, Palestinians would have
no problem with the barrier. Yet construction of the barrier
on "half of the West Bank" (sic) turns the security barrier
into a land grab on the pretext of security. Telling the
staffdel that Palestinian suffering in the West Bank and Gaza
already was "beyond imagination," camp committee members
predicted that current Israeli policies -- including
construction of the barrier -- would engender still more
hatred. While disavowing any personal support for terrorism,
camp committee members said that under current circumstances
Palestinians "cannot stop their resistance to the
occupation." The only way to end the current conflict,
according to the camp committee, is for Israel to demonstrate
a genuine intent to end the occupation of the West Bank and
Gaza. Referring again to the "new Berlin wall," one
committee member said the U.S. could not expect Israel to
take steps toward peace on its own and greater U.S.
engagement was required to preserve President Bush's vision
of a two-state solution. Without that engagement, the
committee said, Israel's security barrier makes the two-state
solution "null and void."

4. (SBU) Comment: GOJ-appointed camp committee members tend
to reflect the most moderate views among the Palestinian
refugee community. Their criticisms of U.S. policy
invariably are tempered with strong affirmations of
friendship for the U.S. people and confidence that the U.S.
Government will take the necessary steps to secure peace. In
comparison to previous conversations with this group,
Palestinian refugees' confidence in the U.S. ability to make
peace in the region seems to have been shaken by construction
of the security barrier in the West Bank and the concomitant
creation of what these Palestinians have interpreted as
irreversible facts on the ground.

5. (U) Staffdel Nordquist did not have the opportunity to
review this cable.

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