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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report -Middle East - Gaza Pullout

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 005507

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR INR/R/MR; IIP/RW; IIP/RNY; BBG/VOA; IIP/WEU; AF/PA;
EUR/WE /P/SP; D/C (MCCOO); EUR/PA; INR/P; INR/EUC; PM; OSC ISA
FOR ILN; NEA; WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC/WEUROPE; DOC FOR ITA/EUR/FR
AND PASS USTR/PA; USINCEUR FOR PAO; NATO/PA; MOSCOW/PA;
ROME/PA; USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT -MIDDLE EAST - GAZA PULLOUT
PARIS - TUESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2005

(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

MIDDLE EAST - GAZA PULLOUT

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

TODAY'S MAJOR INTERNATIONAL FRONT PAGE AND EDITORIAL STORY IS
THE PULLOUT FROM GAZA AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PEACE
PROCESS BETWEEN THE ISRAELIS AND THE PALESTINIANS. FOR LEFT-OF-
CENTER LE MONDE, "THE HISTORIC PULLOUT HAS BEGUN." FOR LEFT-OF-
CENTER LIBERATION, WHICH HEADLINES "GAZA: TWENTY-FOUR HOURS
FOR A PULLOUT" THE DEPARTURE OF THE ISRAELI SETTLERS IS TAKING
PLACE "AMIDST TEARS." RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO HEADLINES: "A
RESIGNED DEPARTURE." ARTICLES ABOUND ON THE PSYCHOLOGICAL
REPERCUSSIONS OF THE PULLOUT, WHILE EDITORIAL COMMENTARIES
POINT TO THE "SYMBOLIC" NATURE OF THE PULLOUT (LIBERATION) AND
THE NEED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, NAMELY THE U.S. AND
THE EU TO HELP IN THE POST-PULLOUT PHASE. IN WEEKLY L'EXPRESS
EDITORIALIST BERNARD GUETTA TITLES HIS COLUMN "POST-GAZA."

THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL STORY CONCERNS THE IRAQI
CONSTITUTION. REPORTS NOTE THAT THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN
POSTPONED FOR A WEEK AND ANALYZE THE THREE BONES OF CONTENTION
BETWEEN THE THREE COMMUNITIES: "FEDERALISM, THE ROLE OF ISLAM
IN THE STATE AND HOW TO RE-DISTRIBUTE THE REVENUES FROM OIL."
RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO CARRIES A MAJOR STORY ON WOMEN IN
IRAQ, WHO ARE SEEN AS THE MAJOR LOSERS OF THE NEXT
CONSTITUTION.

LE FIGARO CARRIES AN OP-ED BY HENRY KISSINGER, WHICH WAS
INITIALLY PUBLISHED IN THE WASHINGTON POST LAST FRIDAY,
COMPARING THE IRAQI SITUATION TO VIETNAM AND DRAWING LESSONS
FOR AN EXIT STRATEGY.

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

MIDDLE EAST - GAZA PULLOUT

"A HIGH-RISK WITHDRAWAL"
PIERRE ROUSSELIN IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (08/16): "FOR
ALL PARTIES, THE GAZA PULLOUT IS A HIGH-RISK ADVENTURE. WHILE
ITS SUCCESS DOES NOT GUARANTEE PEACE, ITS FAILURE WILL
CERTAINLY CARRY DIRE CONSEQUENCES. IN ISRAEL AS WELL AS AMONG
THE PALESTINIANS, EVERYONE KNOWS THAT THESE ARE SERIOUS TIMES
AND THAT THE CONDITIONS OF THE PULLOUT WILL DETERMINE THE
FUTURE. FOR THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY THE CHALLENGE LIES IN
CONTROLLING HAMAS: IF THE ISLAMISTS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE
SITUATION AND REVERT TO ATTACKS AGAINST ISRAEL, REPRISAL WILL
BE IMMEDIATE. EGYPT ALSO HAS MUCH RIDING ON THE PULLOUT: EGYPT
HAS BEEN PLAYING A DISCREET BUT MAJOR SECURITY ROLE AND DOES
NOT WANT THE REGION TO FALL INTO CHAOS. AT THE BORDER TOWN OF
RAFAH, PALESTINIANS AND EGYPTIANS WILL FOR THE FIRST TIME
SINCE 1967, BE FACE TO FACE, WITHOUT AN ISRAELI PRESENCE. THE
PULLOUT WILL BE A SUCCESS ONLY IF IT GIVES THE PALESTINIANS
HOPE FOR A BETTER FUTURE. THE U.S. AND THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY MUST BE READY TO MAKE THE PULLOUT THE START OF A
TRUE PEACE PROCESS RATHER THAN AN END IN ITSELF."

"A SYMBOL"
PATRICK SABATIER IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION (08/16): "FOR
THE SETTLERS, SHARON, WHO WAS ONCE THE ARCHANGEL OF JEWISH
SETTLEMENTS, HAS BECOME THE HORSEMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE. THE
PULLOUT DOES NOT GUARANTEE A RETURN TO THE ROADMAP. IT COULD
EVEN SIGNIFY A DESIRE TO CONSOLIDATE A DE FACTO ANNEXATION OF
THE WEST BANK AS WELL AS A REFUSAL TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE
PALESTINIANS ON THE STATUS OF JERUSALEM. THE PULLOUT REMAINS
NEVERTHELESS A SYMBOL. FOR THE FIRST TIME, ISRAEL IS GIVING
BACK FORMERLY COLONIZED LAND TO THE PALESTINIANS, GIVING THEM
A CHANCE TO START THE PREMISES OF AN INDEPENDENT STATE. THE
MANNER IN WHICH THE PULLOUT IS BEING HANDLED IS ALSO SYMBOLIC:
IT EXEMPLIFIES THE VIRTUES OF THE DEMOCRACY THAT IS ISRAEL.
FINALLY, THE PULLOUT STANDS AS A SYMBOL OF A VIABLE FUTURE
THANKS TO THE MATURITY OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY IN HOW IT
HAS CURBED ITS EXTREMISTS. WHILE SYMBOLIC, THE PULLOUT'S
EFFECTS MUST NOT BE MINIMIZED. IN SPITE OF SHARON'S TACTICAL
REASONS. A STEP HAS BEEN TAKEN. A STEP BACK WHICH MUST BE
TRANSFORMED INTO A STEP FORWARD: THIS IS WHERE THE AMERICANS
AND THE EUROPEANS ARE AWAITED SO THAT THE PULLOUT IS A STEP
TOWARDS PEACE."
"POST-GAZA"
BERNARD GUETTA IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER WEEKLY L'EXPRESS (08/16):
"COULD SHARON BE NAIVE? ISRAEL'S EXTREME RIGHT IS NOT TOTALLY
WRONG WHEN IT WARNS THAT THE PULLOUT FROM GAZA COULD LEAD TO
THE CONSOLIDATION OF A TERRORIST STRONGHOLD. NOT ONLY DO THE
ISLAMISTS REIGN HERE, THEY WILL BE TEMPTED TO PRESENT THE
PULLOUT AS A RESULT OF THEIR POLICY OF VIOLENCE. BETWEEN
WEAPONS AND RECONSTRUCTION, HAMAS WILL NOT HESITATE LONG. DOES
SHARON IGNORE THIS POSSIBLE OUTCOME? FAR FROM IT. NOT ONLY IS
HE NOT NAIVE, HE HAS INTEGRATED THIS POSSIBLE SCENARIO INTO
HIS STRATEGY: IF THE PALESTINIANS DO NOT CONTROL THEIR RADICAL
FRINGES, THEY WILL LOSE THEIR CREDIBILITY WITH THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. IF MAHMUD ABBAS MANAGES TO CONTROL
HAMAS AND VIOLENCE BECOMES A THING OF THE PAST, THEN THE
PALESTINIANS WILL HAVE TO ACCEPT THE PEACE OFFERED BY SHARON.
IN THEORY THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS PLAN. BUT IN
PRACTICE IT IS PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR ABBAS TO CONTROL
HAMAS, AND EVEN IF HE WERE ABLE TO DO SO, ABBAS WOULD COME TO
THE NEGOTIATING TABLE IN SUCH A POSITION OF WEAKNESS THAT THE
OUTCOME WOULD BE FAILURE. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT SHARON'S
INITIATIVE CANNOT LEAD TO PEACE. IT MEANS THAT IF THE U.S. AND
THE EU WANT TO HOLD ON TO THIS CHANCE FOR PEACE, THEY MUST
IMMEDIATELY MAKE ALL THE INTERNATIONAL AID TO THE PALESTINIANS
TRANSIT THROUGH ABBAS, GIVING HIM THE MEANS TO MAKE A
DIFFERENCE IN GAZA, AND TO PROVE THAT MODERATION HAS ITS OWN
REWARDS." HOFMANN

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