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Cablegate: Tfle01: Increasing Egyptian Anger About Lebanon

VZCZCXRO5848
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK
DE RUEHEG #4680/01 2121426
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311426Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0241
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 004680
SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NSC FOR MIKE SINGH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV EG IS LE
SUBJECT: TFLE01: INCREASING EGYPTIAN ANGER ABOUT LEBANON

REF: A. CAIRO 4560

B. CAIRO 4611

Classified by A/DCM Asif Chaudhry, for reasons 1.5 (b) and
(d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: Egyptians are increasingly angry about the
violence suffered by Lebanese civilians as a result of
Israeli military operations against Hizbullah, and public
outrage has surged since the July 30 Israeli bombing of Qana.
Calls for the expulsion of the Israeli and U.S. ambassadors
are becoming the norm at demonstrations and among some media
commentators, and were echoed during a July 30 protest near
the Embassy, conducted by approximately 100 opposition and
independent parliamentarians. The Egyptian Muslim
Brotherhood (MB) issued a statement on July 29 entitled, ""The
MB Stand Towards the Resistance,"" in which the Sunni
organization declares its support of the Shi'a Hizbullah.
END SUMMARY.

2. (C) Egyptians, whose initial reaction to Israeli military
strikes was somewhat restrained, are increasingly angry about
the violence suffered by Lebanese civilians as a result of
Israeli operations against Hizbullah. Public outrage has
surged since the July 30 Israeli bombing of Qana. Per
reftels, demonstrations in support of Lebanon and against
Israel have become near daily occurrences in Cairo since
Israeli military operations began. In the past few days,
slogans at the protests have become increasingly
anti-American (for example, a Kefaya-sponsored demonstration
to be held today is rallying demonstrators to ""protest
against Israeli and U.S. criminality""), and calls for the
expulsion of the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors are becoming
the norm at protests and among some media commentators.

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3. (C) An opposition initiative to convene an emergency
meeting of Parliament (which is currently not in session) to
discuss the Lebanon crisis was frustrated by National
Democratic Party (NDP) MP's, who largely refused to agree to
the proposal. However, emotions are still running high among
parliamentarians, both opposition and NDP. On July 30
(following news of the Qana bombing), approximately one
hundred MP's marched from Parliament to a square near the
U.S. Embassy, chanting, ""we are all with the resistance.""
(Note: According to Embassy contacts and press reports, all
of the participating MP's were either independents or
opposition members.) When barred from getting closer to the
Embassy by Egyptian security forces, the MP's headed to the
nearby Arab League headquarters, where they were received by
Arab League SYG Amre Moussa. According to press reports, the
parliamentarians submitted a formal memorandum of protest to
Moussa, denouncing ""the Arab regimes' feeble position on the
Israeli aggression against Lebanon and the Palestinian
territories,"" and calling for expelling the U.S. and Israeli
ambassador from Egypt, severing relations with Israel,
withdrawing Arab ambassadors from Tel Aviv, boycotting U.S.
and Israeli products, and trying Israeli leaders as war
criminals before the International Court of Justice.
Separately, Mustafa al-Fiqqi (NDP MP, and chairman of
Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee) reportedly stated
to journalists that ""Israel is wreaking havoc in the region
and will only be deterred through a confrontation ... we have
historical confrontations with Israel that peace agreements
cannot resolve.""

4. (C) Hussein Fahmy, a renowned Egyptian actor and UN
Goodwill Ambassador, publicly announced his resignation as UN
Goodwill Ambassador on July 30, reportedly stating that he
is, ""not honored to work under this title,"" and that he would
rather assist, ""any charities other than international
organizations that have no respect for the rights of Arabs as
human beings, and that employ double-standards."" On July 31,
telephonic SMS's reportedly began to circulate among
Egyptians, calling for a boycott of American products.
Embassy contacts report that public sentiment is growing
increasingly angry each day, and that had it not been for the
current summer vacation period, we would have witnessed much
larger and more violent demonstrations by university
students.

5. (C) In a related development, the Egyptian Muslim
Brotherhood (MB) issued a statement on July 29 entitled, ""The
MB Stand Towards the Resistance,"" in which the Sunni
organization declares its support of the Shi'a Hizbullah.
The statement criticizes ""the attempts made by some regimes
and clerics in the Arab and Islamic worlds to create
confusion among the Arabs and Muslims by adopting political
stands and issuing wrong religious fatwas against the
resistance, particularly the resistance in Lebanon."" (Note:
It is our understanding that the MB is referring in part to
the July 17 fatwa issued by leading Saudi cleric Sheikh
Abdullah bin Jabreen, which declared it unlawful to support,
join, or pray for Hizbullah. End Note). The statement
declares that, ""the MB views the Ja'fari Shiites as a Muslim
sect .... there is a certain degree of differences in ideas
and views concerning historic events. However, these
differences and views do not necessarily make them depart
from Islam."" It goes on to criticize ""those who are
advocating that Hizbullah should not be supported because of
its Shiite affiliation,"" and asserts that, ""helping the
resistance in Lebanon, represented by Hizbullah, is a duty,
because they are Arabs and Muslims who are resisting
injustice and occupation.""

RICCIARDONE

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