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Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Palestinian Territories, Iraq,

VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #3339/01 1901352
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (508)
O 091352Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0213
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6089
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 3937
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2471
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7136
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1126
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4511
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0733
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6872

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 00339

SIPDIS


SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/S:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, DBENZE AND
AFERNANDEZ, IIP/G/NEA-SA RWINCHESTER
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: Palestinian Territories, Iraq,
Lebanon (7/7-9)


1. Summary: Syrian papers reported that Deputy Foreign Minister
Faisal Miqdad conferred with the Advisor to the Norwegian Foreign
Minister for Middle East Affairs, during which Miqdad held Israel
responsible for the exacerbated situation in the occupied
Palestinian territories. The Norwegian Advisor totally rejected
Israeli practices against Palestinians and underlined "Israel's
responsibility for exacerbating the situation in the occupied
Palestinian territories by daily killings of sons of the
Palestinian people, resulting in the Gaza invasion and increased
tension in the region." He emphasized his country's "total
rejection of the Israeli arrest of Palestinian officials,
imprisonment of Palestinian women and children, and targeting of
Palestinian citizens." The two sides agreed to carry on their
contacts to achieve stability in the Palestinian territories and
the region and to end the Palestinian people's ordeal.

Papers also reported that the Ninth Conference of Iraq Neighbors
Plus Egypt and Bahrain was inaugurated in Tehran on Saturday. The
Foreign Ministers who participated in the conference condemned
the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and called
on the UN Security Council to shoulder responsibility for this
dangerous violation of international law and human rights
agreements. A statement issued by the Arab League Secretary
General Amer Mousa said that the Foreign Ministers strongly
condemned the continuing Israeli aggression. The statement added
that the Arab Foreign Ministers attending the conference
denounced international silence over the Israeli aggression.

Papers also reported that Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
met on Saturday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mouallem,
who is in Tehran to attend the Ninth Conference of Foreign
Ministers of Iraq Neighbors Plus Egypt and Bahrain. Talks between
the two dealt with topics on the agenda of the conference, as
well as the latest developments in the region, including the
deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Iranian President inaugurated the conference with a speech
calling for efforts to solve the problems of the Iraqi people and
support its elected government. On the sidelines of the
Conference, Mr. Mouallem and Amer Moussa, SecGen of the Arab
League, discussed topics on the conference agenda and the latest
Palestinian developments.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Syria's representative to the UN addresses the UNSC for human
rights: Israel's policy on collective punishment represents state
terrorism" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/7)
"Deputy Foreign Minister Miqdad reviews Israeli aggression
against the Palestinian people with Norwegian Foreign Minister's
Advisor for Middle East Affairs" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/8)
"Foreign Minister al-Mouallem participates in the Conference of
Iraq's Neighboring states in Tehran. Syria is ready to establish
relations with Iraq in various spheres in a way to ensure
security and stability in Iraq and the withdrawal of foreign
troops from it" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/8)
"Iranian President Ahmadinejad receives Foreign Minister al-
Mouallem and inaugurates the Conference of Foreign Ministers of
Iraq Neighboring States" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/9)

"Israel rejects Palestinian Prime Minister Haniyya's initiative
for cool-down and negotiations. Eight Palestinians martyrs and
scores of injuries resulted from open Israeli aggression in Gaza"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/9)
"Israel's agreement to swap Gilad Shalit for Palestinian
prisoners does not make it stop its incursions. Eight
Palestinians martyred, 22 wounded in Gaza. Israel is assured of a
US Veto to abort Qatar's endeavor to condemn Israeli aggression
against Palestinians" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/8)
"17 Palestinians martyred, 60 wounded in a new massacre in Gaza.
A draft Arab resolution at the UNSC calling on Israel to halt its
aggression against Palestinians. Israel reoccupies former
settlements in the strip" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/7)

"Warnings of a human catastrophe in Miqdadiyya. Three American

soldiers killed in attacks in al-Anbar" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 7/9)

"Lebanese MP Zeiter unveils continuing foreign intervention in
the Israeli espionage network. Ambassadors of Washington and
Paris asked two Lebanese Ministers to stop investigations"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/9)

"Scores of Iraqis killed and injured in a terrorist explosion at
Koufa in Iraq. Al-Maliki admits violations by foreign troops and
demands reviewing their immunity" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
7/7)
"Lebanese President Lahoud reveals that he has been exposed to
threats because of his commitment to the right of return of
Palestinian refugees. Controversial issues increase and threaten
national dialogue. Warnings against dangers of strained political
sentiment on security and stability in Lebanon" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 7/8)
"The US again rejects opening an international investigation into
conditions of detainees in its prisons" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 7/8)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

--------------------------

"Who Practices Blackmail?"

--------------------------

Ahmad Hamadah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (7/7): "There is a twisted logic in the Western position
toward the Palestinian-Israeli developments.... The capture of
an Israeli soldier by Palestinian resistance factions is seen as
a terrorist operation while the demand by these factions for the
release of hundreds of women and children from Israeli prisons
in return for the soldier's release is seen as extortion....

"If this demand is extortion, how do these [Westerners] describe
the blackmail policies that Israel daily pursues against the
Palestinians and their government? What do the supporters of
Israel call the destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure
and how do they describe the destruction of cities and villages
and the demolition of houses over the heads of their occupants?
Isn't this properly characterized as terrorism and a flagrant
violation of all international laws and norms and the Geneva
Convention on territories under occupation?

"The West, especially the United States, practices deception and
twists facts to justify Israel's crimes to the world public...."

----------------

"Self Restraint"

----------------

Isam Dari, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(7/8): "When more than 20 people are martyred in one day in a
barbaric Israeli aggression in which the most advanced Israeli
and American assault weapons are used, the civilized world does
not bother to send a timid cable of condolences to the
Palestinian people, who are slaughtered only because they are
Palestinians. But when an Israeli soldier is captured in a
purely military operation, the US Administration and its allies
go mad, and political and diplomatic efforts, accompanied by
threats and accusations, are immediately unleashed to secure the
release of the captive.

"When Israel goes too far in its aggression and terrorism and
crosses all red lines and taboos, we might hear some statements
calling for 'self restraint' and avoidance of 'excessive force',
which means that force can be used but not to excess.

"These expressions are the worst type of evasiveness.... Their
use means that the superpowers, which claim to be defending

human rights, are encouraging Israel to continue its aggression
and terrorism against a peaceful people. This encouragement
amounts to full partnership in the aggression, especially since
these superpowers have imposed an unjust siege on the
Palestinian people to punish them for their democratic
choice....

"Instead of calling on Israel to demonstrate self-restraint and
reduce the use of excessive force, the current situation
requires clear condemnation and speedy action to stop the
aggression. Any country not working in this direction is an
enemy of the Palestinians and the Arabs, on equal footing with
Israel itself...."

-------------------------------------

"Acknowledgment of Truth Comes First"

-------------------------------------

Hamid Huran, a commentator in government-owned Al-Ba'th, said
(7/7): "Despite all Israeli attacks, assassinations, and
threats, the resistance continues to stand fast and to stick to
its right to respond to the aggression as strongly as its small
resources allow....

"The shelling of some Israeli settlements with homemade rockets
is a message to the leaders of the occupation and the
superpowers supporting them.... These superpowers have been
calling for calm and self-restraint as if this were a passing
issue, not an issue of occupation, siege, and starvation of an
entire people....

"The situation might escalate and affect the whole region if the
occupation does not give in to a prisoner swap.... It is
imperative to support the resistance through consolidation of
domestic Palestinian unity and the launch of an extensive Arab
diplomatic campaign, not to end the current crisis but to force
the occupation leaders to abide by the international resolutions
that guarantee the Palestinian people's right to their land, the
creation of their state, and an end to the aggression and state
terrorism to which they are subjected."

Seche

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