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Cablegate: Cg Gfoeller Receives Petition From Saudi Women To

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PP RUEHDE
DE RUEHJI #0586/01 2480820
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 050820Z SEP 06
FM AMCONSUL JEDDAH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9484
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1522
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1601
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 6803
RUCNDTA/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0037
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JEDDAH 000586

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

RIYADH, PLEASE PASS TO DHAHRAN; DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ARP;
NEA/IPA; PARIS FOR WALLER; LONDON FOR TSOU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: IS KISL KPAO KWMN LE OPRC PHUM PREL SA SOCI
SUBJECT: CG GFOELLER RECEIVES PETITION FROM SAUDI WOMEN TO
STOP ISRAELI BOMBARDMENT.


1. (U) SUMMARY. On July 18th, CG Gfoeller received an
e-mailed draft petition from prominent Saudi women calling
for a cessation of Israeli attacks in both Lebanon and
Palestine. The petition stated that Israeli interference in
Lebanon and Palestine has created regional instability and
has deprived many Arabs of their basic human rights. Without
specifically citing Hezbollah, the draft statement also
rejected all forms of violence and asserted that the use of
violence will never create the conditions for peace. The
final petition, including 870 signatories, that was sent to
western embassies and organizations the week of July 21st
does not include the general denunciation of violence. END
SUMMARY.

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2. (U) FULL TRANSLATION OF DRAFT STATEMENT.

Women Call Upon World Leaders to Stop the War in Lebanon

Many Saudi women from all over the Kingdom call upon the
leaders and decision makers of the world to stop the war in
Lebanon and Palestine and to pressure Israel to stop
attacking the two people and to give them back their rights.
The attached are the names of women from all sectors,
business, academic and social.

In the name of the mothers who have lost their kids because
of the aggressive Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Palestine;
that struck women, children and the infrastructure depriving
them from the minimum requirements of life in countries that
have been suffering from wars for many decades and
generations...

"We as Saudi and Arab women affirm that we are peace loving
people. People seeking to raise our kids in a way to be able
to build not destroy humanity, we ask all human rights
associations, the United Nations, the Security Council, and
all the decision makers in the world to stop Israel from its
terrorist attacks.

The wars that have taken place in the Arabic Region that have
killed women and children are the main reason for the
insecure feeling of our people. We affirm that we reject all
forms of violence and we believe that violence does not
produce anything but violence and that violence will not help
the region whose instability will affect the entire world."
END TRANSLATION OF DRAFT STATEMENT.

3. (U) FULL TRANSLATION OF FINAL STATEMENT.

A Call by Saudi Women to the Leaders of the World to stop the
war on Lebanon and Palestine

A number of Saudi ladies who hail from different parts of the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have come together to call upon
world leaders and decision makers to stop the war in Lebanon
and Palestine as well to pressure Israel to cease its assault
upon those two countries and to give people back their
rights. Ladies from various sectors of society responded to
this call- their names appear below.

Calling out with the voice of bereaved mothers; mothers who
have lost their children in the beastly Israeli attack on
Lebanon and Palestine. A war so wide-ranging that it has
caught women, children, elderly and the countries,
infrastructure in its net and deprived them of the basic
necessities of life in a country already riddled with scars
of decades of long war.

"We as Saudi-Arab women declare that we are a peace-loving
people trying to bring up children who will assist in the
creation of and not in the destruction of humanity.
Therefore, and in the name of all women, mothers, wives,
sisters, widows and orphans we demand that world leaders and
decision makers as well as the United Nations, the Security
Council and human rights organizations act now to stop the
war that Israel is waging against the Lebanese and
Palestinian people and which has targeted innocent civilians,
women, children the elderly, the disabled and the environment
and to hold Israel accountable for its breaches of
international law in its daily acts of state terror committed
under the eyes of the world.

JEDDAH 00000586 002 OF 002

The wars that have ignited and still igniting in the Arab
region and whose first victims have been women and children
are the principal reasons for the feelings of insecurity and
instability in this part of the world as well as the sense
that we are deprived of the right to a peaceful existence
that many around the world enjoy. We call again upon an
immediate ceasefire and hope and pray that our people will be
able to look forward to a world where peace, freedom and
security reign supreme." END TRANSLATION OF FINAL STATEMENT.

4. (U) SIGNATORIES.
The Jeddah based Saudi Business and Professional Women's
Association (SBPWA) wrote the petition and coordinated the
call for signatures. Signatories include business, academic,
and social leaders throughout the Kingdom. To date, 870
women have signed the petition. Prominent Saudi women
signatories include: Sameera Bitar, founder and president of
the Saudi Business and Professional Women's Association;
Fatin Bundagji, board member of the Jeddah Chamber of
Commerce; Samar Fatani, a veteran Arab News journalist and
wife of its editor in chief; and Nawal Al-Harbi, an educator.


5. (U) REACH.
The SBPWA extended their call for signatures beyond the KSA
to the all of the GCC countries. The petition was placed
on-line on several internet blogs, including
saudielection.com and lebanonupdates.blogspot. There was
significant regional press coverage of the petition with
English articles running in both the Arab News and Khaleej
Times on July 21 and July 23 respectively. The final
statement was sent to many western embassies and
organizations throughout the KSA, including the US Embassy.

6. (U) PROMINENT BUSINESSWOMAN.
Subsequent to the release of the final petition, CG Gfoeller
met informally with a prominent businesswoman, who was a
signatory to the petition, to discuss other matters. The
conversation touched on a number of topics, but the petition
strangely never came up. Towards the end of their
discussion, the CG broached the topic of the petition and
asked the businesswoman directly if she had anything personal
to add. The businesswomen quickly said that her
participation was pro forma and that the CG should not take
the statement too seriously or personally. She said she had
to do it because there was "pressure to sign" the statement.
She added that she was not pleased with the war in Lebanon
primarily because she has had to postpone some of her
business ventures in the region.

7. (U) COMMENT.
Prior to the release of the petition, the PAO was in touch
with some of the drafters and recommended that they also
explicitly condemn Hezbollah's provocation in their
statement. In addition to not heeding the PAO's
recommendation, the drafters also unfortunately cut the
portion rejecting all violence in the region in the final
version. This may explain the Saudi businesswoman's
reticence on the topic in her discussion with the CG.
However, it is a very welcome development that Saudi women
are becoming increasingly emboldened in taking political
stances and organizing themselves. One of the key female
drafters has confirmed to the PDO that they did not seek SAG
approval at any point in the process of writing or sending
the petition to foreign organizations and embassies.
Consulate-Jeddah intends to nurture Saudi women's active
participation in foreign and domestic politics to the
greatest extent possible, especially through the CG's
well-developed contacts at the Jeddah Chamber of
Commerce-Women's Section. END COMMENT.
Gfoeller

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