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Cablegate: Haniyah's Speech Seeks to Bolster Hamas

VZCZCXRO7131
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1329 1781238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271238Z JUN 07
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8187
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 001329

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAL KWBG PGOV PREL PTER IS
SUBJECT: HANIYAH'S SPEECH SEEKS TO BOLSTER HAMAS
LEGITIMACY, BLAMES OUTSIDE ACTORS FOR PALESTINIAN PROBLEMS

REF: A. GMP20070624643002

1. (SBU) Summary: In a speech on June 24, former HAMAS PM
Ismail Haniyah blamed Israel and the U.S. for problems
between HAMAS and Fatah and criticized the planned Sharm
al-Sheikh summit. Haniyah reassured Gazans that they are
safe. He blamed a "trend" in Fatah for undermining the
political partnership and proposed reconciliation between
Fatah and HAMAS. A Gaza-based PLO Executive Committee member
commented to PolOff that Gazans were very attentive to the
speech and hope for movement in a political process soon.
End summary.

Haniyah's Speech
----------------

2. (U) Former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah on June 24 spoke
for nearly two hours at a rally in Gaza and told Palestinians
that their main conflict is with Israel. He accused Israel
of working to deepen the divide between Palestinian factions
by restricting movement from Gaza and by releasing clearance
revenues only to the West Bank. He dismissed the June 25
Sharm al-Sheikh summit among President Mahmud Abbas (Abu
Mazen), Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, Jordanian King
Abdullah, and Egyptian President Mubarak and insisted only
resistance will restore Palestinians' rights and lands.
Haniyah extended his criticism to the U.S. when he suggested
that the Palestinians who undermined the national unity
government (NUG) are working toward U.S. objectives.

3. (U) Haniyah said the problem is not between HAMAS and
Abbas or HAMAS and Fatah, but he blamed a "trend" in Fatah
for emphasizing its own interests over general Palestinian
well-being. (NOTE: Palestinian press are linking this
"treasonous trend" with Muhammad Dahlan, but Haniyah did not
name names in his speech. END NOTE.) He reiterated that
Fatah members and institutions in Gaza are not at risk from
HAMAS, but said HAMAS intends to prosecute criminals,
regardless of their factional affiliation. Haniyah said
HAMAS's take-over of Gaza was a preemptive strike in response
to the pressure on HAMAS related to international
restrictions, the arrest of PLC members, and Fatah attacks
against HAMAS personnel and interests. He displayed at the
rally a letter that he said had sent to Abbas detailing
violations of the Mecca Agreement and warning of Fatah's
"planned explosion," which he said HAMAS's take-over of Gaza
was intended to prevent.

4. (U) Haniyah praised HAMAS's refusal to surrender to the
international financial blockade and willingness to work with
other Palestinian factions in the NUG. He rejected the word
"coup" to describe HAMAS's actions. HAMAS came to power
through elections, Haniyah stated, and HAMAS acted to protect
its legitimacy in Gaza. Since the take-over, Gaza has become
more secure than before, Haniyah said. He reassured Gazans
that their isolation will end and HAMAS will seek to pay PA
employee salaries. He denied reports that HAMAS intends to
establish an independent Islamic emirate in Gaza, criticized
Abbas's decree to form a new government as illegal and
claimed that Abbas's actions will deepen the divide between
the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

5. (U) Haniyah read a ten point proposal to end the current
crisis, which included establishing a new NUG for all the
Palestinian territories, restructuring the security services,
ending the anti-HAMAS practices in the West Bank, and holding
those who committed crimes during the clashes accountable.
He also reassured Christians that HAMAS will look after their
interests and denied that HAMAS was responsible for the
looting of a Christian school in Gaza. Additionally, Haniyah
described the "Dayton Plan" as undermining security reform
efforts. He also criticized Abbas for using PLO committees
to rubber stamp his policies and denied that HAMAS had formed
an axis with Iran and Syria.

PLO-EC Member in Gaza
---------------------

6. (SBU) PLO Executive Committee (PLO-EC) member Riad
al-Khodary told PolOff in a telephone conversation from Gaza
that Gazans had listened to Haniyah's speech with great
interest. Palestinians had hoped for more concrete steps,
and everyone in Gaza wonders what will happen next. Khodary
said business seems to have returned to normal and people are
moving safely through the streets, but he does not believe
the situation is tenable. He said he feels that Gazans are
on edge, waiting to see what Haniyah and HAMAS will do after
the speech.
WALLES

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