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Cablegate: Shikaki: Abu Mazen Needs Peace Process Success

VZCZCXRO5373
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1846 2431043
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 311043Z AUG 07
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8893
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 001846

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE; NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/WATERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG PGOV PREL PTER IS KDEM KPAL KMPI
SUBJECT: SHIKAKI: ABU MAZEN NEEDS PEACE PROCESS SUCCESS
QUICKLY

1. (SBU) Summary. Khalil Shikaki, head of the Center for
Palestine for Research and Studies (CPRS) told Staffdel
Talwar that PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) needs
tangible success in the planned November international
meeting to deter reconciliation with Hamas. End Summary

Abu Mazen Needs Peace Process Success Quickly
---------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) In an August 18, meeting Khalil Shikaki, head of
the Center for Palestine for Research and Studies (CPRS) told
Staffdel Talwar that Hamas' take over of Gaza has brought
about a desperate situation that calls into question whether
Palestinians can manage their own political affairs, pursue
democratic processes, and achieve peace. According to
Shikaki, for PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and the
current government to navigate this situation successfully,
they need agreement on a framework of principles with Israel
that includes tangible outcomes from the planned November
international meeting. Shikaki said Abu Mazen wants this
meeting to produce an agreement on a 10 page detailed
framework on permanent status issues and yield tangible
benefits. He said it would be "a stroke of genius" if the
meeting produces a release of prisoners including Fatah
leader Marwan Barghouti and Barghouti attends the next Arab
Summit to support the framework agreement.

3. (SBU) Shikaki, believes that Abu Mazen will call for
early elections following the December donor committee
meeting and that these elections would be held in the spring
as a referendum on permanent status issues. Shikaki said he
believes that 60 percent of the Palestinian public will
endorse an Palestinian-Israeli agreement that includes 100
percent of the West Bank with territorial swaps, sovereignty
of the Haram al Sharif, and recognition of the right of
return along the lines of UN General Assembly Resolution 194
and that people are prepared to accept Israeli sovereignty
over Jewish East Jerusalem and settlement blocs that make up
3-4 percent of the West Bank.

4. (SBU) Without progress in November, Shikaki warned,
Fatah will collapse and Abu Mazen will have to return to
negotiations with Hamas. Shikaki said there is "no doubt"
that Abu Mazen will go back to dialogue with Hamas in six
months, it is just a question of the terms. According to
Shikaki, Fatah,s success and failure are tied to a peace
agreement with Israel, and Palestinians will support Fatah,
because of the movement's perceived ability to deliver a
peace settlement, build a state and provide stability.

Hamas
-----

5. (SBU) Shikaki told Staffdel Talwar that Hamas expects
the November meeting to fail without needing to take any
steps to undermine it and is focusing its efforts on
demonstrating responsible governance in Gaza and
consolidating its West Bank assets. Hamas's goal, according
to Shikaki, is to show that Fatah security services were
responsible for the previous lawlessness in Gaza. Shikaki
also said Hamas does not want to draw Israel into Gaza and
does not have to prove its "resistance credentials" vis--vis
Fatah by constantly fighting Israel.

Government,s Performance
------------------------

6. (SBU) Shikaki said the government must be perceived as
trying to meet the humanitarian needs of Gazans and not as
complicit in closing them off. He noted that CPRS, next
poll will be on the credibility of the government.

7. (SBU) Staffdel Talwar cleared on this cable.
DUFFY

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