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Cablegate: Special Media Reaction Report: Events in Gaza

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0920/01 3661005
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 311005Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5734
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 7482
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 5044
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3787
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 8037
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 2270
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5673
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1630
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7652

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000920

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ELA, INR/IC/CD, INR/R/MR VOA NEWS CA,
NEA/PPD, IIP/G/NEA-SA MRUSSELL
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: SPECIAL MEDIA REACTION REPORT: EVENTS IN GAZA
DECEMBER Subject: Special Media Reaction Report: Events in Gaza Dec.
30-31, 2008

1. Summary: Syrian papers feature photos of Palestinian casualties
and large impassioned demonstrations in cities throughout Syria.
Papers on December 31 also carried photos of President Asad's
meeting with Senator Arlen Specter. A Syrian editorialist laments
the closure of Rafah crossing and urges Egyptian steps against
Israel.

------------------------------------------
President Asad's Meeting with U.S. Senator Arlen Specter
------------------------------------------
The Syrian Arab News Agency reported that during Senator Arlen
Specter's 12/30 meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad
Tuesday, the President stressed the importance of halting "the
Israeli massacres which are being committed against the unarmed
Palestinian people, lifting the unjust siege on them, and opening
all crossings permanently."
------------------------------------------
Foreign Minister Mouallem Receives phone calls from his European
Counterparts
------------------------------------------
All papers reported that Foreign Minister Mouallem received phone
calls from the French, Norwegian and Spanish foreign ministers.
Their calls focused on the dangerous developments in Gaza and the
need for Arab and international efforts to pressure Israel to halt
its "aggression" immediately, as well as the need to reach a
humanitarian truce to allow medical relief and food aid to enter
Gaza through all crossings.
------------------------------------------
Turkish Foreign Minister Erdogan to Begin Tour of the Region to
discuss Gaza
--------------------------------------------- ----
Papers on December 30 reported that Turkish FM Erdogan will begin a
tour of Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in connection with
the Israeli air attacks against the Gaza Strip. Turkish PM Erdogan
will meet President Asad today to discuss developments in Gaza.
All papers reported Turkish President Gul's statement that Turkey's
first priority is to reach a ceasefire in Gaza and extend
humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people. Gul also warned against
the danger of the conflict's expansion beyond Gaza, which would
jeopardize the whole region.
-------------
Arab Summit:
-------------
Al-Watan on December 30 quoted informed diplomatic sources as saying
that so far only ten Arab countries have committed to attend the
Arab summit, and that it is not yet clear whether enough countries
will commit to attend.
------------------------------------------
Damascus-Based Palestinian Factions Reject
Abbas' Call for Meeting on Gaza
------------------------------------------
Al-Watan reported on December 30 that Damascus-based Palestinian
factions categorically rejected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas'
call for a meeting on Gaza.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command
[PFLP-GC] described Abbas's call as confused and "too late."
Palestinian Islamic Jihad rejected the call, calling it
"promotional."
In a telephone interview with Al-Watan, PFLP-GC media officer Anwar
Raja said Abbas's call is "unacceptable." Raja stated that any
meeting "must have a very clear agenda within natural and positive
climates." He said Abbas is trying to "seize the opportunity to mend
his image and make some nominal gains."
While HAMAS made no official statement on its position toward the
proposed meeting, Raja stressed that the Islamic movement "is moving
in the same direction" and rejects Abbas' call.
Raja strongly criticized Abbas for holding the resistance
responsible for the "holocaust" in Gaza. This, he said, "provided
excuses for the Zionist killing machine." He added: "Through his
participation in the siege, pressure, and political incitement
against the resistance in general and HAMAS in particular, Abbas is
involved in the Gaza massacre."
--------------------
Selected Headlines:
--------------------


"President Asad discusses developments in the region with U.S. Arlen
Specter. President Asad reiterates the importance of halting
Israeli massacres against the Palestinian people and removing unjust
siege and opening all crossings" (Government-owned Tishreen,
December 31)

"An Egyptian source: A meeting between Mahmoud Abbas' officials and
Israeli officers to discuss 'horizons for hitting Gaza'"
(Independent al-Watan, December 31)

"Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic countries will
hold an exceptional meeting on Gaza in Jeddah on Saturday"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, December 31)

"In the fourth day of Israeli aggression against Gaza: 2100
casualties among Palestinians. The resistance's missiles reach Beer
Sheva" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, December 31)


-------------------
Selected Editorial:
-------------------

"Rafah: the Arabs' Agony"
Samira Masalmeh, Chief Editor of government-owned daily Tishreen,
commented on Dec. 30: "In an attempt to divide the (Arab) nation and
its countries, some are tendentiously talking about a campaign
against Egypt...Egypt can do what no other Arab country can do to
pressure Israel, such as break off diplomatic relations, recall its
ambassador, sever economic and trade relations, or take all these
measures together and open the crossings..."
"This is a turning point in the history of the Palestinian cause. It
is extremely dangerous, as some are pushing things to the stage of
final defeat. It is perhaps right to say now that no harm to the
Palestinian cause is worse than this harm, which reaches the point
of conspiracy and betrayal of the resistance if Arab silence remains
the dominant factor."
CONNELLY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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