US embassy cable - 88AMMAN10345 (original version)

PLO AND THE INTIFADA (original version)

Identifier: 88AMMAN10345
Wikileaks: View 88AMMAN10345 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Amman
Created: 1988-09-01 08:01:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: KPAL PGOV PREL JO IS
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
R 010801Z SEP 88
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1460
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L AMMAN 10345 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:OADR 
TAGS:  KPAL, PGOV, PREL, JO, IS 
SUBJECT:  PLO AND THE INTIFADA 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  SUMMARY:  DURING A COURTESY CALL ON THE CHARGE 
AUGUST 29, RATIB AMAR OF THE MFA'S DEPARTMENT OF 
PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS, DERIDED THE "INCOMPETENCE" OF THE 
PLO AND SAID THAT THE ORGANIZATION WAS LARGELY 
RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING DISUNITY AND TENSIONS WITHIN 
THE VARIOUS PALESTINIAN GROUPS IN THE OCCUPIED 
TERRITORIES.  HE OUTLINED IN SOME DETAIL DEVELOPMENTS 
AMONG THOSE GROUPS.  AMAR ADDED THAT THE IDF LACKED 
DISCIPLINE AND WAS NOT ADEPT AT PUTTING DOWN 
DISTURBANCES.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  RATIB AMAR, A RETIRED ARMY OFFICER AND, ACCORDING TO 
SOME OF HIS COLLEAGUES, NOW THE GID'S (THE INTELLIGENCE 
DEPARTMENT) POINT-MAN IN THE MFA'S DEPARTMENT OF 
PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS (FORMERLY THE MINISTRY OF OCCUPIED 
TERRITORIES AFFAIRS), CALLED ON THE CHARGE AUGUST 29. 
AMAR, WHO HIMSELF IS FROM NEAR HEBRON, MADE NO ATTEMPT 
TO HIDE HIS DISDAIN FOR THE PLO.  HIS BRIEF INCLUDED THE 
FOLLOWING POINTS: 
 
-- THE PLO FACES A HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY TO SHOULDER ITS 
RESPONSIBILITY, I.E. DECLARE A PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT 
AND PROVIDE SERVICES TO PALESTINIANS.  IF PAST 
EXPERIENCE IS ANY INDICATION, IT WILL LET THE 
OPPORTUNITY SLIP.  (HE EXPECTS THAT WHEN THE PLO FAILS, 
ITS LEADERSHIP WILL BE DESTROYED FROM WITHIN THE 
OCCUPIED TERRITORIES -- BUT THE INSIDERS WILL BE 
RADICALS.) 
 
-- THE PLO LEADERSHIP IS UNABLE TO COORDINATE RESISTANCE 
ACTIVITY AND ITS INCOMPETENCE HAS CREATED SCHISMS AND 
SPLITS WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION.  THE ISRAELIS, AFTER A 
BUNGLING START, ARE LEARNING HOW TO EXPLOIT THESE 
SPLITS.  FOR EXAMPLE, ISRAELI-SPONSORED LEAFLETS ARE 
BEGINNING TO APPEAR IN THE NAME OF THE INTIFADA 
LEADERSHIP. 
 
-- THE EMERGENCE OF HAMAS (WHICH INCLUDES ISLAMIC 
FUNDAMENTALIST GROUPS) IS A DANGEROUS TREND.  CHRISTIANS 
AND MOSLEMS HAVE LIVED PEACEFULLY TOGETHER IN THE WEST 
BANK, BUT THE RELIGIOUS FERVOR OF HAMAS COULD DISRUPT 
THIS HARMONY. 
 
-- THE EMERGENCE OF HAMAS HAS PROVOKED THE ESTABLISHMENT 
OF A "CHRISTIAN-RESISTANCE MOVEMENT" (HAMAM) WHICH IS 
NOW ACTIVE IN CHRISTIAN AREAS SUCH AS BETHLEHEM AND 
RAMALLAH. 
 
-- THE COMMUNISTS ARE ALSO INDEPENDENTLY ACTIVE IN THE 
NORTH, JERUSALEM, AND THE CHRISTIAN AREAS AS WELL.  THE 
PLO HAS BOTCHED ITS ROLE OF COORDINATING THE RESISTANCE. 
 
-- THE PLO WILL BE UNABLE TO FILL THE VACUUM LEFT BY 
JORDANIAN WITHDRAWAL.  CONSEQUENTLY, THE PEOPLE IN THE 
OCCUPIED TERRITORIES WILL SUFFER SINCE JORDAN NO LONGER 
PROVIDES NEEDED SERVICES. 
 
4.  AMAR, A RETIRED INFANTRY BRIGADIER, WAS ALSO 
CRITICAL OF THE IDF.  ACCORDING TO AMAR, THE IDF HAS 
MISHANDLED THE DISTURBANCES BY USING WRONG TACTICS AND 
EQUIPMENT.  AMAR CLEARLY IMPLIED THAT THE JORDANIANS 
WOULD HAVE STAMPED OUT A SIMILAR DISTURBANCE MUCH 
SOONER.  THE JOB CALLS FOR POLICE, NOT SOLDIERS, HE 
SAID.  AS A FORMER ARMY OFFICER, AMAR WAS PARTICULARLY 
UNIMPRESSED WITH THE LACK OF DISCIPLINE AMONG ISRAELI 
SOLDIERS.  HE SAID THAT THE SLOVENLY APPEARANCE OF IDF 
SOLDIERS NOT ONLY DOES NOT INSPIRE ANY RESPECT AMONG THE 
POPULATION BUT IN FACT ENCOURAGES FURTHER 
DEMONSTRATIONS.  AMAR SAID THAT THE ISRAELI ARMY -- 
ORGANIZED FOR WAR -- HAS BEEN SENT ON A MISSION THAT 
SHOULD BE RESERVED FOR THE POLICE.  THE EFFECT WILL BE 
TO REDUCE THE IDF'S CAPABILITY AS WELL. 
 
5.  COMMENT:  AMAR IS A CLOSE ASSOCIATE OF LABOR 
MINISTER DUDIN (FORMER MINISTER OF OCCUPIED TERRITORIES 
AFFAIRS).  AMAR'S PAST CREDENTIALS LEND CREDIBILITY TO 
HIS ASSESSMENT OF THE SITUATION ON THE WEST BANK AND 
GAZA.  HOWEVER, WE ARE A LITTLE SURPRISED AT THIS 
UNSOLICITED BRIEFING (FOR THAT IT WAS) BY A SENIOR GOJ 
OFFICIAL. 
 
THEROS 

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