US embassy cable - 02AMMAN2243

MODERATES IN PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP UNEASY ABOUT U.S. INTENTIONS IN AFTERMATH OF ISRAELI OFFENSIVE

Identifier: 02AMMAN2243
Wikileaks: View 02AMMAN2243 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Amman
Created: 2002-05-07 13:34:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PGOV PREF KPAL KWBG IS JO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 002243 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/06/2012 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PREF, KPAL, KWBG, IS, JO 
SUBJECT: MODERATES IN PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP UNEASY ABOUT 
U.S. INTENTIONS IN AFTERMATH OF ISRAELI OFFENSIVE 
 
 
Classified By: CDA Gerg Berry, per 1.5 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary and Comment:  In the aftermath of Israel's 
Operation Defensive Shield, the mood among even moderate 
factions in Amman's Wihdat refugee camp is suspicious and 
uneasy about Israeli and U.S. intentions.  In a May 1 
meeting with emboffs, Palestinian notables from Wihdat 
questioned U.S. "protection" of Israel as evidenced by 
cancellation of the UN's Jenin fact-finding mission; 
questioned stated U.S. support for the creation of a 
Palestinian state; and warned that the recent Israeli 
offensive would lead to greater political extremism within 
the West Bank and Jordan.  The notables believe the only 
way to repair the damage of the last few months is to make 
dramatic progress toward the creation of a Palestinian 
state. End summary and comment. 
 
2.  (C) Refcoord and poloff met on May 1 with former member 
of Parliament Mohamed al-Kuz and Palestinian notables from 
Wihdat refugee camp.  Wihdat, located within and 
indistinguishable from Amman's poorer eastern 
neighborhoods, is one of Jordan's largest and most 
politically active Palestinian refugee camps. It also has 
been the scene of some of the more violent demonstrations 
in recent weeks.  Al-Kuz and the notables who accompanied 
him represent the most moderate faction among Jordan's 
Palestinian refugee camps:  those who embrace a two-state 
solution and fully support the Jordanian regime and its 
pro-U.S. policies. 
 
DISAPPOINTMENT IN U.S. "PROTECTION" OF ISRAEL FOLLOWING 
JENIN "CRIMES" 
 
3.  (C) As soon as the pleasantries were out of the way, a 
clearly distressed notable began questioning emboffs about 
the UN's decision to cancel the fact-finding mission to 
Jenin refugee camp.  Somberly telling emboffs that his own 
relative had personally witnessed the IDF loading 
Palestinian corpses into trucks and "taking them to an 
Israeli crocodile farm within the West Bank," the notable 
wanted to know why the U.S. was "protecting" Israel.  No 
other army in the world, he told emboffs, would be allowed 
to get away with the "crimes" committed in Jenin refugee 
camp.  (Note:  ConGen Jerusalem confirms that there is, in 
fact, a crocodile farm in the West Bank.  The notable's 
story might not seem outlandish to a Palestinian familiar 
with the West Bank.) 
 
QUESTIONING THE DETAILS OF U.S. VISION 
 
4.  (C) The notables questioned emboffs extensively about 
the U.S. vision of two states -- Israel and Palestine -- 
living side-by-side in peace and security.  Explaining that 
they believed the U.S. had given an implicit "green light" 
for Israeli destruction of PA facilities in the West Bank, 
the notables wondered whether U.S. support for a 
Palestinian state extended only to Gaza.  And if a 
Palestinian state were limited to Gaza, they asked, did the 
U.S. support a federation of the West Bank with Jordan? 
The notables were also concerned about the purpose of a new 
international peace conference.  Hadn't the Madrid 
conference created an appropriate framework?  And if a new 
conference were convened, the notables asked, would the 
international community absolve Israel of its 
responsibilities under the Oslo process?  The notables 
asked emboffs how Palestinians could ever believe Israel 
would be held accountable to its agreements, if the 
international community "gave up" on Oslo. 
 
5.  (C) Given the widespread damage inflicted by the IDF in 
the West Bank, the notables also wondered how anyone could 
realistically expect peace in the immediate aftermath of 
Operation Defensive Shield.  Stressing repeatedly that they 
themselves did not condone violence, the notables warned 
that Palestinian humiliation and suffering of the last 
month will result in "thousands" more suicide bombers. 
Only the creation of a Palestinian state will alleviate 
tensions. 
 
NEGATIVE REPERCUSSIONS FOR JORDANIAN DOMESTIC POLITICS 
 
6.  (C) The Wihdat camp leadership fears that the Israeli 
offensive will lead to greater popular support for 
political extremism within Jordan.  Pointing to the Muslim 
Brotherhood's "sweeping" victory in late April's 
Engineering Association elections, Al-Kuz told emboffs that 
many people now believe the MB was right to reject the Oslo 
process.  After watching weeks of destruction in the West 
Bank, Jordanians could only believe that engagement with 
Israel would bring "ruin" to the Palestinians.  The only 
possible solution to turn Jordanians away from extremism 
would be the immediate creation of the state of Palestine. 
Absent such a move, Al-Kuz believes King Abdullah will have 
no choice but to postpone Jordan's upcoming but still 
unscheduled parliamentary elections in order to prevent an 
MB victory.  Al-Kuz noted that such a decision would be in 
full accord with Jordan's constitution and likely greeted 
with relief by political moderates like himself.  He 
predicted that the King would call the former Parliament 
back into session. 
 
SUPPORT FOR MAINTAINING TIES WITH ISRAEL 
 
7.  (C) Al-Kuz and the notables expressed strong support 
for the GOJ's decision to maintain ties with Israel. 
Although they acknowledged that there is great popular 
demand for a complete break in relations, the notables said 
relations with Israel are necessary to provide a "lifeline" 
to the Palestinian people.  Through its relations with 
Israel and subsequent ability to funnel Arab aid to the 
West Bank, Jordan is the "savior" of the Palestinian 
people. 
 
WIHDAT SADDENED; CALM FOR NOW 
 
8.  (C) Echoing comments made by sources from other camps, 
the notables described the mood in Wihdat as very sad. 
They said "everyone" has had a relative killed, arrested, 
or left homeless during the recent incursions.  Although 
Wihdat had been the scene of some of the most violent 
confrontations between demonstrators and police, the 
notables believe only an extreme Israeli action, such as an 
invasion of Gaza, would trigger renewed violence within the 
camp. 
 
COMMENT 
 
9.  (C) Al-Kuz and the notables from Wihdat represent the 
most moderate thinking among Jordan's Palestinian refugee 
camps.  Although they still strongly support a two-state 
solution, their skepticism over the details and U.S. 
willingness to pressure Israel to meet its obligations, 
reveals an important change in the mood of moderates 
following 
Israeli incursions into the West Bank.  Absent dramatic 
progress toward the creation of a Palestinian state -- a 
Palestinian state politically acceptable to Palestinians -- 
their pro-regime and pro-U.S. stance may be hard to maintain. 
 
BERRY 

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