US embassy cable - 02AMMAN3461

JORDAN MEDIA REACTION ON PRESIDENT'S MIDDLE EAST SPEECH, AMERICAN PRODUCTS BOYCOTT RALLY.

Identifier: 02AMMAN3461
Wikileaks: View 02AMMAN3461 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Amman
Created: 2002-06-26 09:33:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: KMDR 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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 AMMAN 003461 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARN, NEA/PA, NEA/AIA, INR/NESA, R/MR, 
I/GNEA, B/BXN, B/BRN, NEA/PPD 
USAID/ANE/MEA 
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH 
PARIS FOR O'FRIEL 
USCINCCENT/CCPA, USCENTCOM REAR MACDILL AFB FL 
NICOSIA FOR ILMG 
STATE PASS TO AID 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
 
TAGS: KMDR JO 
SUBJECT: JORDAN MEDIA REACTION ON PRESIDENT'S MIDDLE 
EAST SPEECH, AMERICAN PRODUCTS BOYCOTT RALLY. 
 
SUMMARY.  NEWS REPORTS ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S MIDDLE 
EAST SPEECH VARIED WIDELY IN THE JORDANIAN PRESS. 
WHILE SEMI-OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI 
AND ITS SISTER NEWSPAPER CENTRIST, INFLUENTIAL AMONG 
THE ELITE ENGLISH DAILY JORDAN TIMES PRAISED IT AS 
BEING COMPATIBLE WITH JORDAN'S VISION, THE CENTER-LEFT, 
INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-DUSTOUR REPORTED 
"INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM" AND LOCAL REJECTION OF THE 
SPEECH.  THE INDEPENDENT, MASS-APPEAL ARABIC DAILY AL- 
ARAB AL-YAWM ONLY REPORTED BARE BONES COVERAGE OF THE 
GOJ STATEMENT WELCOMING THE SPEECH.  EDITORIAL 
COMMENTARIES ALSO REFLECTED CONTRASTING VIEWS ABOUT THE 
PRESIDENT'S SPEECH, FROM COMMENTS LIKE "THE WAY 
FORWARD" IN THE JORDAN TIMES AND "BUSH'S VIEWS MEET THE 
JORDANIAN VISION" IN AL-RAI, TO "BUSH ACTS AS 
LIEUTENANT FOR SHARON" IN AL-DUSTOUR.  INDIVIDUAL 
COMMENTATORS WERE LARGELY CRITICAL OF THE SPEECH. 
DAILIES ALSO VARIED IN THEIR COVERAGE OF THE 
CANCELLATION OF A RALLY FOR THE BOYCOTT OF AMERICAN 
PRODUCTS ORGANIZED BY THE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS, 
WHICH WAS PLANNED TO TAKE PLACE YESTERDAY.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
NEWS REPORTS: 
 
JORDANIAN DAILIES ON JUNE 26 WERE DOMINATED BY 
REACTIONS TO PRESIDENT BUSH'S SPEECH ON THE MIDDLE 
EAST.  THERE WAS AN UNUSUALLY LARGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 
THE TONE ADOPTED BY SEMI-OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC 
DAILY AL-RAI AND ITS SISTER NEWSPAPER CENTRIST, 
INFLUENTIAL AMONG THE ELITE ENGLISH DAILY JORDAN TIMES 
ON ONE HAND, AND THAT OF CENTER-LEFT, INFLUENTIAL 
ARABIC DAILY AL-DUSTOUR AND INDEPENDENT, MASS-APPEAL 
ARABIC DAILY AL-ARAB AL-YAWM ON THE OTHER. 
 
AL-RAI AND THE JORDAN TIMES LED WITH THE HEADLINE: 
"JORDAN WELCOMES BUSH'S SPEECH AND CONSIDERS IT A 
POSITIVE STEP TOWARDS CREATING A PALESTINIAN STATE."  A 
SECOND FRONT-PAGE STORY IN BOTH NEWSPAPERS ANNOUNCED: 
"BUSH'S SPEECH WELCOMED IN THE ARAB WORLD AND 
INTERNATIONALLY, BUT CAUSED DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE 
PALESTINIAN STREET."  THE LEAD STORY IN BOTH NEWSPAPERS 
QUOTED THE STATEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF JORDAN, WHICH 
SAID THAT: "THE SPEECH WAS COMPATIBLE WITH THE 
JORDANIAN POSITION THAT CALLS FOR DEFINING THE OVERALL 
FRAMEWORK FOR THE SOLUTION AND A TIME FRAME FOR 
REVIVING THE PEACE PROCESS." 
 
AL-DUSTOUR, ON THE OTHER HAND, LED WITH THE HEADLINE: 
"INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM OF BUSH'S CALL FOR REPLACING 
ARAFAT" ON TOP OF A PHOTO OF A MUTILATED BODY OF A 
"MARTYR" KILLED IN HEBRON YESTERDAY.  IN A RARE MOVE BY 
THE JORDANIAN MEDIA, AL-DUSTOUR RELEGATED THE 
GOVERNMENT'S STATEMENT TO A SECONDARY HEADLINE IN THE 
THIRD STORY ON THE FRONT PAGE, WITH THE MAIN HEADLINE 
OF THE STORY QUOTING THE FOREIGN MINISTER AS SAYING: 
"BUSH'S SPEECH GOES BEYOND ISRAEL'S REQUEST FOR PHASED 
SOLUTIONS." 
 
THE CANCELLATION OF THE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS' 
RALLY FOR BOYCOTTING AMERICAN PRODUCTS, PLANNED FOR 
YESTERDAY, WAS TREATED WITH EQUALLY DISSIMILAR 
COVERAGE.  AL-RAI IGNORED THE EVENT COMPLETELY, AL- 
DUSTOUR SAID IN A BRIEF REPORT THAT THE RALLY WAS 
CANCELLED, AND AL-ARAB AL-YAWM REPORTED ON THE FRONT 
PAGE THAT: "SECURITY AGENCIES PREVENTED THE 
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS FROM HOLDING THE RALLY FOR 
THE BOYCOTT OF AMERICAN PRODUCTS." 
 
EDITORIAL COMMENTARIES: 
 
-- BUSH'S IDEAS MEET WITH THE JORDANIAN VISION FOR A 
SOLUTION TO THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT. 
THE LEADING COMMENTARY IN SEMI-OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL 
ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI ON JUNE 26 SAID: "THE JORDANIAN 
WELCOME OF THE SPEECH CAME IN REACTION TO THE U.S. 
PRESIDENT'S COMMITMENT TO CONTINUE PLAYING A ROLE, 
SOMETHING THAT HIS MAJESTY KING ABDULLAH STRESSED ON 
MORE THAN ONE OCCASION IN THE U.S.  THE PRESIDENT ALSO 
AFFIRMED THE PALESTINIANS' RIGHT TO AN INDEPENDENT 
STATE IN WHICH THEY WOULD EXERCISE THEIR RIGHT TO SELF- 
DETERMINATION.  ONE SHOULD ALSO REMEMBER THAT JORDAN, 
DURING THE PAST TWO YEARS, CALLED SETTING A TIME-FRAME 
FOR ENDING THE OCCUPATION, AND HERE CAME THE 
PRESIDENT'S SPEECH TO SET A THREE-YEAR DEADLINE FOR THE 
END OF THE OCCUPATION, THEREBY CONFIRMING THE 
CORRECTNESS OF JORDAN'S VISION." 
 
-- BUSH'S SPEECH, A STEP BACKWARDS 
MOST WIDELY-READ DAILY COLUMNIST FAHED AL-FANEK WROTE 
IN SEMI-OFFICIAL INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI ON 
JUNE 26: "PRESIDENT BUSH DID NOT UTTER WORDS SUCH AS 
`OCCUPATION,' `WITHDRAWAL,' `THE 1967 BORDERS,' OR 
`ISRAELI RAIDS ON PALESTINIAN TOWNS AND REFUGEE CAMPS.' 
HE CONCENTRATED ON PALESTINIAN TERRORISM WHOLE IGNORING 
ISRAELI TERRORISM, AND HE CALLED FOR REPLACING THE 
PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT.  IN SHORT, PRESIDENT BUSH GAVE A 
SPEECH IN WHICH HE WENT FURTHER THAN SHARON WOULD HAVE 
HAD HE WRITTEN THE SPEECH HIMSELF.  AS FOR THE REFORMS 
THAT BUSH DEMANDED, THEY ARE WORDS OF TRUTH INTENDED TO 
COVER UP FOR MISCHIEF.  THE TRUE INTENTION BEHIND THEM 
IS TO OBFUSCATE AND BUY TIME FOR SHARON TO COMPLETE HIS 
MISSION." 
 
-- THE OCCUPATION GOVERNMENT WILL NOT RESPOND TO BUSH'S 
SPEECH. 
DAILY COLUMNIST MAHMOUD AL-RIMAWI WROTE IN SEMI- 
OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI ON JUNE 26: 
"THE PRESIDENT CALLED ON THE OCCUPATION GOVERNMENT TO 
WITHDRAW TO ITS POSITIONS BEFORE SEPTEMBER 28, 2000. 
SHARON'S GOVERNMENT WILL NOT DO SO.  INSTEAD, IT WILL 
CONTINUE DESTROYING WHAT REMAINS OF THE PALESTINIAN 
INFRASTRUCTURE.  THE PRESIDENT ALSO ASKED FOR A STOP TO 
SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY.  SHARON'S GOVERNMENT WILL NOT 
ACCEPT TO DO SO EITHER.  THE FEAR IS THAT THE 
ADMINISTRATION WILL RESPOND TO THIS ISRAELI DISDAIN BY 
LAUNCHING ANOTHER ATTACK AGAINST THE PALESTINIAN 
AUTHORITY.  THIS IS HOW IT HAS RESPONDED DURING THE 
PAST YEAR." 
 
-- BUSH ACTS AS SHARON'S LIEUTENANT. 
THE LEADING COMMENTARY OF CENTER-LEFT, INFLUENTIAL 
ARABIC DAILY AL-DUSTOUR ON JUNE 26 SAID: "PRESIDENT 
BUSH'S SPEECH WAS NOT SURPRISING EXCEPT IN THE DEGREE 
OF ITS BIAS FOR ISRAEL, THE FLAGRANCE OF ITS ENMITY TO 
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY, AND ITS TOTAL DISMISSAL OF 
ARAB DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS.  THIS HAS DASHED ALL THE HOPES 
THAT WERE PINNED ON THE U.S. HAVING A RESIDUE OF 
JUSTICE AND INTEGRITY.  THIS SPEECH WILL ONLY 
CONSOLIDATE SHARON'S BELLIGERENCE, PROLONG THE 
OCCUPATION, AND UNLEASH ANOTHER WAVE OF ZIONIST 
EXTREMISM, WHICH WILL UNDOUBTEDLY BE MET WITH PARALLEL 
PALESTINIAN REACTIONS.  BY CONSEQUENCE, BUSH'S SPEECH 
WILL ONLY HAVE USHERED IN MORE BLOODSHED, DESTRUCTION, 
AND DEATH." 
 
-- CHANCES OF IMPLEMENTING BUSH'S IDEAS. 
TAHER AL-ADWAN, CHIEF EDITOR OF INDEPENDENT, MASS- 
APPEAL ARABIC DAILY AL-ARAB AL-YAWM WROTE ON JUNE 26: 
"I EXPECT THAT MOST ARAB STATES WILL ACCEPT BUSH'S 
IDEAS, WHETHER PUBLICLY OR IN SECRET, NOT BECAUSE THEY 
AGREE WITH ANYTHING IN THEM, BUT OUT OF FEAR OF A 
CONFRONTATION WITH WASHINGTON.  IN REALITY, BUSH'S 
IDEAS MEET WITH SHARON'S STRATEGY IN A VITAL POINT, 
THAT OF CHANGING THE PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP AND ALL 
PALESTINIAN INSTITUTIONS.  THIS AGREES WITH SHARON'S 
STRATEGY TO WITHDRAW ISRAEL'S RECOGNITION OF THE 
PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP, WHICH CAME AFTER THE OSLO 
ACCORD.  IN ADDITION, THE PRESIDENT GAVE SHARON 
ADDITIONAL TIME TO CONTINUE HIS WAR AGAINST THE 
PALESTINIAN PEOPLE.  AS FOR PALESTINIAN ORGANIZATIONS, 
BUSH'S DISMISSAL OF THEM WILL ONLY PUSH THEM TO FURTHER 
RESISTANCE AND DAILY MARTYRDOM OPERATIONS, EVEN IF 
ARAFAT CALLS ON THEM EVERY DAY TO STOP." GNEHM 

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