US embassy cable - 02AMMAN3495

JORDAN: MEDIA REACTION ON PRESIDENT'S SPEECH, OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

Identifier: 02AMMAN3495
Wikileaks: View 02AMMAN3495 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Amman
Created: 2002-06-27 11:35:00
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 02 AMMAN 003495 
 
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 SPEECH, 
OCCUPIED TERRITORIES 
 
SUMMARY 
NEWS REPORTS IN JORDAN'S DAILIES LED WITH DEVELOPMENTS 
IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND THE PRESIDENT'S CALL TO 
CUT OFF AID FROM THE PNA PENDING REFORMS.  COVERAGE OF 
REACTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT'S MIDDLE EAST SPEECH 
REFLECTED POSITIVE COMMENTS FROM ARAB OFFICIALS, AND 
CRITICISM FROM ALL OTHER QUARTERS, INCLUDING AMERICAN 
AND BRITISH COMMENTATORS. 
 
JORDANIAN EDITORIAL COLUMNISTS CONTINUED TO CRITICIZE 
THE PRESIDENT'S MIDDLE EAST SPEECH, CHARGING THAT IT 
IGNORED THE ARAB INITIATIVE AND ARAB DIPLOMACY, AND 
THAT IT HAS PUT ARAB MODERATES AND THE ISRAELI PEACE 
CAMP IN A VERY EMBARRASSING POSITION. 
 
 
NEWS REPORTS 
JORDANIAN DAILIES THIS MORNING COVERED DEVELOPMENTS IN 
THE WEST BANK WITH HEADLINES SUCH AS: "A MILLION 
PALESTINIANS UNDER CURFEW" IN THE INDEPENDENT, MASS- 
APPEAL ARABIC DAILY AL-ARAB AL-YAWM, AND: "PITCHED 
BATTLES IN HEBRON AND LARGE WAVE OF ARRESTS IN THE WEST 
BANK" IN THE SEMI-OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL- 
RAI.  CENTER-LEFT, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-DUSTOUR 
LED WITH THE HEADLINE: "BUSH: NO AID TO THE 
PALESTINIANS WITHOUT REFORMS." 
 
COVERAGE OF REACTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT'S MIDDLE EAST 
SPEECH VARIED BETWEEN POSITIVE PRONOUNCEMENTS BY ARAB 
OFFICIALS, AND CRITICISM FROM OTHER SOURCES.  THE 
CONTRAST WAS MANIFEST IN TWO ADJACENT STORIES IN AL- 
RAI.  THE HEADLINE OF THE FIRST READ: "AMR MUSSA: BUSH 
DID NOT CALL FOR GETTING RID OF ARAFAT" WHILE THE 
HEADLINE NEXT TO IT READ: "EUROPEAN UNION AND CANADA 
CRITICIZE BUSH'S CALL FOR GETTING RID OF ARAFAT." 
 
AL-DUSTOUR AND AL-ARAB AL-YAWM REPORTED ON THEIR FRONT 
PAGES THE ARREST IN THE U.S. OF A JORDANIAN WHO HAD 
SHARED RESIDENCE WITH TWO OF THE SEPTEMBER 11 
HIJACKERS. 
 
 
EDITORIAL COMMENTARY 
-- BUSH IGNORES THE ARAB INITIATIVE 
MOST WIDELY READ JORDANIAN COLUMNIST DR. FAHED AL-FANEK 
WROTE IN SEMI-OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI 
ON JUNE 27: "THE REFORMS THAT BUSH ASKED EXCLUSIVELY OF 
THE PALESTINIANS ARE CORRECT, AND IN FACT THEY ARE 
DEMANDED BY THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE.  BUT IN REALITY 
BUSH IS NOT CONCERNED WITH THEM BECAUSE THE U.S. IS IN 
THE HABIT OF DEALING AND MAKING ALLIANCE WITH THE WORST 
DICTATORIAL CORRUPT REGIMES. IN FACT, PRESIDENT BUSH 
ASKED CERTAIN RULERS TO HELP IMPLEMENT POLITICAL AND 
FISCAL REFORMS IN PALESTINE THAT THEY DO NOT CARRY OUT 
IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES. THE OTHER POINT IS THAT THE 
LEADERS OF JORDAN, EGYPT AND SAUDI ARABIA MADE SEVERAL 
VISITS TO WASHINGTON AND SPENT LONG HOURS WITH THE 
PRESIDENT TO EXPLAIN TO HIM THE ARAB POINT OF VIEW, AND 
THEY RETURNED OPTIMISTIC THINKING THAT THEY MANAGED TO 
INFLUENCE HIS THINKING, ONLY TO DISCOVER THAT HE HAD 
CLOSED HIS EYES AND EARS TO THEM BECAUSE HE IS 
COMMITTED TO SHARON'S VISION." 
 
-- THE SIGNIFICANCE OF IGNORING THE ARAB INITIATIVE 
DAILY COLUMNIST MAHMOUD AL-RIMAWI WROTE IN SEMI- 
OFFICIAL, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI ON JUNE 27: 
"DESPITE THE FREQUENT MEETINGS THAT PRESIDENT BUSH MADE 
WITH ARAB LEADERS, AND WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE PUBLICIZED 
ABOUT A POSITIVE SPIRIT IN THESE MEETINGS THAT WERE 
HELD AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS, IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE 
AMERICAN HAWKS, WHO SHOULD BETTER BE DESCRIBES AND THE 
AMERICAN LIKUD, WERE DOING ALL THAT THEY COULD TO MAKE 
THE ADMINISTRATION'S VIEWS COMPATIBLE WITH THOSE OF THE 
OCCUPATION GOVERNMENT IN TEL AVIV.  THIS IS THE GREAT 
DANGER OF THE SPEECH. ONE NEEDS TO BE AN IMBECILE TO 
BELIEVE AND TRUST THAT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE 
PALESTINIAN STATE SHOULD START WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF 
ITS NUCLEUS WHILE CLOSING THE DOOR AGAINST SERIOUS 
NEGOTIATIONS ON THE SYRIAN AND LEBANESE TRACKS.  ARABS 
ARE NOW CALLED UPON TO MOBILIZE THEMSELVES TO END THIS 
SAGA THAT USES THE PRETEXT OF FIGHTING TERRORISM TO 
PREVENT PEACE AND ABET THE STATE TERRORISM THAT IS 
BEING PRACTICED BY THE WAR CRIMINALS OF TEL AVIV." 
 
-- ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK 
PROMINENT JORDANIAN COLUMNIST URAIB RANTAWI WROTE IN 
CENTER-LEFT, INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-DUSTOUR ON 
JUNE 27: THE TONGUE [THAT UTTERED THE SPEECH] BELONGED 
TO PRESIDENT BUSH, BUT THE HAND [THAT WROTE IT] WAS 
THAT OF SHARON, TO THE POINT THAT SHARON COULD EASILY 
CLAIM COPYRIGHT OF THIS SPEECH.  PRESIDENT BUSH'S 
SPEECH IS A PERSONAL DEFEAT FOR ARAFAT, AND A STAB FOR 
ARAB DIPLOMACY.  NOT ONLY BECAUSE IT IGNORED COMPLETELY 
THE INITIATIVE OF PRICE ABDULLAH AND THE BEIRUT 
DECLARATION, BUT ALSO BECAUSE IT ADOPTED THE ISRAELI 
VERSION FROM A TO Z, AND REFUSED TO COMMIT ITSELF TO 
ANY ARAB RIGHTS OF INTERESTS.  THE NET RESULT IS THAT 
BUSH HAS OPENED THE DOOR FOR ESCALATING THE CRISIS 
RATHER THAN SOLVING IT.  HE HAS GIVEN FRESH IMPETUS FOR 
EXTREMISTS IN THE REGION, MADE THE LIFE OF ARAB 
MODERATES EXTREMELY DIFFICULT, WEAKENED THE PNA IN 
FAVOR OF ITS RIVALS, GIVEN SHARON AND THE RIGHT-WING 
CAMP A NEW LEASE OF LIFE, AND PLACED THE ISRAELI PEACE 
CAMP UNDER SIEGE." 
 
-- WHERE IS THE ISRAELI PEACE PARTNER? 
TAHER AL-ADWAN, CHIEF EDITOR OF INDEPENDENT, MASS- 
APPEAL ARABIC DAILY AL-ARAB AL-YAWM WROTE ON JUNE 27: 
"PRESIDENT BUSH'S SPEECH CONTAINS MANY ERRORS, THE MOST 
IMPORTANT OF WHICH WAS TO PORTRAY THE PALESTINIAN 
LEADERSHIP AND ITS PRESIDENT, ARAFAT, AS UNFIT TO BE A 
PARTNER IN MAKING PEACE, EVEN THOUGH ARAFAT HAS A NOBEL 
PEACE PRIZE, AND HE WAS THE FIRST PALESTINIAN LEADER TO 
SHAKE HANDS WITH ISRAELI LEADERS AND TO RECOGNIZE 
ISRAEL. IF PRESIDENT BUSH WERE BALANCED, HE WOULD HAVE 
CALLED FOR A CHANGE IN THE ISRAELI LEADERSHIP, BECAUSE 
EVEN ISRAELIS ACKNOWLEDGE THAT SHARON WAS A VOICE 
AGAINST EVERY PEACE TREATY WITH EVERY ARAB COUNTRY, AND 
HE IS AN EXPERT OF CRIMINALITY, MASSACRES, AND 
DESTRUCTION. BUT BUSH CHOSE NOT TO BE BALANCED, AND HIS 
VIEWS WILL PASS AS DUST, THE SAME AS THE DUST RAISED BY 
THE CHAINS OF SHARON'S TANKS."  GNEHM 

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