US embassy cable - 95BEIRUT3413

QADHAFI THREAT TO EXPEL PALESTINIANS STOKES LEBANESE PARANOIA RE "IMPLANTATION"

Identifier: 95BEIRUT3413
Wikileaks: View 95BEIRUT3413 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Beirut
Created: 1995-09-08 09:49:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: KPAL PREL PREF PGOV LE LY
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 080949Z SEP 95
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8705
AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 
AMEMBASSY AMMAN 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 
AMEMBASSY CAIRO 
C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 003413 
 
 
PARIS FOR ALLEGRONE; LONDON FOR TUELLER 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL:9/8/05 
TAGS:  KPAL, PREL, PREF, PGOV, LE, LY 
SUBJECT:  QADHAFI THREAT TO EXPEL PALESTINIANS 
STOKES LEBANESE PARANOIA RE "IMPLANTATION" 
 
1. (U) LIBYAN LEADER QADHAFI'S THREAT TO EXPEL A 
REPORTED 50,000 PALESTINIAN WORKERS FROM LIBYA 
HAS PRODUCED LOCAL REPORTS THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE 
OR WILL BE COMING TO LEBANON.  ACCORDING TO 
PRESS REPORTS, FATAH DISSIDENT MUNIR AL-MUQDAH 
HAS CLAIMED THAT 2,000 SUCH REFUGEES ALREADY 
HAVE RETURNED, MOSTLY TO CAMPS IN THE SOUTH. 
AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, WHOSE LOCAL OFFICE IS 
OFTEN SENSATIONAL AND UNRELIABLE, PUTS THE 
NUMBER AT ONLY 400. 
 
2. (U)  WHATEVER THE TRUE NUMBERS OF 
PALESTINIANS WHO MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE TRICKLED 
BACK FROM LIBYA IN RECENT WEEKS, THE GOL IS 
SENDING SIGNALS THAT IT WILL NOT BE, IN THE TERM 
USED IN LOCAL NEWSPAPERS, THE "DUMPING GROUND" 
FOR PALESTINIANS EXPELLED FROM OTHER REGIONAL 
STATES.  THUS THE GOL HAS REPORTEDLY ISSUED 
ORDERS TO PORT AUTHORITIES TO DENY ENTRY TO 
SHIPS CARRYING PALESTINIANS FROM LIBYA. 
ACCORDING TO VAGUE RUMORS--A STAPLE OF THE LOCAL 
POLITICAL DIET--FOUR SHIPS CARRYING PALESTINIANS 
HAVE DEPARTED TRIPOLI HEADED TOWARD LEBANON. 
OTHER REPORTS SAY THAT FM BUWAYZ TOOK A TOUGH 
LINE ON THE ISSUE WITH VISITING PLO POLITICAL 
DIRECTOR FAROUQ QADDOUMI IN THEIR SEPTEMBER 5 
MEETING. 
 
3.  (C) COMMENT:  THE GOL IS SEEKING TO SEND OUT 
SIGNALS OF "TOUGHNESS" ON THESE REPORTS, BUT IT 
IS UNCLEAR TO US HOW IT COULD OR WOULD STOP THE 
RETURN OF POSSIBLE MIGRANTS WHO HOLD VALID 
LEBANESE TRAVEL DOCUMENTS.  FOR PALESTINIANS 
WITHOUT SUCH DOCUMENTS, HOWEVER, WE ARE SURE 
THAT--UNLESS SYRIA ORDERED OTHERWISE--THE GOL 
WOULD DENY ENTRY (AS WITH THE HAMAS ACTIVITS 
EXPELLED BY ISRAEL IN 1992, WHO WERE ISOLATED TO 
A MAKESHIFT CAMP AT MARJ AL-ZAHOUR IN THE SOUTH). 
 
4.  (C)  COMMENT CONTINUED:  AS PREVIOUS 
REPORTING HAS DETAILED, IF THERE IS ONE ISSUE 
THAT CAN FORGE SOMETHING APPROACHING A NATIONAL 
CONSENSUS IN FRACTIOUS LEBANON, IT IS A NEGATIVE 
ATTITUDE TOWARD RESETTLEMENT OF PALESTINIANS ON 
LOCAL SOIL.  THE ISSUE, WITH ITS THREAT OF 
DISTURBING THE TENUOUS SECTARIAN BALANCE AS IT 
HELPED DO IN 1975, EVOKES DEEP FEAR AND STRONG 
EMOTION.  ESPECIALLY IN A POLITICAL SEASON WHEN 
PRESIDENT HRAWI AVIDLY IS CURRYING MARONITE 
FAVOR AND SHI'A SPEAKER BIRRI IS TRYING TO 
ASSERT HIS POWER AGAINST SUNNI PM HARIRI AND HIS 
HIZBALLAH RIVALS, WE CAN EXPECT A HARD GOL LINE 
ON ANY PALESTINIAN SETTLEMENT ISSUE THAT MIGHT 
ARISE.  END COMMENT. 
 
5.  (C) EMBASSY IS DISCREETLY FOLLOWING UP WITH 
LOCAL UNRWA CONTACTS TO SEE IF WE CAN SEPARATE 
FACT FROM FEARFUL FANTASY. 
 
SCHLICHER 

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