DE RUEHJM #0720/01 0481109
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 171109Z FEB 06
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0441
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 000720
NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE, NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/MUSTAFA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/16/2016
SUBJECT: INCOMING FATAH PLC MEMBERS TAKE 'WAIT AND SEE'
APPROACH WITH HAMAS
Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, per reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary. In separate February 15 meetings with
ConGen Poloff, newly elected Fatah Palestinian Legislative
Council (PLC) members Dr. Emile Jarjou'i and Dr. Bernard
Sabella, urged caution from both Fatah and the international
community in its approach toward the incoming Hamas-led
government. Jarjou'i indicated that Fatah would not join
Hamas in a National Unity Government and would instead form
the opposition in the PLC. On Hamas governance, Jarjou'i
expected Hamas to perform in the same organized and
disciplined manner that it displayed in the run-up to the
elections. Sabella expressed concern that Fatah's absence
from the government could place the movement in an even
weaker position in the event that Hamas performs well in
running the Palestinian Authority (PA). Jarjou'i and Sabella
agreed that significant changes needed to occur within Fatah
in order for the movement to present an effective challenge
to Hamas, but suggested that the Sixth Fatah Congress would
take place no earlier than the end of the year. End summary.
Jarjou'i: Fatah to
Remain in Opposition
2. (C) Dr. Emile Jarjou'i (a member of the PLO Executive
Committee), retained his PLC seat in the January 25 elections
by winning one of the two allotted Christian seats for
Jerusalem (Sabella won the other Christian seat). Jarjou'i
told Poloff that the scheduled February 18 inauguration of
the new PLC would provide the first indication as to how
Hamas will approach its role in the legislative body and in
the formation of the Palestinian cabinet. Based on
conversations that incoming Fatah PLC members had with Abu
Mazen on February 11 in Ramallah, Jarjou'i expected that
Fatah would not join Hamas in a National Unity Government nor
assume any leadership positions within the PLC. He described
PLC member Azzam al-Ahmad -- who was chosen over Muhammad
Dahlan by Fatah PLC members in a February 11 vote -- as well
qualified to head the Fatah opposition in the Council.
3. (C) Jarjou'i said that he had no prior relationship
with the four incoming Hamas PLC members from Jerusalem who
won seats in the district elections. He was more familiar
with Jerusalemite Muhammad Abu Tir, the number two person on
the Hamas national list behind Ismai'l Hanniyah. Despite
having limited knowledge regarding the incoming Hamas members
to the PLC, Jarjou'i expected that the movement would show a
similar degree of organization and discipline witnessed
during the run-up to the legislative elections.
Sabella Taking New
PLC Role in Stride
4. (C) Bethlehem University Sociology Professor Dr.
Bernard Sabella, who won the other Christian seat in
Jerusalem, told ConGen Poloff that he was just coming to
terms with his new role as a member of the PLC. While eager
to engage directly with, and work for the benefit of, his
Jerusalem constituency, Sabella said that he was still unsure
about the role he would play in the legislative body. (Note:
The Jerusalem district includes residents of East Jerusalem
and the surrounding Palestinian villages to the north and
east of the city. Both Jarjou'i and Sabella received less
than 6,000 votes each in the elections, which lagged well
behind the top vote recipients of Hamas, but proved
sufficient to attain seats under the Christian quota. End
note.) Sabella said that he had been informed that, in his
capacity as a member of the PLC, he would be provided a
secretary, bodyguard, and driver. He joked that he had less
need for a bodyguard than someone with an academic degree who
could help sort out the contours of his constituency.
Sabella said that he intended to spend the next few months
talking to Palestinians to learn their needs before coming
out with a specific agenda.
5. (C) Sabella worried that threats to cut off
international financial assistance to Palestinians under a
Hamas-led government would punish ordinary Palestinians
already burdened by high unemployment and limited economic
prospects. He thought it was unreasonable to expect Hamas to
change its political positions within two to three months.
Instead, practical solutions were required to help the
quality of life for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza
while allowing Hamas time to live up to prior international
6. (C) Sabella suggested that a purported USG/Israeli plan
toward Hamas, as reported in the February 14 "New York Times"
article, would backfire because it would inflame Palestinian
sentiments to the detriment of Fatah. Alternatively, Sabella
argued that there were legitimate reasons for Fatah to join
the next government, which, at a minimum, would allow Fatah
to avoid further marginalization. While he acknowledged that
the majority of Fatah opposed joining the government, he
thought that such a tactic left Fatah with few good
alternatives. Like Jarjou'i, Sabella was unfamiliar with the
Hamas PLC colleagues from Jerusalem, but nonetheless expected
a close working relationship with them in the council.
Long Road For
7. (C) Both Jarjou'i and Sabella expressed confidence in
Abu Mazen's leadership, noting that Abu Mazen had taken a
firm line with respect to calling on Hamas to uphold prior
international commitments. Internally, Abu Mazen faced a
tougher challenge with Fatah. Neither expected the Sixth
Fatah Congress to occur in March, as originally scheduled.
Rather, both expected the Sixth Congress to convene no
earlier than the end of the year. Sabella said that the
results of the elections should signal a "wake-up call" for
Fatah, adding that Fatah needed to show better discipline
whereby the political agenda would rise above the special
interests of the individual members. Fatah's ability to
match Hamas on the national list (29 seats for Hamas versus
28 seats for Fatah) suggested to Sabella that Fatah still
maintained support among the grassroots. Jarjou'i also
anticipated a long struggle ahead for Fatah to regain its
leading role in the Palestinian national movement.
This website hosts an archive of all 251,287 US Embassy diplomatic cables that were released by WikiLeaks between November 28, 2010 and September 2, 2011.
While the cables are generally available at http://wikileaks.org/cablegate.html
, we find it hard to search or even navigate the site to read the cables.
We have made all 251,287 cables available here at Dazzlepod with the hope to make it easier for readers to browse, search, share and discuss about the released cables.
The cables are periodically selected and posted to our Twitter page
and Facebook page
for readers to review them.
For comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com