Cablegate: Jordanians Protest Separation Barrier

Published: Tue 24 Feb 2004 04:26 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: AMMAN 01260
Sensitive but unclassified. Protect accordingly.
1. (SBU) Jordanians staged small and largely peaceful
demonstrations in Amman on February 21 and 23 protesting
Israel's construction of the security barrier in the West
Bank. RSO contacts estimate that approximately 300 people
attended a two-hour candlelight vigil in Amman during the
evening of February 21.
2. (U) Timed to coincide with the opening of the
International Court of Justice proceedings in the Hague to
discuss the barrier, approximately 200 Jordanians on February
23 staged a sit-in at the United Nations office in Amman amid
heavy security. The organizer of the protest, the Higher
Committee of the Jordanian National Opposition Political
Parties (among them Islamists and Communists) presented the
head of the UN mission in Amman a petition addressed to UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan condemning the barrier,
according to press reports.
3. (U) "We call on the ICJ in the Hague to show that this
barrier is an apartheid wall and constitutes a danger to
peace in the region as well as to the Palestinian people and
Jordan," the petition stated. Organizers also condemned in
their statement Sharon's warning to Jordan for its
anti-barrier position. "We condemn the terrorist Sharon's
threats to Jordan for its positive and effective stand
against the wall."
4. (SBU) Jordanian contacts of Palestinian origin say they
are generally pleased with the GOJ's outspoken statements
condemning the barrier and appreciate its advocacy on the
issue (ref). They note that the GOJ, which has appointed its
ambassador to the UN, Prince Zeid Raad, to lead Jordan's
delegation to the ICJ proceedings, has a strong security
interest in advocating against the barrier. Former Senator
Husni Ayesh told PolOff that the wall is an effort to place
Palestinians in a "ghetto-like" living situation that
presents a humanitarian crisis that the international
community cannot accept. Another Palestinian contact
Engineer Hani Abu Hijleh added that the Jordanian
government's strong and public condemnation of the wall and
its diplomatic efforts are appreciated by Palestinians. He
said that Jordanians will be following the proceedings
carefully and, depending on developments, did not rule out
more public protests.
5. (SBU) While further displays of public anger at the
separate barrier are possible, we assume that they will be
relatively small and peaceful.
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