‘The Palestine Cables’: Gaza is a burning issue from Egypt to Latin America to Pakistan, to John Kerry being ‘shocked by what I saw’

on 16 Comments

This is the third entry in “The Palestine Cables,” Alex Kane’s series on what WikiLeaks is telling us about the Palestinian position in world politics.

Forsaken by the “peace process,” ignored by mainstream media, denied justice two years after Israel committed what many rights groups called war crimes– still, the plight of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip remains a burning issue around the world.  Cables from the trove of State Department documents WikiLeaks has been releasing show that global civil society’s outrage at the brutal 2008-09 Israeli assault on Gaza has resonated with governments everywhere, and that Gaza remains a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the Israeli occupation.

–A cable from February 2010 states that Egypt’s government has voiced concern over “intense domestic and regional criticism of perceived complicity in the Israeli blockade of Gaza” because of its “counter smuggling efforts, including the construction of a subterranean steel wall along the Egypt-Gaza border.”

–The General Intelligence Chief in Egypt, Omar Soliman, told a U.S. diplomat in April 2009 that “‘incidents like Gaza…inflame public anger'” and that Operation Cast Lead “put ‘moderate (Arab) regimes’ in a corner.”

–The undersecretary for Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs told a U.S. diplomat during a February 2010 visit that the “‘humanitarian situation in Gaza,'” which is not a punishment of Hamas, but of the Gazan people, fed Turkish popular anger against Israel.”

–A document prepared for a U.S. Senator’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia in March 2009 states that, “Saudi and Arab public opinion have reacted strongly to the Israeli offensive on Gaza, creating intense pressure on Arab governments to act. The Saudis fear instability and increasing Iranian influence could result, and believe that there is a limited window of opportunity for action.”

–Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant Islamist group that operates out of Pakistan, “purportedly raises funds for the Palestinian people in response to Israel’s attacks on Gaza,” according to an August 2009 cable.

But as the international coalition that made headlines last May when Israeli naval forces raided their flotilla and killed 9 people showed, the issue of Gaza doesn’t only resonate in the Arab and Muslim world. 

–When Assistant Secretary Thomas Shannon visited Spain in January 2009, “Gaza crept into discussions of Latin America,” according to a State Department cable.  While that cable doesn’t go into more detail about the content of the discussions about Gaza, it likely reflects the intense Spanish and Latin American solidarity with the people of Gaza.  In a February 2009 cable, Benjamin Netanyahu told a Congressional delegation that “there were larger demonstrations against the Gaza operation in Madrid and London than in the West Bank.” 

–U.S. Senator John Kerry told Qatar’s prime minister in February 2010 that he was “‘shocked by what I saw in Gaza.'”

The two-year anniversary of the Israeli assault on Gaza is approaching, and the situation in the Strip has not changed much. But friends of the Palestinians can surely take solace in the fact that governments around the world are beginning to take notice of Palestinian conditions as a result of popular pressure.  The WikiLeaks cables show further that Israel may have gone too far during those “22 days of death and destruction.” 

For more WikiLeaks news and analysis relating to Israel/Palestine, see:

Foreign Policy’s Mideast Channel, Matt Duss:  “Linkage and its discontents: What WikiLeaks reveals about Israel-Palestine”

The Angry Arab News Service, As’ad Abu Khalil:  “Why Israel has not figured in Wikileaks yet”

The Guardian, Ian Black:  “WikiLeaks cables: Syria believed Israel was behind sniper killing”

AFP“WikiLeaks: Fatah asked Israel to attack Hamas”

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and blogger based in New York City.  He blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the U.S. at alexbkane.wordpress.com.  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

16 Responses

  1. CTuttle
    December 22, 2010, 7:11 pm

    Forsaken by the “peace process,” ignored by mainstream media, denied justice two years after Israel committed what many rights groups called war crimes– still, the plight of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip remains a burning issue around the world.

    Btw, Cast LeadPart Deux…?

    “New Gaza war ‘a question of when, not if'”


  2. Potsherd2
    December 22, 2010, 7:30 pm

    A senior Israeli army officer has told the BBC that as long as Hamas remains in control of the Gaza Strip, another war is “a question of when, not if”.

    He said the Palestinian Islamist group had rearmed so much since the Israeli offensive two years ago that it was now in a stronger position militarily.

    There has been an increase in rocket fire coming from Gaza in the past week.


    No Palestinian militant groups have said they were behind the attack.

    Hamas is not thought to have been behind the increased rocket fire from Gaza this week, to which Israel retaliated with air strikes.

    However, Israel has said it will increase attacks on Hamas facilities even if the movement is not responsible.

    The UN has said at least 62 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli action in Gaza so far this year. Over the same period, one Thai farm worker has been killed by rockets fired from the coastal territory into Israel.

    link to bbc.co.uk

    The urgent issue is how to prevent this, and other planned acts of Israeli aggression.

    • Psychopathic god
      December 22, 2010, 9:02 pm

      it may be tangent to the topic, but speaking of “the urgent issue — how to prevent planned acts of Israeli aggression,” how are we going to STOP the strangulation of Iran that IS underway? This is Iraq redux. Apparently, Americans have not had their fill of the death by starvation of Muslim children.

      • Citizen
        December 22, 2010, 9:35 pm

        Not even on their radar screen, PG; neither are the deaths of Arab children who happen to be Christians.

      • Potsherd2
        December 22, 2010, 11:06 pm

        Hamas = Iran

        Iran = Hamas

      • seafoid
        December 23, 2010, 5:56 am

        Potsherd 2 – you forgot something


        What a crock of Zionist sh*t

    • Sumud
      December 23, 2010, 12:50 pm

      When that Thai farm worker was killed by a rocket in March this year the BBC reported that in the 14 months since the end of the Gaza Massacre, according to the UN 88 Palestinians had been killed by Israel in Gaza. So there’s a 3 months overlap but maybe 140 dead in Gaza since OCL, 1 dead in Israel and Obama has the “audacity” [of hope y’all] to speak about Israel’s security needs.

      BBC article from March:

      ‘Rocket fire from Gaza kills man in southern Israel’
      link to news.bbc.co.uk

  3. RoHa
    December 22, 2010, 9:35 pm

    So maybe Assange isn’t a tool of Mossad/CIA after all. Still hard to tell.

    • Colin Murray
      December 22, 2010, 10:18 pm

      I think it is extremely unlikely. A far more logical explanation is that it is a career-limiting-move for a State Department employee to criticize Israel in more than circumspect ways. Putting substantive explicit direct criticism into writing in a cable sounds like career suicide. Self-censorship on Israeli and Jewish issues is rife in the U.S. press. It ought not surprise us to see it in government.

      • Antidote
        December 23, 2010, 1:45 am

        I find that explanation the most compelling as well. Some cables clearly demonstrate that employees of the US embassy in Tel Aviv simply echo what Israeli officials tell them, such as Hamas having broken the cease fire. Presumably, only an ‘anti-semite’, ‘Israel hater’, or ‘terrorist sympathiser’ would even check the facts and report what’s really happening. And what difference would it make? How did Netanyahu put it? ‘The US is easily moved…nobody will say anything’?

    • CTuttle
      December 22, 2010, 10:51 pm

      Assange’s own words

      When will you publish the files related to Israel on your website?

      We will publish 3700 files and the source is the American embassy in Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Netanyahu was traveling to Paris to talk to the US ambassador there. You will see more information about that in six months.

      Do these Israeli files speak about the July 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon?

      Yes there is some information about that and these files were classified as top secret.

      Is there any relation with these files and the assassination of Hamas military leader Al Mabhoh in Dubai?

      Yes there are some indication to this and may be some special reports published by newspapers. Mossad agents used Australian, British and European passports to travel to Dubai and there are diplomatic files about that.

      Are there any security service companies providing information to international airports and monitoring passengers even in the Arab countries?

      There are some files about American and Israeli security companies that tried to intervene in certain areas. For example, in Brazil, the American embassy put some Israeli security companies during the Olympic Games

      • Antidote
        December 23, 2010, 1:49 am

        “these files were classified as top secret”

        All other sources (Guardian, Spiegel etc) state that there are no ‘top secret’ files in the entire dump. Odd.

    • seafoid
      December 23, 2010, 5:57 am

      link to haaretz.com

      Let’s see the ADL spin this

      • Sumud
        December 23, 2010, 12:57 pm

        What we really need is some brave public servant in Israel/Mossad who is horrified at the fascist turn Israel is taking to start leaking docs to wikileaks… Manning may be getting the Mordechai Vanunu treatment but there have been thousand and thousands of leaks to WL in the last 4 years with whistleblowers not getting caught..

  4. VR
    December 23, 2010, 12:12 am

    I would say to those people in the surrounding countries, mentioned here and not mentioned, do you see what Israel is doing to the Palestinians? This is an example of what Western hegemony wishes to do to you – what it has done through proxy/puppet governments that do obeisance to their masters in the West, which have sold you out so they alone can benefit.

    What needs to happen is to turn up the protests a number of notches, to so rock your governments with unrest that they are shaken to their foundations. To give them no rest on this issue, tell them that you will see that they are put out of office one way or another, and that governments like them – their days are numbered.

    • Walid
      December 23, 2010, 8:56 am

      After the deals between the Zionists and the Jordanians concerning Palestine going back to 1919, the pre-1948 war, the pre-1967 war, the pre-1973 war, and the pre-2008 Cast Lead, no need to hold one’s breath waiting for more spicy wikileaks.

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