The Palestine Cables: Egyptian VP Suleiman, Israel’s favorite, wants ‘Gaza to go ‘hungry’ but not ‘starve”

Israel/Palestine
on 14 Comments

The Israeli establishment is pleased to see that Omar Suleiman, the former head of Egypt’s intelligence services who was recently appointed to be Egypt’s first vice president, is angling to continue the Mubarak regime.  As reports circulate that Hosni Mubarak may step down tonight, examining Suleiman, Mubarak’s presumed successor, seems all the more important.  State Department cables released by WikiLeaks show that Suleiman directs Egypt’s policies on Israel/Palestine, policies that are in line with Israeli goals:   weakening Hamas, continuing the blockade of Gaza and halting Iranian influence. 

In fact, Israel has explicitly voiced that Suleiman–spelled “Soliman” in the diplomatic cables–is their favored choice to assume the helm of the Egyptian presidency once Mubarak is gone.  An August 2008 cable from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv reads:

[Arab Affairs Adviser David] Hacham was full of praise for Soliman, however, and noted that a “hot line” set up between the MOD and Egyptian General Intelligence Service is now in daily use…Hacham noted that the Israelis believe Soliman is likely to serve as at least an interim President if Mubarak dies or is incapacitated. (Note: We defer to Embassy Cairo for analysis of Egyptian succession scenarios, but there is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of Omar Soliman.)

Egypt has been Israel’s chief partner in the devastating blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has caused Gaza’s economy to be on the “brink of collapse,” as a UN spokesman put it yesterday.  Suleiman is quoted in a December 2007 cable as wanting the blockade to cause “Gaza to go ‘hungry’ but not ‘starve.'”  80 percent of the people of Gaza rely on UN aid to survive.  

The leaked “Palestine Papers” published by Al Jazeera provide more details on  Suleiman and Egypt’s complicity in the siege.  As Abdullah Al-Arian, writing in Al Jazeera, notes:

Throughout the documents, Suleiman in particular is singled out as the point person whom Israeli and American officials could count on to execute their agenda of dividing the Palestinian factions or pressing the PA for greater concessions…

In early 2007, as the siege on Gaza had crippling consequences on the lives of Palestinians, negotiators complained that Egyptian leaders were duplicitous, speaking publicly in support of allowing goods into Gaza, but in reality, “it remains blocked on the ground …. This is a general problem with the Egyptians”.

An internal report from April 2007 confirms these suspicions. The Agreement on Movement and Access states: “Although there has been political agreement by Omar Suleiman and President Mubarak on allowing exports through, this agreement has never been translated into operational reality.”

Suleiman, and the Mubarak regime, have also been intent on weakening Hamas in the wake of the party being democratically elected in the 2006 Palestinian elections.  The Dec. 2007 cable reports:

In their moments of greatest frustration, Tantawi and Soliman each have claimed that the IDF would be “welcome” to re-invade Philadelphi…Mubarak and his security chiefs viscerally want Hamas “to fail.”

A separate April 2009 cable reports:

On reconciliation, Soliman explained, the ultimate goal was to return the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, as “Gaza in the hands of radicals will never be calm.”

Suleiman’s viewpoint on Iran also lines up with Israeli goals.  An October 2007 cable reports that “Omar Soliman takes an especially hard line on Tehran and frequently refers to the Iranians as ‘devils.’” 

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and blogger based in New York City. You can read all of ‘The Palestine Cables’ reports here and he blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the United States at alexbkane.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 

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14 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    February 10, 2011, 1:44 pm


    Former secret re: Soliman/Gaza
    : “[para] 3. (S) A serious political commitment, supported by dedicated and properly trained personnel, is key to progress. The Egyptians claim that they respond aggressively to Israeli intelligence leads, while both sides bicker over whether and how Egypt could deploy more Border Guard Forces. Meanwhile, the Egyptians continue to offer excuses for the problem they face: the need to “squeeze” Hamas, while avoiding being seen as complicit in Israel’s “siege” of Gaza. Egyptian General Intelligence Chief Omar Soliman told us Egypt wants Gaza to go “hungry” but not “starve.” Minister of Defense Field Marshal Tantawi and the Director of Military Intelligence MG Mowafy both pressed recently for the return of EUBAM monitors to oversee the crossing between Gaza and Egypt of Palestinians with urgent humanitarian circumstances. In their moments of greatest frustration, Tantawi and Soliman each have claimed that the IDF would be “welcome” to re-invade Philadelphi, if the IDF thought that would stop the smuggling. “

  2. Eva Smagacz
    February 10, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Every time I think that I have an objective view of some political situation or the other, it turns out that below the surface a completely different game is being played.

    I swallowed hook line and sinker the stories of Egyptian authorities working their hardest to facilitate reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas to create the Government of National Unity and counteract the policy of Israel to divide the West Bank and Gaza into the two smaller, weaker and more pliable non state identities.

    It now appears to be just a provincial theatre putting on its own version of “the peace talks” to obtain its annual share of 1.5 billion from the “Peace Process Industry”.

    But a comforting thought is that, in few instances at least, the time-frame between the events happening and internal papers appearing in public has started shrinking with the invention and spread of the internet.
    So when historians, wanting to examine historical events between Russia and Poland or Palestinians and Jews from nineteen forties, had to wait decades to examine declassified papers in national archives, we can glimpse things much faster due to photocopiers in Pentagon Papers and due to Wikileaks in Palestinian Papers.

    • Avi
      February 10, 2011, 5:29 pm

      Eva,

      That’s the good-cop, bad-cop routine.

      Unfortunately for Mubarak and Israel, that dog don’t hunt no more.

      • Citizen
        February 11, 2011, 8:47 am

        And Eva has grasped why that dog does not hunt very well anymore.

    • fuster
      February 10, 2011, 9:03 pm

      I swallowed hook line and sinker the stories of Egyptian authorities working their hardest to facilitate reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas to create the Government of National Unity and counteract the policy of Israel to divide the West Bank and Gaza into the two smaller, weaker and more pliable non state identities.

      The stories are true. The Egyptians wish for the reconciliation and want Hamas to be more moderate, cease calling for the destruction of Israel, and agree to accept a Palestinian state that lives peacefully alongside the Israelis.

      • Avi
        February 11, 2011, 12:00 am

        The stories are true. The Egyptians wish for the reconciliation and want Hamas to be more moderate, cease calling for the destruction of Israel, and agree to accept a Palestinian state that lives peacefully alongside the Israelis.

        It’s just hilarious how new trolls drop lines on here as though readers are all kindergarten kids, naive, ignorant and gullible.

        Let me save you the trouble of making a complete fool of yourself. You’re still clinging on to Hasbara from 2004. The world has moved on, certainly many who frequent this website.

      • annie
        February 11, 2011, 12:32 am

        avi, it’s a laughing frog named fuster, what do you expect.

      • fuster
        February 11, 2011, 10:15 am

        I’m sure that the readers here aren’t all kindergarten kids.

        And I’m glad that a kid such as yourself thinks that he should call people that he doesn’t know trolls.

        And I’m also sure that in your world, you’re really moving on.

        Enjoy.

    • annie
      February 11, 2011, 12:38 am

      I swallowed hook line and sinker the stories of Egyptian authorities working their hardest to facilitate reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas to create the Government of National Unity and counteract the policy of Israel to divide the West Bank and Gaza

      you did? that’s crazy, this is why they didn’t want turkey in the negotiations. watch the meshaal video w/charlie rose. egypt’s job was to prevent reconciliation. they got a somewhat reasonable at one point and it got slapped down. the US stepped in and straightened egypt out, he in turn straightened abbas out. it came out in the wiki leaks but that’s what hamas has been saying all along. the only kind of reconciliation the ptb wuld allow was one in which hamas conceded everything up front. so why negotiate your rights away? the IS/US prevented reconciliation and used egypt as the facilitator to do it.

  3. seafoid
    February 10, 2011, 4:53 pm

    Gaza’s economy was destroyed a long time ago.
    80% of people depend on aid agencies for food. Zionism is evil distilled.

  4. Avi
    February 10, 2011, 4:53 pm

    That’s what Israel fears the most. The Palestinians have been kept under control for 63 years with the help of Arab regimes, dictators and clients like Omar Suleiman and Mubarak, Abbas and Fayaad. Had it not been for these US/Israel-backed beneficiaries, the Palestinians could very well have had a state of their own by now. And that scares Israel. A region that is run by the people, for the people, threatens Israel’s hegemony.

    Forget Iran as a threat to Israel’s hegemony. By now Israel must have shifted all its resources to fight the growing trend of liberty, rights and self-determination throughout the region. I’m tellin’ ya it’s a scary day when people start demanding democracy….bunch of anti-Semites.

    Somewhere in central Israel, Tamir Pardo is losing sleep at night.

  5. seafoid
    February 10, 2011, 4:56 pm

    Suleiman doesn’t want Hamas to survive because he doesn’t want the MB to get control in Egypt. He knows he has a 50-50 chance of ending up swinging from the Qasr el nil bridge if he plays his cards wrong.

    • Citizen
      February 11, 2011, 8:52 am

      Imagine if all of Suleiman’s secret files were given to Wikileaks? Nobody would even listen to the US and Israel anymore. US people might even sprout a few Google employee rebels of their own and take to the streets.

  6. Theo
    February 11, 2011, 8:38 am

    There is no known successful revolution without bloodletting, therefore in my humble opinion it is time a few heads start rolling in Egypt.
    Mubarak, Suleiman and the full range of these crooks and traitors to their nation must be charged and hanged! Period.
    They will never relinguish their hold on power, they must be removed by force. Al Baradei may be a nice person, however he is soft as butter and has cajones as large as raisins, not much qualified for such a tremendous clean up job.
    A step forward, regardless the direction, is much preferred over stomping in place, so let´s hope for something new, besides the daily show. There must be someone who will enegize those millions, so superman, please step up to the plate.

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