Viewing cable 04TELAVIV1962

04TELAVIV19622004-04-01 10:59:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tel Aviv
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 
Gaza Withdrawal Plan 
Key stories in the media: 
Ha'aretz (Aluf Benn) cited a letter of guarantees 
drafted by the U.S. Administration in exchange for PM 
Sharon's disengagement plan.  The letter reportedly 
indicates that the U.S. will assure Israel that it will 
not have to withdraw to the Green Line in a future 
permanent agreement with the Palestinians.  The U.S. 
draft also reportedly says the Palestinian refugees 
will be able to return to a future Palestinian state, 
which will be established in keeping with President 
Bush's vision.  According to Ha'aretz, the wording will 
partially meet Israel's demand that the U.S. declare 
its objection to the right of return, which the 
Palestinians insist on. 
Leading media quoted Sharon as hinting Wednesday at an 
annual high-tech event that he is likely to bring his 
disengagement plan to a vote among the Likud 
constituency in May or early June.  Leading media 
quoted Sharon as saying that there have been many 
achievements in the talks with the U.S. about the 
disengagement plan.  Sharon was also quoted as saying 
that the disengagement will put an end to the 
Palestinians' "historical pretext" that they cannot 
fight terrorism.  Ha'aretz and other media reported 
that opponents of Sharon's plan within the Likud have 
set up campaign headquarters.  Maariv reported that 
Sharon's campaign in the party will revolve around the 
message: "It's me or Feiglin."  (Moshe Feiglin 
represents the Likud's far Right.)  Jerusalem Post 
quoted Sharon associates as saying Wednesday that Likud 
ministers who do not accept the decision of the party 
membership on the plan may lose their jobs.  Ha'aretz 
reported that Peace Now is returning to the streets 
with a campaign backing unilateral withdrawal. 
All media (lead stories in Yediot and Jerusalem Post) 
reported that Wednesday Palestinian PM Ahmed Qurei (Abu 
Ala) urged Palestinians to put an end to suicide 
attacks and that he reiterated his commitment to the 
peace process.  This was the first time he has openly 
called for an end to suicide bombings, explaining that 
they are causing extensive damage to the Palestinians. 
Israel Radio and other media reported that Qurei's 
remarks to the Palestinian Legislative Council resulted 
from a precondition set by the U.S. for his scheduled 
meeting with U.S. envoys Stephen Hadley, Elliott Abrams 
and William Burns today.  Israel Radio quoted GOI 
officials as saying that Qurei's call to coordinate the 
disengagement plan with the PA is a transparent attempt 
to obtain U.S. and international support, and benefits 
for the PA.  The radio quoted PA sources as saying that 
Qurei has given instructions that no attacks be carried 
out during the U.S. envoys' visit.  Hatzofe reported 
that Qurei told Palestinian reporters that the Israel- 
U.S. talks on disengagement remind him of the Balfour 
Declaration, which involved a declaring side that does 
not own the land and a receiving side that does not own 
it either.  The newspaper also quoted Qurei as saying 
that the PA will demand compensation from Israel for 
the settlements it built in the Gaza Strip and the use 
it made of the land and resources there. 
Israel Radio reported that the High Court of Justice 
has canceled various temporary injunctions that had 
stopped construction on segments of the security fence. 
Hatzofe reported that the IDF is bracing for further 
clashes over the dismantling of settler outposts. 
Israel Radio reported that early this morning at 
Bethlehem's mental hospital, the security forces 
arrested 12 "senior wanted" Palestinians, who had 
allegedly planned many attacks against Israel.  Their 
apprehension was preceded by an exchange of gunfire. 
The radio quoted Palestinian security sources as saying 
that eight of the men are activists in the Al Aqsa 
Martyrs Brigades, one of them being Jamal Hamamreh, the 
group's commander in the region.  Israel Radio also 
reported that, in a plea bargain, a military court has 
sentenced Ala el-Khader Koka, an Al Aqsa Martyrs 
Brigades militant, to 18 years in prison for planning 
to assassinate Israel's ambassadors in Germany and 
China, to poison water reservoirs and to blow up a 
wedding hall in Jerusalem.  Leading media reported that 
two months ago the security forces arrested a Hamas 
militant from a village near Jenin, who had planned to 
assassinate Likud Knesset Member and former FM David 
Levy.  Channel 2-TV reported that the Al Aqsa Martyrs 
Brigades have rescinded their threat against American 
interests in the region. 
Jerusalem Post reported that responding to Hamas leader 
Abdel Aziz Rantisi's statement on Sunday, "God declared 
war on America, Bush and Sharon," State Department 
Spokesman Richard called Hamas "a major obstacle to the 
pursuit of peace."  Jerusalem Post quoted FM Silvan 
Shalom as saying, at a meeting with Dutch FM Bernard 
Bot in Jerusalem Wednesday, that Israel wants to see 
the EU place Hizbullah on its list of terrorist 
organizations and wants to see individual European 
governments move faster in legislation outlawing Hamas. 
Referring to the assassination of Sheikh Yassin, Bot 
was quoted as saying: "We consider targeted killings 
contrary to international law, and in my view a country 
like Israel, a true democracy, should not act like 
Ha'aretz notes that the PA never allowed the Islamic 
groups to enjoy so much media coverage before Sheikh 
Ahmed Yassin's death.  Te newspaper says that the 
change may be a warning to Israel not to kill PA 
Chairman Yasser Arafat. 
Maariv quoted a senior legal source as saying that 
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is expected to rule in 
the bribery case allegedly involving Sharon in two 
months.  Leading media reported that Wednesday Mazuz 
blasted State Attorney Edna Arbel for having leaked her 
intention to submit to him a draft indictment against 
Sharon.  Some media reported that there actually are no 
ill feelings between Mazuz and Arbel. 
Ha'aretz cited the admission by a senior IDF officer 
Wednesday that a slip of the tongue by Sharon six 
months ago about the possibility that Libya could reach 
nuclear weapons capabilities before Iran made the U.S. 
hide its negotiations for Libyan disarmament from 
Jerusalem Post reported that a resolution seeking 
justice for Jews and other minorities who were 
persecuted, expelled or forced to flee the Arab lands 
of their birth is being introduced into the U.S. Senate 
Ha'aretz reported that an examination of the payrolls 
of the PA's National Security Force, considered the 
largest of the Palestinian security forces, commanded 
by Gen. Haj Ismail Jabber, has revealed that salaries 
for 7,000 fictitious troopers -- some USD 2 million -- 
were being paid into his pocket every month. Later, 
Israel Radio reported that Qurei has ordered that from 
now on all salaries will be paid directly to the bank 
accounts of the members of the PA security forces, a 
move long required by donating European countries. 
Yediot reported that, in order to counter forgeries, 
Israel will soon issue new passports outfitted with 
electronic chips  -- "identical to U.S. passports." 
Ha'aretz reported that an interministerial committee, 
headed by Justice Minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, 
examining the implementation of the Or Commission 
report on the October 2000 riots in the Israeli Arab 
sector, will recommend that the cabinet approve a new 
national holiday -- "Tolerance Day" or "Solidarity Day" 
-- in celebration of the coexistence of Jewish and Arab 
citizens in the country. 
Yediot reported that Tuesday night, at New York City's 
Waldorf Astoria Hostel, over USD 4 million were raised 
to benefit the Israeli Soldiers Welfare Association -- 
an all-time record for an Israeli fundraising event. 
Ha'aretz quoted Abraham Foxman, the national director 
of the Jewish -American organization Anti-Defamation 
League's (ADL) as saying that his group will boycott an 
event hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during 
his upcoming visit to the U.S.  Foxman said the move 
was in protest of Egypt's boycott of the 25th 
anniversary events of the signing of the peace treaty 
between Egypt and Israel.  Leading media reported that 
Wednesday Egypt's Emergency State Security Court 
convicted of espionage Walid Ahmed Lofti Hashim, an 
Egyptian who allegedly faxed military data to the 
Israeli Embassy.  The court sentenced him to 15 years' 
All media reported that Wednesday the EU released its 
long-awaited report showing a rise in European anti- 
Semitism.  (A Maariv headline: "Europe is Bad For 
Jews.")  The media reported that while the European 
Jewish Congress welcomed the recognition that anti- 
Semitism is growing, it said that the report 
misrepresented the threat from extremist Muslims. 
All media reported that four foreign contractors, 
including at least one American, working for the U.S.- 
led coalition in Iraq, were killed in Fallujah, where a 
jubilant crowd dragged their charred bodies and hanged 
them from a bridge.  The media also reported on the 
deaths of five U.S. servicemen in a roadside bombing 
nearby.  Maariv reported that 70 to 100 leading Israeli 
companies are selling their products to Iraq for 
millions of dollars. 
Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post reported that the Swiss 
government has announced it will donate USD 1.8 million 
to help finance a school building for a Jewish-Arab 
school in Jerusalem -- the Bilingual School -- which is 
already operating out of some temporary buildings at 
the Denmark School in the city. 
Gaza Withdrawal Plan: 
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized: 
"Using [a referendum] in the Likud, on the 
disengagement issue, could create a precedent that will 
gravely distort the national decision-making process in 
both this case and in the future." 
                     Block Quotes: 
"Distorting the Process" 
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (April 
1): "The Likud convention's decision to give the party 
rank and file the authority to decide on the fate of 
the Gaza disengagement plan appears to be supremely 
democratic.  In effect, however, it is leading to an 
improper process that distorts the conventional 
tradition of democracy in Israel and creates a 
problematic precedent for the national decision-making 
process.... Historic decisions no less weighty than the 
one to quit Gaza -- including the decisions to go to 
war, and peace agreements -- were made so far in the 
conventional manner of voting in the government and 
Knesset.  What's true for a referendum involving all 
the electorate is especially true when it is being used 
in the narrow framework of a political party.... Under 
such circumstances, how will the necessary debate about 
the plan and its details be conducted?  A referendum 
can be helpful for making decisions, when it is derived 
from the political climate of the countries where it is 
conventional.  It usually makes up for too much 
governmental power in the hands of state leaders, and 
sometimes is an expression of direct community 
democracy, at the risk of creating a dictatorship of 
the majority.  It is inappropriate for the Israeli 
system, not at the national level and certainly not at 
the party level.  Using it in the Likud, on the 
disengagement issue, could create a precedent that will 
gravely distort the national decision-making process in 
both this case and in the future."