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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04TELAVIV2261 2004-04-20 13:27:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

PERES TELLS CODEL ISSA "NO GUARANTEE THE FUTURE

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L TEL AVIV 002261 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/19/2009
TAGS: KWBG KPAL PGOV PREL GZ IS GOI EXTERNAL GAZA DISENGAGEMENT ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: PERES TELLS CODEL ISSA "NO GUARANTEE THE FUTURE
WILL IMPROVE"

Classified By: DCM Richard LeBaron, per 1.4(b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: Labor leader Shimon Peres told CODEL Issa
April 16 that the United States should be promoting
modernization in the Middle East -- rather than
democratization -- as the best means for furthering the U.S.
agenda in the region. Peres recommended using business and
investment as key tools, adding that elections now in places
like Saudi Arabia would only serve to usher in regimes that
would oppose U.S. goals. Peres cautioned against trying to
end terrorism by the eradication of terrorists alone, and
stressed the need to address terrorism's underlying causes.
On PM Sharon's proposed unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and
some West Bank settlements, Peres opined that the plan does
not go far enough, as the political costs to the government
would be the same. End Summary.



2. (C) Labor leader Shimon Peres met April 16 with
Congressman Darrell Issa and House International Relations
Committee staff member Hillel Weinberg. Peres welcomed PM
Sharon's proposed unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and some
settlements in the West Bank, but added that pushing the
Palestinians out of the negotiating equation would be a
mistake. Although the U.S. clearly hoped to foster new
leadership among the Palestinians, Peres cautioned that it
was not possible to order it. It is essential that both
Israel and the U.S. "deal with the Palestinians as they are
and not how we might wish them to be" if progress is to be
made. Sharon's proposed withdrawal plan is an opening, but
not a guarantee that the future would improve.



--------------------------


"Israel Needs to go Further"


--------------------------





3. (C) Saying that FinMin Benyamin Netanyahu had lost the
support of the poor that had been the traditional base of
Likud support by his harsh imposition of economic reform,
Peres added that now Likud had given up territory as well.
Peres opined that Israel should agree to take bigger steps,
as the political cost will be the same for large steps as for
small ones with regard to settlements. Stressing that Sharon
was his personal friend, Peres said that Sharon does not have
enough courage to engage the Palestinians; instead he chooses
to act alone and disengage. Peres took exception with the
GOI's stance that the Palestinians must completely end
terrorism before Israel is obligated to enact its obligations
under the roadmap. Without some simultaneous reciprocal
actions on Israel's part, Palestinian moderates are
undermined before they could even begin. It is impossible,
Peres concluded, to end terrorism without first addressing
its root causes. The GOI is mistaken if it thinks that it
can end terrorism by simply killing all the terrorists.



--------------------------


"Focus on Modernization, not Democratization"


--------------------------





4. (C) Peres said he disagreed with the United States'
Greater Middle East plan, as it lumps strict Muslim countries
together with more moderate ones such as Morocco and Jordan.
Furthermore, "democracy is a danger," Peres said, and terror
and democracy do not mix. If elections were held tomorrow in
Saudi Arabia for example, conservatives would undoubtedly
win. Results in Pakistan and even Morocco could be equally
disadvantageous to the United States. The West needs to talk
about modernization and not democratization, Peres stressed,
and the U.S. should use its economic clout to get the message
out. For example, if money now going to foreign aid would
instead go to support U.S. companies, those companies could
then go out and establish what Peres called "zones of
excellence" in the Middle East. "Bring private enterprise
into diplomacy," Peres recommended, "because diplomacy never
succeeded in bringing in private enterprise." Giving people
hope for a better life for themselves and their families
would have far more impact than anything else the United
Sates could do in the Middle East, Peres asserted. No
regime, he added, could continue to support forever the high
and growing levels of unemployment currently facing Arab
countries.



5. (U) CODEL Issa did not have an opportunity to clear the
message.

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