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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04TELAVIV2293 2004-04-21 13:26:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

PEACE NOW DIRECTOR: NETANYAHU AND SHARON FINAGLE

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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L TEL AVIV 002293 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2014
TAGS: PGOV PREL KWBG IS GAZA DISENGAGEMENT ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: PEACE NOW DIRECTOR: NETANYAHU AND SHARON FINAGLE
AGREEMENT ON DISENGAGEMENT PLAN

REF: TEL AVIV 2250

Classified By: Political Counselor Norm Olsen for reasons 1.4 (b) and (
d).



1. (C) Summary: Peace Now Director Yariv Oppenheimer told
poloff on April 20 that PM Sharon and FinMin Netanyahu both
know that prior GOI decisions on the fence route leave the
Ariel settlement outside the main separation barrier, thereby
not meeting Netanyahu's demand that it be fully on the
"Israel" side of the route. Oppenheimer believes that Sharon
and Netanyahu are masking the differences to cast the
withdrawal plan to suit their own political exigencies. End
summary.



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


You Say Tomato...


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





2. (C) Peace Now Director Yariv Oppenheimer told Poloff on
April 20 that according to his understanding of the relevant
GOI decisions on separation barrier routing to which PM
Sharon referred in media comments after his April 18 Cabinet
session (reftel), Ariel and some other major settlements deep
in the West Bank would be protected by security fences, but
those fences would not be connected to the main separation
barrier at least in the near term. Netanyahu, however,
announced to the media after the Cabinet meeting that he
would support the plan because, he claimed, Sharon agreed
that completion of the separation barrier, with Ariel and
other major West Bank settlements on the "Israel" side, would
occur before any settlement evacuations.



3. (C) According to Oppenheimer, PM Sharon needed to find a
way to give Netanyahu an opening to support his plan --
support that most observers agree was critical to persuading
other ministerial disengagement opponents to back the plan
(reftel). Some politicos and media pundits also argue that
Netanyahu's support for the plan will sway Likud voters to
favor it in the May 2 referendum. Netanyahu cast Sharon's
commitment to follow prior government decisions on the fence
route as fulfilling Netanyahu's earlier demand for inclusion
of named West Bank settlements, such as Ariel. Sharon did
not dispute this interpretation, but never, publicly at
least, named specific settlements to be included in the fence
route. "Everyone is hearing what they want to hear,"
Oppenheimer exclaimed.



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


It's All About Image


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





4. (C) Netanyahu could not afford not to back the plan in
the face of USG support, said Oppenheimer, so he needed to
find a way to back it and Sharon helped him do this.
Sharon's reference to prior government decisions "was just a
political game to get Netanyahu" to support the plan,
according to Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer pointed out that the
game also worked for Netanyahu in that by supporting Sharon's
plan, he could position himself within the mainstream, and
thereby cast himself as prime minister material in case
Sharon faces removal from office. "Netanyahu doesn't want to
be alone on the right," Oppenheimer noted, but rather to back
what he understands most Israelis want, especially if he
wants to be prime minister again someday.


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