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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04TELAVIV2353
2004-04-23 13:19:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

ROLE OF WORLD BANK IN GAZA DISENGAGEMENT PLAN

Tags:   ECON  EAID  PGOV  KWBG  IS  GAZA  DISENGAGEMENT  ISRAELI  PALESTINIAN  AFFAIRS 
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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 SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 002353 

SIPDIS

NEA FOR BURNS/SATTERFIELD, USAID FOR ANE DMCLOUD, JKUNDER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/22/2009
TAGS: ECON EAID PGOV KWBG IS GAZA DISENGAGEMENT ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: ROLE OF WORLD BANK IN GAZA DISENGAGEMENT PLAN


Classified By: Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer, Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

THIS USAID CABLE HAS BEEN CLEARED WITH CONGEN JERUSALEM AND
EMBASSY TEL AVIV

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 002353

SIPDIS

NEA FOR BURNS/SATTERFIELD, USAID FOR ANE DMCLOUD, JKUNDER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/22/2009
TAGS: ECON EAID PGOV KWBG IS GAZA DISENGAGEMENT ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: ROLE OF WORLD BANK IN GAZA DISENGAGEMENT PLAN


Classified By: Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer, Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

THIS USAID CABLE HAS BEEN CLEARED WITH CONGEN JERUSALEM AND
EMBASSY TEL AVIV


1. (C) Summary: On Tuesday, April 20, USAID/West Bank and
Gaza Director Garber and Deputy Director Ellis, met with
Nigel Roberts, World Bank Country Director. The meeting
focused on the Bank's current thinking regarding Gaza
disengagement and the Bank's specific plans for organizing an
assessment mission to identify issues related to the
disengagement. End Summary.


2. (C) Nigel Roberts reported that PA Minister of Finance,
Salam Fayyad, and Minister of Planning, Nabil Qassis,
participated in the LACC meeting of April 20. Unfortunately,
security concerns precluded USG participation in this meeting
and, coincidentally, the EC also did not have a
representative present due to other engagements. To Roberts'
surprise Fayyad spoke about Gaza disengagement. Salam began
by noting the "unfortunate assurances given to Sharon" and
commenting that "we have to wait until the dust settles,".
He then stated that the PA has been thinking about Gaza/WB
reconstruction issues and, in this context, views existing
donor mechanisms as adequate, i.e., no need for, and a strong
opposition to, new mechanisms to deal with Gaza disengagement
considerations. Further, he specifically noted that he saw
no need for a separate fund for Gaza. With regard to the
role of the World Bank, Fayyad recommended that the Bank role
should parallel that played in the early 1990's, and would be
consistent with the Bank's official designation as the
Secretariat of the AHLC. He then indicated that the PA would

SIPDIS
welcome a World Bank analytical consideration of Gaza
withdrawal, including what type of opportunities this would
open, and that this effort should be treated not as a special
exercise, but as part of an overall development plan.
Roberts then indicated that he would be checking with Nabil

Qassis and other PA officials to confirm whether the PA is
ready for a World Bank assessment.


3. (C) Roberts advised USAID of his intention to grant an
interview the next day to Ha'aretz newspaper in order to
counter what the Bank, including Wolfensohn, fears is the
wrong impression created by Israeli leaks regarding what the
Bank has agreed to undertake in response to the Sharon
disengagement plan. The Bank is particularly concerned that
the distorted reporting of World Bank intentions vis a vis
the Gaza disengagement could undermine the Bank politically
in the Middle East. Specifically, he will state that the
Bank is willing to play a constructive role at the behest of
the relevant parties and that the Bank (and implicitly all
donors) is committed to the continued viability of the PA
(e.g., the about to be launched budget trust fund). He said
that he would further clarify that the Bank has agreed to
play only a technical advisory role and not, repeat not, a
custodial role with regard to the assets of evacuated
settlements and that the Bank legally could not be the agent
for compensation of settlers. Lastly, he would note that
Israel is not a Bank eligible borrowing country, and so
expectations that the Bank might provide loans or guarantees
for Negev development are misplaced.


4. (C) All the above said, the Bank is ready, with
appropriate concurrence from the PA and the Europeans (who
the Bank wants to make sure are on board since their ultimate
financial support to any reconstruction plan would be
crucial), to organize a six-person, ten-day mission to the
region. Roberts' current thinking is for an initial scoping
mission during the May 6 through 16 period. The team would
focus on identifying issues that would need to be addressed
by the parties and the donors before a comprehensive (or even
preliminary) reconstruction plan could be prepared. The
assessment would cover such issues as the security regime,
level of technical interaction between GOI and PA, transport
and access issues that would facilitate economic development,
etc. The team also would visit the settlements from where
Israel would withdraw, which could include the specified
settlements in the northern West Bank, as well as in Gaza.
In addition to meetings with relevant local actors, Roberts
anticipates an interactive engagement between the team and
the core donors. Once the team completed this preliminary
stage, then a decision would be made as to whether it makes
sense to complete a more comprehensive reconstruction
planning document.


5. (C) Roberts emphasized that the Bank does not want to be
seen as being alone in responding to these developments.
Clearly, even if they have lead responsibility on the
preliminary assessment, they want this undertaken under a
broader donor/political umbrella such as the AHLC or Quartet
and with PA endorsement. In this regard, he indicated US
signals would be critical and commented that a US assistance
pull-back from Gaza, whether over security or political
considerations, would make the Bank's effort to create
momentum very difficult. (Note: The Bank is responsible for
helping the Palestinians establish a Coastal Water Utility,
which is a major complement to the USAID large infrastructure
projects; they too have faced difficulties in awarding a
tender, but have recently recommitted to moving their effort
forward. End Note.)


6. (C) Lastly, Roberts noted that the Bank's plans are not
widely known and requested that we not share beyond
colleagues in the USG. At the same time, he realized that,
to field a team by May 6, he would require the necessary
assurances by the middle of next week.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************
KURTZER