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04TELAVIV6650 2004-12-30 08:43:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tel Aviv
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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 006650 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/30/2014

Classified By: Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

1. (C) Prime Minister Sharon told Sen. Lieberman December 27
that he is confident of forming a new coalition government
soon. He said the Left in Israel cannot implement
disengagement and has never removed an Israeli settlement;
and the Right is against disengagement and removal of
settlements. Sharon emphasized he will proceed to implement
disengagement without any change in the substance or
timetable of the plan.

2. (C) While noting an opportunity for progress towards peace
exists, Sharon pointed to continuation of Palestinian
terrorism and the continued failure of Palestinian security
forces to deploy to stop the violence. The successful
conclusion of disengagement could pave the way back to the
road map, Sharon said, but this will not happen if terrorism
continues. "Israel will not negotiate under fire."

3. (C) Sharon complained about recent statements by Abu Mazen
that sounded much like Arafat. Sen. Lieberman said that Abu
Mazen had told him earlier in the day that he is new to
politics. Abu Mazen was focused on the need to end violence
and specifically mentioned that rockets and mortars must
stop. Sharon commented that Israel does not expect Abu Mazen
to be a Zionist, but steps need to be taken against
terrorism. Israel is providing significant support to the
Palestinians on elections.

4. (C) Asked about the situation following the elections,
Sharon expressed the hope that Abu Mazen will be elected and
expected to meet him soon. Sharon said he would raise with
Abu Mazen the need to deal with security, an issue on which
Israel would make no compromises. Second, Sharon would
propose coordination between the Israeli and Palestinian
security services regarding disengagement and would be
prepared to coordinate other disengagement issues as well.
Third, Sharon noted the importance of Palestinians' receiving
financial support, particularly for infrastructure projects
such as desalination, power stations, and housing for
refugees so as to eliminate refugee camps. Finally, Sharon
noted, if Israel can be free of its responsibility for
Gaza--that is, if conditions permit Israel's withdrawal from
the Philadelphi strip--then planning could begin for
transportation networks between Egypt and Gaza and for a
seaport and an airport.

5. (C) Sharon expressed particular concern about ongoing
weapons smuggling to Gaza. Palestinians have brought in
rocket-propelled grenades and several shoulder-fired
surface-to-air missiles (Strellas, not Stingers). He said
that Egypt is "doing something" but not enough in order to
stop the smuggling. It is important that a secure climate be
built in Gaza to attract foreign investment.

6. (C) Sharon said he knows that Abu Mazen wants to arrange a
ceasefire and that if there is quiet, Israel will reciprocate
with quiet. But a ceasefire alone is not enough. There must
be a full cessation of terrorism, violence and incitement.
Israel will not sit quietly if it comes under fire and will
not accept the excuse that Abu Mazen needs time to get

7. (C) Sen. Lieberman said that Abu Mazen listed his
priorities with Israel as stopping the security wall, ending
settlement activity, and seeking the gradual release of
prisoners. In contrast, Saeb Erekat had told Lieberman that
the priorities must be the creation of Palestinian jobs, an
end of back-to-back cargo handling and the like. In
response, Sharon emphasized again the importance of
dismantling terrorist organizations according to the roadmap
and in line with the plans developed by Tenet and Zinni.
Commenting on Abu Mazen's priorities, Sharon listed his own
priorities as follows:

--Palestinian refugees will not return to the State of Israel.
--In accordance with the agreement reached with President
Bush, heavily populated, major settlement blocs will be
"connected" to Israel.
--Israel will never negotiate over Jerusalem, its eternal
capital, and there will be no negotiation leading to the
division of Jerusalem. Sharon said he could consider handing
over some Arab neighborhoods populated after the 1967 war,
but stressed he would never hand over the Temple Mount, Mount
of Olives or the City of David.
--Israel will continue to build the fence, which has already
reduced Israeli casualties. In accordance with Israeli High
Court decisions, Israel has also adopted policies to reduce
Palestinian suffering.
--Israel is not building new settlements. The Jewish
population in the West Bank (outside Jerusalem) is 250,000,
and there are towns, schools and industry. Parts of the
settlement blocs will stay in Israel's hands according to the
agreement reached with President Bush.

8. (U) Senator Lieberman did not clear this message before
his departure.

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