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04TELAVIV6651 2004-12-30 08:45:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tel Aviv
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 006651 




E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/29/2014

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

1. (C) SUMMARY: While acknowledging that the situation had
improved since Arafat's death, Israeli Foreign Minister
Silvan Shalom told Senators Lieberman and Dayton on December
28 that he is "discouraged" by Abu Mazen's recent remarks on
the campaign trail. Shalom interpreted the speech as an
indication that Abu Mazen will not dismantle the terrorist
infrastructure or compromise on Palestinian demands for a
right of return to Israel. Shalom said the Israeli
Government is facilitating the Palestinian elections, but he
expressed concern that the Palestinians will continue
Arafat's policies and offer "the same old excuses." In
response to a question from the CoDel, Shalom outlined his
proposal for another Aqaba conference, which he said would
build confidence but avoid substantive issues. Shalom told
the CoDel that the way to deal with both the Palestinians and
the Arab world is to embrace moderates and isolate
extremists. He said that the EU-3's position on Iran is
"much better than before," but still in need of improvement.


Shalom Discouraged by Abu Mazen's Statements


2. (C) In a December 28 meeting with Senator Joseph
Lieberman, Senator Mark Dayton, the Ambassador, Senate staff,
and military escort, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom
said he is "very discouraged" by Abu Mazen's December 25
election speech in which the Palestinian leader had been
"tougher than Arafat." Shalom interpreted the remarks as an
indication that Abu Mazen will not dismantle the terrorist
infrastructure and will continue to insist on the right of
return. Shalom questioned why the Palestinians would want to
return to a Jewish state and, as he described it, trade their
current Diaspora for another. He expressed hope that Abu
Mazen's actions would be guided by the comments he had made
as Prime Minister and not the ones he is making on the
campaign trail. The Foreign Minister cautioned that he wants
"everyone in the international community to ... be aware of
what Mahmoud Abbas is saying."


Palestinian Elections and the Aftermath


3. (C) Shalom said the Israeli government is "doing
everything we can" to facilitate the Palestinian elections,
including the provision of assistance to election observers.
He added that he is more concerned, however, by "what will
happen the day after" and by Palestinian actions following
the first post-election terrorist attack. He reiterated his
call for the Palestinians to stop incitement against Israel,
saying it is something Abu Mazen "could do in a day." He
acknowledged that it would take longer to fight terrorism,
but insisted that a cease-fire is insufficient. Shalom said
that the Palestinians should begin a crackdown against
terrorism the day after the elections.

4. (C) Describing the CoDel's meetings with Abu Mazen, Abu
Ala'a, and Salam Fayyad on December 27 (septel), Senator
Lieberman said he was struck by the difference between the
election rhetoric on campaign posters and the Palestinians'
private comments. In his meeting with the CoDel, Abu Mazen
had focused on his commitment to end violence, discussed
efforts to reach an agreement with Hamas, and candidly
described problems with Palestinian security forces and the
"chaotic situation" currently faced by the Palestinian
Authority. The Palestinians had also spoken in U.S. and
Israeli terms about the rule of law, democracy, and
transparency, he said.

5. (C) Shalom agreed that the situation has improved
following Arafat's death, but he expressed concern that the
Palestinians will "use the same old excuses" to avoid real
action. He feared that after the elections they could again
claim that the PA is too weak to confront extremists and that
the Israeli military presence precludes PA action. Shalom
insisted that the PA end its tolerance of "alternate military
structures" in its area of responsibility.


Aqaba Conference to Jump Start Peace Process


6. (C) Senator Lieberman asked the Foreign Minister about his
recent proposal for another Aqaba conference. Shalom
suggested that Abu Mazen, PM Sharon, King Abdullah, President
Bush, and possibly President Mubarak meet "to give a jump
start to the peace process." He stressed that the gathering
would have to wait until the Palestinians ended terrorist
attacks. It would build confidence, but "shouldn't deal with
substance." The substantive way forward is already laid out
in the road map, he said.



Shalom Doctrine: Assist Moderates and Isolate Extremists



7. (C) Shalom said that the way to deal with both the
Palestinians and the Arab world is to "embrace the moderates
and isolate the extremists." He noted that moderates still
fear Al-Qaeda, but they face a new international environment
now that Arafat is dead, Saddam is in jail, and Qadhafi has
changed policies. Other countries realize that terrorism is
not only an Israeli problem, which means Israel can finally
be seen as being "on the side of the good guys." Senator
Dayton asked how the USG could encourage moderates in the
Palestinian leadership. Shalom replied that there are
already positive signs, such as the recent letter by
Palestinian intellectuals urging Abu Mazen to negotiate with

8. (C) Shalom noted that Syria and Iran are supporting
terrorism and should be isolated. In response to a question
from Senator Lieberman, Shalom said that European efforts to
address the threat of Iran's nuclear program are "much better
than before." Israel is dissatisfied with the last agreement
signed by the EU-3 and Iran, he added, but aggressive public
diplomacy efforts have led to a greater appreciation of the
threat by the Europeans.

9. (U) Prior to departing to meet with PM Sharon, Shalom
invited the senators to attend a special session of the UNGA
on January 24 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the
liberation of Nazi concentration camps.

10. (U) The CoDel did not clear this message prior to
departing post.

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