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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05TELAVIV5137 2005-08-19 11:05:00 SECRET Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

A/S WELCH'S MEETING WITH ISRAELI MOD'S GILAD

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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 005137 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/16/2015
TAGS: PREL MARR MASS PARM KPAL KWBG PGOV PINR EG IS GOI EXTERNAL GAZA DISENGAGEMENT
SUBJECT: A/S WELCH'S MEETING WITH ISRAELI MOD'S GILAD
FOCUSES ON BORDER GUARD AGREEMENT, DEVELOPING RELATIONS


Classified By: Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer. Reasons: 1.4 (b, d).

=======
SUMMARY
=======



1. (S) Israeli Defense Ministry Political Security Director
Amos Gilad confirmed to visiting NEA A/S Welch and Ambassador
Kurtzer August 16 that Egypt and Israel had reached a general
agreement on the deployment of 750 Egyptian Border Guards
along the Egypt-Gaza border. Israeli DefMin Mofaz is
expected to present the draft agreement to the Israeli
cabinet for approval next week. Though not legally required,
PM Sharon has elected to present it to the Knesset for
approval as well. Gilad said that, as a result of the
negotiations on the agreement with the Egyptians over the
last 15 months, relations between the two countries have
improved somewhat. END SUMMARY.

============================================= =======
UPDATE ON AGREEMENT TO DEPLOY EGYPTIAN BORDER GUARDS
============================================= =======



2. (S) Gilad updated A/S Welch, Ambassador Kurtzer and
General Ward on the agreement reached by the GOI and Egyptian
Government to deploy 750 Egyptian Border Guards along the
Egypt-Gaza border. The discussion on the deployment of
Egyptian Border Guards lasted 15 months. Gilad clarified
that negotiations were difficult and lengthy.



3. (S) Gilad said the Egyptians also wanted to make the
agreement very vague. According to Gilad, every time
agreement was reached on a particular set of issues, the
Egyptians would walk it back at their next meeting. Gilad
said discussing details took a long time. The agreement that
has emerged is a "protocol" that meets approval with Israel's
intelligence services and the IDF, and which will be
presented to the Knesset for approval. Gilad said that the
Israeli Attorney General advised PM Sharon that there was no
need to bring the agreement before the Knesset, but that PM
Sharon insists that it happen in accordance with a deal he
made with MK Steinitz. He expects DefMin Mofaz to present
the agreement to the Cabinet next week. After the Cabinet
approves, it can be presented to the Knesset. Gilad said the
Egyptian Border Guards are ready to deploy along the
Gaza-Egypt border, but would not deploy during Israel's Gaza
disengagement and until Knesset approval of the agreement.

============================================= ========
SIDE-LETTER ON WEAPONS TO BE TURNED OVER TO EGYPTIANS
============================================= ========



4. (S) Gilad said he talked with the Egyptians about 46
advisers that the Egyptians will send to the Palestinian
Authority, including their mission, names, and the equipment
they will supply to the Palestinians. Gilad handed a list of
the approved equipment over to General Ward, who
characterized it as a good account.



5. (S) Gilad said the Israelis had asked Egypt for a side
letter of assurance that military equipment would not be
allowed into Gaza without coordination with Israel. This is
needed to satisfy Knesset objections. Gilad said he will
deliver a draft of the side letter to the Egyptians for their
review as soon as possible, and hopes he will receive an
answer by Thursday, August 18.



6. (S) A/S Welch explained that if the Israeli side wants
Egyptian assurances regarding the provision of lethal
equipment to Gaza, the language must be drawn up in such a
way that the Egyptians cannot feel that they will be held
responsible for extraterritorial commercial deals (e.g., by
third-party brokers supplying the Palestinians from other
countries). It would be unreasonable to expect the Egyptians
to accept responsibility for brokers they cannot control.
Gilad took the point.

============================================= ========
NEGOTIATIONS HAVE HELPED RELATIONS WITH THE EGYPTIANS
============================================= ========



7. (S) Gilad suggested that as a result of negotiations over
the Border Guards agreement, relations with the Egyptians
have improved to the point of being "very excellent." Gilad
said Israel's relations with Suleiman and the Egyptian Army,
which "in the past have been so poor," have developed "in a
significant way." He thought the communication channel that
had developed would continue: "Sometimes, we talk to them
five times a day." He recounted as a positive example a
situation in which the Egyptians stopped terrorist rocket
attacks into Israel based on a request from the Israeli side.
In Gilad's view, talks with Egyptian Field Marshal Tantawi
and Suleiman have had value. He indicated that Israel may do
more to improve relations between the Egyptian and Israeli
armies.


8. (S) Ambassador Kurtzer encouraged maintaining the channel
with the Egyptians, observing that concrete achievements can
add up if both sides agree to stay away from thornier,
symbolic issues. A/S Welch suggested that if Tantawi feels
that Israel genuinely wants to help him, it will pay off.



9. (S) Gilad noted that GOI assessments of the Egyptian
military look at Egypt's capabilities, not intentions, and
rely on intelligence sources due to what he described as an
absence of relations with Egypt: "Nobody in our IDF knows
Egypt." Gilad wondered aloud if it might be possible for the
U.S. and Israel to exchange information on Egypt. A/S Welch
suggested Israel need not worry about Egyptian military
capabilities as (a) Egypt spends around two percent of its
GDP on defense, low by regional standards; (b) the Egyptian
army is not mobile; and (c) less than one-third of Egypt's
military aid from the U.S. goes towards acquiring new
military equipment, and that value is declining due to
inflation and other commitments. Gilad took the points, but
expressed concern about the future of Egypt and President
Mubarak. He said, "It looks like Mubarak might end his
career. His son will not succeed him, and Omar Suleiman will
not serve as his deputy."

============================================= ==============
GILAD: EGYPTIANS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT TERRORISM THAN DAHLAN
============================================= ==============



10. (S) Gilad observed that in the last set of Israel-Egypt
negotiations, Gaza-West Bank passage improvement was not
mentioned. He said the Egyptians do not like Palestinian
Authority Civic Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan because he
claims he does not want Israelis in Rafah. Gilad also
explained that the Egyptians were caught off guard and
shocked by the recent terror attacks in Taba and Sharm El
Sheik. A/S Welch replied that terrorism in Sinai is a "big
problem" for Egypt. The Egyptians, he said, have been
focused on the Nile delta and upper Egypt. The recent terror
attacks against Egypt might work to Israel's advantage in the
long run because they could encourage cooperation. Gilad
agreed and hoped that developments might encourage Egypt to
see the need to conclude the agreement on the provision of
weapons to Gaza the week of August 21 or shortly thereafter.



11. (U) This cable was cleared by Assistant Secretary David
Welch.

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KURTZER