U.S. Reviews Progress with Palestinian Leaders

(July 3, 2008)


Classified U.S. diplomatic cables, leaked by the whistleblower site WikiLeaks, contained accounts of CODEL Kerry meeting on July 1, 2008, with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to discuss progress on Roadmap implementation. In a separate meeting, CODEL Kerry heard PLO Negotiations Affairs Chief Saeb Erekat's summary of progress on permanent status negotiations.


3 July 2008, 12:38:00
S E C R E T JERUSALEM 001169
SIPDIS
NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE AND IPA, NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/PASCUAL
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/03/2018
TAGS: KWBG, PREL, PGOV, PBTS, IS, OREP, OREP
SUBJECT: CODEL KERRY REVIEWS NEGOTIATIONS, SITUATION ON THE GROUND WITH EREKAT, FAYYAD
Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S) Summary. In separate July 1 meetings with CODEL Kerry, PA PM Salam Fayyad reviewed progress on Roadmap implementation, while PLO Negotiations Affairs Chief Saeb Erekat summarized progress on permanent status negotiations. Fayyad thanked the USG for "unprecedented" assistance and said the PA is effectively responding to local needs. Erekat said the GOI and PA are working on all issues, but the negotiations will need President Abbas and PM Olmert to "make the hard political decisions." End summary.

Settlement Expansion Threatens Confidence in Annapolis Peace Tracks

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2. (C) At a July 1 meeting in Ramallah, PM Fayyad told CODEL Kerry that both sides must implement their Roadmap commitments to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution. He said the PA's top issues with the GOI are: a) settlement expansion; b) IDF incursions in the West Bank; and c) movement and access. Fayyad said there was a twelvefold increase in settlement tenders in the six months after Annapolis compared to 2007, which has undermined confidence in peace and the domestic standing of PA leaders.

PA Grateful for USG, Intl Support, But Feels Unsupported by Arab States

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3. (C) Fayyad thanked the USG for "unprecedented" assistance. He said the PA is effectively responding to local needs, including in rural areas and refugee camps, and the Palestine Investment Conference helped boost confidence in the PA. However, Fayyad said the PA feels unsupported by Arab states, despite their favorable rhetoric.

Fayyad: PA Security Efforts Promising, But Barak Hasn't Delivered on Commitments

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4. (C) The culture of violence in Palestinian society is waning, PM Fayyad said, and "the PA has responded to the public's need for security despite the abuse we have suffered from extremists." Fayyad said Israeli Defense Minister Barak has not delivered on positive comments in their meetings with Secretary Rice. He said there are more obstacles to movement in the West Bank than ever before, and more incursions in Nablus and Jenin than before the PA's security campaigns. He said the GOI should work with the PA on prisoner releases rather than only freeing prisoners for Hamas and Hizbullah.

Crossings Key to Restoring PA Control of Gaza

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5. (C) PM Fayyad said he favors the Gaza ceasefire. He said "you cannot kick out Hamas by denying Palestinians basic needs, and Hamas has made a lucrative business out of tunnel smuggling. Violence and misery favor Hamas. If there is insufficient misery, Hamas will create it to exploit the situation." He argued that unless the PA regains control of Gaza's crossings, "Gaza will be gone forever."

Erekat: Abbas and Olmert Must Make the Hard Decisions

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6. (S) Saeb Erekat said the GOI and PA are working on all permanent status issues, noting that the two sides "are farther along than we were at Camp David or at Taba." He said the negotiators will need President Abbas and PM Olmert to "make the hard political decisions."

7. (S) Erekat said the PA is committed to finishing a permanent status framework, defining solutions to all permanent status issues, by the end of 2008. He said he is committed to meeting Israeli security requirements, but wants to do so through a mutually-agreed third-party security force rather than an Israeli military presence in the future Palestinian state.

8. (U) CODEL Kerry did not have the opportunity to clear this message.

WALLES


Source: Guardian.co.uk