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Cablegate: Justice Minister Friedmann On Refugees, Ipr And

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1672/01 1590701
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080701Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1521
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 2284
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0115
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0187
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0003
RUEHKU/AMEMBASSY KUWAIT 0627
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0548
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5421
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001672

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB IS IZ KCRM KIPR KJUS KPAL KWMN PHUM
PREF, SU
SUBJECT: JUSTICE MINISTER FRIEDMANN ON REFUGEES, IPR AND
HUMAN RIGHTS

1. (Summary) (SBU) In a meeting with Justice Minister Daniel
Friedmann in Jerusalem on June 4, the Ambassador discussed
the Magen David Adom (MDA)/Palestinian Red Crescent Society
(PRCS) ambulance dispute, IPR issues, Darfur refugees, and
family reunifications requests for Palestinian refugees from
Iraq. Friedmann unexpectedly said that approval for
relocating 54 Palestinians from Iraq to West Bank/Gaza would
not be a problem, and offered to facilitate their
reunification. The Minister acknowledged his recent appeal
for humane treatment of Darfur refugees, but also emphasized
the competing Israeli concern of preventing a flood of
potential refugees from the Sudan. Friedmann offered to look
into the intellectual property rights (IPR) issues, and asked
for specific cases of U.S. concern. The Ambassador also
discussed recent NGO allegations that some Palestinians have
been tortured by Israeli services, noted the impending
release of the Department's 2007 Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
Report for Israel, and thanked the Minister for the
participation of Ministry of Justice (MOJ) officials in a
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) conference in
Washington in January 2007. (End Summary)

---
TIP
---

2. (U) In their first official meeting, the Ambassador
discussed a number of issues with Justice Minister Daniel
Friedmann, an academic with little political experience when
Prime Minister Olmert appointed him in February 2007 to head
the MOJ. The Ambassador informed the Minister that the 2007
TIP Report for Israel would be released to the public on June
12, and congratulated Israel on its adopting a labor
trafficking law. The Ambassador also expressed U.S.
expectation of increased investigation and prosecution of
labor trafficking offenses, and of appropriate Israeli
investment into support -- notably a shelter -- for labor
trafficking victims. Friedmann agreed with the Ambassador's
assessment that preventing trafficking also had a security
benefit to Israel by concurrently hindering the flow of
terrorists and drugs into the country.

--------------
REFUGEE ISSUES
--------------

3. (U) Discussing Darfur refugees that have applied for
refugee status in Israel, Friedmann reaffirmed that the
Sudanese should be treated humanely, but emphasized that "on
the other hand" there was a problem with how many people
Israel can absorb and how long they would stay. Friedmann
suggested the problems should be resolved by the
international community, who should "share the burden" both
economically and in the acceptance of refugees.

4. (U) The Ambassador raised the issue of another group of
refugees -- Palestinians in Iraq. Surprisingly, given the
GOI's record in recent years on family reunification,
Friedmann said there would be no problem accepting the
Palestinians, after the Ambassador reassured him that the
number in question was only 54 people. (Friedmann clarified
that Gaza might be problematic given the current situation,
but saw no issues with reunifications in the West Bank.) The
Minister promised to do what he could to facilitate the
process with the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and the
Israeli security forces, and the Ambassador promised to
convey the relevant information to Friedmann's office.

------------------------
MDA/PRCS AMBULANCE ISSUE
------------------------

5. (U) The Ambassador reminded Friedmann of earlier MOJ
involvement in the accession of Magen David Adom (MDA) to the
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Movement)
-- an accomplishment the U.S. invested considerable effort to
bring about. Noting U.S. concerns that the ongoing dispute
over the stationing of Palestinian Red Crescent Society
(PRCS) ambulances in an East Jerusalem hospital, the
Ambassador warned that fallout from this ongoing dispute

could potentially lead to a move by Arab nations to expel MDA
at the Movement's November 2007 international conference.
Friedmann saw the issue as the province of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health, however, and gave no
indication that MOJ would re-engage on this matter.

------------
HUMAN RIGHTS
------------

6. (U) The Ambassador asked Friedmann for his perspective on
allegations of torture of Palestinian security prisoners by
the Israeli military and government in a Public Committee
Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) report. Friedmann said he
was not aware of any specific cases referred to in the
report, but insisted that all cases of suspected abuse were
investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted. Friedmann
defended Israeli human rights practices, calling it a liberal
country "considering it has been at war since its inception."
He noted that despite its constant war status, Israel did
not have the death penalty. The Minister suggested a
comparison of how Israel -- in an "ongoing war" -- treats
Palestinians with how other countries treat their minorities,
saying Israel gives "favorable representation" to Arabs in
government and business. Friedmann said it was not only Arab
countries (that fall short in the comparison) but that the
Ambassador might "look at how other Western countries acted
in times of war" and treated minorities "suspected of
collaborating with the enemy."

------------
IPR CONCERNS
------------

7. (U) The Ambassador raised U.S. concerns about Israeli IPR
protections and loopholes in draft copyright legislation in
the Knesset. Friedmann asked for specific cases illustrating
U.S. concerns, i.e. with internet protections. The
Ambassador provided a nonpaper and promised to send a letter
to Friedmann with details attached.

------
MOJ/AG
------

8. (SBU) When the Ambassador asked about his relationship
with the Attorney General, Friedmann stressed that the
Attorney General was "completely independent" and that
Friedmann did not intervene in his activities. The
Ambassador also thanked the Minister for the participation of
MOJ officials in a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT)
conference in Washington in January 2007. When discussing
the MLAT meeting, Friedmann brought up the question of
Israelis incarcerated in U.S. prisons, and his preference for
their relocation to Israeli prisons whenever possible.

--------
BIO NOTE
--------

9. (SBU) Friedmann was accompanied by his media advisor
Tzachi Moshe. The Minister emphasized his lack of political
experience, and claimed that his lack of political
affiliation gave him independence that was important in his
position. Friedmann made no mention of his efforts to
resurrect the so-called "infitada law" (which bans
Palestinian suits for non-warfare related damages) that the
High Court of Justice overturned in 2006.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
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CRETZ

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