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Cablegate: Israeli Embassy, Japanese, and Jordanian Views On Peace

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAM #4227/01 2911006
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181006Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0622
INFO RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0814
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 4658
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0255

UNCLAS AMMAN 004227

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR NEA/ELA, NEA/IPA, AND NEA/RA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ECIN ETRD PREL SENV KWBG JO IS
SUBJECT: Israeli Embassy, Japanese, and Jordanian views on Peace
Valley and Peace Corridor

REF: A) TEL AVIV 2999
B) NEA/RA Lawson 10/16 email on Red-Dead
C) TEL AVIV 2912
D) TEL AVIV 1039
E) AMMAN 1150
F) TOKYO 1005
G) TOKYO 6576

(U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for internet distribution.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Following Israeli President Peres' late September
briefing of Ambassadors Jones and Hale and subsequent request for
the U.S. to encourage Jordanian progress on implementing elements of
the Peace Valley Project, Post has engaged Government of Jordan
(GOJ) officials, representatives of the Japanese International
Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Israeli Embassy officials in Amman on
the status on the Peace Valley/Peace Corridor proposals. There is
general agreement on the basic pillars of the plan - economic
stability for Palestinian areas, establishment of an agro-industrial
park in the Jericho area, reconstruction of the Damiya Bridge, and
construction of an airstrip to transport products to Gulf markets -
but confusion abounds about the scope of the overall project, its
name, and who is responsible for next steps. Israel, or at least
President Peres, seems to favor a broad array of projects including
the Red Sea-Dead Sea water conveyance project, JICA is focusing on
feasibility studies for the agro-industrial park, and Jordan's
priority is the Damiya Bridge. Post observes that the key partners
are not communicating well, and absent progress and commitments at
the next meeting of the four parties (Israel, Jordan, Palestinian
Authority, Japan), the project/s could well wither away. END
SUMMARY.

Corridor for Peace and Prosperity, or Peace Valley?
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (U) The Japan-proposed "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity"
initiative (aka Peace Corridor) aims to improve the economic
stability of the Palestinian areas (reftels). During the August 15
ministerial-level meeting of the Four Party Consultative Unit, the
parties agreed to the establishment of an agro-industrial park in
Jericho, as well as several supporting programs such as the
reconstruction of the Damiya Bridge, and the development of an
airstrip in the Northern Jordan Valley (on the Jordanian side) to
transport products to Gulf markets. Meanwhile, Peres has been
championing the "Peace Valley" concept to include infrastructure and
tourism projects along the 520 kilometers stretching from the Red
Sea to the northern Israeli-Jordanian border. Peres' program is
broader in scope, and includes projects such as expansion of
Jordan's Aqaba International Airport to serve both Aqaba and the
Israeli city of Eilat as a "Peace Airport."

3. (SBU) COMMENT: These differing views of the Peace Corridor are
further complicated by nomenclature. Many of Embassy Amman's
interlocutors use Peace Valley and Peace Corridor interchangeably.
The Peace Corridor can be considered a sub-set of the Peace Valley.
END COMMENT.

Jordan and JICA: Similar Views and Objectives
--------------------------------------------- -

4. (SBU) During an October 3 meeting, JICA representatives informed
EconCouns of Israeli agreement to rebuild the Damiya Bridge. JICA
reported no consensus, however, on the next steps in proceeding with
reconstruction efforts. Jordanian officials confirmed to EconCouns
that Jordan is ready to begin the necessary studies and designs, and
seeks Israeli cooperation in arranging for a technical site
investigation. Jordan is waiting for the GOI to confirm that it is
ready to proceed with construction, verify that the immediate
surroundings are free of mines, and facilitate a joint visit to the
site in order to allow a Jordanian team to take aerial images of the
site. While Jordan is waiting for Israeli action, Israel believes
that the ball is in Jordan's court.

The View from Israel's Embassy in Amman
---------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Israeli Embassy PolCouns (and acting DCM) Itai Bartov
reconfirmed to EconOff on October 4 GOI support for Peace
Valley/Corridor programs as economic development tools to bolster
improvements in the political climate. He tempered his comments by
noting the projects will require patience and a long time
perspective. Noting that the Economic Office of the Israeli
Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responsible for the initiative, he
chided the Palestinians for always including political aspects to
strictly economic discussions, and commented that the Jordanians,
while cooperative in select areas (narcotics, agriculture, avian
influenza, and medical exchanges), were difficult to engage on many

of the Peace Valley/Peace Corridor programs. He also provided the
following status reports:

(U) Agro-industrial park in Jericho: there is good cooperation on
promoting this under the Peace Corridor framework, and the project
is on track with a JICA-led feasibility assessment.

(SBU) Damiya bridge reconstruction: the Israeli army has overcome
its initial reluctance to this project. The Israeli acceptance was
conveyed to Jordan at the August 2007, four-party Dead-Sea meeting.
NOTE: Bartov was not familiar with the GOJ requests in paragraph 4
above. END NOTE.

(SBU) Aqaba/Eilat "Peace Airport": The Secretary General of the
Israeli Ministry of Tourism is coming to Amman on October 22 to
discuss tourism cooperation. This joint airport is one of the
agenda items. Bartov was quick to note this was a bilateral
initiative (referred to in the Peace Valley) and would not involve
the Palestinians.


6. (SBU) Previous discussions with GOJ and Israeli interlocutors
have described Israeli-Jordan discussions to develop an MOU for the
Peace Valley. A second meeting of the four-party technical experts
was also expected later in October. Bartov was not able to provide
additional information.

Red-Dead Pipeline: In or Out?
-----------------------------

7. (SBU) The Jordanians have consistently stated that the Red
Sea-Dead Sea water conveyance project to generate power and
transport water was not/not within the Peace Valley/Peace Corridor
framework. Peres' Peace Valley initiative, however, highlights the
Red-Dead as one of the national priority projects for Israel.
Bartov believed it unlikely the project could be fast-tracked
outside the World Bank framework. NOTE: A private-sector company is
pitching a proposal, with Peres' support, for a $2 billion Red-Dead
project which would short-circuit the planned World Bank feasibility
study and subsequent tendering process (ref A). Jordanian officials
are reviewing this proposal, but without prejudice to the World Bank
effort. END NOTE.

Visit Amman's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.gov.sgov.gov/p/nea/amman/

HALE

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