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Cablegate: Codel Voinovich Discusses the Way Forward in Gaza With

VZCZCXRO0062
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHTV #0204 0241510
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241510Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5140
INFO RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 8919
RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASH DC

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000204

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR OREP IS
SUBJECT: CODEL Voinovich Discusses the Way Forward in Gaza with
Minister Dicter
on Jan 2


1. Summary: On January 2, 2008 Codel Voinovich met with
Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Avraham QAvi
Dicter, at the Knesset in Jerusalem. Senator Voinovich was
accompanied by Representatives Rob Bishop (R, Utah); Phil
Gingrey (R, Georgia); Steve Pearce (R, New Mexico) and
Michael Turner (R, Ohio) as well as by the Charge and
emboff note taker. The 45 minute meeting centered on
EgyptQs security patrol of the Gaza Strip border, the
recent Army Corps of EngineerQs Report on smuggling routes
into Gaza, and the lack of Israeli efforts to support the
government of Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and the Palestinian
Authority. The Senator ended the meeting by requesting
that Minister Dicter review the Army Corps of EngineerQs
Report. Minister DicterQs response regarding the report
was equivocal. End Summary

2. Minister Dicter began the meeting by relaying his fear
that the current state of events would lead to Qthree
states for two people.Q Dicter was referring to the fact
that GazaQs Hamas leadership has been plotting a course
divergent from that of the West Bank. He mentioned his
concern that the Palestinian AuthorityQs government
apparatus or QarchiveQ had been turned over to Hamas and
criticized Mahmoud Abbas for not paying enough attention to
combating terrorism networks functioning under his
authority. He told Senator Voinovich that the PAQs
inability to maintain security requires that Israel act
instead and he cited the recent death of two Israeli
soldiers in Hebron as an example of IsraelQs cost of doing
so.

3. The Senator asked Dicter what Israel was doing to
assist the PA. Dicter stated that without any real law
enforcement efforts under its administration, aid to the PA
was meaningless. The Senator countered by saying that
there would be no security without a two-state solution,
proper enforcement of the border between Egypt and Gaza,
and proper enforcement of UN Resolution 1701. He
challenged Dicter to review the recent US Army Corps of
Engineers Report on issues concerning the border between
Gaza and Egypt and asked Dicter why Israel was not doing
its part to enforce UN Resolution 1701.

4. Dicter harshly criticized the Egyptians for failing to
stem the rampant smuggling of goods and weaponry into the
Gaza strip from Egyptian territory. He contended that the
Egyptians simply lacked the QwillQ to act in the matter,
stating that any real effort needed to Qstart with a
decisionQ. The minister said that as little as 750
Egyptian soldiers would be able to control the smuggling
along the Philadelphi Corridor. The Senator cited the Army
Corps of EngineersQ report as disagreeing with DicterQs
assessment and he pointedly contended that all parties
involved needed a formal, measurable plan to make any
progress on the issue. Dicter opined that devising a
system of measurement would be impossible.

5. Senator Voinovich remained adamant that failing to
resolve the crises along the Egyptian-Gazan border would
prevent any real efforts at a two-state solution for Israel
and the Palestinians. Dicter stated that the only way to
prevent continued rocket fire into Israel from Gaza was to
create a system of deterrence that would prove to Gazans
that their efforts would not benefit them. Dicter stated
that if Egypt inevitably failed to find a solution to
deterring rockets and smuggling, Israel would. Dicter
reminded the group of the Israeli offensive that was
launched in 2002 (Note: Dicter was likely alluding to
IsraelQs 2002 Operation Defensive Shield. End Note) as a
result of Palestinian militancy and attacks within Israel,
foreshadowing a possible Israeli reaction to continued
attack.

6. Congressman Gingrey relayed to Dicter that, in meetings
with the codel prior to its arrival in Israel, the
Egyptians denied that they have the capacity to do what is
necessary along the border to curtail smuggling. Dicter
maintained his belief that the Egyptians have the capacity
to act and reiterated that only the will was lacking on the
part of the Egyptians.

7. Senator Voinovich ended the meeting by asking Dicter to
promise that he would read the recent US Army Corps of
EngineersQ report and provide his analysis of the Army
CorpsQ recommendations. Dicter was noncommittal but stated
he would accept the report if sent to him.

8. This cable has been cleared by Senator Voinovich.

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