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Cablegate: Settler Leaders and Consul General Agree To

VZCZCXRO9999
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #0371/01 0591626
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281626Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0735
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY

"C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 000371

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE. NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2018
TAGS: KWBG PBTS PREL PHUM IS
SUBJECT: SETTLER LEADERS AND CONSUL GENERAL AGREE TO
DISAGREE

Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, per reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: Settler leaders Dani Dayan (Yesha Council
Chairman), Pinchas Wallerstein (Yesha Director General),
Shaul Goldstein (Gush Etzion Regional Council Chairman), and
Ron Nachman (Ariel Mayor) shared their views with the Consul
General February 25, agreeing from the outset to disagree.
The settler leaders said they think the U.S. Ambassador in
Tel Aviv is their appropriate interlocutor, since they are
Israeli citizens, but welcomed the engagement with a senior
USG official and urged the Consul General and the Secretary
to visit their settlements. END SUMMARY.

""Stereotyped and Demonized""
---------------------------

2. (C) In a February 25 meeting at the Consulate General,
Dani Dayan (Yesha Council Chairman), Pinchas Wallerstein
(Yesha Director General), Shaul Goldstein (Gush Etzion
Regional Council Chair), and Ron Nachman (Ariel Mayor)
thanked the Consul General for the unusual meeting, saying
""everybody talks about us, but not to us."" Dayan said ""We
are one of the most stereotyped and demonized populations in
the world, but first and foremost, we are 300,000 human
beings."" Goldstein noted that he had never been to the
ConGen before, but has frequently attended protests in the
park across the street. They added that, as Israeli
citizens, they believe their appropriate interlocutor is the
U.S. Ambassador in Tel Aviv, but all acknowledged the
long-standing division of labor between Embassy Tel Aviv and
ConGen Jerusalem.

No Agreed Upon Solution
-----------------------

3. (C) The settler leaders rejected the USG ""fixation"" with
""establishing a terrorist state"" and said
""creating a Palestinian state is erroneous and suicidal"" and
""will only lead to violence."" Yesha Council Chairman Dayan
said removing settlers from ""Judea and Samaria"" will usher in
Hamas ""within weeks, months, or years."" The GOI, he argued,
should retain security control from the Mediterranean to the
Jordan river. ""From my bedroom I can see the Azrieli Towers
in Tel Aviv - it's either me in that bedroom or Hamas and PIJ
terrorists,"" he said. He dismissed any question about the
morality of his position, saying that he refused to visit
South Africa during the apartheid era and that the ""moral
balance between Jews and Palestinians is in (the Jews') favor
by far."" He said repeated Jewish efforts to reach compromise
before and after the creation of Israel have been met with
violence, and if Palestinians have no political rights, ""only
they are to blame.""

4. (C) Ariel Mayor Nachman said his preferred vision for the
Palestinians is Egyptian control of Gaza and Jordanian
control of parts of the West Bank where there are no
settlers. If this arrangement requires moving any
settlements, reciprocity would require moving Palestinian
villages he said, although he admitted the Arab world opposes
this solution.

The John Wayne of the Settlers
------------------------------

5. (C) Nachman urged the Consul General to visit Ariel,
shouting ""I want to host you and show that we don't have
horns."" He compared West Bank settlers to those who settled
the western U.S. and applauded ""America's real legacy,"" which
he said is ""John Wayne"". Nachman said he hates the
separation barrier (which juts 22 km into the West Bank,
encompassing his settlement), but he believes it protects him
from Palestinians in neighboring Salfit. Nachman said he has
reached out to the Salfit and Nablus mayors to ""cooperate"" on
water, solid waste, and sewage service. ""I control the valve
for Salfit's water and electricity supply and could turn them
off at any time,"" he said, adding that he has not done so.

""Why are we an Obstacle to Peace?""
----------------------------------

6. (C) Gush Etzion Regional Council Chairman Shaul Goldstein
said ""even if we leave Judea and Samaria tomorrow, what
person on earth could say there will be peace? Why are we an
obstacle to peace?"" He rejected that Palestinians have any
economic potential, posing bluntly ""What have Palestinians
contributed to society in the last 100 years?"" He said ""Give
them a state and they'll do nothing with it."" Goldstein said
he does not see long-term solution, but he said local
contacts will be helpful in the short-term and will produce

JERUSALEM 00000371 002 OF 002


""the peace of the simple people."" He asked the USG to help
""convince"" neighboring Palestinians to meet with settlers,
noting that ""We try but Ramallah says no."" Nachman agreed
that settlers are not the obstacle to peace, insisting ""We
want peace more than Meretz and the professional peaceniks.""

7. (C) Pinchas Wallerstein countered USG pressure on the
GOI to evacuate the outposts, saying ""be honest and consider
those that will be left behind"" and complaining that three
years after Gaza ""disengagement,"" evacuees still do not have
permanent homes. He said the GOI uses ""American pressure"" on
outposts as an excuse with settlers and he wants the Consul
General's ""staff at the table"" when the settlers next meet
with the GOI.

Comment
-------

8. (C) The U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem had not met with
settler leaders for some time, and the settlers - despite
their grumbling about not receiving July 4 invitations -
welcomed the opportunity to express their views. Notably,
they did not brief the press on the meeting, suggesting that
they did not see want to burn a new interlocutor, but rather
want a direct USG channel for their views. The meeting also
provided us new insight on some of the intra-settler
dynamics, with the somewhat overbearing mayor of Ariel
insisting on center stage, and causing almost physical
discomfiture to the calm, more strategic-minded heads of the
Yesha and Gush Etzion Councils. Nachman's vision of
cooperation with his neighbors while he controls Salfit's
water will obviously not resonate with Palestinians.
Wallerstein is the long-standing elder, but he spoke little
and his body language seemed to indicate that he has seen it
all before.

WALLES
"

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