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Cablegate: Barak Requests Additional Defense Support From

VZCZCXRO1086
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHTV #1199/01 1561424
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041424Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6994
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 9852

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 001199

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PTER OVIP IS
SUBJECT: BARAK REQUESTS ADDITIONAL DEFENSE SUPPORT FROM
CODEL PELOSI

1.(SBU) SUMMARY: On May 18, Speaker of the House, Nancy
Pelosi,s bi-partisan delegation met with Minister of
Defense, Ehud Barak. Barak told CODEL Pelosi that: 1)
radical Islamic terror, 2) proliferation of nuclear weapons,
and 3) rogue states are the most prominent threats facing the
"free world" today and identified Iran as Israel's largest
long-term security threat. Barak called on the US congress
to approve an upcoming defense package for Israel and
requested help in funding the &Iron Dome8 multi-layered
rocket defense project. He also expressed the GOI,s desire
to be integrated into the Global Early Warning System for
missile and rocket attacks. END SUMMARY.

2.(SBU) Barak began the meeting by focusing on Israel,s
immediate security situation, saying that many changes in
policy were needed in the short term. He stated that Israel
must continue efforts to reach an agreement with the
Palestinians, though he was not optimistic about this
happening anytime in the near future. He said a new strategy
for dealing with Gaza would need to be developed in light of
Hamas' newest tactic of attacking the territory's own
infrastructure and border posts.

------------------
THE IRANIAN THREAT
------------------

3.(SBU) Highlighting the flow of support for terrorism from
Tehran to Syria, Gaza and Lebanon, Barak identified Iran as
central to Israel's long-term security challenges. In spite
of the American intelligence assessment on the matter, Barak
cautioned the CODEL that Iran's intentions to build a nuclear
arsenal were clear. He said that the world must act to
prevent this from happening. The minister criticized recent
world efforts as heavy in rhetoric but weak in action. Barak
said stronger methods should be pursued and all options
should be considered. While he doubted the longevity of the
Ayatollahs' rule in Iran over the next ten years, Barak
cautioned that permitting Iranian nuclear weapons to be
developed would pose a great proliferation risk, no matter
what regime was controlling Iran in the future.

4.(SBU) He also said that steps must be taken to block Iran
from developing the capacity to build light oil distillation
plants, thereby preventing any improvements in its economic
situation. Barak expressed great concern that Lebanon,
Syria, and Iran were becoming increasingly coordinated. He
warned that Damascas was biding time, hoping that less
pressure would be placed upon it by a new administration in
Washington.

------------------------------
ROCKET ATTACK DETERRENT SYSTEM
------------------------------

5.(SBU) Noting that new technology would increase the range
and efficiency of rocket attacks on Israel, Barak said that
Israel must develop a multi-layered deterrent system and
could only do so with the help of the US. He noted that new
"Shihab" rockets were under development and might soon be
used to reach further and with greater accuracy into
Israel,s civilian population from Iran. Barak requested
support for Israel,s membership in the Global Early Warning
System. As the threat of an attack by Iran with long range
missiles increases, Barak said that Israel's Arrow ballistic
missile defense system seeks a 99 percent sucessful
interception rate against potential attacks. He also
requested US assistance in funding the "Iron Dome" short
range rocket defense project. The minister claimed that
development of the Iron Dome technology would be beneficial
to US defense interests.

6.(SBU) Speaker Pelosi affirmed the US Congress, solid
bi-partisan support for Israel,s qualitative military
advantage and President Bush,s plan to realize a two-state
solution within the year.

7.(U) Accompanying Speaker Pelosi were Representatives:
Steny Hoyer (D-MD),
Henry Waxman (D-CA),
David Drier (R-CA),
Gary Ackerman (D-NY),
Howard Berman (D-CA),
Nita Lowey (D-NY),
Alcee Hastings (D-FL),
John Larson (D-CT),
Adam Putnam (R-FL),
Rahm Emanuel (D-IL),
Ron Klein (D-FL),
and emboff.


8.(U) This cable has been cleared by CODEL Pelosi.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************

JONES

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