Cablegate: Wassenaar Arrangement: May 29 Outreach Meeting with Israel

R 221418Z JUL 08




E.O. 12958: N/A




1. (SBU) Summary. On May 29, the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) held
an Outreach meeting with Israel, on the margins of the May 26-28
General Working Group meeting. Officials from Israel's Ministries
of Defense (MOD), Foreign Affairs (MFA), and Industry, Trade, and
Labor (MOITAL) participated in the meeting. Approximately fifteen
WA Participating States were present for the meeting. Notable
exceptions included the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom;
many of the Participating States who were absent blamed their
absence on the Hague Code of Conduct (HCOC) Plenary that was
scheduled for the same date. Israeli presentations included an
overview of Israel's new defense export control legislation, a
discussion of achievements and challenges in export controls, a
dual-use export controls review, and an explanation of the role of
the MFA in export control reform. The meeting was an interactive
one, with a number of delegations, including the U.S., Romania,
Bulgaria, Germany, and Ireland asking a range of questions. The
meeting concluded with an Israeli invitation for WA Participating
States to visit Israel and to meet with Israeli industry. No
specific decision was recommended or reached for follow on activity.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) The May 29 meeting commenced with welcoming remarks by
the WA Plenary Chairperson, Bulgarian Ambassador Chavdar Zhechev,
where he summarized the history leading up to the outreach meeting
and expressed the hope that the exchange would be a dynamic one.
The Israeli officials included: Ram Raviv, Office of the General
Council, MOD; Roey Gilad, Director, Department of Export Control,
MFA; Eli Pincu, Director, Defense Export Controls Directorate, MOD,
and Ohad Orenstein, Director, Chemistry and Environment
Administration, MOITAL. Other Israeli delegation members included:
Shai Cohen, Deputy Director, Export Control Department, MFA, and Avi
Amidor, Head of Technological Assistance, MOD. The Israeli UN
Mission's Deputy, Guy Feldman, also participated.

3. (SBU) Turning to the first agenda item, Ram Raviv, from the
Office of the General Counsel in the Israeli MOD, presented an
overview of the new Israeli export control legislation which came
into force in December 2007. Raviv stressed that, since 1991,
Israel had been aligning its legislation with international regimes
such as MTCR and the NSG. Finally, in late 2007, explained Raviv,
Israel adopted the WA lists as its own national control lists.
Israel thus controls exports of defense and dual use items,
including commodities, technology, and services. According to this
legislation, export control and licensing authorities rest with the
MOD and the MOITAL, with the MFA tasked with inter-ministerial
consultation and coordination. The MFA, added Raviv, under the new
legislation is also a full partner in licensing procedures and must
be consulted before licenses are granted. The MOD, explained Raviv,
controls exports of military items and dual-use items intended for
military end use. MOITAL, in turn, controls exports of dual-use
items intended for civilian end use. Raviv stressed that new
legislation was adopted because of constitutional requirements, the
need to enhance control and enforcement mechanisms, and, quite
significantly, the desire to conform with international standards.

4. (SBU) Key elements of the new legislation include control lists
based on WA, as well as licensing requirements for re-transfers and
end-use changes. Further, transit and transshipments would now need
to be licensed, as well as brokering activities. Raviv underscored
that registry in the Defense Export Registry was a precondition for
licensing. Registration approval depended upon the applicant's
criminal record and any prior export control offenses. The new
legislation also tightened reporting and record-keeping requirements
as well as on-site inspections. Raviv stressed that strong criminal
and administrative sanctions would be placed on violators of the
licensing process, with up to 3-5 years imprisonment and up to a 1.2
million Euro fine, as well as possible deletion from the registry or
suspension or revocation of licenses. He also neatly tied in
current UN Security Council sanctions and embargo resolutions,
explaining that the legislation contained stiff criminal penalties
for violators of any UN sanctions or embargos.

5. (SBU) Raviv provided an overview of previous Israeli MOD
internal structures, where licensing and promotion were undertaken
by the same office. In order to end this seeming contradiction of
activity within one office, Israeli created the Defense Export
Control Directorate which would undertake no arms export promotion
activities. Rather the Defense Export Control Directorate is
responsible for licensing activities. Israel continues to use a

two-stage licensing process; in the first state, a marketing license
is required for marketing activities; in the second state, an export
license is required for actual exports. Any changes in end-use or
re-transfer require the exporters to apply for an updated license,
he stressed

6. (SBU) Raviv provided a detailed overview of the MFA's "full
partnership" in the licensing process. According to Raviv, the MFA
participates in all advisory committees, it has veto power on
licensing recommendations, and other regulations also require MFA
consultation. Raviv's discussion of the MFA's role was later
complemented by the presentation by Roey Gilad, the Director of the
Department of Export Control in the MFA.

7. (SBU) With regard to national control lists, Raviv reported
that Israel maintains four control lists: munitions (based on the
WA Munitions list), dual-use (the WA Dual-Use list), missile
equipment and technology list (the MTCR annex), and an additional
dual-use list for transfers to the Palestinian Authority. According
to Raviv, the WA Munitions list has been translated into Hebrew and
incorporated into law; the WA Dual-Use list has been incorporated
into law by reference under a ministerial order. Raviv explained
that Israel "added" spacecraft systems (mainly satellites) and
anti-terror and Homeland Security items (items designed or modified
for the anti-terror and Homeland Security units) to the WA Munitions
list. Raviv ended his presentation with a firm commitment that
Israel would update its control lists regularly to keep them in
conformance with any updated to the WA lists.

8. (SBU) Raviv's presentation led to a lively discussion, with a
number of Participating States raising a variety of issues. For
example, Germany queried about the cooperation between government
and industry. The Israeli delegation responded that Israel has a
good system of coordination with industry, with regular
presentations and updates. Romania asked about the registration of
brokers. Eli Pincu, the Director of the MOD Defense Export Controls
Directorate, responded that the new legislation has some brokering
controls but that they had not yet been put into force because they
needed action by the MOD and MFA as well as Parliamentary approval.
However, he added, brokering in contravention of UNSC resolution has
been criminalized, and Israeli brokers living abroad are also
liable. Gilad added that Israel does not want to be seen as
contributing to "instability;" therefore, overall regional and
global stability, for example, the situation in Zimbabwe, is
factored into licensing considerations (as well as the MFA "veto.")

9. (SBU) Along the theme of international stability, Gilad
provided a persuasive overview of the need for effective controls,
especially as a key element in the fight against terrorism. These
reasons, explained Gilad, were the genesis for the enhanced role of
the MFA in export control and licensing decisions. Echoing Raviv,
Gilad underscored the MOD, MOITAL, and MFA coordination in the
licensing process, and added detail on the dispute resolution
mechanism, where the MFA Director General or ministerial level would
be called upon to settle inter-agency cases of dispute. Therefore,
stressed Gilad, the MFA was involved in both "stages" of the MOD
licensing process, as well as in the MOITAL licensing process for
dual-use goods, along with the MOD. Gilad added that the MFA's
licensing positions depended upon foreign policy considerations and
involved internal MFA consultations with regional departments, the
international organizations department, the legal department, and
diplomatic missions abroad. Major foreign policy considerations
included, as Raviv noted, UN embargoes and sanctions, bilateral
relations, regional and internal stability. Gilad concluded by
noting that the MFA maintained a regular dialogue with a variety of
international control regimes and attended a wide range of
international conferences and seminars so as to stay in
communication with key countries on export control and licensing

10. (SBU) The MOITAL presentation on Dual-Use export controls was
a straightforward one, with few surprises and a detailed overview of
legislation. Israel's basic policy, explained the MOITAL
representative, was the requirement to obtain a license for export
of goods, services, and technology according to the WA Dual-Use
lists. In relation to this, MOITAL licensing does not cover exports
covered by the MOD licensing regime. The MOITAL representative
added that if the final end user is a military entity, the license
would be given to the MOD under the new legislation. As both Raviv
and Gilad noted, any difference in licensing recommendations or
opinions among the three ministries would be sent to an
inter-ministerial body, and even the Prime Minister if necessary.
The MOITAL representative also stressed that any licensing applicant

could lodge an appeal to the inter-ministerial body within 14 days
of the decision (both Raviv and Gilad also noted this point but the
MOITAL representative highlighted this provision the most).

11. (SBU) Eli Pincu, Director, Defense Export Controls
Directorate, MOD, rounded off the Israeli presentations. He
reminded WA Participating States that his directorate, which was
created in 2006, was a result of the Israeli policy decision to
separate marketing promotion from export licensing, control, and
enforcement. Pincu gave an overview of how his Directorate
processes both the marketing licenses and the export licenses (the
"two-step" process which Raviv detailed earlier in the Israeli
presentations). However, Pincu also stressed that his Directorate
was also responsible for outreach and enforcement. According to
Pincu, the MOD believes that the involvement of industry, which
included regular outreach and training, was important as a "first
line of defense" for export control. Outreach examples portrayed by
Pincu included both industry-wide and company-specific conferences
and training, regular meetings with the "Industry Export Control
Directors (a body made up of industry representatives)", and a
website which Pincu said his Directorate updated regularly. The
Industry Export Control Directors were tasked with "self compliance"
and encouraged to conduct internal training. They were also an
efficient and focused point of contact, Pincu stressed. Pincu
indicated that the MOD was satisfied that outreach to industry was
progressing well and was a key ingredient to stronger commitment,
implementation, and adherence to export controls.

12. (SBU) According to Pincu, outreach did not end with industry
and the general international community. Rather, his office was
also reaching out to exporters and related persons, including
agents, lawyers, and accountants, industrial and trade associations
such as the Federation of Israeli Chamber of Commerce, and other
government ministries. As Pincu explained, this regular undertaking
of awareness-raising events would only serve to better inform key
actors involved in the manufacture, sale, and export of items on the
WA lists of both Israeli legal requirements and international export
regimes. Pincu stressed that these efforts would help ensure that
Israel was playing a role in international and regional stability.
Pincu noted that over 700 participants attended the MOD's Second
Annual Export Control Conference in December 2007 and that six other
conferences were held by the MOD in the twelve months alone, with
over 400 participants.

13. (SBU) These awareness-raising efforts notwithstanding, should
there be violations of the export control legislation and
regulations, noted Pincu, the new Defense Export Control Law
provided for stronger penalties, as explained by Raviv earlier in
the day. According to Pincu, in 2007, there were 75 cases of
possible violations, 11 meetings of the Directorate's Enforcement
Committee, 11 hearings, and 3 criminal investigations.

14. (SBU) While the bulk of the meeting focused on the Israeli
presentations and the general discussion between the WA
Participating States and the Israeli delegation, WA Head Of
Secretariat Ambassador Sune Danielsson provided a concise
post-plenary briefing and he and the WA Participating States
detailed the WA's information exchange systems and mechanisms.

15. (SBU) The meeting concluded with a discussion of Israel's
query on how to best stay current with the WA standards and updated
lists. The Israeli delegation also repeatedly invited WA
Participating States to visit Israel to further review Israel's
export control policies and to undertake a "field trip" and
discussion with key Israeli industry leaders. Since any follow on
meeting in Israel would need further consideration by the WA GWG and
the Plenary, Plenary Chairperson Ambassador Chavdar Zhechev simply
noted the Israeli invitation for the record. COMMENT: This genuine
Israeli request for continued communication underscores the need for
a more regular mechanism where non-Participating States can stay
current with WA standards, guidelines, and updates to the control
lists. We should consider formally proposing such a mechanism for
enhanced outreach at the October General Working Group meeting.



End Cable Text

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