Cablegate: Unsc: Multiple Delegations, Including Uk, Call For

DE RUCNDT #0967/01 2972044
O 232044Z OCT 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 112275


1. (SBU) In his monthly briefing to the Security Council on
the Middle East, Under Secretary General for Political
Affairs Pascoe reviewed October 22 the series of meetings
held in late September on the Israeli-Palestinian peace
negotiations. In terms of the West Bank, he noted the start
of the olive harvest and referred to the Quartet's previous
call for the enforcement of rule of law when dealing with
settler violence towards Palestinian farmers. He
specifically commented that there has been no progress on
Israel's key Road Map and Annapolis commitments during the
period. On Gaza, he said that the problems associated with
the tunnels underscore the need for a sustained and orderly
reopening of the crossings into Gaza. While there have been
no further indirect Israeli-Syrian talks, he welcomed the
Lebanese-Syrian agreement to re-establish diplomatic
relations and the passage of the Lebanese electoral law.

2. (SBU) In Council consultations after the briefing,
multiple delegations called for the Council to act on Middle
East issues. The UK Perm Rep called for the Council to issue
a statement of support, in the coming months, for the work
that has been done on all peace tracks. The South African
Perm Rep questioned the impartiality of the Quartet since it
was not calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners,
along with Israeli CPL Shalit, and had not specifically
condemned the Israeli settler attacks against Palestinian
farmers during the olive harvest. The majority of
delegations welcomed both the UN Special Coordinator for
Lebanon's arrival in Beirut and the October 16 renewal of
Lebanese-Syrian diplomatic relations. End summary. (Note:
The full text of the U.S. remarks, as prepared for the
meeting, is contained in reftel. End note.)

U/SYG Pascoe Briefs Council

3. (SBU) In his October 22 briefing to the Security Council
during a meeting on the Middle East, Under Secretary-General
for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe reviewed the series of
meetings held in New York during the General Debate regarding
the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. (Note: Mission
e-mailed the text of Pascoe's remarks to IO/UNP on October
22. End note.) He said the Quartet principals had welcomed
the parties' suggestion to brief the Quartet on the
negotiations at their next meeting, hopefully in the coming
weeks. He noted that the Quartet had agreed that Spring 2009
would be an appropriate time for an international meeting in
Moscow. During the Secretary General's September 26 iftar,
he said the discussion had focused on how the Quartet members
and the Arab representatives could work together in support
of the "Israeli-Palestinian process, Palestinian
reunification, and regional peace" and that it reaffirmed the
importance of the Arab Peace Initiative.

4. (SBU) Pascoe highlighted the Israeli-Palestinian clashes
over the past month, including the firing of tear gas at a
civilian delegation that included a European Commission
official and local Palestinian officials and NGO members. He
cited the injuries to 19 Israelis when a Palestinian from
East Jerusalem drove a car into a group of pedestrians and
the communal clashes in Acre in Israel during and following
Yom Kippur. Pascoe then turned to the start of the olive
harvest and the concerns for the safety of Palestinian
farmers harvesting their olive trees in the vicinity of
settlements and outposts. He referenced Israeli Defense
Minister Barak's denunciation of those attacking the olive
pickers and Barak's statements that the IDF is attempting to
protect Palestinian farmers but that it is impossible to
guard all locations. Pascoe reiterated the Quartet's call
"for the enforcement of the rule of law given continued
settler violence against Palestinian citizens."

5. (SBU) Pascoe listed the number of obstacles to
Palestinian movement in the West Bank at 630 for the period.
Pascoe specifically commented, "There has been no progress in
the reporting period on Israel's key Road Map and Annapolis
commitments: that is, a genuine settlement freeze, removal of
outposts, and opening of Palestinian institutions in East
Jerusalem." He noted continuing settlement construction in
the West Bank and East Jerusalem and said the Quartet's clear
statement must be heeded. On Jerusalem, he said a majority
of Palestinian Muslims were not able to pray at al-Aqsa
Mosque during Ramadan because of access and permit
restrictions, while a synagogue was opened by settlers in the

USUN NEW Y 00000967 002 OF 003

Muslim Quarter of the Old City on October 12 under increased
Israeli security presence. He said, "The Secretary-General
continues to call for an end to unilateral action in
Jerusalem and reminds all parties that the status of the city
remains an issue for permanent status negotiations."

6. (SBU) On Gaza, Pascoe highlighted the deaths of 14
Palestinians as a result of collapses, closures, or accidents
in tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, which he said is
reportedly regulated by Hamas. He said this situation
"underscores the importance of a sustained and orderly
reopening of crossings into Gaza under the Palestinian
Authority." After mentioning that the teachers' strike
continues in Gaza, he said a student was declared clinically
dead after falling three stories October 21 after an
altercation involving a Hamas-appointed teacher. In terms of
healthcare, he said the percentage of essential drug items
now at the zero level in Gaza has jumped to 22 percent -- now
double the level of items out of stock than in August when
responsibility for delivering medical supplied to Gaza was
transferred from WHO to the PA Health Ministry. He
reiterated UN support for efforts to secure the release of
Israeli CPL Gilad Shalit as well as a number of Palestinian

7. (SBU) Turning north, he said there had been no further
indirect Israeli-Syrian negotiations facilitated by Turkey
over the last month. He highlighted the recent
Lebanese-Syrian agreement providing for the establishment of
diplomatic relations, and termed the Lebanese Parliament's
passage of a new electoral law an important milestone in the
implementation of the Doha agreement. He said that the first
phase of rubble removal from the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian
refugee camp began October 17 and should be completed in
eight months, and that funding is urgently required by UNRWA
to meet the camp's reconstruction costs and humanitarian
needs. Pascoe termed the situation in UNIFIL's area of
operations as tense but generally quiet, but he did highlight
Israeli air violations averaging ten per day over the past
month. He also announced that UN Special Coordinator for
Lebanon Michael Williams began work October 1.

Multiple delegations call for Council
to act on Middle East issues

8. (SBU) In Security Council consultations immediately
following Pascoe's briefing, multiple delegations honed in on
Pascoe's statement that Israel had not made progress during
the period on its key Road Map and Annapolis commitments.
The Indonesian Perm Rep, speaking second after Libya, noted
the Quartet's strong statement on settlements in September
and said he hoped the Council would soon be able to speak
"coherently and with one voice on this issue." (Separately,
the Indonesian DPR told Ambassador Wolff they would like to
see a product before they leave the Council.) The South
African Perm Rep called for the Council to assist the parties
in getting to their goal since the situation on the ground
has not improved. While encouraging both sides to persist in
negotiations, he said the Council should "do its part and not
avoid its mandate." The Russian DPR said that the Council
would need to discuss what could be done on this issue. The
Costa Rican Perm Rep voiced concern with the Council's
silence on this issue and said there was a need for a
"statement on a collective security approach." The Burkina
Faso DPR said that the Council needs to "make its own
contribution, going beyond rhetoric."

UK Perm Rep calls for Council statement
of support for all peace tracks

9. (SBU) The UK Perm Rep said the three priorities for the
period ahead were to (1) keep the process going through the
upcoming political transitions and keep supporting
Turkish-facilitated Israeli-Syrian talks; (2) improve the
situation on the ground for Palestinians and cease settlement
building; and (3) enhance regional engagement and support for
the Arab Peace Initiative. He specifically noted that the UK
was taking action against the importation of settlement
goods. The UK Perm Rep said, "We must be prepared - at the
right time - to express our united and strong support for the
work that has been done on all peace tracks, and to
demonstrate the Security Council's resolve to help deliver a
comprehensive Middle East Peace. That is the challenge for
us; when the time is right in the coming months we need to be
prepared to meet it." The Belgian expert expressed the need
to maintain the current momentum and not allow any
backsliding by either of the parties. He said Belgium was
ready to contribute to any initiative by the Council. The

USUN NEW Y 00000967 003 OF 003

French Political Coordinator, in contrast, kept his remarks
focused on Quartet efforts. He observed that it is a pivotal
moment in the peace process; that France, as EU President, is
prepared to be fully supportive of the process at the next
Quartet meeting. He stressed that both parties need to be
more resolute in achieving an agreement; that there must be a
full freeze on settlement construction; and that trade
restrictions with Gaza should be lifted.

South Africa asks if the
Quartet has acted impartially

10. (SBU) The South African Perm Rep raised whether the
Quartet has acted impartially. On the issue of settlements,
he said the Quartet had acted impartially. On the issue of
Palestinian prisoners, he said the Quartet had not acted with
impartiality since it only called for the release of Israeli
CPL Shalit, not any of the Palestinian prisoners. In
contrast, he referred to Pascoe's briefing and said Pascoe
had properly highlighted both. The South African Perm Rep
also said the Quartet had failed on the Israeli settler
attacks against Palestinian farmers. He said the issue
should not be "reduced to a rule of law issue" if Israeli
settlers are the perpetrators and a terrorism issue when
Palestinians are the perpetrators. Ambassador Wolff
challenged the South African on this point during his
intervention and noted that numerous UN conventions make a
distinction between criminal acts and terrorist acts and we
must bear this distinction in mind in our discussions.


11. (SBU) The majority of delegations specifically welcomed
both Michael Williams' arrival in Lebanon to assume his new
position as UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon and the
October 16 renewal of diplomatic relations between Syria and
Lebanon. The Russian DPR specifically welcomed the October
16 renewal and said that the bilateral diplomatic path is
always preferable. He explained that was why his delegation
had abstained on UNSCR 1680. (Comment: UNSCR 1680, passed in
May 2006, called for full implementation of UNSCR 1559 and
strongly encouraged the Syrians to respond positively to the
request by the Government of Lebanon to delineate their
border with Lebanon and establish full diplomatic relations.
We assume the Russian DPR wanted to stress Russia's
preference for direct bilateral engagement over Security
Council pressure. The Council will meet again on October 30
to discuss the Secretary General's report on the
implementation of UNSCR 1559. End comment.)


12. (SBU) We found this month's briefing by U/SYG Pascoe to
be less balanced than usual and more critical of Israel.
While efforts to form a new government have preoccupied
Israeli political leaders during the last month and may have
slowed some movement on the ground, neither Pascoe's nor most
of the other interventions acknowledged this reality.
Instead, Pascoe's message may have fed into the increasing
calls by Council members for renewed Council engagement and
action on the Middle East.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>