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Cablegate: Wertheimer Apparently Giving Up On "Marshall Plan"

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 001362

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR NEA/IPA, NEA/ARN, EUR/SE
NSC FOR KIFAYAT
USDOC FOR 4520/CLOUSTANAU/TSAMS/NWEIGLER
DEPT PASS TO USTR CNOVELLI AND ESAUMS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON ETRD PREL KWBG TU JO IS GOI EXTERNAL ECONOMY AND FINANCE ISRAEL RELATIONS
SUBJECT: WERTHEIMER APPARENTLY GIVING UP ON "MARSHALL PLAN"
FOR THE MIDDLE EAST


-----------------------------------
"You Can Lead a Horse to Water...."
-----------------------------------

1. (SBU) Israeli industrialist Stef Wertheimer told visiting
NSC Director Adnan Kifayat and Embassy Econoff on Feb. 24
that he will no longer seek USG financial assistance for his
"New Marshall Plan" for the Middle East. Using the phrase
"you can lead a horse to water, but you can't force him to
drink", Wertheimer hinted that he was frustrated at his
continued inability to secure financial aid from the USG for
his vision of a series of industrial parks in the poorer Arab
countries of the region.

2. (SBU) If the USG or the wider international donor
community decided to promote an idea similar to his own,
Wertheimer said, he would be willing to act as an advisor.
He may also be prepared to locate one of his companies in
such a zone, he said. However, he would not actively seek
money from the USG as in the past, he said, nor would he
attempt to develop such parks on his own in any other
countries except Turkey. Wertheimer said he had already
declined a recent invitation from Sen. Chuck Hagel to again
pitch his idea before Congress, as he had already done in
2002.

------------------------------
Wertheimer Rethinks His Vision
------------------------------

3. (SBU) In recent weeks, Wertheimer said, he had begun
rethinking his vision for a large number of industrial parks
in the non-oil countries of the Middle East. These parks
would have been modeled after the industrial estates he has
established in Israel, where he has augmented manufacturing
activities with vocational training and comfortable
surroundings aimed at enhancing worker satisfaction and
productivity. Wertheimer sought substantial USG financial
assistance by arguing that such parks could act as a catalyst
for the industrialization, and hence the stabilization, of
the region.

4. (SBU) Wertheimer said that former Senator George J.
Mitchell had heavily influenced his decision to rethink his
industrial park idea, based upon conversations he had with
Mitchell just prior to Kifayat's visit. (Note: Earlier, an
aide to Wertheimer told Econoff that Wertheimer had recently
hired Mitchell and former Congressman Robert Livingston as
consultants and Washington lobbyists for his plans. End
note.) Wertheimer also admitted that, as an Israeli, he was
having difficulty gaining acceptance for his idea in Jordan
and in the West Bank/Gaza, the two areas where he saw the
most promise for his parks. Wertheimer, who in past
discussions with Embassy officers had routinely highlighted
his good connections with Jordanian officials and
businessmen, told Kifayat that the Jordanians had a
"love-hate" relationship with him. He said he would fulfill
his commitments to a Jordanian partner in the industrial zone
in Aqaba, but would not actively expand his engagement in
Jordan.

5. (SBU) Wertheimer said he plans to re-focus his attention
to his business activities in Turkey, where he is, together
with Turkish partners, developing one industrial estate in
Gebze and planning a second in Mersin. He said he also hopes
to develop vocational training programs for businessmen and
workers in industrializing economies. NSC Director Kifayat
briefed Wertheimer on the Greater Middle East Initiative and
invited him to share his opinions on the issue with senior
NSC staff during his next trip to the U.S.

-------
Comment
-------

6. (SBU) The timing of Wertheimer's change of heart came as a
surprise. As recently as January Wertheimer had staged a
large event at his flagship park in northern Israel to
promote his industrial park idea. Cabinet level politicians
from Israel and Turkey attended, as did several former U.S.
Congressmen. All had voiced strong support for Wertheimer's
vision. Conspicuously absent at that meeting, however, were
any official speakers from the international donor community.
It now appears that Wertheimer has concluded that his
"Marshall Plan" is a no-go based upon the lukewarm support
that he has received for his ideas in donor circles.

7. (U) NSC Director Kifayat cleared this message.

********************************************* ********************
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.
********************************************* ********************
KURTZER

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