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Cablegate: Israeli Foreign Minister Tells Diplomatic Corps

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Carol X Weakley 08/11/2006 04:45:55 PM From DB/Inbox: Carol X Weakley

Cable
Text:


C O N F I D E N T I A L TEL AVIV 03103

SIPDIS
CXTelA:
ACTION: POL
INFO: RES IPSC PD IMO ECON DCM DAO AMB AID ADM RSO
CONS

DISSEMINATION: POL
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: DCM:GACRETZ
DRAFTED: EXEC:SISKAL
CLEARED: POL: NOLSEN

VZCZCTVI731
PP RUEHC RUEHXK RUCNMEM
DE RUEHTV #3103/01 2201506
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 081506Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5467
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 003103

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2016
TAGS: IS LE UNSC PREL MOPS
SUBJECT: ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER TELLS DIPLOMATIC CORPS
ISRAEL MAY NOT ABIDE BY A CEASEFIRE UNLESS BACKED BY FORCE.

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Gene A. Cretz for reasons 1.4 (b
) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: In an August 7 Diplomatic Corps briefing
held in response to public Lebanese efforts to influence the
United Nations Security Council, FM Livni told UNSC
Ambassadors that Israel may not honor a ceasefire unless it
is backed up by a force to stop rearming by Hizballah and
expressed clear regret at the international community's
unwillingness to put more pressure on the Government of
Lebanon. She said the bigger issue for the GOI is how the
international community will deal with Hizballah. Looking to
the future, Livni asked whether the international community
is willing to give a veto to Hizballah. She said the GOI
understands the need for an international force but objects
to UNIFIL. She stressed that the GOI would not agree to a
ceasefire without an international force because otherwise it
would lead to a vacuum that a rearmed Hizballah would fill.
In a veiled reference to the Shebaa Farms issue, Livni asked
the international community to protect its own interests and
avoid a UNSCR that would only create more problems in the
future. End summary.
---------------------
"Stating the Obvious"
---------------------

2. (C) Livni began by noting that this is a "complicated
situation," and that Israel, Lebanon and the international
community are all looking for the "best way out." Stating up
front she did not want to debate draft language in any
proposed UNSCRs with the group, Livni apologized for "stating
the obvious" facts as the GOI sees them: that Israel was
attacked unprovoked by Hizballah; that UNSCSRs 425, 1559 and
1680 instructed Israel to withdraw from Lebanon and worked to
restore a sovereign Lebanese government; that after the
attack, the GOI could have attacked the GOL but understood
that the GOL is an achievement of the international community
and believes the Siniora government is a step towards a
better future for Lebanon. Therefore, the GOI distinguished
between the GOL and Hizballah and focused its counterattack
on Hizballah (NB: Livni's clear regret at not putting more
pressure on the GOL appeared purely emotional as she offered
no argument as to why that would have been more effective in
this case).

------------------------------
Livni on Israel's Expectations
of the International Community
------------------------------

3. (C) Noting that the current situation represents "a kind
of test," Livni told the Ambassadors that "perhaps for the
first time we're standing with you and waiting for you to do
something." Livni explained that the GOI expects the
international community will implement its own decisions.
"Is there meaning to the UNSC?" she asked, adding that if
1559 had been implemented there would not have been an
attack. The GOI acknowledges that Siniora's government is
weak, but Livni reiterated the international community needs
to have rules for dealing with cases such as the current one.
Arguing that "outside pressure can help others make
unpopular decisions," Livni said the international community
can best help Siniora by taking decisions without waiting for
his approval so that he cannot further delay action.

4. (C) The bigger issue for the GOI, according to Livni, is
whether the international community is willing to give
Hizballah a veto. She described Hizballah as "the long arm
of Iran," and said that the terrorist organization will use
its arms and extremist tactics against the Western world and
not just Israel. Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Iran,
Syria, and the Muslim Brotherhood are all watching this
situation unfold, she said. Livni posed the question, "will
the international community take decisive action or choose a
path of appeasement?" On UNSCR 1559, Livni said it needs to
be implemented without conditions. The idea that the
Lebanese are taking advantage of a terrorist attack to seek
territory that the UN has pronounced Syrian is unreasonable.

5. (C) Turning to issues regarding the international force,
Livni said the GOI understands that there is a consensus on
the need for an international force to assist the "weak" LAF.
The GOI is prepared to accept an international force, but
only if it is an appropriate force. Livni dismissed UNIFIL
as "not the right answer," asserting that UNIIFIL has just
watched past abduction attempts.

--------------------------
Livni on Abducted Soldiers
--------------------------

6. (C) Livni said it is "morally right" to call for the
release of abducted soldiers. Livni said she could not
understand any moral connection between convicts -- including
what she described as a brutal murderer detained, tried and
convicted legally by the GOI -- and abducted Israeli soldiers
kidnapped on Israeli soil.

-------------------
Livni on Next Steps
--------------------

7. (C) Preventing rearmament the day after is key, according
to Livni, as the GOI is seeing continuous action on the
Syrian/Lebanese border to resupply Hizballah. Therefore an
arms embargo under Chapter VII is necessary and forces to
enforce it on the border are required urgently. Livni
explained that she understands the importance of
"sequencing," noting that forming a Chapter VII force takes
time. The responsibility, she said, to control the South
really belongs to the GOL, but if it needs help, then the
force should be formed as soon as possible. She stressed,
however, that it must be a real force. The GOI does not want
to widen its military operations in South Lebanon, but a
ceasefire without a force would lead to a vacuum that a
rearmed Hizballah would soon fill, and "we will not agree to
it," adding that the sooner steps are taken, the sooner the
fighting will stop.

8. (C) Turning to the UN, Livni questioned the need for two
separate resolutions, arguing that the GOI wants real change
on the ground. Livni asked ironically whether the
international community would be satisfied simply with a
statement on a piece of paper or would the international
community this time take real steps to rid Southern Lebanon
of weapons, dismantle Hizballah, prevent arms, and secure
the release of the Israeli soldiers.

9. (C) Livni concluded by saying that this conflict did not
start out as a government-to-government conflict. She asked
the international community to protect its own interests and,
in a veiled reference to the Shebaa Farms issue, to avoid a
UNSCR which would only create more problems in the future.
Livni said that "next time Israel will not make a distinction
between the Government of Lebanon and Hizballah."

10. (C) After Livni finished, MFA Deputy DG for International
Organizations Roni Ya'ar took the floor briefly to report
that Arab countries are trying to raise the current crisis in
the UN's new Human Rights Council and cautioned that if a
resolution were passed against Israel then it would
complicate current UN efforts. In this regard, he noted that
such an effort would be against UN rules since the issue is
already before the UNSC.

********************************************* ********************
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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