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Cablegate: Trade Development Agency Explores Potential For

VZCZCXRO5336
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1463/01 2301501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181501Z AUG 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5793
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JCS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001463

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA/IPA FOR LENTZ/KINCANNON; NSC FOR SHAPIRO/KUMAR; DEPT
PASS TO USAID FOR BORODIN, OPIC FOR DRUMHELLER/STRAUSS, TDA
FOR KRESS/BARANEH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV EAID ECON KWBG KPAL IS
SUBJECT: TRADE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY EXPLORES POTENTIAL FOR
STUDIES ON INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

REF: A. JERUSALEM 1282
B. 08 JERUSALEM 1832
C. 08 JERUSALEM 916

1. (SBU) Summary. Trade Development Agency (TDA) Regional
Director Carl Kress visited the West Bank in August to
follow-up on WiMax and Internet data center studies, and to
discuss new projects that would promote economic development
and generate U.S. exports. Private sector representatives
and PA officials suggested projects related to geothermal
energy, fuel storage, and infrastructure at Rawabi's
affordable housing project. End Summary.

IT Sector Constrained by Spectrum
Allocation, Equipment Procurement
---------------------------------

2. (SBU) CEO of BCI Communications Said Baransi said a new
contractor is moving forward on the TDA-funded feasibility
study (reftel C) for WiMax broadband wireless Internet access
in 10 West Bank cities, although the project's success is
still dependent on the GOI's release of frequencies in the
3.5 GHz range, as requested by the PA in May 2008 (reftel B).
Baransi says that WiMax is on the agenda for the next GOI-PA
Joint Technical Committee (JTC) meeting, now pending for over
a year. Baransi added that he has been asked to brief the
JTC on WiMax and its frequency needs. He noted that WiMax
may be implemented in Israel by the end of 2009, which would
remove the GOI's ostensible reason for blocking the project
in the West Bank. Baransi commented that it is becoming
increasingly difficult to obtain permits from the GOI to
bring IT equipment (and imports in general) in to the West
Bank.

Sustainable Energy and Fuel Storage
-----------------------------------

3. (SBU) Amin Bashir, Director General of the General
Petroleum Corporation (part of the Ministry of Finance),
stressed that the PA urgently needed to upgrade and modernize
its fuel storage capacity. He requested TDA assistance on a
feasibility study to add fuel storage at the Tarqumiya and
Tulkarem crossings and upgrade the existing Nilin facilities.
The GOI reportedly intends for the Tulkarem crossing to
replace Nilin, but Bashir stressed that he needed to maintain
the much closer Nilin location to supply Ramallah. Paz, the
Israeli company that is the sole distributor for the West
Bank's fuel, has offered to supply the equipment at the
Tarqumiya crossing, according to Bashir. A TDA contractor is
assisting the GPC in developing a proposal and notes that USG
components of the project could include metering, monitoring,
and pumping equipment. (Note: Bashir assumed his current
duties last year, when Palestinian PM Fayyad brought him in
to "clean-up" the GPC, he said.)

4. (U) MENA Geothermal, a privately-held company, requested
TDA assistance with a feasibility study on a centralized
geothermal plant in an affordable housing complex. The
technology, which is currently in use on a smaller scale at
an office building in Ramallah, saves 70% on energy costs and
relies on U.S. equipment. MENA is also developing proposals
for geothermal heating and cooling at the PA's new ministry
complex, as well as the Rawabi and Al-Reehan affordable
housing projects.

Rawabi Proposes Feasibility Study on
Telecom Network, Wastewater Treatment
-------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Amir Dajani from the Rawabi project proposed
feasibility studies on design and operation of a telecom
network infrastructure and a wastewater treatment facility.
He expects that the telecom network would utilize equipment
from Cisco, 3M, or Intel, and would include security systems,
a fiber optic network, and broadband. However, he noted that
the telecom network is one of the first infrastructure
systems that Rawabi will install, so TDA's proposed timeline
of a February-March feasibility study might come too late,
assuming Rawabi begins construction this fall as scheduled
(reftel A). On wastewater, Rawabi intends to install a
tertiary treatment facility, adding to the system as demand

JERUSALEM 00001463 002 OF 002


grows, with the goal of re-using 80-90% of the wastewater.
Because the project will be modular, implementation is more
flexible and it might be a better fit for TDA.

Stone and Marble Industry Reps Seek Funding for Equipment
--------------------------------------------- ------------

6. (U) In a meeting with 15 representatives from the stone
and marble industry, Chairman of the Union of Stone and
Marble Industry Subhi Thawabteh stressed that the increased
cost of shipping back-to-back through Tarqumiya and lack of
access to Area C quarries remained the industry's most
pressing concerns. Following up on the TDA-funded August
2008 marble and stone orientation visit to the United States,
the businessmen noted that U.S. equipment was more expensive
and less specialized than its Italian competition.

7. (U) TDA's Carl Kress cleared this message.
WALLES

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