Cablegate: Request for Waiver and Exceptions, Amawi Building,


DE RUEHJM #1896/01 2920837
R 190837Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Post requests that a waiver of setback and
collocation be granted, as mandated by P.L 106-113, and
exceptions to certain Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB)
physical security standards be made to permit the
establishment of office space for the Post,s Public
Diplomacy (PD), United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), United States Security Coordinator
(USSC), Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement
Affairs (INL), and Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) in a
newly acquired office building (OBX),in Jerusalem.

2. (SBU) Background Information: With the anticipated late
2009 relocation of ConGen Jerusalem's consular operations to
West Jerusalem, it is a political imperative for the USG to
maintain a presence in Palestinian East Jerusalem. Post has
identified one potential property that would allow this,
located in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. An OBO and DS
team assessed this building in October 2008 and again in
April 2009. Post would use this building as a Public
Diplomacy and FCS Outreach Center, as well as for USAID,
USSC, and INL office space. The proposed PD Outreach Center
would be a new facility as proposed in post,s mission
strategic plan for FY 2010. The USAID space would house
staff to be relocated from Tel Aviv. Additional space in the
new building for USSC and INL would allow for the expansion
of their staff and programs, and would free up space at
post,s current Lazarist building for other priority needs,
such as space for the staff of Special Envoy Mitchell.

3. (SBU) Description of building and lot: The proposed
facility is a 1,734.19 square meter building. The building
is a stand-alone, five-level cement structure currently
occupied by three UN agencies and a private residence. Four
floors are identical, with 353 square meters per floor. The
top floor is 322.19 square meters. The building is
approximately 10 years old. It is in the Sheikh Jarrah
neighborhood of East Jerusalem, near the British, Spanish,
Italian, Swedish, and Turkish Consulates General, as well as
other well-known landmarks such as the Ambassador Hotel and
the St. John,s Eye Hospital. It is also less than five
minutes driving time from both the Israeli National Police
Headquarters for Jerusalem and the Israeli Border Police

4. (SBU) Waivers of Setback and Collocation:
Setback - The proposed OBX does not have the required 100
feet of setback on all sides. A waiver of setback is
requested. The available setback is as follows:

A. West Side: There is a new three-story apartment building
with below-ground parking being constructed on the northwest
side of the building. The distance from the OBX to the
property of the apartment building is 17.38 feet. The entry
by vehicles from the street to the back of these properties
is controlled by an access gate, and therefore not easily
accessible. From the access gates to the OBX an additional
100 feet is gained. On the north-west side of the OBX is
municipality land that has 100 feet setback from the main
road and a fence separating the land from the road.

B. North Side: Empty land that post has leased for parking
and a CAC. OBX to perimeter fence is 27.23 feet. From the
fence to the property line is an additional 164 feet.

C. East Side: Empty Land that Post has been trying to lease
in order to control access to the OBX. The land cannot be
brought under lease because of title issues. For the same
reason, the (alleged) owner cannot build on this land, and
has clearly expressed to post GSO her unwillingness to sell,
lease or consider any business transaction whatsoever that
involves ceding control of this piece of property. The
property is directly in front of the OBX, and is flanked by a
narrow access road, and had boulders (placed by proposed
OBX,s former tenants, the UN, as vehicle barriers) across
the street frontage and along the access road. This access
road will not be the main entrance to the OBX (the main
entrance CAC and parking will be on the east side, see
above). RSO and GSO will continue efforts to place this
empty lot under effective control of post, including working
with the Municipality to obtain permission to erect barriers
in the public right)of-way just off the property, along the
sidewalk and access road. From OBX to the existing fence is
17.38 feet. If the land is brought under effective control
and the anti-vehicle wall is improved, as well as control of
the road is gained another 101 feet of setback is gained.

D. South Side: Two apartment-style buildings run along the

west side of the building. The distance from the OBX to
property controlled by the nearest of these buildings is
13.12 feet. The entry by vehicles from the street to the
back of these properties is controlled by the residents with
an access gate. From the access gates to the OBX and
additional 100 feet is gained.


E. A waiver of collocation is requested as USAID and FCS
will occupy the same premises.

5. (SBU) Exceptions to OSPB Physical Security Standards

A. Employee parking, for approximately 25 vehicles, will be
at least 50 feet from the office building to, to the maximum
extent feasible.

B. For newly acquired buildings, a blast vulnerability study
will be conducted: OBO has previously conducted a blast
vulnerability study on the OBX in the 1990s that meets this

C. Exterior walls will provide 15-minute forced entry (FE)
protection to a minimum of 16 feet above grade or accessible
platform: OBO performed an assessment in October 2008 and
will meet this requirement by making any renovations

D. Exterior windows will provide 15-minute forced entry (FE)
protection to a minimum of 16 feet above grade or accessible
platform: OBO performed an assessment in October 2008 and
will meet this requirement by making any renovations

E. A safe area will provide 15 - minute FE protection: OBO
performed an assessment in October 2008 and will meet this
requirement by making any renovations necessary.

6. (SBU) Critical Issues

A. The Security Environmental Threat List (SETL), dated
December 22nd, 2008; reports Jerusalem as HIGH for

B. Classified information will not be handled, stored,
processed or discussed in the proposed facility. All
classified operations required by PD or USAID will occur in
the controlled access area (CAA) of the CG.

C. The PD staff in the proposed OBX will consist of
approximately one direct-hire U.S. citizens and three LES
employees. The staff of the USAID section in the OBX
consists of 22 employees, with at least two being direct-hire
Americans. The staff of the USSC will be a mix of American
and Canadian/Britons of approximately 32 employees, with at
least 20 being American. The staff of the FCS is two LES.
The staff of the INL is four Americans and eleven LES. In
addition approximately three LES employees of the Local Guard
Force will occupy space in the OBX.

D. Post and USAID have surveyed more than three different
proposed sites for the CG office annex. The proposed
location is considered the best location available because of
its proximity to the CG, for access to CAA, and the necessity
for frequent coordination with the Consul General and the
RSO. Location in East Jerusalem is optimum for needed
representation space and outreach space to the Palestinian

E. Concurrence with the proposal has been received from the
Chief of Mission and the Regional Security Officer.
Concurrence with the collocation waiver has been requested
from both USAID and the U.S. Commerce Department at their
respective headquarters.

© Scoop Media

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