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Cablegate: Goi Hardens Line On Pa Wto Observer Status

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2166 2741434
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011434Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3662
INFO RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 2897
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0636
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS BE PRIORITY
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 0827
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0621
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 1137
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0468
RUEHVT/AMEMBASSY VALLETTA 0199
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 3135
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 4737
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6647
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 6858
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 1109

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002166

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE PASS USTR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG ETRD ECON PREL IS
SUBJECT: GOI HARDENS LINE ON PA WTO OBSERVER STATUS

REF: A) GENEVA 0814 B) SECSTATE 99831

1. (SBU) MFA's Middle East Economic Bureau Director Yael
Ravia called EconCouns late Wednesday evening to inform
Embassy of the hardened GOI position on a potential
Palestinian Authority request for permanent WTO observer
status. Ravia said the current GOI position, which she
confirmed had been communicated to the Israeli mission in
Geneva (ref A), is to oppose both permanent and ad hoc
observership for either General Council or Ministerial
meetings. She would not be drawn out on the decision to take
a tougher stance, other than to note that the Palestinian
resolution in Geneva endorsing the Goldstone report, the
Palestinian ICC complaint, and statements by senior PA
officials at the recent Fatah Congress had not set a very
positive tone for the GOI-PA relationship.

2. (SBU) Ravia pressed for info on the U.S. position and
urged USG support for the Israeli stance, indicating that she
had heard we were leaning in that direction. EconCouns told
Ravia that there were two issues at play. The USG is now
reviewing the technical question of whether the PA legally
qualifies for permanent observer status. While preliminary
review raised questions suggesting that a PA request for
permanent observer status might be premature, the USG has not
yet determined that to be the case.

3. (SBU) On the political question, EconCouns reminded Ravia
that the USG had a long-standing policy of supporting
capacity-building work that would prepare the Palestinians
for statehood. He noted that in 2005, this had led the U.S.
to support ad hoc PA observership at the Hong Kong
Ministerial, and told her that we would support inviting the
PA to be an observer at the November 30 - December 2
Ministerial for the same reasons.

4. (SBU) Ravia characterized the PA's request for permanent
WTO observer status as "purely political," and reiterated
that there was no wiggle-room in the GOI position. She asked
that the Embassy inform the MFA of any final USG legal
determination of PA qualifications for permanent observership.

5. (SBU) Comment: Earlier discussions with MFA and the
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor (MOITaL) had left the
door open to discussion of ad hoc observership, at least for
Ministerial meetings. Ravia's comments made it quite clear
that the GOI wants USG to join it in taking a hard line, is
not willing to hear that our position is more nuanced than
the current Israeli stance. Even if we can convince our
Israeli interlocutors that there is daylight between us on
this issue, a GOI shift on ad hoc observer status seems
unlikely.
CUNNINGHAM

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