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Cablegate: Cogat Reviews Policies and Procedures With

VZCZCXRO2138
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHTV #2364/01 3001117
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271117Z OCT 09 ZDS ZUI RUEHCB 4933 3010248
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3993

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TEL AVIV 002364

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (TAGS)

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/IPA AND SEMEP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON KWBG IS
SUBJECT: COGAT REVIEWS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES WITH
VISITING IPA DIRECTOR

TEL AVIV 00002364 001.2 OF 003


1. (U) SUMMARY. In response to an October 21 comment made
during the JPMG that Israel should expand access to Gaza,
Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories
(COGAT) Amos Gilad asked that visiting NEA/IPA Director
Thomas Goldberger meet with COGAT Head of Foreign Relations
Lt. Col. Uri Singer on October 22 to review COGAT procedures
and policies regarding the entry of goods into Gaza. Singer
outlined approval procedures, highlighted GOI priorities, and
discussed the status of World Bank projects and OQR and Serry
Initiative requests. END SUMMARY.

---------------
Approval Procedures Outlined
---------------

2. (U) Singer reviewed COGAT's procedures for Gaza entry of
commercial goods as well as humanitarian supplies. He
clarified the distinction--which has caused grave
misunderstandings in the past--between high-level "agreement
in principle" to go forward with a project, and the final
approval and coordination for entry of specific materials or
humanitarian supplies after dual-use issues have been
resolved. Asked what constituted humanitarian supplies,
Singer responded that Israel works according to the Paris
Protocol and allows in supplies that benefit the civilian
population, but not Hamas, which the GOI considers a hostile
entity. Specifying further, Singer said that, provided
non-dual-use requirements are met, Israel approves basic
foodstuffs, supplies to support the health system, supplies
for children (including a bounce castle for UNRWA,s summer
program), and supplies to maintain water, sewage, the
electrical grid and the environment. Under the current
policy, because of the potential for benefit to Hamas,
construction supplies for shelter are problematic and
considered on a case-by-case basis.

-- Commercial goods: The private sector approaches the PA
Economic Ministry in Ramallah with its requests. The PA
Economic Ministry creates and approves a list of commodities
for the next day, and transmits this list to the Gaza
Coordination and Liaison Administration to the Gaza Strip
(Gaza CLA), which coordinates the list of truckloads for the
specified food, fuel and commodities. Private-sector requests
for items already approved for entry as humanitarian supplies
are normally approved. If requests include non-pre-approved
dual-use items (typically, requests for such items come from
companies that know about and utilize the pre-clearance
process), the Gaza CLA forwards thse requests to the dual-use
committe for approval. NOTE: David Elmariach was named to
the position of Gaza CLA earlier this week. END NOTE.

-- International Organizations: International organizations
approach the Gaza CLA with their requests. The requests are
subject to dual-use approval. Once this is obtained, the
Gaza CLA coordinates the shipments.

--Special procedure for USAID, World Bank etc.: COGAT has
developed a special procedure for USAID and other known
organizations that regularly send humanitarian supplies or
undertake large projects and require pre-approvals before
materials may be procured. USAID approaches the COGAT
Foreign Relations Branch (or, in some cases, COGAT Amos Gilad
directly) with project proposals for pre-approval, or
"approval in principle." Once this general concurrence is
obtained, a list of technical details for all required items
must be submitted to the COGAT Foreign Relations Branch,
which forwards the request to the dual-use committee for
approval. Once non-dual-use approval has been obtained,
COGAT issues final approval and works with the Gaza CLA to
coordinate shipments. For instance, Singer said, the GOI has
approved greenhouses "in principle" and is now working hard
to find ways to mitigate the danger posed by the pipes that
are part of the greenhouse structure. Once this dual-use
issue is resolved, the greenhouses will get their final
approval.

-------
Priorities: WATER, SANITATION AND ELECTRICITY
-------

3. (U) Singer re-emphasized Israel's commitment to
maintenance of the electrical grid, water supply
infrastructure and sewage infrastructure in the Gaza strip,
to prevent public health and environmental disaster (which
would undoubtedly also affect Israel). Drawing on an ICRC
powerpoint report, Singer described the maintenance and
upgrade needs at each of the sewage treatment facilities.
During this brief, he noted, for example, that approval had
already been granted for a German-funded project to upgrade

TEL AVIV 00002364 002.2 OF 003


the Middle Gaza facility to increase capacity to 72,000 cubic
meters of sewage per day (up from current 35,000 cubic meter
treatment capacity and 51,000 cubic meter daily sewage
production in the relevant area). An upgrade of the Khan
Younis facility, (designed to treat 8,000 cubic meters per
day but now intaking 10,000 cubic meters per day) is planned,
to bring its capacity to 12,000 cubic meters per day.
Further, Singer reminded that the World Bank received written
assurances that it could go forward with the North Gaza
(NGEST) upgrade over two years ago, assurances Singer
reiterated to the World Bank's David Craig repeatedly in the
interim, but the project has effectively stalled. Goldberger
noted that the USG is trying to drum up U.S. company interest
in a current World Bank tender to move this project forward;
to this, Singer replied that some companies should be willing
and able, since they already operate in more dangerous
locations, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

4. (U) To mitigate ever-present concerns about potential
theft of construction materials from the site, and for the
protection of site workers, the World Bank has agreed to the
following conditions for the NGEST project:
-- daily coordination with the IDF, to prevent unintended
activity;
-- daily coordination for any work to be performed at night;
-- workers must wear vests to identify themselves as
legitimate;
-- photographic evidence must be presented to demonstrate
progress and to prevent dual-use applications before the
subsequent shipment will be allowed access to Gaza.

5. (U) For these and other construction projects, COGAT,
which is prohibited by GOI policy from engaging with Hamas,
uses the ICRC Water and Habitat Service (ICRC WatHab) as an
intermediary, since they engage directly with the Coastal
Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), which engages with both
the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and the municipalities.

---------
UNSCO
---------

6. (U) Asked about the projects in the Serry Plan, Singer
said that there are several fundamental problems with the
proposals. The projects are not clear-cut humanitarian
efforts, and it is impossible to tell who the beneficiaries
will be. For example, because several of the proposals are
continuations of pre-Operation Cast Lead projects, they are
technically "development" not "reconstruction" and so run
counter to current GOI policy. Further, UNSCO refuses to work
under the conditions which the World Bank has accepted
(outlined above), raising additional concerns about dual-use
potential. Singer said that COGAT had been encouraging UNSCO
to consider upgrading the Khan Younis sewage treatment plant
or to undertake hospital upgrades instead of the proposed
sports facilities and (UNDP) housing development projects,
but so far had not received a positive response.

-----
Other issues
-----

7. (U) Asked about the OQR list, Singer told Goldberger that
the top five projects on the list had been approved
previously, but so far coordination to bring items into Gaza
had not been requested.

8. (U) UNWRA's armored vehicles, which arrived at Ben Gurion
without prior coordination or permits about half a year ago,
are scheduled to enter Gaza before the end of October.
Because there was no prior coordination, Singer said it is
highly unlikely that the GOI would reimburse UNRWA for
demurrage costs incurred in the interim.

9. (U) Singer clarified that the PA Ministry of Health--not
the GOI--had prevented shipment of baby formula to Gaza,
because the product had exceeded its expiration date. Singer
told ECON later in the day that 150 truckloads of baby
formula had entered Gaza since Operation Cast Lead.

10. (SBU) Goldberger also asked if COGAT and the GOI had done
any thinking about "the day after" Gilad Shalit was released,
and the steps they would take to improve access. Singer
emphasized that it was a political issue, but said that COGAT
and MFA had already started the technical planning. NOTE:
The MFA has engaged KPMG to help develop end-use assurance
procedures, and has also been briefed repeatedly by USAID on
its procedures. END NOTE. Singer noted that the World Bank
procedures, and the procedures they will develop for the

TEL AVIV 00002364 003.2 OF 003


Serry plan, will serve as the model once development can
begin.

11. (U) Asked later in the day on October 22 about press
reports asserting a "new policy" to allow coffee and tea into
Gaza, Singer clarified to ECON that this was simply a
reaffirmation of a prior approval, not a change in policy.
He added that as of October 21, fresh pomegranates would be
allowed into Gaza in season.

CUNNINGHAM

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