Cablegate: Unsc: Monthly Middle East Discussion - Members

DE RUCNDT #0097/01 0531949
O 221949Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 14003

1. (SBU) Summary: UN Under Secretary-General for Political
Affairs Pascoe briefed the Security Council during its
monthly meeting on the Middle East on February 18. He
emphasized that the two parties were seriously considering
Special Envoy Mitchell's proposal to move to proximity talks
and said he hoped President Abbas would agree. He called for
an extension of the settlements moratorium and noted a slight
improvement of the situation in East Jerusalem and Gaza. He
called on the PA to continue to meet its Roadmap obligations
and for the Palestinian leadership to speak out against
incitement. He highlighted the continuing violence directed
from Gaza at Israel and the IED attack on an ICRC convoy in
Gaza but urged that more goods be allowed into Gaza through
the crossings. He deplored the heightened rhetoric and
called for a return to the Israeli-Syrian track. The
majority of Security Council members during consultations
stressed the need for the parties to return to negotiations,
even if indirect at first. A number of Council members
shared their efforts to encourage the parties back to the
table and pressed for what else could be done to which
Ambassador Rice responded by encouraging financial
contributions to and capacity building for the PA; urging
members to be mindful of what is said and done by the Council
since it can have a negative impact in the region; and
pressing all to urge the parties to return to direct
negotiations. A number of members called on the parties to
comply with their Roadmap obligations, especially in calling
on Israel to cease settlement activity. A number also
highlighted the need to improve the situation in Gaza, though
taking into consideration Israel's security concerns.
Several noted the need for Palestinian reconciliation, of
which Pascoe noted the UN was not optimistic. Several member
states, including the U.S., referred to the issues related to
the Goldstone report, and none called for action on it in the
Council. End summary.

Secretariat Briefing

2. (SBU) Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn
Pascoe briefed the Security Council on February 18 during its
monthly meeting on the Middle East. While deeply concerned
at the continuing stalemate with peace efforts, he emphasized
that the two parties have undertaken serious consideration of
the Special Envoy Mitchell's proposal to move to proximity
talks. He specifically noted President Netanyahu's
commitment to a two-state solution and said that he hoped
President Abbas would agree to start negotiations, even if
they begin as proximity talks. He underscored that the
Quartet would work actively to support the process. He
stressed that clear progress through negotiations needs to be
made on Jerusalem, borders, water, security and refugees. He
highlighted the GOI's issuance of violations of work
restraint orders with regard to the settlements moratorium
and urged further measures to enforce the moratorium.
Nevertheless, he underscored the continuing illegality of
settlements and urged an extension of the ten-month
moratorium. He noted that there had been no home demolitions
during the reporting period. He called for the reopening of
Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem.

3. (SBU) Pascoe said the Palestinian Authority continued to
work to meet its Roadmap obligations and urged the
Palestinian leadership to speak out against incitement. He
referred to the February 10 knife attack by a Palestinian
that led to the death of an Israeli soldier and noted that
Prime Minister Fayyad had condemned the attack. He also
referred to IDF raids in Ramallah against non-violent
protesters, as well as the February 9 shooting of a
Palestinian teenager by settlers. He underscored the need
for "full respect for legitimate non-violent protest." He
said that 550 obstacles to movement remain in the West Bank,
of which 89 are permanently or partially staffed checkpoints.
Pascoe lauded the recent Israeli decision to permit tourist
buses to access the West Bank through the Jalameh crossing,
thereby improving tourism to the northern West Bank. Pascoe
highlighted the PA decision to hold municipal elections.

4. (SBU) On Gaza, Pascoe referred to the continued launching
of rockets at Israel, though none had led to injury or
property damage during the reporting period; the three
barrels of explosives that had washed up on Israeli shores
north of Gaza, while two had detonated at sea; and the IED
attack on the ICRC convoy in Gaza. He urged that calm be
maintained. He highlighted that sufficient amounts of
materials are still not transiting through the Gaza crossings
from Israel and noted the continued lack of an Israeli
response to the UN pilot project proposal.

USUN NEW Y 00000097 002 OF 004

5. (SBU) Turning to the region, Pascoe deplored the
heightened rhetoric and called for a return to the
Israeli-Syrian track. He noted the February 14 rally in
Beirut to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the
assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and Prime
Minister Saad Hariri's emphasis on the importance of national
unity and intra-Arab reconciliation and reaffirmation of the
Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Pascoe noted the recent
clashes in the Ein el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp and
called for the international community to renew its financial
support for the reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared refugee
camp. He said UNIFIL's investigation continues regarding the
IDF detention and then release of a Lebanese shepherd who
allegedly crossed the Blue Line. He highlighted that Israeli
overflights increased in early February.

Consultations - parties should start
negotiations, even if indirect

6. (SBU) The Council then moved to consultations, with the
French Security Council President for the month of February
trying to encourage a very informal, interactive tone.
(Note: Ambassador Rice spoke first and drew from the talking
points in reftel. End note.) The majority of members shared
concerns about the absence of tangible progress on
negotiations and stressed the need for the parties to return
to negotiations. Most voiced support for Special Envoy
Mitchell's efforts, even if negotiations are only resumed
indirectly at first. The Turkish Perm Rep called the absence
of a functioning peace process "precarious" and called for a
return on all tracks. The Chinese Deputy Perm Rep said a new
dynamism is needed to relaunch peace efforts and noted the
efforts to date, hoped they would succeed, but called for a
greater role for the Security Council. The Austrian Perm Rep
said that Austria is ready to support a new process. The
Nigerian Perm Rep said that no effort should be spared to
rally the talks. The Brazilian Perm Rep voiced concern with
the continuing stalemate, said it undermines the PA and feeds
extremism, and called for an arrangement to bring the PA back
to the table with popular support. She noted that Israeli
policies designed to prejudge negotiations make it difficult
for the PA to engage. The Bosnian Perm Rep said that only
direct negotiations can bring about a lasting resolution.
The Mexican Perm Rep said that the Security Council has a
responsibility to urge the PA to renew peace talks as soon as
possible, per previous arrangements and modalities.

International community
wants to do its part

7. (SBU) The Russian Perm Rep stressed his government's
efforts with the parties, noting Israeli, PA, and Hamas
visits to Moscow. He said that Russia values the efforts by
Senator Mitchell to find a formula to get the parties back to
the negotiating table, even if not directly initially, and
said Russia looked forward to actively supporting such
efforts through continued discussion at the forthcoming
Quartet meeting in Moscow. He said his government is looking
closely at what needs to be done to convene the international
conference in Moscow. The Japanese Perm Rep noted President
Abbas' visit to Japan last week and stressed Japan's hope
that both sides will take the necessary steps to return to
the negotiating table.

8. (SBU) The UK Perm Rep called proximity talks the "only
game in town" and said they should be supported fully since
they are a means to a return to direct negotiations. He
asked Ambassador Rice how the international community could
support U.S. efforts. The French Perm Rep followed up on
this in his request and asked about next steps beyond
proximity talks and what the international community could do
to be helpful, noting that President Sarkozy has proposed a
Summit for Peace. He also asked what concrete proposals the
Secretary-General plans to bring to the next Quartet meeting
to which Under Secretary-General Pascoe responded that he
would have to defer an answer. Pascoe did confirm that there
would be an upcoming Quartet meeting in Moscow and that there
has been an up-tick in Quartet activity with regular meetings
of the Quartet envoys and more phone calls between Quartet
principals in order to actively promote the proximity talks
process. In response to the UK question, Ambassador Rice
said that (1) members could provide concrete and tangible
support, especially financial support to PA Prime Minister
Fayyad's plan; (2) all should be mindful that what is said
and done in the Council does have an impact in the region and
that when the Council is used for grandstanding it is
distracting and unhelpful; and (3) all members need to be

USUN NEW Y 00000097 003 OF 004

relentless in urging the parties to resume negotiations on
final status issues since there is no alternative but direct

9. (SBU) The Lebanese Deputy Perm Rep also voiced support
for a comprehensive solution but placed the blame for a lack
of progress towards negotiations on Israel for resisting the
efforts of the U.S. and always trying to change the situation
on the ground. She alleged that the Israeli settlement
moratorium was only an attempt to divert the attention of the
international community while settlement activity actually
intensifies and the demographic make-up of East Jerusalem is
altered. She urged that negotiations deal with the final
settlement issues of borders, refugees, and ending
settlements, all within a specific timeline.

Roadmap obligations

10. (SBU) A number of members called on the parties to
comply with their Roadmap obligations. The vast majority of
members called on Israel to cease its settlement activity and
its actions in East Jerusalem. The Russian Perm Rep called
Israeli steps on the settlement moratorium inadequate. In
response to a question from the Japanese Perm Rep on whether
there had been improvement in Gaza and in East Jerusalem
during the reporting period, Under Secretary-General Pascoe
confirmed that they did have the slight impression of an
improvement in both areas. Several members also called on
the PA to comply with its security commitments.


11. (SBU) The Turkish Perm Rep highlighted the need to
improve the situation in Gaza in order to make progress
elsewhere. The Brazilian Perm Rep called for measures to be
taken to reconcile Israel's security concerns and the need to
re-open the crossings. The Austrian Perm Rep called on
Israel to allow for the full supply of Gaza and for its
reconstruction but also recognized the continuing rocket
launches, barrel bombings, and the targeting of an ICRC
convoy in Gaza. He said Austria was pleased that Israel had
paid the UN in response to the Board of Inquiries' findings
and asked if there had been any progress on repairs to UN
facilities. Under Secretary-General Pascoe responded that
the Secretary-General would soon meet with Israeli Defense
Minister Barak to continue discussing the issue, as well as
to request that more building supplies be allowed into Gaza
for a broader humanitarian program. The Lebanese Deputy Perm
Rep called for Israel to end the collective punishment and
allow the flow of aid into Gaza.

Palestinian reconciliation

12. (SBU) The Turkish Perm Rep said that they would continue
to urge the Palestinian factions to resolve their
differences. The Russian Perm Rep underscored that Hamas
must be part of a dialogue between Palestinian factions. The
Chinese Deputy Perm Rep expressed concern with continuing
Palestinian disunity and said the continuing impasse is not
conducive to a resolution of the conflict. In response to a
UK request for an update on Palestinian reconciliation
efforts, Under Secretary-General Pascoe noted that the
Egyptian proposal has been on the table for a number of
months and Hamas continues to have reservations. While Egypt
continues to persevere, he said that regional developments
could play a positive role. Nevertheless, he said that, in
terms of a bottom line, the UN is not optimistic.


13. (SBU) While the Lebanese Deputy Perm Rep did not
specifically refer to the Goldstone report, she called for an
end to impunity for human rights violations and called for
the release of "more than 10,000" Palestinian prisoners in
Israeli jails, just like others call for the release of Gilad
Shalit. The Nigerian Perm Rep called for credible domestic
investigations by both sides. The Bosnian Perm Rep condemned
all violations of international humanitarian law. The
Mexican Perm Rep noted that the parties have begun their
investigations and stressed that those investigations should
be done in a credible manner and that there should be no
impunity so that future violators will be deterred. He also
noted that the issue is a General Assembly issue and should
not be moved to the Security Council at this time. The UK
Perm Rep called for full and credible investigations and
emphasized that the matter should be handled at the United

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Nations since there can be no allowance for impunity.


14. (SBU) The Lebanese Deputy Perm Rep said her government
rejected the threats made by Israel against Lebanon and said
that her government continues to support the implementation
of UNSCR 1701 and the need for Israel to withdraw from the
Sheb'a Farms, Kfar Shouba, and Ghajar, and stop violating
Lebanese sovereignty with overflights, mines, and other
violations. She also called for an Israeli withdrawal to the
1967 line in the Golan. The Mexican Perm Rep referred to the
announcement of a new U.S. Ambassador to Syria and said he
hoped it would strengthen communication between the U.S. and
Syria and help increase confidence within the region.

© Scoop Media

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