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Viewing cable 06THEHAGUE685, CODEL WEXLER DISCUSSES IRAN, MEPP, INDONESIA,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06THEHAGUE685 2006-03-30 13:01 2011-01-20 21:09 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy The Hague
VZCZCXRO7076
RR RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTC #0685/01 0891338
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301338Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5253
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 2842
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0199
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4087
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAT/AMCONSUL AMSTERDAM 0609
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 000685

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV OREP MARR NL
SUBJECT: CODEL WEXLER DISCUSSES IRAN, MEPP, INDONESIA,
AFGHANISTAN, AND IRAQ WITH FOREIGN MINISTER

THE HAGUE 00000685 001.3 OF 003

1. (SBU) Summary. Representative Robert Wexler (D-FL)
visited The Netherlands March 22-23 and discussed Iran,
Palestinian and Israeli elections, Indonesia, and Iraq with
Dutch Foreign Minister Bot. Wexler also publicly debated
H.J. Ormel, Parliamentary foreign policy leader for the
governing Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA) party, of
which Bot is a member. Wexler met separately with other MPs
on the Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as with city
council members in Amsterdam to discuss Muslim integration.
Codel Wexler did not have a chance to clear this cable prior
to departing. End Summary.

Dutch Concerned, Hopeful About Iran
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) During a wide-ranging conversation with Congressman
Wexler, Foreign Minister Bot stated that the Dutch wish to
see the UN dialogue with Iran continue, and said that
isolating Iran would only empower the Mullahs. Bot
indicated that, if the UN dialogue fails, the Dutch would
support the imposition of sanctions, but expressed doubts
that Russia and China would go along with this in the UN
Security Council. Bot stated that it might not be necessary
to isolate Iran because Iran in general wishes to maintain a
form of international respectability and nearly half of
Iran's population is under 21 years of age and has very
different aspirations from the current government. He
suggested that new ways to keep pressure on Iran may have to
be found and the EU and US would need to be tough with Iran
if they fail in the UN Security Council. Congressman Wexler
largely agreed with Bot, saying that through no fault of
either side the US and EU were working in complete concert
on dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions.

3. (SBU) In his remarks during a discussion on US and EU
policies towards Iran and Hamas at the Center for
Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) on March 22,
MP H.J. Ormel, foreign policy spokesperson for the governing
Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA) party, echoed Bot's
comments about Iran. Ormel said that Iran is a nice
country, with educated people, but run by crazy
ayatollahs. He suggested that the West should find a way
to directly engage the Iranian people because if it isolated
Iran, its people would rally around those ayatollahs. Ormel
also stated that a pre-emptive strike would be a bad idea,
but that if Iran does obtain nuclear weapons, the West must
consider taking military action in response. Wexler again
agreed with his Dutch counterpart, saying that he also would
not rule out military action.

Hamas and Israel
----------------

4. (SBU) On Hamas's victory in the Palestinian elections,
Bot stated that the Dutch had no direct dealings with Hamas
or their representatives. Bot added that Hamas needed to
take certain steps (recognition of Israel, renunciation of
terrorism, and acceptance of the Palestinians' existing
obligations) before the Dutch would even consider dealing
with them in the future, and that there was no rush within
the EU to engage with Hamas. That did not mean that Hamas
might not eventually be dealt with, Bot said, adding that
the PLO 20 years ago was worse than Hamas is right now.
Bot raised concern over how to deal with Hamas
representatives at international organizations, and
advocated for developing a unified approach. Bot and Wexler
agreed that the most pressing challenge was to figure out
how to continue assisting the Palestinian people without
providing any money to Hamas. Bot expressed concern that if
aid budgeted to build water and power plants were suddenly
cut off, the Iranian government might step in to offer
assistance, further destabilizing the peace process.

5. (SBU) Bot also indicated skepticism about Israeli PM
Olmert's proposed unilateral approach to setting Israel's
borders. Bot felt that it would be difficult to obtain
broad support for such an agreement, and that as long as the
Palestinians did not have an interest in complying, it will
be hard to implement. Statements by Olmert that indicated
that a unilateral plan would be a first step in the road map
encouraged Bot, but he still felt that Israel would have a
hard time implementing a unilateral agreement with its
neighbors in the long run. Nonetheless, both Bot and Wexler
THE HAGUE 00000685 002.3 OF 003
stated that the entire peace process hinged on Olmert
winning the March 28 parliamentary elections. Wexler went
on to say that, following the election, Olmert most likely
would lobby the USG for support of his unilateral road map
and then work with the US to sell it to other countries.

6. (SBU) In his remarks at CIDI, Ormel, who successfully
lobbied the Dutch Parliament to label Hamas a terrorist
organization, expressed views similar to Bot's on Hamas, but
raised some different concerns. Ormel stated that Dutch
public opinion is not very favorable towards Israel, and
that if there were a humanitarian crisis in Palestine, Dutch
support for Israel would drop even lower. Ormel further
stated that Hamas campaigned effectively by trying to
address issues that worry everyone - schools, hospitals, and
jobs, while Fatah was a corrupt party that voters came to
distrust. Wexler rebutted that no differentiation should be
made between honest and corrupt terrorists. Ormel went on
to say that Hamas is not a threat to Israel because it
can't make a fist. The real threat posed by Hamas is a
broader one: that it is a fundamentalist party.

Wexler Asks For Dutch Perspective on Indonesia
--------------------------------------------- -

7. (SBU) Given the Netherlands' long history with Indonesia,
Congressman Wexler asked Bot for his advice on how best to
engage Indonesia. Wexler mentioned to Bot that he nominated
President Yudhoyono for the Nobel Peace Prize and jokingly
asked Bot to write a letter supporting his nomination. Bot,
who was born in Indonesia and visits Indonesia at least once
a year, suggested that it deserved more attention as the
largest Muslim country in the world. Characterizing
Indonesia as stable, pro-west, and democratic, Bot said that
Indonesia could become a regional counterweight to China,
India and Pakistan. He said that the country first had some
internal housekeeping to take care of and that it was very
important for the army to modernize, but suggested that a
likeable and trustworthy former general as president
should help accomplish both of those challenges.

Bot Asks Wexler About Iraq
--------------------------

8. (SBU) Bot asked Wexler about Congress's long-term plans
regarding Iraq. Wexler replied that the HIRC had not held a
hearing on Iraq since May 2004, but that there was no real
Congressional action for the US to get out tomorrow. Bot
reported that he had been called before Parliament the day
before about Iraq and was asked whether civil war had
started there. Bot said that he replied, not yet, although
it depends on what one calls civil war. Bot said that
people in the north and south of Iraq were doing much better
and would likely have little reason to start a civil war.
He added that the Sunnis would undoubtedly lose to the north
and south and therefore wouldn't have much reason to start a
civil war. Mentioning that 1400 Dutch troops had served for
almost two years in Iraq, Bot concluded that failure in Iraq
would have terrible consequences.

Muslim Outreach
---------------

9. (SBU) In Amsterdam, Wexler met with city council member
Ahmed Aboutaleb, the top vote recipient in Amsterdam's
recent local elections and one of the Embassy's best
contacts in our Muslim outreach programs. Aboutaleb told
Wexler about his work with Amsterdam's mayor to promote open
dialogue among different religious and ethic communities
within Amsterdam. He also discussed a course he developed
to integrate the Middle East peace process into secondary
education. Aboutaleb said that the course, which includes a
class trip to Auschwitz, is now being given at all of
Amsterdam's schools and was developed to promote dialogue
between young adults who had essentially heard only their
parents' perspectives on the Middle East before starting the
class. Aboutaleb went on to express frustration with Prime
Minister Balkenende over his slow response to the murder of
filmmaker Theo van Gogh and blamed Balkenende's government
for setting a negative climate regarding integration.
Aboutaleb said that the national government needs to
differentiate between extremist and mainstream Muslim
parties. Diversity should lead to chances, not tension.
THE HAGUE 00000685 003.3 OF 003
Wexler later met with district council member Fatima Elatik,
who showed Wexler some of the community centers she has
developed in a largely immigrant sector of Amsterdam to help
young and old immigrants integrate into Dutch society.
Arnall