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Viewing cable 09TELAVIV2757, U/S TAUSCHER'S DECEMBER 1-2 VISIT TO ISRAEL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TELAVIV2757 2009-12-22 09:09 2011-02-09 21:09 SECRET Embassy Tel Aviv
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2757/01 3560922
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 220922Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4677
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 7022
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 5131
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 2106
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0162
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 9552
S E C R E T TEL AVIV 002757 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/22/2019 
TAGS: PREL PARM MNUC KNNP EG IR
SUBJECT: U/S TAUSCHER'S DECEMBER 1-2 VISIT TO ISRAEL 
 
Classified By: A/DCM Marc Sievers, reasons 1.4 (b),(d) 
 
1. (S) Summary:  Under Secretary for Arms Control and 
International Security Ellen Tauscher visited Israel December 
1-2.  U/S Tauscher focused her visit on setting the stage for 
a successful Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review 
Conference (RevCon) in May 2010.  She consulted with GOI 
interlocutors on potential strategy in addressing Egyptian 
insistence on pushing for the establishment of a nuclear 
weapon free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, as a way to 
divert attention from Iran to Israel.  U/S Tauscher 
reiterated that the United States will not take any action to 
compromise Israel's security and would consult closely with 
Israel -- which GOI officials greatly appreciated. 
Nevertheless, U/S Tauscher said the United States is 
interested in exploring possible small steps involving Israel 
to address some of Egypt's NWFZ concerns regarding the lack 
of implementation of the 1995 resolution.  GOI officials for 
the most part were critical of these tactics, questioning why 
Israel should be portrayed as part of the problem.  They 
recommended a more direct approach to President Mubarak -- 
thereby circumventing the Egyptian MFA -- in which Egypt is 
reminded that Iran is the regional nuclear threat.  Other 
topics discussed include President Obama's arms control and 
nonproliferation agenda, the P5 1 process and Iran's nuclear 
program, the FMCT and CTBT, Jordan's plans for a nuclear 
reactor, and Israel's qualitative military edge (QME).  End 
summary. 
 
2. (SBU) U/S Tauscher met with National Security Advisor Uzi 
Arad on December 1.  Arad was accompanied by NSC Senior 
Advisor and Nuclear Security Summit Sherpa Gil Reich.  In a 
separate meeting on December 1, U/S Tauscher met with MFA 
Director General Yossi Gal, Deputy Director General for North 
America Baruch Bina, and Deputy Director General for 
Strategic Affairs Alon Bar.  U.S. participants for the Arad 
and Gal meetings included Political Counselor Marc Sievers, T 
Senior Advisor James Timbie, NSC's Adam Scheinman, and 
political military officer Jason Grubb.  U/S Tauscher met for 
dinner with Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) and MFA 
senior officials on December 1, including IAEC Director 
General Saul Chorev, Deputy Director General David Danieli, 
and Director for Policy and Arms Control Merav Zefary-Odiz, 
as well as MFA DDG Bar and Director for Arms Control Rodica 
Radian-Gordon.  On December 2, U/S Tauscher met for breakfast 
with MOD Political-Military Chief Amos Gilad; U.S. attendees 
included Charge D'Affaires Luis Moreno, Timbie, Scheinman, 
and Grubb. 
 
Arms Control/Nonproliferation Agenda 
------------------------------------ 
 
3. (S) In various meetings with GOI interlocutors, U/S 
Tauscher outlined an ambitious arms control and 
nonproliferation agenda, beginning with the President's 
Prague speech, and including other priorities such as a 
follow-on to START, CTBT ratification, the upcoming NPT 
Review Conference, and negotiating the FMCT.  She noted that 
negotiations with Moscow on START were slow to develop in 
part due to delayed confirmations and Russian wariness.  But 
U/S Tauscher expected a START follow-on -- including a strong 
verification regime -- soon. 
 
4. (S) National Security Advisor Arad described President 
Obama's arms control and nonproliferation agenda as "daunting 
and challenging."  He reaffirmed that the GOI will 
participate in the April 2010 Nuclear Security summit in 
Washington, noting that PM Netanyahu planned to attend the 
summit as discussed between President Obama and PM Netanyahu 
during their recent one-on-one meeting in Washington.  GOI 
Nuclear Summit Sherpa Gil Reich noted, however, that the 
Holocaust memorial day in Israel might be a potential 
scheduling conflict with the summit.  Arad expressed 
appreciation for the summit, noting that if the initiative 
had been pursued ten years previously, perhaps proliferation 
cases such as AQ Khan might have been prevented or at least 
controlled.  He wished the United States success negotiating 
with the Russians on START. 
 
5. (S) Due to the U.S. administration's prioritization of 
arms control and nonproliferation, Arad also noted that the 
GOI had recently reconvened a high level committee on these 
issues comprised of GOI officials and experts from outside 
the government.  He noted that the committee had been formed 
during President George Herbert Walker Bush's administration 
to analyze treaties such as the CWC and CTBT, but stopped 
meeting in 2007.  U/S Tauscher expressed interest in meeting 
with the group during her next visit to Israel; Arad took the 
request on board. 
 
Egypt and the NPT 
----------------- 
 
6. (S) On the NPT, U/S Tauscher reiterated the importance of 
a successful Review Conference -- including hopefully a 
consensus resolution.  She raised U.S. concerns over 
potential Egyptian actions at the RevCon, based on previous 
decades of behavior and "10-15 year-old talking points."  U/S 
Tauscher said the United States is not "naive" with respect 
to Egypt; nevertheless, the United States must make a 
sincere, good faith effort to create the conditions for a 
positive RevCon -- this might include small steps with Israel 
to address some of Egypt's desire to demonstrate progress in 
implementation of the 1995 resolution on a region free of 
weapons of mass destruction. 
 
7. (S) That said, U/S Tauscher reiterated that the United 
States would consult and coordinate with Israel, and would 
take no action that might compromise Israel's security.  She 
noted that the United States would like to elevate the NPT 
RevCon issue to President Mubarak at an appropriate time, and 
expressed interest in developing an alternate communication 
track to Mubarak to circumvent the MFA, potentially through 
Egyptian Intelligence Minister LTG Suleiman.  U/S Tauscher 
said her message to Cairo will be "very tough," and that 
Egyptian obstructionist behavior linking Israel to Iran's 
nuclear program is not helping Egypt. 
 
8. (S) Arad said relations with Egypt were "relatively good," 
describing continued dialogue between PM Netanyahu and 
President Mubarak, and strong channels of communication at 
other levels.  In many respects, he said Israel's relations 
with Egypt are almost as good as during PM Rabin's time. 
Arad said Egypt and Israel do not see "eye-to-eye" on some 
issues such as Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, but 
otherwise relations are strong. 
 
9. (S) Arad described the Egyptian MFA, however, as a 
"nagging problem" in the relationship, particularly regarding 
the Middle East NWFZ issue, and noted Cairo's refusal to talk 
to FM Lieberman.  Other GOI officials expressed exasperation 
over Egyptian motivations on the NWFZ; Reich raised Egyptian 
behavior at the latest IAEA General Conference, as well as 
Cairo's negative reaction to the IAEA Board of Governor's 
recent statement on Iran.  Arad said Israel has supported a 
regional NWFZ as far back as 1992, provided Israel enjoyed 
peaceful relations with its neighbors.  He said the GOI has 
spoken frankly with Cairo, noting that such behavior is not 
helpful, and is misdirecting focus away from Iran. 
 
10. (S) MOD Political-Military Chief Amos Gilad said Egypt 
understands that Iran is the real threat to the region, 
noting that a nuclear weapon-armed Iran is a redline for 
Cairo.  He averred that Egypt does not accept that Iran will 
become a superpower, but remains afraid of its own domestic 
political situation post-Mubarak.  Gilad expressed succession 
concerns, noting that Mubarak is "approaching the past more 
quickly than the future."  He added that Mubarak does not 
have confidence in Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit. 
 
11. (S) MFA Deputy Director General for Strategic Affairs 
Alon Bar outlined repeated attempts by the GOI to engage with 
the Egyptian MFA, but to no avail. He described Egyptian 
actions linking Israel to Iran's nuclear program in the IAEA 
as "not encouraging," and questioned how to convince Egypt to 
drop this "obsession" over the NWFZ.  Israel Atomic Energy 
Commission (IAEC) Director General Saul Chorev and Arms 
Control Director Merav Zefary-Odiz speculated that Egypt 
feels challenged by Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear 
weapons, and includes Israel in any public attack on Tehran 
in order to give Cairo coverage from regional criticism.  Bar 
argued that the Egyptian MFA raises Israel's nuclear program 
as a "wedge issue" in order to prevent better relations 
between Israel and others in the region.  IAEC Deputy 
Director General David Danieli concurred, noting that Egypt 
can use the nuclear issue to put Israel "in a corner" while 
benefiting from positive relations between the two countries. 
 
 
12. (S) Zefary-Odiz also reviewed her participation in an 
International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and 
Disarmament conference in September 2009 in Cairo.  She 
described the conference as "very confrontational," and that 
it was clear Israel was targeted by Egyptian interlocutors. 
Zefary-Odiz acknowledged that the GOI had anticipated such 
behavior, and contemplated skipping the conference.  She 
noted that Egyptian officials also lambasted Iranian 
participants, but were always careful to include Israel and 
Iran in the same sentence. 
 
13. (S) Arad said the GOI will take their cue from U.S. 
"heavy-lifting": if there is a small step -- "not a 
concession," he stressed -- that Israel could take to help 
facilitate, then the GOI would consider it.  He noted that 
the GOI wanted to see a "reversal of trends" from Egypt 
regarding Iran's nuclear program -- after all, it is in 
Egypt's interest to do so.  He said Israel continues to have 
reservations regarding the NPT -- following nuclear pursuits 
by Libya, Syria, and Iran, it is clear to the GOI that the 
NPT is not sufficient and must be strengthened.  The goal of 
the NPT, he stressed, should not be to "prevent the next 
Iran, but to stop Iran in order to prevent the next Iran" 
from occurring. 
 
14. (S) Chorev speculated that Egypt will aim to ruin the 
RevCon.  Bar said the Egyptians have not been held 
accountable for past bad behavior at the NPT RevCon -- "they 
have never paid the price."  He noted that Cairo knows the 
importance the United States attaches to a successful RevCon, 
and therefore will try to leverage a "high price" in order 
not to ruin it.  He noted similar tactics with regard to 
Egypt's counter-smuggling efforts along the border with Gaza. 
 
 
15. (S) Timbie outlined several small steps that might 
address Egyptian concerns and demonstrate progress in 
implementation of the 1995 resolution and the Middle East 
NWFZ: an IAEA forum on the experience of other regional 
NWFZs; a special coordinator or rappateur on 1995 resolution 
implementation; a statement from the United States, United 
Kingdom and Russia reiterating the importance of the 1995 
resolution; and exploring text with Israel and Egypt on 
universality and compliance. 
 
16. (S) Gilad questioned these steps from a 
"tactical/strategic" context, and suggested this was not a 
tactical matter.  He argued against creating the impression 
that Israel was the problem.  Instead, Gilad recommended a 
strategic, traditional approach -- concessions will only be 
used by Egypt as leverage.  He suggested the United States 
remind Egypt of its special relationship based on U.S. 
support, and reaffirm that Iran is the "bad guy."  Gilad said 
Egypt should also be reminded that most countries in the 
region agree with the NWFZ concept in principle; the Egyptian 
MFA's insistence on an immediate NWFZ neither fits the 
current political reality nor makes sense as it diverts focus 
from Iranian intransigence.  He noted that Egypt listens to 
the United States; it is therefore important to speak clearly 
and directly when taking the issue to Mubarak. 
 
17. (S) Chorev and Zefary-Odiz argued these steps had been 
tried in the past -- and had failed.  Danieli questioned why 
Israel should take any steps at all.  Based on experience at 
the IAEA and the UN First Committee on Disarmament and 
International Security, he said "nothing satisfies Egypt" as 
Cairo "pockets every concession" and demands more -- "it's a 
slippery slope."  Danieli said Israel will not "play by 
Egypt's rules."  Bar concurred, noting that Egypt will "raise 
the bar," and begin negotiations with these small steps as 
the baseline -- he was skeptical such steps would prove 
helpful. 
 
18. (S) Arad characterized these steps as "talking endlessly" 
-- that is "not progress," he said.  He was uncomfortable 
discussing Israel NPT compliance, especially as Israel is not 
a party to the treaty.  He also raised concerns regarding the 
definition of the Middle East NWFZ -- did it also include 
Pakistan, India and Iran, for example?  Arad said such 
questions should be posed to Cairo -- if Egypt is willing to 
include Pakistan in its definition of a Middle East NWFZ, 
then we can take that as a signal that Cairo is ready for a 
serious conversation on the matter. 
 
19. (S) Zefary-Odiz argued that the NPT as a "global 
solution" is not appropriate in the current political 
realities of the Middle East.  Due to the region's prior 
track record of NPT non-compliance, she said a gradual, 
step-by-step process employing confidence building measures 
be used to improve relations between neighbors.  NPT partner 
obligations should be enhanced, not reduced, she said. 
Zefary-Odiz noted that only after peaceful relations are 
established can arms control measures be pursued, starting 
with conventional weapons and later focusing on 
chemical/biological/nuclear arms.  She said that Egypt and 
other Arab states de-link comprehensive peace from arms 
control measures -- Israel views these elements as 
inseparable and sequential. 
 
20. (S) On a related note, Chorev asked if Israel should 
attend the RevCon as an observer.  U/S Tauscher and Timbie 
replied that the decision was ultimately the GOI's to make, 
but offered to raise the issue in Washington .  Chorev noted 
that Israel would be careful not to "make any noise," and 
could play a positive, consultative role.  On the other hand, 
Danieli acknowledged the argument that as a non-party, 
perhaps it was not appropriate for Israel to attend. 
 
Iran 
---- 
 
21. (S) U/S Tauscher said the United States was very 
concerned about the recently announced Iranian plans to build 
ten additional uranium enrichment facilities.  She reiterated 
the two track strategy of persuasion and pressure, and noted 
that the time for persuasion is "waning."  U/S Tauscher said 
the United States has "created the coalition" it had hoped 
for, and was happy to see the recent IAEA BOG's resolution 
transferred to the UNSC. 
 
22. (S) U/S Tauscher noted that the United States was working 
hard through the P5 1 process to encourage Russian and 
Chinese cooperation to counter continued Iranian 
intransigence and inflammatory rhetoric -- Russia and China 
are "lynch pins," she said.  She noted that Russia had worked 
closely with the United States on the Tehran Research Reactor 
(TRR) proposal, which Moscow considered an "elegant 
solution," -- but Iran had not agreed.  Keeping Russia 
engaged, U/S Tauscher explained, also means Chinese 
cooperation. 
 
23. (S) MOD Political-Military Chief Amos Gilad described 
recent Russian cooperation on Iran as encouraging, but 
expressed reservations that Russia would join in any 
sanctions against Iran.  He explained that Moscow has raised 
the provision of sophisticated Israeli unmanned aerial 
vehicle (UAV) technology in exchange for canceling the S-300 
sale to Tehran.  Gilad said that Russian interlocutors had 
acknowledged development gaps in their UAV platform, and is 
prepared to pay USD one billion for Israeli UAV technology. 
He reiterated that Israel will not provide its latest UAV 
technology, arguing that such technology would likely end up 
in the hands of the Chinese. 
 
24. (S) Arad said the GOI appreciated the United States' 
efforts regarding Iran, noting how hard the United States has 
worked to build an alliance.  He pointed to the recent IAEA 
Board of Governor's resolution as a successful example of 
U.S. efforts.  Regarding the Qom facility, Arad said the GOI 
was not surprised by Tehran's "chutzpah."  He described a 
high degree of alertness in Israel, and added that the GOI 
studies daily Iranian posturing and boastful announcements in 
an attempt to discern Iranian intentions.  Arad commented 
that the trends are bad, as Iran continues to accumulate low 
enriched uranium. 
 
25. (S) MFA DG Gal said there was not much difference in the 
national intelligence estimations (U.S., UK, France, and 
Russia) regarding Iran.  He said the GOI takes "very 
seriously" Iranian plans for ten new enrichment facilities -- 
"time is of the essence," and "now is the time to implement 
crippling sanctions," he added.  Gal likened the case for 
enhanced sanctions to prescribed antibiotics from a doctor -- 
one must take the full course of antibiotics for the 
prescribed period of time, or they will not work. 
 
26. (S) Turning to his crystal ball, Gilad was not sure 
Tehran had decided it wants a nuclear weapon -- but is 
"determined" to obtain the option to build one.  He 
acknowledged that the engagement strategy is a good idea -- 
"as long as you understand that it will not work."  Gilad 
said it should be clear by February 2010 that engagement as a 
option has failed -- the imposition of "crippling sanctions" 
for the February/March/April timeframe is crucial.  He said 
Russian cooperation will be the key, and the current Russian 
cooperative mind-set cannot necessarily be counted on in 
several weeks time.  By June of next year, Gilad said it 
should be clear whether sanctions have worked.  However, 
given Tehran's clandestine nuclear program (e.g., Qom), he 
said it will not be clear when Iran has reached the "point of 
no return" -- he doubted Iran will choose to let it overtly 
known that it has produced a nuclear weapon. 
 
FMCT and CTBT 
------------- 
 
27. (S) IAEC DG Chorev raised the FMCT's future in the 
Conference on Disarmament.  U/S Tauscher acknowledged 
frustration with Pakistan, and noted that while Washington 
places a high priority on the FMCT, other efforts like a 
START follow-on and the CTBT will come first.  Timbie added 
that it will take some time to negotiate an FMCT. 
 
28. (S) Chorev asked about the current prospects for CTBT 
ratification in the Senate.  U/S Tauscher noted that the 
START follow-on was a higher priority, and said the Senate 
will likely focus on the Law of the Sea treaty before turning 
its attention to the CTBT.  She pointed to mid-term 
Congressional elections in 2010, and explained that focusing 
on the CTBT in 2011 might be more prudent given the 
controversy associated with the treaty.  U/S Tauscher 
explained the necessity of making the case for the CTBT, and 
hoped to build political momentum in favor of the treaty 
through the release of the Nuclear Posture Review, a new 
national intelligence estimate, and the handover on the 
stockpile stewardship program. 
 
29. (S) Chorev asked that the United States consult with the 
GOI on the CTBT, where he said Israel could be "more flexible 
than the FMCT."  U/S Tauscher asked if the GOI might be 
willing to make affirmative statements in support of the 
CTBT; Chorev made no promises, but suspected such a statement 
might be possible -- especially if it would help with Senate 
ratification. 
 
30. (S) Chorev described the FMCT as "very difficult" for 
Israel.  Scheinman confirmed that negotiations would be based 
on the 2006 draft FMCT text, with an added verification 
regime that is being worked on -- he described the 
verification regime's definitions as "critical" in that 
regard.  Danieli questioned the FMCT's added value, arguing 
that it would have little impact.  He asked who was the 
FMCT's real target -- India, Pakistan or even Israel? 
 
Jordanian Nuclear Reactor 
------------------------- 
 
31. (S) IAEC DG Chorev raised Jordanian plans to build a 
nuclear reactor.  He said the GOI has decided not to oppose 
the reactor, and have offered the Jordanians Israeli 
expertise on where best to build it.  Chorev said the IAEC 
formed a steering committee with its Jordanian counterpart 
comprised of three working groups focusing on safety, 
geological surveys, and water issues.  Chorev said the 
steering committee first met in Amman in June 2009, and is 
waiting to convene again.  Danieli stressed that the GOI does 
not want to hamper the Jordanian nuclear plans, but added 
that Israel has concerns about border issues and security 
associated with the reactor.  Timbie said the United States 
is pushing Jordan to sign a 123 Agreement along the same 
lines as the recent agreement signed with UAE, only stronger. 
 Zefary-Odiz noted that Egypt is putting tremendous pressure 
on Jordan not to accept a 123 Agreement. 
 
QME 
--- 
 
32. (S) U/S Tauscher reiterated the United States' strong 
commitment to Israel's Qualitative Military Edge (QME), and 
expressed appreciation for the GOI's willingness to work with 
us through the newly created QME working groups.  Both MOD 
Pol-Mil Chief Gilad and MFA DDG Bar commended the newly 
created QME working groups, and asked they be scheduled to 
convene as soon as possible. 
 
33. (U) T has cleared this cable. 
 
CUNNINGHAM