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Viewing cable 09TELAVIV936, CODEL KYL'S MEETING WITH PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TELAVIV936 2009-04-28 08:08 2010-12-19 21:09 SECRET Embassy Tel Aviv
VZCZCXRO0626
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTV #0936/01 1180813
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 280813Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1548
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 TEL AVIV 000936 
 
SIPDIS 
 
H PASS TO CODEL KYL 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/14/2019 
TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV KNNP KWBG IR IS
SUBJECT: CODEL KYL'S MEETING WITH PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: 
 WHAT WILL THE U.S. DO ABOUT IRAN? 
 
Classified By: Ambassador James B. Cunningham, Reason 1.4 (b) (d) 
 
 1. (S) Summary. CODEL Kyl, accompanied by the Ambassador, 
called on Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu April 6 in the 
first official U.S. meeting with Netanyahu since he formed a 
government.  The main topics of discussion were stopping 
Iran's nuclear program and Netanyahu's approach to 
peace-making with the Palestinians.  On Iran, Senator Kyl 
raised ways to increase the effect of sanctions, including 
possible legislation targeting Iranian imports of refined 
petroleum.  Adopting a forceful stance, Netanyahu asked 
repeatedly what the U.S. plans to do if sanctions and 
engagement fail to stop Iran's program.  Calling Iran's 
development of a nuclear bomb a world-changing event, 
Netanyahu said all other issues become insignificant by 
comparison.  On the Palestinians, Netanyahu reviewed his 
intent to pursue a three-track approach with political, 
economic, and security aspects.  While noting that his 
government is conducting a review of Israeli policy toward 
the Palestinians, Netanyahu asserted that there is agreement 
within the government and among 80% of Israelis that the 
Palestinians should be able to rule themselves, but with 
limits imposed by Israel's security requirements.  Netanyahu 
said the only difference between his position and that of 
opposition leader Tzipi Livni is over the name of the goal, 
i.e. the two-state solution.  In response to comments by 
Senator Sessions that the Palestinian Authority needs 
functioning courts and jails as well as police, Netanyahu 
agreed but said he had not yet focused much on Palestinian 
governance issues.  Netanyahu said he wants to show the 
Palestinians the benefits of peace, but with the proviso that 
if Iran goes nuclear, peace will fail. Predicting that his 
government would pleasantly surprise many critics, Netanyahu 
concluded that he hopes to come up with a common approach 
with President Obama.  End Summary. 
 
2. (U) CODEL Kyl, consisting of Senator Jon Kyl (R, AZ); 
Senator Jeff Sessions (R, AL); Representative Jane Harman (D, 
CA); Representative John Kline (R, MN); and Representative 
Chris Carney (D, PA), called on Prime Minister Benyamin 
Netanyahu April 6.  The Ambassador, Congressional staff, and 
Pol Couns (notetaker) participated in the meeting.  Netanyahu 
was joined by National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, Spokesman 
Mark Regev, Policy Adviser Ron Dermer, former chairman of the 
Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Kadima MK 
Tzachi Hanegbi (Senator's Kyl's counterpart in the 
U.S.-Israel Joint Parliamentary Committee on National 
Security), and the Israeli Embassy in Washington's 
Congressional liaison officer.  The meeting was the first 
official U.S. face to face contact with Netanyahu since he 
formed his government. 
 
What Will the U.S. Do About Iran? 
--------------------------------- 
 
3. (S) After a brief discussion of the world economic crisis, 
Senator Kyl raised Iran, noting the "sobering" briefings the 
CODEL had received from senior Israeli defense and 
intelligence officials the previous day.  Kyl said the 
Congress is looking at legislation that would target Iran's 
imports of refined petroleum products, adding that there are 
only four or five companies that supply refined petroleum to 
Iran and the U.S. has considerable leverage over most of 
them.  Kyl added that Israeli experts had told the CODEL that 
they thought such legislation would be helpful.  Netanyahu 
said nothing is slowing the progress of Iran's nuclear 
program.  The Prime Minister asked what will happen to the 
Middle East if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon?  If such a 
prospect is unacceptable, what will the U.S. do as Iran 
reaches the nuclear threshold?  What will the U.S. do if 
Pakistan is taken over by Islamic radicals? 
 
4. (S) Representative Harman told Netanyahu that no one in 
the CODEL disagreed with his analysis, but the U.S. should 
give engagement an opportunity to see if it works.  If it 
does not, at least it would show the world that the U.S. had 
tried.  She added that Congress supports engagement on a 
bipartisan basis.  Senator Kyl added that the Europeans tried 
to engage Iran for five years but it did not work.  President 
Obama will pursue engagement, but Kyl said he doubted it 
would be successful.  We should consider what to do in the 
mean time.  Netanyahu responded that the U.S. should move 
quickly.  Engagement should have a short time limit and a 
specific goal, for example talk to the Iranians for four to 
twelve weeks and make clear that the U.S. goal is an end to 
their nuclear program.  Leaning forward, Netanyahu repeated 
his earlier question:  "What will you do if it does not work?" 
 
 
TEL AVIV 00000936  002 OF 003 
 
 
5. (S) Netanyahu said that learning to live with a nuclear 
Iran would be a big mistake which would lead to a different, 
more dangerous world.  While he noted that he could not say 
for certain that Iran would use a nuclear weapon against 
Israel, if Iran had a bomb Israelis would have to ask that 
question every day.  This is a historic moment, and leaders 
have a responsibility to make decisions.  All other issues 
are insignificant by comparison.  For a third time, Netanyahu 
asked, "What are you going to do?" 
 
 
Netanyahu's Approach to the Palestinians 
---------------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) Senator Kyl asked the Prime Minister about his view of 
the two-state solution.  Netanyahu said he plans to engage 
the Palestinian Authority quickly and will not tie political 
talks with the Palestinians to developments with Iran. 
Reviewing a now familiar formula, Netanyahu said he will 
approach the Palestinians on parallel political, economic and 
security tracks.  Political talks would aim at achieving an 
agreement within certain limits, the economic approach would 
promote foreign and Arab investment and joint projects with 
Israeli partners, while the security track would continue to 
build up the PA's security forces.  In order to do any of 
this, Netanyahu noted, he will need a Palestinian partner. 
 
7. (C) Representative Harman observed that the CODEL had 
visited units of the PA's National Security Forces and the 
Presidential Guard.  PA Prime Minister Fayyad said he was 
happy with the PA's security forces, and they want to take on 
increased responsibility for security in Jericho and Jenin. 
Netanyahu replied that Israel would be happy to let them do 
more, but it is not clear what Hamas will do next. If Hamas 
forces a confrontation, Israel will have to initiate further 
military action in Gaza. Israel did not want to go back into 
Gaza, but it will do what is necessary to protect its people. 
 
8. (C) Netanyahu said his government is reviewing Israel's 
policy toward the Palestinians.  There is a consensus in the 
government and among 80% of the Israeli public that the 
Palestinians should be able to govern themselves.  The only 
limits on Palestinian sovereignty would be elements that 
affect Israel's security.  A Palestinian state must be 
demilitarized, without control over its air space and 
electro-magnetic field, and without the power to enter into 
treaties or control its borders.  Netanyahu concluded that he 
and opposition leader Tzipi Livni "only disagree about the 
name," i.e. the two-state solution. 
 
9. (C) Senator Sessions noted that people everywhere want law 
and order.  Palestinians not only need to deal with 
terrorism, they also need a functioning legal system.  Moving 
from a lawless system, the Palestinian Authority is showing 
some pride, but police are not enough, they need courts and 
jails that work.  Economic development is impossible in a 
lawless society.  Netanyahu agreed this was a valid point and 
uncharacteristically admitted that he had not focused much on 
Palestinian governance.  He added that international 
assistance should provide funding for jails and courts.  It 
is possible to create crime-free zones and begin economic 
development "in bubbles" which would then be expanded. 
Senator Sessions noted that Lt. General Dayton is focused on 
this issue.  Representative Harman commented that "bubbles" 
in the West Bank would not be enough, Palestinians need law 
and order everywhere. 
 
10. (C) Netanyahu said the "classic rhetoric" of the peace 
process has been that if Israel withdraws, all will be well. 
Now, however, if Israel withdrew from the West Bank, Hamas 
would take over.  Economic development would not be a 
substitute for a political settlement, but it would change 
the environment and show Palestinians the benefits of peace. 
Israel has been trying to "build a roof without a foundation" 
and it has not worked.  Netanyahu said there was one proviso: 
 If Iran gets a nuke, peace efforts will fail. 
 
11. (C) Netanyahu pointed to the example of Jordanian King 
Hussein, whom he termed Israel's best Arab ally and a man 
deeply committed to peace.  Yet when Saddam Hussein took 
Kuwait, King Hussein got on board with the Iraqis.  In the 
event of a nuclear Iran, "all the Arabs will become Qatar." 
We should therefore move in parallel to work for peace with 
the Palestinians while acting to stop Iran.  Netanyahu said 
he thought his government would pleasantly surprise many of 
its critics.  He concluded the meeting by saying that he 
wants to coordinate Israel's positions with the U.S. and 
hopes to come to a common position with President Obama. 
 
TEL AVIV 00000936  003 OF 003 
 
 
 
12.  (U) CODEL Kyl has cleared this cable. 
 
 
 
 
********************************************* ******************** 
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv 
********************************************* ******************** 
CUNNINGHAM