The Palestine Papers
Meeting Minutes: Saeb Erekat and Keith Dayton

Dayton expressed US interest in helping the Palestinian president and weakening Hamas. Erekat said the Presidential Guard is in need of weapons and ammunition. They also discussed reforms within Fatah, with Dayton urging Erekat to "resurrect the movement."

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Meeting Minutes

Erekat ? Dayton

May 10, 2006

 

 

Attendance:  

Dr. Saeb Erekat (SE)

 Zeinah Salahi (ZS)

 Rami Dajani

 

 Gen. Keith Dayton (KD)

 Jennifer Butte-Dahl (Political Advisor to Dayton)

 Dov Schwartz (DS) (Media Advisor to Dayton)

 Steve ?

KD:

  •  There is a great deal of interest in helping the President. The efforts are to strengthen a future Palestinian state, not to fight Hamas.
  •  Presidential Guard (PG) is an important component of the strategy to strengthen the President ? particularly for border security management as a start. [This is part of a three pronged approach ? National Security Advisor (aka General Secretary for National Security Affairs), the Presidential Guards and the border management agency and borders.]
  •  Jordan and Egypt are willing to help with training and equipping, even at their own expense [KD discussed with Omar Suleiman].
  •  Regarding CG Walles? letter on the Border Management Agency, the purpose is that we need to know in detail what is actually there, and you must quickly decide what you need for the future.
  •  While the US will not be funding the BMA, there is a great deal of interest from several parties, including EU, Egypt and Jordan. We need to act quickly.
  •  Question legal basis for BMA ? asks for clarification of legal issues. [Note: this is one element which will be explained in letter in response to Consul General?s request ? upon further investigation, this may not be as simple as earlier statements made it seem.]
  •  The PG performance in Rafah is impressive. Expanding PG needed for border crossings as a first step.
  •  Asks about current BMA ? is it really 1,600 people?  

 

SE:

  •  These measures need to be tools to get us back into negotiations and political process with Israel.
  •  We have raised airport issue with Israelis. [KD agreed to do the same].

 

KD:

  •  Although immediate priority is borders and PG, we need to discuss creating office of General Secretary for Security Affairs; this is good for capacity building. The President needs to decide who should occupy this position. Until then we can deal with present channels.

.  

  •  Welsh maintains that US strategic interest is still a negotiated two state solution.

 

  •  There needs to be public exposure to highlight the success at Rafah, and the professional work of the PG there.

 

DS:  

  •  In order to highlight this success, you need spokesmen from the PG that can conduct good PR. Media is everything. You need to pick people who can do the talking.

 

SE:   

  •  We agree that capacity development is needed and suggest that NSU can help with this.
  •  The PG is in dire need of guns and ammunition. Particularly with the situation in Gaza, this issue is critical.  [KD replied that he will raise this point with Israelis ? particularly in meeting with Ephraim Sneh tomorrow].
  •  We need to re-establish security liaison with Israel. This is the best way to maintain security.

 

Steve: What is your view of the May 9 Quartet Statement?

 

  •  Quartet made a positive statement. [Brief discussion of statement and its positive side for the President]

 

KD:

  •  It is critical for Fatah to undergo reform. Resurrecting the movement is a prerequisite and a requirement for making any attempts to go back to a political dialogue or negotiations with Israel credible.
  •  Is the convention taking place? When?

 

SE:

  •  With regard to Fatah, reform poses difficulties but is moving ahead. The elections are taking place shortly (goal is end June). The convention will be held after elections.
  •  [General discussion of Israeli politics: Labour, Olmert, and lack of engagement with Palestinians]
  •  With regard to overall strategy, actions need to take place in tandem: strengthening institutions (borders and PG); reforming Fatah; and opening and maintaining political channels with Israel.