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Cablegate: Nablus Operations November 6: Pasf Surrounds Balata Camp, Arrests 11 Suspects, but Idf Complicates Pasf Efforts

VZCZCXRO9262
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2318/01 3101533
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 061533Z NOV 07
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9563
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 002318

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE, NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/WATERS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/06/2017
TAGS: KWBG PINS IS PGOV PTER
SUBJECT: NABLUS OPERATIONS NOVEMBER 6: PASF SURROUNDS BALATA CAMP, ARRESTS 11 SUSPECTS, BUT IDF COMPLICATES PASF EFFORTS REF: JERUSALEM 2293

Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S) Summary. National Security Forces (NSF) commander BG Thiab Ali (Abu al-Fatah) and other Palestinian security contacts say NSF-led forces are manning six fixed positions around Nablus and conducting vehicle and foot patrols around the city. The NSF have surrounded Balata refugee camp in an effort to persuade militant and criminal suspects to surrender. BG Ali told USSC LTG Dayton that the PASF are enforcing a total ban on public display or transportation of weapons by anyone not in the security forces, using force as needed. The NSF detained 11 suspected members of terror cells and criminal gangs overnight November 5-6, including al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (AAMB) militants and three long-AWOL members of the General Intelligence (GI), who NSF contacts say will be officially removed from the security forces. BG Ali told LTG Dayton November 6 that after Balata operations are completed, the NSF will go into the other refugee camps and then the old city (al-Qasbah). BG Ali said the IDF entered the Nablus Qasbah area at 0230 November 6, which suggested that the IDF and PASF are working together or that the PASF cannot provide basic security. LTG Dayton told PASF he is pressing the IDF to release 80-90 protective vests they confiscated. End summary.

Situation on the Ground: NSF Surrounds Balata Camp, Patrolling Nablus Streets
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2. (C) As of 1500 local on November 6, NSF-led forces are manning six fixed positions around Nablus, conducting vehicle and foot patrols around the city and surrounding Balata refugee camp in an effort to persuade militant and criminal suspects to surrender before a November 8 1800 deadline. At a November 6 meeting with Nablus security commanders, NSF commander BG Ali told USSC LTG Dayton that the PASF are enforcing a total ban on public display or transportation of weapons by anyone not in the security forces. Ali said after the deadline expires, the NSF will arrest all suspects in Balata who have not surrendered and anyone carrying weapons, using force if needed.

3. (C) Security contacts say the NSF detained 11 suspected members of terror cells and criminal gangs overnight November 5-6 and jailed them in Junayd camp. The 11 included AAMB militants XXXXX and XXXXX. Both men and a third detainee are long-AWOL GI members, and NSF contacts say all three will be referred to a joint security disciplinary board to be officially removed from the security forces. The NSF seized a pistol in the operation and in a brief shootout, three militants, one NSF soldier and one bystander were injured (none life-threatening).

Future Plans
------------
4. (S) BG Ali told LTG Dayton that after operations in Balata are completed, the NSF will go into Ein al-Ma' refugee camp and other problem areas on the periphery, and then Nablus' old city (al-Qasbah), a densely populated warren of stone houses and markets along narrow alleyways. He said the Nablus operation is important in itself, but is tied to a larger PA security effort that will eventually lead to strong PA security control over all West Bank cities.

Commanders Say GOI Undermining Progress, Not Coordinating or Sharing Information
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5. (C) The IDF entered the Nablus Qasbah area at 0230 November 6 in an apparent arrest operation, BG Ali said, causing him to order a halt to all PASF operations to avoid IDF-PASF clashes. He said the IDF operation also created an appearance that the IDF and PASF are working in tandem or the PASF cannot provide basic security. Liaison (DCO) commander Col Shawki al-Hajj said coordination is better than six months ago, but needs to be improved. Nablus PSO commander Akram Rajub and GI commander Abdallah Kmayl said the GOI routinely accuses the PA of failing to act against terror but refuses to give PA intelligence any names or information the PASF could use to arrest terrorist suspects. Kmayl said PA intelligence officers have detained and interrogated dozens of suspected terrorists in recent weeks and routinely turn over confiscated munitions and explosives to the IDF.

PA Complains about IDF-Confiscated Body Armor, Says Protection Critical JERUSALEM 00002318 002 OF 002
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6. (C) The IDF has refused to hand over 80-90 protective vests it confiscated from the Presidential Guard on November 3, according to NSF commander BG Ali. He and Deputy MoI BG Raji Nijmi say protective vests are no match for the IDF's heavy weapons but are critical to protect PASF arrest teams against well-armed gunmen in Nablus. (Comment: Security contacts say the vests are a lower protection rating than those worn by IDF soldiers during routine incursions into Nablus, can be easily defeated by standard IDF weaponry, and are closely inventoried to prevent misappropriatio S

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