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Cablegate: Nablus Operations November 8: City Generally

VZCZCXRO1775
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2336/01 3121622
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081622Z NOV 07
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9609
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 002336

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG PINS IS PGOV PTER
SUBJECT: NABLUS OPERATIONS NOVEMBER 8: CITY GENERALLY
QUIET; NEW ISRAELI INCURSION RILES PASF CHIEFS AND FAYYAD

REF: A. JERUSALEM 2330

B. JERUSALEM 2293

1. (SBU) Summary. National Security Forces (NSF) contacts
report Nablus is generally quiet as of 1500 local November 8,
and the NSF continues to operate checkpoints and mobile
patrols throughout the city. A workman accidentally
triggered a boobytrap in Nablus' old city (Qasbah) at 1230,
killing himself and injuring two. PA police and intelligence
units detained 10 suspects (including Hamas members) for
questioning in the past 24 hours. The IDF entered central
and western Nablus early November 8, arresting 7 Palestinians
and searching two mosques. Nablus Governor Jamal Muhaysin
and PA security forces (PASF) commanders protested the IDF
raids as counterproductive and harmful to the PASF
operation's success. PM Fayyad expressed similar views
privately in a conversation with the Consul General. Fayyad
also visited Nablus in the afternoon. The IDF has not
returned protective vests it confiscated on November 3. End
summary.

City Generally Quiet; PASF Detain
10 Suspects, Operate Checkpoints/Patrols
----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) As of 1500 local on November 8, Nablus is generally
quiet, with NSF-led forces continuing to operate fixed
positions around the city and conduct vehicle and foot
patrols. NSF commanders report that PA police and
intelligence units are questioning 10 suspected criminal
gang, militia and terror cell members, and that any wanted
suspects in Balata Camp who have not surrendered by late
November 8 will be arrested immediately. Hamas press
statements allege that PASF arrested four of their members in
the past 24 hours. Security officials report that Fatah
leaders and Nablus Governor Muhaysin are helping to persuade
the remaining wanted persons to surrender.

Boobytrap Death/Injuries in Qasbah
Price-Hike Protests in al-Askar,
----------------------------------

3. (SBU) Palestinian press and local contacts report that
Palestinian laborer Rami Issa (age 40) was killed and two
others were injured when Issa accidentally triggered a
explosive boobytrap in a house in al-Qasbah. NSF contacts
say they suspect militants rigged the device some weeks ago
to target IDF troops conducting a raid. Security contacts
report that over 100 residents of al-Askar refugee camp
staged a protest the morning of November 8, but the protest
was peaceful, and concerned rising costs of food/household
goods, not security matters.

New Israeli Incursion in Central/West
Nablus, 7 Arrested; No Progress on Vests
----------------------------------------

4. (SBU) According to security contacts and Palestinian
press, the IDF entered Nablus' central Makhfah and western
Rafidiya neighborhoods from 0130-0400 on November 8,
arresting 7 Palestinians and searching two mosques and
several houses. Palestinian press quote Governor Muhaysin as
criticizing the IDF raids for "creating the impression that
the PASF and IDF are running the same operation and just
doing a shift change at night," and saying that IDF
incursions play into the hands of terror groups' propaganda
which claims PASF are doing the IDF's work for them. NSF
commanders said they are angry that the IDF are entering the
same neighborhoods the PASF is operating in and the IDF raids
greatly complicate their efforts to establish the PASF as the
security authority in residents' minds.

5. (SBU) The IDF has not returned 80-90 protective vests
confiscated from the Presidential Guard on November 3 (Ref
B), according to PA contacts and USSC officers. Security
contacts say protective vests were critical in reducing
casualties in previous operations and are necessary to
prevail against gang/militia gunmen who are better armed than
the NSF.


Fayyad in Nablus
----------------

6. (SBU) PM Fayyad traveled to Nablus on the afternoon of
November 8 to urge PASF commanders and troops to stay focused
on their mission. He told the Consul General afterwards that
he was impressed by their determination, but worried that

JERUSALEM 00002336 002 OF 002


they would lose their focus if the IDF continues to operate
in Nablus every night. Fayyad said he walked the streets of
the Qasbah, and the situation was calm despite the heavy
security presence.

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