Cablegate: The Situation On the Ground March 31, 2004 --
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TEL AVIV 001951
NEA FOR BURNS/SATTERFIELD
NEA/SA/EX FOR AUSTIN-FERGUSON; DEPT FOR DS/IP/NEA;
DEPT FOR DS/IP/ITA; DRL FOR A/S CRANER;
NSC FOR ABRAMS/DANIN;
USAID FOR DCHA, DCHA/FPP
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG PTER ASEC PHUM CASC KPAL IS GZ
SUBJECT: THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND MARCH 31, 2004 --
(1300 HOURS LOCAL) -- PALESTINIANS CLASH WITH POLICE AS
SETTLERS MOVE INTO HOUSES IN EAST JERUSALEM NEIGHBORHOOD
THIS IS A JOINT MESSAGE FROM EMBASSY TEL AVIV AND CONGEN
1. (SBU) Summary: In the pre-dawn hours March 31, settlers
moved into 11 houses they claim to have purchased in the
predominantly Arab Silwan section of East Jerusalem, sparking
clashes between police and Palestinian residents, who
reportedly threw stones at the settlers. Police used tear
gas to disperse crowds of angry Palestinians near the site,
according to Israeli press reports (see Jerusalem septel).
Also in the West Bank, a roadside charge exploded March 30
near an IDF jeep traveling on Route 60 near Al Khader
village, south of Bethlehem. No one was injured. In Gaza,
two Palestinians were killed March 31 near Khan Yunis when
IDF soldiers opened fire on them as they were spotted
approaching the soldiers' outpost. An 11-year-old child was
hit in the arm by stray fire March 29 during an exchange of
fire between Palestinian gunmen and IDF soldiers stationed
near the Egyptian border. End Summary.
2. (SBU) ATTACKS:
-- Death: Nil.
-- Injury: Nil.
-- Shooting: Palestinian sources claimed an IDF soldier was
wounded in Bethlehem by Palestinian gunfire March 30, but
this attack was unconfirmed.
-- Shooting: Palestinians mounted two shooting attacks at IDF
positions near Bayt Sahour March 30, but caused no injuries.
-- Bomb: A roadside charge exploded March 30 near an IDF jeep
traveling on Route 60 near Al Khader village, south of
Bethlehem. No one was injured.
3. (SBU) ARRESTS:
-- The IDF arrested 11 Palestinians around the West Bank
4. (SBU) DEMONSTRATIONS:
-- The IDF used to tear gas to break up a Land Day
demonstration in Janin March 30.
5. (SBU) SEPARATION BARRIER:
-- The IDF dispersed anti-barrier demonstrators March 30 near
the village of Bayt Liqya. More demonstrations were planned
for March 31 near Qatanna.
6. (SBU) SETTLEMENT EVACUATION/EXPANSION:
-- The IDF removed a rudimentary structure March 31 at a site
near Kiryat Arba known as Hazon David. Later in the day,
Israeli media reported clashes near the site, as border
police and IDF units tried to prevent settler activists from
demonstrating at the site (Details reported Jerusalem septel).
-- In the pre-dawn hours March 31, Jewish settlers moved into
11 houses they claim to have purchased in the predominantly
Arab Silwan section of East Jerusalem, sparking clashes
between police and Palestinian residents, who reportedly
threw stones at the settlers. Police used tear gas to
disperse crowds of angry Palestinians near the site,
according to Israeli press reports. (Details reported
7. (SBU) ATTACKS:
-- Deaths: The IDF reported that two Palestinians were killed
March 31 near Neve Dekalim when IDF soldiers opened fire on
them as they were spotted crawling towards the soldiers'
-- Injuries: UNRWA reported that an 11-year-old child was hit
in the arm by stray gunfire March 29 during an exchange of
fire between Palestinian gunmen and IDF soldiers stationed
near the Egyptian border.
-- Mortars/Rockets/Hand Grenades: One mortar was fired at IDF
soldiers south of Netzarim March 30, and three mortars were
fired at Neve Dekalim March 31, according to the IDF. The
IDF also reported that one anti-tank missile was fired at an
IDF outpost west of Nissanit, and one Qassam rocket was fired
at Nahal Oz kibbutz March 30. No injuries were reported in
any of these attacks.
-- Shootings: The IDF reported one shooting attack near Nahal
Oz Crossing March 30, and one near Karni Crossing March 31.
8. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS/CHECKPOINTS:
-- Route Four (Salahadeen Road), the main north-south traffic
artery, was open for Palestinians.
-- Erez Crossing was closed to Palestinian laborers March 31,
but was open for merchants age 28 years and older. The
number of merchants crossing March 31 was not available. The
IDF also allowed diplomats in vehicles and internationals on
foot to cross. UN agencies, however, refuse to authorize
their non-diplomatic staff to cross on foot; staff must
therefore wait to cross until they can join someone crossing
in a diplomatic vehicle. The Erez Industrial Zone was open
March 31, but the number of laborers entering the Zone was
-- Sufa Crossing was closed for Palestinian laborers March
31, but open for the import into Gaza of aggregates used in
-- Karni Terminal was partially open March 31 for the import
and export of goods into the Gaza Strip. Unpacked goods may
enter, but no Palestinian containers may enter or exit.
-- Rafah Terminal was open March 31 for Palestinian
travelers, although Palestinians reported only limited
numbers were being allowed to cross.
-- Tel al-Sultan and Toufah checkpoints were closed March 31.
9. (SBU) ATTACKS
-- The IDF reported that Molotov cocktails were thrown at
Israeli Border Police officers north of Kafr Kanna village
the evening of March 30 (see "Political Developments" below).
10. (SBU) POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS
-- At the Likud Party Convention March 30, PM Sharon promised
to hold a referendum among registered Likud party members on
his plan for unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip
(see Tel Aviv septel).
-- Approximately 15,000 people participated in the main
demonstration March 30 commemorating the 28th anniversary of
Land Day in the village of Arraba. Also on March 30, several
thousand protesters participated in a march in Kafr Kanna to
commemorate the death of village residents in the riots that
occurred there in October 2000, at the start of the current
-- Israeli media reported March 30 that a commission of
inquiry into the March 14 double suicide bombing at Ashdod
port found that security guards at Gaza's Karni Crossing had
failed to follow proper procedure and thoroughly examine the
container by which it is believed the bombers reached Ashdod.
Guards at Ashdod were absolved of any wrongdoing.
-- Jewish terror suspect Eliron Golan was charged March 30
with the attempted murder of Israeli Arab MK Issam Makhoul
and three other people in the Haifa area. According to press
reports, Golan was accused of making and setting several
bombs targeting Israeli Arabs in the Haifa area over several
years. Golan was quoted as saying that his intent had not
been to harm Israeli Arabs in general, but rather to target
those whom he felt were endangering Israel's security.
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.