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Cablegate: The Situation On the Ground: #71, April 15, 1700

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 002207

SIPDIS

NEA FOR BURNS/SATTERFIELD
NEA/SA/EX FOR AUSTIN-FERGUSON; DEPT FOR DS/IP/ITA; DEPT FOR
DS/IP/NEA; DRL FOR A/S CRANER
NSC FOR ABRAMS/DANIN
USAID FOR DCHA, DCHA/FFP
CENTCOM FOR GENERAL ABIZAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG PTER ASEC PHUM CASC KPAL
SUBJECT: THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND: #71, APRIL 15, 1700
-- IDF HELICOPTOR FIRES MISSILE DURING RAFAH INCURSION,
3,000 PALESTINIANS DEMONSTRATE IN RAMALLAH IN SUPPORT OF
JAILED FATAH LEADER


THIS IS A JOINT MESSAGE FROM CONGEN JERUSALEM AND EMBASSY TEL
AVIV

1. (SBU) Summary. IDF forces detained settlers during the
evacuation of Havat Maon outpost April 14. IDF forces
clashed with Palestinian protesters at Biddu April 14 and 15,
and roughly 3,000 people demonstrated in Ramallah in support
of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghuti. In the Gaza Strip,
the IDF uncovered a weapons tunnel during an incursion into
Rafah. A covering helicoptor fired a missile at gathering
Palestinians there, killing one. Gush Katif leadership
promised to organize against Sharon's withdrawal plan. End
Summary.

---------
West Bank
---------

2. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Death: Nil.

-- Injury: One Israeli soldier was lightly injured during
the IDF evacuation of the Havat Maon outpost near Hebron on
April 14 (septel). Seven Israeli settlers were detained by
Israeli police during the evacuation.

-- Injury: Palestinian gunmen shot and injured an IDF
soldier on patrol near Silwad on April 14.

-- Injury: Palestinian gunmen shot and injured an Israeli
soldier during an IDF incursion into Jenin on April 14.

-- Injury: Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and rubber-coated
bullets into a crowd of Palestinians demonstrating against
the separation barrier in Biddu on April 14, which resulted
in 21 Palestinians injured from rubber-coated bullets and 25
treated for tear gas inhalation.

-- Injury: IDF troops used tear gas and rubber-coated
bullets to disperse demonstrators in Biddu again on April 15,
with 15 Palestinians injured as a result.

3. (SBU) SECURITY DEVELOPMENTS/ARRESTS:

-- Roughly 3,000 Palestinians in Ramallah rallied on April 15
in support of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghuthi.

-- Israeli troops arrested 17 Palestinians from across the
West Bank on April 14.

4. (SBU) DEMOLITIONS:

-- The IDF demolished three houses in the West Bank on April
14 that belonged to families of Palestinian militants. Two
homes were in Bethlehem, and one home was in Shwayka, north
of Tulkarm.

----------
Gaza Strip
----------

3. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Deaths: IDF sources report that one Palestinian was killed
when an IDF helicopter covering anti-tunnel operations in
Rafah fired a missile at two armed men.

-- Injuries: According to UNWRA at least 20 Palestinians were
injured during that missile attack. Palestinian sources
report between 7 and 15 injuries.

-- Mortars/Rockets/Shootings: According to the IDF,
Palestinians fired one mortar shell south of Dugit village
and one anti-tank missile each at the IDF outposts at Rafah
and Kfar Darom on April 15. An IDF helicopter fired one
missile into a crowd at Rafah (see "deaths" above.)

4. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS/CHECKPOINTS

-- Route Four (Salahadeen Road), the main north-south traffic
artery, was closed at Netzarim junction and subject to random
closures at Abu Kholi, according to UNRWA.

-- Erez Crossing was closed to Palestinian laborers April 15
but open to merchants and internationals. UNRWA states that
28 merchants crossed into Israel. The Erez industrial zone
was open after two days of closures due to a sit-in strike,
and UNWRA states that 2,228 workers entered April 15.

-- Sufa Crossing was open for materials, but not for laborers.

-- Karni Terminal, the only Gaza Strip-GOI crossing for the
import and export of goods, began allowing Palestinian
containerized goods both in and out of Gaza April 14, and
UNRWA reports that these are still moving, albeit extremely
slowly.
-- Rafah Terminal was closed to Palestinians.

-- The Al-Mowassi checkpoints were closed at Tel al-Sultan,
but open at Toufah.

5. (SBU) INCURSIONS/DEMOLITIONS

-- Israel Radio reports that IDF troops entered the refugee
camp at Rafah for anti-tunnel operations. The IDF reports
that an unspecified number of Palestinians raising white
flags approached troops and revealed the existence of one of
the tunnels. UNRWA reports that troops retreated to the edge
of block J at around 1300 hours (see "deaths" above.)

-- UNRWA reports that the small number of IDF tanks that
entered the Salam area on April 14 remain in the area
demolishing houses.

7. (SBU) POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS

-- Israeli media reports that settlers in Gush Khatif reacted
negatively to the April 14 Bush-Sharon press conference,
stating that the two leaders said nothing new and that the
status of settlement blocks was still unclear. Gush Katif
leadership announced a program of outreach to the
approximately 45,000 Likud members in southern Israel to
encourage them to vote against the plan in Likud's May 2
referendum.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************
LeBaron

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