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Cablegate: Israel: 2004 Annual Terrorism Report

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





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 245841

This cable has been cleared with ConGen Jerusalem.

1. (SBU) Post provides below additional information to be
used in preparation of the 2004 "Patterns of Global
Terrorism" report.

Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation

2. (SBU) Israel has been among the staunchest supporters of
the global war against terrorism (GWOT), and in 2004 the GOI
continued to engage in numerous activities jointly with the
U.S. to increase preparedness and to identify suspects.
Israel is working with U.S. law enforcement agencies to
purchase and install equipment to read and share biometric
fingerprint information with the United States and has
carried out numerous joint training exercises with U.S.
security and military personnel. The GOI has also made
known, both through its contacts with the United Nations
Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and through its bilateral
relationships, its willingness to share its expertise in
counter-terrorism with other countries. Israel and United
States are also working on 22 joint projects in 2004 to
develop improved security-related technology under the TSWG
program. The USG and the GOI regularly share intelligence on
terror suspects and organizations.

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Major Counter-Terrorism Actions

3. (SBU) As it has been for many years, but in particular
since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, host
nation law enforcement is heavily engaged in identifying and
thwarting terrorist attacks. Public support for government
efforts to combat domestic terrorism remain consistently
high. In 2004, the GOI continued construction of the
separation barrier between the West Bank and Green Line
Israel, with Israeli security agencies reporting a notably
lower number of terror attacks inside Israel as a result of
its construction and a simultaneous improvement in
coordination among security forces. Although the route of
the barrier remains controversial, and has been changed in
response to Israeli High Court rulings, Israeli public
opinion remains strongly supportive of its construction.

4. (SBU) The IDF, the Israeli Border and National Police
Forces, and Shin Bet all operate throughout Israel and the
Occupied Territories to gather and coordinate intelligence,
and then to physically counter prospective terrorist attacks,
particularly suicide bombings inside Israel. Once
intelligence indicates that a terrorist is making his way
towards Israel in order to carry out an attack, Israeli
police mobilize all necessary actors to track, isolate, and
capture or kill the terrorist before he can strike his
target. Israel also continued its policy of targeted
killings of Palestinian militants. In March, helicopter
gunships successfully targeted the founder and spiritual
leader of Hamas, Shaykh Ahmad Yasin, as he was leaving a
mosque in the Gaza Strip. The following month, Israeli
helicopter gunships fired missiles that killed Yasin's
successor, Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi, while he was traveling by
car in Gaza.

5. (SBU) In February 2004, the IDF and the Israeli Security
Agency (Shin Bet) bypassed both GOI internal mechanisms and a
GOI-Palestinian coordination mechanisms established in 2003
and raided the West Bank offices of the Arab Bank and the
Cairo-Amman Bank, seizing some $9 million in funds that the
GOI claimed were destined for terrorist groups. Much of
these funds originated from Hizballah, according to GOI
claims. The GOI stated that it resorted to the raid only
after the PA had failed to act on earlier actionable
intelligence, and that Israeli law does not allow seizure of
funds via correspondent bank accounts in Israel. The funds
remain seized by order of an Israeli court until their
disposition can be determined.

Legal and Law Enforcement Capabilities

6. (SBU) Israel has a range of laws in place that allow the
GOI to combat terrorism and prosecute those accused of
committing terrorist acts, including several laws regulating
terrorist finance. Palestinians accused of security-related
offenses are generally tried in Israeli military courts;
serious offenses are tried before a three-judge panel and
lesser offenses before a single judge. Occasionally,
individuals accused of carrying out terrorist attacks are
tried in Israeli civil court in the jurisdiction where the
attack occurred. In March 2004, Marwan Barghuti was
convicted in Tel Aviv District Court, after a two-year
detention and trial period, on three charges of murder
involving terror attacks that took the lives of five Israelis
and a fourth charge of attempted murder. Barghuti was
sentenced to five consecutive life terms, plus 40 years in
prison. Although Barghuti's charge sheet included alleged
actions as the head of both Tanzim and the al-Aqsa Martyrs'
Brigades in the West Bank and all of the terrorist acts these
groups had carried out from 2000-2002, he was acquitted on 33
of the 39 charges against him because prosecutors failed to
make the case that he had had a specific personal connection
to them. Barghuti argued that the court lacked jurisdiction
and therefore refused to rebut the specific allegations.

7. (SBU) Israeli security forces have the authority to tap
phones or otherwise monitor private communication only when
granted by a court order, although publicized investigations
have uncovered several instances of unauthorized
wire-tapping. When granted, the court order allows for the
information to be used in court. The prosecution must
justify closing the proceedings to the public in security
cases, and the Attorney General determines the venue. Courts
may hear secret evidence in security cases that is not
available to the defendant or his attorney. While a
conviction may not be based solely on such evidence, it
reportedly may influence the judge's decision. The law
prohibits the admission of forced confessions as evidence.
Most confessions in security cases before Israeli courts,
however, were made well before legal representation was made
available to the defendant.

8. (SBU) Israeli Military Order 1507 (applicable to
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza) permits the IDF to
detain people for up to 10 days during which detainees are
barred from seeing a lawyer or appearing before a court.
Individual administrative detention orders can be issued for
up to six-month periods and can renewed indefinitely.
Israeli Military Order 1369 (applicable to Palestinians in
the West Bank and Gaza) provides for a seven-year prison term
for anyone who does not respond to a special summons issued
to anyone suspected of involvement in or with knowledge of
security offenses. A detainee may not have contact with a
lawyer until after interrogation, a process that may last
days or weeks. According to Israeli law in the occupied
territories, a person's family must be notified of that
person's arrest within 48 hours, although a military
commander may delay that notification for up to 12 days. As
of December 2004, there were some 8,152 Palestinian security
detainees and an additional 930 Palestinians were held in
administrative detention.

--------------------------------------------- ---------------
Background Information on Designated Terrorist Organizations
--------------------------------------------- ---------------

9. (SBU) Palestinian terrorist groups continue to focus
their attention on the Palestinians' historical conflict with
Israel, attacking Israel and Israeli interests within Israel
and the Palestinian territories, rather than engaging in
operations worldwide. In 2004, a notable increase occurred
in joint operations by terrorist organizations carrying out
attacks against Israel and Israelis.

10. (U) The following is background information on
Designated Foreign Terrorist Groups. Embassy Tel Aviv has
cleared on ConGen language for the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades,
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General
Command (PFLP-GC).

-- Hamas: Formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the
Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Various Hamas
elements have used both violent and political means --
including terrorism -- to pursue the goal of establishing an
Islamic Palestinian state in Israel. Hamas is loosely
structured, with some elements working clandestinely and
others openly through mosques and social service institutions
to recruit members, raise money, organize activities, and
distribute propaganda. Hamas's strength is concentrated in
the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 2004, Hamas has been
the primary initiator of Qassam rocket attacks from the Gaza
Strip against Israeli targets.

-- Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ): Originated among militant
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the late 1970's.
Committed to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and
the destruction of Israel through holy war. Also opposes
moderate Arab governments that it believes have been tainted
by Western secularism. PIJ operates in the West Bank, Gaza
and Israel; its leadership resides in Syria and Lebanon as
well as other parts of the Middle East.

-- Kahane Chai/Kach: Stated goal is to restore the biblical
state of Israel. Kach (founded by the late radical
Israeli-American rabbi, Meir Kahane) and its offshoot Kahane
Chai, which means "Kahane Lives," (founded by Meir Kahane's
son Binyamin following his father's assassination in the
United States) were declared terrorist organizations in March
1994 by the Israeli Cabinet under the 1948 Terrorism Law.
This designation followed the groups' statement in support of
Dr. Baruch Goldstein's deadly attack on Muslim worshipers in
February 1994 on al-Ibrahimi Mosque -- Goldstein was
affiliated with Kach -- and the group's verbal attacks on the
Israeli government. Palestinian gunmen killed Binyamin
Kahane and his wife in a drive-by shooting in December 2000
in the West Bank.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:

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