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Cablegate: Wb/G Sitrep: May 6, 2005 (1700 Hours Local) --

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 JERUSALEM 001891

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE
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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PBTS PHUM KWBG ASEC CASC IS
SUBJECT: WB/G SITREP: MAY 6, 2005 (1700 HOURS LOCAL) --
FATAH WINS MAJORITY OF MUNICIPAL COUNCIL SEATS, BUT HAMAS
HAS STRONG SHOWING; QASSAM ROCKETS LAND IN SDEROT


This is a joint ConGen Jerusalem/Embassy Tel Aviv cable.

1. (SBU) Summary. Fatah won at least 60 percent of 906
municipal council seats in May 5 elections held in 84
localities in the West Bank and Gaza, based on preliminary
results and exit polling, but Hamas also garnered 35-37
percent. Militants fired four Qassam rockets toward Sderot
May 5-6, according to Israeli news sources. End summary.

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

2. (SBU) ATTACKS/SECURITY:

-- Deaths: A PIJ militant shot and injured May 2 by the IDF
in Saida village (near Tulkarm) died of his injuries at Ramle
prison on May 5, according to Israeli and Palestinian
newspapers.

-- Injuries: Nil.

-- Arrests: Nil.

-- Incursions: Nil.

3. (SBU) POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS:

-- PA President Abbas will leave Ramallah May 7 for an
international tour including Chile, Brazil, China, Japan and
India, according to PA presidential office sources.

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-- Fatah won a majority of municipal council seats in May 5
elections, with preliminary results showing Fatah with over
60 percent of the vote. Hamas posted a strong showing,
however, gaining between 35-37 percent, in races that are
viewed as indicative of current Hamas-Fatah support in the
run-up to crucial PLC elections July 17. While there were
scattered reports of irregularities, most observers found the
overall process to be fairly conducted.

----
Gaza
----

4. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Deaths: Nil.

-- Injuries: Nil.

-- Mortars/Rockets: Palestinians fired two rockets at Sderot
on May 5 and two additional rockets May 6, but no injuries
occurred.

-- Rocket: According to Israeli media, Palestinians fired an
anti-tank rocket May 6 at a school bus carrying children
outside Kfar Darom, but no injuries occurred.

-- Shootings: According to the IDF, Palestinians shot at an
IDF bulldozer on May 5 north of an IDF post near Rafah. In
another incident, Palestinians shot at an IDF post near
Rafiah Yam. On May 6, Palestinian also shot at an IDF tank
post west of Rafah, but no injuries resulted.

-- Explosions: According to UNRWA, the IDF discovered and
safely detonated May 5 a road-side bomb just north of Sufa
crossing.

5. (SBU) INCURSIONS/DEMOLITIONS: Nil.

6. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS:

-- Route Four (Salahadeen Road), the main north-south traffic
artery, was open May 6, with a major detour at Netzarim
Junction. Abu Khouli checkpoint was open.

-- Erez Crossing was closed May 5 between 0900 and 1100 due
to a suspicious object found in the mail. No explosions or
injuries resulted. During other hours May 5, the crossing
was closed to Palestinian laborers and open to
internationals.

-- The Erez Industrial Zone was closed May 5.

-- Sufa Crossing was closed for Palestinian laborers May 6,
but was open for the import of aggregates used in
construction.

-- Karni Terminal was open, but operating slowly May 6.

-- Rafah Terminal was open for arrivals and departures May 6.

-- Tel al-Sultan checkpoint was closed May 6. Toufah
checkpoint was open for residents of al-Mowassi, except males
aged 16-30.

7. (SBU) POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS:

-- Media and NGO sources reported that elections held in 5
municipalities in Gaza May 5 went smoothly for the most part.
According to preliminary results, Hamas won a majority of
council seats in al-Burayj. In Rafah, preliminary results
showed Fatah winning a slight majority of council seats over
Hamas.

-- According to Israeli media reports, Defense Minister Mofaz
reportedly has instructed the IDF to change its
non-engagement policy to begin responding to Kassam rocket
and mortar shell attacks on Israeli communities.
High-ranking military officials reportedly explained the
decision by saying there had been a 300-percent increase in
terrorist activity, reverting back to the same terrorist
levels as preceded the cease-fire.
Pearce

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