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Cablegate: Wb/G Sitrep: Erez Crossing and Industrial Zone

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 004755

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE; NEA/SA/EX FOR RICHIE; DEPT FOR
DS/IP/ITA; DEPT FOR DS/IP/NEA; NSC FOR ABRAMS/DANIN; USAID
FOR DCHA, DCHA/FPP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG PHUM PREL PTER ASEC CASC GZ IS
SUBJECT: WB/G SITREP: EREZ CROSSING AND INDUSTRIAL ZONE
REOPENED; PA INTELLIGENCE OFFICER KILLED IN SHOOTOUT WITH
AL-AQSA MARTYRS' BRIGADES. AUGUST 1, 2005 (1700 HOURS
LOCAL)

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

1. (SBU) Summary: On July 31 the GOI opened the Erez
Crossing for Palestinian merchants and the Erez Industrial
Zone for Palestinian laborers, both for the first time since
the July 12 suicide bombing in Netanya. Two UNDP consultants
were kidnapped July 29 by a Gaza clan whose members hoped to
pressure the PA into winning the release of a relative whom
the Jenin Martyrs' Brigades had kidnapped a day earlier. The
UNDP hostages and the Jenin Martyrs' Brigades kidnapping
victim were all subsequently released. A Palestinian man was
killed July 31 in a separate dispute between Gaza families.
In the West Bank, a Palestinian intelligence officer was
killed in Nablus during a shoot-out with members of the
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades on July 29. Eleven Palestinians
were reported injured in three separate clashes with settlers
or the IDF in the southern West Bank on July 30 and 31. End
summary.

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----
Gaza
----

2. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Death/family dispute: UNRWA reported that, on July 31 in
Khan Yunis, a Palestinian man, Nabeel Shahwan, was killed by
gunfire that erupted during a dispute between the Shahwan and
Al Akad families.

-- Injuries/work accident (catch-up): According to UNRWA, a
Palestinian "militant" (no affiliation listed) suffered
shrapnel wounds on July 29 at 0200 when a Qassam rocket that
he and others were attempting to launch from Al Berka (Deir
El Balah) exploded prematurely.

-- Kidnappings: On July 29 at 1340, five armed men from the
Abed family abducted two UNDP consultants in their car in
Gaza City. The Abeds reportedly abducted the two men to put
pressure on the PA to secure the release of Jihad Abed, whom
the Jenin Martyrs' Brigade had kidnapped on July 28 (see
"Kidnappings" section of July 29 sitrep). The hostages were
released to the Head of PA Preventive Security at 1835 the
same day. The Jenin Martyrs' Brigades subsequently released
Jihad Abed, who is a top aide to Musa Arafat, at 0100 on July
30.

-- Mortars: The IDF reported 11 mortar attacks (16 shells
fired) during the 72-hour period ending at 0600 on August 1:
On July 29, two shells were fired towards Sderot and Yad
Mordechai at 1420, one shell was fired at Neve Dekalim at
2330, and three more shells were fired at Sderot, Givim and
Nir Am at 2350. On July 30, a a shell was fired at an IDF
outpost near "Slav" at 0500. On July 31, a shell was fired
at 0100 towards Netzer Hazani; another shell at 0110 towards
Dekel: another shell at 0120 towards an IDF outpost west of
Khan Yunis; and three shells were fired at IDF soldiers south
of the Erez crossing at 0615. On August 1, single shells
were fired at 0025 towards Sderot, and at 0040 and 0305
towards Neve Dekalim. No injuries were reported in any of
the incidents. In addition to these incidents reported by
the IDF, UNRWA reported that a mortar shell was fired from
Khan Yunis toward Neve Dekalim on July 31 at 0230 (for which
the Abu Er-Rish Brigades took credit). UNRWA also reported
that three mortar shells were fired at Morag and Rafiah Yam
settlements on July 31 between 0300 and 0330. UNRWA reported
that the IDF responded with machine-gun fire. No injuries
were reported.

-- Rockets/Anti-tank: UNRWA reported that militants fired an
anti-tank rocket at an IDF APC positioned near the Egyptian
border at 0020 on July 29. The IDF responded with sporadic
machine gun fire for ten minutes. UNRWA also reported an
anti-tank rocket fired at a tank outside the Rafiah Yam
settlement on July 30 at 2250. No injuries were reported in
either incident.

-- Rockets/Qassams: Israeli media reported one Qassam fired
from Beit Hanoun into the Negev at 0115 on August 1. The IDF
reported a Qassam fired at Gadid at 0950 on July 29. UNRWA
reported that militants fired "home-made rockets" from Beit
Hanoun into the Negev at 1415 (2 rockets) and 2320 (one
rocket) on July 29. The 2320 rocket landed short and
exploded in a Palestinian village. No injuries were
reported. UNRWA reported three rockets fired from Rafah/Tel
Es-Sultan towards Atzmona between 0320 and 0420 on July 30
(for which PIJ took credit). UNRWA also reported a rocket
fired on July 30 at 1815 from Beit Lahia toward Dugit and two
more fired at 0030 from Khan Yunis to Neve Dekalim (for which
the Abu Er-Rish Brigades took credit).

-- Shootings: The IDF reported 14 shooting incidents between
0600 on July 29 and 0600 on August 1. No injuries were
reported in any of the incidents. In each case the apparent
targets were either IDF soldiers or settlements.

3. (SBU) ARRESTS: (Catch-up item) UNRWA reported that an IDF
patrol arrested four men in a house west of the Abu Houli
checkpoint (Deir El Balah) on July 29 at 0200. Two of the
men were later released.

4. (SBU) INCURSIONS/DEMOLITIONS: UNRWA reported that four
IDF tanks and two bulldozers moved from Kfar Darom into a
Palestinian area about 300 meters southwest of the settlement
on July 30 at 0010. The bulldozers moved sand to form a
protective barrier and departed at 0500.

5. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS:

-- The GOI reopened the Erez Crossing for Palestinian
merchants on July 31. It had been open only to international
travelers and Jerusalem ID holders. About 70 merchants
crossed on July 31 and 100 merchants crossed on August 1.

-- The GOI reopened the Erez Industrial Zone on July 31 for
Palestinian laborers. It had been closed since July 13
following the July 12 Netanya suicide bombing. On July 31,
350 laborers entered the zone. On August 1, 488 entered.

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

-- Karni Terminal was partially open.

-- Rafah Terminal was open in both directions except for
Palestinian males between the ages of 16 and 35 traveling
from Gaza to Egypt.

-- Toufah checkpoint was open in both directions for all
Palestinians except males between the ages of 16 and 30

6. (SBU) POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS:

-- UNRWA reported that that members of Al Aqsa Martyrs'
Brigades blocked the coastal road at Nuseirat T junction
between 2200 and 2300 on July 31. The protesters demanded
jobs from the PA.

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

7. (SBU) ATTACKS/SECURITY:

-- Deaths: According to Palestinian sources, a Palestinian
intelligence officer, Mohammad Rahal, was killed in a
shoot-out in Nablus July 29. Following an investigation, it
was revealed that members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
from the village of Kufur Qalil killed Rahal. The initial
investigation, according to Palestinian Authority (PA)
security sources, does not indicate that the killing was
premeditated.

-- Injuries: According to Palestinian media, five
Palestinians on July 31 were injured during clashes with
settlers near Yatta village in the southern West Bank (also
see "Clashes").

-- Injuries: According to Palestinian media, two
Palestinians on July 30 were injured in clashes with IDF
soldiers who entered into Bani Naim village, near Hebron.

-- Injuries: Palestinian sources reported that four
Palestinian youths on July 30 were injured by inhalation of
tear gas during clashes with the IDF in Ayada refugee camp,
near Bethlehem.

-- Arrests: Palestinian newspapers reported that the IDF on
August 1 arrested a total of four Palestinian Islamic Jihad
(PIJ) militants in al-Bireh, Bethlehem, Beit Ummar, and
Qalandiya, near Ramallah.

-- Arrests: According to Palestinian media, IDF soldiers on
July 31 arrested three PIJ militants in Nur Shams refugee
camp, near Tulkarm.

-- Arrests: According to Palestinian sources, IDF troops on
July 30 arrested two wanted PIJ militants near Tulkarm.

-- Shooting: According to Israeli and Palestinian reports,
shots were fired on July 31 at Neve Zuf settlement, north of
Ramallah. No injuries were reported.

-- Settler Violence: According to Israeli and Palestinian
sources, settlers from Sa Nur settlement, one of the four
northern West Bank settlements to be evacuated, on July 31
clashed briefly with Palestinians in the area. There were no
reported injuries or damage from this incident.

-- Shooting: Palestinian media reported that Palestinian
gunmen on July 30 opened fire at an IDF force examining a
suspicious object in the village of Yatta, south of Hebron.
No injuries or damages were reported. (Also see
"closures/Curfews.")

-- Security Incident: According to Palestinian reports, IDF
soldiers on July 30 found a handgun after searching the
belongings of a Palestinian at a roadblock south of Ramallah.
The Palestinian was detained for questioning.

-- Clashes: According to Palestinian sources, settlers on
July 31 reportedly uprooted Palestinian-owned olive and fruit
trees near Yatta village in the Hebron area. (Also see
"Injuries.")

-- Demonstration: According to Palestinian reports, PA
special forces members on July 30 demonstrated in Tulkarm to
protest the PA Ministry of Interior,s decision to disband
the units and amalgamate them within the PA National Security
Forces. No incidents or clashes took place during the
demonstration.

8. (SBU) CLOSURES/CURFEWS:

-- According to Palestinian media, the IDF on July 30 imposed
a curfew on the southern parts of Hebron following shootings
directed at IDF soldiers in the area. (Also see "Shootings.")

-- Palestinian sources reported that the IDF on July 31 set
up a gate north of Nablus on the main road leading to Jenin.
Residents of the village of Dier Sharaf have subsequently
demonstrated against the gate. IDF sources said the gate is
meant to control movement of traffic ahead of the pullout
from the northern parts of the West Bank.

9. (SBU) POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS:

-- Palestinian sources reported that Palestinian Legislative
Council Speaker Rawhi Fattuh was tasked to negotiate with the
factions in order to set a date for the legislative
elections. Fattuh will be holding meetings with Hamas, PIJ
and other factions to reach an agreement on a date before
President Abbas signs a decree for the elections. According
to Palestinian media reports, PA Information Minister Nabil
Sh,ath said that he expected Abbas to issue the decree
specifying the date for the legislative elections by August 7.

********************************************* ********************
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.
********************************************* ********************
KURTZER

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