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Cablegate: Yesha Council Expanding

VZCZCXRO1661
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1987 3081235
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031235Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3163
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY

"C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 001987

SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE. NSC FOR ABRAMS/RAMCHAND/PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/27/2018
TAGS: KWBG PHUM ASEC IS PBTS PTER
SUBJECT: YESHA COUNCIL EXPANDING

Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, per reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary. The Yesha Council is expanding to include one
representative from each settlement plus other settler
leaders, according to Yesha Council Chairman Dani Dayan. The
new council will have approximately 200 delegates who will
convene in early spring. Dayan said the change is intended
to make the Yesha Council more democratic, more accountable,
and stronger. End summary.

From 17 representatives to 200
------------------------------

2. (C) Dayan told PolOffs that each settlement, regardless
of size, will select one individual, for the expanded Yesha
council. They will be joined by additional selected settler
leaders for a total of 200. Gush Etzion Regional Council
Chairman Shaul Goldstein (an elected member of the current
Yesha Council) told Poloffs October 30 that some outposts
will also have representation. Currently, 17 representatives
-- some elected and some not elected -- sit on the Yesha
Council. Dayan said the expanded council will elect the
chairman and leadership positions. With an expanded board,
Dayan said committees and sub-committees will be formed. He
said the full, expanded council is expected to convene in
early spring, and he expressed confidence of his own
re-election as Yesha Council Chairman.

Accountability for violence and outposts
----------------------------------------

3. (C) Dayan admitted that many settlers have criticized the
Yesha Council as an unrepresentative body because the
leadership is mostly appointed, not elected. Dayan said
expansion will make the council more democratic and unified,
and he believes it will strengthen the Council. He said
direct representation will make settler leaders more
accountable for incidents of violence and illegal outpost
activity. He acknowledged that settler violence has been
higher than usual in recent months. He characterized it as
an ""image problem"" that has ""stained our PR efforts,"" but
said there have also been increased Palestinian provocations.

""Endless talking""
-----------------

4. (C) Goldstein expressed doubt that the larger body would
be more effective, saying it will only result in ""endless
talking."" He said the restructuring was meant to have
happened two years ago in the wake of the Gaza evacuation,
but never materialized.
WALLES
"

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