Cablegate: Ussc Gen. Dayton's November 18 Meeting with Idf

DE RUEHTV #2619/01 3291717
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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: The United States Security Coordinator
(USSC) LTG Keith W. Dayton and members of his staff met with
IDF OC Central Command MG Gadi Shamni and members of his
Command at Shamni's Neve Yaakov Headquarters on November 18.
The USSC discussed the establishment of a base for the
Palestinian National Security Forces, equipping Jordan
International Police Training Center-trained Palestinians
with Level II protective headgear, and raised the recent
deportation of a Palestinian logistics officer because he
held a Gaza ID as well as increased IDF daylight incursions
into Jenin. The USSC also asked about the level of
coordination between IDF and PASF in Hebron, and IDF plans to
relax access and movement in the West Bank. The following
provides the USSC's account of his meeting with MG Shamni.
End summary.

2. (SBU) The USSC addressed the on-going issue of attempting
to get the IDF to agree to a location within the Jenin
Governorate for the establishment of a base for he
Palestinian National Security Forces (NSF). n response to
the USSC's latest presentation on .S. views, MG Shamni asked
how long the camp woud take to build if the IDF approved the
Kfar Dan location. MG Shamni explained that as the Central
Command head, he had taken many risks in allowingthe PASF to
operate more freely than in the past He then asked whether
the USSC was willing to take a risk on the Kfar Dan location,
stating: "If you are willing to take the risk, we will
approve." MG Shamni noted that such approval was conditional
-- if the Palestinians continue to perform "in the manner
they are now, if they don't put the "old" (non-Jordan
International Police Training (JIPTIC)-trained) Palestinian
forces in the camp, then we will allow them to occupy the
camp once it is completed." MG Shamni said if the
Palestinians "go back to their old ways," then the IDF will
not allow them to occupy the camp. He asked if the USSC
agreed; the USSC stated that he did.

3. (SBU) The USSC then addressed the issue of the on-going
inability to get the IDF to approve helmets for
JIPTIC-trained Palestinians. The USSC pointed out that he was
told the IDF-Israeli MOD had previously approved JIC Level II
protective headgear -- a protection level that would prevent
the penetration of 9mm rounds but not 5.56mm rounds (the
standard IDF issue M-16 ammunition). The IDF tested the
helmet provided by USSC staff with 9mm, not 5.56mm rounds. MG
Shamni acknowledged that they had previously agreed to allow
the supply of Level II helmets but demurred that there was a
misunderstanding on their part between themselves and the
Israeli MOD, and that in any case, he no longer agreed. "You
must understand, my non-uniformed special units use 9mm
pistols and I need to provide for their safety," MG Shamni
said. He then stated that he couldn't approve helmets with
the same level of protection that his forces use. He passed
around an example of a helmet they would approve and then
contradicted himself by pointing out that this was the same
helmet his forces used and that he would approve their
acquisition by JIPTIC-trained PASF units. MG Shamni promised
that his COGAT representative, BG Pauli Mordechai, would
provide the USSC with the Israeli vendor information. (Note:
The USSC is currently awaiting this information. End note.)

4. (SBU) The USSC raised the issue of the 2nd Special BN
logistics officer who was deported to Gaza by the IDF because
he was a Gaza ID holder. The USSC explained how greatly
embarrassing it would be for Israel, the PA and the US should
this individual, who was fully vetted by Israel, allowed to
train in Jordan, and returned to the West Bank, fall into
Hamas' hands and be publicly exploited for propaganda
purposes, especially during the very time that the PA is
conducting a security crack down on Hamas in the West Bank.
The USSC told MG Shamni that he would like to see this
individual returned as soon as possible and would also like
to see some mechanism put in place that precludes such
deportation of Jordan-trained PASF members to Gaza from
happening again. MG Shamni agreed that he would do both and
instructed his COGAT representative, BG Pauli Mordechai, to
ensure that both issues were dealt with.

5. (SBU) The USSC raised the Palestinian complaint that
incidences of IDF daylight incursions in Jenin were on the
rise. MG Shamni replied that "we're doing a lot not to
embarrass them." He noted an increase in Jenin-based
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) activity in the last two
weeks. MG Shamni said he had briefed the USSC in their last
meeting on this activity, and had asked the USSC to tell the
PASF to act. He noted two main problems currently in Jenin:
"the quick impact economic projects are not doing well and
the Palestinians are not doing enough about the PIJ problem."
He reiterated the importance of acting upon intelligence as
soon as it is received -- such intelligence could be passed
to the USSC to check, but said "sometimes we have to (act)

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during the day time."

6. (SBU) The USSC indicated it would not be necessary to
check intelligence as MG Shamni has his full trust. The USSC
asked that at a minimum, the IDF inform the Palestinians of
the reasons why they are doing what they are doing to
minimize misunderstandings. MG Shamni replied that the IDF
would do so, and suggested the Palestinian population "feels
better about their daily life." He said the Palestinians
told him that one of the reasons why President Abbas is
acting more assertively is that the PASF are doing things
they have never done before. According to MG Shamni, the
Palestinians said until relatively recently they couldn't
enter the Jenin refugee camp, or "a time when Arafat couldn't
enter without being shot at -- now they can go in anytime
they want to."

7. (SBU) The Central Command Judea and Samaria Division
Commander, BG Noam Tibon interjected that the Palestinians
"have to deal with the PIJ -- the first mission is to deal
with terror." MG Shamni told the USSC that in instances of
day light incursions, it was he and BG Tibon who decided when
to act, not the local IDF commanders. He noted that the IDF
takes great risks in order to minimize embarrassing the
Palestinians -- this includes accelerating missions at the
expense of increasing the likelihood of IDF casualties. This
leaves the IDF vulnerable to potential questions from the
public and political leadership regarding why a mission was
not conducted more slowly, with less risk to IDF soldiers.
"We take risks again, thinking about the embarrassment (to
the Palestinians) -- we're not playing for a tie, but are
willing to take a risk," MG Shamni said. (Note: When queried
by the USSC, relevant PASF sources stated that they did not
see a rise in PIJ activity in Jenin. Additionally, USSC
staff officers queried a panel of Israeli Shin Bet
Palestinian-focused analysts on the question of an upsurge in
PIJ activity in Jenin, and was told that their sources and
analysis did not support this assertion. End note.)

8. (SBU) The USSC raised the issue of a recent IDF incursion
into an area that PASF forces were operating near Hebron and
asked about the state of coordination between the IDF and
PASF in the area. In response, MG Shamni stated the USSC was
referring to the Wadi-al-Hireh, and said he decided to act
because it was important. MG Shamni said the IDF informed
the Palestinians in order that there would be "no reason we
would collide." "We spoke about Hebron before; Hebron is
not Jenin," MG Shamni said. He noted that the IDF and PASF
must operate differently in Hebron and "some things (the
PASF) do well and some things they don't." BG Tibon stated
that the IDF coordinates with the PASF face-to-face in Hebron
because "things are not easy there -- it is such a small
place to operate." MG Shamni stated that while cooperation
was good, they had one problem with the hotline between the
IDF and the PASF. He note that the IDF wants the PASF to
place the hotline in a centrally-located command post, but
the PASF has yet to comply. The USSC told MG Shamni that his
Canadian contingent was working with the Palestinians to make
this happen.

9. (SBU) The USSC briefed MG Shamni on the US Department of
Justice-led Judicial Project and told him that in the coming
weeks, individuals from Justice would be on the scene to help
and advise Palestinian judges and prosecutors in an attempt
to initially address this hole in the security spectrum. MG
Shamni agreed that this was a good idea and encouraged the
USSC to find a way to help train Palestinians in
interrogation methods. "They had it before but have lost this
(skill) and need it badly," MG Shamni said.

10. (SBU) Addressing the overall level of PASF proficiency,
MG Shamni said the IDF was "very pleased with the way they
are functioning," and that they would assess a way forward in
the next two to three weeks. He said the PASF are "very
determined against Hamas," but there is still room for
improvement. MG Shamni described coordination with the IDF
as "very good, very frank -- they are not cheating like they
used to, and this is a big change." He said the USSC has
"succeeded in putting something into them," and added that
the IDF is putting forth great efforts as the IDF believes
they can do more. MG Shamni suggested the main problem now
is "a lack of transparency." He said the PASF expects the IDF
to cooperate with them on intelligence, but the PASF must
first function with more transparency to get more
intelligence. "We ask them to share with us their
investigation reports so that we can help them build a big
picture -- in some cases we and they have, but they need to
be more transparent," MG Shamni said. He noted that
Tirawi's General Intelligence group hasn't changed much since
his supposed departure -- "we're starting to see changes, but
they are not there yet." MG Shamni noted that the PASF had

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investigated a Hamas militant in Nablus and made an arrest
that led to the capture of 16 M-16s that were stolen or taken
from dead IDF soldiers. (Note: Shamni failed to mention that
they may have been acquired from Israeli criminal or via
individual IDF criminal sources. End note.) MG Shamni said
the PASF must return the M-16s. He also noted that he is
under considerable pressure and criticism from "settlers,
pundits, and politicians" for "being nice to the
Palestinians." MG Shamni asked the USSC about future
training plans and time tables for the deployment of newly
JIPTIC-trained PASF forces.

11. (SBU) The USSC briefed MG Shamni on the outlook for the
remainder of the year and asked him about his plans for
relaxing "access and movement" within the northern West Bank.
MG Shamni told the USSC that he would remove "many things
soon." He noted the start of the Economic Conference in
Nablus, and hoped this will "change the environment." MG
Shamni suggested the IDF would follow the conference with
"more things that will ease the lives of the population --
changes within certain check points; some regulations will
change." He suggested the Palestinians "will feel the
difference." He added that he was working closely on all
aspects of this with his military and political counterparts
to gain their support so they would not oppose these upcoming

12. (SBU) The USSC repeated a question that Secretary Rice
had asked General Jones: where should the next phase take
place within the West Bank? MG Shamni told the USSC that the
IDF wanted to avoid pressure, and that they would find a
solution to this with the Palestinians. He noted that they
are currently discussing the merits of the two models of
Jenin and Hebron. "Which is better: the Jenin model where
you might have two or three (Palestinian) battalions stuck in
a small patch, or perhaps the Hebron model?" MG Shamni asked.
He suggested the advantage of the Hebron model is that PASF
forces can move from "place to place -- it is much more
effective." He opined that Hebron might be the better model,
and added that "nobody can arrest him for being naive."

13. (SBU) The USSC asked MG Shamni how his soldiers had been
successful at keeping the PASF separated from the settlers in
Hebron. MG Shamni replied, "We designed this to keep them
apart, we give the settlers a good feeling of protection and
security with visible IDF forces and we drew the right lines
for the Palestinians to operate. We are happy that the
Palestinians are not crossing them. If they did, it would be
a problem. I should say, my challenge, not problem."

14. (SBU) The USSC passed on the PASF complaint-request that
they be allowed to establish further Palestinian check-points
in the Bethlehem area in order to stop Palestinian
Hebron-based criminals from fleeing there, without having
these check points being closed down by local IDF commanders.
BG Tibon told the USSC that he would instruct his local
brigade commander to consult with the Palestinian commander,
Colonel Suleiman, in order to come to a working
understanding. The USSC then asked Shamni about recent
Israeli activities at the Container Check-Point and asked
that Shamni share the details of that with the Palestinians
in order to avoid misunderstandings. Shamni told the USSC
that they were making improvements to the facilities that
would benefit the Palestinians and that he would keep them
fully informed.

15. (SBU) The USSC told MG Shamni that PASF commanders told
him they see no increase in the activities of PIJ. He asked
if Shamni would share something with him that he could use to
better influence the Palestinians to take a closer look at
this issue. Shamni told the USSC that he would do so directly
in a near term meeting with Palestinian Police Chief, MG
Hazem Attalah, and Palestinian Advisor, Hassan A-Sheikh. BG
Tibon interjected, "when it comes to terror, we will take
care of it." MG Shamni then told the USSC that the overall
trust and confidence was changing. "During our meetings with
them, there is no frustration. We used to see a certain
moment when (frustration) would come out. Now they are much
more concentrated on their mission." BG Tibon stated that the
international community must push for a working Palestinian
economy -- "the main issues for the Palestinians are economy,
economy, economy."

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