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Cablegate: Goi Prepares New Checkpoint in Northern West Bank

VZCZCXRO9715
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2200 3401553
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051553Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3460
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4418
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 002200

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE AND NEA/IPA; NSC FOR PASCUAL; TREASURY
FOR AHERN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON PREL PGOV KWBG ETRD IS
SUBJECT: GOI PREPARES NEW CHECKPOINT IN NORTHERN WEST BANK

REF: JERUSALEM 1488

1. (SBU) Summary: The GOI has installed, but not yet
manned, a new checkpoint northwest of Nablus, a few
kilometers south of the Shavei Shomron checkpoint on Route
60. The new checkpoint, if operational, would add a
restriction on the primary north-south highway within the
West Bank that was eased when the Shavei Shomeron checkpoint
was opened (reftel). It would also introduce an additional
obstacle for travelers coming out of Nablus via Beit Iba on
their way west and south. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On December 4, Congenoffs visited a site on Route
60, northwest of Nablus (between the Shavei Shomeron
checkpoint and Route 57), where Israeli security forces have
installed new checkpoint infrastructure. The new
installation is only a few kilometers south of the Shavei
Shomeron checkpoint, just beyond the road leading to Nablus
via Beit Iba. The checkpoint infrastructure appears to be
complete. At the site Congenoffs observed two large road
gates -- spaced about 75 yards apart -- with two armored
guard shacks facing each other on both sides of the road
between the gates. The gates were in an open position.
There are no additional building materials or indicators to
suggest the GOI is constructing additional infrastructure
around the site. Local Palestinians told Congenoffs the
checkpoint installation began on December 2.

3. (SBU) As of December 4, nearby Shavei Shomeron and Beit
Iba checkpoints were functioning normally. (Shavei Shomeron
is regularly open to freely flowing traffic twelve hours a
day. Beit Iba remains one of the two major checkpoints
limiting pedestrian and vehicle access in and out of Nablus.)
The new checkpoint, if manned during daylight hours without
changes to other area obstacles, would add a restriction on
north-south travel on Route 60 previously eased by Shavei
Shomeron,s opening. It would control traffic flowing from
Jenin to Tulkarm (including the Sha,ar Ephraim crossing) and
Ramallah. The new site would also serve as a second barrier
(after Beit Iba) for Palestinians traveling from Nablus to
Tulkarm and Ramallah.

4. (SBU) A map of the location, along with photos from the
December 4 visit, can be found on ConGen Jerusalem's
unclassified intelink site at:
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/pal econ.
WALLES

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