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Cablegate: Engaging the Goi On Procedures at West Bank

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2505 3221504
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181504Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4273
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 6879
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 3205

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002505

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KREC KTIA KWBG ODIP ASEC EAID PREL IS
SUBJECT: ENGAGING THE GOI ON PROCEDURES AT WEST BANK
CROSSINGS

REF: A. A) SECSTATE 117652
B. B) JERUSALEM 2069

1. (SBU) EconCouns took advantage of a previously scheduled
meeting with Ministry of Defense Advisor Oded Herman to raise
ref A talking points and to discuss a further incident at the
Jalameh crossing on November 13 (Ref B). Herman explained
that there are three organizations that handle security at
crossings and checkpoints -- the Crossings Administration
(crossings into Green Line Israel), the Border Police
(Jerusalem crossings), and the Israeli Defense Forces
(checkpoints). Policy and procedural guidelines for the
non-IDF crossings are jointly developed by Shin Bet and the
Israeli National Police (INP). However, Herman stressed that
the staff of all three agencies have one requirement in
common -- the need periodically stop vehicles and match photo
IDs with the faces of the individuals in the vehicles. He
said from the information he had received on the recent
incidents in Jalameh, this seems to be at the heart of the
problem. Asked why diplomatic- or consular-plated vehicles
are stopped (EconCouns has twice been asked to produce ID on
leaving Jerusalem en route to Tel Aviv over the past 16
months), Herman said that these periodic checks reduce the
likelihood that terrorists or criminals would steal or
carjack such vehicles in the belief that they would not be
stopped at security crossings or checkpoints.

2. (SBU) Herman agreed with EconCouns that any other request
by GOI security officials with respect to a diplomatic or
consular vehicle -- he cited vehicle search, requirement to
exit the vehicle, singling out of locally engaged staff for
questioning -- would be either illegal or inappropriate.
However, he cautioned that his office did not set the
procedures for any of the three crossing/checkpoint agencies.
He suggested that if any of the recent incidents in Jalameh
"or anywhere else" turned up actions or requests that were
"inappropriate," whether by Crossings Administration, IDF or
Border Police staff that the Embassy protest formally to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, notify his office and raise the
incident directly with the appropriate GOI security
authority. (Note: Embassy/ConGen RSOs and EconCouns will
meet with newly appointed Crossings Administrator Kamil Abu
Rukun on November 30 for a detailed review of the incidents
to date, a thorough explanation of procedures at all of the
CA-run crossings, and, we hope, an agreement on how to avoid
such problems in the future. Embassy and ConGen RSOs met with
INP officials on November 18 for the same purpose (septel).
End Note.)

3. (SBU) Herman rejected out of hand the point that
disparities in security procedures at Israeli checkpoints or
crossings would have any impact on the safety or security of
USG personnel, and argued that unpredictability of identity
checks actually ensured the safety of everyone living or
working in the region, not just Israelis. While Israel had
plenty of security threats with which to deal, Herman said,
"this is not Iraq, and your security officials should not act
as though it is, particularly when they are on undisputed
Israeli soil, such as the Israeli side of the Jalameh
crossing." In closing, Herman expressed confidence that the
November 30 meeting would result in agreement on measures to
allow Israeli crossings officials to match IDs with faces
without compromising USG vehicle security requirements.
CUNNINGHAM

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