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Viewing cable 09JERUSALEM197, WEST BANK SECURITY: SIGNIFICANT IDF INCURSIONS; PASF PRESSES HAMAS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09JERUSALEM197 2009-01-27 17:05 2011-01-26 10:10 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Jerusalem
VZCZCXRO6212
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #0197 0271724
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271724Z JAN 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3962
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 000197 

SIPDIS 

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE AND IPA; NSC FOR SHAPIRO/PASCUAL 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2019 
TAGS: KWBG PTER ASEC PGOV IS
SUBJECT: WEST BANK SECURITY: SIGNIFICANT IDF INCURSIONS; PASF PRESSES HAMAS 

REF: JERUSALEM 189 Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles for reasons 1.4 b and d. 

1. (C) SUMMARY. Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) chiefs report persistent IDF operations in the West Bank since the end of the conflict in Gaza, including in Area A and using more agressive tactics. PASF officials expressed disappointment and frustration with the IDF operations, given PASF's record in maintaining calm in the West Bank during the conflict in Gaza. In recent days, PASF have arrested or detained over 50 Hamas members in the West Bank. They also dispersed a Hamas-organized rally organized in Hebron. END SUMMARY. 

IDF RAIDS DISAPPOINT PASF 
------------------------- 

2. (C) PA chief of Military Intelligence MG Majed Faraj told POL FSN January 27 that the PA is concerned about recent IDF security operations in the West Bank. He said repeated IDF incursions, especially in Area A, detract from PASF performance and undermine the PA. NSF West Bank Command staffer LtCol Mohammad Tillawi told POL FSN that the NSF will continue its security work because NSF Commander MG Diab Abu Ali (Abu Fatah) believes it is in Palestinian interest and a prerequisite for peace. But, Tillawi said, continued IDF activity in PA-controlled areas systematically undermines this equation. He added that PASF chiefs have urged PM Fayyad and President Abbas to make restoration of PA security control a priority. 

3. (C) MG Faraj expressed particular concern about IDF operations following the PA's "evident success" at minimizing friction between Palestinians and the IDF in the West Bank as fighting went on in Gaza. He recalled IDF requests for assistance in containing Gaza-related demonstrations and preventing clashes in Areas B and C. MG Faraj and GI sources said that, in response to Israeli requests, PASF arrested specific Hamas figures in the West Bank during the Gaza conflict. 

4. (C) Given that PASF acted on information provided by GOI counterparts, IDF operations in area A are not necessary, Faraj said. He called it "odd" that the IDF asked for PASF help to prevent clashes with the IDF in Areas B and C, but then entered into area A to make arrests. 

5. (C) Faraj raised several specific incidents of concern. In Husan, near Bethlehem, the IDF commandeered the home of a Palestinian civilian the night of January 26 and stayed well past sunrise the next day. The IDF declared Husan a closed military zone and arrested one Hamas, one PFLP, and twelve Fatah activists. Faraj described those arrested as "stone-throwers" and said the IDF could have asked the PASF to deal with them. On January 26 the IDF sent more than 30 patrols into Silwad, near Ramallah, and imposed a curfew, he added. 

PA PRESSES HAMAS 
---------------- 

6. (C) Since the end of the conflict in Gaza, PASF conducted multiple operations against Hamas members, arresting or detaining over fifty Hamas members, including 32 in Hebron January 25. PASF dispersed a Hamas-organized rally of 1,200 in Hebron, detaining seven (including three women) on January 25. PASF also arrested four Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) members suspected of throwing firebombs at the home of a NSF recruit in Tubas January 23. 

7. (C) PASF officials say they are determined to prevent chaos in the West Bank without regard to political agendas. They note, however, that formerly Gaza-based PASF members are advocating retaliation against Hamas in the West Bank in response to Hamas attacks on Fatah members in Gaza (reftel). 

Comment 
------- 

8. (C) The PA is under significant public criticism for its (sometimes heavy handed) efforts to maintain calm in the West Bank during the conflict in Gaza. PASF may face increasing pressure from its own rank-and-file as well as the West Bank "street" to hold back on security operations amidst accusations of "sub-contracting" for the IDF. WALLES