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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04TELAVIV1292 2004-03-02 18:08:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND: MARCH 2, 2004 (1400

Tags:   KWBG PTER ASEC PHUM CASC KPAL IS GZ 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 001292 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NEA FOR BURNS/SATTERFIELD
NEA/SA/EX FOR AUSTIN-FERGUSON; DEPT FOR DS/IP/NEA;
DEPT FOR DS/IP/ITA; DRL FOR A/S CRANER;
NSC FOR ABRAMS/DANIN;
USAID FOR DCHA, DCHA/FPP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG PTER ASEC PHUM CASC KPAL IS GZ
SUBJECT: THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND: MARCH 2, 2004 (1400
HOURS LOCAL) -- ARAFAT ADVISOR ASSASSINATED IN GAZA BY
PALESTINIAN GUNMEN


THIS IS A JOINT MESSAGE FROM EMBASSY TEL AVIV AND CONGEN
JERUSALEM.



1. (SBU) Summary: Arafat advisor for human rights and media
issues Khalil al-Zaben was shot and killed March 2 by unknown
Palestinian gunmen in Gaza City. One settler was injured
March 2 after Palestinians fired a mortar on Neve Dekalim.
In the West Bank, the IDF killed one Palestinian March 1 near
Hebron, during a siege of the house of a suspected terrorist,
and one IDF soldier was wounded in a stone-throwing incident
near Bayt Ummar the same day. End Summary.



--------------------------


West Bank


--------------------------





2. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Death: The IDF March 1 killed one Palestinian in Yatta
village, south of Hebron. The incident came as the army
besieged a house, in which it suspected a terrorist was
hiding. When someone ran out of the house, the troops shot
and killed him. Press reports indicated that he was not the
target of the operation. Later, the army destroyed the house
and imposed a curfew on the village.

-- Injury: The IDF March 1 injured one Palestinian in Burkha
village, near Nablus, during clashes that erupted when
Israeli forces mounted an arrest operation in the village
that netted three arrests.

-- Injury: Palestinians March 1 injured one Israeli soldier
in Bayt Ummar when they threw stones at troops patrolling the
village.

-- Shooting: Palestinian gunmen March 1 mounted two shooting
attacks near Ramallah that caused no injuries but did damage
one Israeli car. Two other shooting incidents the same day,
one near Homesh and the other near Shaked, likewise caused no
injuries.



3. (SBU) ARRESTS:

-- The IDF March 1 arrested three Palestinians in Burkha
village, near Nablus.



4. (SBU) DEMOLITIONS:

-- The IDF March 1 demolished three families, tents in Al
Khader village, near Bethlehem. The families had set up the
tents on the site where their homes had stood until the IDF
demolished them a few weeks ago. Reports indicated that the
demolitions were carried out because the houses (and then
tents) overlooked Route 60, a road used by settlers. The
ostensible reason was a lack of building permits.



5. (SBU) SETTLEMENT EXPANSION/EVACUATION:

-- Palestinians reported March 1 that settlers in Tekoa had
moved barrels, perhaps for a water supply, to a location
outside the settlement's boundary.



--------------------------


Gaza Strip


--------------------------





6. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Deaths: Unknown Palestinian gunmen shot and killed Khalil
al-Zaben, an advisor to Yasir Arafat on human rights and
media issues, early in the morning March 2 in the Sabra
district of Gaza City. No group yet has claimed
responsibility for the attack.

-- Injuries: One settler was injured March 1 when
Palestinians fired a mortar at Neve Dekalim settlement,
according to UNRWA.

-- Injuries: UNRWA reported that one Palestinian was shot and
injured March 1 after soldiers in an IDF convoy on the
Karni-Netzarim Road responded with machine gun fire to a
Palestinian shooting attack.

-- Mortars/Rockets: The IDF reported that a total of four
mortars were fired March 1-2: one at Neve Dekalim, one at an
IDF outpost near Khan Yunis, one near Kissufim Crossing, and
one southeast of Nissanit. UNRWA reported that three mortars
were fired at the Gani Tel settlement March 2.

-- Shootings: The IDF reported a total of four shooting
attacks March 1-2: two near Netzarim and two near Khan Yunis.



7. (SBU) ARRESTS:

-- The IDF arrested a Palestinian fisherman off the coast of
Bayt Lahiya March 1, according to UNRWA.
-- Catch-up item: Arrests: UNRWA reported that the IDF
arrested four Palestinians February 29 during searches
conducted at the Abu Khouli checkpoint.



8. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS/CHECKPOINTS

-- Route Four (Salahadeen Road), the main north-south traffic
artery, was open for Palestinians March 2.

-- The Erez Crossing was open March 2, and 9,146 Palestinian
laborers crossed into Israel. All workers must be married
and over age 35. The Erez Industrial Zone was open March 2,
with 3,599 workers entering the Zone.

-- Sufa Crossing was open for Palestinian workers March 2 and
347 workers crossed. Sufa was also open for the import into
Gaza of aggregates used in construction.

-- Karni Terminal was open March 2 for the import and export
of goods into the Gaza Strip.

-- Rafah Terminal was open for Palestinian travelers March 2.

-- Tel al-Sultan checkpoint was closed March 2. Toufah
checkpoint was open for residents of al-Mowassi.

********************************************* ********************
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KURTZER