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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04TELAVIV1685 2004-03-18 16:37:00 SECRET Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

JERICHO MONITORING MISSION: STATUS REPORT AND

Tags:   PREL PTER KPAL KWBG IS UK ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS 
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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 001685 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2014
TAGS: PREL PTER KPAL KWBG IS UK ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: JERICHO MONITORING MISSION: STATUS REPORT AND
RECOMMENDED NEXT STEPS

REF: A. JERUSALEM 705

B. JERUSALEM 402

Classified By: Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
.



1. (U) This is a joint Embassy Tel Aviv-ConGen Jerusalem
message, coordinated with the British Embassy and British
ConGen.



2. (S) SUMMARY: Following a detailed review of the situation
at the Jericho prison, the U.S. and British Ambassadors and
Consuls General agreed March 15 that Palestinian
non-compliance with the prison regime is unsatisfactory.
Based on the monitors' own assessment, and in the absence of
information about specific threats against monitors or
sustained Israeli pressure, meeting participants assessed
that the current level of risk was low, but required careful
monitoring. The Jericho Monitoring Mission (JMM), in
consultation with U.S. and UK DATTs and the U.S. ConGen
Jerusalem RSO, will draw up enhanced contingency plans for
monitors' emergency extraction. Meanwhile, HMG will develop
a longer-term exit strategy, and U.S. and British
counterparts will conduct regular (biannual) reviews of JMM.
END SUMMARY.



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


JMM Sitrep


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





3. (C) Ambassador Kurtzer on March 15 hosted a meeting with
Jerusalem Consul General Pearce and the British Ambassador
and CG to discuss the Jerusalem Monitoring Mission (JMM).
JMM Chief Monitor LeMesurier and Embassy and ConGen poloffs
also attended. LeMesurier outlined the situation following
the U.S./UK demarche to Abu Ala'a of February 5, noting that
the JMM had improved seclusion by installing a metal detector
portal (purchased by HMG). In addition, the Palestinians had
made progress on the easy measures laid out in the demarche,
notably on recording visitors and limiting visiting hours (to
16 hours a day). They had not implemented any of the more
difficult measures, however, such as cell searches or removal
of computers or Shobaki's four aides. Consequently, the JMM
had been unable to verify seclusion of the unconvicted
prisoners (Sa'adat, Shobaki and (later) Gholmi) since
November 2002 and of the convicted PFLP prisoners since
October 2003. The monitors' day-to-day security situation
inside the prison was stable and acceptable.



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


What To Do About It


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





4. (S) There was consensus that Palestinian non-compliance
with the Ramallah Agreement, and JMM's consequent inability
to confirm seclusion of the six prisoners, caused serious
concern about JMM's future. The British representatives
noted that the JMM monitors are the most vulnerable FCO staff
(and virtually the only U.S. staff) in the West Bank,
traveling the same route on a daily basis. They also
remarked on the high cost of maintaining the mission (Note:
JMM costs the FCO approximately BPS 700,000 per year. End
Note.) Israeli criticism of JMM (particularly PM COS Dov
Weissglas's 9 December 2003 letter to the U.S. and UK
Ambassadors) has reflected Israeli doubts that JMM was a
successful example of international intervention. The
British CG also noted that continued tolerance of Palestinian
non-compliance could undermine British credibility when
trying to secure cooperation on other issues, including the
UK's Palestinian security plan.



5. (S) Despite PA non-compliance with all aspects of the
Ramallah agreement, participants agreed that JMM was
sustainable for the immediate future. The GOI had not
repeated the concerns expressed in the January 9 Weissglas
letter. This suggested that the Israelis might accept the
status quo, provided we continued to press for improvements
in seclusion. While monitor safety remained the top
priority, there were no known specific threats. As long as
the JMM remained in Jericho, the vulnerability of the
monitors would be a continuing concern. It was agreed that
extracting the monitors would have to be coordinated with
capitals, but that this could be accomplished in relatively
short order if necessary. However, the method of extraction
required careful advance thought, because it could also pose
some risks monitor safety. Moreover, the Israelis would
probably respond to extraction by attempting to capture or
kill the prisoners. This would strain the U.S./UK
relationships with the Palestinian Authority, increase
Israeli/Palestinian tensions, and potentially generate PFLP
threats against U.S. or UK targets, including diplomatic
staff.



6. (C) It was agreed that prospects for agreement between
the two parties remained poor for the time being. The
Israeli position has if anything hardened since the JMM
started. The GOI would be reluctant to accept anything other
than an Israeli trial or a Palestinian trial in which they
could have confidence. Meanwhile, the Palestinians see
little benefit from JMM, given Arafat's continued seclusion
in the Muqata'a. In preparatory discussions for the
Sharon/Abu Ala'a meeting, the Palestinians indicated that
they would seek, among other things, the release of Sa'adat
and Shobaki to Ramallah and Gaza respectively, a move that
would be unacceptable to Israel. Indeed, as Weissglas told
Ambassador Kurtzer, the GOI had been unhappy that the PA had
proposed moving JMM from the "points to be raised" agenda of
the Sharon/Abu Ala'a meeting to the "points to be agreed"
section, a proposal Weissglas had taken to mean the
Palestinians wanted to delay the summit -- even before the
Ashdod bombing, which provided the pretext for the GOI to do
so.



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


Follow-Up


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





7. (S) Participants agreed on the following follow-up
actions:

-- UK Embassy will produce a draft exit strategy for
discussion (including options such as exile or technical
surveillance);

-- JMM, in consultation with U.S. and UK DATTs and the ConGen
Jerusalem RSO, will produce emergency extraction strategies,
covering different scenarios and in different environments,
and considering the need for coordination with the GOI and PA;

-- At an appropriate time after the anticipated meeting
between the Israeli and Palestinian PMs, the U.S. and UK
Consuls General will discuss with the PA a prioritized list
of outstanding measures required to improve seclusion,
including phased implementation of some measures;

-- The U.S. and UK Embassies will inform the GOI of progress
to date in enhancing seclusion;

-- The U.S. and UK will immediately review the situation with
a view to extraction should there be threats to monitors'
safety.

-- U.S. and UK will encourage the two parties to pursue
agreement, and take a constructive and realistic approach to
JMM. We would review progress made on JMM at a Sharon/Abu
Ala'a meeting;

-- U.S. and UK Embassies and CGs would provide capitals a
progress report in May.



8. (C) Subsequent to the U.S. - UK meeting, PA Minister of
Interior Hakam Bal'awi told DPO that he had sent a two-person
delegation to Jericho on March 15 to investigate the problems
at the prison which the U.S. Consul General had raised with
him in their last meeting. Bal'awi had instructed the
delegation to go over the specific areas of non-compliance
point by point with the prison officials. Some progress had
been made, Bal'awi reported, without precisely describing it,
but more remained to be done. Comment: Bal'awi appears to
understand the stakes in ensuring compliance but may be
constrained by a lack of cooperation by the PA's prison
service. End Comment.

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KURTZER