|04TELAVIV2202||2004-04-15 13:35:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Tel Aviv|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 002202
1. (C) Summary: A day after PM Sharon reiterated his
commitment to removing unauthorized outposts in Washington,
outpost activists and supporters woke up on April 15 to the
news that the GOI had removed a few more sites overnight and
that the Attorney General ordered some settlement funding
halted. In the early morning hours, Israeli border police,
backed by the IDF, removed two unoccupied outposts, Havat
Shaqed and Givat Hapiryon. Later that morning, the Israeli
AG, Meni Mazuz, ordered the Ministry of Construction and
Housing to cease all settlement funding until a supervisory
mechanism is put in place to prevent monies from being
transferred to outposts. End summary.
AG ORDERS FUNDING FOR SETTLEMENTS STOPPED
2. (C) Reacting to the contents of a not yet publicly
released Israeli Comptrollers report, AG Meni Mazuz ordered,
on April 15, the Ministry of Construction and Housing (MCH)
to cease all funding to Israeli settlements in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip. Mazuz's order was reportedly in response to
the upcoming Comptrollers Report, which, according to Peace
Now General Secretary Yariv Oppenheimer (who claims he was
leaked the report's relevant contents), contains a section on
the improper flow of money through government ministries to
unauthorized outposts. The order received by the MCH also
reportedly contains a warning to Israeli bureaucrats that the
misappropriation of funds to support unauthorized activities,
such as outposts, is a prosecutable offense. According to
the press, funding to settlements will be restored once the
ministry implements a monitoring mechanism, approved by the
AG's office, that prevents unlawful disbursements to outposts.
3. (C) Oppenheimer was pleased by the AG's action and called
attention to what he termed the exasperation reflected in the
order. Oppenheimer pointed out that the AG did not tell the
MCH "to shut down this or that program" that was benefiting
outposts, but instead ordered the stoppage of all funds to
settlements. Oppenheimer opined that the opaque nature of
settlement and outpost funding forced the AG to use a hammer
instead of a scalpel. Oppenheimer claims the Comptroller's
findings implicate more government ministries than just the
MCH, but that the MCH's activities were the most apparent.
In fact, according to the press, the AG sent a copy of the
order to the other ministries warning them to implement
similar monitoring mechanisms within their own structures to
protect themselves from prosecution. Oppenheimer hopes that
the AG's action today is the start of greater government
accountability on settlement spending, but cautioned that "we
should wait and see."
Two Outposts Removed, Fight For Two Other Sites Continues
4. (C) The two outposts removed by the Israeli border
police, Havat Shaqed and Givat Hapiryon, were originally
ordered removed in December 2003, but court challenges by
settlers prohibited the GOI from taking action at that time.
The Israeli High Court of Justice's ruling on March 22 (see
reftels) rejected the settler's appeal and permitted the GOI
to undertake removal. An IDF official confirmed to Embassy
DAO that the two outposts were removed in the early morning
hours of April 15. Havat Shaqed was a small, unoccupied
outpost located south of the settlement of Yizhar, comprised
of a small makeshift structure. Givat Hapiryon (Hill of
Productivity) is probably what USG settlement experts refer
to as Havat Maon (Tel Tavani), whose removal was authorized
by the March 22 decision. The Border Police removed three
containers and two bus "skeletons" from the site. During the
removals the police arrested seven settlers who hurled stones
and scuffled with the officers attempting to remove the
outpost. One officer was reported to be lightly injured.
5. (U) Settlers succeeded on April 14, yet again, in
re-establishing two outposts near Hebron, Hazon David and
Giborim. The IDF evacuated Hazon David the first time on
March 31 after the Israeli High Court rejected the settlers'
last possible legal appeal (reftel). According to Israeli
press reports and conversations with a settler activist on
April 14, the settlers reestablished the site. "The outpost
is still there, and we are now making a new one, which will
be Western Hazon David," Shimon Riklin, a veteran of the
illegal outpost movement, told PolOff April 14. "In fact,"
joked Riklin, "there will be three Hazon Davids: the old one,
the new one, and the army!" (Note: Riklin meant that the
army will have to maintain a presence near the site if it
wants to prevent outpost expansion in the area. End note.)
On the morning of April 15, the IDF and Border Police
returned to dismantle the two outposts and were met by
significant resistance from outpost supporters.
6. (C) Settlers and soldiers clashed at the site on April 13
as well, according to a report in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.
The newspaper reported that hundreds of soldiers and
policemen had arrived at the spot after suspending operations
in the area over the Passover holiday. The army closed off
the entire area, which prevented the Palestinians who own the
land on which the outpost sits from getting to their
property, according to Ha'aretz. (Note: The IDF has removed
the outpost eight times since March 31, according to the
press, but the settlers continue to rebuild the site. The
Hebron settlers are known for their resolve on outposts.
They have rebuilt the Giborim outpost between Hebron and
Kiryat Arba over 15 times. End note.)
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