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04TELAVIV6489 2004-12-21 15:54:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  


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 006489 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/06/2009

Classified By: Pol/C Norm Olsen for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: Israeli Police BG David Lutsky and the Head
of Shin Bet's Protection and Security Division, Doron
Bergerbest, told CODEL Talent December 5-6 that cooperation
and real-time information sharing is the key to Israeli
success in thwarting suicide attacks. Once intelligence on
an actual suicide attack is developed by Shin Bet, that
information is passed immediately to the police, who have
overall control of the coordinated efforts to apprehend the
bomber and the authority to requisition and direct resources
and manpower as necessary. Both officials said that the
separation barrier plays a vital role, in conjunction with
sound intelligence work and enhanced inter-service
cooperation in defeating suicide bombers. Bergerbest said
that Iran, through its proxy Hizballah and down through
Palestinian militant factions, is a chief orchestrator of
terror attacks against Israel, operating what he claimed are
38 cells in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that have carried
out between them 66 attacks. He claimed that, in recent
months, Shin Bet has detected a notable increase in weapons
smuggled into the West Bank from Egypt via Sinai (Note: and
thus through Israel. End Note) and Hebron, including as many
as five anti-aircraft missiles. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Senator James Talent, accompanied by Military
Legislative Assistant Lindsey Neas, Legislative Fellow Lore
Aguayo, and Navy Senate Liaison Deputy Director Cpt. James
Stein, met with Israeli Police Brigadier General David
Lutsky, Commander of the Counter-Terrorism Training Division,
and Doron Bergerbest, head of the Protection and Security
Division at Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet), December 5-6
to explore Israeli methods of interagency cooperation in the
fight against terrorist attacks. A/RSO and Poloff
(notetaker) accompanied.


Police Have the Lead in an Emergency


3. (C) BG David Lutsky, Commander of the Counter-Terrorism
Training Division told CODEL Talent December 6 that, in the
aftermath of the 2002 Park Hotel bombing in Netanya, the GOI
had decided it was time to "start dealing with the swamp and
not the mosquitoes," and began a process by which
counter-terrorism efforts became more cooperative and hence
more effective. A GOI decision putting the police in charge
of homeland security had been required to establish the
pecking order, Lutsky said, as fist fights between emergency
service staff jockeying for preeminence at the scene of an
attack were not unheard of in the past. Now, when Shin Bet
supplies a tip-off that a terrorist is en route to a target,
the information is fed directly to the police commander of
the affected sector, who then mobilizes all of the resources
he deems necessary to meet the threat, bringing in IDF
helicopter support to track the terrorists' movements, for
example, and alerting ambulance and fire brigades.

4. (C) Following many drills and joint training exercises,
the various emergency and security services are now well
practiced in coordinating their activity. The commanders are
personally known to each other and make efforts to keep in
touch. The transmission of intelligence information in "real
time" is essential, and Lutsky praised Shin Bet efforts.
Calling specialized counter-terrorism units very important,
Lutsky stressed that, as important as these units are, they
cannot substitute for overall readiness. He cited several
examples of local police responding immediately to shooting
attacks and thus saving additional lives by their quick


Essential Elements


5. (C) In closing, Lutsky elaborated what he called
essential elements that a commander must take into
consideration in any emergency situation. First is
engendering and utilizing public cooperation. Lutsky said
that a large number of Israeli Arabs receive basic emergency
response training by the police (Note: Israeli Arabs do not
serve in the military, which is where most Jewish Israelis
receive their primary emergency response training. End Note)
so that they can be ready to assist in a crisis. Second,
keeping up a flow of information to the public, even if it is
only to say that the police are investigating reports, is
essential to maintaining public confidence that the situation
is under control, Lutsky said. Third, Lutsky stressed that
police in the United States needed to realize that a response
to, for example, a shooting attack should not fundamentally
different regardless of whether that attack was criminally or
terror motivated. Fourth, taking care of the responders
themselves, both their mental health in the aftermath of the
horrific events to which they must respond without flinching,
as well as backing them up in the aftermath of an event,
given that they must make split-second decisions, often based
on incomplete information. Lutsky claimed that his most
significant victory has been that Israelis still ride buses
and go to shopping malls and theaters.


Shin Bet -- No Room for "Entity Ego"


6. (C) Doron Bergerbest, head of the Protection and Security
Division at Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet), told CODEL
Talent in a separate meeting December 5 that necessity had
driven the GOI to develop the integrated terror prevention
and response procedures currently in place. After an overall
decline in suicide bombings in the 1990's -- down to zero
attacks in 1999 -- the number of suicide attacks carried out
inside Israel again began to climb with the outbreak of the
al-Aqsa Intifada in 2001, spiking at 60 terrorist attacks in

2002. In calendar 2004 to date, Bergerbest said, that there
have been 15 terrorist attacks in Israel.

7. (C) Bergerbest said that Israel had not been ready for
the second Intifada, a sentiment shared independently by
other interlocutors (Police BG Lutsky said that Israel had
been "caught with its pants down"), as most Israelis then
believed that the trend was towards peace. Since the current
cycle of violence began, 70 percent of those killed and 81
percent of those injured have been civilians, Bergerbest
said. The change in Israeli tactics came in 2002, when the
GOI launched Operation Defensive Shield in the wake of the
suicide attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya that killed 31
Israelis. This operation, Bergerbest said, bought Israel
some time to reorganize its inter-service response to the
vastly increased threat of terrorist attacks inside Israel.
In response to Senator Talent's question, Bergerbest
concurred "absolutely" that the separation barrier dividing
the West Bank from Israel is playing a key role in defeating
suicide bombers. The relative inexperience of the current
crop of militant leaders -- third or even fourth tier,
following the deaths or arrests of more senior commanders --
is also important, he said.


Despite Progress, the Threat Remains Very Real



8. (C) Bergerbest claimed that in recent months there had a
been a notable increase in weapons smuggled into the West
Bank from Egypt via Sinai and Hebron (Note: This routing
means that the items must also pass through Israel. End
Note). Of the information about which Shin Bet was certain
(either through what he said were confirmed intelligence
reports or confiscated shipments), Bergerbest said that some
2,000 kilos of explosives, 1,021 anti-tank missiles, 7,833
Kalashnikovs, 477, pistols, 33 mortars, and five
anti-aircraft missiles were known to have been en route at
one time or another to Palestinian militants in the West Bank
and Gaza (Note: Bergerbest did not explain how such volumes
of weapons and munitions could transit Israeli-controlled
borders and Israel proper, or how security personnel could be
so certain of shipment details while not intercepting the
shipments. End Note). In particular, he said, if the
anti-aircraft missiles ever reached the West Bank, civil
aviation would be seriously jeopardized. Bergerbest said
that Iran, through its proxy Hizballah, is a chief
orchestrator of terror attacks against Israel, operating what
he said are 38 cells in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that
have carried out between them 66 attacks, killing 27 Israelis
and wounding another 54.

9. (U) CODEL Talent cleared this cable.

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