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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05TELAVIV1027 2005-02-18 15:15:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

GAZA DISENGAGEMENT: CABINET POISED TO APPROVE

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 TEL AVIV 001027 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/18/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL KWBG IS GOI INTERNAL GAZA DISENGAGEMENT ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: GAZA DISENGAGEMENT: CABINET POISED TO APPROVE
SETTLER WITHDRAWALS, SEPARATION BARRIER ROUTE


Classified By: Political Counselor Norman Olsen for reasons 1.4 (b,d).



1. (SBU) Prime Minister Sharon is poised to obtain decided
Cabinet majorities in two historic votes scheduled for
February 20: to approve the "Amended Disengagement Plan --
Evacuation of Settlements and Territories" (the Amended Plan)
and to approve a revised route of the separation barrier
around the southern West Bank. In practical terms, Cabinet
approval of the Amended Plan, along with this week's Knesset
approval of settler compensation legislation, will empower
the GOI to send out evacuation notices as early as February
21 to all settlers in the Gaza Strip as well as in the four
northern West Bank settlements slated for evacuation. GOI
lawyers have recommended giving settlers at least five
months' notice before forcing them to leave the settlements.
The Amended Plan also divides the settlements to be evacuated
into four groups, and requires that the Cabinet reconvene
prior to the evacuation date of each group to discuss
circumstances affecting the evacuation.



2. (C) As many as seven Likud ministers -- Finance Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, Health Minister Daniel Naveh, Education
Minister Limor Livnat, Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz,
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, and
Ministers-Without-Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi and Natan
Sharansky -- may vote against settlement evacuations on
Sunday, although Netanyahu and Shalom have notably not yet
announced their intentions. Education Minister Limor Livnat
announced February 18 that she cannot support the Amended
Plan unless it explicitly states that the Cabinet will
actually vote on each of the four evacuation phases -- not
just reconvene to discuss them. Other Cabinet opponents are
expected to tie their support for the evacuation plan to
Sharon's agreement to hold a disengagement referendum, a move
Sharon has repeatedly rejected. Regardless of how the seven
vote, Sharon's Amended Plan still has a comfortable Cabinet
majority of 15 of the 22 ministers. Opposing votes by senior
Likud ministers, including Netanyahu, would be a modest
embarrassment to Sharon within his party, but one he appears
comfortable with.



3. (SBU) Sharon will also ask the Cabinet to approve a
revised southern route of the separation barrier around the
southern Hebron hills that is designed to comply with last
year's High Court ruling that the routing must take into
account its impact on the Palestinian population. The
section to be presented to the Cabinet on Sunday will stick
closer to the Green Line than previous proposed routes,
although Ma'aleh Adumim and other key settlements surrounding
Jerusalem will remain on the "Israeli" side of the barrier.
A ring road will be built east of Ma'aleh Adumim to
facilitate Palestinian travel between Jenin and Hebron. The
revised route will reportedly include seven percent of the
West Bank on the Israeli side, whereas the earlier route
would have included some 16 percent of the West Bank. Public
estimates of the number of Palestinians ending up on the
Israeli side of the revised route vary from 10,000 to 20,000.
In a radio interview February 18, Vice Prime Minister Shimon
Peres said that the fence route "does not add too many
Palestinians (to the Israeli side) against their wishes. And
it corresponds, reasonably enough to security needs."

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