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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05TELAVIV1395 2005-03-09 12:57:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

ICRC REP ON POST-THREAT ACTIONS

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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L TEL AVIV 001395 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ASEC KWBG IS GAZA DISENGAGEMENT ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: ICRC REP ON POST-THREAT ACTIONS


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



1. (C) ICRC Head of Delegation Francois Bellon and Deputy
Head Carlos Batallas met March 1 with Polcouns, Legatt and
Poloff to review details and follow-up of a reported
potential threat to ICRC members inside the Gaza Strip.
Legatt had conveyed to the ICRC February 26 a non-specific
report he had received suggesting that an ICRC employee had
been detained by unknown persons inside the Gaza Strip, and
that any ICRC personnel sent to Gaza to assist in the
detainee's retrieval would be a target for a
kidnapping/terror. Legatt cautioned that this information,
received from GOI contacts, was uncorroborated and its
credibility unknown. Legatt later received information from
PA officials that a Red Crescent employee had been detained
by the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip and
subsequently released, which may have corroborated the
earlier GOI information.



2. (C) Bellon voiced thanks for the warning, however
non-specific, and said that he had immediately undertaken
communications with Gaza leaders of PIJ, Hamas and the
Popular Resistance Committees to convey his concern and seek
their assurances that they had not undertaken any action
against ICRC personnel. Bellon noted that the PRC, in
particular, has various cells, but said it was clear from his
discussions that "none of the known actors" were behind the
reported threat. The concern, he said, is that a single very
small cell may be determined to disrupt the peace process.
Bellon recalled to emboffs a threat that the ICRC received
via the GOI during the hudna, or cease-fire, in early July,
2003, identifying the ICRC as a soft target. He added that
half of the ICRC Gaza staff remained outside of the Gaza
Strip as of March 1, and that he would be reviewing
conditions to determine when they might return.



3. (C) Bellon added that in discussions with now-Interior
Minister Nasser Yusif, immediately after receiving Legatt's
warning, Yusif cited the possibility that a single individual
could be at fault. Yusif agreed, Bellon said, that there
would be very strong repercussions if any action occurred
against the ICRC, and agreed to enhance police vigilance
around ICRC facilities in the Gaza Strip. Bellon said that
"the ICRC usually enjoys high acceptability" in conflict
situations. He noted that an ICRC withdrawal from the Gaza
Strip prior to disengagement would be "very painful," and
suggested that the U.S. could help by calling on the
Palestinian Authority to ensure the safety of ICRC personnel
from future attack or detention.


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