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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05TELAVIV1430 2005-03-10 17:54:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

TALIA SASSON'S "EXPLOSIVE" REPORT ON ILLEGAL

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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 001430 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KWBG IS SETTLEMENTS ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: TALIA SASSON'S "EXPLOSIVE" REPORT ON ILLEGAL
SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY



1. (U) Summary and Comment: Attorney Talia Sasson on March
8 submitted a report on illegal settlement activity in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) to Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon. The report has been characterized as a "powerful
bombshell" and "explosive on an international level." In the
document, Sasson emphasizes the roles of the Settlement
Division of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Civil
Administration, and the Ministry of Construction and Housing
(MOCH) in fostering the establishment and expansion of
illegal outposts and settlements. She notes that the GOI has
taken control of private Palestinian land, and issues various
recommendations: suspending the activities of the
Settlements Division, conducting an examination on the rights
to the lands, and controlling the movement of trailers. Post
has received a copy of the report from the GOI in Hebrew and
will follow up with a more detailed analysis. End Summary
and Comment.



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Illegal Outposts: A Government-Sponsored Process


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



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





2. (U) Talia Sasson's "powerful bombshell" document on
illegal settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
(WBGS) confirms post's reporting about the Israeli
government's involvement in the establishment of illegal
outposts and settlements. According to press, Sasson's
report states that "the process of outpost expansion is
profoundly under way," and explains how illegal outposts are
established under the government's sponsorship. Using what
is probably the example of the Migron outpost, she notes that
first an antenna was set up, which immediately required "an
electrical line to feed the antenna." Then a booth was put
in place for a guard, a dirt road was paved, and
infrastructure was set up for the guard's booth, and then for
trailers. Once the trailers arrived, the settlers came and
the outpost became an established fact on the ground. Press
reports that another method used is to set up a farm or
educational institution which needs housing for the staff,
with the staff eventually becoming settlers in a new outpost.



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


Among the Guiltiest of Parties...


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





3. According to Maariv's Ben Caspit, the Sasson report
emphasizes the roles of the Settlements Division of the World
Zionist Organization (WZO), -- which he incorrectly
identified as belonging to the Jewish Agency instead of WZO
-- the Civil Administration, and the Ministry of Construction
and Housing (MOCH) as the key players in the establishment
and expansion of illegal settlements and outposts.

-- Sasson writes in her report that "the Settlement Division
built unauthorized settlement outposts while disregarding the
need to draft a detailed and viable plan, and this was not
accidental but rather a work method." She claims that the
Settlements Division violated the Jordanian planning and
construction laws that apply to land in the WBGS.

-- The Sasson Report also severely criticizes the Civil
Administration's activities in the WBGS (Note: the Civil
Administration is responsible for allocating lands for
settlements and outposts. End note). Sasson discovered
during her research that some the land that was allocated for
construction or establishment of outposts was privately owned
by Palestinians.

-- Sasson notes that the MOCH used its own and external
architects to plan outposts after they were established even
if the GOI had not authorized them. She also reports that
the Ministry fraudulently acquired 520 trailers in 2003 for
NIS33 million: the trailers were ordered, manufactured, and
in position before the MOCH even issued the tender for them.
In addition, the Ministry did not sign any agreements with
the settlers who would be using the trailers, and thus did
not receive payment for them for "approximately a year and a
half," ultimately costing the state million of shekels.



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


Trailer Shenanigans


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





4. (U) According to press, there have been a number of other
instances in which settlers or GOI officials have misused
trailers. The settlers can establish outposts overnight
using the trailers because they are houses on wheels and can
be "transported, positioned on the ground, and hooked up to
the infrastructure" in short periods of time, even without
the appropriate transportation and construction permits. At
times, according to Sasson's report, the Defense Minister's
Settlements Advisor, Ron Shekner, had approved moving a
trailer to an area without settlement status. In addition,
Sasson notes that in reviewing the fate of 111 trailers that
had authorization to move to certain locations but never made
it to the final destination, 70 of the trailers may have
ended up in illegal outposts.



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


Sasson's Recommendations


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





5. (U) Among Sasson's recommendations is stopping the
activity of WZO's Settlement Division, "unless the Settlement
Division is authorized, ad hoc, by the government to function
as a settling body for the purpose of building a new
settlement or expanding a concrete settlement." In addition,
Sasson advocates conducting an in-depth examination of who
hold the rights to the lands that are being allocated for the
establishment of settlements and outposts, particularly since
the Civil Administration has allocated land that is privately
owned by Palestinians. She also makes several
recommendations on the trailer phenomenon: requests for
trailers should come with legal construction permits,
affidavits explaining the need for a trailer, aerial photos
of the trailer's destination, and "the signature of the local
council's chief engineer ensuring that the trailer will be
positioned legally." Sasson recommends that individuals who
apply for permits to move their trailers must pay monetary
deposits for 18 months to ensure that the trailers reach
their declared destinations. She also suggests that the
Prime Minister and Defense Minister approve trailer purchases
prior to the issuance of tenders.



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


Comment


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





6. (U) Post will conduct a more thorough examination of
Sasson's report when the Hebrew version we have received from
the GOI is translated into English. The preview of the
report is indeed "explosive," particularly when it notes:
"no one seriously intends to enforce the law. It seems as if
the violation of the law has become institutional and
institutionalized. There is blatant violation of the law by
certain state authorities, public authorities, regional
councils in Judea and Samaria, and the settlers."

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