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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05TELAVIV1833 2005-03-25 08:27:00 SECRET Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

ISRAELI DEFMIN DISCUSSES PA SECURITY PERFORMANCE

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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 001833 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/23/2015
TAGS: PREL PTER MARR KWBG KPAL EG SY IS ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS GOI EXTERNAL
SUBJECT: ISRAELI DEFMIN DISCUSSES PA SECURITY PERFORMANCE
WITH A/S WELCH AND DEPUTY NSA ABRAMS

Classified By: Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer; Reasons: 1.4 (B) and (D).



1. (C) Summary: On March 23, 2005, Israeli Defense Minister
Shaul Mofaz told NEA Assistant Secretary David Welch, Deputy
National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams and the Ambassador
that arms smuggling continues into both Gaza and the West
Bank. Despite success by Palestinian Authority (PA) security
forces in prohibiting certain attacks and discovering
tunnels, Mofaz maintained that they are not taking any steps
against the terrorists' infrastructure and that some
Palestinian groups continue to plan and carry out terror
attacks. He listed the GOI measures to ease Palestinian life
and turn over cities to PA security responsibility, but
complained about the PA's failure to honor its agreement in
the first two cities transferred. Mofaz described PA
President Mahmoud Abbas as a "one man show" who has yet to
generate any real results in the security field. He labeled
the PA minister of National Economy a Hamas member and
provided a personal assessment of the role of the PA minister
of the Interior. Mofaz summarized his negotiations with
Egypt on deployment of border guards to the Philadelphi Strip
and urged continuing U.S. pressure on Syria. End Summary.



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IDF Security Cooperation with the PA


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





2. (C) Israel's Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, met March 23
with NEA Assistant Secretary David Welch, Deputy National
Security Advisor Elliott Abrams, and the Ambassador. Mofaz
assistant Ami Shafran, military secretary Brigadier General
Eitan Dangot, and the U.S. Defense Attache also attended.
Mofaz said that the PA is effective in stopping terror
activity it knows about and has been successful in locating
and destroying tunnels in the Philadelpi Strip. He added,
however, that the security forces are not active at all in
counter-terror operations, leaving the terror groups'
infrastructure intact and even growing. He opined that
Abbas' counter-terror strategy is simply to contain Hamas by
capturing the organization within the political process.



3. (S) According to Mofaz, Abbas recently told him that it
would take four-to-six months to reform the PA's security
forces, a time frame Mofaz said is far too long in light of
the need to immediately address a number of serious threats.
First, he noted that smugglers continue to move automatic
weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, and other weapons into
Gaza. He claimed that terrorist groups had moved five
surface-to-air "Strela" missiles into Gaza, warning that the
use of these weapons would ruin recent progress in
Israeli-Palestinian relations. Second, he said the same
types of weapons are being smuggled from Egypt through the
Negev into the West Bank, adding that the GOI fears that
terrorists will use a surface-to-air missile there if such a
weapon can successfully be transferred. Third, Mofaz
complained that terror groups continue to dig tunnels under
IDF posts and settlements in Gaza with the aim of planting
explosives beneath them. Fourth, he mentioned that Israel
has information on suicide attacks being prepared from Jenin,
Nablus, and "other locations" in the West Bank, where he
claimed the recent bombing in Tel Aviv had also been planned.
Fifth, he said that support for Palestinian terror from
outside groups continues. Finally, he added that the GOI has
detected ongoing efforts to transfer knowledge on
surface-to-surface rockets from Gaza to the West Bank and
fears their use against Israeli cities within the green line
or settlements in the West Bank.



4. (C) In contrast, Mofaz said, the IDF is doing all it can
to support and strengthen the PA. He insisted that Israel
has worked hard on the transfer of towns to the PA. He also
complained that the PA has not fulfilled its responsibilities
after transfer of Jericho and Tulkarm. For example, Mofaz
said the two sides had agreed that the PA would disarm
fugitives, end their participation in terrorist groups,
require them not to leave the respective towns "for a while"
(which Mofaz acknowledged was an undetermined period), and
remain under PA supervision. To date, Mofaz claimed, the PA
has not implemented these measures against any of the 17
fugitives in Jericho or 35 in Tulkarm. Mofaz said the GOI
would not transfer Qalqilya or any other towns until the PA
fulfilled these agreements. He listed other steps the GOI
has taken to assist the PA, including improving freedom of
movement (Mofaz claimed the IDF has reduced the number of
roadblocks in the West Bank from "288 to just 12"), allowing
workers to enter Israel, releasing PA vehicles from the port
in Ashdod, and saying "'yes' to anything Abbas asked from
me." Finally, Mofaz said he offered Abbas a coordinated
disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank, but the
PA has yet to start the process. He urged the USG to
emphasize this point to the PA to prevent disengagement from
turning into a "high friction" IDF operation.



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



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


Assessments of Abbas, Nasser Yussef, and Mazen Sinokrot


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



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





5. (C) In Mofaz's view, PA President Mahmoud Abbas is a "one
man show," with all authority and responsibility centered on
him alone. The Defense Minister added that he does not
believe that Prime Minister Ahmed Qure'i supports Abbas,
resulting in an isolation of authority in the President's
office with little progress in the security realm.



6. (C) Deputy NSA Abrams asked Mofaz if PA Interior Minister
Nassir Yussef is really in charge. Mofaz replied that he has
known Yussef for ten years since they were counterparts when
Mofaz commanded the IDF Southern Command. Then, he said,
Yussef was weak because Arafat had "put him in a corner".
Today, he conjectured, Yussef may take more difficult actions
because he has President Abbas' backing. Mofaz said,
however, that he believes Yussef is unpopular among the
competing security groups, adding that without "troops of his
own," he may be ineffective. Mofaz reiterated that the GOI
is willing to give the PA time, but Israel expects to see
results from the PA security forces.



7. (C) Mofaz mentioned the importance of upcoming PA
elections and noted that the current PA minister for National
Economy, Mazen Sinokrot, is a Hamas member who has
transferred funds from his private business to the
organization. The Ambassador responded that the GOI had
promised to provide additional information on the issue, but
we have not yet received it. Picking up a paper on the
table, Mofaz said, "I have it right here, we'll translate it
and give it to you tomorrow."



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



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


Details on the Deployment of Egyptian Border Guards


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



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





8. (C) Turning to negotiations on the deployment of 750
border guards along the Egyptian-Gazan frontier, Mofaz said
he had met with Egyptian Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein
Tantawi and urged the GOE to view the issue in a broader
context than a mere border issue. According to Mofaz, the
Egyptians need a "full-scale" effort using intelligence to
stop weapons from entering Egypt and interdicting weapons in
the Sinai; they should not expect the 750 guards on the
border to stop smuggling. Mofaz mentioned that an IDF team
was in Egypt on March 23 working on the details of his
agreement with Tantawi. He said the key principles include
an annual review on continuing the deployment, the use of
arms and equipment consistent with the border guards'
mission, and concluding the negotiations as an agreement
between militaries that does not alter the peace treaty. In
answer to a question from the Ambassador, Mofaz said he and
Tantawi had agreed to local coordination on the border
between military commanders; the meeting on March 23 would
work out the details.



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



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


Keep Pressure on Syria for Full Compliance with UNSCR 1559


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



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





9. (C) Mofaz lauded the U.S. position on Syria and urged
continued pressure, with the goal being not only a Syrian
withdrawal from Lebanon, but also full compliance with UNSCR


1559. Mofaz said this includes disbanding Hizballah's forces
and restoring the Lebanese Army's control in southern
Lebanon. He expressed some skepticism that Syria would
actually withdraw from Lebanon, noting that Damascus prefers
to keep it as a platform for launching terror against Israel
and also fears the loss of employment opportunities for the
one million Syrians in the country.



10. (U) NEA Assistant Secretary Welch and Deputy National
Security Advisor Abrams have cleared this message.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
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KURTZER