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Cable Wikileaks: "Disengagement Situation Report, August 16, 2005 "
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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05TELAVIV5078 2005-08-16 15:06:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

DISENGAGEMENT SITUATION REPORT, AUGUST 16, 2005

Tags:   KWBG KPAL PREL ECON EAID IS GAZA DISENGAGEMENT 
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					UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TEL AVIV 005078 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NEA FOR DIBBLE
NSC FOR ABRAMS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG KPAL PREL ECON EAID IS GAZA DISENGAGEMENT
SUBJECT: DISENGAGEMENT SITUATION REPORT, AUGUST 16, 2005

This is a joint message from Embassy Tel Aviv and Consulate
General Jerusalem.
This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.



1. (SBU) Summary: On the second day of disengagement, Neve
Dekalim settlement remained a stronghold of resistance to
evacuation. Settlers and thousands of anti-disengagement
activists blocked IDF troops from entering to distribute
eviction notices, although the IDF was able to negotiate and
bring in cargo containers to remove the effects of those
families leaving voluntarily. The message below outlines the
approximate numbers of families still remaining in the
settlements; the overall security situation in Gaza;
Palestinian reactions to disengagement; internal Israeli
political developments, including PM Sharon's meeting with
key opponents of disengagement in an effort to dampen active
resistance to the withdrawal; and the closure and
humanitarian access situation, including the ICRC's
resumption of activities in Gaza following a three week
suspension. End Summary.



2. (SBU) SETTLER EVACUATION STATUS

-- The following is the IDF,s assessment of the evacuation
of the Gaza Strip settlements as of 1200 hrs August 16, as
reported in Israeli media.

Settlement: Families Total Before
Departed: Disengagement
Atzmona 0 83
Bedolah 11 35
Dugit 18 19
Ele Sinai 40 74
Gadid 26 63
Gan Or 20 57
Ganei Tal 8 85
Kfar Darom 0 73
Morag 16 22
Netzarim 1 64
Netzer Hazani 25 80
Neve Dekalim 150 467
Nissanit 210-230 240
Peat Sadeh 17 19
Qatif 3 61
Rafah Yam 25 27
Shelo/Shalev 3 5

Total 573-593 1474

-- Israeli police detained Settlers Council officials Bentzi
Lieberman, Pinhas Wallerstein, and Zeev Hever for questioning
during a march towards Gush Katif August 15. An estimated
several hundred additional anti-disengagement activists were
similarly detained outside of Gaza August 15. Wallerstein
announced in the Israeli media that he will maintain a hunger
strike until he and other detainees are released.

-- In the northern West Bank, the Kaddim and Gannim
settlements have been completely evacuated. In Homesh,
long-term residents are reportedly discouraging young
anti-disengagement infiltrators from protesting in the
settlement.

-- Neve Dekalim remained the center of protestor-IDF clashes
August 16, with demonstrators blocking the main settlement
road in an attempt to prevent soldiers from entering to hand
out eviction notices, which the Israeli police claimed was a
violation of an earlier agreement. IDF troops were able to
negotiate with settler leaders to bring in cargo containers
to remove the household effects of those settler families
choosing to leave voluntarily August 16. Troops also brought
in a water cannon and additional vehicles after demonstrators
slashed the tires of military vehicles.

-- According to the Israeli media, some GOI officials have
indicated that a retroactive change in the Compensation Law
could enable even those families who do not voluntarily leave
the Gaza Strip by August 17 to receive most of their
entitlement. PM Sharon,s bureau publicly refuted these
reports.

-- Israeli media reported that senior IDF sources indicated
the evacuation of the settlements would be complete by
Thursday, August 25. Media commentators suggested Gush Katif
could be emptied of all settlers by August 21.



3. (SBU) SECURITY SITUATION

-- Injuries/shootings: According to UNRWA, IDF fire injured
one Palestinian in the Tel as-Sultan area early August 16.

-- Shootings: According to the IDF, Palestinian militants
engaged in three instances of shooting at IDF soldiers late
August 15, two at Khan Yunis and one near Neve Dekalim
settlement.

-- Kidnapping: The French Channel 3 journalist kidnapped
August 15 is still being held August 16. The UN received
reports that PA officials made contact with the abductors,
but PA security forces were unable to confirm this.
According to UNRWA, "word on the street" reports state that
the journalist is being held near Jabaliya refugee camp,
although this is unconfirmed. UN security officials noted
this is the first time since the October 2003 murders of U.S.
security personnel that no entity has claimed responsibility
for an attack within 24 hours.

-- Incursions: According to UNRWA, IDF tanks and bulldozers
entered the Mughraqa area near Netzarim, evacuating residents
from the house of Ata al-Helo, and piling sand barriers in
front of it.

-- Approximately USD 2 million worth of communications gear
from the EU COPPS program and the UK has been distributed to
the PA security services down to the platoon level and is now
operational. The GOI fast-tracked getting this gear through
Israeli customs and security inspections.

-- The IDF has been providing liaison officers to the PA
security services down to the company level. Reports are
that both sides are very satisfied with the coordination.




4. (SBU) PALESTINIAN REACTIONS

-- According to Israeli media reports, 7,500 PA security
forces were stationed opposite Gush Katif August 16.

-- Abu Ubeida, spokesman for Hamas, military wing, told the
Israeli media August 15 that Hamas will continue armed
struggle against Israel despite the disengagement. Hamas has
cited the withdrawal from Gaza as proof that attacks,
including suicide bombings inside Green Line Israel, are the
"only option."

-- According to UNRWA, on August 15 PIJ held a march of
approximately 1,500 people in the Nuseriat refugee camp, and
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade held a march of 1,000 people in Gaza
City, to celebrate the disengagement.

-- According to Gazan human rights organizations, 150
residents of the al-Sayafa area in the northern Gaza Strip
were prevented from traveling August 16 due to closures
related to the evacuation of the Dugit and Alei Sinai
settlements.

-- A former Ministry of Religious Affairs official in Gaza
City told Poloff that Gazans are divided into two camps
regarding disengagement: one camp believes the economic
situation will improve, the other believes closures will
increase economic hardship. Our contact placed himself among
the optimists. He recently switched careers to become an
academic expert on the tourism industry, which he hopes will
prosper post-disengagement.



5. (SBU) GOI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS

-- Prime Minister Sharon has been meeting August 16 with key
opponents to disengagement in an attempt to dampen active
resistance to the evacuation. Leader of the National
Religious Party Zevulun Orlev, a strong opponent of
disengagement, announced publicly August 16 that he would not
meet with Prime Minister Sharon.

-- Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Josef told Shas Party
chairman Eli Yishai to instruct Shas Knesset members to go to
Gush Katif. Shas MK Meshulam Nahari told Poloff August 16
that all Shas MKs are already in or would soon arrive in Gush
Katif, and that Yishai was there already. He stressed that
it was a "bad day" for the settlers and that Shas members
would be going to "strengthen" them.

-- The Interministerial Disengagement Committee met late
August 15 to discuss relocation and housing for settlers.
The Committee approved an increase in the number of hotel
rooms reserved to absorb evacuees from 1,000 to 2,000.
Additionally, the committee approved some 130 additional
mobile homes for settler families who have agreed to leave
the Gaza Strip voluntarily.




6. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS/HUMANITARIAN ACCESS

-- Erez Crossing and Industrial Zone: According to the UN,
Erez crossing was closed to Palestinians August 16, but open
to selected humanitarian and medical cases with prior
coordination with the Erez Liaison Office. UNRWA reported
that 37 workers and 255 factory owners were allowed to enter
the Industrial Zone.

-- Rafah Terminal: According to UNRWA, Rafah was open to
Palestinians August 16.

-- Abu Kholi junction: According to Gazan private sector
contacts, Abu Kholi and Netzarim junctions were open August
16, despite earlier IDF announcements that they would be
closed to Palestinians during the hours of evacuation.

-- Karni Terminal: According to Gazan private sector
contacts, Karni terminal was open August 16.

-- Kissufim, the main crossing used to enter Gush Katif and
Kfar Darom settlements, was closed to Palestinians August 16.

-- The ICRC resumed field activities in the Gaza Strip August
16, ending a temporary suspension that followed the August 7
shooting at the ICRC,s Khan Yunis offices. The decision to
resume activities was based on PA President Abbas,
assurances to protect humanitarian organizations on the
ground in Gaza.

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