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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06JERUSALEM1782
2006-05-05 13:49:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Jerusalem
Cable title:  

PALESTINIAN LEGAL SNAPSHOT: AL-AQSA GUNMEN IMPOSE

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  KWBG  KPAL  KDEM  SCUL  IS 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJM #1782/01 1251349
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 051349Z MAY 06
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1893
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 001782 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE, NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/LOGERFO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/05/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV KWBG KPAL KDEM SCUL IS
SUBJECT: PALESTINIAN LEGAL SNAPSHOT: AL-AQSA GUNMEN IMPOSE
THEIR VERSION OF JUSTICE IN RAMALLAH COURT CASE


Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, per reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary. In a case that underscores the precarious
nature of the Palestinian Authority (PA) judicial system and
the absence of law and order in Palestinian controlled areas,
gunmen from the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades last month
intervened in a private homeowner dispute by imposing a
solution contradicting previous court decisions. The gunmen
intervened on behalf of the rival family involved in the
legal dispute whose son, also an al-Aqsa member, is serving
time in an Israeli jail. Palestinians familiar with the case
reported that that the presiding judge was left with no other
choice than to comply with the demands put forth by the
gunmen. End summary.

Homeowner Dispute in Ramallah


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





2. (C) According to information obtained by ConGen POL FSN
Specialist, elements from the PA Police April 23 converged on
the Ramallah home of Najah Abu Shamsiyah to execute a PA
Magistrate Court decision ordering Abu Shamsiyah to vacate
the premises. Abu Shamsiyah -- who had engaged in a
protracted dispute with the former tenants over ownership of
the property -- argued without success that previous PA court
rulings had affirmed his ownership of the property. The
police took Abu Shamsiyah into custody for obstructing the
execution of the court order.

Enter al-Aqsa Gunmen


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





3. (C) According to Abu Shamsiyah's family, Ramallah-based
members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades played a central
role in the property dispute. Al-Aqsa's intervention
followed a request by the former tenant's son, a known
al-Aqsa member who is serving a long prison sentence in an
Israeli jail. The gunmen reportedly made threats against
several judges and officials affiliated with the case,
including Muhammad al-Horoob, Civil Police Colonel Mahmud
Masalmeh -- who is responsible for implementing PA court
rulings -- and Judge Talaat al-Tawil. One of the al-Aqsa
gunmen, Fuad al-Roomi, contacted members of the Abu Shamsiyah
family to explain that he had taken charge of the case,
adding that financial compensation to the former tenants
would resolve the matter. Al-Roomi also indicated that he
would free Abu Shamsiyah from PA custody.



4. (C) In response, family members and friends decided to
open direct negotiations with al-Roomi and several other
al-Aqsa gunmen. (Note: Al-Roomi and his associates were
allegedly involved in several notable attacks in Ramallah,
including a shooting rampage in early 2005 that targeted
President Abbas' presidential office and several business
establishments. The gunmen also conducted an attack on the
PA Magistrate Court in Ramallah that resulted in the escape
of an al-Aqsa gunman awaiting trial on murder charges for the
2004 killing a suspected Palestinian collaborator. End note.)

Al-Aqsa "Settles" the Case


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





5. (C) After three days of negotiations, Abu Shamsiyah's
family agreed to compensate the former tenants in the amount
of USD 15,000. The al-Aqsa gunmen then entered the Ramallah
Magistrate Court to demand Abu Shamsiyah's release. Two
al-Aqsa gunmen joined the Abu Shamsiyah family attorney in a
private meeting with Judge Talaat al-Tawil prior to the judge
ordering Abu Shamsiyah's release from custody. The judge
also dropped all charges stemming from his April 23 arrest.



6. (C) Following his release, Abu Shamsiyah noted that had
he known that al-Aqsa gunmen were "in charge" of the judicial
system, he would have turned to them for help well before the
former tenants had sought out their assistance. Although Abu
Shamsiyah had in his possession court documents affirming his
right to the residence, he said that he would now need a bank
loan to repurchase the property. He questioned whether any
of the USD 15,000 paid by his family to secure his release
would actually go to the former tenants. "I want to save my
children, my elderly parents, and myself the misfortune of
facing gunmen known for their brutality, even with the added
expense of re-buying the property," he said.

Comment


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





7. (C) The Abu Shamsiyah case is not unusual, and we
provide its details as an on-the-ground snapshot of the types

of daily challenges Palestinians face in their dealings with
other Palestinians. The impunity with which the al-Aqsa
gunmen operate in Ramallah -- one of the safer cities in the
Palestinian areas now -- is an example of the breakdown of
law and order faced by Palestinians on a day-to-day basis.

WALLES