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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06JERUSALEM2726 2006-06-29 09:47:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Jerusalem
Cable title:  

MGGZ01 - ISRAELI GAZA INCURSION - JERUSALEM JUNE

Tags:   PREL ASEC CASC KPAL KWBG 
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VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJM #2726/01 1800947
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 290947Z JUN 06
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3117
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 002726 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

OPS CENTER: PLEASE PASS TO SECRETARY'S PARTY.
NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE AND IPA; NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/LOGERFO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/29/2016
TAGS: PREL ASEC CASC KPAL KWBG
SUBJECT: MGGZ01 - ISRAELI GAZA INCURSION - JERUSALEM JUNE
29 NOON SITREP

Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles. Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d).

-------
Summary
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1. (C) Israeli military forces have reportedly expanded
their foothold in southern Gaza and moved into northern Gaza.
At least four Qassam rockets were launched at an Israeli
town, and IDF naval and air forces have shelled Qassam rocket
launch areas. The remains of missing settler Eliyahu Asher
were found near Ramallah the evening of June 28. There is no
additional information on missing IDF corporal Galid Shalit,
and there are unconfirmed press reports of another missing
Israeli citizen. Palestinian calls continue for a prisoner
exchange. Israeli security forces arrested at least 87
senior Hamas officials, including 8 cabinet ministers, 29
Hamas PLC members, and the PLC speaker. The Consular Section
continues to reach out to American citizens in Gaza, advising
them to leave; so far, 32 American citizens have expressed
interest, and we are working with Embassy Tel Aviv to
facilitate their departure. There are reports of electricity
shortages affecting 750,000 Palestinians as a result of the
IDF strike against Gaza power facilities. The Egyptian
Consulate General in Gaza has been the target of
demonstrations by Palestinians accusing the GOE of
collaborating with Israel; the Egyptians are withdrawing
their diplomatic family members.



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


Israeli Military Moves


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





2. (C) IDF forces in southern Gaza reportedly expanded their
positions north near the Sufa crossing and have taken control
of the crossing point. There are reports of IAF aircraft
dropping leaflets in northern Gaza, warning residents not to
enter areas from where Qassam rockets are being launched. At
least four Qassams were launched at the Israeli town of
Sderot the evening of June 28, and an al-Aqsa spokesman
claimed that his group launched a Qassam with a chemical
warhead. There has been no confirmation of a chemical weapon
attack; Israeli land and naval forces reportedly shelled
northern Gaza Qassam launch areas. The IDF reportedly
shelled two Hamas military training facilities in Rafah and
Khan Younis, as well as a facility used by Islamic University
in Khan Younis. No injuries were reported as a result of
these shellings.



3. (C) IDF armored vehicles have reportedly taken position
in northern Gaza, opposite Beit Hanoun and there continue to
be unconfirmed reports of Israeli ground forces moving into
the northern Gaza Strip. IAF aircraft continue to cause
sonic booms in Gaza.



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


Kidnapping Update


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





4. (C) The remains of Eliyahu Asher, an Israeli settler
abducted during the evening of June 25, were found outside
Ramallah on the evening of June 28. Israeli press reports
that Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) operative Osam Abu
Rijal was arrested on June 28 and led Israeli forces to
Asher's body. There have been no updates on the whereabouts
of missing IDF corporal Gilad Shalit. There are unconfirmed
Israeli press reports of a third kidnapping of 60-year old
Israeli citizen Noah Moskowitz from Rishon LeZion, a town
south of Tel Aviv. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades have
claimed responsibility, but there has been no official
Israeli confirmation. Israeli security forces have
reportedly prevented Palestinians from using the main roads
between Gush Etzion and Hebron in order to prevent further
abductions of Israeli settlers.



5. (C) The PA Ministry of Information continued calls for a
prisoner exchange with Israel to end the crisis. In a
statement, the Ministry said it is "natural logic" to carry
out an exchange: "this has been exercised by previous Israeli
governments with Hizbullah and the PLO, and this is what
other countries do in conflict situations."



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


Hamas Arrests


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





6. (C) Israeli security forces conducted widespread arrest
operations June 29 in the West Bank, detaining Hamas

ministers, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members, and
activists. At least 87 senior Hamas officials are in
custody, including 8 cabinet ministers, 29 Hamas PLC members,
and the PLC speaker. Septel will provide more details on the
Hamas arrests and their consequences; PA Information Minister
Yousef Rizqa, speaking from Gaza, charged that arresting
democratically elected leadership was a "blatant violation of
all democratic principles."



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


AMCIT Update


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



7.(C) The Consular Section continues its outreach to
American citizens in Gaza; our very rough estimate is that
there are up to 500 US citizens in Gaza, most of whom are
dual American-Palestinian nationals. We have re-emphasized
our long-standing recommendation, via phone calls and the
warden network, that American citizens should leave Gaza
immediately. Approximately 32 American citizens have
expressed interest in leaving Gaza, and we are working with
Embassy Tel Aviv to facilitate their departure. A number of
these travelers who entered Gaza via the now-closed Rafah
crossing with Egypt will likely encounter difficulty
attempting to depart via Israel's Ben Gurion airport, and
will instead probably have to depart the area from Amman
after crossing the Allenby Bridge.



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


Infrastructure Damage Effects


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





8. (C) Palestinian contacts report electricity shortages as a
result of the June 27 Israeli strikes on the Gaza Power
Plant; some 750,000 Palestinians are said to be affected.
Consulate contacts report that an electricity rationing
program has been placed in effect. Septel will provide more
details regarding the infrastructure situation.



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


Egyptian Drawdown


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





9. (C) According to the Egyptian Consul General, two
demonstrations took place in front of the Egyptian diplomatic
facilities in Gaza on June 28. He said that Palestinians
displayed signs accusing the Egyptians of collaborating with
the Israelis, and said that the GOE would evacuate Egyptian
diplomatic family members from Gaza on June 29.


WALLES