Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, per reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
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1. (C) One hundred and three American citizens were evacuated from Gaza to Amman on July 19. IDF operations in the central Gaza Strip continued on July 20, killing two and wounding four. In Nablus, the IDF continued an operation against the main PA security forces compound. Palestinian President Abbas met with members of the factions' committee in Gaza to discuss steps forward. One of the arrested Hamas cabinet ministers was released on bail. The Karni/al-Mintar and Nahal Oz crossings are open July 20.
2. (C) 103 American citizens departed Gaza on July 19 and arrived in Amman at approximately 2030 local (septel). Post has since received phone calls from an additional 30 American citizens who want to be evacuated from Gaza. Post is attempting to facilitate the exit through the Rafah Crossing of 20 American citizens who were denied permission by the IDF to exit via the Erez Crossing point.
3. (SBU) IDF operations in the al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip continued on July 20. On July 19, four Palestinian gunmen and five civilians were killed, and at least 50 others injured. On July 20, two gunmen from the Hamas military wing -- the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigade -- were killed. Four people were wounded, including two minors hit by an IDF tank shell. At 1330 local on July 20 several IDF tanks advanced into the center of the camp, and heavy shooting was reported. There were reports of Palestinians with serious injuries resulting from tank fire. In a separate incident, a car belonging to the Presidential Guard was hit by IDF fire on the coastal road in the al-Zahra area of Gaza. One of the Guards was badly injured and another sustained minor wounds. The IDF conducted air strikes overnight July 19-20 against militant targets in central Gaza, killing one and injuring 20 others. The media reported that the IAF has been dropping leaflets on neighborhoods in Gaza calling on residents who have ammunition caches in or under their homes to leave the area ahead of IDF strikes.
4. (C) The Preventive Security Organization's (PSO's) Nablus headquarters remains surrounded by IDF troops, as they continue an operation begun on July 19 (septel). According to USAID Nablus-based field staff, Israeli bulldozers destroyed several of the buildings in the PSO headquarters complex. The Israeli press reported the IDF was seeking several wanted Palestinians hiding inside the compound. Most of the approximately 170-200 PA security personnel detained by the IDF on July 19 remained in Israeli custody; 32 have been released. The bodies of three al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades gunmen killed in the operation on July 19 were turned over to the PA and their funerals were held in the Balata camp and in Nablus city. Approximately 3000 people participated in the funeral procession, and there were clashes between mourners and the IDF resulting in at least nine injuries.
5. (SBU) Israeli media reported that at least four Qassam rockets were fired from northern Gaza towards the Israeli city of Sderot and the western Negev. There were no reported injuries.
6. (SBU) According to Israeli media, the IDF has imQsed a general closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip from July 20 until the evening of July 22. The media reports that the IDF has received 22 warnings of intended terrorist attacks in Israel.
7. (C) According to sources in the President's office, President Abbas met with members of the factions' coordination committee in Gaza on the night of July 19. The president spoke at length about the current situation. He stressed the need to revive the Tahdia (including a cessation of rocket fire), to exchange the kidnapped Israeli soldier for a "guaranteed" (but deferred) release of Palestinian prisoners, and to form a national unity government that would adhere to the Quartet's conditions. The meeting ended with no concrete results as the Hamas delegates reportedly expressed reservations to some of the president's suggestions -- including the revival of Tahdia. The factions agreed to form a committee to draft a new document that lays out the points of agreement and the points in dispute to be resolved in further discussions.
8. (C) An Israeli military court on July 16 decided to release Palestinian Planning Minister Samir Abu-Ayshah on 5000 NIS bail. Abu-Ayshah, an independent with ties to Hamas, was arrested as part of the large-scale arrests of leading Hamas figures on June 29. The court extended the remand of the other arrested Hamas cabinet ministers and PLC members so that Israeli officials could continue their nvestigation.
9. (SBU) Crossigs: The Karni/al-Mintar commercial crossing opened July 20 at 1130 local, according to a PalTrade Gaza-based official. The Karni/al-Mintar crossing July 19 processed 206 truckloads into Gaza, according to a USAID contractor.
(SBU) The Nahal Oz fuel transfer station is operational on July 20.
(SBU) The Rafah passenger crossing is closed July 20.
10. (SBU) Electricity: According to USAID Gaza-based field staff, one of the ten electricity feeder lines from Israel to Gaza is disabled, as of July 20, and the remaining nine lines are operational. The single line that supplies the Mid-Gaza Governorate was damaged in the fighting July 18 and has not yet been repaired.