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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08JERUSALEM1021 2008-06-17 14:06:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Jerusalem
Cable title:  

UBAYDIYA MAYOR EAGER TO DELIVER PROJECTS TO

Tags:   PGOV KWBG KDEM EAID IS 
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VZCZCXRO1355
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1021 1691406
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171406Z JUN 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1818
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 001021 

SIPDIS

NEA FOR FO, IPA; NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2018
TAGS: PGOV KWBG KDEM EAID IS
SUBJECT: UBAYDIYA MAYOR EAGER TO DELIVER PROJECTS TO
CONSTITUENTS


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



1. (C) SUMMARY. A Fatah-controlled slate took control of
Ubaydiya's municipal council on May 21 after the elected
Hamas led-council resigned and the PA Ministry of Local
Government (MoLG) approved a new council. Mayor Sulayman
Abdullah and the new council requested USG development and
program assistance to the village. The council focused on
improving dilapidated local schools to handle area's
accelerating "youth bulge." END SUMMARY.

Local Political Winds Shift:
Hamas Is Out, Fatah Is In


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





2. (SBU) After Ubaydiya's (east of Bethlehem, population
13,000) elected Hamas-led municipal council resigned, PA MoLG
Minister Ziyad al-Bandak approved an all-Fatah council on May


21. The eleven members of the council were selected
following internal deliberations among the village's five
major families (each nominating two representatives) plus a
tie-breaker, with MoLG confirmation of the results. Two of
the eleven council members are women.



3. (C) On June 12, ConGen POL/AIDoffs met with
newly-appointed mayor Sulayman Abdullah (also the local Fatah
head, finishing first in local internal elections) and new
council members in Ubaydiya. Yusif Abu Lawi, a civil
engineer working for the council, said Hamas' victory in
previous local elections (held in 2005) was a "punishment for
Fatah" for perceived corruption. He said Hamas' failure to
deliver on infrastructure projects during its three-year
tenure caused discontent among locals. Mayor Abdullah added
that Hamas' victory was not an indication of support for
Hamas but reflected local fractures within Fatah at the time
of the elections. Abdullah noted that 26 candidates had
stood for election from Fatah, splitting the vote, whereas
only seven Hamas candidates were on the ballot.

Assistance Requested for Education Infrastructure


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



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





4. (U) Mayor Abdullah requested immediate USG assistance to
address the village's schools infrastructure shortcomings.
POL/AIDoffs were shown images of cracked ceiling supports,
open-air outhouses, and makeshift schoolhouses operating in
rented buildings. (Note: USAID is in contact with a
representative of the municipal council and studying how to
respond to these problems prior to the new school year's
start. There are also Middle East Partnership Initiative
(MEPI) grants under consideration to support programs for
Ubaydiya's youth center, training of community leaders and
assistance to the municipal council's women's committee. End
note).

Barrier Complicates Life for Residents


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





5. (SBU) Ubaydiya council members said before completion of
the nearby separation barrier, town unemployment was at 25-30
percent, with 85 percent of those with jobs commuting to work
in Israel. After the barrier was built, they estimate
unemployment has risen to 70 percent. Yusif Abu Lawi said
access and movement is the most pressing issue for residents,
noting that his travel to Ramallah for business often
requires waiting an hour or more at Wadi Nar "Container"
checkpoint, north of the village.

Comment


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





6. (C) Installation of an all-Fatah municipal council in
Ubaydiya reflects the decision of key families to align
themselves with Fatah and the PA in response to the Hamas
council's ineffectiveness. The Ubaydiya appointments are not
part of a general PA plan to replace Hamas-led local
councils, but similar changes are possible in other municipal
councils.
WALLES