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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08JERUSALEM1559 2008-08-25 11:56:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Jerusalem
Cable title:  

BIR NABALA CHECKPOINT REMOVED; IMPROVES TRAVEL

Tags:   KWBG PBTS PREL PHUM IS 
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VZCZCXRO7855
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1559 2381156
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251156Z AUG 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2586
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 001559 

SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE. NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2018
TAGS: KWBG PBTS PREL PHUM IS
SUBJECT: BIR NABALA CHECKPOINT REMOVED; IMPROVES TRAVEL
BETWEEN NEARBY VILLAGES AND RAMALLAH

REF: A. JERUSALEM 565

B. JERUSALEM 1488

C. JERUSALEM 1508

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



1. (C) SUMMARY: ConGenoffs verified the complete removal
of the Bir Nabala/Rafat Masyoun checkpoint south of Ramallah
on August 22. The removal improves travel between Ramallah
and its southern villages, where some 50,000 Palestinians
reside. Local Palestinians said the previous wait time when
leaving Ramallah was 30-45 minutes. UN OCHA sources called
the removal "significant." Bir Nabala is the seventh West
Bank roadblock or checkpoint removed since April. END
SUMMARY.

Removal of Bir Nabala Checkpoint


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





2. (C) ConGenoffs visited the Bir Nabala/Rafat Masyoun
checkpoint south of Ramallah on August 22 and confirmed its
complete removal. The checkpoint was located along a
north-south road south of Ramallah, which crosses under but
not connect to Route 443 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. On
August 22, concrete blocks and remnants of lanes and booths
were on the roadside. There was no IDF presence at the site,
and traffic flowed freely to the north and south.



3. (C) Bir Nabala was a one-way checkpoint at which IDF
soldiers checked vehicles exiting Ramallah (Area A) toward
Area B and C villages in the two enclaves to the south and
southwest. According to local Palestinians, northbound
traffic into Ramallah was not generally stopped, but
travelers heading southbound from Ramallah through the
checkpoint would wait 30-45 minutes. Locals confirmed the
checkpoint was removed August 21.

Significant Impact for Local Villagers


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





4. (C) Removal of the checkpoint will significantly
facilitate access to Ramallah for approximately 50,000
Palestinians in the two enclaves formed by the separation
barrier south and southwest of Ramallah. One enclave
directly south of Ramallah includes four villages (Bir
Nabala, Al Judeira, Al Jib, and Beit Hanina al Balad), pop.
15,000. The four villages are bordered on the east and west
by the separation barrier and to the south by impassable
terrain (and the barrier,s proposed route).



5. (C) A 1.1 kilometer sunken road/tunnel running
underneath the barrier connects those villages to a second
enclave to the west, bounded on the north and south by the
completed barrier and on the east by barrier construction.
Ten villages, pop. 35,000, make up this second enclave. OCHA
sources told Econoff the removal was "significant," because
it allows villagers south of Ramallah to drive unimpeded back
and forth to Ramallah without having a 45 minute wait at the
checkpoint.



6. (C) COMMENT: Bir Nabala is the seventh removal (or
adjustment) of West Bank roadblocks and checkpoints since
April. They are: Asira al Shamaliyah - 804 (north of Nablus,
April 28), Beit Haarava - Dead Sea (West of Jericho, May 13),
Rimonim (near Ramallah, May 31), Kvasim (south of Hebron, May
18), Farsh al-Hawa (north of Hebron, August 7), and Shavei
Shomron (west of Nablus, August 9). The exact circumstance
at each of these seven locations varies, as does the
improvement in Palestinian movement. See reftels for
additional information. END COMMENT.

WALLES