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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08TELAVIV538
2008-03-07 16:03:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

MOD MOVING AGAINST WEST BANK OUTPOSTS

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  IS  KPAL  KWBG 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO8799
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHTV #0538/01 0671603
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 071603Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5747
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 000538 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE; NEA/IPA FOR
GOLDBERGER/SHAMPAINE/ROSENSTOCK/PECCIA; NSC FOR
ABRAMS/SINGH/PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/30/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL IS KPAL KWBG
SUBJECT: MOD MOVING AGAINST WEST BANK OUTPOSTS

Classified By: Ambassador Richard H. Jones for reasons 1.4 (b), (d)



1. (C) The Israeli press reported on March 5-6 that West
Bank settler council leaders and MOD officials reached an
agreement to move unauthorized outposts included on the list
of 26 outposts recognized by the GOI as established after
March 2001, to alternative West Bank sites. MOD Chief of
Staff Mike Herzog told the Ambassador on March 5 that
discussions between the MOD and the settlers were ongoing and
viewed the initial evacuation of a handful of outposts as the
beginning of a process that would eventually address all 26
outposts, including the largest outpost of Migron. Oded
Herman, Senior Advisor to MOD Pol-Mil Director Amos Gilad,
confirmed to EconCouns and econoff that the IDF had already
evacuated one outpost earlier this week and was scheduled to
evacuate three more in the coming weeks. End summary.



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


MOD Confirms Outpost Evacuation Plan


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




2. (U) Israeli press reported on March 5-6 that West Bank
settler council leaders and MOD officials agreed to move
unauthorized outposts included on the list of 26 outposts
recognized by the GOI as established after March 2001, to
alternative West Bank sites. According to Ha'aretz, outpost
dismantlements will occur in phases and evacuated families
would be relocated into either the large settlement blocs or
in other settlements near Jerusalem. The evacuated settlers
will receive no compensation for relocating.



3. (C) MOD Chief of Staff Mike Herzog told the Ambassador
on March 5 that discussions between the MOD and the settlers
were ongoing, but an overall agreement has not been reached.
(Note: By saying that an overall agreement has not been
reached, Herzog likely means that despite the MOD and
settlers agreeing in principle to evacuate unauthorized
outposts, each phase of outpost evacuation will have to be
negotiated separately with the settlers. End note.) Herzog
viewed the initial dismantlement of a handful of outposts as
the beginning of a process that would eventually tackle all
26 outposts, including the largest outpost of Migron. He said
that the MOD was using its commitment to the Israel High
Court of Justice to propose a plan to evacuate Migron by
August, as a lever to move settlers forward on the outpost
issue. The settlers are "not very happy with us on this," he
commented. Herzog requested that the USG view the MOD's
discussions with the settlers and the initial evacuation of a
few outposts as the beginning of a lengthy process and noted
that the MOD was determined to see this process through.



4. (C) On March 6, Oded Herman, Senior Advisor to MOD
Pol-Mil Director Amos Gilad, confirmed to EconCouns and

econoff that the IDF had evacuated the Ofra South East
outpost -- consisting of two uninhabited caravans -- earlier
this week. According to Herman, the MOD plans to move against
three additional outposts in the coming weeks:

-- Yattir South West: Herman hoped that the IDF would be
able to evacuate the Yattir South West outpost, located along
the southern edge of the West Bank, within one week. Yattir
South West consists of two long livestock buildings used to
raise chickens, a container used as an office, and four
caravans housing families. The IDF will dismantle the four
caravans and relocate the families, but leave the two
livestock buildings and the container that is being used as
an office. According to Herman, laws applicable in the West
Bank permit the livestock buildings and office to remain at
the site. Herman did not provide further information on where
these families will be relocated.

-- Qiryat Arba: A synagogue built on privately-owned
Palestinian land outside of the Qiryat Arba settlement will
be removed. Qiryat Arba is located adjacent to Hebron in the
southern West Bank.

-- Mevo Horon agricultural farm: Caravans at the Mevo Horon
agricultural farm outpost will be evacuated. The six
families who live at this outpost will return to the Mevo
Horon settlement. In response to questions regarding
relocation, Herman said that if the settlers wished, they
would be allowed to transfer their caravans into Mevo Horon
as long as it was inside the settlement's master plan. (Note:
In maps shown to Emboffs, the area of Mevo Horon's master
plan exceeds the settlement's current built-up area. End
note.) The Mevo Horon agricultural farm outpost is located
northwest of Jerusalem near No Man's Land.



5. (C) Herman confirmed that the MOD has a plan with the

TEL AVIV 00000538 002 OF 002


settler council to evacuate some 26 illegal outposts in
phased stages. Each phase of evacuations would need to be
negotiated with the settlers. Due to the sensitivity of the
plan, the MOD will not publicize the details because it does
not want the settlers to feel like they are cornered, leading
them to back out of negotiations or agreements made with the
MOD. Settlement council leaders are already facing an uphill
battle within their ranks, Herman noted. Overall, the settler
rabbis are not supportive of the leaders' decisions to
evacuate outposts. A segment of settlers -- activists,
"hilltop youth," some yeshivas -- have also threatened to use
violence against any evacuation of outposts. Notwithstanding
the real possibility of violent opposition, Herman stressed
that the MOD is committed to implementing the evacuation of
these 26 illegal outposts, albeit quietly and with
sensitivity towards the settlers. He noted that easy
outposts will be evacuated first as a confidence building
measure between the MOD and the settlers. The deal between
the MOD and settler leaders is premised on an agreement that
evacuated settlers can relocate only to legally recognized
settlements, not other outposts; settlers will not be
permitted to establish new outposts to replace those
evacuated; and the MOD will not legalize any outposts.
Herman acknowledged, however, that as part of the deal with
the settlers, the MOD would likely allow construction within
legally recognized settlements, as long as it is in an
appropriately zoned area inside the settlement's master plan.




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



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


Civil Administration Also Tackles Illegal Structure


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



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




6. (C) On March 5, press reports also reported that the
Civil Administration removed a container consisting of
agricultural equipment at the Esh Kodesh outpost, but did not
complete the dismantling of a water tower at the site. Press
reports say that the Defense Ministry instructed that the
dismantling of the water tower be stopped because it was not
properly coordinated between the Civil Administration, the
Defense Ministry, and the Directors of the Binyamin Regional
Council. Settlers, however, claimed that activists,
mobilized at the site via the settler mobile text network,
prevented the GOI from further destroying existing
structures. Esh Kodesh is located in the central West Bank,
southeast of the Ariel settlement. This outpost was
established before March 2001 and has approximately 17
structures. (Note: The Esh Kodesh outpost is also known as
Mitzpe Gilad or Migdalim South. End note.)

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