wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09JERUSALEM1765
2009-10-02 14:54:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Jerusalem
Cable title:  

IDF SHUTS DOWN WORK AT WEST BANK QUARRIES IN AREA C

Tags:   ECON  EINV  EMIN  ETRD  KWBG  KPAL  IS 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO0355
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1765 2751454
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 021454Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6205
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 001765 

SIPDIS

NEA FOR IPA, NSC FOR KUMAR, JOINT STAFF FOR SELVA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/2019
TAGS: ECON EINV EMIN ETRD KWBG KPAL IS
SUBJECT: IDF SHUTS DOWN WORK AT WEST BANK QUARRIES IN AREA C

REF: JERUSALEM 649

Classified By: CG Daniel Rubinstein, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (SBU) Summary: The IDF raided seven Palestinian mining
operations in Area C near Bethlehem during the early morning
hours of October 1, seizing equipment and stopping work.
ConGen contacts note that this is the first time the IDF has
acted against these operations in over a year, and expressed
surprise at the action, as the work had been conducted in
plain view of IDF positions and on the basis of what they
thought was an "implied understanding" between the parties.
West Bank stone and marble exporters also face continuing
difficulties exporting their goods out of the West Bank. End
Summary.

IDF Raid Shuts Down Beit Fajjar Quarries


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





2. (C) In the early morning of October 1, the IDF raided
seven stone and marble companies operating quarries in Area C
in Beit Fajjar, a site on the outskirts of Bethlehem. Beit
Fajjar is a significant quarrying site, encompassing both
Areas B and C, that is worked by several large Palestinian
companies and employing more than 500 people. According to
the Bethlehem Union of Stone and Marble, the IDF confiscated
equipment operating in the quarries, destroyed one earth
mover, closed the area, and gave an oral stop work order.
The IDF last raided the Beit Fajjar quarries in July 2008.
However, the companies returned to work the site in clear
view of the IDF months ago, believing that they had tacit
approval from the Israeli side to do so, according to Samir
Dahdal from Nassar Stone, the largest stone company in the
West Bank. After the July 2008 raid, the stone companies
were able to retrieve their equipment from the IDF only after
paying a heavy fine and agreeing not to work at the site
again.



3. (SBU) Palestinian stone companies originally worked
quarries in Area B in the Beit Fajjar area. However, as the
stone ran out, they gradually began to move into the
adjoining Area C land. Companies have applied for permits
from the GOI to quarry within Area C, but none of these
permits have been granted to date. (Nassar Stone alone has
over 20 permits pending on sites within Area C to which it
has clear title.) The Union of Stone and Marble estimates
that 90 percent of the land suitable for quarrying is located
in Area C, while Dahdal has told us that new quarries for the
most sought after type of stone available in the West Bank
are exclusively located in Area C.

Yesh Din: Hearing on Area C Quarries Delayed


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





4. (SBU) According to Israeli NGO Yesh Din, ten Israeli
companies continue to extract stone from quarries in Area C
(reftel). Yesh Din's March 2009 petition asking the GOI to
stop quarrying by Israeli companies in Area C is pending,
with a (thrice delayed) hearing now scheduled for November


16.

Continued Difficulties at Commercial Crossings


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

-



5. (C) The stone companies around Bethlehem continue to seek
GOI permission to export their goods without going through
the costly and time-consuming "back-to-back" transfer process
at the West Bank-Israel crossing terminals. Union of Stone
and Marble representatives report they have GOI permission to
move 75 trucks a day from Bethlehem directly through the
"Tunnels" checkpoint, but claim that Israeli officials
routinely limit access to a smaller number of trucks. Stone
bound for export must still go through the Tarqumiya crossing
near Hebron, at significant additional cost to the companies.

RUBINSTEIN