date: 3/17/2006 14:47
origin: Embassy Tel Aviv
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 TEL AVIV 001083
STATE FOR S/CT AMBASSADOR CRUMPTON AND JAKUB
STATE FOR NEA/IPA (MAHER)
TREASURY FOR PATRICK HEFFERNAN
PENTAGON FOR OSD ISRAEL DESK OFFICER ANDERSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/02/2016
TAGS: PREL, PTER, PINR, PINS, ASEC, IS, COUNTERTERRORISM, ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS, GOI EXTERNAL
SUBJECT: JCG: ISRAEL NSC'S 2/23 SESSION WITH S/CT AMB.
REF: TEL AVIV 922
Classified By: DCM Gene A. Cretz. Reasons: 1.4 (b, d).
1. (C) On February 23, S/CT Coordinator Henry Crumpton was
hosted by National Security Adviser Giora Eiland at Israel's
NSC in Ramat HaSharon. (NOTE: The February 22 meeting of
the U.S.-Israel Joint Counterterrorism Group is covered in
reftel. END NOTE.) A panel discussion involving experts
from Israel's NSC, MOD, DMI, ISA and INP covered lessons
Israel has learned from the Global War on Terror; Palestinian
terrorist activity in Israel and suicide attacks; the Israeli
National Police's approach to terrorism; lessons learned
about terror finance, and discussion of the threat Hizballah
poses to Lebanon and the region. The Israeli side made the
following main points:
A. Governments need to arm their counterterrorism services
with the authority to act quickly to apprehend or kill
individual terrorists, and the means to collect real-time
intelligence and direct CT assets against mobile targets.
B. The lesson Israel learned from the first Intifada was that
it could not allow Palestinian terrorist groups to operate
freely in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The number of
terrorist attacks, and their effectiveness, dropped
dramatically after the IDF re-entered the West Bank and the
C. The Palestinians can effectively use suicide attacks
because there are plenty of young Palestinians willing to
martyr themselves as bombers, and explosives are abundant and
available to terrorist groups.
D. Israel's various agencies responsible for counterterrorism
cooperate and share information with one another much more
effectively than they did five years ago. Israel has learned
much about how terrorists transfer funds to one another, but
still suffers from information gaps.
E. Iran employs Hizballah as an arm with strategic reach that
threatens the stability of Lebanon and the region, and
2. (C) The two sides discussed the current status of the
Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) and agreed that the
program was an excellent example of U.S.-Israeli cooperation
in the Global War on Terror. The participants then viewed a
number of TSWG-produced equipment that is either currently in
use, or will soon be available for USG and GOI use. END
OVERVIEW BY NSA EILAND
3. (C) National Security Adviser and retired Major General
Giora Eiland opened the day's discussion with a review of
some conclusions Israel has drawn about the Global War on
Terrorism (GWOT), cautioning that Israel "was a little late"
in understanding the nature of the war and its implications.
He made the following points:
A. The War on Terror is Not a Conventional War. It happens
among the people in populated areas. Individuals -- not
armies -- are now our enemies. We now have to target
specific people, not fixed military assets. Because people
move quickly, we must have real-time intelligence. All forms
of intelligence (e.g., signals, imagery, and human) need to
be brought to one person at a very low level (e.g., a brigade
commander), and that person must have the authority to make
decisions regarding hitting targets. Because the enemy can
move quickly and cause significant damage with the technology
and know-how at his disposal, CT forces need to be able to
react quickly. The rules of engagement are confusing when
you do not know who the enemy is. International legal
definitions are increasingly irrelevant.
B. The Relationship Between the Political and Professional
Levels Must Change. During World Wars I and II and the Cold
War, the goals were simple and clear. In the GWOT, it is
much more difficult to define military objectives. Military
and political leaders need to discuss issues at the same
level, because the issues now are neither purely political
nor purely military. Not all responses should be military
C. Technology Needs to be Modified so that it is Appropriate
for the War. Changing weapons systems is not easy from a
psychological point of view. Now, 90 percent of capabilities
for targeted killings are based on technology. Unmanned
aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used to find fixed targets,
and can now locate specific people. In the past
five-and-a-half years, Israel has faced many attempts to
execute suicide attacks, but has prevented 80-90 percent of
them, with technology being responsible for 90 percent of the
D. We Must Change How We Allocate Resources and Define
Missions. The current set of CT organizations is
conservative in how it behaves and how its component parts
share information with one another. They were designed under
old rules. A good example is how the Israeli National Police
(INP) relates with the Israeli army (IDF). The war on
terrorism means that the missions of these two organizations
overlap now. Consequently, their missions and resources need
to be adjusted. Israel believes that targeted killings are
extremely effective in preventing terrorist attacks. They
require that you bypass the ordinary chain of command in
order to carry them out. In Israel, for example, a brigade
commander is authorized to give orders to Shin Bet (ISA) and
Israeli Air Force (IAF) assets to execute such killings.
E. The Perception of Reality is More Important than Reality.
The media has tremendous influence in the GWOT. Perceptions
determine domestic and international legitimacy, which
affects a country's operational boundaries. We cannot "beat"
the media. We have to join it.
F. A Huge Gap Exists Between Expectations and Operational
Capability. This is true regarding both the duration of an
operation (with politicians wanting it to be short), and the
desire that there be no casualties or innocent victims.
Leaders need public support at the beginning of an operation.
They tend to promise things that they cannot deliver.
4. (C) Eiland suggested that these lessons are well known,
but that obstacles continue to hinder our ability to
implement the right lessons learned. Governments need to do
more to educate their populations about the nature of the
conflict, and the need for a different attitude towards
combating terrorism. Eiland stressed that governments need
to look to the future and prepare for it. He suggested that
future terrorist attacks will use weapons of mass destruction
(WMD) involving chemical, biological, radiological and
nuclear (CBRN) agents, and that there are civilian measures
that need to be taken in order to deter such attacks. He
also suggested that cyberterrorism will emerge as a
significant threat and require international cooperation in
order to prevail against it. He noted that Israel
established an organization three years ago to consider how
Israel can better defend itself against such attacks.
5. (C) Ambassador Crumpton made the following points in
A. The current war on terrorism requires precise, fast and
agile responses. It also requires intelligence that maps out
the social, economic, cultural and environmental terrain. In
a given environment, sometimes there are no noncombatants.
The enemy is a fast, flexible "micro-target" that can have
B. All instruments of statecraft are affected. States need
to adjust their instruments to their strategic targets.
Formerly distinct political and military spheres are now
blended. The private sector is increasingly the target, and
should have a stake in helping to find solutions. States
need to integrate policy planning and technology research and
C. Regarding technology, micro-UAVs will have tremendous
applications. The U.S. has learned how to use UAVs to probe
air defense systems.
D. Regarding organizational structure, the U.S. is still
working on how to optimize the Department of Homeland
Security and the director of National Intelligence. The
interagency process works best in the field. Organizations
need to work together on a basis of trust.
E. Regarding future threats, the "cyberworld" has become a
form of terrorist safehaven and needs to be treated as such.
ISA PRESENTATION ON PALESTINIAN TERROR ACTIVITY
6. (C) Israeli Security Agency (ISA; aka Shin Bet, Shabak)
representative Szymon Rosenberg made the following points on
Palestinian terrorist activity:
A. The ISA is the "core agency" responsible for
counterterrorism and integrating CT efforts.
B. It takes only a few minutes for terrorists to hit cities
in "green line" Israel from the Palestinian territories in
the West Bank. Haifa and Tel Aviv are 36 and 21 kilometers,
respectively, from the northern West Bank. Be'er Sheva is 18
kilometers from the southern West Bank. Jerusalem lies in
between the northern and southern parts of the West Bank.
C. The Gaza Strip is the center of the more sophisticated
terrorist activity. In Gaza, HAMAS produces Qassam rockets
and IEDs from materials smuggled in from Egypt. It launches
the Qassams and mortar shells from Gaza. Judea is
responsible for most of the suicide attacks against targets
in "green line" Israel.
D. The year 2002 was the worst year for terrorist attacks in
Israel, with 183 Israelis killed in three months alone. Of
the 183, 135 were killed in one month. Israel responded with
Operation Defensive Shield and entered the West Bank. This,
and the establishment of a "buffer zone," resulted in a
noticeable drop in successful terrorist attacks. The start
of the cease-fire tahdiya in March 2005, and disengagement in
August 2005 led to a further reduction in attacks and
E. HAMAS is responsible for most of the casualties over the
past few years due to its efficiency, even while HAMAS
honored the tahdiya. Under the cover of the tahdiya HAMAS is
gathering its forces and building them up in the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip. It has at least 1,000 people serving in
its "army," and is supported by "tens of thousands" of
activists. HAMAS also has a separate intelligence gathering
structure. After Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip,
HAMAS moved into posts abandoned by the IDF. It is storing
anti-tank weapons at some of these hardened posts.
F. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was the most lethal
terrorist organization operating in Israel in 2005 -- it
carried out five suicide bombing attacks that killed 21
Israelis. Among terrorist organizations, PIJ takes the lead
in launching Qassam rocket attacks. PIJ is very dedicated,
but works in small groups and has no political agenda of its
own. It receives support from Iran.
G. Fatah/Tanzim is a grouping of terrorist groups that
includes the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades. These groups are
isolated and only loosely connected with one another. Some
of them receive their orders from Hizballah. They are not
very efficient, and most of them stopped their activities in
ISA PRESENTATION ON SUICIDE ATTACKS IN ISRAEL
7. (C) Rosenberg then made a presentation on suicide attacks
in Israel, highlighting the following points:
A. There have been two main periods of suicide bombings in
Israel's recent history: In 1993, as a result of the Oslo
agreements, and in 2001, when the Intifada began. From 1995
to 2000, the Palestinian Authority cooperated with Israel to
prevent attacks. The number of attacks increased
significantly in 2002. The IDF's subsequent entrance into
the West Bank reduced the attacks and fatalities.
B. HAMAS and the PIJ are the most efficient terrorist
organizations when it comes to executing attacks. Fatah
joined in executing some suicide attacks in 2001 to gain
public support and to challenge HAMAS. The Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine -- a secular terrorist
organization -- also joined in the attacks. Martyrdom has
become a household word among the Palestinians.
C. There are several motivations behind the use of suicide
bomb attacks. They are very effective, are often executed as
a form of revenge, and often draw on the bomber's personal
motives. Potential bombers and explosives are also available.
D. Based on interviews with 15 suicide bombers who did not
succeed in executing their missions, the ISA organizers of
the study have determined the following about the bombers:
Most of the bombers have been young bachelors, although some
have been divorced women. Most bombers have some college or
high school education. The typical bomber is young, single,
not religiously fanatical, financially stable, better
educated than the average Palestinian, lacking in prior
terrorist experience, and submissive in character. Female
bombers exhibited suicidal tendencies prior to their
recruitment. A large percentage of the bombers come from
refugee camps. The study's organizers are currently checking
the information gleaned from the bombers against information
they are getting from the bombers's families, captured
terrorist leaders, and a test group. Israeli psychologists,
social behaviorists and intelligence experts are involved in
INP PRESENTATION ON THE INP'S APPROACH TO TERRORISM
8. (C) Israeli National Police (INP) BGEN Shaike Horowitz
presented on the INP approach to terrorism, making the
following main points:
A. INP is charged with "classic" police duties and
maintaining public security. It operates out of seven
districts nationwide. INP's police supervisor resides at
headquarters in Jerusalem. District commanders are
responsible for police activity in their own territory.
B. Intelligence sharing between the ISA and the INP has
improved dramatically over the last five years.
C. The INP works closely with the citizenry, educating
Israelis on the terrorist threat and organizing community
policing. The INP also coordinates with private security
PRESENTATION ON MONEY TRANSFERS TO GAZA STRIP AND WEST BANK
9. MAJ Ilan Lochoff from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)
briefed on money transfers to the Gaza Strip and the West
Bank (2004-5), making the following main points:
A. Ninety percent of funds make their way to HAMAS through
the dawa, HAMAS's financial and logistical support network.
Funds sent to HAMAS's operational structure for activities is
sent separately from funds sent to HAMAS through the dawa.
HAMAS sends money into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
through the dawa and through people who are compartmentalized
and unknown to HAMAS operatives, making it hard for Israeli
security services to shut down the transfer channels.
B. Other Palestinian terrorist organizations are learning
from HAMAS how to transfer funds. The IDF believes that PIJ
has taken several lessons from HAMAS.
C. Palestinian terrorist organizations are currently using
five methods (separately and in combination with one another)
to transfer funds: money changers, traders, money
telegraphing, couriers, and banks. The preference is to
transfer money by people so that bank transfer fees can be
avoided. PIJ tends to use Western Union and other money
telegraphers. Fatah gets its money from Fatah/Hizballah
using telegraph companies and money changers. The most
common pattern for the flow of funds originating in Syria is
through money changers or by telegraph from Damascus to
Beirut to Egypt. The money is then brought by courier from
Egypt into Gaza. The hawala method is also used, but is very
difficult to understand and track. (NOTE: Developed in
India, the hawala is an alternative or parallel remittance
system the exists and opertes outside of, or parallel to,
traditional banking or financial channels. END NOTE.)
D. Of the various Palestinian terrorist organizations, HAMAS
and the PIJ are the largest recipients of funds transferred
into Israel and the Occupied Territories (OTs). In 2004,
HAMAS received USD 10.5 million. In 2005, HAMAS received USD
16 million. Israel expects that the PIJ will take over the
"lion's share" of funds sent by telegraph companies and money
changers once HAMAS assumes control of the PA.
E. HAMAS funds are collected in Saudi Arabia and in Europe.
Israel does not know how these funds are then transferred to
HAMAS headquarters in Syria and Lebanon. Israel does know
how the funds get from Syria and Lebanon to the OTs. Syria
orders funds for PIJ, but the money is transferred through
Lebanon so that there are no fingerprints on it. Israel has
not effectively hampered the transfer of funds into the OTs,
and the Israeli security services do not have any idea of how
money is transferred within the OTs once it has entered them.
Overall, Israel's understanding of how money is transferred
has improved since 2004.
F. Israel's understanding of how funds are raised in Saudi
Arabia is "comparatively dim." Israel understands that
high-level HAMAS and PIJ representatives fly from Gaza to
Saudi Arabia, where they meet traders and then return.
PRESENTATION ON HIZBALLAH THREAT TO LEBANON AND REGION
10. (C) MAJ Itzhaki from IDF Intelligence spoke on Hizballah
as a threat to Lebanon and regional stability, making the
following main points:
A. Hizballah is an arm of Iran with strategic reach. In
Lebanon, it is training warriors for Iraq. Hizballah's "Unit
2800" is now using in Iraq the same tactics it developed from
Hizballah's war with the IDF in Lebanon. Hizballah's
"External Security Organization" collects information
worldwide for Iran. Hizballah has cells in over 40 countries
around the world, and bases in Europe and South America. It
has established itself well in Lebanon over the last 20
years, and is now active in politics as well as in the terror
arena. President Lahoud is a puppet of Syria. (NOTE:
Itzhaki said he personally believes that Syria was behind the
Hariri assassination, but that Hizballah played some role in
it. He acknowledged that Israeli intelligence experts do not
necessarily agree on either of these two points. END NOTE.)
B. Hizballah sees many roles for itself: defending the
interests of Shiites; serving as an agent of Syria and Iran;
serving as a jihadist organization executing anti-American
and anti-Israeli agendas; serving as a "protector" of
Lebanon; and existing as an Arab/Islamic organization. A
tension exists between the jihadist and Lebanese aspects of
Hizballah's identity. This tension prevents Hizballah from
making full use of its terrorist and military capabilities.
C. Israel is particularly concerned about Hizballah's focus
on kidnapping Israeli soldiers.
D. The French are thinking about how to build up the Lebanese
Armed Forces. Israel agrees with this goal, but believes
that it needs to be done in a way that gives the LAF
capabilities that cannot be transferred to Hizballah.
DISCUSSION OF TSWG AND REVIEW OF PRODUCTS
11. (C) Israeli Technical Support Working Group (TSWG)
Co-Chair IDF COL David Ovandia praised the TSWG as an
excellent example of Israel's good relations with the U.S.
He highlighted it as the main element of U.S.-Israel
cooperation in the CT area that yields concrete products for
use by both countries in the Global War on Terrorism. The
TSWG is now operating under its second Memorandum of
Agreement, and has a USD 250 million budget that will sustain
its work through 2015 and can be increased, as necessary.
The TSWG meets two times each year (once each in Israel and
the U.S.). The U.S. side is represented by the Departments
of State, Defense, Homeland Security and Energy; and the
Secret Service, CIA, FBI and FAA. To date, 85 projects have
been approved for research and development, and 45 of those
projects are currently active. TSWG produces an average of
10 projects each year. Each project takes an average of one
to two-and-half years to pass from conception to fielding.
Ovandia noted that one project on latent fingerprint
technology was used in investigating the murder of an Israeli
12. (C) Ovandia noted two other programs that TSWG sponsors:
(A) the MARKER program, a joint IED Task Force that has
produced equipment currently fielded by U.S. forces in Iraq.
(B) a new cooperative venture with the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA), of which TSWG is the
program manager. This is a USD 36 million program with a
lifespan of four years. It is focusing on omnidirectional
sniper detection and labs that will be used to counter
improvised explosive devices and detect and neutralize
13. (U) S/CT Coordinator Ambassador Henry Crumpton cleared
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