Minister Tzipi Livni – Member of Israeli Cabinet
Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad – Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories
Dr. Yehuda Lancry – Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. National Media Center, Jerusalem,
April 15, 2002
Translated from the Hebrew
Minister Tzipi Livni: Today will certainly be defined by yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister in his speech, addressing the possibility of talks going beyond talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, in the form of regional talks. The sharp interest in this interview in fact goes beyond what we tried to achieve throughout the past months, part of which I hope we will still be able to achieve: the implementation of the Tenet report, followed by Mitchell, in a concept which has always been accepted by the State of Israel – ever since the conflict first arose, I believe – of dialogue with the Palestinians. During the recent period, and this is the expression used by the Prime Minister in his speech yesterday, it appears to be important to include other countries in the region, other Arab countries, in the talks, in an attempt to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this is why, in fact, the Prime Minister said what he did yesterday.
Before I turn to the meaning of what he said, it is important to me as a minister in the Israeli government to share our thought process with you, because in the end these statements, these decisions by the government don’t come out of nowhere. They are based on some kind of underlying assumptions that we have made. It is important to me to share with you these assumptions, not at the level of apportioning blame between us and the Palestinians, but simply so that you should understand this process, because I think that you will also be able to see the sense in the decision that was taken and the direction in which we will be going in the future.
I will start with Camp David – not in terms of laying blame and saying ‘we offered and they refused’, but in terms of the understanding that the Israeli leadership came to after Camp David. And this understanding was true for the Israeli leadership negotiating with Arafat at Camp David and is also shared by the present Israeli leadership.
Unfortunately Yasser Arafat does not want (this is less relevant) to end the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Yasser Arafat not only is not able, or does not want, to end the dispute, but unlike other negotiators, where it is accepted that it is possible to reject a certain offer that has been made, to demand that the other side improve its offer, to try and see how far the Palestinian side can get in the process of negotiation, the response that Yasser Arafat chose at the end of Camp David and during the negotiations that took place afterwards at Taba was to start a war against Israel. A war he called an ‘intifada’, making use of all possible means.
Therefore the conclusion that I think no one can help reaching is that this is not an attempt to obtain something more through negotiations, in which Israel has put its offer on the table, in my opinion, almost more than we were able to offer, but an attempt not to reach a solution to the conflict. It is in the interest of the State of Israel to end the conflict. We thought, and this is the conclusion we reached just before the last elections, that if it is not possible to end the conflict, and if the other side cannot or does not want to end it, our task is to achieve some process that will regulate, for a certain period of time in the coming years, some kind of non-violent atmosphere to enable both nations to live side by side. An atmosphere, at least in terms of the Palestinian side, in which the incitement will be stopped, in which each side will come to terms with the existence of the other. From our point of view the Palestinians need to come to terms with the existence of the State of Israel in order to reach the next stage of achieving a permanent arrangement.
In this context, Israel also adopted the Mitchell Report and then the Tenet Report, which laid down, first of all, not as an Israeli requirement but as a principle, that the first stage will be a period of quiet and after that there will be a political process. It is important to note here that the government of Israel has already engaged in discussions with the Palestinians, even under terrorism. The discussion at Taba took place while the Palestinians were carrying out acts of violent terrorism against the Israeli civilian population. The further understanding which was reached as a result of this process was that Arafat makes use of terrorism as a tool to achieve his political goals. So in order to prevent him making use of terrorism as such a tool, the government of Israel decided that there would be no process of political concessions under terrorism, in order to give one clear and simple message: that we are very interested in reaching a political process, but that terrorism cannot improve the political negotiating positions in terms of the two sides.
As noted, since the establishment of this government and since we adopted the Mitchell and then the Tenet reports, all possible attempts have been made on our part to calm the situation. To remind you, there was a unilateral cease-fire which ended after ten days with the attack at the Dolphinarium; a meeting between the Foreign Minister and Yasser Arafat at Dahaniya in an attempt to give extra content to the Tenet report in terms of a timetable; we adopted every suggestion made by General Zinni since his arrival in Israel.
Moving ahead to recent events, we held back and refrained from responding to the terrorist attack which took place in Jerusalem a few days before the Seder night, with the aim of trying to enable General Zinni to succeed in his mission, in the understanding that the primary interest is to achieve quiet in the region and that this is a common interest of Israel, the USA and the international community. As I said earlier, it is also a common interest for other countries in the region. It is a common interest of the Palestinian nation, too, although unfortunately not of its leader, Yasser Arafat, who is acting in a completely different way.
On a more personal note, some of the audience here knows that I was appointed to be a part of the senior committee which was to have conducted of dialogue after the Palestinian side adopted the Tenet understandings. A few hours before the start of the Passover holiday, I was informed that Israel had announced unequivocally that we accepted General Zinni’s latest proposals. A few hours later, on the eve of the holiday, we received the Palestinian answer. Until then we had been waiting for the Palestinian leadership to say ‘yes’ to the process, which on their part was simply to be the start of a fight against terrorism; in response we received the massacre which took place on the Seder night.
The underlying assumptions accompanying us today and leading to the latest proposal by the Prime Minister are somewhat different. First of all, on the positive side, and I said this earlier, Israel is interested in ending the conflict. The Prime Minister said, both before the elections and also throughout the entire period, that Israel is willing to make painful concessions if we achieve a process of real peace. The need to calm the region down and to achieve quiet is certainly in Israel’s interests. It is also in the Americans’ interest and in the interests of the international community and also, so it appears since the Saudi proposal was raised, in the interests of moderate countries in the region who are experiencing within their own countries the effects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The day after tomorrow we celebrate Israel’s independence day. Finally, after 54 years, the first message that emerged from this Saudi initiative, whose details we were not privileged to discover until the Beirut conference, they have agreed to accept the existence of Israel, or at least they have expressed their willingness to accept the State of Israel in the future, which is the positive aspect of this statement. The refinement, or the process which took place later in Beirut, brought the initiative into areas which are more problematic for us, but there is certainly an identification today of countries with which Israel wants to start a process of dialogue, beyond, or in addition to, the Israeli-Palestinian talks. Not instead of but in addition too. It is important to state this, since an interpretation has been offered that the idea is to cut the Palestinians out of the picture, and this is not so. Even the Prime Minister, speaking about the makeup of these talks, spoke of Israel, the region, Arab countries and also Palestinian representation.
I stated earlier that in my opinion, and I believe this is so, it is also in the interests of the Palestinians as a nation. But unfortunately Arafat seems to have an interest in the terrorism continuing and in this context Yasser Arafat does not represent the Palestinian interest – neither regional, nor international. Hence this proposal, in fact, seeks to identify the shared interests with the Palestinian nation, which are not represented by their present leader, and to hold a process of dialogue with the aim of promoting a period of quiet and leading to an outline of peace in the region in the future.
The details have not yet been fully formulated and therefore I will not just now go into the question of the identity of the participants, other than to note that the statement or the names given by the Prime Minister in his speech do not form a closed list – not in terms of the date, not in terms of the rank of the participants and not which issues will have to be decided in future discussions with the potential partners in this process.
I would like to conclude by emphasizing two points.
There is a tendency to deal with the persona – to deal with the question of the leader, and it is important to me to emphasize today that the lives of those who live here in this region, which finds itself involved in bloody conflict, are more important than the question of the status of this or that leader. I hope that the peace process that should be taking place here, and the future of all of us here, Israelis and Palestinians, will not be sacrificed on the altar of the status of Chairman Arafat. I do not think it is worth it and it is wrong to view it in these proportions.
I want to make one last comment. There are a few windows of opportunity in this conflict. There was one such window after September 11, when it seemed that Yasser Arafat had understood that he had to change his strategy and that perhaps he would have to abandon the path of terrorism. At least, I saw him on the following day and could almost read this thought. I think that as a result of the fact that within a relatively short period of time the international community embraced him, he misunderstood the empathy, which might be justified, which the international community has for his people. He misunderstood the opportunity and the invitations to the capital cities of the world; he misunderstood these meetings and understood them to mean a legitimization for continuing terrorism.
And since international agreement, as expressed also in the Mitchell Report, as expressed by the leaders of the free world which is today engaged in a fight against terrorism, says there is no justification for terrorism and that terrorism cannot be a tool and is not legitimate as a way to achieve political goals, it is important to issue a united and clear message to Arafat from the international community saying: do not misunderstand us. There is no justification for terrorism and anyone who acts to the contrary will have to pay for it in terms of his legitimacy within the international community. Only if this is done, only then will it perhaps be possible to see some kind of process of reduction in terrorism. If not, that same erroneous understanding of the process is liable to drag us into a continuation of the violence. Thank you.
Major General Amos Gilad: The central thing I would like to reiterate is that there was no massacre in Jenin, not now or ever. Unfortunately, we are dealing with all kinds of accusations which are groundless. Actually, it is against us that the policy of murderous terrorists is being committed. The army has uncovered explosive labs, terrorist plans made by the PA, and even supervision of terrorist operations directed against civilians by Yasser Arafat. The victims you see on the poster here are a result of the intentional murder of civilians. The Israeli army has never had any operational plan targeting civilians, heaven forbid. Quite the opposite. Not a few soldiers were killed in Jenin, mainly because of the directive to avoid harming civilians.
There are instructions not to touch the civil population. Had it been otherwise, Jenin could have been conquered easily. But they attacked. We have done everything to prevent hurting the civilian citizens. This is inhumane – when they blame us for a slaughter, mainly in Jenin, they create the impression that we a real gang of killers. I can now say unequivocally that there was no slaughter in Jenin; there were only terrorists killed on a small scale.
On the other hand, we are trying to give assistance to the population. In Jenin, the hospital almost ceased to function because there was no electricity. We have given them power, a generator, and all the hospitals are connected to electricity. There is no lack of oxygen and we have allowed the civilian population to buy food. We are also trying to renew the water supply and we are trying to work with international organizations. There is good coordination with scores of ambulances, although we sometimes hear things that are contradictory to what is going on in the field.
There is no hunger. There are no cases of atrocities. There are no rapes and murders, no looting – perhaps just small incidents here and there. Our policy is unequivocal – if someone is caught looting, he will be put on trial.
The Palestinian economy is very interesting. The Palestinians are very poor nowadays and the members of the PA are living in great luxury. Sometimes we enter a property, we are amazed at the scope of wealth. We never touch anything. The morality of the IDF is very high. This is the truth. If you have other facts, please come and tell me.
In Jenin, in Nablus, there was no slaughter. All these contentions have been refuted. Why haven’t we let the journalist enter? We want to see to it that they are not hurt. There is a clear policy to aid the civilian population and prevent problems regarding food and medicine. I don’t say that life there is agreeable and that the situation is easy, but we can say who is immediately responsible for it. Thank you.
Ambassador Yehuda Lancry: I would like to relate to the recent developments in the United Naions arena. I would open by saying that the relations between Israel and the UN have been affected almost exclusively by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, although sometimes by the Israeli-Arab peace, as in Egypt and Jordan, Jordan and Israel and other peace processes that have been conducted before this present conflict. Relations between Israel and the UN are largely controlled by the animosity with which Israel has to cope because of the Arab and Moslem majority that can be found in the UN. If you keep in mind that the non-Arab States give 130 votes to the Islamic-Arab bloc, you can imagine what the situation of Israel is like, when this is translated into resolutions of the General Assembly or the Security Council.
We can say that in the Security Council, in comparison to the General Assembly, Israel is in a relatively good position. There the responsibility reigns high, and Israel also has some protection that should be noted provided by one of the five permanent members, the United States. In order to cut short a long and frustrating story, Israel does not have any political or diplomatic leverage, were it not for the support and protection of the US in the UN, especially in the Security Council.
Three resolutions have been adopted in the last month. On 12 March: Resolution 1397, which was an initiative by the US. This was a very rare initiative. The US is usually in a defensive situation, having to reject anti-Israel resolutions. But this time they decided, in order to deflect a Syrian draft, to submit their own draft, which was adopted by 14 states with the abstention of Syria. It can be said that it is notably a balanced resolution, which calls for an immediate cease-fire and also the ending of terror and violence in all its forms.
After the Passover massacre and the Israeli military action resulting of it, and the series of terrorist suicide attacks, the Security Council convened discussions which lead to the adoption of two resolutions. Resolution 1402, which had several parts, those which were taken from the former resolution which reflect some kind of balance and called for an end to acts of terrorism. But in the operative clause, we could not find, together with the call for a withdrawal of Israeli forces a similar call for an end to terrorism in all its forms and in particular suicide attacks.
I want to point out that I have come to Israel, not to be a partner to this effort but because my niece was killed by a suicide attack five days ago on her way to her base. She was a young soldier, 18 and a half years old making her way from Haifa to Jerusalem. She was killed in a suicide bombing. I found myself many times, and in particular the recent period, calling upon the members in the deliberations of the Security Council to explicitly condemn Palestinian terror attacks by name, as ‘Palestinian terrorism’, and not to speak with alternative and various phrasing, such as ‘violence’ without an address or name, or ‘the tragedies that have occurred’ in Jerusalem, Haifa or Netanya. But, to identify the Palestinian terrorism by its true identity and to condemn it and to call for its immediate end. I used to stress suicide attacks, as any Israeli feels towards them as they occurs on a daily basis, as heinous loathsome acts. But I can tell you that now, when I was hit personally there is something that I can say that I am now much more connected with the issue, that is that my emotions are even higher.
We have also found in that resolution, a lack of sensitivity to Israel’s basic right, as a UN member state, to actualize our right to self-defense. We know that, as the UN Secretary General has said, self-defense is not an open check. But we did not find that this Resolution contained a clear statement that recognizes this Israeli right, while it is clear that it has released the Palestinians from almost all responsibility in the fulfillment of the resolution.
There was another Resolution 1403 that called for the implementation of 1402, and incorporated Powell’s mission into the Resolution. As much as Israel is concerned, as far as the Powell mission will bring about some kind of solution, even if partial – an example may be the latest initiative of Israeli Prime Minister to convene a regional peace conference – then our situation in the UN will be improved. Thank you.
Questions & Answers:
Q: I am wondering how you can have a conference and have legitimacy without Arafat?
Minister Livni: The Prime Minister has proposed a dialogue with other states in the region who are interested in reaching calm without delay, and in bringing about peace with the Palestinians at a later stage. The question of the type of conference has yet to be discussed. It is too early to speak about a conference.
Arafat is the leader of the PA. But, I was once taught that in order to solve a problem, one must first see which elements are variable and which are constant. The conflict between ourselves and the Palestinians has been going on for a long time. We change prime ministers once in four years, and lately also once in two years. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has remained as it is, and there is one factor that has also remained as is – Yasser Arafat. One must also think in this direction.
Q: The Red Cross and others have criticized Israel regarding entrance of ambulances to pick up injured during the incursions. Could you comment on that accusation?
Major General Amos Gilad (in English): There are so many allegations, it’s difficult to follow. It’s like the allegations about the massacre. I know about many instances of coordination with the Red Cross on the ground and these are the facts. If you want to check, please come with me and we will check together. These allegations are without basis.
Q: [regarding the Powell visit]
Minister Livni (in English): As I said before, over the last month, from the day General Zinni came to the region, Israel made all the efforts we could so that this visit would succeed because we think that a calm region is first of all in the Israeli interest, it is an American interest, it is a regional interest and also a Palestinian interest. But unfortunately, their leader is not representing this interest for the Palestinian people. We agreed to any suggestions that were raised to implement the Tenet recommendation as a beginning of a future for the next phase which is the Mitchell report.
Unfortunately, the Palestinians did not accept it and as an answer, we found ourselves with the Passover massacre. Israel sees great importance in the visit of Secretary Powell, and we are making all efforts that it will succeed. As we saw after the visits of General Zinni, the other side are not taking the necessary steps to fight terror, are not adopting any idea to fight terror, to make any kind of progress so we can move towards the next stage, meaning political negotiations.
There is also a need to stop the violence up north, and we see great importance in Mr. Powell going up there and I do hope that we will hear from him when he comes back maybe a more optimistic view about the future there.
Q: Do you think that there is any chance that Arab countries would come to a conference if Arafat won’t come?
Minister Livni (in English): I really don’t know. I know that it is not easy and I think it is too early to see if Arafat will be part of these negotiations. But it is important to say – the facts are that Chairman Arafat is an obstacle in the way of two peoples – Israel and the Palestinians – towards peace. This is the situation. Because we believe that peace and stability in the Middle East is not only an Israeli interest, but also one of the international community, this problem is not only an Israeli problem. It is the problem of the Palestinians, of Israel and of all the region.
That’s why I believe there is a need for us to talk with the US and the future parties for these kinds of talks to see what we are doing about it. Because, unfortunately, when Arafat was part of any convention – it’s not only about entering in to any kind of negotiation. He starts war and terror and this is something that we hope that all the states which have an interest in peace and stability will have to deal with, and find solutions to the situation. Because the lives of the people who live in this region are much more important, and the future here is much more important than the status of Yasser Arafat.
This is the problem we are facing. I do believe we can find a solution to this situation. The whole idea is to start and to talk with the Arab countries that feel inside the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to see if there is a way out. Until now Arafat has been an obstacle to achieving peace in the region.
Q: The Minister has said that at the moment a conference has no shape. There is no talk about an agenda, and other important details have no answer. How is the government taking in to consideration the Prime Minister’s initiative? Is there also any talk of considering the Saudi proposal?
Ambassador Lancry: I will refer to the position of the Foreign Minister regarding such a conference, and that of the government of Israel regarding the Saudi position. The Foreign Minister has expressed his confidence that such a conference, despite that the agenda has not yet been decided on, can outline the political horizon which is so needed for the continuation of the process, and will also give perhaps enable the Palestinian side to rehabilitate itself after one and a half years of confrontation. I believe that both these targets are very important: the establishment of a political horizon with the Palestinians, and perhaps with regard to Syria and other states, an economic horizon, even partially, because it is still early to speak about a new Middle East. I think that a conference of this nature has its own merit, when viewed in this way.
Regarding the Saudi proposal, it can be serve as a basis, even within such as conference. The government of Israel has stated that the Saudi proposal has some positive aspects. We must, of course, look into this in more depth. We also have not hidden our disagreements over this initiatives, when we stated that the basis of the negotiations should be UN Resolutions 242 and 338, and not merely a withdrawal to the 1967 lines.
Q: I would like to know if the name of Mr. Arafat is on your list of terrorists who might appear before an Israeli court?
Ambassador Lancry (in English): I do believe that Arafat, who emerged in 1993 as a sort of statesman who recognized Israel, who took the commitment to renounce any form of terrorism and violence for the achievement of his political objectives, is today the same Arafat who is acting in blatant violation of his own commitment. Arafat is a man of complexity, of duality, and we have to exert on him a dual approach. Either he could be the fulcrum of this peace process and the Palestinian cause, or its gravedigger. It depends on Arafat himself.
Q: Could you update us on what is happening on the northern front today. Has there been any activity in terms of Hizbullah attacks?
General Gilad: Nothing significant.
Q: What would you say if the Palestinians will say, yes we agree to an international conference, but without Prime Minister Sharon? What do you think about the International Red Cross. I was surprised when they said that in one year, 175 ambulances were shot by the Israeli army and 118 members were injured. What is your comment?
Ambassador Lancry (in English): As to the participation of Prime Minister Sharon, one must recognize that he is the author of the initiative and therefore we have to recognize his ‘author’s rights’. I said what I think about the Arafat. His very participation depends ultimately on his behavior, on his strategic choice, either for peace or for the practice of terror.
General Gilad (in English): We are cooperating with the International Red Cross. Do you know how many Israeli ambulances were hurt by the Palestinians? There are many who are coordinating with the International Red Cross. We respect them and feel it is very important to cooperate with them, and we are doing our best to help the Palestinian people. And please, if you like, you can come with me to see Palestinian hospitals under these difficult circumstances.
There are sometimes incidents, and we are very sorry about this. For example, we offered the Palestinians and the International Red Cross to compensate them for three ambulances that were hit by the IDF but they refused. They refused even to take blood from Israelis, because Jewish blood is not acceptable. That is why we permitted the Jordanians to send blood, since it is better, it’s Arab or Palestinian of Jordanian blood, because our top priority to help the Palestinians.
You must remember that the Palestinians are using ambulances to smuggle weapons and explosives. For example, one child was in an ambulance and under him was a belt of explosives. This is not an excuse, we are very sorry, and it is not our policy. As I said, whenever it happens, we are ready to help and compensate.
Q: I’d like to ask you of the death of the 400 marines in Lebanon. There have been numerous reports that Arafat is responsible. Have you found amongst your documents anything connecting Arafat to the death of the marines?
General Gilad (in English): It is easy to blame Arafat for everything bad, but we don’t do this. I think there is no evidence that Arafat is behind this event. I think that this is Hizbullah. But Arafat is responsible for murders and state terrorism, all this sending of terrorists and educating terrorists and equipping them with explosives, all together this is state terrorism.
But about what you’ve asked, I think the answer is no. I doubt whether there are such documents. It is possible but it appears to me untrue. What is true is that we are drenched in blood and terror with Yasser Arafat here.
Q: As a former senior intelligence officer, do you think Arafat will comply with the American demand to rein in the terrorists?
General Gilad: What we predicted was that Arafat would use state terrorism as a strategic tool in order to break our will and in parallel to deprive Israel of international legitimacy, thought such allegations like those in Jenin. This prediction has been very accurate unfortunately, and I am sure Arafat will never give up terrorism unless he achieves his strategic goal, namely, some peace plan based on four pillars including the right of return, which is similar to an explosive that will destroy this country in the future based on demographic trends. And he will never give up. If you want a proof, just check what happened in the talks between Mr. Powell and Mr. Arafat.
I am very sorry to see such girls being sent to carry out terrorist activity after they were preached to do it, taught to do it and encouraged to do it by the Palestinian Authority. To answer your question, he will never give up. He will agree to a cease-fire, because a cease-fire is meaningless. It is nothing. But he will never to agree to encourage an efficient treatment of terrorism for the simple reason that it serves his strategic goals.
Q: Are we going to actually see fences around Jenin, Tulkarm and Kalkilya and how soon is it likely to happen?
General Gilad (in English): Tougher buffer zones are very necessary. Terrorists, in their interrogations say that the buffer zone is not even a factor in their operational plans. It is a piece of cake to penetrate Israel. It is necessary from a security point of view, not a political one. So fences or gates are just details, the concept is what’s important.
Q: We have heard of shooting at Israeli soldiers from the Church of the Nativity. Is there any progress in the negotiations with those within? And why doesn’t the UN meet to discuss the violations of Lebanon in the north?
General Gilad: The idea is simple. They use holy sites in order to protect terrorists. Again, it all depends on Arafat’s decision, and I don’t think he will come to a simple solution. The simple solution would be to surrender the murderers and he will do everything in his power to prevent this. Therefore, so far, there is no progress.
Ambassador Lancry: When we speak about the ongoing bitter fruits we harvest in the Security Council, we indeed are tempted to call to convene the Security Council especially when we have the upper hand regarding the Blue Line. We could ask the US what the chances are. But you must remember, we may always know where our draft begins but you never know how it will end. There is a real danger that Israel’s enemies take advantage of this decision in order to empty it of all content, and even to introduce negative substance. You have to take this into consideration.
Timing is also important. We are dealing now with the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation in the UN. If we take such an initiative through US channels, it is very possible that the whole discussion will be focused on the Palestinians and not on Resolution 425. However, I wouldn’t discount such a process. It has to be examined, regarding timing and chance of success, and we also have to know whether the Americans will want to lead such a process. I can say that our relations with the American Ambassador to the UN is a positive factor. He stood behind Resolution 1397, which I noted was one of the most balanced ones we’ve ever known, and he is the man to undertake such initiatives. He is their new ambassador, with a new perspective of the arena. He expressed to me his concerns about Israel’s position in the UN, and told me that we must find the proper opportunities in order to turn the tables. And I think that we can indeed find the appropriate opportunity.
After having said this, we also brought up 242 and 338 in recent deliberations, even causing a confrontation with the Syrian ambassador. We attacked their very membership in the Security Council, and their the rejection of the resolutions of the Security Council, the body of which they are a member. This issue was reinforced by the Secretary General in a prepared statement in which he pointed toward the party who is responsible for this situation, while stressing the Lebanese-Syrian aspect. Although Israel must also take into account that its is also occasionally reminded that there is no room for air incursions, sea incursions, and there is also a matter of minefields. So the issue is not clean for us either, and we must take that into account.
Q: It is clear that there are tense situations around the Church of Nativity, the Jenin Camp and the Mukata’a, but why are the civilians still under curfew? Is it permissible for IDF soldiers to fire into the air to enforce a curfew?
General Gilad: Curfew is a necessary measure to prevent terrorists from getting into Israel and launching attacks on Israeli civilians. This is the only reason, the security reason, to use a curfew. This is a very simple measure and the only reason is security. Regarding the shooting in the air, I would need more details to comment.