FM Peres on Israel Cabinet Decision

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
April 30, 2002

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres stated today (April 30) that the Israeli government is fully responsible for all IDF operations, including the Jenin operation. Therefore, only the government can decide who will submit testimony regarding the fierce fighting that took place in the Jenin refugee camp.

FM Peres stated that attempts have been made to vilify Israel with a blood libel according to which 3000 Palestinians were killed in the refugee camp in Jenin. However, the widely known facts show that there were only 7 civilian casualties, which he deeply regretted, and 48 armed terrorists were killed, while Israel suffered 23 casualties.

Foreign Minister Peres stated that Israel is ready for any fact-finding mission, as it is totally innocent.

The Palestinians, even according to their own testimony, had turned the Jenin refugee camp into a hotbed of terrorism, killings and horrific suicide bombings that were perpetrated in Israel, and Palestinians themselves have disclosed this information. During the fighting, it became clear that the terrorists wired people with explosives, turning them into human bombs and planted hundreds of explosive charges in homes, to turn them into death traps, in clear contravention of international law.

The Foreign Minister noted that Israel has presented six reservations to the United Nations, the most important of which is that only Israel can decide who testifies before the fact-finding committee. To date, no response has been forthcoming from the UN.

Israel still finds itself in the midst of a difficult battle, in an effort to protect the lives of its citizens. Only recently, Israel prevented a number of attempts to carry out car bombing attacks. The Foreign Minister also referred to the terrorist killing of four Israeli civilians in a community close to Hebron, in which a five-year-old girl was murdered in cold blood. Peres stated that in a situation of this kind, it would be inconceivable for IDF soldiers to be accompanied by lawyers.

The Foreign Minister added that Israel will not abandon its sovereignty, and only Israel can determine which witnesses will appear before the fact-finding committee.