It is now Tuesday evening, a day that began with statements of good intentions and hopes of a cease-fire. Until the afternoon hours the situation has been quiet, ever since that time there have been violent incidents which continue into the night. The number of incidents is smaller today, but this phenomena of a quiet morning in contrast to violent outbreaks in the afternoon repeats itself. The two focal points of violence today were Netzarim Junction and Joseph’s Tomb.
There are three elements in our activity, which indicate the restraint we are exerting in the last days:
1. We remain within our positions, in the outposts and in the settlements and the violence is “coming to us”.
2. We are restrained in the use of arms, fire is opened only when there is an immediate danger to human life. We deploy combat helicopters only when there is no better tactical measure available to us.
3. The third element is our attempts at communications. Meetings were held late last with the participation of the GOC of the Central and Southern Commands. There is willingness by the Palestinian commanders at the sites to meet with us. We are told that we are expected to pull back our forces but haven’t much area to pull them back to. We have not infringed on any area we are prohibited to enter, certainly not Palestinian controlled areas.
We are looking forward to the negotiations, which are supposed to take place tomorrow, in hope that they will bring about an end to the violence.
In concern to the Tanzim, the situation is different from before. The Tanzim is not an organized military but a sort of a militia, operating forces that are hard to control. In the future, therefore, we would have to find a way to coordinate efforts with the Palestinians.
There is imbalance in concern to the civilian population. There is a lot of talk about the Palestinian population, which comes to the points of friction, among them children. We must understand that we took a calculated risk in that the Palestinian civilian activity continues as usual, there is no closure of the territories, no curfew, and the Safe Passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is open. In contrast, we limit the movement of our civilians in the territories – Netzarim is the most significant case of this.
As to the near future, tomorrow leaders of both sides are to have a meeting. Even if the violence is mitigated, we evaluate it will not cease altogether. In any case, we the Defense Forces, should be ready for any eventuality.
In response to questions:
· There is no clear Palestinian directive to create disturbances or shoot. A clear directive in needed to end these things. It is doubtful whether the commanders of the Palestinian Security forces control the Tanzim.
· The Palestinian child that was killed – The child arrived at Netzarim junction to throw stones, and not for the first time. For some times stones are being thrown there. He must have joined the stone throwing in that day as well, when the disturbances at the site included also shooting and throwing of firebombs. We understand that his father understood the danger of the situation and tried to take him away. The two took cover by a wall, several meters away from Palestinians firing at us. The soldiers returned fire and as far as we understand the child was hit from our fire.
· There are about ten besieged settlements in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.
· Apparently the meeting in Paris tomorrow will bring about a change in the situation. If it succeeds then the violence would be reduced, if it fails the situation could worsen. We have no intention of keeping the present situation as it is over an extended period of time because it works against us.