COMMENTS MADE TO THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE HEBRON MASSACRE
23 MARCH 1994
I toured the cave of the Patriarchs, in order to try and closely examine the circumstances of the incident. I met with the mayor and the leaders of Hebron’s Arab community. I expressed in my name and in the name of the entire IDF, the shock, the outrage, our sharing of the sorrow and bereavement to those families of the Palestinian community in Hebron. We told them of our intent to fully investigate. It was not known that a government Commission of Inquiry would be appointed; and our responsibility is to do whatever we can so as not to allow it to happen again, a despicable deed such as this, which was beyond our power to prevent, in which tens of Palestinians were killed.
The massacre at the Tomb of the Patriarchs was a great shock, totally unexpected, and it is this investigation, and only this investigation, that will determine if it was, as first appears, an insane act by an insane man. The massacre took place roughly six months after the government’s decision of the 30th of August 1993 regarding the Declaration of Principles, which was signed on the 13th of September. In fact, in the political developments since the 30th of August, a worsening in the security situation was to be foreseen in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, both regarding Arab terror and the behavior of the Jewish population. In fact, we did foresee developments whose essence was a certain reduction in the level of PLO terrorist activity and in violent demonstrations in Palestinian population centers and, on the other hand, a large increase in terrorist activity by members of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and other rejectionist front organizations, and in the efficiency, and I would even say deadliness, of their attacks, with an emphasis on hitting Israeli civilians. Thus, in the six months preceding the August 30, 1993, two Jewish citizens were killed in Judea and Samaria, and eight in the six months after August 30. On the other hand, there was an increase in the disturbances and lawbreaking by Israeli citizens, residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, especially following violent attacks by Palestinian terrorists, and also a general deterioration in the feeling of security, including travel on the roads, as perceived by Israelis. The result was an increase in the friction between Israeli citizens and the army, and in incidents where the law was broken by those citizens. There were 52 such incidents in the six months preceding the August 30, and 211 in the six months following
the August 30.
The outbreak of the intifada at the end of 1987, marked an increase in very serious terrorist activity and violence, part of a 20-year old reality that was difficult in and of itself. The IDF’s operational goals in Judea, Samaria and Gaza since then, and especially in the past year or so, are, firstly the prevention of terrorist attacks, at the center of which lies the battle against the fugitives, murderous terrorists, those who lay explosives, suicide bombers, who in 1993 murdered 62 people, of whom 20 were within the Green Line, including Jerusalem, and since the beginning of the intifada, 203 Israelis, both citizens and members of the security services.
This struggle is carried out with a very high level of professionalism and cooperation between undercover units of the IDF and other bodies, the General Security Service (GSS), the Border Guard and the Israeli Police. And this struggle against hostile terrorist activity, centered as it is on the battle against fugitives, occupies a great amount of the attention of the commanders at all levels. This means both the direct consequences of failure, namely, murders, and the potential consequences of the ever increasing self-confidence of terrorists and the widening of the circle of those involved in terrorism, and also in the symbolic heroism and mythology that is created around terrorists who manage to survive for an extended period of time and continue their operations. Take for example Imad Akal from the Gaza Strip, who took part in 20 attacks and was responsible for the murder of citizens and members of the security forces, or Amudi, who was caught the evening before the massacre at Hebron, and was responsible for or participated in the murders of Zion Elkobi, Levine and Mandelovitch, Luzana Weinstock and the Lapid family, and of Noam Cohen, a Golani Brigade soldier who was later a "Sayeret Matcal" [Special Forces] officer, and then later a GSS field man, salt of the earth, the sort of person to whom at the end of the day we all owe our ability to live here in safety. And his future was still in front of him. And the wanted terrorists are still operating.
Also, with respect to reducing Palestinian casualties, many were murdered by their fellow Palestinians as collaborators, while we fail to see what led their murderers to connect them in whatever fashion to whatever arm of the security forces. Even in the area of reducing the overall bloodshed between the Palestinian community and the Israeli community, these operations against terrorists, murders and fugitives has other dimensions which I cannot go into in public. However it is impossible in my opinion to understand, not even in retrospect, the strain, the uncertainty, the motives, the pressures on the modes of operation and the powers of judgement, and priorities in all areas, in all resources, from vehicles to commanders’ time, without considering the central factor of the active struggle against murderous Palestinian terrorism that represents the primary elements of what we do in Judea and Samaria. It is explained to our forces as the top priority and goal, both by myself and by the Minister of Defense.
This has been the situation throughout the past months, and with more emphasis following the peace process and the determination of radical Palestinians to disrupt it. And it can be seen even in the events of this very day: stabbings in Nahal Oz, Katyushas in the Galilee, IDF and SLA soldiers killed, friendly fire casualties in the Security Zone. A Jew shot with his own weapon at the Damascus Gate this morning. A battle with terrorists in Hebron, the ruins of the house have not yet been cleared. The battle lasted some 18 hours and three, maybe four, terrorists were killed, among them some of the most important Hamas fugitives in Hebron. A battle that lasted a long time, firstly in order to reduce needless deaths. There has in fact been a Palestinian women killed, as far as we know killed by terrorist fire from within the house. There are several wounded soldiers. Col. Meir Kolifi and Maj. Gen. Shaul Mofaz, commanded this battle in the field while we were asleep in our beds, and, when he was not giving evidence, Maj. Gen. Danny Yatom.
The second issue is Israeli security on the roads. Some 120,000 Israelis live in Judea and Samaria, tens of thousands of Israeli vehicles travel along the hundreds of kilometers of roads. They live there with the consent of all the Israeli governments since 1967, and it is the responsibility of the IDF to ensure their freedom to travel to work, to friends and relatives; to Tel Aviv and back. For the past six years in tens of thousands of incidents involving stone throwing, molotov cocktails and roadblocks, property was damaged and people were killed. Israeli citizens were subject to attack because they were Israeli and living in Judea and Samaria, and in Gaza. In a number of tragedies they were even shot by IDF soldiers whose function it was to ensure their safety. The IDF operates hundreds of vehicles in the area, patrolling on and off the roads, escorting hundreds of convoys, busloads of children every day, and it is a huge day-to-day burden which has withstood the test more than once; the test of being fired upon and clashing with terrorists and of funerals. It demands all the attention and readiness of the commanders.
The IDF is responsible for the dispersal of violent Arab demonstrations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, that involved, more than once, a threat to the actual control of the area, and the potential danger to life. This has been carried out for years, and was in decline this past year and a half, not including these past few weeks and Palestinian terror attacks which were followed in their wake by Israeli disturbances in the same areas in which attacks occurred.
The IDF ensures that Israelis obey the law and maintain public order in Judea and Samaria. In the face of demonstrations, violent disturbances, damage to property, sometimes life threatening situations, it represents the rule of the law, the sovereignty of the State over its citizens and also the obligation to protect Arabs from Jewish disturbances. The IDF, which has deterrent power, acts to minimize or prevent Israeli actions against Arabs or their property, and if there are warnings of incidents such as these, they are dealt with.
The IDF is formally responsible for and in practice partially helps with, maintaining the law from a criminal and civilian point of view within the Palestinian population. The execution of this policy is carried out by the Israeli Police, whose capabilities were weakened following the resignation of Palestinian police officers, and due to deficiencies in budget and manpower. The IDF helps the Civil Administration carry out its tasks, mainly securing its activities, its facilities and its representatives.
Since the 30th of August 1993, many steps have been taken to hasten these developments, amongst them enhancing the activities of the GSS and of the special units in the pursuit of wanted terrorists, a struggle that has extremely important results, even today. Reinforcing IDF forces, increasing the allocation of escort vehicles, beefing up the escort system, the reallocation of regular forces from major Arab population centers that the conflict or tension in them has lessened, to the main centers of friction, amongst them Ramallah, Psagot Triangle, Hebron, and some other centers. This also involved the operation of a system of surprise roadblocks and random arrests and the initiation of inter-ministerial activity to enforce the law and maintain public order with regards to Israelis; the issuing of temporary orders concerning the enforcement of the law and disturbances by Israelis, which I will discuss later on, following a clarification of the "open fire" orders, strengthening of the security arrangements at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, increasing the equipment and means for the documentation of information concerning Israeli breaking of the law in Judea and Samaria, and other subjects which I cannot detail here.
All these issues, and others, are dealt with by the Regional Commands, through organized staff work all this in order to ensure that we are sufficiently prepared, as far as is possible, to face the developments that we expect. I reiterate that in my opinion, it is only with an understanding of the entire tense, overall situation, is it possible to reach a clear perspective of the strain that the IDF, in the name of the State of Israel, facing the intifada, places on the commanders that actually do the work from dawn to dusk, days and nights, weekdays and holidays, heavy-lidded and tired, always tense and ready, endlessly devoted, working around the clock in an endless series of meetings and patrols, sending directives to their soldiers, rushing to the center of events, all in order to carry out the missions I have described with all the unknown factors and uncertainties, to save human lives from both sides, as well as those of the security forces. They are not superhuman, and knowing them, they are not inhuman. They are not immune to mistakes and misjudgment, and they are of course, like everyone, not immune to criticism, investigation, and the demands of accountability.
But I would like to state here, to the best of my knowledge, that the late Maj. Gen. Nehemia Tamafi, and Brig. Gen. Ya’alon, who testified before you yesterday, Maj. Gen. Danny Yatom, who you also saw this morning, Maj. Gen. Mofaz who you also saw in the past, and tomorrow, Col. Meir Kalif, whom I have never seen so busy as they have been in these years in Judea and Samaria. Them and their counterparts in Gaza. These are the best people we have in the IDF and in my opinion the best we have in the State of Israel. I appointed them to their positions, in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza, and I appointed them because to the best of my knowledge they are the best. I bear the responsibility for their appointments and for their actions. I am proud that I had the right to be their commander.
Today, we are examining their actions separately from this overall view, in isolation, in retrospect, focusing on this one issue. Myself and the commanders, anticipated the dangers inherent in the advancement of the political process, and we acted, together with the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, in coordination with the other arms of the security forces to preempt the impending dangers, including an increase in hostile Arab terror, including Israeli disturbances, damage to property, violence and illegal use of weapons.
We did not anticipate, and in my opinion, it was impossible to anticipate, a massacre or mass murder, in cold blood, or an insane attack by a Jew, without warning or precedence. So, as I see it, and with the benefit of hindsight, it seems to me that the security arrangements of the Tomb as they were planned, had they been executed in full, it is possible that they would have prevented the massacre, which seems as though it was carried out after he entered through the Isaac Gate next to the entranceway, or at least would have much reduced the scope of the crime. On the other hand, I wouldn’t like to mislead you. A determined and relentless killer, once he had seen the two guards who were supposed to stand by the Isaac Gate, could have changed his plans and acted at another place. A reasonable response to a reasonable array of possibilities is what is required in a military plan. I have already given my opinion that a single madman who is prepared to give his life, will be able to find a way to carry out his mission.
That is all I have to say on this issue, and I would like, with your permission to talk about the open fire orders, which I noticed occupied the Commission for a long time, and I believe it is proper for me to address the issue.
The open fire orders were examined and authorized on more than one occasion by the High Court of Justice. The open fire orders are issued by Operation Branch GHQ, following authorization, in conjunction with the IDF Military Advocate General, the State Attorney, the Legal adviser to the Government and a long series of deliberations. The dissemination of the orders is authorized by the Chief of the General Staff.
During the intifada a number of changes took place, not in the law and certainly not in the general principles behind it, but changes that in fact were adjustments to the open fire orders in view of the new situations we were facing: the use of tear gas, the use of rubber bullets, the use of plastic bullets to disperse violent demonstrations, in order to prevent situations where lives would be in danger, in which the open fire orders would make possible a situation where the chances of the loss of life would be even greater. The law is uniform, and the law itself does not discriminate neither is there any discrimination in the orders, in the green booklet, between Jews and Arabs.
The guiding principle upon which the limitations and boundaries of the open fire orders are based, appearing in both in our submitted statement and in earlier rulings, is the need to maintain at all times the reasonableness of the means utilized, and the relationship between the severity of the means employed and the level of danger that it tries to prevent. According to this principle, certain limitations were applied to these rules.
In all the rules for opening fire, several limitations are involved, and it is good that this is so. First, opening fire comes only as a last resort, after all other means have been exhausted. Secondly, it is a last resort when executing the procedure for arresting someone suspected of committing a serious crime. Only in the case of a serious and immediate threat to the life of a soldier or others is fire opened. Only the attacker is fired upon and only as long as the threat remains an immediate one.
The rules of engagement are the same [for Jews and Arabs], but the circumstances, what is expected, the appreciation of the situation as it changes, differ from incident to incident. Take for example an Israeli carrying a weapon. Now, we assume that he has that gun because the IDF gave it to him for self-defense. A local Palestinian carrying a gun we assume to be a terrorist, and he may very well use that weapon to carry out a murder, or perhaps he has already used it to do so, and therefore it is necessary to arrest him. An Israeli who uses his weapon it is reasonable to assume has done so in self-defense, because that was why it was given to him. If he is not using it in self-defense, then he is committing a crime. The crime has to be stopped, the person arrested and brought to the Police. A local Arab who is firing a gun it can be assumed is either firing it at Israelis or at fellow Palestinians; you would run after him and detain him while trying to stop his firing or take the weapon away from him. He might even turn the gun on you and shoot you. An Israeli who is firing a weapon might very well be defending himself; you have not stood in his shoes, and you have certainly not been authorized to carry out a sentence against him, for if you have, you have decided that the sentence is death and you have carried it out. But if you run to this Israeli, who might very well be defending himself, and try to stop his firing, you can be fairly sure that he will not turn his gun on you. But, if he does fire on you and tries to kill you, it is obvious that he is crazy, and therefore the rules for opening fire when your life is threatened apply. You can then open fire on him. Until now we have never encountered this situation.
I do not remember an incident where an Israeli civilian has stabbed or killed a soldier. And, we’re sorry to say, there have been far too many occasions when soldiers were not able to open fire quickly enough to kill the attacker. According to the legal situation now extant in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District, weapons are not used against Israelis when they are disturbing the peace. This is based on a policy specific to the Central Command, and this has been the procedure there for quite some time, and it has been emphasized anew in a recent temporary procedural order that was issued to bring about more efficient law enforcement where Israeli civilians are concerned. The law is enforced, but with Israeli civilians the "procedure for arresting a suspect" is not employed in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District. The entire judicial system in Israel knows full well that situations involving a soldier and a threat to his life or others are covered in the "Green Booklet" issued to all soldiers which was updated as recently as July 1993. In the booklet it says that a soldier will use his weapon only in cases where there is an immediate and present danger to his life or to that of others; the use of the weapon is a last resort, and it is to be used only until the threat has passed.
The relationship between the standing orders and the actual procedure: The temporary procedure involves enforcing the law on Israeli civilians in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District. This procedure, where Israeli civilians are concerned, does not involve the expectation that soldiers will be faced with life-threatening situations. The context of this procedure is specifically to better enforce the law, of stricter enforcement when Israeli civilians are disturbing the peace. It was initiated so a soldier could detain suspects, without the need to get authorization from higher ups, or the need to bring in a police officer. And it is exactly in this context, in the context of a stricter enforcement of the law, that there was a need to be clear on exactly what was not allowed: no use of rubber or plastic bullets, and no use of the "procedure for apprehending a suspect" when enforcing the law on Israelis. What needs to be emphasized here is that weapons are not to be used against Israelis in this context.
The use of force according to orders and the spirit of the law requires judgement. There is no end to the examples. Who knows better than you the courts spend days and days on these questions. Each one of the components, what is life threatening, what is real and immediate, what is reasonable means, what are mitigating circumstances, what does it mean that there are no other alternatives? In written orders, and in preparatory briefings, it is very important, in our opinion, to focus on the reality on the ground and on anticipated events based on reasonable information. That necessary balance between the simplicity of the orders and explanations which leads to understanding and the legal briefings given the soldiers when the orders and explanations are issued.
In principle, everything that I am describing here applies also for the citizen who goes to a bar or the gas station, and becomes involved in an incident, supposedly breaking the law. If he learned or didn’t learn, understood or didn’t understand the law, he will be judged in court under the test of a reasonable man. Such a test seems to me to be much more complex for a soldier, and the difference is very important. The citizen went of his own will to the bar or gas station, and when the incident begins to develop, he can leave the bar or gas station. He knew or he didn’t know the law, but he is subordinate to the law, and when he breaks the law, the court will decide if he acted reasonably. Not so with the soldier. The soldier is drafted by us with legal authority, he is sent to this area by us, on my approval and responsibility. He is sent on my authority to these complex tests, he can’t flee, and if he does flee, he will by tried for running away. He may be reasonable, more than reasonable or less than reasonable. We didn’t give him an entrance exam in reasonableness, before sending him into the situation. These differences that I described, and the fact that the soldier doesn’t have a lawyer, and that he does have a mother, and from my perspective, and even from his mother’s perspective, I am responsible, force upon us a double responsibility, maybe even a triple responsibility, to the soldier. As was mentioned, we sent him there, with a reality that afterwards is discussed in the courts in long debates, and it is forbidden for him to run away, he must act and use his best judgement. We have a responsibility to him, because if he uses the wrong judgement, it his him, and not us, who will be tried for a wrongful death or killing. He will carry with him all of
his life the picture of the person he killed, and his mother will ask me, as an army officer, if it was really necessary to send him into that situation, and to give him those particular orders, and those particular instructions, that brought him to the situation in which he was forced to shoot.
But we also have a responsibility to the collective, both the Israeli and Palestinian. If we believe that the orders and instructions we are using are not addressing the existing reality, but rather a hypothetical situation that doesn’t exist, according to people’s experiences, then we will end up blurring the situation rather than clarifying it, and the end results will be more losses for both Israelis and Palestinians, and we know this from the beginning. The question must be asked, where does our responsibility begin? We are responsible for dealing with the settler who carries out an illegal act. I would even say we are responsible in extreme situations, wherever there is the possibility that an illegal act will endanger lives. For example, in the case where a settler shoots at a water heater, and the bullet ricochets and enters a school and hits a child, that is a criminal act which must be stopped. We must document the act, arrest the individual, bring him to the police, investigate it, prepare an indictment and try him in a court of law. And he must, if found guilty, be punished and sent to jail.
Misunderstandings by a soldier that result from complicated orders or instructions, bring about more deaths. And when we arrive at a legal ruling on orders and instructions, there arises from necessity a different attitude from the legal analyst who wants to define every law, all of its parts, all of the time, in every context and situation. Even when there are unreasonable expectations, among the commanders, due to our double or triple responsibilities, we always want to find the simple way, among simplified priorities, without ignoring the law, This responsibility causes us to search for the correct balance between legal exactness and simplicity, which is one of the requirements for understanding, and a gradual condition for action and a gradual condition for minimizing deaths, in the process of fulfilling our mission. And that is the real goal of the law, according to my understanding and knowledge. And I know that is the real goal of our soldiers currently in the field, because I am responsible for them.
And all of this is not necessary where a massacre is concerned. There, everything is clear. A massacre is a massacre, and you don’t need special orders to know what to do. I say to you that we have already received warning signals, and the Council of Judea, Samaria and Gaza has written to the Regional Commanders, warning us of the possibility that these orders might lead to disaster. One of the leading intellectuals living in Judea and Samaria wrote tome and said: "What will happen in your opinion, when a resident of Judea and Samaria, firing in a necessary situation, finds himself facing an officer or soldier, who thinks that he is firing for no reason, and, in the heat of the moment, simply shoots the civilian to death in self-defense? Is there an exact solution to this in your orders. Is this possibility acceptable to you? Can you address this problem, or at least explain it to the Committee, to the public?"
These things are not simple. But I say to you with real caution, that I have no doubt that we are obligated, after the question has been raised and after we allow ourselves to look at the situation, and maybe even the reality of misunderstandings in certain areas, to act. This applies not only to open fire orders in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, but also to other situations, which I don’t wish to discuss in public, but which I will be happy to go into in a closed session.
That is it for open fire orders.
However, in this context and in light of these considerations, you need to see, in my opinion, also the temporary directive, that deals with enforcing the law.
What are we talking about here?
Tens of thousands of soldiers in both mandatory service and in the reserves, from all skill and educational levels, from all streams of political views, who are on active duty for stretches of several weeks at a time. Often the soldiers are interrupted from a night’s sleep during artillery exercises in the Jordan Valley, and at 2 am he finds his unit on alert in Hebron. At 8 am he prepares his weapon for firing plastic bullets. At 10 am he is called upon to disperse a violent Palestinian demonstration, in which he is allowed in certain circumstances to fire plastic bullets. It is also possible that he will have to use regular bullets, if, for instance, a molotov cocktail is thrown in the course of the demonstration. In this case, the person throwing the bottle has gone from being a demonstrator to being a dangerous suspect, who can be stopped using live bullets. All of this happens at 10:00 am, and at 11:00 am he is sent to disperse a violent Jewish demonstration, and he has to be sure that he doesn’t fire unless it is absolutely necessary. He doesn’t have a lawyer with him, and it isn’t possible to call for a time out in order to instruct him in how to act in each situation. Its also possible that he only had two hours of sleep and was out on a training mission all night.
We are the ones whose responsibility it is to think about this ahead of time. W can’t tell ourselves, we didn’t know, we didn’t think about it.
When one examines these rules, line by line, it is clearly evident that what is under discussion is preventing or halting a crime, arresting one suspected of a crime or someone about to commit a crime. Perhaps someone is setting a car on fire, or is about to set a car on fire, and maybe even he is about to open fire, or it appears that he is about to fire in the air, or at some solar heater, or at an empty parked car. And then, in continuation of what is described in the previous article, and realizing the fact that the procedure for arresting a suspect is not enforced towards Israelis in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the procedure makes clear that it is not necessary to use a weapon against an Israeli. The matter is fundamentally one of expectations or assessments. Such an Israeli civilian who may have committed such a crime can be arrested afterwards.
This temporary procedure was developed at the headquarters level, and it included legal consultations, and I approved it for distribution and I stand behind it. This procedure does not deal with the rules for opening fire. The standing orders concerning life threatening situations are elaborated upon in the green booklet and remain in force. We should remember, that this temporary procedure was developed, inter alia, from existing internal procedures of the various Commands, and was a result of accumulated experiences in varying situations. Varying situations, not a varying of the law. If the way Arabs engage in terrorist attacks or disturbing the peace changes, so will, by definition, the procedure for opening fire on Palestinians. I repeat: the fundamental problem is one of probabilities and assessments:
Arab terrorists in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District fire at vehicles, killing civilians and soldiers. They do so regularly too regularly. I remind you that 62 Israelis were killed in these and similar circumstances in 1993. Israelis shoot at windows, roofs, tires, in the air and this is a crime which must be stopped and the offenders brought to trial. These acts do indeed involve a certain danger to life and limb, but this is no reason to actually fire at the offender to stop him. First, we do not know of any loss of life in these circumstances, and as we know, as I mentioned earlier, we need a balance between the severity of the means utilized to prevent the offense and the danger presented by not stopping it. This is the context of that procedure, and the context of the reality of Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza District; this has nothing whatsoever to do with life-threatening situations and the orders concerning how to act in these situations.
These limitations on the use of weapons [where Israelis are concerned], considering the balance of interests I have described, are designed to lessen the possibility of the loss of life, and protect the soldiers from getting in trouble with the law by committing manslaughter or negligent homicide. It is obvious that if the Arabs also were in the habit of shooting in the air and at roofs and not at moving vehicles then it would be proper to take similar action towards them. This, unfortunately, is not the situation yet. There is not and there can never be an IDF order which says that it is forbidden to fire on a settler when he is shooting directly at others or at you. The opposite is true. There is an order governing life-threatening situations which specifically states the very opposite. A misunderstanding if there was one, and from some of the testimony it appears that some people misunderstood may possibly be the result of failing to comprehend an answer to a question during a briefing. This subject is most certainly in need of investigation. Under normal circumstances we would have checked it out ourselves, but now I don’t know if it is really necessary since this work is being carried out by the Commission of Inquiry. As noted, elaborating on and explaining the various orders is like the work of Sisyphus; it is a never ending task, and whatever clarifications we put out will need a lot of work to effect their inculcation without a price, I hope.
But as a society that believes in the rule of law, the answer to this problem is not in further vague orders which encourage one to be trigger-happy in very difficult situations, while putting the criminal liability on the regular or reserve soldier and the moral responsibility on his commanding officers, but rather with full and determined action on the part of the various arms of government. This means punishing Israeli criminals who carry out criminal acts in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and punishing them to the full extent of the law so that there is a clear deterrent to further criminal acts.
This will bring about the enforcing of the law as is should be done, in the courts, and not through the barrel of some poor soldier’s gun at night. The situation is extremely complicated, and the "Green Booklet", carries with it the legal dimension also, as well as our responsibility, that of legal consultation, and even of psychological consultation. We believe that it is not proper to compose instructions and carry out detailed briefings on hypothetical situations that just don’t occur. If you continue and develop more elaborate procedural instructions and more hypothetical situations, you do not achieve clarity, but rather misunderstandings and confusion. The various orders and procedural questions are designed to limit casualties both to our people and to the other side. I would like to conclude. Without wanting it to be so, the discussions before the Commission of Inquiry necessarily involve the entire range of the IDF’s performance and that of the whole defense establishment as it faces the task of ruling over the Palestinian population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, under the difficult conditions of the intifada.