OF THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
* * *
This First Statement of the
Government of Israel is presented to the Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding
Committee ("the Committee") in response to the Committee's request to receive
an initial submission from each side by 30 December 2000. Given the short
timeframe placed by the Committee on the preparation of this submission,
this Statement is limited to providing an overview of Israel's position.
Israel will be pleased to expand upon the issues addressed herein, as well
as to address any other relevant matters, in later submissions to the Committee.
A. Establishment of the
The Committee was established
pursuant to the agreement of the Government of the State of Israel ("Israel")
and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation ("PLO"), as the recognised
representative of the Palestinian people in the peace process with Israel,
reached at the Sharm El-Sheikh Summit on 16-17 October 2000. The essential
scope of the Committee's task was described in the statement of President
Clinton following that Summit in the following terms:
"... the United States will
develop with the Israelis and the Palestinians, as well as in consultation
with the United Nations Secretary-General, a committee of fact-finding
on the events of the past several weeks and how to prevent their recurrence.
The committee's report will
be shared by the US President with the UN Secretary-General and the parties
prior to publication. A final report shall be submitted under the auspices
of the US President for publication."
Sharm El-Sheikh Summit, Statement
of President Clinton, 17 October 2000. (Annex I, Tab 1)
In accordance with this agreement,
the Committee was established in early-November 2000 under the chairmanship
of former US Senator George Mitchell. The other members of the Committee
are former Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, Norwegian Foreign Minister
Thorbjorn Jagland, former US Senator Warren Rudman and European Union High
Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana.
In correspondence with Senator
Mitchell, President Clinton elaborated upon the task of the Committee in
the following terms:
"The Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding
Committee is being established to provide an objective study of the events
since late September involving violence in Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and
the West Bank. The Committee should focus on the problem of violent confrontations
between Israelis and Palestinians and the policies and practices of the
two sides during the crisis. It should, in particular, provide an assessment
of exactly what has happened, why it has happened, and how to prevent its
recurrence. The Committee should not become a divisive force or a focal
point for blame and recrimination but rather should serve to forestall
violence and confrontation and provide lessons for the future.
The methodology of the Committee's
work, including how to gather the information necessary to complete its
task, will be left to the Committee's judgment. The Committee may, after
consultation with the United Nations Secretary-General, appoint experts
to assist in its work. The two sides have also confirmed to me their intent
to cooperate with the Committee. When the Committee believes it has sufficient
information it should prepare a written report, which it is hoped can be
completed in the first half of 2001. In accordance with the understandings
reached at Sharm El-Sheikh, the report will be shared by the US President
with the UN Secretary-General and the two sides before the President makes
it public. This will allow the Committee to examine any additional suggestions
before finalising its report.
The Committee should seek to
operate by consensus to the maximum extent possible. This will lend greater
authority to its findings and recommendations."
Draft undated letter from President
Clinton to Senator Mitchell. (Annex I, Tab 2)
Before turning to outline the
essential elements of Israel's position on the matters under consideration,
two preliminary observations are warranted. First, Israel welcomes the
establishment and distinguished membership of the Committee. Insofar as
it is able to do so, Israel will seek to facilitate the completion of the
Committee's task expeditiously. Israel hopes that the work of the Committee
will contribute to the rebuilding of links between the two sides.
Second, Israel notes the commitment
of the two sides at the Sharm El-Sheikh Summit "to take immediate, concrete
measures to end the current confrontation, eliminate points of friction,
ensure an end of violence and incitement, maintain calm and prevent recurrence
of recent events". The ending of violence and forward movement in the peace
process are Israel's principal aims. These are not, however, matters which
Israel can achieve on its own - although it will do all that it can towards
B. Terms of reference
Express terms of reference for
the Committee's work have not been adopted. This is not ideal. The basis
of the Committee's work is the agreement of the Parties at the Sharm El-Sheikh
Summit and this alone. The scope of the Committee's task as an expression
of that agreement ought to be clearly stated.
In the absence of express terms
of reference, Israel considers that the task of the Committee is described
by reference to the letter from President Clinton to Senator Mitchell extracted
above. The task of the Committee is thus to provide an objective study
of the events in question and, in particular, to provide an assessment
of exactly what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent its recurrence.
While Israel is confident of the strength of its case, the Committee is
not a tribunal adjudicating on differences between the Israeli and Palestinian
sides. Its role is not to adjudge culpability or liability. Nor is the
Committee's role to make wider recommendations for a settlement between
the Parties. As expressed by President Clinton, the Committee "should not
become a divisive force or a focal point for blame and recrimination but
rather should serve to forestall violence and confrontation and provide
lessons for the future."
In this regard, the Committee
should take particular care to avoid, both by its procedures and by its
Report, any widening or internationalisation of the dispute between the
Parties. The risk is that internationalisation of the process through the
work or recommendations of the Committee could bring about a further polarisation
of the Parties and lay the groundwork for the resort to violence in the
C. Working procedures
The task of the Committee is to
provide an objective study of the events of recent weeks. This requires
the Committee to proceed on the basis of working procedures that are both
transparent and unimpeachable in their fairness towards both sides. Such
procedures will be fundamental to the perceived fairness, in due course,
of the Committee's Report.
The Committee has yet to adopt
such procedures. Israel considers that this element of the Committee's
work should be addressed as a matter of priority. Israel has already raised
in correspondence with the Committee various issues concerning its working
procedures which Israel considers should be addressed expressly at the
outset of the Committee's work. To facilitate this, Israel has suggested
that the Committee convene a procedural meeting of the Parties, either
jointly or separately, to address such matters.
Two elements relating to the Committee's
working procedures call for particular comment. First, Israel considers
that, to ensure the fairness of the Committee's working methods and of
its Report, the Committee ought to adopt, in agreement with the two sides,
appropriate procedures relating to the interviewing of individuals and
the gathering of information. Proposals have already been advanced by Israel
in respect of this element. They need not be rehearsed here. It suffices
to say that Israel considers that the adoption of fair and transparent
working procedures dealing with this element is essential.
Second, Israel considers that
the maintenance of objectivity in the discharge of the Committee's task
requires that both Parties should be provided with copies of, and have
an opportunity to comment on, all statements, documents and other materials
that are put before the Committee, from whatever source. Israel has no
wish to limit the sources of information from which the Committee can draw.
The opportunity to comment on material on which the Committee may draw
for the purposes of its Report is, however, a fundamental element of procedural
In this regard, Israel reiterates
that the present Statement is an initial presentation of Israel's
position on the matters with which the Committee is concerned. Obviously,
it is not a response to any statement by the other side. This being so,
Israel expects that the Committee will provide both sides with a reasonable
opportunity to develop their positions in greater detail where they consider
it appropriate to do so and to comment on the statements and associated
documentation submitted by the other side.
D. The scope of the Committee's
By reference to President Clinton's
letter to Senator Mitchell quoted above, there are four principal elements
with which the Committee will be concerned: (a) the causes of the current
violence, (b) the policies and practices of the Palestinian side in respect
of these events, (c) the policies and practices of Israel in respect of
these events, and (d) recommendations to prevent the recurrence of such
violence in the future. Each of these elements is addressed in the main
body of this Statement.
E. Summary of Israel's position
Israel did not seek the present
confrontation. It was, and continues to be, imposed upon Israel by the
Palestinian side. Within the severe constraints of the events of recent
weeks, Israel's actions have been directed towards containing the confrontation,
protecting persons not directly involved in the conflict and their property,
and avoiding casualties to its military and police personnel in the performance
of their task. Israel has also been concerned to minimise serious injury
to those actively engaged on the Palestinian side.
While it has not always been possible,
in the extreme circumstances of the on-going violence, to meet all of these
objectives, Israel firmly maintains that it has acted in a measured and
responsible fashion in the circumstances.
(i) The nature of the
Over the past 93 days, there have
been around 2,700 live-fire incidents of unprovoked attacks initiated by
Palestinians against Israeli civilians, police and soldiers involving the
use of automatic weapons, assault rifles, pistols, hand grenades and other
weapons. This amounts to around 28 such incidents a day. The scale and
intensity of these attacks has been such as to amount to an armed conflict
short of war. These incidents have, more often than not, taken the form
of attacks involving significant numbers of Palestinians against relatively
small numbers of Israeli police or soldiers. They have taken place in areas
from which Israel has been progressively withdrawing over recent years
in accordance with the agreements concluded between the two sides as part
of the peace process. The attacks have thus involved the threat and use
of lethal force by Palestinians against Israelis who have been both numerically
and geographically vulnerable.
(ii) The cause of the
There is a long-standing dispute
between the two sides. Even if slower than was initially envisaged, there
has, since the start of the peace process in Madrid in 1991, been steady
progress towards the goal of a Permanent Status Agreement without the resort
to violence on a scale that has characterised recent weeks. While the underlying
dispute is part of the background of the present conflict, it is not the
immediate cause of the violence.
At its most basic, the violence
of the past 93 days is the result of the failure, and indeed refusal, of
the PLO and the Palestinian Authority to comply with their essential responsibilities,
pursuant to the various agreements concluded with Israel, to take such
measures as are necessary to forestall acts of violence and terror against
Israel and Israelis. These responsibilities were, from Israel's perspective,
the central element of the Palestinian commitments to Israel in the peace
More fundamentally, the violation
on the part of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority of their security
responsibilities towards Israel has been a feature of a broader campaign
orchestrated by the Palestinian leadership to regain the diplomatic initiative
in the wake of the widely held perception in the international community
of Palestinian responsibility for the failure of the Camp David Summit
in July 2000. There is evidence of long-term preparation by elements within
the Palestinian leadership to provoke just such a confrontation. Members
of the Palestinian Police, established pursuant to the agreements with
Israel, have actively engaged in attacks on Israelis. Detainees responsible
for some of the most horrific terrorist attacks against Israelis, held
in prisons controlled by the Palestinian Authority, were released prematurely
to take an active role in the conflict.
The violence of recent weeks has
thus been part of a calculated policy of the Palestinian leadership in
respect of the conduct of its relations with Israel and a direct consequence
of the failure on the part of the Palestinian leadership to fulfil its
existing commitments and responsibilities to prevent and forestall such
(iii) Palestinian policies
(a) The exploitation of
One of the most disturbing elements
of the conflict has been the active involvement on the Palestinian side
of children in attacks of the utmost violence directed against Israelis.
This has included the practice of armed Palestinians firing at Israelis
from within or behind crowds of demonstrators, including children. The
Palestinian leadership, Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Police are
under a positive obligation to restrain the involvement of children in
such episodes. They have done virtually nothing towards this end. On the
contrary, there is evidence of active and long-term encouragement by the
Palestinian leadership of the participation of children in the violence.
(b) Violence directed against
The violence has also involved
the active targeting by Palestinians of Israeli civilians who were in no
manner involved in the conflict. This targeting of passive Israeli civilians
in their homes, while travelling or while otherwise engaged in civilian
pursuits detached from the conflict is a significant point of distinction
between the practices of the two sides. Whereas Palestinian civilians injured
by Israeli action have by-and-large been actively engaged or caught up
in some manner in the confrontation with Israel, Israeli civilians injured
in the conflict have in the overwhelming majority of cases been targeted
merely because they were Israelis.
The violence has also been marked
by acts of appalling brutality by the Palestinian side. The barbarism of
the lynching of the two Israeli reserve soldiers in Ramallah on 12 October
2000 left no-one in doubt about the nature of the threat faced by Israelis.
The destructive intent shown by Palestinians to Jewish Holy Sites in areas
under Palestinian control further illustrates the uncompromising attitudes
that appears to underlie the Palestinian attacks. These events have not
been a protest. They have been unrestrained attacks of the utmost ferocity.
Hostile propaganda and an incitement
to violence has been a constant feature both of the period leading up to
the start of the violence in late-September 2000 and throughout its course.
Calls to Palestinians to kill Jews and Israelis have been made by both
Palestinian religious and political leaders and broadcast live on Palestinian
television. Children's school books glorify confrontation with Israel.
"Slitting the throats of Israelis" is a rehearsed drill taught to Palestinian
children at "summer camps" organised by Yasser Arafat's Fatah party.
(e) The unwarranted release
of terrorist detainees
The Palestinian Authority is under
an obligation to detain those involved or suspected of involvement in attacks
against Israelis. In practice, however, it has pursued a "revolving door"
policy, releasing convicted or suspected terrorists soon after arrest.
In the period following the failure of the Camp David Summit, around 50
such detainees were released. A further 80 or so were released after the
start of the violence. Many have played an active role in the conflict.
(f) The failure to confiscate
The Palestinian Authority and
Palestinian Police are under an obligation to confiscate illegal weapons.
This obligation has been revisited and endorsed in virtually every agreement
concluded between Israel and the Palestinians. No attempt has been made
by the Palestinian side to honour this commitment. The West Bank and the
Gaza Strip are awash with illegal weapons, including machine guns, hand
grenades, explosives and others. These are the weapons used by the Palestinian
side against Israelis in the present conflict.
(iv) Israeli policies
The current violence is in no
way akin to a civilian riot. Riot control techniques that may be used effectively
to contain and minimise casualties in civil disturbances involving non-lethal
acts of violence are fundamentally inadequate for purposes of containing
live-fire confrontations such as those with which the Committee is concerned.
In such circumstances, there is a real threat to the lives of military
and police personnel. Even assuming that steps can be taken to reduce such
threats by the use of protective measures such as body armour, such personnel
cannot get within sufficient range to engage in traditional riot control
The live-fire dimension of the
Palestinian attacks decisively took the present confrontation out of the
realm of civilian riot control and located it within the sphere of an armed
conflict. In the circumstances of this conflict - involving around 9,000
attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, including around 2,700 live-fire
attacks - Israel considers that it acted in a measured and responsible
(v) Recommendations to
prevent the recurrence of violence
On the issue of recommendations
to prevent the recurrence of violence, Israel considers that, in the first
instance, previously agreed arrangements between the two sides to uphold
security and facilitate security cooperation must be given effect. The
only secure basis on which to move forward is the full and effective implementation
of the agreements already concluded between the Parties. Beyond this, Israel
considers that the existing arrangements can and should be strengthened.
Proposals to this end are set out in Part VIII of this Statement.
F. A brief chronology of
In the event that it may be helpful
for purposes of orientation, the following is a brief chronology of recent
|11 - 25 July 2000
||Camp David Summit
|26 July - 21 August
||Extended foreign trip by Arafat -
he is advised not to declare a Palestinian State on 13 September
||Clinton meeting with Barak and Arafat
in New York at UN Millennium Summit
||Palestinian Council delays unilateral
declaration of statehood
||Bomb attack against Israelis at Netzarim
||Visit of Ariel Sharon to the Temple
||Israeli police officer killed in Kalkilya,
Violent clashes on the Temple Mount
||Paris Summit - Barak and Arafat meet
French President Chirac and US Secretary of State Albright
||Destruction of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus
||Lynching of Israeli reservists in
Destruction of the Shalom al Yisrael
Synagogue in Jericho
|16 - 17 October
||Sharm El-Sheikh Summit
|21 - 22 October
||League of Arab States Summit, Cairo
||Peres - Arafat Meeting
||Car bomb attack in Jerusalem
||Meeting between Clinton and Arafat
||Meeting between Clinton and Barak
||Bomb attack against Israeli school
bus at Kfar Darom
||Car bomb attack in Hadera
|late December 2000
||Formal resumption of the peace negotiations
G. The contents of the present
Against this background, Israel's
proceeds by way of the following additional parts:
Attached to this Statement is an Appendix containing
the following maps and aerial photographs:
Note: Some of the maps and photos
are currently unavailable online.
Together with this Statement, Israel is also
submitting the following accompanying materials:
||General Documents: containing documents
at Tabs 1 - 34
||Maps and Aerial Photographs
of Notes Between the Chairman of the PLO and the Prime Minister of Israel,
9 - 10 September 1993
of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, 13 September
on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, 4 May 1994
on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities, 29 August 1994
on Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities, 27 August 1995
Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 28 September 1995
the Record, 15 January 1997
Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron, 17 January 1997
on the Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron, 21 January
Memorandum, 23 October 1998
Memorandum, 4 September 1999
East Peace Process: An Overview, July 2000
||Video / CD: Orientation to the
Note: the translations into
English from the original Arabic texts included in this Annex are informal
translations by Israel.
The maps and aerial photographs contained
in Annex II are simply larger versions of those contained in the Appendix
to the Statement.
THE PEACE PROCESS AND EXISTING COMMITMENTS
Although the task of the Committee does not extend to
a general review of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians,
some appreciation of the existing commitments assumed by the Parties in
the various agreements concluded between them since 1993 is necessary.
At its most basic, the present violence involves a fundamental breach by
the Palestinian side of key security commitments assumed pursuant to these
agreements. This Part details in chronological form the key elements of
those agreements relevant for present purposes.
A. Madrid Conference, October 1991
The starting point for this review is the Madrid Conference
of October 1991 sponsored jointly by the United States and the Soviet Union
with a view to launching direct peace talks between Israel and Syria, Lebanon,
Jordan and the Palestinians. The purpose of the Conference was to establish
a framework for a resumption of the peace process in the Middle East that
had seen relatively little movement since the Camp David Accords of 1978
and the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979. Following Madrid, direct talks
between the parties were started for the first time. These negotiations
have so far led to the conclusion of a Treaty of Peace between Israel
and Jordan on 26 October 1994 and a series of framework and interim agreements
between Israel and the Palestinians en route to the jointly declared
objective of permanent status negotiations leading to an agreement to end
the conflict between them. In the immediate aftermath of Madrid, negotiations
between Israel and the Palestinians took the form of negotiations between
Israel and a joint Palestinian-Jordan committee. These talks were subsequently
overtaken by direct, secret talks held in Norway between Israel and representatives
of the PLO upon the initiative of prominent academics on both sides. These
talks, and the arrangements that emerged therefrom over time, are now commonly
referred to as the Oslo process and the Oslo Agreements. The Camp David
negotiations of July 2000 took place within the framework of the permanent
status negotiations between the Parties.
B. Exchange of Notes Between the Prime Minister
of Israel and the Chairman of the PLO, 9 - 10 September 1993
As an important preliminary step in the Oslo Process,
an Exchange of Notes took place between
Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO, and Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of
Israel, on 9 - 10 September 1993. In this historic exchange, the PLO
For its part, Israel confirmed "that in the light of
the PLO commitments included in [Chairman Arafat's] letter, the Government
of Israel has decided to recognise the PLO as the representative of the
Palestinian people and commence negotiations with the PLO within the Middle
East peace process".
recognised the right of the State of Israel to exist
in peace and security;
accepted UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338
(DOP, Article I);
committed itself to the Middle East peace process, "and
to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares
that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved
renounced "the use of terrorism and other acts of violence
and ... [assumed] responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in
order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators";
affirmed that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant
which were inconsistent with the commitments being assumed were from that
point inoperative and no longer valid and undertook to secure formal approval
for the necessary changes in the Palestinian Covenant.
C. Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government
Arrangements, 13 September 1993
Following this Exchange of Notes, the Parties signed
the Declaration of Principles on Interim
Self-Government Arrangements ("DOP") in Washington on 13 September
1993. In accordance with its terms, the DOP entered into force on 13 October
The DOP provided for the establishment of a Palestinian
Interim Self-Government Authority for the Palestinian people in the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years,
leading to a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions
242 and 338. It was understood that the interim arrangements were to be
an integral part of the whole peace process and that negotiations on the
permanent status would lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions
242 and 338. Pursuant to Article V of the DOP, permanent status negotiations
were to cover "remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements,
security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbours,
and other issues of common interest." (DOP,
Article V(3)) Pursuant to Article
VII of the DOP, an Interim Agreement was to be negotiated to address
arrangements during the interim period.
As regards public order and security, Article VIII of
the DOP provided:
"In order to guarantee public order and internal
security for the Palestinians of the West Bank an the Gaza Strip, the Council
will establish a strong police force, while Israel will continue to carry
the responsibility for defending against external threats, as well as the
responsibility for overall security of Israelis for the purpose of safeguarding
their internal security and public order."
Articles XIII and XIV provided respectively for the
redeployment of Israeli forces and for Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza
Strip and Jericho area. Annex II to the DOP elaborated on the agreement
on the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area
in inter alia the following terms:
"1. The two sides will conclude and sign within
two months from the date of entry into force of this Declaration of Principles,
an agreement on the withdrawal of Israeli military forces from the Gaza
Strip and Jericho area. This agreement will include comprehensive arrangements
to apply in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area subsequent to the Israeli
2. Israel will implement an accelerated and scheduled
withdrawal of Israeli military forces from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area,
beginning immediately with the signing of the agreement on the Gaza Strip
and Jericho area and to be completed within a period not exceeding four
months after the signing of this agreement." (Protocol
on Withdrawal of Israeli Forces from the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area, Annex
D. Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area,
4 May 1994
In implementation of the DOP provisions relating to
Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area, the two sides
signed the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and
Jericho Area in Cairo on 4 May 1994 ("Gaza-Jericho Agreement").
This provided for "an accelerated and scheduled withdrawal of Israeli military
forces from the Gaza Strip and from the Jericho Area" in accordance with
detailed arrangements set out in Annex I
to the Agreement. It also provided for the establishment of the Palestinian
Authority as the body that would exercise territorial, functional and
personal jurisdiction in the areas in question in accordance with the terms
of the Agreement. (Gaza-Jericho Agreement,
Articles II-VII) The Agreement further provided for the establishment
by the Palestinian Authority of a Palestinian Directorate of Police Force
("Palestinian Police") and for the establishment of a joint Coordination
and Cooperation Committee for mutual security purposes ("Joint Security
Committee" or "JSC"). (Gaza-Jericho
Agreement, Articles VIII-IX) Detailed provisions concerning the Palestinian
Police, including duties and functions, structure and composition, recruitment,
arms, ammunition and equipment, foreign assistance and deployment were
addressed in Annex I, Article III
of the Agreement.
Article IX, paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Gaza-Jericho
Agreement provided as follows:
"2. Except for the Palestinian Police referred
to in this Article and the Israeli military forces, no other armed forces
shall be established or operate in the Gaza Strip or the Jericho Area.
3. Except for the arms, ammunition and equipment
of the Palestinian Police described in Annex I, Article III, and those
of the Israeli military forces, no organisation or individual in the Gaza
Strip and the Jericho Area shall manufacture, sell, acquire, possess, import
or otherwise introduce into the Gaza Strip or the Jericho Area any firearms,
ammunition, weapons, explosives, gunpowder or any related equipment, unless
otherwise provided for in Annex I."
Detailed provisions concerning inter alia the
arrangements for withdrawal of Israeli military forces, coordination and
cooperation in security matters, the Palestinian Police, Security Arrangements
in both the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and other matters were addressed
in a Protocol Concerning Withdrawal of Israeli Military Forces and Security
Arrangements attached as Annex I to the Gaza-Jericho Agreement.
It is unnecessary, for present purposes, to go into the details of these
arrangements as the Gaza-Jericho Agreement was superseded, on 28
September 1995, by the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip (on which see further below).
E. Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers
and Responsibilities, 29 August 1994
In accordance with the terms of Article VI of the DOP,
an Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers
and Responsibilities was signed by the Parties on 29 August 1994.
This provided for the transfer of powers to the Palestinian Authority in
five areas: education and culture, health, social welfare, tourism and
F. Protocol on Further Transfer of Powers and
Responsibilities, 27 August 1995
Following the initial transfer of powers to the Palestinian
Authority in pursuant to the Agreement of 29 August 1994, a Protocol
on Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities was signed by
the Parties on 27 August 1995. This transferred the following additional
spheres to the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority: labour, trade
and industry, gas and gasoline, insurance, postal services, statistics,
agriculture, and local government.
G. Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the
Gaza Strip, 28 September 1995
A major step forward in the peace process was taken
with the signing in Washington on 28 September 1995 of the Interim
Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ("the Interim Agreement").
This Agreement and its annexes, running to over 300 pages, marked the conclusion
of the first phase of the negotiations between Israel and the PLO and incorporated
and superseded the Gaza-Jericho Agreement and the two agreements
concerning the transfer of powers and responsibility noted at sections
E and F above. Pending the conclusion of a Permanent Status Agreement as
envisaged in the DOP, the Interim Agreement is the principal agreement
governing relations between the Parties in respect of the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip.
The Interim Agreement addresses various aspects
relating to the transfer of powers and responsibilities from Israel to
the Palestinian Council established in accordance with the terms of the
Agreement. The Council was inaugurated on 30 January 1996. The Agreement
also addresses the redeployment of Israeli military forces from the areas
in question and security arrangements in respect of these areas, provisions
concerning legal affairs, cooperation in economic and other spheres, and
other miscellaneous matters. Detailed provisions concerning redeployment
and security arrangements are set out in a Protocol on these matters attached
as Annex I to the Agreement.
In accordance with the terms of the Interim Agreement,
the Palestinian Council has both legislative and executive powers. Detailed
provisions concerning the transfer of civil powers and responsibilities
to the Council are, for example, addressed in a Protocol Concerning
Civil Affairs attached as Annex III
to the Agreement. In practice, the executive competence of the Council
is exercised by the Palestinian Authority which operates as the governmental
authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
As regards the redeployment of Israeli military forces
and security arrangements, the two sides agreed that the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip, "except for issues that will be negotiated in the permanent
status negotiations, will come under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian
Council in a phased manner, to be completed within 18 months from the date
of the inauguration of the Council". The phasing of the redeployment of
Israeli military forces is addressed in detail in the Agreement.
(i) Arrangements regarding redeployment in
the West Bank
As regards the West Bank, the redeployment of Israeli
military forces and the assumption of jurisdiction by the Palestinian Authority
has proceeded on the basis of three defined zones. These are evident on
No.2 appended hereto, West Bank - Major Flashpoints of Conflict.
Thus, Area A, marked in brown on Map No.2, describes an area in which the
Palestinian Authority has full jurisdiction, including over all matters
concerning security, including internal security and public order, although
it has no jurisdiction over Israelis. As matters stand today, Area A comprises
around 18.1% of the territory of the West Bank and around 59.4% of the
Palestinian population, including all the principal Palestinian cities.
Israel does not exercise jurisdiction in these areas.
Area B, marked in yellow on Map No.2, describes an area
in which the Palestinian Authority has full civil jurisdiction, including
responsibility for public order, subject only to overriding Israeli responsibility
for security for the purpose of protecting Israelis and confronting the
threat of terrorism. Israel has no military or police presence in these
areas. As matters stand today, Area B comprises around 21.7% of the territory
of the West Bank and around 39.8% of the Palestinian population, including
virtually all populated areas.
Area C, marked in white on Map No.2, comprises the remaining
parts of the territory of the West Bank, ie, about 60.2%, and around 0.8%
of the Palestinian population. In these areas, the Palestinian Authority
has extensive functional jurisdiction over civil matters with the exclusion
of matters pertaining to land. Jurisdiction in respect of law and order
and security matters remains with Israel. In addition, Israel has jurisdiction
over Israeli settlements and military bases.
Since the conclusion of the Interim Agreement,
and pursuant to its terms, there has been a steady re-designation of West
Bank territory to Areas A and B. As matters stand today, some 39.8% of
West Bank territory, encompassing around 99.2% of the Palestinian population,
is under the territorial jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.
The further redeployment of Israeli military forces
from and the future status of Area C, in which the Palestinian Authority
currently exercises extensive functional jurisdiction, is a key element
in the permanent status negotiations.
As will be evident from Map No.2, the principal points
of conflict on the West Bank are in areas abutting Areas A or B. In a significant
number of cases, live-fire attacks were initiated against Israelis from
within Areas A and B.
(ii) The Gaza Strip
In respect of the Gaza Strip, in accordance with the
DOP, the Gaza-Jericho Agreement had provided for an accelerated
withdrawal of Israeli military forces from the Gaza Strip and the transfer
of authority in respect of both civil and internal security matters to
the Palestinian Authority. Detailed provisions in respect of the withdrawal
of Israeli forces were set out in Annex I
of that Agreement. The transfer of jurisdiction to the Palestinian Authority
was addressed inter alia in Articles III
and V, together with Annex
I, of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement. Subject to special arrangements,
full civil and security responsibility for the Gaza Strip was transferred
to the Palestinian Authority.
Annex I of the Gaza-Jericho
Agreement set out in detail agreed arrangements inter alia
in respect of security in the Gaza Strip, including the establishment of
a Joint Security Committee and various District Coordination Offices ("DCOs")
as well as the operation of Joint Patrols and Joint Mobile Units. Pursuant
to Article IV of Annex I, arrangements
accompanying the withdrawal of Israeli military forces included a number
of elements as follows:
Key geographic features of the Gaza Strip - including
the Delimiting Line, Security Perimeter, Yellow Areas, principal points
of habitation and Lateral Roads - as well as major flashpoints of conflict,
are indicated on Map No.3 appended hereto,
Strip - Major Flashpoints of Conflict.
The Interim Agreement incorporated and superseded
the Gaza-Jericho Agreement. Reflecting the terms of the earlier
Agreement, Article VI of Annex I
of the Interim Agreement sets out the agreed security arrangements
in respect of the Gaza Strip. These very largely repeat the provisions
of the earlier Agreement, including the elements noted in the preceding
paragraph. Of particular importance for present purposes, Article VI, paragraph
7(a) of Annex I of the Interim Agreement provides that
"[o]n the three lateral roads connecting the Israeli
settlements in the Gaza Strip to Israel, namely: the Kissufim-Gush Katif
road; the Sufa-Gush Katif road; and the Karni-Netzarim road, as indicated
by a light blue line on attached map No.2, including the adjacent sides
upon which the security of traffic along these roads is dependent (hereinafter
'the Lateral Roads'), the Israeli authorities will have all necessary responsibilities
and powers in order to conduct independent security activity, including
Paragraph 9 of Article VI of Annex I provides that Joint
Mobile Units will be located inter alia at Netzarim Junction. At
"the Israeli side of this Joint Mobile Unit will
check Israeli vehicles, which will then be able to continue their journey
without interference. This Joint Mobile Unit will also operate as a Joint
Patrol between the Netzarim junction and the Wadi Gaza under the direction
of the relevant DCO."
The Israeli military presence at Netzarim Junction typically
numbered around a dozen soldiers.
As will be evident from Map
No.3, Netzarim Junction was one of the significant points of conflict
in the Gaza Strip. Aerial Photographs No.2A
and 2B appended hereto show Netzarim Junction
in relation to the Israeli settlement of Netzarim and the Palestinian refugee
camps of Nuserat and El Bureij.
As matters stand at present, around 99% of the territory
of the Gaza Strip and 100% of its Palestinian population come under the
jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority subject only to limited exceptions
in respect of the exercise of Israeli security authority. The permanent
status of the Gaza Strip, including the Israeli settlements therein, is
a key element of the permanent status negotiations.
the delimitation of a Security Perimeter within the
Delimiting Line describing the Gaza Strip in which the Palestinian Police
would be responsible for security;
the definition of "Yellow Areas" in which Israel would
have the overriding responsibility and powers for security;
provision that Israeli authority would remain in respect
of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip;
the definition of various areas in which joint patrols
would operate and various other special arrangements would apply;
provisions concerning security in respect of the border
with Egypt; and
provisions concerning security on various "Lateral Roads"
connecting Israeli settlements with crossing points into Israel.
Annex I, Article
VII of the Interim Agreement lays down guidelines for Hebron,
including provision for a Temporary International Presence in Hebron ("TIPH").
This provides that both sides are to agree on the modalities of the TIPH,
including the number of its members and its area of operation.
(iv) Jewish Holy Sites
Following the redeployment of Israeli forces, several
Jewish Holy Sites were left in areas under Palestinian control. The protection
of, access to and freedom of worship at these sites is addressed, in common
with all other religious sites, by Article
32 of Annex III of the Interim Agreement.
In addition to these general arrangements applicable
to all religious sites, Article V of Annex I of the Agreement sets out
special security arrangements in respect of two Jewish Holy Sites - Joseph's
Tomb in Nablus and the Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue in Jericho - situated
in Area A on the West Bank, ie, in areas in which the Palestinian Authority
has full jurisdiction, including in respect of security matters. Special
arrangements are also agreed in respect of Rachel's Tomb on the outskirts
of Bethlehem pursuant to Article V(7)
of Annex I.
(v) Security issues and the Palestinian Police
Article XII of
the Interim Agreement provides that in order to guarantee public
order and internal security for Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip, the Palestinian Council shall establish a strong police force. It
further provides inter alia that "Israel shall continue to carry
the responsibility ... for overall security of Israelis and Settlements".
Article XIV of the
Agreement and Article IV of
Annex I of that Agreement address various matters concerning the Palestinian
Police and access to munitions. Thus, Article XIV(3) and (4) provide:
"3. Except for the Palestinian Police and the Israeli
military forces, no other armed forces shall be established or operate
in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
4. Except for the arms, ammunition and equipment
of the Palestinian Police described in Annex I, and those of the Israeli
military forces, no organisation, group or individual in the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip shall manufacture, sell, acquire, possess, import or
otherwise introduce into the West Bank or the Gaza Strip any firearms,
ammunition, weapons, explosives, gunpowder or any related equipment, unless
otherwise provided for in Annex I."
Article IV of Annex
I goes on to address in detail other matters in respect of the Palestinian
Police including (a) duties and functions, (b) structure and composition,
(c) deployment, (d) recruitment, (e) arms, ammunition and equipment, (f)
the introduction of arms, equipment and foreign assistance, and (g) movement.
Of particular importance for present purposes is the responsibility of
the Palestinian Police to combat terrorism and violence and to prevent
incitement to violence.
As regards the size of the Palestinian Police and the
extent of its munitions, Article IV(3) of Annex I sets an agreed limit
of no more than 30,000 during the interim period. Agreed permitted levels
and type of munitions are also set out in detail in this provision.
In respect of security, Article
XV(1) of the Interim Agreement provides as follows:
"Both sides shall take all measures necessary in
order to prevent acts of terrorism, crime and hostilities directed against
each other, against individuals falling under the other's authority and
against their property, and shall take legal measures against offenders."
This element is addressed in greater detail in Annex
I of the Agreement in terms that are particularly relevant for present
purposes. Thus, Article II(1) of Annex
I provides that the Palestinian Police is to be the only Palestinian
security authority. It goes on to provide:
"b. The Palestinian Police will act systematically
against all expressions of violence and terror.
c. The Council will issue permits in order to legalise
the possession and carrying of arms by civilians. Any illegal arms will
be confiscated by the Palestinian Police.
d. The Palestinian Police will arrest and prosecute
individuals who are suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror."
Paragraphs 2 - 4 of Article II go on to provide as follows:
"2. Both sides will, in accordance with this Agreement,
act to ensure the immediate, efficient and effective handling of any incident
involving a threat or act of terrorism, violence or incitement, whether
committed by Palestinians or Israelis. To this end, they will cooperate
in the exchange of information and coordinate policies and activities.
Each side shall immediately and effectively respond to the occurrence or
anticipated occurrence of an act of terrorism, violence or incitement and
shall take all necessary measures to prevent such an occurrence.
3. With a view to implementing the above, each side
shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement, carry out the
following functions in the areas under its security responsibility:
4. Both sides undertake to deal with the issue of persons
who are present in the areas in violation of this Agreement, and to take
further measures in accordance with procedures to be determined by the
(vi) Relations between Israel and the Palestinian
Under the general heading of "Cooperation", Article
XXII of the Interim Agreement addresses relations between Israel
and the Palestinian Council (to be read, for these purposes, as including
the Palestinian Authority) inter alia in the following terms:
"1. Israel and the Council shall seek to foster
mutual understanding and tolerance and shall accordingly abstain from incitement,
including hostile propaganda, against each other and, without derogating
from the principle of freedom of expression, shall take legal measures
to prevent such incitement by any organisations, groups or individuals
within their jurisdiction.
protect all residents of, and all other persons present
in, these areas;
actively prevent incitement to violence, including violence
against the other side or persons under the authority of the other side;
apprehend, investigate and prosecute perpetrators and
all other persons directly or indirectly involved in acts of terrorism,
violence and incitement; and
prevent and deal with any attempt to cause damage or
harm to infrastructure serving the other side, including, inter alia,
roads, water, electricity, telecommunications and sewage infrastructure.
2. Israel and the Council will ensure that their
respective educational systems contribute to the peace between the Israeli
and the Palestinian peoples and to peace in the entire region, and will
refrain from the introduction of any motifs that could adversely affect
the process of reconciliation."
H. Note for the Record, 15 January 1997
In the context of negotiations concerning redeployment
in Hebron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ra'ees Yasser
Arafat met on 15 January 1997 in the presence of the US Special Middle
East Coordinator, Ambassador Dennis Ross. At the request of the two leaders,
Ambassador Ross prepared a Note for the Record
to summarise what they agreed upon at their meeting. This included a reaffirmation
of the commitment of both leaders "to implement the Interim Agreement on
the basis of reciprocity". Both sides thereafter undertook specific commitments.
In this context, the Palestinian side reaffirmed its commitment to the
following measures and principles in accordance with the Interim Agreement:
"2. Fighting terror and preventing violence
I. Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron,
17 January 1997
Article VII of Annex
I of the Interim Agreement provided for a redeployment of Israeli
military forces in Hebron. In consequence of a series of terrorist attacks
in Hebron, the deployment envisaged in the Interim Agreement was
delayed. The Parties subsequently concluded a Protocol
Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron on 17 January 1997 to address
the implementation of the redeployment in Hebron. The Protocol provided
alia for the redeployment of Israeli military forces within 10 days
of the signing of the Protocol. The Protocol further addressed security
powers and responsibilities in Hebron differentiating between Area H-1,
in which Palestinian Police were to assume such powers and responsibilities,
and Area H-2, in which Israel was to retain security and public order powers.
The Protocol further provided for agreed and joint security arrangements.
Paragraph 6 of the Protocol extended the arrangements
of the Interim Agreement in respect of Jewish Holy sites to four
further sites located in Area H-1 under Palestinian control. Pursuant to
this provision, the Palestinian Police assumed responsibility for the protection
of the Holy Sites in question.
Paragraph 17 of the Protocol reiterated the terms of
Article VII of Annex I of the Interim Agreement in providing for
a Temporary International Presence in Hebron subject to agreement between
the Parties on the modalities of the TIPH.
Strengthening security cooperation
Preventing incitement and hostile propaganda, as specified
in Article XXII of the Interim Agreement
Combat systematically and effectively terrorist organisations
Apprehension, prosecution and punishment of terrorists
Confiscation of illegal firearms".
J. Agreement on the Temporary International Presence
in the City of Hebron, 21 January 1997
Pursuant to the Protocol Concerning the Redeployment
in Hebron, the Parties concluded an Agreement
on the Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron on
21 January 1997. This Agreement entered into force on 1 February 1997 and
superseded an earlier agreement on the same subject concluded on 9 May
1996. The object of the Agreement was to assist in "creating a feeling
of security among Palestinians in the City of Hebron". Pursuant to the
Agreement the two sides requested Norway, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland
and Turkey to provide 180 persons as TIPH personnel. The TIPH does not
perform military or police functions. Nor may its personnel "interfere
in disputes, incidents or the activities of Israeli security forces or
the Palestinian Police".
K. The Wye River Memorandum, 23 October 1998
In mid-October 1998, President Clinton hosted a Summit
meeting of the Parties at Wye River, Maryland. The object of the Summit
was to facilitate the implementation of the Interim Agreement and
other related agreements concluded by Israel and the Palestinians. This
object is stated expressly in the opening paragraph of the Memorandum
that emerged from the Summit in the following terms:
"The following are steps to facilitate implementation
of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of September
28, 1995 (the 'Interim Agreement') and other related agreements including
the Note for the Record of January 17, 1997 (hereinafter referred to as
'the prior agreements') so that the Israeli and Palestinian sides can more
effectively carry out their reciprocal responsibilities, including those
relating to further redeployments and security respectively. These steps
are to be carried out in a parallel phased approach in accordance with
this Memorandum and the attached time lines. They are subject to the relevant
terms and conditions of the prior agreements and do not supersede their
Section I of the Memorandum addresses further
redeployment by the Israeli side. Pursuant to these arrangements, Israel
transferred a further 13% of territory from Area C to Areas A and B and
14.2% from Area B to Area A.
Section II of the Memorandum addresses security.
Recalling the provisions on security arrangements of the Interim Agreement,
this part goes on to state:
"Both sides recognise that it is in their vital
interests to combat terrorism and fight violence in accordance with Annex
I of the Interim Agreement and the Note for the Record. They also recognise
that the struggle against terror and violence must be comprehensive in
that it deals with terrorists, the terror support structure, and the environment
conducive to the support of terror. It must be continuous and constant
over a long-term, in that there can be no pauses in the work against terrorists
and their structure. It must be cooperative in that no effort can be fully
effective without Israeli-Palestinian cooperation and the continuous exchange
of information, concepts and actions."
The two following sub-sections dealing with "Security
Actions" and "Security Cooperation" are especially important. Under sub-section
"A. Security Actions", within a sub-heading on "Outlawing and Combating
Terrorist Organisations", it was provided as follows:
"(a) The Palestinian side will make known its policy
of zero tolerance for terror and violence against both sides.
(b) A work plan developed by the Palestinian side
will be shared with the U.S. and thereafter implementation will begin immediately
to ensure the systematic and effective combat of terrorist organisations
and their infrastructure.
(c) In addition to the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian
security cooperation, a US-Palestinian committee will meet biweekly to
review the steps being taken to eliminate terrorist cells and the support
structure that plans, finances, supplies and abets terror. In these meetings,
the Palestinian side will inform the US fully of the actions it has taken
to outlaw all organisations (or wings of organisations, as appropriate)
of a military, terrorist or violent character and their support structure
and to prevent them from operating in the areas under its jurisdiction.
(d) The Palestinian side will apprehend the specific
individuals suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror for the
purpose of further investigation, and prosecution and punishment of all
persons involved in acts of violence and terror.
(e) A US-Palestinian committee will meet to review
and evaluate information pertinent to the decisions on prosecution, punishment
or other legal measures which affect the status of individuals suspected
of abetting or perpetrating acts of violence and terror."
The Memorandum continues with a section on prohibiting
illegal weapons, including an obligation on the Palestinian side to "ensure
an effective legal framework is in place to criminalise, in conformity
with the prior agreements, any importation, manufacturing or unlicensed
sale, acquisition or possession of firearms, ammunition or weapons in areas
under Palestinian jurisdiction."
Paragraph 3 of Section II, under the heading "Preventing
"(a) Drawing on relevant international practice
and pursuant to Article XXII(1) of the Interim Agreement and the Note for
the Record, the Palestinian side will issue a decree prohibiting all forms
of incitement to violence or terror, and establishing mechanisms for acting
systematically against all expressions or threats of violence or terror.
This decree will be comparable to the existing Israeli legislation which
deals with the same subject.
(b) A US-Palestinian-Israeli committee will meet
on a regular basis to monitor cases of possible incitement to violence
or terror and to make recommendations and reports on how to prevent such
incitement. The Israeli, Palestinian and US sides will each appoint a media
specialist, a law enforcement representative, an educational specialist
and a current or former elected official to the committee."
Under sub-section "B. Security Cooperation", provision
was made for a trilateral committee to address security matters in the
"In addition to the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian
security cooperation, a high-ranking US-Palestinian-Israeli committee will
meet as required and not less than biweekly to assess current threats,
deal with any impediments to effective security cooperation and coordination
and address the steps being taken to combat terror and terrorist organisations.
The committee will also serve as a forum to address the issue of external
support for terror. In these meetings, the Palestinian side will fully
inform the members of the committee of the results of its investigations
concerning terrorist suspects already in custody and the participants will
exchange additional relevant information. The committee will report regularly
to the leaders of the two sides on the status of cooperation, the results
of the meetings and its recommendations."
In Section IV of the Memorandum, the two sides
undertook immediately to "resume permanent status negotiations on an accelerated
basis and [to] make a determined effort to achieve the mutual goal of reaching
an agreement by May 4, 1999."
On the same day as the Memorandum was signed,
the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, wrote to Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu in respect of several issues of concern raised by Israel
relating to security matters. Responding to Israeli concerns over the premature
release of terrorist suspects held by the Palestinians - commonly referred
to as the "revolving door" policy - the Secretary of State indicated:
"With respect to Palestinian decisions regarding
the prosecution, punishment or other legal measures that affect the status
of individuals suspected of abetting or perpetrating acts of violence or
terror, there are procedures in place to prevent unwarranted releases.
Furthermore, we will express our opposition to any unwarranted releases
of such suspects, and in the event of such a release, we will be prepared
to express our position publicly."
On 31 October 1998, the US Ambassador to Israel wrote
to the Cabinet Secretary of Israel inter alia on the question of
prisoner releases in the following terms:
"As for the issue of prisoner releases and the
question of a 'revolving door', the statement [made by the US State Department]
said: 'we have had discussions with the Palestinians and they have given
us a firm commitment that there will be no 'revolving door'.'"
L. The Sharm El-Sheikh Memorandum, 4 September 1999
Within the framework of on-going efforts to achieve
a Permanent Status Agreement, the two sides met at Sharm El-Sheikh on 4
September 1999 for purposes of resolving outstanding issues relating to
the interim status and reaffirming their commitments to the agreements
concluded between them since September 1993. The outcome of the Summit
was The Sharm-el-Sheikh Memorandum on
Implementation Timeline of Outstanding Commitments of Agreements Signed
and the Resumption of Permanent Status Negotiations ("Sharm El-Sheikh
Memorandum") signed by Israel and the PLO on 4 September 1999. The object
of the Memorandum is stated in its opening paragraph as follows:
"The Government of the State of Israel ("GOI")
and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation ("PLO") commit themselves to
full and mutual implementation of the Interim Agreement and all other agreements
concluded between them since September 1993 (hereinafter "the prior agreements"),
and all outstanding commitments emanating from the prior agreements."
The Memorandum thereafter goes on to provide
for an accelerated resumption of Permanent Status negotiations by not later
than 13 September 1999 with a determined effort to conclude a Framework
Agreement on all Permanent Status issues within five months from the resumption
of negotiations and the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement on Permanent
Status issues within one year of the resumption of negotiations.
The Memorandum goes on to address issues concerning
redeployment, Israeli release of Palestinian prisoners, the operation of
various joint committees, safe passage, the Gaza sea port, issues concerning
Hebron and security. In respect of security, paragraph 8(b) of the Memorandum
"Pursuant to the prior agreements, the Palestinian
side undertakes to implement its responsibilities for security, security
cooperation, on-going obligations and other issues emanating from the prior
agreements, including, in particular, the following obligations emanating
from the Wye River Memorandum:
M. Conclusions in respect of this part
The Committee is not a tribunal. Its task is not to
apportion blame or responsibility. Its role is to report on the facts of
the recent events. The object of the exercise in which the Committee is
engaged will not therefore, ultimately, be to adjudicate on Israel's claim
that the Palestinian side has acted in flagrant disregard, by both act
and omission, of its fundamental undertakings and commitments contained
in virtually every instrument concluded between the Parties since the Declaration
of Principles of 13 September 1993. This is nonetheless Israel's case.
There is a considerable body of evidence to support this position. Within
the constraints of this Statement, key elements of that evidence
will be touched upon below. Israel considers that the failure by the Palestinian
side to fulfil its commitments - in respect of security; the use of illegally
held weapons; the active involvement of elements of the Palestinian Police
in attacks on Israelis; the incitement to hatred and violence, including
by official Palestinian elements; the destruction of Israeli Holy Sites
in areas under Palestinian control; the release from detention of Palestinian
terrorists; as well as other actions - violate the very core of the commitments
assumed by the Palestinian side in recent years in the context of the peace
At a more general level, Israel's object in setting
out the preceding material is fourfold. First, the instruments in question
mark a steady movement over recent years by Israel and the Palestinians
towards a Permanent Status Agreement designed to bring to an end to the
historic conflict between them. This process has not always been smooth
and, some may contend, has gone too slowly. It has nevertheless proceeded
steadily on the basis of a commonly expressed objective of a Permanent
Status Agreement that would address all outstanding issues including Jerusalem,
refugees, settlements, security arrangements and borders.
Second, this process towards a Permanent Status Agreement
is a process that requires the mutual trust of the participants. The development
of trust takes time and good faith in the fulfilment of commitments already
assumed. The absence of good faith by the Palestinian side in the fulfilment
of its commitments, notably in respect of security, under the various agreements
has fundamentally eroded the trust that had been developing between the
two sides over the seven years since the Declaration of Principles.
The task and challenge of the Committee will be to assist in the rebuilding
of that trust.
Third, as the agreements described above attest, Israel's
principal concern in the peace process has been security. This issue is
of overriding importance. The Israeli population has been subject to attack
from the earliest days of the State. Often, notably in the case of terror
attacks, such incidents have exhibited a dimension of unrestrained brutality.
The lynching of the two Israeli reserve soldiers in Ramallah on 12 October
2000 illustrates this. Security is not something on which Israel will bargain
or compromise. The failure of the Palestinian side to comply with both
the letter and the spirit of the security provisions in the various agreements
has long been a source of disturbance in Israel. The events of recent weeks
have sharply accentuated these concerns.
Fourth, the provisions in the agreements set out above
describe various commitments of the Palestinian side in respect of security.
While the task of the Committee is not to adjudicate on claims, the nature
and the extent of these commitments will be material for the purposes of
assessing how the recurrence of violence may be prevented. Of particular
relevance in this context, the commitments of the Palestinian side in respect
of security include:
continuation of the program for the collection of the
illegal weapons, including reports;
apprehension of suspects, including reports;
forwarding of the list of Palestinian policemen to the
Israeli Side not later than September 13, 1999;
beginning of the review of the list by the Monitoring
and Steering Committee not later than October 15, 1999."
* * *
a commitment to a peaceful, negotiated process to resolve
the conflict between the two sides;
the renunciation of terrorism and violence;
action by the Palestinian Police to combat terrorism
protection by the Palestinian Police of those falling
within the scope of their jurisdiction;
the control of illegal weapons;
agreed limitations on Palestinian Police numbers and
the active prevention of incitement to violence and
action to ensure that the Palestinian educational system
does not adversely affect the process of reconciliation;
the arrest and prosecution of persons suspected of perpetrating
acts of violence, terror and incitement;
safeguarding of Jewish Holy Sites in areas under Palestinian
the operation of joint security and other coordinating
committees as a means of effective compliance.
THE PERMANENT STATUS NEGOTIATIONS AND THE
FAILURE OF CAMP DAVID
* * *
In accordance with the commitments undertaken by the
two sides in the Sharm El-Sheikh Memorandum
on 4 September 1999, the Parties engaged in negotiations towards the conclusion
of a Framework Agreement on Permanent Status ("FAPS") and, in parallel,
a Permanent Status Agreement. As expressed in the Sharm El-Sheikh Memorandum,
the intention was then to conclude a comprehensive agreement on Permanent
Status issues ("CAPS") within one year of the resumption of negotiations.
As here conceived, the FAPS and CAPS would together constitute the Permanent
Status Agreement. Both sides affirmed their understanding that the negotiations
on Permanent Status would lead to the implementation of Security Council
Resolutions 242 and 338.
The negotiations focused inter alia on the key permanent status
issues identified in the DOP including Jerusalem, refugees, settlements,
borders and security as well as on other elements of interest to both sides.
With a view to facilitating those negotiations, President
Clinton invited the two sides to Camp David
in July 2000. The Parties convened at Camp David on 11 July. The negotiations
broke down on 25 July.
It is not Israel's intention here to go into the details
of those negotiations. These are not matters for the public record at this
time. Israel very much hopes that something may still be salvaged from
those talks. Israel in any event anticipates that Members of the Committee
will have been briefed on the essential elements of the negotiations.
What is material for present purposes is the assessment
and public perception of the reasons for the failure of the Camp David
talks as it is here that the seeds of the present violence are to be found.
Following the break-up of the Camp David negotiations,
President Clinton gave a press conference
in which he addressed the failure of the negotiations. In material part,
his initial statement was as follows:
"After 14 days of intensive negotiations between
Israelis and Palestinians, I have concluded with regret that they will
not be able to reach an agreement at this time. As I explained on the eve
of the summit, success was far from guaranteed - given the historical,
religious, political and emotional dimensions of the conflict.
... both sides engaged in comprehensive discussions
that were really unprecedented because they dealt with the most sensitive
issues dividing them; profound and complex questions that long had been
considered off limits.
Under the operating rules that nothing is agreed
until everything is agreed, they are, of course, not bound by any proposal
discussed at the summit. However, while we did not get an agreement here,
significant progress was made on the core issues. I want to express my
appreciation to Prime Minister Barak, Chairman Arafat and their delegations
for the efforts they undertook to reach an agreement.
Prime Minister Barak showed particular courage [and]
vision, and an understanding of the historical importance of this moment.
Chairman Arafat made it clear that he, too, remains committed to the path
of peace. The trilateral statement we issued affirms both leaders' commitment
to avoid violence or unilateral actions which will make peace more difficult
and to keep the peace process going until it reaches a successful conclusion."
The President subsequently responded to questions from
the press. These responses are revealing.
"Question: There is a striking contrast
between the way you described Prime Minister Barak's courageous and visionary
approach to this, and Mr Arafat seemed still to be committed to the path
of peace. It sounds like that at the end of the day, Prime Minister Barak
was ready to really step up to something that President Arafat wasn't yet
ready to step up to.
The President: Let me be more explicit. I
will say again: We made progress on all the core issues. We made really
significant progress on many of them. The Palestinian teams worked hard
on a lot of these areas. But I think it is fair to say that at this moment
in time, maybe because they had been preparing for it longer, maybe because
they had thought through it more, that the Prime Minister moved forward
more from his initial position than Chairman Arafat, on - particularly
surrounding the questions of Jerusalem.
So I said what I said, and my remarks should stand
for themselves, because not so much as a criticism of Chairman Arafat,
because this is really hard and never been done before, but in praise of
Barak. He came there knowing that he was going to have to take bold steps,
and he did it. And I think you should look at it more as a positive toward
him than as a condemnation of the Palestinian side.
Question: What is your assessment of whether
Arafat's going to go through with the threat to declare statehood unilaterally?
Did you get any sort of sense on whether he's going to go through with
that? Did you have any -
The President: Well, let me say this. One
of the reasons that I wanted to have this summit is that they're both under
- will be under conflicting pressures as we go forward. One of the things
that often happens in a very difficult peace process is that people, if
they're not careful, will gravitate to the intense position rather than
the position that will make peace. And it's very often that people know
that a superficially safe position is to say no, that you won't get in
trouble with whoever is dominating the debate back home wherever your home
is, as long as you say no.
Question: Are you implying that he should
give up his claim to East Jerusalem - the Palestinians should?
The President: I didn't say that. ... I said
only this: I said - I will say it again - the Palestinians changed their
position; [they] moved forward. The Israelis moved more from the position
they had. I said what I said; I will say again: I was not condemning Arafat,
I was praising Barak. But I would be making a mistake not to praise Barak
because I think he took a big risk. And I think it sparked, already, in
Israel a real debate, which is moving Israeli public opinion toward the
conditions that will make peace. So I thought that was important, and I
think it deserves to be acknowledged.
On the same day, US Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright was interviewed on US television. The following
is an extract from that interview.
"MS. WARNER: Now, Prime Minister Barak held a press
conference today, and he said that - he essentially blamed it on Arafat,
and he said that Arafat was unwilling or not able or afraid to take the
necessary steps on Jerusalem. Is he right to essentially blame the breakdown
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that the way the President
put it is that he praised Prime Minister Barak for his boldness and his
creativity. Chairman Arafat is dedicated to peace, but I think he comes
at it from a different angle. ...
MS. WARNER: Were the Palestinians willing to move
at all on the Jerusalem - their original negotiating position? The President
did say - and we are running that tape - that Prime Minister Barak moved
more. But did the Palestinians move at all?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that the Palestinians
had certain ideas, but I think that one has to honestly say that Prime
Minister Barak was the one that had the interesting perceptions and ideas.
The following day, 26 July 2000, US
National Security Adviser Samuel Berger was interviewed by Bill Hemmer
"Hemmer: It was quite clear from President Clinton,
yesterday's briefing in the room where you are standing, reinforced later
by Madeleine Albright in an interview, that Yasser Arafat was not willing
to deal completely, in full. Why not?
Berger: Well, first, I would say, both sides did
make concessions. I would say that the Israelis were more willing to be
creative and flexible. The Palestinians, with respect particularly to the
issue of Jerusalem, were not as prepared to compromise, and to give - let
go of the - some of their traditional positions, in order for the larger
good of creating a Palestinian State and a different future for the Palestinian
Hemmer: You know the Palestinians have said they
want to declare a Palestinian State by the 13th of September.
What concerns you more without a peace deal? Is it that deadline looming
in September? Or is it potential violence between now and then that may
disrupt the entire process?
Berger: Well, there may be some violence between
now and then, but I think that, as we get towards September, the Parties
do face a fundamental crossroads. Down one road is confrontation and conflict.
Down the other road is an agreement and peace. That involves compromise.
And I think, as they stand at those cross roads, I hope that they will
assess their positions, I hope [there] will be debates within the Palestinian
leadership, just as there were debates in Israel. And I hope that the Parties
will be prepared to come back. ..."
THE IMMEDIATE CAUSES OF THE CONFLICT
Writing in the New York Times on 13 October 2000,
the distinguished foreign policy commentator Thomas L. Friedman, under
the heading "Arafat's War", addressed the violence in the Middle East in
the following terms:
"Maybe the most revealing feature of this latest
explosion in Israeli-Palestinian violence is the fact that this war has
no name. The 'intifada', the Palestinian uprising of the late 1980's, got
its name almost immediately. Intifada loosely means 'shaking off', and
Palestinians were said to be trying to shake off the Israeli occupation.
The name made so much sense that even Israelis used it. But the violence
of the last two weeks still has no name. And that is not an accident. It's
because even the participants can't explain what it's about, or, deep down,
they're embarrassed to do so.
Here's why: the roots of this latest violent outburst
can be traced directly back to President Clinton's press conference after
the breakdown of the Camp David Summit. At that time, Mr Clinton pointedly,
deliberately - and rightly - stated that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak
had offered unprecedented compromises at the Summit - more than 90 percent
of the West Bank for a Palestinian State, a partial resolution of the Palestinian
Refugee problem and Palestinian Sovereignty over the Muslim and Christian
Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem - and that Yasir Arafat had not responded
in kind, or at all.
Palestinians were shocked by Mr Clinton's assessment.
For the first time in a long time, Mr Arafat no longer had the moral high
ground. He, and the Arab leaders, had grown so comfortable with Bibi Netanyahu
as Prime Minister of Israel - a man the world always blamed for any peace
breakdown - that they were stunned and unprepared for the seriousness of
Mr Barak's offer and the bluntness of Mr Clinton's assessment. Other world
leaders told Mr Arafat the same thing: Barak deserves a serious counteroffer.
Mr Arafat had a dilemma: make some compromises, build
on Mr Barak's opening bid and try to get it closer to 100 percent - and
regain the moral high ground that way - or provoke the Israelis into brutalising
Palestinians again, and regain the moral high ground that way. Mr Arafat
chose the latter. So instead of responding to Mr Barak's peacemaking overture,
he and his boys responded to Ariel Sharon's peace-destroying provocation.
In short, the Palestinians could not deal with Barak, so they had to turn
him into Sharon. And they did.
Of course, the Palestinians couldn't explain it in
those terms, so instead they unfurled all the old complaints about the
brutality of the continued Israeli occupation and settlement-building.
Frankly, the Israeli checkpoints and continued settlement-building are
oppressive. But what the Palestinians and Arabs refuse to acknowledge is
that today's Israeli Prime Minister was offering them a dignified exit.
It was far from perfect for Palestinians, but it was a proposal that, with
the right approach, could have been built upon and widened. Imagine if
when Mr Sharon visited the Temple Mount, Mr Arafat had ordered his people
to welcome him with open arms and say 'when this area is under Palestinian
sovereignty, every Jew will be welcome, even you, Mr Sharon.' Imagine the
impact that would have had on Israelis.
But that would have been an act of statesmanship
and real peaceful intentions, and Mr Arafat, it's now clear, possesses
neither. He prefers to play the victim rather than the statesman. This
explosion of violence would be totally understandable if the Palestinians
had no alternative. But that was not the case. What's new here is not the
violence, but the context. It came in the context of a serious Israeli
peace overture, which Mr Arafat has chosen to spurn. That's why this is
Arafat's war. That's its real name."
It will come as no surprise to the Committee to learn
that Israel does not agree with all aspects of this analysis. In particular,
Mr Friedman's observations concerning the "oppressive nature" of Israeli
checkpoints leaves out of account the threat that they are designed to
contain. The issue of Israeli settlements is one of the key elements in
the permanent status negotiations. In respect of Ariel Sharon's visit to
the Temple Mount, it should be recalled that this is the holiest site in
Judaism. Mr Friedman's analysis is, however, accurate in a fundamental
respect. The Palestinian resort to violence from late September 2000 was
in significant measure the result of an orchestrated campaign by the Palestinian
leadership. As Mr Friedman observed, the immediate objective of this action
was to neutralise and counteract the widely held appreciation in the international
community of Palestinian responsibility for the failure of the Camp David
negotiations and the virtually uniform international reaction in the run-up
to Mr Arafat's 13 September 2000 deadline for the unilateral declaration
of a Palestinian state counselling against such a step. More widely, the
violence has been part of a nurtured policy of the Palestinian leadership
pursued with the deliberate intention of provoking and incurring Palestinian
casualties as a means of regaining the diplomatic initiative. It also served
to alleviate both internal and wider Arab pressures on the Palestinian
leadership and re-enlist the support of the Arab world in the Palestinian
dispute with Israel.
Israel does not, by this, for a moment, mean to suggest
that there is no wider context for the present events. The present violence
is part of the wider Palestinian - Israeli conflict. It is, however, too
simplistic to lay the violence of the past 93 days at the doorstep of that
conflict in general terms. Although there have been incidents of violence
in the period since the start of the Oslo process, progress towards a Permanent
Status Agreement has proceeded in the absence of violence on the scale
of that witnessed in recent weeks. The question, therefore, is what happened
in the period prior to late September 2000 which acted as a catalyst for
the recent events.
The significant developments in this period were the
Camp David negotiations of July 2000, the widespread appreciation in the
international community that their failure was due to inflexibility on
the Palestinian side and the advice broadly tendered to Mr Arafat that
he should not proceed to a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood
on 13 September 2000. These were the immediate and principal catalytic
events leading to the violence. Underlying this was a longer-term policy
of the Palestinian leadership which effectively laid the groundwork for
a campaign of violence to further the goal of the unilateral establishment
of a Palestinian State.
A number of elements in respect of this appreciation
call for further preliminary comment. First, contrary to the publicly expressed
views of the Palestinian side that the cause of the violence was a spontaneous
and popular reaction to the visit by Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount on
28 September 2000, this was not the case. While the Sharon visit may have
been an excuse for the violence, it was not the cause. As has already been
suggested, the cause is deeper-rooted and predates Mr Sharon's visit by
Second, as the preceding appreciation of the immediate
causes of the events of recent weeks makes clear, the violence was instigated
and coordinated; it was not spontaneous. It was also fanned, both in the
period leading up to the commencement of the violence and during the course
of the conflict, by incitement to violence and hostile propaganda which
ran deep in the structures of the Palestinian community - public and vociferous
intonations to kill Jews and Israelis proclaimed by Imams at Friday prayers,
incendiary descriptions of Israel and Jews in books introduced into the
curriculum at Palestinian schools, including those for young children,
calls for a religious conflict against Israel in the period following the
breakdown of the Camp David negotiations, as well as other elements.
Third, not only was the violence nurtured, planned and
prosecuted as an instrument of policy by the Palestinian leadership but
key elements of the Palestinian security apparatus have actively participated
in the violence. The violence, notably in its live-fire dimensions, thus
has had all the characteristics of an armed conflict - live-fire attacks
on a significant scale, both quantitatively and geographically; by a well
armed and organised militia; under the command of a political establishment;
operating from areas outside Israeli control; pursuing political aims.
Fourth, at its most basic level, the very fact of the
violence attests to the failure on the part of the PLO and Palestinian
Authority to take the steps that they committed themselves to in the agreements
with Israel to forestall violence and terror. Far from acting to prevent
violence, the PLO, the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Police
have actively supported and directed the violence.
These and other issues relevant to an analysis of the
immediate causes of the violence will now be addressed in more detail.
A. Laying the groundwork for violence
The immediate catalyst for the violence of late September
2000 was the breakdown of the Camp David negotiations on 25 July 2000 and
the widespread appreciation in the international community of Palestinian
responsibility for the impasse. The violence was part of a planned campaign
by the Palestinian leadership to recapture the diplomatic initiative. As
Abu-Ali Mustafa, a member of the Palestinian Authority, stated on 23 July
2000, even before the final breakdown of the Camp David negotiations:
"The issues of Jerusalem, the refugees and sovereignty
are one and will be finalised on the ground and not in negotiations. At
this point it is important to prepare Palestinian society for the challenge
of the next step because we will inevitably find ourselves in a violent
confrontation with Israel in order to create new facts on the ground. ...
I believe that the situation in the future will be more violent than the
As this statement indicates, there was, within senior
figures in the Palestinian leadership, a clear view, even in the very midst
of the Camp David negotiations, that a violent confrontation with Israel
was necessary "in order to create new facts on the ground". Violence was
part of the agenda - notwithstanding all the commitments to the contrary
in the agreements concluded since September 1993. The Palestinian dilemma,
even prior to Camp David, was whether to engage with Israel in a serious
attempt to address the issues that divided the two sides or to pursue a
strategy which would lay the groundwork for a violent confrontation aimed
at creating "new facts on the ground".
In reality, both options were pursued. The permanent
status negotiations continued, crystallising in July 2000 in the Camp David
Summit. At the same time, the groundwork was laid for a violent confrontation.
This took various forms: an increase in hostile propaganda, the military
training of Palestinian children at so-called "summer camps", the failure
to confiscate illegal weapons, the growth in the numbers of the Palestinian
Police beyond agreed levels, the unwarranted release of terrorist detainees
held in Palestinian prisons (the so-called "revolving door" policy), and
preparations at a civilian level in prospect of a conflict. These elements
assumed particular significance in the period following the Camp David
Summit, the failure of the negotiations being the catalyst leading to a
refocusing of the balance between these tracks in favour of confrontation.
Within the limits of this initial Statement, key aspects of each
of these elements are addressed in more detail below.
(i) Hostile propaganda and incitement to violence
Article XXII(1) of
the Interim Agreement provides that the Parties "shall seek
to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and shall accordingly abstain
from incitement, including hostile propaganda". Paragraph (2) of the same
Article addresses hostile propaganda in the educational system, providing
expressly that the Parties "will refrain from the introduction of any motifs
that could adversely affect the process of reconciliation". These provisions
are echoed explicitly in paragraph 2(b) of the Note
for the Record of 15 January 1997 and in section II, paragraph
3 of the Wye River Memorandum of
23 October 1998. The obligations to take measures to preclude hostile propaganda
and to refrain from incitement stand at the very core of the peace process.
Notwithstanding these commitments, hostile propaganda
directed against Jews and Israelis, officially sanctioned, and of the most
insidious kind, is all too evident. This is particularly so in the case
of children. A frequently cited example is that of a Palestinian children's
television programme called the "Children's Club" which, through a "Sesame
Street" formula involving interaction between children, puppets and fictional
characters, encourages a hatred for Jews and the perpetration of violence
against them in a "jihad" or "holy war".
In one song, for example, very young children are shown
singing about wanting to become "suicide warriors" taking up machine guns
against Israelis. Another song features young children singing a refrain
"when I wander into Jerusalem, I will become a suicide bomber". "We will
settle our claims with stones and bullets" and "jihad against Israel" are
amongst other common proclamations of the child participants.
The same message emerges from school books used in Palestinian
classrooms in the current academic year (2000 - 2001), many of which were
prepared by the Palestinian Ministry of Education. Thus, for example, a
textbook entitled Muqarar al-Tilawa Wa'ahkam Al-Tajwid prepared
for 5th graders, describes Jews as cowards for whom Allah has
prepared fires of hell. In a text for 8th graders, Al-Mutala'ah
Wa'alnussus al-Adabia, Israelis are referred to as the butchers in
Jerusalem. Stories glorifying those who throw stones at soldiers are found
in various texts. A 9th grade text, Al-Mutala'ah Wa'alnussus
al-Adabia, refers to the bacteria of Zionism that has to be uprooted
out of the Arab nation. The list is long and goes on in similar vein.
In the period since the start of the conflict in late
September 2000, the incitement to violence against Jews and Israelis has
become more direct and vociferous. This aspect is addressed below in the
review of the policies and practices of the Palestinian side in the course
of the current violence. For present purposes, it suffices simply to note
the incidence of serious violations by the Palestinian side of the prohibition
of hostile propaganda and incitement contained in the Interim Agreement,
the Note for the Record and the Wye River Memorandum. Israel
is prepared to expand upon this element in greater detail in future submissions
to the Committee.
(ii) The military training of Palestinian children
There is growing international concern about the involvement
of children in armed conflict. The conscription of children into armed
militia has been addressed by the international community in the context
of various conflicts. These issues are addressed in a range of treaties
and other international instruments.
In stark contrast to these accepted norms, the Palestinian
leadership has actively developed a policy of military training for children.
This practice was described in a report on 25 October 2000 in The Times
of London by Sam Kiley, the newspaper's Middle East Bureau Chief, inter
alia in the following terms:
"Stone-throwing children at the centre of riots
on the West Bank and Gaza have received weeks of training in guerrilla
warfare, including mock kidnappings, from Yassir Arafat's Fatah movement.
The children, some as young as 11, took a break yesterday
from an often deadly game of cat and mouse with heavily armed Israeli soldiers
to boast of their exploits in training camps where they were also indoctrinated
with ferocious anti-Israeli sentiments.
Over the past four weeks at least 120 Palestinians
have been killed by Israelis. About a third of them were boys as young
as 12, some among the 25,000 youngsters trained in 90 different Fatah camps
earlier this year."
This reference to the so-called "summer camps" is accurate.
During the summer of 2000, some 27,000 Palestinian children between the
ages of 7 - 18 took part in such camps in both the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip. These camps were funded by the Palestinian Authority. The largest
of the camps were under the direction of Fatah, the principal military-political
grouping of the PLO of which Yasser Arafat is the head. A common theme
was preparation for armed conflict. Amongst other activities, the children
were trained in the operation of firearms.
The summer camps are part of a wider practice which
has seen children under the age of 18 "conscripted" into the Fatah militia
- known as the Tanzim - as well as into special Fatah Youth cadres
- known as the Shabibah. In this role, many of these children carry
weapons and are trained in their use. As clip number 4 on the orientation
video attached as Exhibit I shows, "slitting the throats of Israelis" is
one of the children's exercises at these camps.
Israel has detailed evidence in support of this claim.
It is prepared to develop this material fully in later submissions to the
(iii) The failure to confiscate illegal weapons
Reflecting provisions in the Gaza-Jericho Agreement
of May 1994, Article XIV(4) of the Interim
Agreement provides that
"[e]xcept for the arms, ammunition and equipment
of the Palestinian Police described in Annex I, and those of Israeli military
forces, no organisation, group or individual in the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip shall manufacture, sell, acquire, possess, import or otherwise introduce
into the West Bank or the Gaza Strip any firearms, ammunition, weapons,
explosives, gunpowder or any related equipment, unless otherwise provided
for in Annex I."
Article IV(5) of
Annex I of the Interim Agreement goes on to specify precisely
and in detail the numbers and types of weapons that were permitted to the
Palestinian Police. These include a quantity of rifles, pistols and other
light personal weapons and 240 "machine guns of 0.3" or 0.5" caliber".
Pursuant to Article IV(5)(e) of Annex I, the Palestinian Police were required
to "maintain an updated register of all weapons held by its personnel."
Pursuant to Article
XI(2) of Annex I of the Interim Agreement, each side was required
"in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in accordance
with their security responsibility, a prohibition on possession or carrying
of weapons without a licence."
The Article goes on to set out provisions in respect
of the licensing of weapons, the requirement to maintain a register of
licensed weapons and the requirement to prevent the manufacture of weapons
and the transfer of weapons to persons not licensed to possess them.
Article II(1) of
Annex I, under the heading "Security Policy for the Prevention of Terrorism
and Violence", provides in paragraph (c) that the Palestinian Council
"will issue permits in order to legalise the possession
and carrying of arms by civilians. Any illegal arms will be confiscated
by the Palestinian Police."
These provisions in respect of weapons are an integral
and essential part of the security commitments which are fundamental to
the Interim Agreement. They involve a commitment in respect of (a)
the numbers and types of weaponry available to the Palestinian Police as
the agreed, and only, Palestinian security authority in the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip, (b) the restricted licensing of weapons, on the basis of
agreed principles, to be held by civilians, and (c) the confiscation by
the Palestinian Police of all illegal weapons.
Palestinian non-compliance with these provisions has
been a source of significant Israeli disquiet from the outset. The Palestinian
commitment in respect of illegal weaponry was thus expressly revisited
in the Note for the Record of 15 January 1997 in which the Palestinian
side explicitly reaffirmed its commitment in respect of the "confiscation
of illegal firearms".
In the light of continuing Israeli disquiet over Palestinian
non-compliance with these provisions, the matter was raised again in the
context of the Wye River Summit in October 1998. The issue was addressed
in the Memorandum that emerged from
that meeting in the following terms:
A. Security Actions
2. Prohibiting Illegal Weapons
(a) The Palestinian side will ensure an effective
legal framework is in place to criminalise, in conformity with the prior
agreements, any importation, manufacturing or unlicensed sale, acquisition
or possession of firearms, ammunition or weapons in areas under Palestinian
(b) In addition, the Palestinian side will establish
and vigorously and continuously implement a systematic program for the
collection and appropriate handling of all such illegal items in accordance
with the prior agreements. The US has agreed to assist in carrying out
(c) A US-Palestinian-Israeli committee will be established
to assist and enhance cooperation in preventing the smuggling or other
unauthorised introduction of weapons or explosive materials into areas
under Palestinian jurisdiction."
In the wake of continued Palestinian non-compliance
with these provisions, the matter was revisited once again at the Sharm
El-Sheikh Summit in September 1999. As provided in the Sharm
"Pursuant to the prior agreements, the Palestinian
side undertakes to implement its responsibilities for security, security
cooperation, on-going obligations and other issues emanating from the prior
agreements, including, in particular, the following obligations emanating
from the Wye River Memorandum:
1) continuation of the program for the collection
of the illegal weapons, including reports ..."
Notwithstanding these provisions, there is clear evidence
of continuing violations of these commitments by the Palestinian side from
the outset of the Oslo process. This includes violations in respect of
both the quantity and the type of weaponry available to the Palestinian
Police, the unlicensed possession of weapons by the Tanzim and other
militia as well as by the civilian population, and the failure on the part
of the Palestinian police to confiscate illegal weapons. In addition to
excessive numbers of permitted weapons - such as pistols, assault rifles
and sub-machine guns - in the hands of the Palestinian Police, illegal
weapons held by the Police, militia and other groups and individuals include
Israel is prepared to adduce further evidence in support
of these claims in subsequent submissions to the Committee.
As will by now be well known, one of the significant
features of the violence of the past 93 days has been the live-fire attacks
by the Palestinian side against Israelis. In many cases, Palestinian Police
have participated actively in these attacks. In overwhelming measure, the
weapons used by the Palestinians in these attacks have been illegal weapons,
illegally held. This element is addressed further below in the context
of the review of the policies and practices of the Palestinian side in
the course of the conflict. The stockpiling of illegal weapons and the
systematic failure on the part of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian
Police to fulfil their obligations to confiscate these weapons has been
a fundamental element in the groundwork for the present violence.
rocket propelled grenades,
shoulder launched anti-aircraft missiles, cannons and
(iv) The growth in the numbers of the Palestinian
Police beyond agreed levels
Article IV(3) of
Annex I of the Interim Agreement provides that
"[d]uring the interim period, the total number
of policemen of the Palestinian Police in all its branches in the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip will be no more than 30,000 out of which up to
12,000 policemen may be deployed in the West Bank and up to 18,000 policeman
in the Gaza Strip."
This provision, as with others concerning security,
was, from Israel's perspective, a fundamental element of the peace accords.
The risk attendant upon Israeli acceptance of what for all practical purposes
is a Palestinian army was spelt out starkly by Nabil Sha'ath, a senior
member of the Palestinian leadership in a speech in Nablus in 1996, in
the following terms:
"We decided to liberate our homeland step-by-step
... Should Israel continue - no problem. And so, we honour the peace treaties
and non-violence ... if and when Israel says 'enough' ... in that case
it is saying that we will return to violence. But this time it will be
with 30,000 armed Palestinian soldiers and in a land with elements of freedom
... If we reach a dead end we will go back to our war and struggle like
we did forty years ago."
This Palestinian "army" is organised into 12 branches
operating in three areas - a military component, a civilian law enforcement
component and an intelligence and prevention component. Notwithstanding
the provision in Article XIV(3) of the
Agreement that the Palestinian Police and the Israeli military
forces were to be the only armed forces operating in the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip, a further significant and heavily armed military force,
the Tanzim, or Fatah militia, operates in both the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip under the direct control of Yasser Arafat. The Tanzim
is charged with the daily management of Fatah's activities in the field
of "security", including the acquisition of illegal weapons. It has been
the armed actions of the Tanzim that has enabled the Palestinian
leadership to turn the present crisis into a confrontation on the scale
of an armed conflict. Tanzim forces are charged with marshalling
people for action, organising that action and distributing weapons such
as molotov cocktails. They also provide the principal live-fire dimension
to the Palestinian attacks.
Not counting the Tanzim and other militia forces,
the numbers of Palestinian Police in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip exceed
the agreed permitted levels by around 10,000 policemen. In the light of
Israeli concern at the growth in this force and the potential threat posed
thereby, the issue was the subject of review at the Wye River Summit at
which time the Palestinian side agreed to "provide a list of its policemen
to the Israeli side in conformity with the prior agreements." The issue
was revisited again in the Sharm El-Sheikh
In purported compliance with these commitments, the
Palestinian Authority, in March 2000, provided Israel with a list of policemen.
Notwithstanding the agreed limit of 30,000 in the Interim Agreement,
this named 39,899 policemen.
In the light of the active involvement of elements within
the Palestinian Police in live-fire attacks against Israelis over the course
of the past 93 days, Israel cannot emphasise strongly enough its disquiet
at this violation of the Interim Agreement in respect of this matter.
Police numbers constitute an essential component of the security arrangements
that are fundamental to the agreements concluded between Israel and the
PLO. The growth in the numbers of Palestinian Police in violation of the
Agreement is a further element in the groundwork for violence.
(v) The unwarranted release of terrorist detainees
held in Palestinian prisons
Article II(1) of
Annex I of the Interim Agreement provides inter alia
that "[t]he Palestinian Police will arrest and prosecute individuals who
are suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror." Paragraph 3(c)
of the same Article reaffirms this commitment, providing that one of the
functions and responsibilities in respect of the prevention of terrorism
and violence is to "apprehend, investigate and prosecute perpetrators and
all other persons directly or indirectly involved in acts of terrorism,
violence and incitement". Article II
of Annex IV of the Interim Agreement sets out various provisions
regarding cooperation in criminal matters, including the extradition of
suspects and defendants.
Effective action by the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian
Police against those suspected or found guilty of complicity in acts of
violence and terror is an essential component of the security commitments
assumed by the Palestinian side under the agreements with Israel. Israeli
concern that the Palestinian side was pursuing a "revolving door" policy
with regard to such persons - the unwarranted release of such persons following
detention - was the subject of review at the Wye River Summit in October
1998 at which point the Palestinian side expressly undertook that it would
"apprehend the specific individuals suspected of
perpetrating acts of violence and terror for the purpose of further investigation,
and prosecution and punishment of all persons involved in acts of violence
Affirming the importance of this matter, US Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
on the same date inter alia in the following terms:
"... we wanted to confirm our understanding of
assurances we have received from the Palestinians on several issues that
you have indicated are of special concern to Israel. Regarding the Palestinian
apprehension of terrorism suspects (II(A)(1)(d)), we have been assured
that all the cases which have been identified will be acted upon. With
respect to Palestinian decisions regarding the prosecution, punishment
or other legal measures that affect the status of individuals suspected
of abetting or perpetrating acts of violence or terror, there are procedures
in place to prevent unwarranted releases. Furthermore, we will express
our opposition to any unwarranted releases of such suspects, and in the
event of such a release, we will be prepared to express our position publicly."
Israeli concerns about Palestinian non-compliance with
these commitments was revisited at the Sharm El-Sheikh Summit in September
1999 at which time the Palestinian side again undertook inter alia
to implement its obligations in respect of the "apprehension of suspects,
The Palestinian side remains in violation of these commitments.
The unwarranted release of persons suspected or found guilty of complicity
in acts of violence and terror increased significantly in the period following
the breakdown of the Camp David negotiations on 25 July 2000 and, to the
point of the start of the violence in late September 2000, included the
release of over 50 members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front
for the Liberation of Palestine ("PFLP") who had been involved in attacks
against Israel and Israelis. In very many cases, those released have played
an active role in the violence. Key figures who have been complicit in
acts of violence and terror against Israelis released by the Palestinian
Authority in the period July - September 2000 include:
The unwarranted release of such detainees sends a message
to the Palestinian community that terrorism is acceptable. More than that,
it releases into the community individuals who are committed to pursuing
such a course of action and who have the experience and capability to do
so. The release of these detainees involves a fundamental breach by the
Palestinian Authority of its commitments under the various agreements concluded
|Adnan Muhammad Jaber Ghol
|'Ahd Yusuf Musa Ulmeh
|Ahmed Fathi Ahmed Mahadawi
|Alaa' Awad Ahmed Shuli
|Ahmed Said Halil Ja'bari
|'Amar Dib Ahmed Surur
|Ashraf Muhammad Sh'hade Zakat
|Awad Salah id Silmi
|Ayub Ahmed Ayub 'Atallah
|Halid Hasan Ahmad Jumaa'
|Halil Muhammad Halil Jalidan
|Hashim 'Ashur Al-Malk Salim-Dib
|Ibrahim Muhammad Suliman Abu-Alwan
|Imad Shaaban Muhammad Sharif
|Lu'i Shafiq Dib Sawalha
|Muhammad Hasain Sa'id 'Sulayman Keshef
|Muhammad Ibrahim Hasan Sanwar
|Muhammad Musa Hasan Jadallah
|Muhammad Saqr Rajib Zatma
|Nabil Hasan Salem Sharihi
|Nasir Subhi Amhed 'Atar
|Ra'ad Sa'id Hasin Sa'ad
|Rabah Darwish Husayn Zakut
|Ra'fat Ramadan Salim Ubeid
|Riad Salah 'Ali Abu-Hashish
|Suhil Nam'an Salah Abu-Nahil
(vi) Preparations at a civilian level in prospect
of a conflict
The planned nature of the present violence is also illustrated
by initiatives taken by the Palestinian leadership in civil matters in
preparation for violence. Thus, for example, as reported in the leading
Arabic daily newspaper Al Quds on 20 July 2000, Nagaa Abu-Bakr,
the head of the Palestinian Supply Management Office in Nablus, met with
local merchants on 19 July 2000, in the midst of the Camp David negotiations,
and requested them to take such steps as may be necessary in the area of
food supplies to ensure that there would not be a shortage in the event
of a confrontation following the failure of the negotiations.
The same picture emerges from activity in other sectors.
For example, as reported in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, an official newspaper
of the Palestinian Authority, on 12 July 2000, the Palestinian Health Minister
Riad Elzaanun indicated that his office was checking the strategic supplies
of medicines and medical equipment in case of emergency as part of the
preparations for the forthcoming declaration of Palestinian statehood.
Other examples of similar initiatives are also evident.
The picture that emerges from these initiatives is of
a Palestinian leadership acting in preparation for a violent confrontation.
These actions comprehensively debunk the notion that the violence of late
September was a spontaneous event in response to the visit of Ariel Sharon
to the Temple Mount.
B. The failure of the Camp David Summit and preparations
By the time of the start of the Camp David Summit on
11 July 2000, the groundwork for violence had been laid. Preparations for
conflict gathered pace after the breakdown of the negotiations on 25 July
2000. It was clear from this point that the balance, insofar as the Palestinian
leadership was concerned, had shifted in favour of confrontation.
This re-balancing of the strategic focus of the Palestinian
leadership following - and even in the midst of - the Camp David negotiations,
is clear from the public statements of members of the Palestinian Authority.
The following chronological sequence of statements illustrates the proposition:
Eight days later, on 27 September 2000, the violence
began with a roadside bomb attack against Israelis at Netzarim Junction
in the Gaza Strip.
The orchestrated dimension of the violence in pursuit
of wider political objectives is evident even more clearly from statements
made following the outbreak of the conflict. A number of examples will
suffice to illustrate the point:
as reported in Kul Al-Arab on 14 July 2000 (ie,
three days after the start of the Camp David Summit), a "senior security
figure" in the Palestinian Authority was quoted as saying:
"The Palestinian people are in a state of emergency
against the failure of the Camp David summit. If the situation explodes,
the Palestinian people living in the areas controlled by the Palestinian
Authority are ready for the next fierce battle against the Israeli occupation.
... The next Intifada will be more violent than the first one especially
since the Palestinian people now possess weapons allowing them to defend
themselves in a confrontation with the Israeli army. ... the Lebanese experience
of wiping out the Israeli occupation from southern Lebanon gave the Palestinian
people the needed moral strength and added to their spirit of armed struggle."
as reported by Reuters on 20 July 2000, Abdel-Razek
Al-Mujaydeh, the head of the Palestinian National Security Forces in the
Gaza Strip, stated:
"If [Camp David] reaches deadlock or failure there
will be disappointment among Palestinians which could be accompanied by
as reported by Reuters on 9 August 2000, Abu Ala (also
known as Ahmed Korei), the Speaker of the Palestinian Council and a senior
Palestinian negotiator at Camp David, stated:
"When we are convinced a peace agreement with Israel
is not possible, no doubt our people and the leadership of the Palestinian
people will have other alternatives. ... I am not calling for violence,
but I don't know how the people will react."
as reported by the Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
on 16 August 2000, Muhammad Dahlan, the head of the Preventive Security
component of the Palestinian Police in the Gaza Strip, stated:
"In the event that no agreement is reached with
the occupier and a confrontation takes place, both sides will suffer. 'Whoever
thinks that confronting us will be easy must understand that today our
people has greater capability than when the PLO were in Beirut ... we are
in a phase in which we are close to an independent sovereign state, maybe
we will reach it through blood, but in any case we are not willing to accept
anything less than a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.'"
as reported in the Arabic newspaper Al-Ayam on
14 September 2000, Muhammad Dahlan again stated:
"The Palestinian people know how to react to an
Israeli attack and they are not incapable of doing this. They have experience
in defending themselves, their honour and the honour of the Arab nation.
... We do not have unlimited time and there is a limit to these negotiations."
as reported on the Voice of Palestine radio on
19 September 2000, Yasser Abed Rabo, the Minister for Information and one
of the principal Palestinian negotiators, stated:
"We feel that the Israelis harden their positions
every day, and that their positions are fickle. ... These positions and
ideas are of a provocative character, and will lead to nothing but a confrontation
on a religious ground."
As these extracts make clear, the violence was not spontaneous.
It was a planned and orchestrated campaign by the Palestinian leadership.
Detailed elements of this planning were coordinated by local Fatah committees
and the Tanzim as well as by elements within the Palestinian security
On 4 October 2000, a Belgian television team from RTL-TV1
was filming in the area of Ramallah. The following report was subsequently
filed by Jean Pierre Martin of this team on 5 October 2000:
"We were filming the beginning of the demonstration.
Suddenly, a van pulled in hurriedly. Inside, there were Fatah militants.
They gave their orders and even distributed Molotov cocktails. We were
filming. But these images, you will never see. In a few seconds, all those
youngsters surrounded us, threatened us, and then took us away to the police
station. There, we identified ourselves but we were compelled to delete
the controversial pictures. The Palestinian Police calmed the situation
but censored our pictures. We now have the proof that those riots are no
longer spontaneous. All the orders came from the Palestinian hierarchy."
On 6 October 2000, a few days after the violence began,
Fatah published a declaration - one of many produced during the conflict
- in Nablus. This stated inter alia as follows:
"The Nablus district of the Fatah movement calls
for the following:
To regard Friday October 6th as a day of
rage and to expand it to all the country.
To proceed with the Intifada! The fighting guns will
sow and the politics will reap. Our right to struggle is legitimate and
a national necessity without controversy.
To expand the circle of clashes and confrontation to
the entire district: the city of Nablus, the refugee camps and the countryside.
The wider the circle of clashes, so will the inevitable results be in our
It is important that there will be coordination between
the different bodies in the movement, between the district and the sub-district
To search for geographical posts in our countryside
because of their important role in striking settler movements and concentrations.
To avoid unorganised activities and to rely on pre-studied
'quality' actions. We must differentiate the wide work of the masses from
the quality work of small groups so as to inflict as many casualties as
possible in the lines of Israelis in general and settlers in particular.
To avoid any shooting that is not directed at Israeli
targets or isn't executed in the right way.
To have complete faith in the political leadership and
in the movement's leadership, in the head of both stands president Abu-Amar
[Yasser Arafat] ..."
On 5 December 2000, the Palestinian Minister of Communications,
Imad Al-Falouji, addressed a symposium of the Journalists Association of
Gaza. His remarks were reported in the Arabic daily newspaper Al-Ayam
on 6 December 2000. Referring to the conflict, Mr Al-Falouji is reported
as having stated that the Palestinian Authority began its preparations
for the outbreak of the current Intifada from the moment of return from
the Camp David negotiations. According to Mr Al-Falouji, Yasser Arafat
anticipated the eruption of the Intifada as a consolidation of the firm
Palestinian stand in negotiations with Israel and not simply as a protest
against Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount. The preparations for
the Intifada began in accordance with Arafat's request.
On 7 December 2000, the Arabic daily newspaper Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida carried an interview with Sakher Habash, a member of the
Fatah Central Committee and an influential figure in the Palestinian leadership.
He described the preparations for the confrontation with Israel in the
"From the information received and from an analysis
of the political perceptions after Camp David, it became clear to Fatah,
also on the basis of Yasser Arafat's statements, that the next stage necessitated
preparations for confrontation. This is because Prime Minister Ehud Barak
is not a partner that can respond to the aspirations of our people. Based
on this assessment, Fatah prepared more than all other national movements
for this confrontation. In order for it to play the role that it assumed,
it coordinated all its tanzim mechanisms and its civilian and ruling apparatus.
Fatah was not surprised by the outbreak of the Intifada. Fatah did not
see the general struggle in the permanent status agreement stage as a way
to improve our situation in the negotiations and not just a reaction to
Sharon's provocative visit of the Temple Mount, although this was the spark.
The Intifada was the result of a built-up rage among our people that was
ripe for an explosion before the Barak government, for the sake of an important
matter that has been postponed for more than a year and a half - the matter
C. The visit of Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount,
28 September 2000
As the preceding review makes clear, the groundwork
for violence had been laid by the Palestinian leadership well before the
visit by Opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount on Thursday,
28 September 2000. The visit was not the cause of the violence. As there
has been a good deal of dissembling associated with the visit of Mr Sharon
to the Temple Mount, it may be helpful to the Committee if key aspects
of this event are described more fully.
Mr Sharon, the leader of the Opposition in the Israeli
Parliament, the Knesset, published his intention to visit the Temple Mount
on 24 September 2000, four days prior to the intended visit. The declared
purpose of the visit was to examine archaeological sites on the Temple
Mount following work that had been carried out by the Muslim Wakf, notably
in the area of Solomon's Stables. The location of this area within the
Temple Mount compound is indicated on Aerial Photograph No.1
appended hereto, which, together with other geographic points, also shows
the route taken by Mr Sharon on his visit to the area. At the time of announcing
his intention to visit the area, Mr Sharon indicated that he would be accompanied
by archaeologists from the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
In the context of this visit, it should be recalled
that the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. It has been a sanctified
place for Jews for over 3,000 years. Known also by the name Mount Moriah,
it is the place at which Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his son Isaac.
It is mentioned on hundreds of occasions in the Old Testament. As its name
suggests, it is the site of the ancient Temple built by King Solomon. Whole
chapters of the Old Testament, in Kings I, deal with the construction of
the Temple. Following the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonian
King Nebuchadnezzer, a second Temple was built on the same site. This stood
until it too was destroyed 600 years later, this time by Roman legions
Two biblical references to the Temple Mount will suffice
to illustrate its holiness and centrality to Judaism. The first is the
evocative passage from Isaiah 2:1 - 4, a vision to the future, with which
this Statement opened:
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz
Judah and Jerusalem,
That the mountain of the Lord's house
shall be established
as the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow unto it.
And many peoples shall go and say:
Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain
of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
And He will teach us of His ways;
And we will walk in His paths.
For out of Zion shall go forth the
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And He shall judge between the nations,
And shall decide for many peoples;
And they shall beat their swords into
And their spears into pruning-hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against
Neither shall they learn war any more.
The second, from Haggai 2:9, refers to the time of the
The glory of this latter house shall
be greater than that of the former, saith the Lord of hosts;
and in this place will I give peace,
saith the Lord of hosts.
The Western Wall, the last remnant of the second Temple,
is at the foot of the Temple Mount and is the holiest remaining site for
Jewish prayer and pilgrimage today. In their daily prayers over millenia
Jews have evoked the holiness of the site, praying for the rebuilding of
the Temple. Even the word "Zionism", which is the spiritual source of the
modern State of Israel, is a reckoning back to the holiness of Jerusalem
and the Temple Mount.
The sensitivity of and risks associated with the proposed
visit by Mr Sharon to the Temple Mount were clear to all. It was evident
that there would be elements within the Palestinian community who would
oppose the visit and might seek to prevent it. The timing of the visit
was also sensitive insofar as it preceded by only a few days the Jewish
New Year, a period in which Jewish families traditionally visit the Western
Wall which stands at the foot of the Temple Mount.
While the possibility of prohibiting the visit was considered,
freedom of access to "sacred places" is expressly enshrined in Israeli
legislation and Supreme Court decisions. Freedom of movement of Members
of the Knesset, save for reasons of national security, is also expressly
provided for in Israeli law. The scope for prohibiting the visit was thus
Against this background, the relevant Israeli authorities
consulted with the Palestinian side. These consultations took place both
at the level of officials and at the political level. The purpose of the
consultations was to identify the possible risks associated with the visit,
to reassure the Palestinian side that the Israeli authorities would do
whatever they could to limit problematical aspects of the visit, and to
try to convince the Palestinian side not to encourage violence and demonstrations
during the visit. In this regard, it was indicated that the visit would
take place early in the morning, would be relatively short and would not
include visits to particular Muslim Holy Sites. The Palestinian side was
presented with the route of the proposed visit - as indicated on Aerial
Photograph No.1. It was affirmed that Mr
Sharon would visit the area in the same way as would any non-Muslim visitor
(the Temple Mount being generally open to public access). The relevant
Israeli authorities also promised that no attempt would be made to restrict
Muslim freedom of access to the Temple Mount during the visit. In short,
every effort was made by the Israeli side to minimise the potential for
friction and to forestall the possibility of violence.
The consultations with the Palestinian side included
a telephone conversation on the proposed visit between Israeli Foreign
Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and the Head of the Palestinian Preventive Security
Organisation in the West Bank, Jibril Rajoub, on 26 September 2000 in which,
by reference to the contemporaneous note of the conversation, Mr Rajoub
indicated "if Mr Sharon refrains from entering the Mosques on Temple Mount,
there wouldn't be any problem." On the basis of this consultation and other
measures adopted, the visit was not prohibited.
While contacts between Israeli officials and members
of the Palestinian Authority suggested that the visit would pass peacefully,
residual concerns about violence remained. Of relevance in this context
was a communique published by Hamas on 27 September, the day prior to the
visit, stating inter alia as follows:
"The Jews have clearly and unequivocally declared
their ambition in continuing occupation of Jerusalem and the holy Aqsa
Mosque. It is quite clear that plans to demolish the Aqsa Mosque and build
the so-called Jewish temple in its place were no longer the aspirations
of limited or extremist groups in the Zionist society, as some believed.
We call on our people to head tomorrow Thursday to
the holy Aqsa Mosque to confront the terrorist Sharon and prevent him from
entering the Mosque and its yards and to check his attempt to desecrate
it regardless of sacrifices. Let the masses have a say in rejecting and
aborting plans and aggressive ambitions of the Jews and in refusing any
agreements or projects that would undermine our people and Nation's rights
in Jerusalem, the Aqsa and all sanctities."
Other declarations and communiques calling for opposition
to the Sharon visit were published by Fatah, the principal political-military
grouping within the PLO answerable directly to Yasser Arafat, and by others.
On the day of the visit, Muslim morning prayers on the
Temple Mount took place at around 5.54 am and passed without incident.
From around 7.00 am, political figures - both Israeli supporters and detractors
of the visit and Palestinian leaders - began arriving on the scene. Palestinian
youth - eventually numbering around 1,500 - also began arriving, shouting
slogans in an attempt to inflame the situation. Some 1,500 Israeli police
were present at the scene in order to forestall violence.
Mr Sharon arrived at the Temple Mount at 7.57 am. There
were limited disturbances during the visit, mostly involving stone throwing.
The visit lasted 34 minutes, ending at 8.31 am. Mr Sharon visited the site
during normal hours in which it was open to tourists. He made no attempt
to enter the Mosques.
During the remainder of the day, outbreaks of stone
throwing continued on the Temple Mount and in the vicinity leaving 28 Israeli
policemen injured, three of whom were hospitalised. There are no accounts
of Palestinian injuries on that day.
Significant and orchestrated violence was initiated
by Palestinians the following day, 29 September 2000, following Friday
prayers. These events are addressed in detail in Parts V and VI below describing
what happened and the policies and practices of the Palestinian side during
D. Conclusions in respect of this Part
There is a widespread belief, actively advanced by the
Palestinian side, that demonstrations by Palestinian youth took place spontaneously
in reaction to the visit by Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount. That belief
is fundamentally flawed. The visit by Mr Sharon, however sensitive, was
not the cause of the violence. It was an excuse for a violent campaign,
the groundwork for which had already been laid by the Palestinian leadership.
The object of the violence was the creation of new facts on the ground
- the bringing about of a new reality to bolster the Palestinian position
in its relations with Israel. The means to this end were the inevitable
Palestinian casualties - inevitable because of the confrontational practices
that would be pursued by the Palestinians.
The foundations for the present conflict were laid long
before Ariel Sharon announced his intention to visit the Temple Mount.
The seeds of the conflict are to be found in the policies pursued by the
Palestinian leadership - the hostile propaganda, the military training
of Palestinian children, the failure to confiscate illegal weapons, the
excessive growth in the numbers of the Palestinian Police, the revolving
door policy in respect of terrorist detainees, etc.
The immediate causes of the present conflict were thus
the significant setbacks to the Palestinian diplomatic agenda from July
2000 - the failure of the Camp David Summit, the widespread perception
(including in the Arab world) of Palestinian responsibility for this failure,
the cautioning against a unilateral declaration of statehood on 13 September
2000 and the decision of the Palestinian leadership on 10 September 2000
to postpone such a declaration. In the face of these developments, violence
was a means to an end; the regaining of the diplomatic initiative.
* * *
WHAT HAPPENED: AN OUTLINE OF EVENTS
* * *
On 27 September 2000, a roadside bomb attack against
Israelis took place at Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip. It was not
apparent at this point that this was the start of the Palestinian campaign
of violence against Israelis. On the evening of 28 September 2000, following
the visit of Mr Sharon to the Temple Mount, the Israeli police authorities
took the view that the situation was unlikely to deteriorate further. Persons
who had been detained during the course of the violence of that day were
accordingly released to return home.
On 29 September 2000, the day after the Sharon visit,
following Friday prayers, a violent outburst took place at the Temple Mount.
The oration in the El-Aksa Mosque was given that day by Sheikh Hian Al-Adrisi
to a congregation of around 22,000. The following is an extract from his
"It is not a mistake that the Koran warns us of
the hatred of the Jews and put them at the top of the list of the enemies
of Islam. Today the Jews recruit the world against the Muslims and use
all kinds of weapons. They are plundering the dearest place to the Muslims,
after Mecca and Medina and threaten the place the Muslims have faced at
first when they prayed and the third holiest city after Mecca and Medina.
They want to erect their temple on that place.
This is the first time in the Muslim history that
we hear a public demand from Israel to build a synagogue on the El Aksa
square. The council of Rabbis is talking of a synagogue in order not to
incite the atmosphere, but they actually intend to build their temple on
the land of El Aksa and not a synagogue. This is the first time in the
Muslim history that they demand a piece of the area near the El Aksa and
they think that the D day has arrived to storm the El Aksa mosque and drive
the Muslims out of it, they intend to enforce their sovereignty over the
place by building the temple. We say to them: if you think that the time
has come we will prove to you that it is the time to put an end to your
arrogance, and that you will bring upon yourselves destruction and ruin.
The visit of the General Sharon on September 28th 2000 does
not bring the imaginary peace closer, but the flaming of the hate and enmity.
Sharon came escorted with thousands of soldiers securing him but the masses
of Muslims failed the visit and threw stones and garbage and did not let
him enter the Al-Haram Al-Qudsi mosques.
The Muslims are ready to sacrifice their lives and
blood to protect the Islamic nature of Jerusalem and El Aksa! The Jews
and their leader know better than that."
No interpretation can be put on these words other than
that they were designed to inflame passions and to convey to the congregation
the impression that the El Aksa mosque was under threat. It is also clear
that the sermon was a prelude to violence already planned; part of a coordinated
initiative of confrontation.
Following the conclusion of the prayers, Palestinians
began throwing stones from the Temple Mount area towards the Western Wall
which stands at the foot of, and below, the Mount (see Aerial Photograph
As the 29 September was the eve of the Jewish New Year, this area was crowded
with Jewish worshippers. In the face of the attack, the police were compelled
to evacuate the Western Wall area.
At around 13.22 on the same day, the police station
at the Temple Mount came under a violent and sustained attack from Palestinians.
For purposes of rescuing those trapped inside, the police forcibly entered
the Temple Mount around the area of the police station.
Significant levels of violence continued throughout
the day. During the afternoon, Radio Palestine called upon Palestinians
to assemble at the Temple Mount. The numbers of rioters increased. In addition
to stone throwing, Molotov cocktails were also used against Israeli police
in East Jerusalem. There were, additionally, a number of shooting incidents
by Palestinians against Israeli forces. Palestinian sources reported 4
- 7 people killed. Fourteen Israeli policemen were injured.
The violence continued thereafter fanned by calls to
arms and incitement to violence by the Palestinian leadership. The following
is an extract from the Friday sermon by Dr Ahmad Abu-Halabia, a member
of the "Fatwa Council" appointed by the Palestinian Authority and the former
acting Rector of the Islamic University in Gaza, delivered in the Zayd
bin Sultan Nahyan mosque in Gaza on 13 October 2000, the day after the
lynching of the Israeli reservists in Ramallah, and carried live on Palestinian
"The Jews are Jews, whether Labour or Likud, the
Jews are Jews. They do not have any moderates or any advocates of peace.
They are all liars. They are the ones who must be butchered and killed.
As Allah the Almighty said: 'Fight them'. Allah will torture them by your
hands and will humiliate them and will help you to overcome them, and will
relieve the minds of the believers. ... Our people must unite in one trench,
and receive armaments from the Palestinian leadership to confront the Jews.
... Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country.
Fight them, wherever you are. Whenever you meet them, kill them. Wherever
you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them - and those
who stand with them - they are all in one trench, against the Arabs and
the Muslims - because they established Israel here, in the beating heart
of the Arab world, in Palestine. They created it in order that it be the
outpost of their civilisation - and the vanguard of their army, and to
be the sword of the West and the Crusaders, hanging over the necks of the
Muslim monotheists, the Muslims in this land. They wanted the Jews to be
the spearhead for them..."
Since the outbreak of violence, there have been around
9,000 attacks by Palestinians against Israelis - civilians, police and
military - virtually all life threatening. Of these, some 2,700 involved
the use of automatic weapons, rifles, hand guns, grenades, explosives of
other kinds. Some 500 Israelis have been injured in these attacks and 39
killed. Around 292 Palestinians have been killed and around 9,000 injured.
Although accurate figures are impossible to come by, independent sources
have claimed that, of the Palestinians injured, around 20% have been injured
by live-fire, around 40% by rubber bullets and around 30% by the inhalation
of tear gas. In around 10% of cases the cause of injury is unknown.
The specific polices and practices of both sides that
have led to these casualties are examined in the following sections. Given
the large number of incidents, it is not possible, in the context of the
present Statement, to describe events in detail. It is important,
however, that the Committee has an appreciation of certain fundamental
elements of the conflict that is taking place.
Save in exceptional circumstances, Israeli forces -
police and military - have not initiated action. They have only acted when
confronted by an immediate threat to life or limb as a result of attacks
by Palestinians. In so doing, they have acted in self-defence or in the
defence of others. The principal exception to the policy of not initiating
action has been in specific circumstances in which Israeli forces have
acted in response to a Palestinian attack but have targeted a point distinct
from that of the immediate source of the initial Palestinian attack. This
issue is addressed in more detail in Part VII below in the context of the
review of Israeli policies and practices. By way of example for present
purposes, Israeli forces attacked the Fatah headquarters in Bet Lahiya
on 12 October 2000 following the lynching of the two Israeli reserve soldiers
in Ramallah earlier that day. On that occasion, Israel issued a warning
of an impending attack. There were no Palestinian casualties as a result
of the Israeli action. The Fatah headquarters were, however, damaged.
In the majority of cases, Palestinian attacks against
Israelis have taken the form of a large number of Palestinians, invariably
in the hundreds and sometimes greater, usually including a live-fire dimension,
attacking either a small number of Israeli civilians or a small number
of Israeli troops. Typically, Israeli troops coming under attack, or responding
to an attack, have numbered less than 20. On many occasions, this number
is lower. Attacks have generally taken place on roads used by Israelis
to reach settlements or Israeli Defence Force ("IDF") positions or at strategic
junctions or other sites at which there is a limited Israeli presence.
As Maps No.2 and No.3 appended hereto illustrate, attacks, even simply
by reference to the major flashpoints of conflict, have occurred over a
very wide geographic area. They invariably occur without warning and involve
the Palestinian attackers travelling to the point of attack.
Maps No.2 and No.3,
indicating major flashpoints of conflict in the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip respectively, and Aerial Photographs Nos.2A,
3B depicting the Netzarim and Ayosh
Junctions, illustrate the position.
A. The Gaza Strip
Turning, first, to the situation in the Gaza Strip.
As will be apparent from a review of Map No.3,
most of the major flashpoints of conflict have occurred on roads used by
Israeli military forces and Israeli civilians. Attacks have also occurred
at and around Israeli settlements and around IDF positions. In most cases,
the attacks have taken place some distance from Palestinian centres of
population. Thus, attacks have occurred repeatedly along the roads from
the Karni Crossing to the Netzarim Junction and from the Kissufim Crossing
to the Katif Junction, at the Netzarim and Katif Junctions, and around
the Israeli settlements of Kfar Darom, Nezer Hazzani, Katif, Newe Dekalim,
Gadid, Selaw, Morag and Dugit. Other major flashpoints of conflicts have
been at IDF positions. The number of Israeli troops typically stationed
at crossing points, junctions and settlements is between 10 - 15, including
during the course of the present conflict. This issue is addressed further
The Netzarim Junction, one of the major flashpoints
of conflict, illustrates the position that pertains generally throughout
the Gaza Strip. This is shown on Aerial Photographs No. 2A
As will be evident from Map
No.3 showing the Gaza Strip, the Netzarim Junction is a road junction
route from the Karni Crossing to the Israeli settlement of Netzarim.
The Junction is around 1.5 km from Netzarim. It intersects the road between
Gaza City and the Palestinian refugee camps of Nuserat and El Bureij. Nuserat
and Bureij are around 3.5 km from the Junction. Gaza City is around 4 km
from the Junction. The layout is clearly visible from Aerial Photograph
In accordance with the Interim Agreement, Israeli
authorities "have all necessary responsibilities and powers in order to
conduct independent security activity, including Israeli patrols" on the
Karni-Netzarim road. The Junction is relatively distant from points of
Palestinian habitation. Being en route to the Israeli settlement
of Netzarim, it is, however, a point that has special security importance.
As is shown on Aerial Photograph No.2B, a small IDF
position is located at the Junction. This typically comprises a unit of
13 Israeli soldiers. On occasion, numbers have risen to a maximum of 20.
The IDF position is diagonally adjacent to a Palestinian Police post. Behind
the IDF position, the Palestinian Authority built a number of large towers.
As these were used as a base for live-fire attacks on the IDF position
in recent weeks, they have since been destroyed.
The Netzarim Junction has been one of the major points
of confrontation in recent weeks involving heavy gun battles raging over
many hours. It is the place at which the 12 year old child Mohammed al-Dura
was tragically killed on 30 September 2000, the pictures of this event
being shown worldwide on television.
Netzarim Junction is a small Israeli military checkpoint
relatively distant from Palestinian centres of population. Its object is
to secure the road to the settlement of Netzarim to ensure the security
of Israelis at a point that in the past had been the scene of violent attacks
against Israeli civilians. To engage in attacks on the IDF position, Palestinians
have to travel some distance, either from Gaza City or from Nuserat and
El Bureij. Simply because of its geographic location, it is not a point
at which spontaneous confrontation can occur.
Israeli troops have not sought confrontation. A small
unit has remained at the IDF position at the Junction. Over the past 93
days, this position has come under repeated, extremely violent attack by
large numbers of Palestinians, often heavily armed. These attacks have
been planned. Those perpetrating the attack - armed Palestinian militia
as well as stone throwers - have had to travel to the Junction to pursue
The same pattern has largely been replayed across the
Gaza Strip in respect of other points of conflict. Attacks have occurred
on roads and at junctions, settlements and IDF positions that in the main
have been relatively removed from Palestinian centres of population. Incidents
have taken the form of large numbers of Palestinians, frequently armed,
travelling to attack small numbers of relatively isolated Israeli civilians
or troops. The attacks have not taken the form of symbolic stone throwing
and protest. They have left the Israeli targets of the attacks in no doubt
that, absent firm resistance, their fate was likely to be the same as that
of the two Israeli reserve soldiers lynched in Ramallah.
B. The West Bank
The same pattern is evident on the West Bank. The major
flashpoints of conflict are shown on Map No.2.
As will be apparent from this map, the principal points of confrontation
have been on roads leading to Israeli settlements or, in some cases, to
IDF positions, at the Israeli settlements themselves and at Jewish Holy
Sites - such as Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, the Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue
in Jericho and Rachel's Tomb in the outskirts of Bethlehem - situated within
or abutting areas under Palestinian jurisdiction in respect of which special
arrangements have been agreed. Given the complicated geography of Palestinian
centres of population and Israeli settlements on the West Bank, the two
populations often live in close proximity to one another. The flashpoints
of conflict have not, however, been accidental places of confrontation.
As with the Gaza Strip, the points of confrontation have involved significant
numbers of Palestinian attackers converging on points from which to launch
attacks on Israeli civilians or soldiers. In the vast majority of cases,
attacks have occurred on roads leading to settlements, the point on the
road chosen by the attackers being, from the Israeli perspective, relatively
random in the sense that the attack could just as well have occurred at
some other point along the road. It has not been possible therefore to
prepare for attacks at specific locations.
It is worth recalling here the details of the Fatah
declaration published in Nablus on 6 October 2000 referred to in paragraph
161(b) above, a declaration that was one of many issued by Fatah throughout
the conflict. In this declaration, Fatah called for an expansion of the
circle of attacks and coordination between the different groups undertaking
the attacks and stated the importance of striking at settlements and other
concentrations of Israelis. As this indicates, there was a coordinated
Palestinian policy driving the attacks of which Israel was only imperfectly
As in the case of the attacks in the Gaza Strip, the
method of those in the West Bank typically involved large numbers of Palestinians,
frequently heavily armed, moving to points from which to attack small numbers
of relatively isolated Israeli civilians or soldiers. Israeli troops coming
under attack, or responding to an attack, have seldom been larger than
20. Attacks have occurred over a wide geographic area, invariably without
any warning. They have been extremely violent, leaving the intended Israeli
targets in no doubt as to the fate that would befall them if they fell
into the hands of their attackers.
The Ayosh Junction, indicated on Aerial Photographs
No.3A and 3B,
has been a recurring flashpoint of conflict in the West Bank. Situated
in the outskirts of the Palestinian city of Ramallah and the town of El
Bire, it is nevertheless located at a relatively open point some distance
from any significant dwellings. It is on the road to the Israeli settlement
of Beit-El and an IDF position located close by. The Junction is located
in Area C. In other words, it is an area which, in accordance with the
Agreement, Israel retains security responsibility. However, it abuts
onto Area A, Ramallah, in which the Palestinian Authority has full security
competence to the exclusion of that of Israel. Attacks on the Junction
can and are typically planned from within Ramallah, with attackers retreating
into Ramallah after the attack.
As in the case of Netzarim Junction, incidents at Ayosh
Junction have typically involved attacks by large numbers of Palestinians,
including an armed component, against small numbers of Israelis.
Map No.2 indicates over
70 major flashpoints of conflict in the West Bank. There are, in addition
to these major points of conflict, also a large number of other points
of conflict throughout the area, no less threatening to those attacked.
It is not possible at this point, in the context of this initial Statement,
to describe the events at each of these locations. If warranted, Israel
would, however, be prepared to expand upon this description and analysis
in detail in later submissions to the Committee. The preceding review is,
however, accurate as a general description of events in the West Bank.
Two other aspects of Palestinian attacks on the West
Bank call for further comment - attacks launched from areas over which
Israel has no jurisdiction and on-going heavy machine gun attacks against
Israeli civilian centres within Israel.
On the first point, as Map No.2 indicates, many of the
major flashpoints of conflicts are at points abutting Areas A and B, ie,
areas in respect of which the Palestinian Authority either has complete
jurisdiction in respect of security matters to the exclusion of Israel
(Area A) or in which it has extensive jurisdiction with overriding (although
in practice residual) Israeli jurisdiction in respect of security matters
(Area B). In either case, these are areas which are very substantially,
and in some cases wholly, under Palestinian control.
In many cases, as was indicated in respect of attacks
from Ramallah at Ayosh Junction, attacks have been initiated against Israelis
from within Area A or Area B. Attackers who have proceeded outside these
areas have invariably retreated into these areas subsequently. Given the
status of these areas, Israel has not pursued these attackers or been in
a position to take effective steps to prevent such attacks.
On the issue of on-going heavy machine gun attacks against
Israeli civilian centres in Israel, the situation at Gilo illustrates the
As Aerial Photograph No.4
indicates, the Israeli neighbourhood of Gilo, part of the city of Jerusalem,
lies approximately 4.5 km from the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, at
the heart of the City. It is approximately 0.5 km from the Palestinian
town of Beit Jalla.
Almost daily over the course of the present conflict,
Gilo, an Israeli residential neighbourhood of Jerusalem, the Capital of
Israel, has come under machine gun attack from Palestinians based in Beit
Jalla. Families have had to be evacuated. Where possible, the IDF has erected
fortifications in an attempt to ensure some protection to the residents.
Despite these measures, a number of residents have been injured, in some
cases seriously. The situation in Gilo is in every aspect akin to a city
under continuous attack in a war.
C. IDF numbers and deployment
In the preceding sections the point has been made that,
typically, Palestinian attacks have been targeted at small numbers of Israeli
soldiers, invariably less than 20. As the violence has now been protracted
and as commonly quoted statistics suggest that the IDF is a sizeable force,
the question may be raised as to why Israel failed to deploy larger numbers
of troops at particular points of conflict with a view to minimising Palestinian
casualties by way of deterrence and the greater use of non-lethal methods
of response. Aspects of this element - notably the issue of non-lethal
methods of response - are addressed in Part VII below dealing with Israeli
polices and practices in the course of the present conflict. It may be
helpful at this stage to make a number of general observations concerning
the numbers and deployment of Israeli military forces in the course of
the present conflict.
The IDF is overwhelmingly a conscript army. In addition
to an initial period of conscription, Israelis who have served in the armed
forces usually return to serve a period of reserve duty on an annual basis.
For this reason, the IDF is thought of as being a sizeable force since
it consists, in one form or another, of a significant portion of the Israeli
population. This has been a matter of historical necessity.
As a general policy, Israel has been cautious about
sending soldiers on temporary reserve duty to major points of conflict
in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The reason for this is an appreciation
that the situation prevailing in these areas would be better addressed
by its full-time force which may be better placed to respond to the threats
posed by Palestinian attacks. Although this policy has not been followed
in all cases - and, in particular, experienced reserve officers have in
some cases been entrusted with tasks such as securing Israeli settlements
or ensuring safe passage - this has been the general approach.
The size of the full-time IDF force is, however, relatively
small. This force is principally responsible for securing Israel's borders.
A significant proportion are thus stationed along the Lebanese border,
which has been a source of particular friction in recent months. Others
are stationed on the border with Syria. Still others are located at strategic
points elsewhere around the country. At a purely pragmatic level, the reality
is therefore that the numbers of experienced, full-time Israeli troops
available for deployment in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in response
to the events of recent weeks is limited.
Coupled with this are three other elements. First, as
has already been stated, there have been a large number of major flashpoints
in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Map No.2,
in respect of the West Bank, indicates over 70 major flashpoints. Map
No.3, in respect of the Gaza Strip, indicates over 30. With around
9,000 incidents over the past 93 days, it will be evident that these 100
or so major flashpoints of conflict represent only the tip of the iceberg.
In addition to the points of conflict on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,
there are also IDF positions and around 150 Israeli settlement in these
areas which must be protected. In practice, therefore, there are a large
number of points at which troops are needed.
Second, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are areas in
a process of transition to Palestinian control. This is the subject of
the permanent status negotiations.
Third, although some of the points of violence have
been predictable - the Netzarim Junction, the Ayosh Junction, and others
- the timing of violence has not been within Israeli control. In most cases
in which the points of violence may be predictable, the locations are not
such as would be conducive to the stationing of a sizeable force. The stationing
of a sizeable IDF force at such locations has thus not recommended itself.
In circumstances in which neither the points nor the timing of Palestinian
attacks has been predictable, this option has not even presented itself.
For all these reasons, the numbers of Israeli troops
that have been targeted by Palestinians in particular attacks have invariably
been small. Israel might have responded differently. It is not convinced
that, had it done so, such a policy would have been conducive to a more
effective and appropriate handling of the conflict at either the political
or the military level. A large contingent of Israeli forces coming under
live-fire attack by a large contingent of Palestinians is unlikely to have
resulted in fewer Palestinian casualties. Consciously, therefore, Israel
placed its soldiers in harms way. In overwhelming measure, they have behaved
in a measured and responsible manner. Other elements relevant to this assessment
are addressed in Part VII below.
D. Diplomatic initiatives to stop the violence
From the outset, attempts were made at the political
level to stop the violence. On 4 October 2000, Prime Minister Barak and
Chairman Arafat met French President Chirac and US Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright in Paris. "Points of Understanding"
were hammered out, including a commitment on the part of both sides "to
reduce and eliminate friction and confrontation". At the last moment, after
the text had been finalised, Yasser Arafat refused to sign.
Both sides met again on 16 - 17 October 2000 at Sharm
El-Sheikh, a Summit hosted jointly by President Mubarak of Egypt and US
President Clinton. Others present included His Majesty King Abdullah of
Jordan, Javier Solana, the European Union High Representative for Common
Foreign and Security Policy, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Summit
concluded with an agreed statement by President Clinton, one element of
which was the establishment of the present Fact-Finding Committee. Other
elements, equally integral to President Clinton's statement were the agreement
by both sides to issue public statements unequivocally calling for an end
of violence and the necessity of a pathway back to the negotiations. The
relevant parts of President Clinton's statement are as follows:
"Let me summarise what has been agreed so there
will be no misunderstanding.
Our primary objective has been to end the current
violence so we can begin again to resume our efforts towards peace. The
leaders have agreed on three basic objectives and steps to realise them:
First, both sides have agreed to issue public statements
unequivocally calling for and end of violence. They also agreed to take
immediate, concrete measures to end the current confrontation, eliminate
points of friction, ensure an end of violence and incitement, maintain
calm and prevent recurrence of recent events.
To accomplish this, both sides will act immediately
to return the situation to that which existed prior to the current crisis
in areas such as restoring law and order, redeployment of forces, eliminating
points of friction, enhancing security co-operation and ending the closure
and opening the Gaza airport. The United States will facilitate security
co-operation between the parties as needed.
Second, the United States will develop with the Israelis
and Palestinians, as well as in consultation with the United Nations Secretary-General,
a committee of fact finding on the events of the past several weeks and
how to prevent their recurrence. The committee's report will be shared
by the US President with the UN Secretary-General and the parties prior
to publication. A final report should be submitted under the auspices of
the US President for publication.
Third, if we are to address the underlying causes
of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there must be a pathway back to negotiations
and a resumption of efforts to reach a permanent status agreement based
on the UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and subsequent understandings.
Towards this end, the leaders have agreed that the United States would
consult with the parties within the next two weeks about how to move forward."
In accordance with the first point of agreement indicated
in President Clinton's statement, Prime Minister Barak made the following
statement on 17 October 2000:
"The President of the United States has today presented
the Sharm El-Sheikh Statement, which expresses the commitment of all parties
to put an end to violence, to restore calm immediately and to ensure regional
To this end, detailed security understandings have
been agreed upon in all related issues. These understandings were deposited
with the United States, which will monitor their implementation.
Together, these understandings are designed to allow
for the cessation of the current wave of violence, the elimination of points
of friction and for the prevention of a recurrence of these events. Both
sides made a commitment to act gradually to return the situation to that
which existed prior to the current crisis, to eliminate flashpoints, and
to enhance security cooperation between the sides, to lift the closure
and to reopen the Dahaniye Airport.
We intend to exhaust every avenue to implement the
undertakings of the Sharm el-Sheikh Statement. Accordingly, upon our return
to Israel I instructed the heads of the security forces to take all necessary
measures to implement the Sharm el-Sheikh Statement, and to immediately
establish contact with their American and Palestinian counterparts in order
to work together for this purpose without compromising their duty to protect
the nation's citizens and members of the armed forces.
I would like to stress that the IDF and the Israeli
Police will act decisively to stop the violence and prevent further casualties.
They and only they will ensure the security of Israel.
Israel intends to implement the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings
and to monitor their implementation carefully as this is their ultimate
During the last weeks we have seen a mounting wave
of violence causing the loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives. We deeply
At this point we have another opportunity to take
the path of stability, coexistence and cooperation. I expect that our Palestinian
neighbours share this hope with us."
In a statement read on Palestinian television that evening,
the Palestinian leadership was quoted as having given instructions to Palestinian
forces to follow up on the activities agreed on at the Sharm El-Sheikh
As is evident from the Statement by Prime Minister Barak,
the two sides also agreed upon "detailed security understandings" at the
Summit. These were not made public "in order to facilitate their implementation".
The understandings were deposited with the United States, which was to
monitor their implementation. To Israel's regret, the Palestinian side
has not taken any significant steps to give effect to their terms.
On 1 November 2000, in the light of continuing violence,
former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat met in an
attempt to reach an agreement on the cessation of violence. Following this
meeting, Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat concluded an understanding.
This was to be issued as a "Joint Statement
on the Cessation of Violence" on 2 November 2000 as follows:
"The Israeli and Palestinian sides have agreed tonight
to issue a joint call for the cessation of violence.
I hereby call all forces and parties to refrain
from violence, incitement and the use of force in order to restore peace
We undertook to work together to implement the Sharem
El-Sheikh understandings as presented by President Clinton at the closing
of the Sharem El-Sheikh Summit last month. These understandings shall be
implemented in the manner concluded between Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister
Barak on the night of November 1, 2000.
The sides share the hope for a future of stability,
prosperity and peace, when two separate political entities will coexist
side by side in good neighbourly relations. The sides undertake to exert
every effort to realise this dream of Peace of the Brave in dignity, fairness
and mutual respect."
Before the Joint Statement could be issued, a car bomb
was exploded in Jerusalem, killing two and injuring dozens. The violence
PALESTINIAN POLICIES AND PRACTICES
There are many images from the current conflict. For
Israelis, there is an enduring image, captured on film, a warning to all
- civilians, police, military - of the nature of the threat that they face
from their Palestinian attackers; of the fate that awaits them if they
are unable to resist; if the attack gets too close. It is an image of barbarism
- of the lynch in Ramallah.
A British photographer working on a pictorial study
of Palestinian refugees stumbled on the event after the initial attack
in the Ramallah police station. He did not witness that aspect. He subsequently
described what he did see in The Sunday Telegraph, a respected British
daily newspaper. The following is an extract:
"I had arrived in Ramallah at about 10.30 in the
morning and was getting into a taxi on the main road to go to Nablus, where
there was to be a funeral that I wanted to film, when all of a sudden there
came a big crowd of Palestinians shouting and running down the hill from
the police station.
I got out of the car to see what was happening and
saw that they were dragging something behind them. Within moments they
were in front of me and, to my horror, I saw that it was a body, a man
they were dragging by the feet. The lower part of his body was on fire
and the upper part had been shot at, and the head beaten so badly that
it was a pulp, like a red jelly.
I thought he was a soldier because I could see the
remains of the khaki trousers and boots. My God, I thought, they've killed
this guy. He was dead, he must have been dead, but they were still beating
him, madly, kicking his head. They were like animals.
They were just a few feet in front of me and I could
see everything. Instinctively, I reached for my camera. I was composing
the picture when I was punched in the face by a Palestinian. Another Palestinian
pointed right at me shouting 'no picture, no picture!', while another guy
hit me in the face and said 'give me your film!'.
I tried to get the film out but they were all grabbing
me and the one guy just pulled the camera off me and smashed it to the
floor. I knew I had lost the chance to take the photograph that would have
made me famous and I had lost my favourite lens that I'd used all over
the world, but I didn't care. I was scared for my life.
At the same time, the guy that looked like a soldier
was being beaten and the crowd was getting angrier and angrier, shouting
'Allah akbar' - God is great. They were dragging the dead man around the
street like a cat toying with a mouse. It was the most horrible thing that
I have ever seen and I have reported from Congo, Kosovo, many bad places.
In Kosovo, I saw Serbs beating an Albanian but it wasn't like this. There
was such hatred, such unbelievable hatred and anger distorting their faces.
The worst thing was that I realised the anger that
they were directing at me was the same as that which they'd had toward
the soldier before dragging him from the police station and killing him.
Somehow I escaped and ran and ran not knowing where I was going. I never
saw the other guy they killed, the one they threw out of the window.
I thought that I'd got to know the Palestinians well.
I've made six trips this year and had been going to Ramallah every day
for the past 16 days. I thought they were kind, hospitable people. I know
they are not all like this and I'm a very forgiving person but I'll never
forget this. It was murder of the most barbaric kind. When I think about
it, I see that man's head, all smashed. I know that I'll have nightmares
for the rest of my life."
An Italian film crew was present in the Ramallah police
station. It caught on film the unrestrained brutality of the initial attack.
The images are horrific. The full sequence has not been released to the
public out of sensitivity for the families of the victims and in order
not to inflame the situation further. Israel is in possession of additional
evidence which portrays the horror of this event.
The raw reality of the events in Ramallah, of the bomb
attack on the children's school bus at Kfar Darom, of the destruction of
Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, and of many other equally disturbing events, are,
however, an integral part of the fabric of the current conflict. Whatever
might by the declared intent of the Palestinian leadership, these events
convey a message to Israelis - - this is not a protest; this is not a riot;
these are not demonstrations to convey a sense of urgency in the peace
process; this is a war; if we catch you, this is the fate that you can
expect to receive.
Israel was cautious about the establishment of a fact-finding
committee when the matter was first discussed. This did not stem from a
lack of faith in the strength of Israel's position. Nor was it a concern
about the balance that the as yet unidentified members of the Committee
would bring to their task. The caution stemmed rather from a concern that,
at some level, the process in which the Committee would inevitably become
engaged would be a process of uncovering the barbarism, fear, hatred and
suffering, and that this was not the best means to find, in the words of
President Clinton "a pathway back to negotiations and the resumption of
efforts to reach a permanent status agreement". Israel would be more than
happy to be proved wrong in this assessment. It trusts in the wisdom of
the Members of the Committee.
Be that as it may, the issue here is the policies and
practices of the Palestinian side in the course of the present conflict.
A. The form of the Palestinian action
Leaving aside the causes of the conflict and questions
of spontaneity, once the violence began it very quickly took on a familiar
form, shaped by Fatah declarations and Tanzim organisation. That
form is recognizable the world over. It is not unique to the Middle East.
Writing in 1996 in the context of an article on developing non-lethal methods
of riot control, a US military officer who had been deployed to Somalia
as part of the US contingent in the UN peacekeeping operation there, identified
various characteristics of the "tactical environment" of "riots" such as
those which the UN forces faced in Somalia in the period June - November
1993. Addressing the issue that such "riots" are carefully organised, Lieutenant
Colonel Martin N. Stanton observed as follows:
"Far from being spontaneous outbursts of popular
rage, many riots are well organised by faction leaders with designated
chains of command and specific instructions to subordinate elements. Command
and control is accomplished by runners, local or cellular phones, or hand-held
radios. Rioters can be broken down into three basic groups.
First are the armed fighters, who generally are a
relatively small cadre with small arms and various hand-held antitank and
antiaircraft weapons, although, like Mohammed Farah Aideed's militia or
the Serbs, they can also have heavier weapons. These fighters can show
a high degree of sophistication in their tactics and should not be underestimated.
Second, the semiarmed rioters are more numerous.
They normally consist of younger men, older boys, and some women, and they
are armed with such weapons as clubs, sticks, tools, and knives or spears.
They are used to attack or harass other factions and riot-control forces
and to create gaps or find weaknesses through which gunmen can travel.
Third, the number of unarmed supporters can equal
or exceed that of the semiarmed group. These supporters act as a living
screen around their armed and semiarmed fighters. Normally, they are not
active in fighting other than by throwing rocks. They will scatter if fired
upon, and their presence in the riot just causes confusion - which is their
All three of these groups usually operate under some
type of direction through an identified and accepted chain of command,
be it familial (tribal), religious, political.
Riots may involve large numbers of women and children.
Many of our potential opponents understand only too well our squeamishness
about injuring women and children - or even detaining and searching them
- and they will capitalise on this. Factions in Somalia used large groups
of their women and children (active rioters all) to screen the movements
of their gunmen and grenade throwers with their bodies. We can expect to
see this tactic duplicated in the future in other places."
Casualties in Somalia amongst the local population inflicted
by the UN peacekeeping force were high. Addressing this issue, UN Military
Spokesman Major David Stockwell stated that "[e]veryone on the ground in
the vicinity was a combatant, because they meant to do us harm."
The events in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip do not
slot cleanly into the template for violence described by Lt. Col. Stanton.
There are, however, evident parallels, notably, the use of children, the
operation of gunmen from within groups of stone throwers, the willingness
to incur "civilian" casualties, and more.
This Statement will now turn to address more
directly Palestinian policies and practices in the course of the conflict.
B. Palestinian policies and practices
Key elements of Palestinian policies and practices in
the course of the present conflict have already been touched upon in passing
in preceding parts of this Statement. These include the live-fire
dimension of the conflict, the nature and in many cases the barbarism of
the attacks, the targeting of Israeli civilians, the initiation of attacks
against Israelis from within Palestinian civilian locations, hostile propaganda
and incitement to violence, the training and involvement of children, the
availability and use of illegal weapons, and the release of terrorist detainees.
In addition to these elements, other issues warrant comment, including
the role of the Palestinian Police and the involvement of the Tanzim,
the destruction of Jewish Holy Sites, the resort to terrorist bombings
in places like Jerusalem, Kfar Darom, Hadera, and the abuse of protective
symbols such as the Red Crescent and of accepted principles relating to
the relief of the wounded. Given the constraints of the present Statement,
these issues are addressed briefly below. Israel is prepared to expand
upon these elements in detail in later submissions to the Committee, including,
where appropriate, by the use of documentary, video, photographic and other
(i) Hostile propaganda and incitement to violence
In the context of the preceding review of the causes
of the violence, reference was made to children's television programmes
broadcast on Palestinian television and to books in use in Palestinian
schools. The material on these elements is extensive and can be developed
in detail. In the context of describing what happened, reference was made
to sermons by Muslim clerics during the course of Friday prayers. An extract
from one such sermon is shown on the orientation video attached hereto
as Exhibit I. This material, too, is extensive and can be developed in
detail. Reference has also been made to the training of children at so-called
"summer camps", activities that have as an integral dimension the incitement
of children to hatred and violence against Jews and Israelis. A BBC film
clip of these camps is included on the orientation video. There is more
material on this aspect as well. Finally, reference has been made to Fatah
declarations and Hamas communiques which call upon Palestinians to attack
Jews and Israelis. This material, also, is copious.
These policies and practices of propaganda and incitement
have been a central and on-going feature of the violence. The propaganda
and incitement has, however, been more extensive than the instances just
highlighted suggest. So, for example, as is shown on the orientation video,
frequently repeated broadcasts on Palestinian television exhort the Palestinian
population to make molotov cocktails and store them in their homes as they
would food. Prominent Palestinian leaders are shown on television and heard
on radio making inflammatory speeches at funerals and elsewhere calling
on the crowd to kill Israelis. Daily current affairs programmes call upon
Palestinians to "continue the popular and noble actions". Other broadcasts
call upon "the public to immediately take to streets in order to express
its rage." These are all official statements, conveying the views of the
Palestinian leadership. They are not the result of omissions on the part
of the Palestinian Authority to control such broadcasts. This is an active
policy of incitement.
At a more subtle level (if this is the correct description),
Palestinian television repeatedly - every few minutes - broadcasts images
of the conflict accompanied by a commentary designed to inflame. By way
of example, the death of Mohammed al-Dura was broadcast every few minutes
for days on end accompanied by a commentary describing his death as an
execution. Close-up photographs of the dead and wounded are also shown
regularly and repeatedly.
All of the practices referred to can be documented.
Israel is in the process of compiling this material in a systematic fashion
in the event that these are issues that the Committee wishes to examine
(ii) The involvement of children
The training of children as young as seven in military
techniques and methods of violence has already been described. Images of
and reports on the "summer camps" are contained on the orientation video.
Reference has also been made to the "conscription" of children under 18
into the Tanzim (the Fatah militia) and the Fatah Youth cadres,
the Shabibah, in which role the young recruits are trained in the
use of, and carry, arms.
The involvement of children on the streets, in attacks
against Israelis, is self-evident. What is less evident is that the participation
of children has often been actively procured by the Palestinian Authority.
In many instances, the Political Guidance Department of the Palestinian
Authority has made arrangements for children to leave school especially
for the purpose of taking part in the hostilities. The children are referred
to in laudatory terms by Yasser Arafat and others within the Palestinian
leadership as the "Generals of Stones" who "defeated the IDF Generals".
The role of the children is not simply as stone throwers.
Often, they carry and use weapons. As video footage shows, the role of
the stone throwers is also to act as cover for the activities of armed
Palestinian elements, such as the Tanzim, who invariably fire at
Israelis from within or behind crowds of children.
This practice of conscripting children does not have
universal approval in Palestinian circles. Palestinian mothers are increasingly
vocal in their opposition to this element. As reported from Tulkarm on
the West Bank in USA Today by Matthew Kalman on 8 December 2000,
the Tulkarm Women's Union sent a letter of protest to Yasser Arafat demanding
that the Palestinian Authority "stop using our children as cannon fodder".
"Our children are being sent into the streets to
face heavily armed Israeli soldiers ... The Palestinian Authority must
put an end to this phenomenon. We urge you to issue instructions to your
police force to stop sending innocent children to their death."
The report of the mothers' protest continues in the
" 'We don't want to send our sons to the front
line, but they are being taken by the Palestinian Authority,' says Aisheh,
43, a mother of six in the West Bank city of Tulkarm. She says she decided
to speak out after her 17-year-old son was hit in the head by a rubber
bullet last week. He suffered concussion.
Like other protesting parents, Aisheh declines to
allow her full name to be published for fear of reprisals. A nurse from
Gaza who spoke out on Palestinian TV against sending children to the flash
points was condemned in the Palestinian media as a traitor. Other individuals
who refuse to allow their names to be published say they have been threatened
by armed Fatah officials for discouraging their children from participating
in the clashes.
Abu Sharif [a special adviser to Arafat] says Palestinian
police are trying to dissuade children from taking part in the clashes
with Israeli soldiers. He adds: 'These kids are on the streets. For them,
banners and demonstrations are a festival.'
But Aisheh says the militia of Arafat's Fatah movement
and the Palestinian security forces provide transportation and encouragement
to children eager to answer the call to combat Israel's continued presence
on Arab land."
The involvement of children continues. Live-fire attacks
by Palestinian gunmen operating from with "civilian" groups, including
children, remains an accepted Palestinian modus operandi.
(iii) Illegal weapons, live-fire attacks, the
role of the Palestinian Police and the involvement of the Tanzim
The issue of illegal weapons and the failure by the
Palestinian Police to confiscate them as required by the agreements with
Israel has already been addressed in detail. For present purposes, it should
be recalled that the Interim Agreement and subsequent arrangements
agreed limits on both the numbers and types of weapons that could be legally
held on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Both elements of these agreements
have been breached. Illegal weapons in very significant quantities are
held by the Palestinian Police, the Tanzim and other militia, and
by the civilian population. These include:
Of these weapons, the following have been used in attacks
against Israelis in the present conflict: pistols, assault rifles, sub-machine
guns, machine guns, grenades and explosives. In all, there have been around
2,700 attacks using such weapons in the past 13 weeks.
Empirical evidence as well as hard intelligence information
indicates that the principal perpetrators of the live-fire attacks against
Israelis have been the Tanzim. Armed action by the Tanzim
has gone hand-in-hand with the involvement of key elements of the Palestinian
Police, particularly by its "Preventive Security Force" component in the
Gaza Strip and by its "General Intelligence" component in the West Bank.
Together, these militia have been responsible for attacks on both Israeli
troops and civilians, including bomb attacks, such as the one on the children's
school bus in Kfar Darom on 20 November 2000, and the frequent shooting
incidents targeted at civilians in the West Bank.
By way of further example, the Tanzim, possibly
acting with elements of the Palestinian Police, were responsible for infiltrating
the IDF position at Kfar Darom on 18 November 2000 in which two Israeli
soldiers were killed. They were responsible for an explosion at the southern
District Coordination Office in the Gaza Strip on 23 November 2000 in which
an Israeli soldier died. They were also responsible for the activation
of a series of explosive devices in the Hebron area in October 2000 as
well as the placing of a number of such devices in the Bethlehem area during
It has largely been the action of the Tanzim
that has turned the events of the past weeks into an armed conflict. In
addition to live-fire attacks on Israeli civilians and troops, Tanzim
units have also been coordinating the activity of others. This dimension
of their activity is illustrated by the report of the Belgian television
journalist quoted in paragraph 161(a) above which describes the actions
of the Tanzim in distributing molotov cocktails to demonstrators
Israel is prepared to elaborate on these elements in
detail in future submissions to the Committee.
assault rifles and sub-machine guns,
rocket propelled grenades,
shoulder launched anti-aircraft missiles, cannons and
(iv) The release of terrorist detainees
The release by the Palestinian Authority of terrorist
detainees held in Palestinian prisons in violation of its commitments under
the Interim Agreement and other related agreements was addressed
in detail in Part IV. As was there noted that some 50 detainees were released
by the Palestinian Authority in the period following the failure of the
Camp David Summit to the start of violence in late September 2000.
Following the outbreak of violence, a further 80 or
so detainees were released by the Palestinian Authority including the following:
Many of those released have been actively engaged in
the violence of recent weeks. Three examples will suffice to illustrate
Awad Silmi, a prominent member of Hamas in the Gaza
Strip, was in Palestinian detention for a number of incidents in the past
in which Israelis were shot. He was also involved in the planning of a
suicide bombing mission in Israel in 1995. He was released in the period
prior to the outbreak of the violence and, from the start, played an active
role in it. He was killed in a "working accident" on 3 December 2000 while
preparing an explosive charge to be placed on the road to the Israeli settlement
of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip.
Halil Sakhani is another prominent member of Hamas in
the Gaza Strip. He had been held in Palestinian detention for a 1999 attempt
to kidnap an Israeli soldier for bargaining purposes. Upon his release
from detention by the Palestinian Authority in early October, he became
actively involved in the current violence. Together with Awad Silmi, he
was involved in preparing an explosive charge to be placed on the road
to Netzarim. He was injured in the "working accident" in which Awad Silmi
Hamdi Muqdad was another prominent member of Hamas.
He underwent military training in Sudan in 1995 following which he returned
to the Gaza Strip. He was subsequently arrested by Egypt for arms smuggling.
He was the leader of a Hamas terrorist cell that attempted to conduct attacks
in Israel and was arrested in March 2000. He was released by the Palestinian
Authority in early October 2000. He was killed on 6 November 2000 in an
attempt to blow up an Israeli naval vessel off the coast of the Gaza Strip.
The release of prominent Palestinian detainees has been
a significant factor in the present violence, both at the operational level
- in the sense that experienced terrorists are released back into the field
- and at the level of propaganda and incitement - insofar as these individuals
are influential figures within sectors of the Palestinian community intent
on encouraging violence.
|'Abbas Uthman Ahmad 'Awiwi
|Abd Al-Aziz Ali Abd Al-Hafiz Rantisi
|Abd Al-Halim Nait Halil Hijjah
|'Abdallah 'Ali Abdallah Fara
|'Abdallah Yusuf Mansi Sakran
|Ahmad Amin Muhammad Badran
|Ahmad Mustafa Yasin Fanni
|Ahmad Naji Ahmad Ghandur
|'Ala' Hayan Jamil Rimawi
|Amin Shafiq Abd-al-Hamid Dib
|Anwar 'Ali Yahya Dajjani
|Anwar Muhammad Ahmed Humran
|'Asad Abd-al-Rahman 'Asad Daqa
|Ayman Halid Husain Abu-Hin
|Ayman Muhammad Sallah Taha
|Baha al-din Sadeq 'Ali Hatib
|Bashar Na'im Salim Karmi
|Bilal Salim Halaf Muhtasab
|Fahd Fawwaz Muhlis Qasrawi
|Fallah Tahir Abdallah Nada
|Fawzi Muhammad Shahhadah Al-Qara'
|Halid Hasan Ahmad Juma'a
|Halil Hamed Halil Sakhani
|Halil Mahmud Ahmad Muhsin
|Hamad 'Adballah 'Abd al-Hafiz Hamad
|Hamdi 'Arafat Halil Muqdad
|Hasan Ibrahim 'Abdallah Hamaydah
|Ibrahim Abd Al-Karim Bani 'Awdah
|Ibrahim Husayn 'Abdallah Abu-Jamus
|Ibrahim Muhammad Khalid Muqadmah
|Ibrahim Muhammad Sulayman 'Alwan
|Ibrahim Rashid Mahmud Sa'id
|'Imad 'Ali Yahya Dajjani
|'Imad Ziyyad 'Atwah Abu-Muhsin
|Isma'il 'Ali 'Abdallah Lawbad
|Iyad Muhammad Na'if Hardan
|Iyad Tawfiq Wadi' Abu Zahara
|'Izz Al-Din Ramadhan Sa'id Haddad
|Jamal Abd Al-Rahman Muhammad Mansur
|Jamal Isma'il Da'ud Jarrah
|Jasir Afif Muhammad Raddad
|Jihad Abd Al-Ghani Anis Hasan
|Karim Nimr 'Abd Mufarajjah
|Khalid Mahmud Dawud Zakarnah
|Mahir Awdah Ahmad Jaramah
|Mahmud Umar Ahmad Halabi
|Marwan 'Abd Al-Karim 'Ali 'Isa
|Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Bsharat
|Muhammad Hasan Muhammad Simri
|Muhammad Irahim Sallah Abu-Shamallah
|Muhammad Mahmud Muhammad Minrawi
|Muhammad Naji Muhammad Sabha
|Muhammad Nimr Hafiz Badwan
|Muhammad Qasim Ahmad 'Arda
|Muhammad Yusuf Muhammad Rayhan
|Muharad Hafiz Muhammad Tahir
|Munir Abd-Al Majid Isma'il Harrub
|Munir Taysir Amin Katut
|Munjid Isma'il Awwad Abu-Qubaytah
|Na'aman Taher Sadeq Tahainah
|Nabil Juma'a Tahir Mu'air
|Nadim Muhammad Dawud Abu-Halaf
|Nasir Ahmad Mahmud Sama'nah
|Nasir Muhammad Yusuf Baghdadi
|Nasir Mustafa Ahmad 'Asirah
|Nasir Subhi Ahmad 'Attar
|Rafiq Ibrahim Husayn Abu-Hani
|Ra'id Subhi Ahmad 'Attar
|Riyyadh Husayn 'Abdallah Abu-Zayyid
|Sa'd Muhammad Abd Al-Halim Sal'us
|Sa'd Musa'id Sallah 'Arabid
|Salah Mahmud Husayn Talahm
|Salim Sulayman 'Id Mahmum
|Sami Radi Abd Al-Mu'ti 'Aasi
|Samer Bashir 'Umar Suwaylam
|Samir Muhammad Hamed 'Abidu
|Sha'ban Yusuf Wasifi
|Shadi Fawzi Muhammad Bushkar
|Shadi Muhammad As'ad Sabbuh
|Shafiq Ali Sulyman Rada'idah
|Tahir Muhammad Tahir Jarar'ah
|Usama Sulayman Shukri Abu Taha
|Wa'il Talab Muhammad Nassar
|Yasir Mustafa Mahmud 'Asidah
|Yusuf Khalid Yusuf Surakji
(v) The targeting of civilians
A significant feature of Palestinian policy in the present
violence has been the targeting of Israeli civilians who were in no manner
involved in the conflict. This has taken a number of forms, in particular,
the targeting of civilians in their homes, the targeting of civilians on
the road, while travelling, and the targeting of civilians by the use of
indiscriminate bombs. This element of Palestinian policy and practice marks
an important point of distinction between the actions of the two sides.
Whereas Palestinians civilians alleged to have been injured by Israeli
action have by-and-large been actively engaged or caught up in the confrontation
with Israel, Israeli civilians injured in the conflict have in the overwhelming
majority of cases been targeted simply because they were Israelis.
The pattern of attacks has been disturbing. Israeli
residential areas have been the subject of on-going attack, often at night.
The repeated attacks on Gilo, a residential neighbourhood of Jerusalem,
from Beit Jalla are the best, but not the only, examples of such incidents.
The same is true also for settlements on the West Bank. Israelis have been
targeted while travelling, going about their private business, to and from
settlements in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Invariably, these
are attacks without warning in which civilians suddenly find themselves
the targets - a molotov cocktail thrown through a car window setting a
baby on fire; a school teacher murdered on her way to classes. The list
Perhaps most disturbing, but sadly not unfamiliar, has
been the bus and car bomb attacks - the bombing of a children's school
bus in Kfar Darom on 20 November 2000; the car bomb attack on a crowded
street in Jerusalem on 2 November 2000; the car bomb in Hadera on 22 November
2000. In each case, the attacks were aimed at civilians, including children,
and left many dead and wounded.
There is an element of barbarism in all this. These
are not civilians caught up in the cross-fire. These are not civilians
actively engaged in some way in the confrontation. These are simply innocent
people targeted because they were Israelis. They were "soft" targets. They
were victims of terrorism. Unfortunately, the targeting of such individuals
has been an active element of Palestinian policy and practice over recent
(vi) Attacks on and the destruction of Jewish
The special status under the Agreements of various Jewish
Holy Sites situated within areas under Palestinian control has already
been addressed. These include notably Joseph's Tomb in Nablus and the Shalom
al Yisrael Synagogue in Jericho. In the case of these sites, subject to
special arrangements allowing for a limited Israeli security presence,
their protection was the responsibility of the Palestinian Police. Other
sites of importance for present purposes include in particular Rachel's
Tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem.
In the case of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, the site was
the target of violent attack from the outset by armed militia, including
members of the Palestinian Police, accompanied by significant numbers of
stone throwers and others. In one such attack, on 1 October 2000, an Israeli
border policeman, Madhat Yosef, was severely injured. He subsequently bled
to death following the refusal by Palestinian officials to allow his medical
evacuation and the decision by Israeli troops to hold back from entering
the area to affect a rescue in order not to inflame the situation further.
With a view to reducing tension in the area, an agreement
was subsequently reached between the IDF and the Palestinian Police whereby
the few Israeli personnel on duty at the site would be withdrawn and the
Palestinian Police would ensure the site's continued protection and preservation.
Following the withdrawal of the Israeli personnel on
7 October 2000, the site was overrun with the support of the Palestinian
Police. The Tomb was set ablaze and severely damaged as Palestinians attempted
physically to destroy it stone by stone. Images of this attack are shown
on the orientation video attached as Exhibit I hereto. Holy relics were
burned. The Tomb was painted green, a colour holy to Islam, in preparation
for turning the site into a mosque. It was only in the face of widespread
international condemnation that this activity was halted.
A similar situation occurred with the Shalom al Yisrael
Synagogue in Jericho which was the target of attack on 12 October 2000.
The Synagogue was sacked. Holy books and relics were publicly burned. An
ancient mosaic was damaged.
In the case of Rachel's Tomb, although this is not situated
in an area under Palestinian control, it directly abuts the Palestinian
city of Bethlehem, an area (designated A) which is fully under Palestinian
jurisdiction. While Israel retains security responsibility for Rachel's
Tomb, the constant shooting by Palestinian snipers, rock throwing and general
violence in the direction of the Tomb from Palestinian controlled areas
has made reasonable use of the site impossible.
In this review, account must not be left out of the
Western Wall, the holiest site of Judaism, situated at the foot of the
Temple Mount. Following the outbreak of violence at the Temple Mount on
29 September 2000, the area of the Western Wall was the subject of violent
attack by some of the 22,000 members of the congregation at Friday prayers.
Of the eve of the Jewish new year, the area of the Western Wall had to
be evacuated of Jewish worshippers. Following the attack, the entire area
was virtually carpeted in rocks.
The attacks on and destruction of Jewish Holy Sites
has been another deeply disturbing element of Palestinian policy and practice
in the course of the recent violence. There is no doubt that it has been
orchestrated and has had official sanction. These attacks have sent a signal
to Israelis and to Jews the world over that the Palestinians are not interested
in coexisting with Israel. They are intent on destroying that which is
most holy to Judaism. They give tangible expression to the calls, broadcast
repeatedly on the Palestinian media for a jihad, a holy war, against the
(vii) The abuse of protective symbols and of
accepted principles relating to the relief of the wounded
There have been many allegations throughout this conflict
of the abuse of protective symbols and of accepted principles relating
to the relief of the wounded. One such case is that just mentioned of the
Israeli border policeman who was wounded in the Palestinian attack on Joseph's
Tomb in Nablus on 1 October 2000. As a consequence of the refusal by the
Palestinian Police to allow his medical evacuation, he bled to death.
Israel has been very disturbed by other incidents of
a similar nature as well as of the serious abuse by the Palestinian side
of the Red Crescent relief symbol. On 31 October 2000, gunfire was directed
at the Israeli settlement of Psagot from inside the Red Crescent building
in Ramallah. In other incidents, Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances were
used to bring armed Palestinian militia and police to the frontline in
the course of gun battles between Palestinian militia and Israeli soldiers.
In yet other cases, ambulances carrying the Israeli Magen David Adom (Star
of David) symbol have been the target of attack.
C. Conclusions in respect of this part
In overview, the policies and practices of the Palestinian
side in the present conflict have had a number of significant and highly
disturbing features. They have involved significant live-fire attacks by
heavily armed militia, at times with support from Palestinian policemen,
often from within or behind crowds of stone throwing "civilians", including
children. The scope and severity of these attacks have effectively turned
the confrontation into an armed conflict. Children have been used quite
consciously as part of the campaign. Attacks have been targeted directly
at Israeli civilians otherwise entirely uninvolved in the confrontation.
Attacks have also exhibited a barbarism that has conveyed clear signals
of the nature of the threat faced by Israelis. This has been reinforced
by the destruction of Jewish Holy Sites.
The groundwork for these actions has been laid, directly
or indirectly, over a long period of non-compliance by the PLO and the
Palestinian Authority with their obligations under the various agreements
with Israel - the use of hostile propaganda and incitement to violence,
the military training of young children, the amassing of an armory of illegal
weapons, the release of terrorist detainees. Israel has not initiated confrontation.
It has responded in self-defence.
* * *
ISRAELI POLICIES AND PRACTICES
* * *
Israel has been accused of using excessive force in
response to the on-going Palestinian attacks of the past 93 days. The basis
for the accusation is invariably the unspoken perception that the numerical
imbalance in casualties on the two sides must necessarily be a consequence
of excessive Israeli force. Israel's detractors also point to the number
of Palestinian children casualties in support of this claim.
To Israel's regret, although not altogether to its surprise,
these claims have been made on the basis of little careful investigation
into the matter or, where there has been investigation, in the apparent
absence, evident on the face of the reports in question, of an appreciation
of certain basic aspects of the conflict and of Israel's response. Israel
sees little balance, for example, in the condemnation, in Security Council
Resolution 1322 (2000) of 7 October 2000, of "acts of violence, especially
the excessive use of force against Palestinians, resulting in injury and
loss of life."
Resolution S-5/1 of 19 October 2000 adopted by the UN
Commission on Human Rights at a special session convened to address the
violence is equally troubling. Under the title "[g]rave and massive violations
of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel", the Commission
"the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of
force in violation of international humanitarian law by the Israeli occupying
Power against innocent and unarmed Palestinian civilians, causing the death
of 120 civilians, including many children, in the occupied territories,
which constitutes a flagrant and grave violation of the right to life and
also constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity."
Frankly, the Commission on Human Rights does not cover
itself in glory with this Resolution. It was adopted in the absence of
any investigation into the facts. This is evident from the terms of the
Resolution itself, which saw the Commission decide to establish
an inquiry into the facts and request the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights, Mary Robinson, to undertake an urgent visit "to take stock of the
violations". The Resolution makes no reference to Palestinian attacks against
Israelis, the lynching of the Israeli reservists in Ramallah the preceding
week, the destruction of Jewish Holy Sites, or any other Palestinian action
The Report of Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner
for Human Rights, issued on 27 November 2000, is commendably balanced in
some respects but fundamentally flawed in key elements. There is virtually
no review of the circumstances of the conflict or of the reality of the
Palestinian attacks against Israelis. There are fundamental inaccuracies
and shortcomings in the assessment concerning Israel's use of force. There
is virtually no reference to live-fire attacks by Palestinians. There is
no appreciation of the role played by children either in prosecuting violence
directly or as part of Palestinian live-fire confrontations with Israeli
troops. There are recommendations that codes of conduct relating to civilian
law enforcement operations should apply but there is no analysis or apparent
appreciation of the reality of the conflict or of the specific application
of either these codes or of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to
the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, which was
also referred to, to the circumstances in issue.
There are other reports by other organisations, many
of which will no doubt find their way to the Committee. It is not Israel's
intention here, within the limits of this Statement, to address
each of these, although, if warranted, it will be happy to do so in due
course. The reason for highlighting the preceding points is simply by way
of cautionary comment to the Committee. There is a good deal of information
out there. Much of it is subject to significant limitation.
A. The nature of the conflict
The point has already been made but merits repetition.
Israel is engaged in an armed conflict short of war. This is not a civilian
disturbance or a demonstration or a riot. It is characterised by live-fire
attacks on a significant scale, both quantitatively and geographically
- around 2,700 such attacks over the entire area of the West Bank and the
Gaza Strip. The attacks are carried out by a well-armed and organised militia,
under the command of the Palestinian political establishment, operating
from areas outside Israeli control. To date, around 500 Israelis have been
injured in the conflict and 39 killed. Insofar as it is possible to establish,
around 292 Palestinians have been killed and around 9,000 injured.
The key to a balanced appreciation of the circumstances
that have prevailed over the past 93 days is that the live-fire dimension
of the Palestinian attacks have decisively taken containment of the conflict
out of the realm of civilian riot control. This is examined in more detail
below. For present purposes, the issue is simply that, in the face of live-fire
attacks, non-lethal methods of containment cannot be effectively deployed.
The point is starkly illustrated by analogy with two
events which, although very different from those with which the Committee
is concerned, nevertheless contain points of similarity. The events in
question are the riots in Los Angeles from 29 April to 4 May 1992 and the
UN peacekeeping Operation Restore Hope in Somalia during the period
June - November 1993. Other examples are also apparent but these will suffice
to illustrate the point.
The background to the events in Los Angeles was the
beating of Rodney King, an African-American, by officers from the Los Angeles
Police Department, an incident captured on film and broadcast on American
television. The officers in question were put on trial. Their subsequent
acquittal led to riots which began on the afternoon of 29 April 1992. The
riots ended five days later on the morning of 4 May 1992.
During the course of those five days, 54 people were
killed, 2,383 people were injured, 221 of these critically, and 13,212
people were arrested. Containment of the riot was initially placed in the
hands of the National Guard, which deployed around 10,500 troops. The operation
was subsequently brought under the command of the US army, which deployed
a further 2,000 troops and 1,500 marines, making a total military contingent
of around 14,000.
The tactics adopted by the troops, and their state of
readiness for civilian riot control, has been heavily criticised. The problems
associated with the containment of urban lawlessness of the kind seen in
Los Angeles has also been much commented upon. One aspect which caused
particular problems for the troops was the use of handguns by a number
of the rioters.
The circumstances with which the Committee is concerned
are infinitely more complex and difficult to manage than those which pertained
in Los Angeles. Israeli troops are coming under direct attack from a heavily
armed and well-organised militia. The live-fire dimension is incomparably
greater and more lethal. The express intention on the part of the attackers
is to cause injury and death to their Israeli targets. The attackers operate
from areas beyond Israeli jurisdiction. They are under the command of a
well-developed political establishment.
The two situations are not ultimately analogous. There
is a measure of distaste in a comparison of casualty statistics. If, however,
the pattern of casualties in Los Angeles had been repeated in the present
conflict, the number of dead would have exceeded 1,100 and those injured
would have been in excess of 45,000.
The second example is that of the UN peacekeeping operation
in Somalia, Operation Restore Hope, during the period June - November
1993. Once again, this is not strictly analogous to the present situation.
It does, however, contain important parallels.
Following the disintegration of Somalia into warring
factions in 1991, the United Nations sent in a multinational peacekeeping
force with the object of restoring law and order to the country, distributing
food, disarming the militia and restoring civilian rule. A significant
component of that force came from the United States. A further 25 states
The violence, involving organised militia groups operating
in tandem with large numbers of "civilians", proved difficult to contain.
The live-fire dimension of militia attacks made the effective deployment
of non-lethal methods of containment impossible.
Referring to an incident on 6 June 1993 in which the
forces of General Aidid, one of the Somali faction leaders, shielded by
a cordon of civilians, attacked a small UN contingent of Pakistani soldiers,
the New York Times on 8 June 1993 reported as follows:
"One or two men approached the soldiers and began
to talk to them as 15 or so walked toward them, their hands behind their
backs ... Women and children then surrounded the Pakistanis ... blocking
them from shooting at the men, who pulled out sticks and knives as other
Somalis on nearby rooftops opened fire."
Twenty-three Pakistani soldiers of the UN peacekeeping
force were killed in the attack.
The UN forces responded by attacking General Aidid's
headquarters. Reports suggested that more than 60 Somalis were killed and
around 100 wounded in the initial attack. The situation escalated subsequently
resulting in the death of a further 20 Somali civilian demonstrators. The
UN envoy in Somalia, retired US Admiral Jonathan Howe reportedly laid the
blame for the civilian deaths at General Aidid's door indicating that he
was using women and children as shields for his gunmen.
On 12 July 1993, the UN force attacked an Aidid command
and control centre. Associated Press reported the use of helicopters.
France Presse reported 54 Somalis killed and 174 wounded. Four journalists
reporting on the events were killed by a Somali mob.
On 9 September 1993, a Somali contingent attacked a
US bulldozer crew. UN troops came to the rescue. Around 100 Somalis were
killed in the ensuing battle. An account from one of the US units involved
in the action described the situation in the following terms:
"... the Cobras [US helicopters] killed as many
as 100, they were shooting into crowds where they were taking fire. Remember
it was a free fire zone ... [The Somalis] will use women as cover and concealment
for when they shoot at us to make it harder to see who is doing the shooting,
if we can see them at all. Then they call us killers of women and children
when we shoot at the very same people who are shooting at us and we kill
some of the people that they are using for cover."
As has been previously quoted, UN Military Spokesman
Major David Stockwell was reported to have defended the action in the following
"Everyone on the ground in the vicinity was a combatant,
because they meant to do us harm."
A further significant confrontation took place on 3
October 1993 when US troops came under attack from General Aided's militia.
Reports varied from 300 to 500 killed and thousands injured. A US army
spokesman denied excessive use of force describing the situation in the
"It has been our experience that the Somali gunmen
who have opposed us have frequently used women and children and, at times,
have worn women's clothing, to cover their movements and to protect them
from attack. These gunmen do not wear uniforms or distinctive insignia;
they do not carry arms openly; they are not led by accountable military
leadership; they are not subject to military discipline and they do not
comply with international law. It is they who initiated the firefight and
who bear ultimate responsibility for this tragic loss of life."
The two situations - Somalia and the West Bank and Gaza
Strip - are not the same. The events in Somalia, however, illustrate starkly
the difficulties faced by troops confronted by an armed militia attacking
from within crowds of unarmed civilians. The involvement of civilians is
calculated. The threat to the troops under attack is evident. Traditional
non-lethal methods of riot control are ineffective. Casualties are invariably
high. They are a calculated part of the strategy of the attacking force.
Before leaving this element, it ought to be emphasised
that Israel is not seeking to downplay the scale of the casualties in the
present conflict. Nor, it must also be emphasised, is Israel suggesting
that individual instances of excessive response may not have occurred.
To a soldier or a unit coming under Palestinian attack, the equation is
not that of the Israeli army versus some stone throwing Palestinian protesters.
It is a personal equation. A few, often geographically isolated, Israeli
troops under attack by Palestinian militia operating from within a sizeable
and invariably extremely violent "civilian" contingent that is intent on
causing injury and death.
The IDF, in common with other equivalent armed forces
worldwide, operates on the basis of military discipline. Infractions of
Rules of Engagement and codes of conduct are treated severely. Where Israel
considers that there is reason to investigate particular incidents, it
does so, although, given the circumstances of armed conflict, it does not
do so routinely. The IDF and the Israeli political establishment do not
condone and will not overlook excessive and unreasonable use of force by
its troops. Equally, however, and this too should be emphasised, the IDF
and the Israeli political establishment will not lightly second-guess the
judgement of its troops under attack. Let there be no misunderstandings
on this point.
The issue of alleged unlawful action by Israeli settlers
against Palestinians also requires comment. There have been a number of
allegations by Palestinians of criminal conduct on the part of Israelis,
invariably in the vicinity of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip. These include attacks on Palestinian vehicles causing personal
injury and damage, live-fire attacks against Palestinians resulting in
death and injury, and the destruction of property.
All such allegations are investigated. Israel will have
no truck with criminal activity on the part of its nationals. In a number
of cases to date, suspects have been remanded in custody pending trial.
B. The use of force by Israel
There are four issues that warrant comment in respect
of the use of force by Israel in the context of the present conflict: (i)
the shortcomings of non-lethal means of containment, (ii) the means deployed
by Israeli forces, (iii) the issue of targeting, and (iv) the use of heavy
weapons such as tanks and helicopters. These issues are addressed in turn
below. For completeness, it should be stated that Israel does not propose,
in the present Statement, to address the issue of non-forcible measures
taken by Israel in the context of the present situation which have had
an economic impact. As indicated in President Clinton's letter to Senator
Mitchell quoted at the outset of this Statement, the principal focus
of the Committee's work is "on the problems of violent confrontations between
Israelis and Palestinians". While Israel has no wish to preclude inquiry
by the Committee into broader issues concerning "the policies and practices
of the two sides during the crisis", including its economic aspects, this
latter element is not at the core of the Committee's task. Israel would,
however, be happy to address this broader dimension in future submissions
to the Committee. For the avoidance of doubt, it should, however, be stated
that Israel has only taken non-forcible measures where these have been
required for reasons of security.
Before turning to address the particular issues concerning
the use of force, the central features of the present conflict warrant
brief repetition. The conflict is characterised by live-fire attacks by
Palestinian militia, including, often, from elements of the Palestinian
Police, against Israeli civilians and civilian targets and Israeli forces.
These attacks have involved the use of pistols, assault rifles, sub-machines
guns, machine guns, grenades and explosives. There have been around 2,700
such attacks over the course of the conflict, averaging around 28 attacks
for each of the 93 days since the violence began.
The live-fire attacks invariably take place from within
or behind groups of "civilians". The usual modus operandi of the
incidents involves an attack by a sizeable Palestinian contingent against
small numbers of Israelis, often geographically isolated. Most of the attacks
involve the Palestinian contingent travelling to "engage" their intended
Israeli targets. Many of the attacks are barbaric in their methods and
(i) The shortcomings of non-lethal means of
A central element of the "charge" that has been levelled
against Israel is that it did not use - or made insufficient use of - non-lethal
means of containment with the consequence that many Palestinian injuries
that might otherwise have been avoided in fact occurred. With due respect
to all those who have advanced this point, they know not of what they speak.
Where possible, Israel has deployed non-lethal means. This has not always
been possible. More important is the fact that virtually all of the non-lethal
means available are ineffective and unsuitable for use in the kind of conflict
prosecuted by the Palestinians. The one exception to this is the use of
rubber bullets. These have been widely employed by Israeli forces. However,
as the circumstances of the present conflict attest, the use of rubber
bullets can in some circumstances be lethal.
The nature of the present conflict has posed two related
difficulties for Israel in its attempt to contain the violence and minimise
casualties. First, the use of live-fire by the Palestinians has effectively
meant that Israeli forces have had to remain at some distance from those
initiating the violence. Second, the threat of force against Israelis has
been a threat of lethal force. Both factors have inhibited the use of traditional
methods of riot control. Coupled with this, intrinsic, technical shortcomings
or problems associated with the use of available non-lethal means has significantly
limited the options open to Israel.
In the light of concerns over the possibility of a violent
confrontation with the Palestinians, and with the object of avoiding large-scale
loss of life and serious injury, Israel has investigated the availability
of effective non-lethal means of containment very closely. In every case
bar one (addressed further below), it has come to the conclusion that the
available means are either fundamentally unsuited to a live-fire conflict
having the characteristics of the present confrontation or that their use
poses a substantial risk of death or serious injury such as to preclude
deployment. The specific details are as follows.
Non-lethal means of containment can be categorised under
a number of general headings as follows: (i) kinetic weapons, (ii) chemical
means, (iii) means of detention, (iv) electric shock weapons, (v) wide
and quantitative dispersion devices, and (vi) acoustic weapons. Other forms
of non-lethal technology - such as sticky foam, anti-traction measures,
etc - are being developed, notably by the US army, but are not currently
available for use. The following is a summary of the various types of non-lethal
means examined by Israel in its investigations and the shortcomings and
risks associated with each.
(i) Kinetic weapons:
rubber bullets - these have a relatively short effective
range. The rubber pellets have a metal core. The launcher for the pellets
cannot be attached to all types of weapons. Below 20 metres, the impact
of the projectile can cause serious injury, especially if this involves
a direct hit to the area of the head. The projectiles, similar in size
and shape to a shot-gun cartridge, disperse into a number of parts after
firing - in part to slow velocity. Due to their form and means of dispersal,
the accuracy of these projectiles decreases over longer ranges;
sponge, rubber and other kinds of pellets - these have
an effective range of 5 - 20 metres. Below this range they are unstable
and may be lethal. Beyond 20 metres they are totally ineffective. The ammunition
suffers from significant problems of accuracy and dispersion;
(ii) Chemical means:
CS cartridges (tear gas) - this is widely used worldwide.
This has a maximum effective range of around 150 metres. A direct hit by
a cartridge at short range (up to around 20 metres) may cause serious injury.
The effectiveness of the tear gas is dependent on weather conditions. It
will, for example, be quickly dispersed in windy conditions. Rioters may
also, and do, take a variety of measures to minimise the effect of the
tear gas by, for example, wearing masks or goggles and covering the nose
and mouth with wet cloth to restrict inhalation. Inhalation of the tear
gas may cause injury but this is unlikely to be severe;
OC spray (pepper) - this is very effective but is controversial
and not widely approved for use. The literature suggests that it is potentially
dangerous. Israel does permit its use;
stun grenades - these are effective over long ranges
but are fired at high velocity. A direct hit is likely to cause serious
injury. They are not suitable for use against crowds;
BMI (malodorous substances) - delivery systems for such
substances are problematic. Small quantities of such substances are ineffective.
The concentrations necessary to be effective are hazardous to those who
come into direct contact with it;
smoke grenades - the use of such weapons in closed areas
may result in serious lung damage. The effective duration of the smoke
cloud is short (around one minute). Effectiveness also depends on weather
conditions such as wind direction and strength;
(iii) Means of detention:
entrapment net - this captures and detains. It has an
effective range of around 15 metres against small groups only;
(iv) Electric shock weapons:
taser gun - this stuns its target immediately and neutralises
for up to half-an-hour. As this works by use of wire electrodes, it has
a very short range (around 7 metres). It requires a new cartridge for every
target. There are claims that it may cause lasting physiological damage;
(iii) Wide and quantitative dispersion devices:
launchers for CS gas, smoke, stun grenades, etc - such
systems are under development and are not available for current use. The
intrinsic limitations of the relevant projectile applies. Such a launcher
would have an effective range of up to 350 metres. As the projectiles are
fired at high velocity, a direct hit may cause serious injury;
multi-barrel powder launcher - this is capable of dispensing
a large quantity of powder over a range of 20 - 200 metres. In development
demonstrations by the manufacturers, participants were seriously injured
as a result by the direct hit of a solid mass of the substance that had
not been dispersed during flight. In its present form, the proposed system
is potentially lethal;
aerial launched capabilities - this was developed and
used by Israel during the intifada of the late 1980s. It is capable of
launching various non-lethal means from low altitude from helicopters.
At the effective launching altitude, the helicopters are, however, extremely
vulnerable to ground fire. The system cannot therefore be used in the present
water cannon - these are well-tried internationally
but are only effective at relatively short ranges and against small groups;
(vi) Acoustic weapons:
acoustic and ultrasonic sirens - these are effective
but those available internationally only have a range of around 20 metres.
In only one case has Israel been able to identify non-lethal
technology that may be effectively deployed over relatively long distances
and wide areas and the use of which does not pose a lethal threat. This
is the case of the French made MP7 hand held tear gas launcher. Each discharge
disperses seven projectiles of CS gas over a range of around 170 metres.
Up to 12 rounds can be launched simultaneously or continuously. They can
be launched from the ground or from a vehicle. Despite Israeli requests,
including through diplomatic channels, the French Government has refused
to authorise the purchase of this technology by Israel.
As the preceding indicates, non-lethal methods of containment
are subject to significant limitations. These are particular acute in circumstances
such as those in issue in the present conflict. It is the nature of the
Palestinian attacks against Israelis that has very largely determined the
range of available responses open to Israel. In circumstances in which
the use of non-lethal means has been possible and would be likely to be
effective, this option has been followed. It is, however, entirely fanciful
to suggest that a greater use of non-lethal means by Israel would have
been effective either in containing the conflict or in reducing the number
of casualties beyond current levels.
(ii) The means deployed by Israeli forces
An essential characteristic of the present conflict
is that Israeli civilians and armed forces have been attacked by Palestinians.
In some circumstances, such attacks have been predictable and it has been
possible for Israel to plan defensive measures. In many cases, attacks
have not been predictable and it has accordingly been less easy to plan
a response. In a few instances, Israel has initiated action in response
to a direct attack from the other side.
Where it has been possible to anticipate an attack,
the circumstances are such that non-lethal means are likely to be an effective
response, and where such means have been available to the troops concerned,
Israel has employed such means. Overwhelmingly, the non-lethal means used
have been tear gas and rubber bullets. As will be appreciated, the use
of such means is not free from risk and in many cases injuries have resulted.
In the main, such injuries are unlikely to have been life threatening or
to have caused any long term disability. Although accurate figures are
impossible to come by, independent sources have suggested that around 70%
of Palestinian injuries have been caused by the use of rubber bullets (40%)
and tear gas (30%). Assuming, for present purposes, the broad accuracy
of these percentages, this is consistent with the proposition that Israeli
forces have wherever possible used non-lethal means of containment.
Where Israeli forces have come under attack and the
circumstances have been such that the use of non-lethal means has not been
possible - surprise attack, the likely ineffectiveness of non-lethal means,
the risk of serious injury by their use, or their lack of availability
- they have acted in self-defence by the use of live-fire. The use of such
measures has been consistent with the scale of the threat and the nature
of the attack. The suggestion is that around 20% of Palestinian injuries
have been the result of the use of such means.
In a few instances, Israel has initiated action in response
to a direct attack from the other side. In a number of cases, this has
involved the use of heavy weapons from helicopters and tanks. These have
been exceptional measures. The attacks were in many cases preceded by warnings
for purposes of avoiding injury. Most cases in which tanks have been used
have involved the use of so-called "hollow" shells designed minimise personal
injury. This aspect is addressed separately below.
(iii) Rules of Engagement and the issue of
For armed forces the world over, the use of weapons
in response to attack is addressed in the Rules of Engagement ("ROEs").
Drawn up by reference to the applicable rules of international law and
the exigencies of the circumstances, ROEs specify the situation in which
a member of the armed forces is permitted, and in some cases required,
to use his or her weapon and the limitations and conditions relevant to
such use. ROEs differ according to the type of conflict that is being addressed,
the tactical situation that is likely to arise and the general legal-strategic
situation. Due to their sensitive nature - knowledge of the applicable
ROEs may give the opposing force a significant advantage - States do not
publish their ROEs. ROEs are implemented through instructions to officers
and soldiers in the field.
The present confrontation is one of armed conflict short
of war. This notwithstanding, the IDF took a decision at an early stage
not to significantly revise the ROEs that had applied to the operation
of Israeli forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip prior to the commencement
of the violence. This authorised the use of weapons solely in life-threatening
situations or, subject to significant limitations, in the exercise of the
arrest of an individual suspected of having committed a grave security
offence. This being said, some revision of the ROEs was undertaken to reflect
the reality of the circumstances faced by Israeli troops. In addition,
clarifications were made with regard to the definition of life threatening
situations. In all cases, IDF activities have been governed by an overriding
policy of restraint, the requirement of proportionality and the necessity
to take all possible measures to prevent harm to innocent civilians.
Pursuant to its applicable ROEs, Israeli troops have
responded to those who have initiated attacks against Israeli civilians
or forces or those who have been about to initiate such attacks. In a number
of cases, Israel has initiated action against Palestinian command and control
positions relevant to the conduct of attacks against Israelis. As previously
observed, in a limited number of cases, Israel has focused such action
on points geographically distinct from the source of the original attack,
an initiative permitted under accepted rules relating to targeting in armed
Two allegations that have been made arising out of the
present conflict are that injuries appear frequently to have been caused
to the upper body of the injured and that children and others have been
killed by the use of rubber bullets. A number of observations on these
allegations are warranted. First, it is important to state that Israel
has no way of knowing whether these allegations are true and, if they are,
the numbers involved in each case. The observations that follow proceed
on the assumption, for purposes of this analysis, that the allegations
have some basis. Israel nevertheless reserves its position on the matter
pending any submissions that may be put forward by the Palestinian side
on this point.
Second, the allegation that injuries have been caused
to the upper body of those injured forms an essential basis for the claim
that Israel has used excessive force; that it has set out to kill or seriously
injure the persons concerned.
Those who make this allegation have a fundamental lack
of appreciation of the circumstances in which the alleged injuries are
likely to have occurred. The reality is that, where such injuries have
occurred, they are likely to have occurred in highly fluid situations of
extreme threat, involving heavy exchanges of gunfire, often over extended
periods, in which the person injured is likely to have been moving actively
at the point at which the injury was sustained. To these elements must
also be added other complicating factors such as distance, limitations
on the accuracy of weapons, etc.
With these factors in mind it is incorrect to suggest
that injuries sustained to the upper body indicate an intention to kill
or cause serious injury. Such injuries illustrate little apart from the
severity of the battle in question.
Third, as to the allegation that children and others
may have been killed by rubber bullets, sadly, this is possible. As has
already been observed, rubber bullets may be lethal in some circumstances
such as at close range or if they strike at particular points on the body.
The reality is that rubber bullets are an imperfect
means of containment. They are designed to minimise the risk of serious
injury but they cannot alleviate it altogether. The reality is that in
the overwhelming majority of cases rubber bullets do not cause death or
serious injury. In many circumstances, they may be the only available option
short of live-fire. Children using guns, or intent on causing injury or
death to their intended target by some other means, pose a lethal threat.
Particularly when that threat takes the form of large-scale attack, there
are few choices when it comes to containment.
Fourth, it is worth observing that, in the midst of
confrontation, it is often impossible to distinguish older children from
adults. This is the hazard of a conflict involving militia forces which
operate without uniforms or other distinguishing elements. A soldier coming
under lethal attack has not the luxury of asking his or her attacker for
proof of age.
(iv) The use of heavy weapons such as tanks
As has already been observed, in a limited number of
cases the IDF has resorted to the use of helicopters and tanks. This has
invariably followed attacks of particular brutality by the Palestinian
side such as the lynching in Ramallah and the Kfar Darom bus bombing. A
number of observations are warranted about the use of such weapons.
First, such weapons are used because of their particular
accuracy. In contrast, for example, to the use of aircraft where the potential
for damage beyond the immediate confines of the target (so-called "collateral
damage") is greater, tanks and helicopters are able to pinpoint targets
with precision. Their use is therefore designed to minimise injury in circumstances
in which a higher scale of response is warranted by the level of the initial
Second, in many cases, the IDF gave timely and detailed
warnings of impending action of this nature with the aim of forestalling
personal injury. By-and-large, the intention of such attacks has not been
to cause injury. It has been to destroy command and control centres or
other military targets and to send a signal of Israeli capability to the
Palestinian leadership. In the light of such warnings, many of these attacks
have resulted in no or only minimal injury.
Examples of actions in which warnings were provided
include the helicopter attacks on the Fatah Headquarters in Bet Lahiya
on 12 October 2000 and on the police station in Ramallah in which the two
Israeli reservists were lynched earlier that day. In both cases, the targets
were damaged. There was no loss of life. In another case, the Fatah office
in Nablus was attacked on 30 October 2000 following a Palestinian terrorist
attack in Jerusalem and the discovery of the body of an Israeli civilian
near Gilo. Warnings were given. There was no loss of life. In yet another
case, various attacks were initiated on 15 November 2000 against Fatah
offices in Tulkarm, Salfit and Hebron following the killing of two Israeli
soldiers and a civilian. Warnings were given in each case.
Third, most of the cases in which tanks and helicopters
have been used have been in response to on-going live-fire attacks against
Israeli soldiers and civilians carried out from buildings or other fortified
locations. In such circumstances, the use of such weapons is the only effective
way in which to respond.
Fourth, as regards the use of tanks, in many cases in
which this has occurred the ammunition used has been so-called "hollow
shells", ie shells in which the charge does not have a radius effect over
a wide area therefore minimising the risk of personal injury. The object
of these actions has been to destroy locations from which attacks have
taken place with the minimum risk of personal injury.
C. Conclusions in respect of this part
The present conflict is not of Israel's making. Israel
would like to see an end to the violence and a successful conclusion to
the peace negotiations. Israeli civilians, police and armed forces have,
however, been coming under sustained attack for 93 days. A commensurate
response to these attacks is warranted.
Given the scale and effects of the Palestinian attacks,
Israel has acted in a measured and responsible manner. The acts of its
military and police forces have been directed, within the severe constraints
of the events in which they were caught, to containing the confrontation,
protecting persons not directly involved in the conflict and their property,
avoiding casualties to themselves and minimising as far as possible serious
injury to those actively engaged on the other side. There has been no excessive
use of force on Israel's part.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO PREVENT THE RECURRENCE OF VIOLENCE
A central element of the Committee's task is to make
recommendations on how to prevent the recurrence of the violence of recent
weeks. Its function in this respect is to facilitate the bilateral negotiations
process. In the words of President Clinton, the work of the Committee "should
serve to forestall violence and confrontation and provide lessons for the
The Committee's task in this respect is delicate. As
President Clinton also indicated, the Committee "should not become a divisive
force or a focal point for blame and recrimination". As was noted at the
outset of this Statement, the Committee's role is not to make wider
recommendations for a settlement between the Parties. Its task relates
to the present violence, not the settlement of the wider Palestinian -
Israeli dispute. The following proposals reflect this appreciation of the
The fundamental precondition in the recreation of trust
between the Parties is that previously agreed arrangements between the
two sides must be upheld. This includes in particular those elements of
the agreements that concern security and security cooperation. The only
basis on which to move forward is the full and effective implementation
of the agreements already concluded between the Parties.
Given the events of recent weeks, Israel considers it
essential that the Palestinian side reaffirm its clearly stated and documented
obligations to renounce the use of force in its relations with Israel.
The basic commitment underlying the Oslo Process was expressed in the Exchange
of Notes between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman
Yasser Arafat in which the PLO committed itself "to a peaceful resolution
of the conflict between the two sides" and declared that "all outstanding
issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations".
This commitment needs new life. There can be no resort
to violence in order to solve issues in dispute or further political interests.
Measures designed to prevent the use of violence and to apprehend and prosecute
individuals involved in incitement and in the perpetration of or conspiracy
to commit acts of violence must therefore be enforced. Previously agreed,
on-the-ground arrangements, which were specially devised by the two sides
to uphold security and to maintain security cooperation and coordination,
must therefore be reinstated and reinvigorated.
These mechanisms include those established pursuant
to the Wye River Memorandum, in particular, the Trilateral Security
Cooperation Committee, the Anti-Incitement Committee, and mechanisms designed
to monitor the release of prisoners, the collection of illegal weapons
and the prevention of terror. These mechanisms must be reinstated with
a commitment to ensure that they work in an efficient manner.
It should be understood that the point of departure
for any positive change in relations between Israel and the Palestinians
must be the achievement of a durable cessation of violence. In this connection,
Israel considers that the Palestinian side must adopt certain concrete
steps designed to send a clear message of intent both to the Israeli leadership
and the general public. These measures would include the following:
a publicized reaffirmation by the Palestinian leadership,
both written and spoken, affirming its commitment to resolve disputes with
Israel by peaceful means. This message, which should be addressed to the
Palestinian public, should include a clear renunciation and denunciation
of any recourse to violence and terrorism;
the institution of measures to:
an obligation to institute active steps to prevent anti-Israel
and anti-Jewish incitement in the media, in places of worship and in educational
institutions. These steps must be accompanied by a conscientious attempt
to institute and encourage the widespread dissemination of values and principles
supporting peaceful coexistence. In this context, it is suggested that
both Parties work together to enhance the dialogue and relations between
their peoples within the framework of the People-to-People Programme established
under the Interim Agreement;
the reduction of the Palestinian Police to the agreed
limit of 30,000. There must be both an official and popular cessation of
all training of a military nature undertaken by members of the Palestinian
Police. The role of this force is solely to maintain internal security
and public order; and
a reaffirmation of its commitment to respect the religious
beliefs, the worship practices and the Holy Sites of all persons, including
the right to enjoy unimpeded access to their Holy Places.
For its part, Israel would be ready to make simultaneous
and reciprocal statements and to take measures that would express its mutual
commitment for peaceful settlement with the Palestinians. It would propose
a series of confidence building measures, actions which would build the
feeling of security and progress on all sides, including:
return to prison persons involved in terrorist activities
collect weapons held in contravention of agreements
stop and prevent the para-military training of youth
and children; and
resume preventive security cooperation with Israel;
Within the context of these proposals, Israel believes
that the Committee can exert a positive influence on Israeli - Palestinian
relations and facilitate the restoration of mutual trust and confidence
vital for the continuation of the peace process.
* * *
upon the mutual statements regarding violence, Israel
will take action to reposition forces to their positions prior to the recent
events and to remove the internal closures of cities;
by an agreed date, Israel will gradually increase, to
levels prior to the events of recent weeks, the number of Palestinians
permitted to enter Israel for the purpose of employment;
an immediate creation and utilisation of direct lines
of communication ("hotlines") between Palestinians and Israelis, both at
the leadership and field commander levels; and
a joint call to donor states, and international sponsors,
to invest in economic projects aimed at providing employment opportunities,
the improvement of the standard of living, and fostering stability in the
The present Statement constitutes the initial
submission of the Government of Israel on the violence of the past weeks.
As will be evident from the Statement, Israel considers that the
conflict that has raged for the past 93 days - leaving almost 400 dead
and close to 10,000 injured on both sides - is entirely of the Palestinian
making. It is a conflict designed to "create new facts on the ground",
to recapture the diplomatic initiative. It is violence with a political
The Committee has a delicate task - to report on the
violence of recent weeks, its causes and the policies and practices of
the Parties, and to recommend ways of preventing the reoccurrence of violence
in the future. Israel has faith in the wisdom and judgement of the Committee
in this exercise.
As the finishing touches were being put to this Statement
- on Thursday, 28 December 2000 - reports were coming in of a possible
meeting between Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Yasser Arafat in Sharm
El-Sheikh with a view to taking the recent cautious resumption of negotiations
in Washington to the next level. As these concluding words are being written
- in the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv - news reports are coming in of
a bus bomb attack some short distance away. The violence must stop. The
Palestinian leadership has a responsibility to ensure this.
Designated Israeli Point of Contact
Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee
28 December 2000
LIST OF ANNEXES AND EXHIBITS
Together with this Statement, Israel is also
submitting the following Annexes and Exhibit:
Annex I - General Documents (containing documents
at Tabs 1 - 34)
Annex II - Maps and Aerial Photographs
Annex III - Exchange
of Notes Between the Chairman of the PLO and the Prime Minister of Israel,
9 - 10 September 1993
of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, 13 September
Annex IV - Agreement
on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, 4 May 1994
Annex V - Agreement
on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities, 29 August 1994
Annex VI - Protocol
on Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities, 27 August 1995
Annex VII - Interim
Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 28 September 1995
Annex VIII - Note
for the Record, 15 January 1997
Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron, 17 January 1997
on the Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron, 21 January
Annex IX - Wye
River Memorandum, 23 October 1998
Annex X - Sharm
El-Sheikh Memorandum, 4 September 1999
Annex XI - The
Middle East Peace Process: An Overview, July 2000
Exhibit I - Video / CD: Orientation to
the Present Conflict
ANNEX I: TABLE OF CONTENTS
Note: Not all of these documents
are available on-line.
Tab 1 - Sharm El-Sheikh
Summit, Statement of President Clinton, 17 October 2000
Tab 2 - Letter from President Clinton to Senator
Mitchell (undated draft)
Tab 3 - Statement
by President Clinton on the Middle East Peace Process, The White House,
25 July 2000
Tab 4 - Interview
with US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Washington D.C.,
25 July 2000
Tab 5 - Interview
with US National Security Adviser Samuel Berger, 26 July 2000
Tab 6 - Thomas L. Friedman, "Arafat's War",
York Times, 13 October 2000
Tab 7 - Abu-Ali Mustafa, Al-Quds, 23
Tab 8 - Muqara Al-Tilawa Wa'ahkam Al-Tajwid
(Koran Recitement and Rules of Proper Reading)
Tab 9 - Al-Mutala'ah Wa'alnussus Al-Adabia
(Reading and Literary Texts)
Tab 10 - Al-Tatbikat Al-Lughawiya (Language
Tab 11 - Al-Mutala'ah Wa'alnussus Al-Adabia
(Reading and Literary Texts)
Tab 12 - The
Times, London, 25 October 2000
Tab 13 - Nagaa Alu-Bakr, Al-Quds, 20
Tab 14 - Kul Al-Arab, 14 July 2000
Tab 15 - Abd-Alrazek Al Mujaidah, Reuters,
20 July 2000
Tab 16 - Abu Ala, Reuters, 9 August
Tab 17 - Muhammad Dahlan, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida,
16 August 2000
Tab 18 - Muhammad Dahlan, Al-Ayam,
14 September 2000
Tab 19 - Yasser Abed-Rabo, Voice of Palestine,
19 September 2000
Tab 20 - RTL-TV1 (Belgian Television) Reporter,
Jean Pierre Martin, 5 October 2000
Tab 21 - Fatah Declaration, Nablus, 6 October
Tab 22 - Al-Ayam, 6 December 2000
Tab 23 - Sakher Habash, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida,
7 December 2000
Tab 24 - Hamas, Communique, 27 September 2000
Tab 25 - Address by Sheikh Hian Al-Adrasi,
El-Aksa Mosque, Friday, 29 September 2000
Tab 26 - Sermon by Dr Ahmad Abu-Halabia, Zayd
bin Sultan Nahyan Mosque, Gaza, 13 October 2000
Tab 27 - Paris
Summit, Draft Points of Understanding, 4 October 2000
Tab 28 - Statement
by the Prime Minister of Israel, 17 October 2000
Tab 29 - Joint
Statement on the Cessation of Violence, 2 November 2000
Tab 30 - Mark Seager,
Sunday Telegraph, 15 October 2000
Tab 31 - "Let Our
Kids Alone, Arafat Told", USA Today, 8 December 2000
Tab 32 - Press Release, 1 November 2000, "IDF
Condemns Palestinian Use of Red Crescent Facilities to Shoot at Psagot"
Tab 33 - Security
Council Resolution 1322 (2000), 7 October 2000
Tab 34 - Resolution
S-5/1, 19 October 2000 of the UN Commission on Human Rights
EXHIBIT I: TABLE OF VIDEO CLIPS
||Cry of a young
a 16 year old youth
young children and lynch game
military style camps
||Sermon of Dr.
Ahmad Abu Halabiya, Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan Mosque, Gaza Strip
calling for preparations to be made
||IDF Post, Netzarim
Junction, Gaza Strip
against IDF post
trapped in a police station in the Old City of Jerusalem
at Kfar Darom IDF military post
including anti-tank missile
with illegal weapons
|DESECRATION OF HOLY SITES
of Joseph's Tomb
||Car bomb in
Mahane Yehuda Market - Jerusalem
||Shots at civilian
children's school bus
||Damage to private
apartment in Gilo
killed in his car at a junction near Kfar Darom
||Car bomb against
bus in Hadera
||Shots in kitchen
window of private apartment in Psagot
US President Clinton at the Sharm El-Sheikh Summit.
MAPS AND AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS
This Appendix contains the following maps and aerial
photographs for purposes of orientation:
Note: These maps and photos are
not currently available on-line.
Map No.1 - General Orientation Map
(see Israel within Boundaries
and Ceasefire Lines - 2000)
Map No.2 -
West Bank - Major Flashpoints of Conflict
Map No.3 -
Gaza Strip - Major Flashpoints of Conflict
Aerial Photograph No.1
- Temple Mount (showing route of Sharon visit)
Aerial Photograph No.2A
- Netzarim Junction, Gaza Strip
Aerial Photograph No.2B
- Netzarim Junction, Gaza Strip
Aerial Photograph No.3A
- Ayosh Junction, West Bank
Aerial Photograph No.3B
- Ayosh Junction, West Bank
Aerial Photograph No.4
- Gilo - Beit Jalla area
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