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IDF BRIEFING

Chief Of Staff Yaalon On Wallerstein: ‘I’m Very Worried About Calls To IDF Soldiers To Disobey Orders’

IDF Intelligence: ‘60 % Fewer Israelis Murdered By Palestinian Suicide Bombers In 2004’

Chief Of Staff Yaalon

IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon has reacted sharply to calls by settler leader Pinhas Wallerstein and others to resist the Gaza withdrawal and for IDF soldiers to disobey orders for the evacuation. Attorney-General Menachem Mazzuz has ordered an enquiry into whether Wallerstein should be indicted for calling on settlers to resist the withdrawal without violence and be ready to go to prison if need be. In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, General Yaalon said the IDF Advocate-General conducts an enquiry into every case where an innocent Palestinian has been hit by IDF gunfire and the report reaches his desk. At the briefing, a senior IDF intelligence officer revealed that sixty percent fewer Israelis have been killed by Palestinian suicide bombers this year.

There has been a dramatic drop in the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian suicide bombers this year. A senior IDF intelligence officer revealed that although 117 Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists, only 51 were murdered by suicide bombers. This is 60% fewer than in the previous year.

Confrontation? (Photo: Amit Shabi)

Only 14 suicide bombers managed to carry out their attacks; 8 in the territories and 6 inside Israel itself. However, the intelligence officer also revealed that Israeli security forces foiled 114 attempted suicide-bombing attacks. In addition, the security forces succeeded in nabbing 92 potential suicide bombers; that is before they started out on an attack. Yasser Arafat’s Fetah group led the pack of suicide bombers in 52 suicide bombing cases.In the Gaza Strip, the Hamas leadership is on the ropes after Israel eliminated its top leadership of Sheik Ahmed Yassin and Azziz Rantisi. On the other hand, there has been greater ‘foreign’ involvement by Hizballah in south Lebanon and Iran is bankrolling most of the terror attacks on Israel. As for the West Bank, Nablus and Janin are today the terror headquarters. In Committee, Chief of Staff Moshe said: ‘Anytime a Palestinian non-combatant is hit by IDF gunfire, the Advocate-General launches an enquiry and the report is sent to me.’ Since the Palestinians launched the current violence four years ago, the IDF had conducted over 900 enquiries. In 97 incidents, the Military Police launched full investigations and there have been 29 cases where IDF soldiers have been indicted. General Yaalon declared there have been no cover-ups or whitewashing.Several years ago, a former Chief of Staff, Amnon Shahak had issued specific orders that IDF soldier were never to shoot at a neutralized enemy, for example a terrorist who had been killed or wounded and was lying on the ground. General Yaalon said this is immoral and the IDF takes a grave view of it. In this context, the IDF Advocate-General referred to the recent shooting of a thirteen-year-old Palestinian girl, who for some unknown reason walked toward the IDF position of Girit in the Gaza Strip. In the past, the terrorists have sent Palestinian youngsters as suicide bombers with explosives belts to blow themselves up near IDF troops. When she kept coming, she was shot by IDF soldiers and the commander, a Captain, fired at her again after she was hit and on the ground. The officer now faces a court-martial and the Advocate-General called the Captain’s action ‘unreasonable.’

The Chief of Staff also reacted to the call by Pinhas Wallerstein, and other settler leaders and rabbis, to resist the upcoming withdrawal. General Yaalon said: ‘I’m very worried by the calls to soldiers to refuse to carry out orders and to resist the lawful decisions taken by Israel’s democratic institutions of government. The IDF was now clarifying to the troops their obligation to obey orders, including the withdrawal, whether they agreed or disagreed with them.

David Essing

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