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Mofaz faces difficult questions
During a visit with IDF troops, Mofaz discusses complexity of guarding settlers, while ensuring 'normal' day-to-day life for Palestinian population
What happens when the army has to face a Jewish child throwing a stone? Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was faced with difficult questions on Tuesday after he visited soldiers from the IDF's Central Command.

 

Mofaz met with a paratrooper battalion that had participated in the detainment of 50 Islamic Jihad suspects earlier in the day, and praised them for their efforts.

 

He was accompanied by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz and CO Central Command Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh.

 

One officer explained to Mofaz the complexity of guarding the Jewish settlement in Hebron in the West Bank, while still trying to maintain an 'normal' way of life for the Palestinian population.

 

The officer said that, on more than one occasion Jewish residents. have in acted in an unappropriate way towards IDF soldiers. He said children have thrown stones at troops and their parents have insulted them.

 

"We don't have the tools to deal with this," he said.

 

Naveh said the military establishment is currently in process of looking for legal ways to stop these incidences.

 

In addition, Mofaz said the issue had not disappeared from the military's agenda and that the establishment "will provide all the needed support to help deal with such incidences."

 

Green light for remands

 

Mofaz also gave the 'green light' for robust action  against Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian territories.

 

"(Islamic) Jihad declared it is not part of the calm and we must act to stop its actions at any place and at any time," he said. "Every time we'll receive information connected to the group's activists, we must act to thwart all its actions."

 

According to the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement, IDF troops in the territories must receive approval for all arrests by the senior echelon. However, soldiers have now been given a "freer hand" regarding the arrests of Islamic Jihad activists. 

 

Bureaucracy will also be reduced to ease the situation.

 

Military action against other terror groups committed to the calm will continue to be more restrained and controlled.

 

Mofaz also discussed Hamas's infrastructure in Hebron, and said the army must "keep its finger on the pulse."

 

Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz said the Islamic Jihad arrests earlier occurred a short time after the decision was made. He said action would continue.

 

"Wherever we'll receive information, we'll try to place our hands on the terrorists," he said. "We are not coming to kill and destroy, but to catch and detain, so that they will not be able to use terror against citizens."

 

Legal tools

 

Mofaz also discussed the issue of confrontation between soldiers and citizens regarding opposition to the upcoming pullout and construction of the security fence.

 

"There is a legal basis, and we must use these tools," he said. "Soldiers must not be unprotected."

 


פרסום ראשון: 06.21.05, 17:08
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