REPORT ON THE
AL AQSA UPRISING 2000
appreciate having the opportunity to provide you with feedback to
First and foremost, we feel it would have been beneficial for the
reader had you contacted the IDF while doing research so that you
would have had the opportunity to make your inquiries and receive
our answers in real time.
Second, the sources that are quoted and cited in the report,
ranging from eyewitnesses and experts to statistics are exclusively
Palestinian. In one instance, on page 33, an independent
investigation by Physicians for Human Rights repudiated a claim by a
Palestinian doctor regarding torture. Aside from this case,
independent organizations and their research were not incorporated
into the paper. Considering the importance of factuality and the
prevailing questions of bias on both sides, this aspect of the
research is extremely problematic.
The nature of the report is transparent by a simple survey of the
language and terms in which it was written. In one area of the
report, the writers stress the importance of guaranteeing
individuals a fair and proper trial. Unfortunately, the IDF did not
receive a fair trial in your investigation. International human
rights monitoring groups are charged with the responsibility of
honestly and fairly tracking events occurring in relation to its
area of interest, with the aim of reinforcing truth and justice. The
incorporation of these values will help lead people to understanding
and peaceful resolution of differences. This report seems to be
detrimental to this goal Ė instead of helping ease the suffering of
all people in this region.
Moving to specific responses to your paper, specifically concerning
the level of force that the IDF uses, we wish for it to be clear
that the IDF does not use excessive force. Israeli security forces
utilize different levels of response, based upon the threat that
they face. It is important to note that our people are trained and
understand that their order is to use the least harmful methods.
Our soldiers are in harmís way every single day and the threats to
their lives are serious and real. There have been more than 1,500
incidents when Israeli civilians and security forces have come under
live fire from Palestinians.
IDF soldiers are stationed exactly in the places where they are
supposed to be according to our agreements with the Palestinians.
They are repeatedly surrounded at these isolated posts and
confronted by mobs of people trying to kill them. These are serious
threats. They are not inside the Arab cities provoking violence,
they are outside of those areas, in the positions that were
designated by previous agreements. When considering the actual
number of violent incidents that have occurred since the beginning
of the conflict, the IDF strongly believes that its soldiers have
not demonstrated excessive force, but instead the exact opposite.
The IDF has shown tremendous restraint.
Regarding the use of weapons of war, it is easy to say that crowd
dispersal methods used elsewhere in the world should be used here,
but the fact is these methods are not applicable. In city riots
elsewhere, both sides know that by the end of the day they will
eventually return home. Unfortunately, this is not the case here
where people may come to protest, but they have no reservation using
lethal means or violence.
It is important to note that one of the key distinctions is that
the lives or our forces that were attempting to reestablish calm
were threatened when addressing these mobs. Simple gunfire, which is
constantly used by the Palestinian side would kill someone using a
water cannon. Also, when someone is threatening you from a hill 25
meters away, it is impossible to use a water cannon. The terrain is
not conductive to these methods.
The IDF acknowledges that the appearance of helicopters may
generate fear among the Palestinians as well as bad publicity for
the IDF. However, the use of helicopters in fact has saved many
Palestinian lives. The use of helicopters allows the IDF to use
pin-point attacks on Palestinian sources of fire, which spares the
neighboring population from the possibility of being harmed by less
IDF soldiers do not target the upper body of demonstrators, but at
times there are other factors that lead to people being wounded in
those areas. Soldiers are under specific orders to shoot at the
Regarding the implementation of curfews and the sealing off of
certain areas, it must be clear that Israel uses these means due to
security necessities. The IDF refrained from using these means for
as long as possible. Freedom of movement has had to be limited due
to the daily attacks that have been taking place against Israeli
civilians and security forces. When evaluating freedom of movement
it has to be understood that everyone should enjoy freedom of
movement. This was not the case when Israeli civilians attempting to
travel on the roads in the West Bank and Gaza, were constantly
attacked by rocks, fire bombs and live ammunition.
It is also important to note that the IDF continues and will
continue to permit the transfer of humanitarian supplies, including
the import of food and medicine for the use of area residents.
Again, we appreciate your organization publishing our response in
full, alongside your report. In the future we sincerely hope that
your organization will contact us for information during the process
of gathering information instead of just looking for a response.