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Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Ha'aretz: American Officers Express Understanding For IDF Action in Khan Yunis

Ha'aretz: American Officers Express Understanding For IDF Action in Khan
Yunis

By Amos Harel Ha'aretz Hebrew Edition 15 October Page 2A

[Translated by IMRA - did not appear in the English edition of Ha'aretz]

Last week US Army officers screened IDF films photographed by pilotless
planes documentating IDF operations in the Gaza Strip. The last operation
in Khan Yunis last week, during which 16 Palestinians were killed, was
included among the films screened. Israel was severely criticized by the
American State Department for its actions in the operation.

The American officers, who visited the Gaza Strip, met with senior officers
in the Southern Command. Army sources told Ha'aretz that the Americans
watched the films that documented, among other things, massive fire against
IDF forces from the area of the mosque in Khan Yunis a short time before an
Israeli Air Force helicopter fired an anti-tank missile at the armed group.
The film also shows the firing of the missile that hit most of those killed.
According to the military sources, the Americans expressed understanding for
the considerations weighed by the Israeli commanders in the field and hinted
that the picture one gets after seeing the film is considerably different
than what America had when it condemmed the operation.

Inside the IDF they say that it develops clearly from the films that the
fired missile was aimed at armed men. The IDF had intended to provide the
films to the media the day after the operation but ultimately declined to do
so. During the course of meetings that have taken place between senior
Israeli and American officers from the two armies the Americans have
expressed support and understanding for the kind of operation the IDF
carries out in the territories.

The comments, that at times conflict with the official position of the State
Department, were also made by senior pilots in the US Air Force. The
American officers were impressed mainly by the high professional abilities
that the IDF demonstrated in urban battle and in carrying out operations
targeting Palestinian individuals. They noted that all in all the number of
Palestinian civilians hurt in these operations are relatively small taking
into account the means used by the IDF.
.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
pager 03-6106666 subscriber 4811
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

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