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Monday, October 9, 2000
IDF Spokesperson's Office: Background information on Netzarim Junction

9 October 2000

Netzarim Incident

The Netzarim area constitutes a constant friction point between the IDF and the Palestinians.IDF Spokesperson's Office: Background information on Netzarim Junction

9 October 2000

Netzarim Incident

The Netzarim area constitutes a constant friction point between the IDF and the Palestinians. As part of the agreements (Oslo and then Cairo) a series of coordination and cooperation were put in place, with the purpose of eliminating tension and conflicts, should they occur, as a results of the clash between the security needs of the settlers in the area and the daily needs of the Palestinians.

For a long period of time both sides managed to maintain a routine modus operandi, were able to cope with difficulties and problems, by way of dialogue through the security liaison and coordination apparatus and a dialogue between the military commanders in both sides.

Despite all this, serious incident occurred in the area in the past in which the IDF soldiers and settlers were harmed by terror attacks. The first suicide incident took place on 11 November 1994 at the Netzarim junction in which three IDF soldiers were killed.

In face of the security deterioration and constant Palestinian violations of the agreements, which interupted the daily life in the area and turned the residents into hostages( all this at the same time that negotiation were going on between both sides toward a permanent settlement0 and forced the IDF to change its pattern of activity are deployment; this in order to promise the safety and security of the residents and the IDF soldiers and to provide them with better protection.

As part of these changes, a military compound was erected, controling the junction, in order to prevent disturbances and obstruction of the traffic caused by the violation of the agreements by the Palestinians side.

During the violation of commitments in the area, a cynical use of youngsters and children was repeatedly observed , who were organized around the junction for rioting, cover of the Palestinians security forces.

Despite the violation of the agreements and the commitments by the Palestinians, the IDF exerted the utmost restraint and consideration, in order not to cause deterioration of the situation and to maintain calm and a Palestinian routine. This restraint was maintained despite difficulties it caused for the Israeli settlers in the area.

The cynicism manifested itself as the Palestinians continued to use the Karni crossing so as not to harm their economic interests, taking advantsge of the IDF restraint, at the same time continuing the conduct terrorists incidents in the area they were responsible for security wise, the sides of the road to Netzarim.

Two incidents: the explosive charge at Netzarim junction on 27 September 2000 which killed sergeant David Biri and the murder of Inspector Yossi Tabaja in Kalkiliya were deplored by the chairman of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat but to no avail.

In the agreements building arrangements and distance limitations were defined between the routes and the buildings. The building of "the twin buildings" was a blatant violation at the agreements by the Palestinians. The buildings were erected in the pretence that they would be house to members of the PLO naval forces and their families, but immediately after being built, they were used as shooting posts against the Israeli compound. The buildings were also used by the Palestinians Authority for the assembly of youngsters and children who threw petrol bombs, gas canisters and stones at IDF soldiers.

Warning shots by the IDF helicopters in recent days was intent on warning the PA to desist from using the buildings and protecting the rioters. This too is an example od IDF restraint, they allowed the constructive of the buildings and attempted to prevent them from becoming attack positions against its soldiers.

In face of the incidents in the past week, and despite clear messages and warnings passed on the Palestinians Authority, the attacks toward the IDF compound at the junction did not cease, and thus the IDF decided to demolish the illegal building.

Terror Attacks at Netzarim Junction in which IDF soldiers Were Killed

11.11.94- A suicide bomber on a bicycle detonated an explosive charge to the IDF position at Netzarim Junction. Three IDF officers were killed by the explosion; Capt Hezi Sapir, Lt. Yotam Rahat and Lt. Dror Elad. In addition, 2 soldiers were seriously wounded, and 2 Border Policemen: one moderately one lightly. Four Palestinians and a Palestoinian security officer were also wounded. The Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the incident.

19.11.94- A Palestinian car driving close to the Palestinian roadblock
Netzarim junction fired shots at the Israeli roadblock killing Sergeant Major Gil Dadon. The vehicle escaped toward the city of Gaza. The Hamas took responsibility.

25-27.9.96- during the September 96 events 15 IDF soldiers were killed, three of them at Netzarim junction: Staff Sgt. Dimitri Gradjinski, Staff.Sgt. Wisam Amar and Staff.Sgt. Chen Koren.

28.9.00- Sergeant David Biri, a 19 year old Givati soldier died of his wounds after being critically wounded by an explosive charge detonated at an IDF convoy. One officer was lightly wounded in the incident.

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