4-21-02 - Briefing: Jenin Brigade Doctor Major Dr. David Tzengan and the head of the
International Media Liaison Branch in the IDF Spokesperson Unit,
Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Rafovitch


IDF Spokesperson 21 April 2002

I. The Brigade Doctor:

A. Introduction

First of all I would like to inform you that I am a father of 4 children and reside here in Jerusalem. Usually I work in Hadassah (hospital) and when I was called to fight in Jenin the day after the eve of Passover, it was not that easy to leave the children and go to an area full of terrorists. I am a father and doctor.

Prior to this, one of the events that occurred was a suicide bombing close to my home. At the time I was treating both Jewish and Arabic children at the hospital. When we heard about the suicide bombing my wife and I were unsure as the exact whereabouts of our children. Personally I was faced with a not so trivial dilemma, a situation where you are both a father and also treating patients.

When we were informed that we would be sent to Jenin, everyone wanted to volunteer, everyone felt obligated to the cause. This is a war for our lives and our children's lives and due to this we wanted to take part in the operation.

B. Jenin -IDF took risks to avoid harm to civilians - but civilians provided cover to terrorists and sent their children with bombs

1. This place was not civilian, rather a center of terror. We are talking about 400 terrorists, this camp sent many suicide bombers. 30% of the suicide bombers to date came from this camp.

2. We called for civilians to leave. The civilians that remained, many of them were used as a human shield by the terrorists.

3. From a military perspective, it would have been very easy to bomb the camp from the sky. The army went from house to house so as not to harm civilians. In total we lost 23 soldiers, excellent people. Several of them I knew and it was very difficult. This was because we chose not to bomb the camp from the air.

4. Two IDF soldiers progressed through the camp and saw a house with a woman and two children, there were explosives in the area. If they had withdrawn in order not to harm the civilians, they would have certainly been injured. Everything because of high moral standards.

5. Another practice we have seen is the cynical abuse of children. We found a boy aged 6 in the camp with a backpack, when IDF soldiers approached him, he dumped the bag on the ground and ran away. After checking the contents of the bag we found 3 explosives. The cynical abuse of children is just unbelievable.

6. We call out 3 times to people to leave their houses so that they will not be harmed.

7. I personally am familiar with an incident where 3 elderly women and an old man left their home and behind them stood a terrorist that shot at IDF solders.

I am very proud that every soldier holds up the highest moral standards.

C. The UN accusations have no connection to reality

The UN levels accusations at us with no connection to reality.

1. There was no damage caused to the hospital in Jenin, no soldier entered the hospital, every doctor knows that there was not even one bullet fired.

2. We never stopped ambulances from passing through. Ambulances that passed us were checked in order to prevent the passage of suicide bombers, explosives and terrorists as we have seen in the past. All those that wanted entered.

3. I can recount incidents where the doctors themselves did not want to get to the wounded. We personally treated neck injuries and appendixes, also for people that we knew were fighting against us.

4. Four days afterwards there was no smell in the camp and there was not situation where burial was not allowed. Within 5 days we found 25 bodies.

5. The accusations of massacre couldn't be further from reality.

D. Jenin terrorist infrastructure was designed to produce more and more terror

The terrorist infrastructure was designed to produce more and more terror. We found albums filled with pictures of potential suicide bombers, children aged between 16 and 18 that were about to carry out a terror attack a week later. This was the hardest thing for me. Everything was laden with
explosives with one aim, to kill as many soldiers as possible. In this situation there is no alternative but to destroy the houses.

I would like to add a personal comment, in my view the use of elements that are not based on reality, by trying for example to claim that there was a massacre of 100-500 people or comparing it to an earthquake in Jenin refugee camp. I would like to tell you that these false claims only add to the number of suicide bombers. Larson's role is to create more love and a quiet life not to increase the hate.

II. Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Raphovitch, head of the International Media Liaison Branch in the IDF Spokesperson Unit.

Bethlehem update - Church of the Nativity

1. After 19 days, nothing has changed, we are trying to solve the negotiations, but the other side refuses.

2. We are still waiting because we know that there are 50 teenagers inside and 2 children aged 10. They are in the church, they haven't seen the light of day for 2 weeks and receive one biscuit a day and they need to relieve themselves in plastic utensils. One of the children tried to escape and
besides our primary goal of capturing the terrorists we would like to save the children locked inside.

3. Some of the terrorists inside the church killed American citizens.

III. Q & A

Question: Can you tell us more about the background of the terrorists inside the church?

Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Raphovitch: The terrorists belong to the Hamas, the Tanzim, there are 35 terrorists with blood on their hands and there are also Palestinian Policemen. There is a film balloon above the church recording events that are taking place in the church.

Question: Is there any connection with the Americans you referred to the events of 9/11?

Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Raphovitch: No, there is a connection to Israeli citizens with dual citizenship.

Question: Why did you close the refugee camp for so long? I know there was no massacre, so why?

Jenin Brigade Doctor Major Dr. David Tzengan: Even though I am just a doctor, I will answer you. The camp was full of explosives in everydirection, there were booby-trapped bodies, we are talking about a place full of armed terrorists and we could not take a chance that innocent civilians will be injured.

Every Palestinian that needed help was given help by our best people. We never prevented the giving of assistance.