Thank you again to everyone who submitted questions to us yesterday.  In yesterday’s posts, we went over and “transcribed” the questions and answers from the Twitter session. During the session itself, we had time to answer only a limited amount of questions. This post summarizes the first batch of our answers to questions we could not answer at the conference itself.

As promised, we have continued to answer your questions posed to us during the “Press Conference.”  A number of the questions were similar to each other, so we’ve posted some of the unique ones below.
We are working on posting other questions similar to the ones below together with links to the appropriate answers.

@rataelprince Is a 48-hour ceasefire (as proposed by France) a possible scenario for assessing Hamas intentions?
Israel believes there is no place for a unilateral ceasefire. During the last 6 months the cease fire was used by Hamas to gain power and arms, the effects of which we are seeing now. Israel  isn’t rejecting a cease fire, if that cease fire will be a bilateral one. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/01/world/middleeast/01mideast.html?hp

@rataelprince  Such harsh, intense and merciless strike on #Gaza isn’t a form of collective punishment? (4Geneva Conv, Art. 33)
Israel isn’t aiming at civillians and we morun every civillian hit. Unfortunatlly civillians are hurt due to the fact they are used as human shields. This isn’t collective punishment. Colective punishment are the Qassam rockets fired by Hamas whose sole purpose is to strike civillian populations. Till now most of the wounded civillians are on the Israeli side. to our knowledge 85% of the wounded are Hamas opreatives.

@misscharlie an early Q: Have the attacks in Gaza changed Israel’s policies regarding the Palestinian authority?
No, the Israeli policy remains the same. Israel’s main objective is a two state solution with both countries living side by side in peace. As of now the only Palestinian party that agrees to talks with Israel is Fatah which controls the PA. They are our partners in reaching peace because: a. they’re willing to talk; b. they do not dispute Israel’s right to exist.

@jinjirrie   When will Israel end the illegal occupation it began in 1967 and give back what it has stolen?
If you are referring to the 2 state solution, Israel has proven time and time again that it is capable of transferring Israeli citizens for peace. If you look back to 2005 you will see Israel left the Gaza strip so that the Palestinian people may have sovereignty. The same is now in negotiations regarding the West Bank.

@ericagee    I’m a Jew, did Taglit, love Israel. In my humble opinion, Gaza attack makes us less safe. Why keep up violence when it hasn’t worked?
We wish we didn’t have to resort to a military operation. Unfortunately Israel has no other option than to self defend itself. Hamas did not declare an end to the cease through a press release but through 84 rockets landing in Israeli towns.

@carrotderek  Would retaking the Gaza be considered an objective for the Israeli government?
No, the sole objective  is to stop Hamas rockets from being fired into Israel  civilian population.

@shahidkamal    You’ve killed 384 people so far. Many women and children. How many more children do you aim to kill?
We are not aiming at any children. If you read the news critically, you will see that during the last 8 years 99% of the Qassams hit civilians in Israel out of 10,000 rockets launched. In contrast, 85% of the Palestinians killed in the current operation have been Hamas terrorists. We are sorry for any civilian loss of lives; though I doubt you’ll believe this sorrow is sincere, I assure you it is.

@shelisrael    Did your battle 2 years ago with Hezbollah influence your decisions regarding Hamas now?
No, each front is independent and different. The only similarity between the two fronts is the fact that in both cases Israel was attacked by terrorists breaching its borders.

@BhamaPostJoanna    You say this is for protection. How do you justify the higher number of  civilian deaths in Palestine than in Israel from the action?
Hamas fires missiles from civilians areas against international law.

@didgeman    Will Israel finally do what needs to be done to end the terrorism once and for all or bow to world pressure?
Our main goal is to protect citizens from missiles.  Hope international community will pressure Hamas, not Israel.

@gyokusai    Was the Gaza attack a Kadima/government decision only or was it discussed with Likud/opposition beforehand?
The desicion on the operation was unanimously voted by the Israeli government. The Likud party isn’t a current member of the government as opposed to the Labor and Shas parties who voted for the operation.

@theresaway    International Law criminalizes targeting civilians. Are Israeli leaders scared they will be charged with war crimes for killing so many?
Please read the Law attached:

  • Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 28: “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.”
  • Oppenheim’s ‘International Law’: “Civilians do not enjoy absolute immunity. Their presence will not render military objects immune from attack for the mere reason that it is impossible to bombard them without causing injury to the non-combatants.”

For more information on this link, HRW: http://tinyurl.com/9osg3g.

@rahafharfoush I am unconvinced these types of attack have worked or will ever work, how will you measure success?
Our objective is to stop rocket fire on Israel. Practically and theoretically a ceasfire is the best option and a stepping stone towards peace. Unfortunately, Hamas decided to end the ceasefire and fired a barrage of rockets at Israel, which reacted in self defense.

@sethdickens    Do Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have broadband internet access and electricity so they can use Twitter?
Regarding Electricity: The total supply of electricity to the Gaza is 201 -221 MVA based on 3 sources:

  • Israel: supplies 124 MVA By 10 high voltage electricity  lines. This supply is constant.
  • Egypt: supplies 17 MVA via 2 high voltage electricity lines.
  • Gaza power plant: can produce 60 – 80 MVA. The fuels for the plant is brought from Israel and is subject to disruption.  For example, in April 2008, an Israeli fuel tanker driver was killed by Hamas fire.

Regarding Internet: Since we see that the newswires operate from Gaza, and there are youtube uploads and emails sent to the internet, one can only presume that Gaza is online.

@rahafharfoush What about how you keep enlarging Israel’s borders by settling outposts illegally and then gradually legalizing them?

Israel has a judicial system that tries and punishes lawbreakers. The judges who judge the settlers are the same ones who order the government to destroy or modify projects like the security fence. Trials in Israel, like everywhere else, take a long time.
After a request from a reader to clarify the above comment, we submit the following response:
The answer to your query is contained within the question itself.  If Israeli courts deem an outpost illegal, the Israeli government is committed to removing it.  Sometimes the judicial process takes time, but it achieves the necessary lawful results.  In any case, no outpost–legal or illegal–is a reason to launch missiles against civilians (as Hamas does).  All disputes can be resolved around the negotiating table.  As a reminder, Israel withdrew from the entire Gaza Strip in 2005 and removed all civilian and military outposts from the area, yet Hamas has persisted in firing rockets nonetheless.

Please be patient as we continue to answer questions from the session yesterday.

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