At 8:00am Friday, a humanitarian cease fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect.
IMRA’s Dr. Aaron Lerner has posed a question to both the Israeli Prime Minister’s office and the IDF.
“During the course of the humanitarian ceasefire can the IDF detonate explosives to demolish tunnels?”
The IDF referred him to the Prime Minister’s office. The Prime Minister’s office referred him to a statement by the IDF.
Prime Minister’s Office declines to answer regarding destruction of tunnels during ceasefire Dr. Aaron Lerner – IMRA 1 August 2014
At 08:50 Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA reached David Baker David Baker, the Senior Foreign Press Coordinator in the Office of the Prime Minister, on the telephone and asked: “during the course of the humanitarian ceasefire can the IDF detonate explosives to demolish tunnels.”
David Baker replied: Ask the IDF Spokesperson’s Office.
IMRA told Baker: The IDF Spokesperson’s Office says to ask the Prime Minister’s Office.
Baker replied: We have nothing to add to the reply of the IDF Spokesperson’s Office.
IDF Spokespersons Office: Questions relating to ceasefire to be answered by Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 1 August 2014
IMRA contacted the IDF Spokesman’s Office News Desk at 08:03 this morning and asked: “during the course of the humanitarian ceasefire can the IDF detonate explosives to demolish tunnels.”
The IDF Spokesman’s Office News Desk replied that “all questions relating to the ceasefire are to be answered by the Prime Minister’s Office.”
IMRA has contacted the Prime Minister’s Office but has not yet received a reply.
In a conversation with IMRA when the ceasefire was announced Saskia Ramming, Spokesperson, Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, decline to take a position as to whether Israeli forces could detonate explosives in order to destroy tunnels during the ceasefire.
News reports on Israel Radio regarding the terms of the ceasefire say that “the IDF will continue to DEAL WITH the tunnels during the ceasefire” but it should be noted that the term “DEAL WITH” includes filling up tunnel shafts with dirt.
Israel Radio Arab Affairs Correspondent Gal Berger reported this morning on Israel Radio Reshet Bet after 08:00 that it is the position of Hamas that Israeli action destroying tunnels would be considered a violation of the ceasefire.
During the course of the previous humanitarian ceasefire the IDF Spokesperson told IMRA twice that tunnels could not be exploded during the ceasefire but the next day the answer became more complicated, with the reference to the use of explosive material during the ceasefire being an airborne strike against a tunnel entrance in defense of IDF ground forces under attack from terrorists firing from a tunnel opening.
Take note: when the count of destroyed tunnels was renewed after the end of the ceasefire – a figure not provided during the ceasefire – it turned out that there was the exact same number of “destroyed tunnels” after the ceasefire as before the ceasefire.