Israeli soldiers cross the Gaza border back to Israel early morning after a combat mission in Gaza.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Foreign Ministry on Sunday published an inter-ministerial report on last summer's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza intended to preempt the UN Human Rights Council commission report on the Gaza operation that is expected to be released this week.
The following are some key findings from Israel’s report on Operation Protective Edge, titled “The 2014 Gaza Conflict: Factual and Legal Aspects.”
• Hamas’s strategy was to deliberately draw the hostilities into the urban terrain, and to use built-up areas and the presence of the civilian population for tactical advantage and political gain.
• Much of what may have appeared to external parties to be indiscriminate harm to civilians or purely civilian objects was in fact legitimate attacks against military targets that were actually part of the military operations of terrorist organizations.
• Since 2000, at least 1,265 Israelis have been killed by terrorist attacks. (In terms of the US population, this would be the equivalent of 49,365 people killed.) • Israel located and destroyed 32 cross-border assault tunnels, including 14 that penetrated Israel.
• Sixty-seven IDF soldiers, six Israeli civilians and one Thai national were killed during the conflict.
• Some 2,125 Palestinians were killed. Forty-four percent were combatants, 36% were civilians. In 20% of the cases, the IDF and intelligence services are working to determine whether they were combatants or civilians.
• Had Hamas accepted the initial Egyptian-brokered ceasefire on July 15, a week after the conflict began, 90% of the casualties would have been avoided.
• Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza launched 4,500 rockets and mortar shells at Israel during the conflict, of which 4,000 were deliberately directed at Israeli civilian targets.
• Some 550 rockets and mortar shells were identified as having been fired from within or near “sensitive sites” in Gaza such as schools, UN facilities, hospitals and mosques.
• Hamas waged an official campaign pressuring civilians to disregard Israel’s warnings to flee an impending attack, and often used physical coercion to keep them from leaving.
• As of February 2015, 38% of Israeli children in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip were diagnosed as suffering from full or partial symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
• Israel has a highly regulated process for choosing and approving targets, which requires input from intelligence sources, operational planners and lawyers before an attack is approved, and this is designed to ensure compliance with the Law of Armed Conflict.
• The vast majority of Palestinians captured by the IDF on the battlefield were released shortly after capture.
• The IDF made extensive efforts to facilitate humanitarian aid to the civilian population inside the Gaza Strip during the conflict, as well as before and after. This included providing medical equipment to wounded (including combatants); facilitating the transfer of food, clothes and medicine; facilitating the repair of power lines, water supply and other infrastructure.
• Israel is committed to investigating alleged misconduct and holding wrongdoers accountable through criminal prosecutions or disciplinary action, as may be appropriate in each case, and it takes extensive steps to ensure that investigations are as effective as possible.