A year after Operation Cast Lead, the IDF is continuing to update its maps and highlight international and humanitarian institutions - adding several hundred in the past year - to prevent them from being targeted in a future conflict, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
During the operation, which began a year ago next Sunday, the IDF distributed maps filled with over 1,500 dots, designating buildings that were off-limits to all air force and ground force commanders. These dots marked hospitals, United Nations facilities, schools, and homes of foreigners and journalists.
The constant updating of the maps underlies the Israeli assessment that a future conflict with Hamas could be around the corner and that the IDF needs to be prepared at all times.
Despite this work, carried out by the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration before Cast Lead, Israel has been accused of intentionally targeting civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and UN compounds.
The IDF has said that while it will refrain from initiating an attack against the sites on this list in the future, it reserves the right to respond with force if it is attacked from within the buildings.
According to the latest IDF casualty findings, 1,166 Palestinians were killed during the operation. Of these, 700 were terrorists - 600 Hamas and 100 Islamic Jihad - 295 were civilians and 162 remain unidentified. In contrast, B'Tselem claims that Israel killed 1,387 Palestinians during the operation and that more than 50 percent of them were civilians.
The latest IDF assessments show that Gaza remains Israel's most volatile border, particularly in light of Hamas's continued efforts to rearm itself since Cast Lead.
Today, the terror group is believed to have a few thousand rockets, including several hundred with a range of 40 kilometers and several dozen with a range of between 60 km. and 80 km. Intelligence assessments are that Hamas smuggled the long-range Iranian-made missiles into the Gaza Strip through tunnels and in several pieces, to be assembled later by Hamas engineers.
Hamas is building large missile silos that can contain and simultaneously launch over 20 rockets, and is also digging dozens of kilometers of underground tunnels, connecting open fields with urban centers in the hope of drawing the IDF into the built-up areas next time.
The group is making unparalleled efforts to obtain other types of advanced Iranian weaponry, such as anti-aircraft missiles and Russian-made armor-piercing anti-tank missiles.