Facts: Operation Protective Edge



Operation Protective Edge: The facts

Source: MFA


Operation Protective Edge will continue until its goals are reached – restoring sustained peace and quiet to the citizens of Israel, while striking hard at the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza.
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    Events leading up to Operation Defensive Edge: Unprovoked rocket fire at Israel
    The current round of hostilities began on Thursday, 12 June, when terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip launched another round of rocket fire, directed primarily at communities in southern Israel. In the 26 days from 12 June to 7 July, about 300 rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

    Israel acts in response to Hamas aggression
    The current operation in Gaza is not of Israel’s choosing. Time and again, Israel acted – and refrained from acting – in order to avoid a confrontation. In contrast, Hamas has consistently taken actions designed to inflame the situation further and extend the hostilities.

    Israel sought a diplomatic solution
    During this time, Israel demonstrated great restraint. Its measured responses were intended to restore calm, without the need for a major military action while Israel concentrated its main efforts on the diplomatic arena.

    Hamas is responsible for the current situation
    Many of the rockets were fired directly by Hamas terrorists at Israeli civilians. Hamas is also accountable for rockets launched by other terror groups because it has controlled Gaza since 2007. Each launch of these indiscriminate weapons that targets civilians is a war crime.

    Millions of Israelis threatened by rockets
    Millions of Israeli civilians are under rocket attack. Like all other nations, Israel has the right of self-defense. From 8-17 July, some 1,500 rockets were launched at Israel, 300 of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

    Israeli operation was launched in response to rocket attacks
    Operation Protective Edge was launched solely as a defensive response to the increasing rocket attacks directed at Israeli territory from Gaza.

    The objective of Operative Protective Edge
    The objective of the operation is to restore stability and quiet to the residents of Israel, to damage Hamas’s capabilities and to destroy the terror infrastructures directed against Israel and its citizens.

    Israel launches first stage of operation: Air attacks
    When the attacks reached over 80 rockets a day, Israel had no choice but to take action against the incessant launchings at its civilian population. On 8 July, Israel responded with Operation Protective Edge.

    Greater range of the rockets
    The vast majority of Israel’s population is in range of these missiles, which have targeted villages, towns and major cities such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa as well as the southern cities of Be’er Sheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon.
    The expanding rocket threat

    The Egyptian proposal
    On 15 July, Israel accepted the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire and halted all its military activities in the Gaza Strip. Hamas rejected the ceasefire, launching a rocket barrage of 50 rockets at Israeli towns and cities. Only at 15:00 – after six hours of continuous and indiscriminate fire at Israel – did the IDF respond.

    Israel accepts ceasefire, Hamas rejects it
    Israel did not seek this conflict and repeatedly sought ways to allow for sustained quiet to be achieved diplomatically, accepting every ceasefire offered.

    Hamas responsible for consequences
    Hamas bears responsibility for the consequences of its rejection of the ceasefire, proposed by Egypt and supported by the Palestinian Authority and the international community: the Arab League, Saudi Arabia and the UN.

    Hamas also violated humanitarian lulls
    Hamas also continued firing during several humanitarian lulls, including one proposed by the UN to allow Gazans to shop for supplies and receive humanitarian and medical aid

    Stage two: The ground operation
    On 17 July, Israel began a ground phase of the operation after Hamas terrorists infiltrated into Israel through a terror tunnel to perpetrate a large-scale attack against Israeli citizens in a kibbutz near the Gaza border.
    Hamas terror tunnel attacks - July 17-21, 2014

    Objectitve: Strike at terror tunnels
    Hamas built an extensive network of elaborate tunnels to carry out terrorist attacks on Israeli communities and bases near the Gaza Strip. The ground operation was ordered to strike at the terrorist tunnels leading from the Gaza Strip to inside Israeli territory.


    What exactly is the “tunnel threat”?
    Hamas’ tunnel network is a vast underground city with dozens of access points located throughout Gaza. Hamas uses these tunnels as weapons caches, bunkers, command centers and a concealed transportation artery for terrorists and weapons, including rocket launchers.
    Some of these tunnels lead directly from Gaza to Israeli communities near the border, enabling terrorists to infiltrate, kidnap and attack Israeli civilians. The residents of southern Israel live in constant fear knowing that, at any time, a terrorist could emerge from a tunnel near their house.

    Where does Hamas build these tunnels?
    Hamas exploits the Palestinian population of Gaza by building tunnels beneath densely populated areas. Many times, the tunnels’ access points are hidden between schools, mosques, hospitals and other civilian buildings. Hamas deliberately embeds its terrorist infrastructure inside civilians neighborhoods, knowing that the IDF is reluctant to strike civilian areas.
    Tunnel entrance hidden in Gaza City neighborhood

    How can Hamas afford to build tunnels?
    While new houses and other civilian structures go unbuilt, Hamas has invested millions of dollars and other resources in building and operating its massive tunnel network.
    Since January 2014, 4,680 trucks carrying 181,000 tons of gravel, iron, cement, wood and other supplies have passed through the Kerem Shalom Crossing from Israel into Gaza. These materials are co-opted by Hamas for tunnel construction.

    The tunnels cannot be destroyed using air power alone
    Israel’s ground operation has recorded significant achievements: dozens of tunnels leading from Gaza into Israeli territory have been discovered and destroyed. The ground operation is critical because the tunnels cannot be destroyed using air power alone. Not taking this action would have left Israel’s citizens exposed to the danger of additional terrorist infiltrations from Gaza.

    Hamas uses Palestinian civilians and children as human shields
    The fact that Hamas is ready to sacrifice its own children should not be exploited as a moral pretext to prevent Israel from protecting its children and from exerting its legitimate right for self-defense. Hamas takes aid money, and instead of building kindergartens in Gaza, uses it to dig tunnels for attacking kindergartens in Israel.

    Hamas is responsible of the destruction of homes in Gaza
    Hamas booby-traps private homes in Gaza and uses them as rocket-launching locations, firing positions for snipers, weapon caches as well as using their cellars as entrances to the terror tunnels.

    Hamas even uses Gazan mosques as terrorist facilities
    Throughout Operation Protective Edge, IDF forces have discovered Hamas terrorists using mosques as terrorist facilities. Hamas exploits the IDF’s sensitivity towards protecting civilian structures, particularly holy sites, by hiding command centers, weapons caches and tunnel entrances in mosques.

    Accusations regarding UNRWA facilities in Gaza
    On numerous occasions, senior UN officials and the media have rushed to blame Israel for fatalities in UNRWA facilities. Every time, these accusations were issued just hours after an incident occurred and well before any sort of reasonable inquiry could take place. Israel is a democratic nation and as such does not shy away from accepting responsibility. Yet by blaming Israel before the facts are determined, the international community is playing into the hands of a terrorist organization that intentionally puts civilians in harm’s way.
    Palestinian terrorists fired 11 mortars from the vicinity of an UNRWA school in Zeitoun, Gaza

    Israel extends humanitarian ceasefire, Hamas fires on Israeli cities
    Israel respected the humanitarian ceasefire (26 July) from 8 am to 8 pm, but a few minutes after 8 pm Hamas resumed the rocket barrage at Israel’s cities. Israel nevertheless decided to extend the ceasefire until midnight Sunday night (27 July). Hamas continues to fire at Israeli civilians.
    For the fifth time since the start of the operation, Israel has accepted and Hamas rejected a ceasefire proposal or humanitarian pause.

    Hamas again violates humanitarian ceasefire – misleading US and UN
    On August 1, Israel accepted the UN/US proposal for a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire. Hamas violated the ceasefire an hour-and-a-half after it went into effect when, at 09:30, an attack was carried out against IDF forces operating to decommission a terror tunnel. In an attack by Hamas terrorists, including a suicide bomber, two IDF soldiers were killed by Hamas fire and Hadar Goldin was dragged into a tunnel. The IDF subsequently announced the death of Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, an infantry officer in the Givati Brigade who was killed in battle in the Gaza Strip.

    In the words of US President Obama: “It’s not particularly relevant whether a particular leader in Hamas ordered this abduction, the point is that when they sign onto a ceasefire, they’re claiming to speak for all the Palestinian factions. If they don’t have control of them and just moments after a ceasefire is signed you have Israeli soldiers being killed and captured, then it’s hard for the Israelis to feel confident that a ceasefire can actually be honored.”


    Conflict between Hamas and Israel is part of conflict between Islamist extremism and the free world
    There is little difference between Hamas and other Islamist terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, Hizbullah, ISIS, Boko Haram and the Nusra Front. They sanctify death while Israel sanctifies life. They trample human rights while Israel protects democracy and equality.

    Israel left Gaza in 2005 and does not want to return
    Israel did not want to re-enter the Gaza Strip. It left Gaza completely in August 2005 in the hope of never returning. However, in light of Hamas’ rocket attacks, and the dangerous attempts to infiltrate Israeli territory, Israel must defend its citizens and will continue to act as necessary until quiet is achieved.

    Rehabilitation of Gaza must be linked to demilitarization
    Israel is enlisting the international community to support the goal of linking the rehabilitation and development of Gaza to its demilitarization. US and European support of the need to demilitarize the terrorist organizations is an important achievement for the State of Israel.

    Israel accepts the Egyptian ceasefire proposal
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