Operation Cast Lead – Israel Defends It’s Citizens

By: Guest Authors

By Michal Moreno

22 days of war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Between 2000 and 2008, Israeli citizens were bombarded by about 12,000 rockets and mortar bombs, including nearly 3,000 rockets and mortar bombs in 2008 alone.

* December 27, 2008 – After 8 years under missile attacks Israel responds. Operation Cast Lead in Gaza begins.

* January 3, 2009 – The ground stage of the operation commences.

* January 18, 2009 – After 22 days of fighting in Gaza, Israel ends the operation, unilaterally declaring that it is holding its fire. All Israeli forces withdraw from Gaza.

In June 2007, Hamas violently took over the Gaza Strip, overthrowing the legitimate Palestinian Authority and neutralizing the Authority’s security forces. In its place, Hamas set up a radical Muslim entity.

Supported by Iran and Syria, Hamas used the Gaza Strip as its launching pad to conduct ongoing terrorist attacks against Israel. Hamas amassed an extensive armed force of more than 20,000 armed operatives in Gaza. They constantly worked to increase the quality and range of their weapons and by late 2008, its rocket fire was capable of reaching some of Israel’s largest cities and strategic infrastructure.

About 12,000 rockets and mortar bombs were launched against Israel between 2000 and 2008, including nearly 3,000 rockets and mortar bombs in 2008 alone.

These deliberate attacks caused deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. They forced businesses to close and terrorized tens of thousands of residents into abandoning their homes.

Israel pursued numerous non-military efforts to try and stop the violent attacks, including urgent appeals to the U.N. Secretary General and successive Presidents of the Security Council as well as diplomatic overtures directly and through intermediaries.

Despite these efforts, Hamas escalated its cross-border attacks included a raid into Israeli territory from Gaza in June 2006 and the abduction of an IDF soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit. More than three years later remains in captivity, having been held incommunicado without access to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or any other international body.

Israel’s resort to force in the Cast Lead Operation in Gaza was both a necessary and a proportionate response to Hamas’ attacks.

During this Operation, Israeli commanders and soldiers were guided by International Humanitarian Law, including the principles of distinction and proportionality.

Both before and during the Gaza Operation, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) went to great lengths to ensure that humanitarian aid reached the Palestinian population, including by facilitating the delivery of 1,511 trucks carrying 37,162 tons.

The IDF took extensive precautions to avoid or limit harm to civilians in Gaza, while pursuing its objectives of stopping Hamas’s incessant rocket and mortar fire on Israeli civilians and property.

Hamas, on the other hand, committed clear grave violations of international law and human rights, both before and during the Gaza Operation.

For more information visit Gaza Facts website.

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