On the 50th day of Operation Protective Edge, August 26th, Israel and Palestinian factions accepted a "long term" Egyptian proposed ceasefire. Farther talks are scheduled to proceed in Cairo next month. Israel's objective of the operation was restoration of sustained quiet and security for the people of Israel. 70 Israelis lost their lives, including 65 IDF soldiers and officers, while millions of Israelis were forced into bomb shelters. During the operation 2,127 Palestnians died: 706 were civilians, 616 were militants, and 805 are unknown likely 40-45% were militants. After 4,562 rockets were fired at Israel by terrorists in Gaza, Operation Protective Edge effectively neutralized the threat of Hamas by destroying their terror tunnel network, deminishing their rocket arsenal, and weakening Hamas' strategic capabilities in Gaza. Israel looks forward to restarting peace negotiations with a Palestinian government committed to peace.
The Israel Action Center is answering a few questions below about Operation Protective Edge:
- What was Operation Protective Edge and what did it accomplish?
- What was the Cease-Fire agreement?
- What were United States Officials responses to the Operation?
- What was The Human Rights Council commission of inquirey on Gaza?
- What can you do?
On July 30th, Noa Meir, Director of the JCRC GW's Israel Action Center visited Sderot in Southern Israel. She said, "I had the privilege to accompany Colonel (Res.) Bentzi Gruber (who is scheduled to visit the DC area as a scholar in residence of the Israel Action Center in November) down in southern Israel. I was nervous the entire way there: “Will there be a siren? Will I need to pull over, lay on the ground and cover my head?” My fear was quickly replaced with awe and pride: Awe of the commander leading his troops in a defensive act in order to thwart the numerous tunnels, which have become no less than a strategic threat; pride of Am Yisrael for playing the role of “best supporting actor” – be it the signs all along the streets strengthening the IDF and the home front, be it the numerous volunteers and countless donations of food, undergarments and even massages for the troops who came out for a brief brake from the continuous battle against a brutal enemy. I encountered a resilient home front, including small children, who were equipped and ready to bear the price of the ongoing rocket barrages in order to enable the IDF to achieve its mission in the Gaza Strip. The people of the southern communities were ever so grateful for our visit. But as one of the donors who was with us said after handing out toys to children in one of the shelters: “you end up getting more than you give.”
What was Operation Protective Edge and what did it accomplish?
- After hundreds of rockets were fired into Israel from Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Israel launched a defensive airstrike. As tensions raised, that airstrike was accompanied by an offensive ground operation known as Operation Protective Edge.
- “No country on Earth would remain passive in the face of hundreds of rockets fired on its cities,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “and Israel is no exception.” Israel appreciates President Obama and Secretary Kerry's strong support of Israel's right to defend itself.
- Operation Protective Edge had one main goal: to stop Hamas’ incessant rocket attacks against Israel’s civilians. It effectively neutralized the threat of Hamas by destroying their terror tunnel network and weakening Hamas' strategic capabilities in Gaza.
- The IDF targeted, using both naval and aerial capabilities, approximately 3,333 terror targets, including tunnels, launchers and the homes of Hamas commanders.
- 60% of Hamas' rocket arsenal have been destoryed. The IDF says Hamas started the war with 10,000 rockets. Since then, Hamas has fired over 2,600 of those rockets at Israel and the IDF destroyed about 3,000.
- The IDF estimates that Protective Edge killed at least 900 Hamas militants.
- Operation Protective Edge displayed remarkable advances of military technology; Iron Done had a higher success rate than in any previous operation.
- The Israel Defense Forces' practice of calling, text-messaging, and "roof knocking" (or dropping empty shells) to warn Palestinian civilians of a military operation were all made possible by technological advances and high quality intelligence.
- Rather than send troops deep into Hamas's vast tunnel architecture, the IDF employed new and advanced robotics, saving soldiers' lives.
- Prior to the ground invasion on July 17th, the IDF dropped leaflets in 14 areas in Gaza explaining where civilians should move for their safety.
- The IDF operated extensively in the Hamas stronghold Shujaiya to destroy Hamas’s attack tunnels and its rocket launching and manufacturing infrastructure.
- The IDF urged the civilians in Gaza to evacuate areas that Hamas terrorists were using for their attacks on civilians. In order to warn the people who are in danger, they called, texted, and distributed leaflets.
- The IDF targeted specific sites and terrorists located within the Al-Wafa hospital in Gaza City. The hospital grounds and its immediate surroundings were repeatedly utilized by Hamas as a command center, rocket launching site, and terrorists open fire site. Warnings were conveyed directly to the hospital administration and other Palestinian officials. The head of the WHO stated that the hospital manager declared there were no patients or staff in the hospital, and that the building was empty. This was confirmed by the Gaza CLA on July 23, 2014.
- Israel continues to coordinate humanitarian aid and goods to Gaza; 5,200 trucks entered Gaza via Kerem Shalom since July 8th.
- IDF Operation Protective Edge, in numbers(Ynet)
No one was immune to the rocket attacks that sent thousands into bomb shelters daily. While Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense system thwarted many of the attacks, Hamas rockets were capable of reaching Israel’s biggest cities, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Herzilia and Haifa. More than half a million Israelis had less than 60 seconds to find shelter after a rocket was launched from Gaza into Israel. Many only had 15 seconds.
70 Israelis have lost their lives. 64 soldiers and officers have paid the ultimate price for the defense of Israel. Select this link to read a brief biography of each soldier killed during the Operation.
Hamas places weapons and missile launchers in densely populated areas. They also send men, woman, and children to act as human shields for terrorists.
Hamas Rocket Launch Pad Near Gaza Homes
What was the Cease-Fire agreement?
- On August 26th, Israel and Palestinian factions accepted a "long term" Egyptian proposed ceasefire.
- Egypt- a key mediator in previous hostilities between Israel and Hamas- suggested an immediate unconditional ceasefire could be put into place to allow for 48 hours of seperate talks utilizing neutral mediators to discuss a long term agreement.
- The Egyptian foreign ministry called on Israel and all Palestinian factions to immediately enforce a ceasefire, stating that escalation and mutual violence is not in the interest of either party.
- The plan put forward by Cairo starts with a "de-escilation" period: Israel was to refrain from a ground invation as part of its military offensive, while Palestinian factions in Gaza were to refrain from firing rockets, attacks on borders, and targeting civilians.
- Once the security situation became stable on the ground, crossings were to open to allow the movement of people and goods. Israel and Egypt demanded guarentees that weapons would not be smuggled into Gaza.
- Israel has also agreed to extend the territory's Mediterranean fishing zone.
- The current terms do not include a Palestinian seaport or airport, nor the release of Palestinian prisoners.
- Talks are to continue in Cairo where Israel and Palestinian factions will discuss the construction of a seaport and airport in Gaza and the freeing of about 100 prisoners. Such talks will heavily depend on the success of the ceasefire, Hamas' willingness to cooperate with Israel, and sustained quiet on Israel's borders.
- Indirect talks about more continuous issues, such as Israel's call for militant groups in Gaza to unarm, will continue in Cairo.
- President Barak Obama applauded the Egyptian initiative.
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the truce but warned that talks must continue to tackle the root causes of the conflict.
- A senior Israeli official says the big difference between this cease-fire and others is that this one is open-ended.
- Before accepting the August 26th agreement, Hamas rejected or violated 11 cease-fires.
- Many people have begun asking why Hamas accepted the very same Egyptian framework that it rejected a month ago.
Click here to read more about the Israel-Gaza truce. (CNN)
What were United States Officials responses to the Operation?
Throughout the crisis, our elected officials from Maryland and Virginia have used their positions to actively support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas. Select this link to view a list of the 5 resolutions the U.S. Senate and House have passed supporting Israel including emergency funding for Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense system. If you have not already done so, you can still send a letter thanking your congressman and senators for taking these steps by selecting this link. Our Maryland and Virginia elected officials have made several statements in support of Israel. Click on the links below to read them:
- Benjamin Netanyahu Thanks Florida Cabinet for Supporting Israel
- U.S. Senate Passes Iron Dome Funding (The Hill)
- U.S. House of Representatives Passes Iron Dome Funding
- Secretary of State John Kerry Condemns Outrageous Truce Violations (AP)
- With Israel at war, US lawmakers give full support (Associated Press)
- Senate passes resolution supporting Israel (The Hill)
- Ambassador Dermer’s Speech at National Leadership Assembly for Israel
- C-Span Coverage of the National Leadership Assembly for Israel
- MD Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), July 23, 2014
"Any cease fire should create a situation in which Israeli citizens no longer face the threat of brazen terrorist attacks. Israeli citizens have faced over 1800 rocket launches from Hamas since June. While Iron Dome has saved countless lives, over five million Israelis live in fear of incoming rockets fired indiscriminately from Gaza. Twenty-eight tunnels have been discovered by the IDF since the ground operation in Gaza began. Israel has an absolute right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel. The threats posed by Hamas rockets and tunnels whose only purpose is to kill and kidnap Israelis are intolerable, and Israel must be allowed to take any actions necessary to remove those threats. Any effort to broker a ceasefire agreement that does not eliminate those threats cannot be sustained in the long run and will leave Israel vulnerable to future attacks.”
- Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), July 17 2014
"Israel was attacked with over 1,000 rockets this past week. Each rocket the Iron Dome System intercepts means Israeli lives have been saved. The value of this investment has never been clearer. We have to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge through bilateral cooperation and investment. Israel is our treasured ally and the U.S. must not waiver in this commitment.”
- Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), July 17 2014
"Hamas must end its rocket and mortar attacks and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said. “It cannot be allowed to continue its terrorist acts.”
- "We are encouraged that Egypt has made a proposal to accomplish this goal that we hope can restore the calm that we are seeking," - Obama at an Iftar dinner marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the White House.
- Ambassador Ron Dermer on NBC's Meet The Press, Sunday August 3rd (NBC)
- Ambassador Dermer on where US/Israel relationship stands
- Ambassador Ron Dermer on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (CNN) "Israel does not target civilians nor UN facilities"
- Ellie Wiesel – condemning Hamas’ use of innocents as human shields – “Moderate men and women of faith, whether that faith is in God or man, must shift their criticism from the Israeli soldiers – whose terrible choice is to fire and risk harming human shields, or hold their fire and risk the death of their loved ones – to the terrorists who have taken away all choice from the Palestinian children of Gaza.”
Israel's prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressing the joint session of Congress
Us Congress gives Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a standing ovation
What was The Human Rights Council commission of inquirey on Gaza?
|Britian's former armed forces commander talks about the double standard in the treatment of Israel.
||William Schabas, the chairman of the commission of inquiry against Israel deemed Israel guilty before the investigation started.
What can you do?
- Use Social Media
- Combat Bias in the Media
- Take Action
- Buy Israeli Products
Here are a list of websites where you can learn more about what is happening in Israel:
- The JCRC Operation Protective Edge information page.
- Listen to a recording of the August 15th conference call with the Embassy of Israel's new Head of Public Diplomacy, Ilan Sztulman: Operation Protective Edge: Implications of the Ceasefire
- Listen to a recording of the JCRC and AJC Washington Region's Conference Call - Combating The Global Rise of Anti-Semitism with Rabbi Andrew Baker, Director, International Affairs, American Jewish Committee.
- Listen to a recording of the JCRC's Conference Call- An Analysis on Operation Protective Edge with Middle East Expert Elliot Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations
- View videos, pictures, and other information including a list of the more than 75 cosponsoring organizations from the JCRC's July 17th Stand Strong for Israel Rally in Washington, DC
- A recording of the JCRC's conference call with Maryland native and Member of Knesset Rabbi Dov Lipman
- A recording of the JCRC's call with IDF Spokesperson LTC Peter Lerner on July 10th
- The JCRC Facebook page and Twitter feed
- IDF blog live updates, website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed
- Embassy of Israel to the US website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed
- Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs live updates, website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed
- Prime Minister Netanyahu's Facebook page, and Twitter feed
Although the fighting has stopped staying informed is the best way to advocate for Israel. Important events are taking place right now and it is vital the American Jewish Community remains Israel's biggest supporter in times of peace.
Staying informed is still vital, although the cease fire is holding, keeping up to date is still the best way to advocate for Israel
Use Social Media
- Use social media like Facebook, Twitter to support Israel.
- It is important the world knows that we are continuing to stand by Israel throughout the UN inquests.
- Use a hashtag (#) on Facebook and Twitter that is already trending so that you can increase its reach. Some of the current hashtags to support Israel are:
Combat Bias in the Media
As you read newspapers, online media, watch TV news or listen to the radio and hear stories about Israel, there are several things you can do to counter unfair, biased reporting. When you read, see, or hear biased reporting, call or write to the media outlet. Select the following link to download the JCRC's guidelines on writing letters to the editor (applies to online news sources and broadcast media as well), talking back to talk radio, and social media.
Here are 5 rules to follow when combatting media bias:
- The most important thing you can do is stay informed. You can find information on the JCRC's Operation Protective Edge information page, at CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) and Palestinian Media Watch.
- Be timely. Allowing a week or even a few days to pass before responding to an article or news story will greatly diminish the likelihood of your letter or response having any effect.
- Write in response to a particular news story, editorial, printed picture, or op-ed.
- Be brief and address a specific issue.
- Be civil and end with a thank you.
- Send an email today to thank your Senators and Representative for supporting Israel and for providing emergency funding for Iron Dome.
- On July 11th, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 657 supporting Israel's right to self defense and condemning Hamas rockets. On July 30th, the House passed House Concurrent Resolution 107 which denounces the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in violation of international humanitarian law.
- On July 17th, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Senate Resolution 498, giving "support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization." On July 29th, they passed Senate Resolution 526 which support's Israel right to defend itself against Hamas' rocket assault and destroy Hamas' tunnel system into Israel's territory. It also condemns Hamas' terrorist actions and use of civilians as human shields.
- Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed emergency funding for Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense System which President Barak Obama signed into law on Monday, August 4th.
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